Welcome to the Media Center!
Teacher: Mrs. Michelle Lavoie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For our frequently used web links, please go to www.protopage.com/sbsmedia
Stay on Track with the Junior High Research Projects
Our junior high research projects are moving along now, and we will post deadlines and reminders here to help students stay on track. Please check back often and subscribe to this page for updates!
Project kick-off ... Please return the signed parent form ASAP so we know your parents are aware of this long-term project. As with all checkpoints over the next few months, assignments turned in on time will result in an easy 100 for language arts class. This is a great way to earn an A for the trimester! But beware, blowing off these assignments will result in a zero and will kill your grade. Please note: Students who are absent for a media center class are responsible for finding out what they missed and will be expected to have their assignment in on time. In case of extenuating circumstances (such as a student being out all week) a parent note will be required in order to be granted an extension. The signed parent note is due immediately upon receipt.
Sources - Students need to find a minimum of 7 sources for this project - 4 must be written (books, magazine articles, newspapers, primary source journals, etc.) and 3 or more can be other types of resources (websites, documentaries, video clips of interviews, etc.) Please spend some time evaluating your sources; remember to RADCAB any websites and rely on Mrs. Frost's print source evaluation tools as well. Students should print their list of sources or share it electronically with the teachers before the class period in which it is due. Grade 7 - due on 2/21 Grade 8 - due on 2/11
Bibliography - In class we're reviewing the proper information and formatting required for a bibliography. Students should turn their sources into a bibliography in typed, MLA format. Feel free to use one of the online tools we've recommended and remember, you can update your bibliography as needed along the way ... so save it in an easily accessible Google Doc. For requirements and a sample bibliography, click on this link. Grade 7 - due on 2/28 Grade 8 - due on 2/25
Thesis Statement - A thesis statement is a sentence or two, usually at the end of the first paragraph in a research paper, that tells the reader what it is you're trying to "say" in your paper. When you were young, a biography report might start with "(This person) was born on (date) in (location)" and then proceed to list all the important things in his/her life in chronological order. Although this type of report gave information about a person, it didn't really make a point. A more mature paper, like the one we're working on now in junior high, has a focus. While you'll still give all of the important information about your person's life, and it will still probably be in chronological order, you will use that information to build up to and prove your point. The example we will use in class (see below) shows the following introductory paragraph from a former student. The thesis statement (what the student wanted to focus the paper on) is highlighted for you to see. The attached document (click to open) also gives detailed information on creating a thesis statement. This week, read through some of your shorter sources and get a feel for your historical figure. Think about what their biggest contribution was to history. Did they make a particular impact? Was one thing that they accomplished of particular importance? Use what you've learned to write a possible thesis statement for your paper. Then bring your statement to class and we'll discuss it, help you fine-tune it, and set the focus for your paper. Grade 7 - due on 3/7 Grade 8 - due on 3/4
Sample: "Inventors throughout history created the early automobile, but no one achieved as much in their endeavors as Henry Ford. Ford was able to produce a car of great quality, but at a price that the average man could afford. He brought the power of reliable, safe, and fast transportation to the middle class through his creation of the assembly line process. America saw Henry Ford as not only the most successful inventor of the automobile, but of the architect of the assembly line process that changed the way our country (and others) manufactured goods." DJL 2013
Notetaking - Now that we have our sources and a direction for our papers, we're ready to take notes! For this project, we will use the index card method for notetaking. This will make it easier to organize our notes into an outline for the paper. Some things to remember include ... write just one note on each card to make sorting possible, include the source and page number (if applicable) that the information came from, and keep the notes from each source together for now (to make note checks easier.) Please remember to paraphrase your notes; put them into your own words to avoid plagiarism. The only thing that should be copied directly from a source is a direct quote, which requires you to put quotation marks around it and note who said it. A detailed notetaking guide will be reviewed in calss and can be found here for those who need it. Notecard due dates are found below ...
Notecards from my first 2 sources are due on: Grade 7 - 3/21 Grade 8 - 3/18
Notecards from my next 2 sources are due on: Grade 7 - 3/28 Grade 8 - 3/25
Notecards from my next 2 sources are due on: Grade 7 - 4/4 Grade 8 - 4/1
Notecards from my last source(s) are due on: Grade 7 - 4/25 Grade 8 - 4/15
Note Organization and Outline - The next step in the process is to organize our notes. Students should separate their notecards into piles of notes that belong together (i.e. early life, entry into career, first major accomplishment in their field, etc.) Then take each pile and organize those notes into an order that makes sense. Are you missing information that you need? If so, add those notes now! Once you have all of the information that you need, you will put your notes into an outline. For a sample outline, please click here. Outlines should be submitted electronically to Mrs. Lavoie, Mrs. Frost, and Mr. Hughes by the due date: Grade 7 - 5/2 Grade 8 - 4/22
Rough Draft - With a good outline to work from, students should have no problem writing the rough draft of their papers! One student even told us "The paper practically writes itself!" We suggest saving the outline under a new name so you have another copy of it (for example, save the document called "Outline" as "Rough Draft." Then in that rough draft document, start turning each section of the outline into a paragraph. Turn the notes into full sentences, add detail from your notecards, and make sure you have a strong topic sentence in each paragraph and it flows well into the next one. Some students get stuck starting the paper because they aren't sure how to turn their thesis statement into a short paragraph. My suggestion ... write the introductory paragraph last! Leave the thesis statement at the top of the rough draft, start on the paragraph about your historical figure's early life, and then go back at the end and fill out the introduction with a reader-catching overview of your topic and that awesome thesis statement. Students are invited to send the rough draft for feedback as often as they'd like once it's done. We'll point out weaknesses and you can fix them right away. Then the final draft will be super easy to polish:) Rough drafts are due on the following dates (sent electronically to Mr. Hughes, Mrs. Lavoie, and Mrs. Frost for feedback): Grade 7 - 5/16 Grade 8 - 5/6
Research Fun in the Media Center
Winter is here and that means it's time for some research fun in the media center! The SBS library and media center programs work together to help our students master the efficient and effective use of both print and online resources. In the younger grades, this means introducing each research tool in a fun and engaging way, with lots of hands on practice. In the older grades, it equates to helping our students navigate more difficult sources to produce accurate, detailed research papers and multimedia presentations. Here are a few of the activities we're exploring this winter:
Grades K & 1 - We're exploring the many ways we can use the Internet to learn. From online storybooks to videos and graphic-heavy learning sites, our youngest students are strengthening their reading skills while also learning through a variety of mixed media.
Grade 2 - The Secret of the Silver Key! This engaging chapter book by Phyllis J. Perry introduces a new research tool each week as our friends Fribble and Scamper solve the mystery linked to Fribble's birthday surprise. As we read each chapter, we're discovering how to use a variety of research tools in both print form and online. Students have the opportunity to practice each skill with fun, hands-on activities.
Grades 3 & 4 - The Secrets of the Sea Chest! Fribble and Scamper are at it again, using their research tools to solve the puzzles found in Fribble's sea chest. After reading each chapter, students are mastering the use of each research tool with hands-on activites in both the library and the media center.
Grade 5 - In keeping with the school's CT Green LEAF and Laudato Si traditions, grade 5 will be researching environmental issues. This year the class will focus on environmental agents that affect children's health. After researching their topics, students will write a short paper and then summarize their findings in an engaging Animoto video.
Grade 6 - Learning about money is important to students of this age. Using a combination of the online lessons provided by EverFi Vault and individual research, students will demonstrate what they've learned with an interactive Prezi.
Grades 7 & 8 - Our junior high students have amazing research skills! Their winter/spring history research projects will allow the students to delve more deeply into history topics they've enjoyed in class. Their in-depth research will be presented in a formal research paper, complete with the MLA formatting that will be expected of them in high school.
Fun with Coding!
The end of the school year is a great time to revisit our coding skills! We teach coding NOT because we think that all of our students will become computer programmers. Rather, we teach it because of the invaluable academic and life skills it teaches - logical thinking, problem solving, and critical thinking.
Students begin their coding journey in kindergarten with a hands-on robot mouse. After learning how to plan out a program, code it into the robot, and trouble shoot any problems with the program, students are ready to advance their skills.
The next step is a coding app that allows the students to review their existing coding skills in a virtual world, then add more advanced coding such as loops and programs-within-a-program.
Finally, after becoming proficient with a variety of coding skills, students learn the Python programming language and code their way through online adventures. Students keep their online accounts throughout the summer and can spend as much time as they wish advancing their knowledge of Python. This is a great way to enjoy online gaming ... but with awesome computer training along the way!