Friday, March 28, 2014

EasyBib Add-On, a fast-paced mini-lesson

We followed up last week's "Quote, Summarize, or Paraphrase" lesson with a quick look at citations. Grade 7 is the year to introduce in-text citations, so we make it as easy as possible!

Using google's new "Add-on" feature at the top of all docs, we add the EasyBib citation-maker directly into our documents. In the sidebar, we type our book's ISBN number and then paste in a URL for a website*. EasyBib finds the resource, formats it according to MLA, APA, o r Chicago, and then inserts it into the document.

* We used Sweet Search's "biography" page for a website.

You should have heard the "oohs" and "aahs" when
the "Works Cited" section was added: formatted (yes, reverse indented!) and alphabetized...with one click!

Now we're ready to do our in-text citations. 

In MLA, we take the first item in the entry which might be the author's last name, but could also be the title of an article. 

We pop that into some parenthesis at the end of our quotation and paraphrase from last week, and BAM! Works Cited page and in-text citations are done!

The key with this lesson is breathless, fast-paced, excitement...ham it up...they'll look at you like you're crazy but it helps!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Summarize, Paraphrase, Quote?

As part of their biography project, grade 7 Humanities teachers invited me to talk with students about different ways to gather information from nonfiction books.

Grade 7 Guiding Question: What choices do we have for extracting information from a text?

Inspired by this anchor chart, I talked students through some visual note-taking to help them distinguish among three ways to record information from their text. 

As we talked about each one, I modeled my own "extractions" or recordings from my nonfiction text (First Step 2 Forever: My Story, by Justin Bieber - yes, this did get a laugh). Then students practiced each type with their own book.

Here's how we visualized the differences:

Quotation: recorded text is shown the same color as the original because the words are exactly the same. We only need to add quotation marks and a citation.

Paraphrase: recorded information is blue and is about the same length as the original text. The object is to reword the text, not just change the order of the words, so the recorded information is ALL blue. We also may need to add a citation to a paraphrase if the idea is new or questionable.

Summary: recorded information is one red sentence since it's a shortened version of the text. It's so condensed that no citation is needed.

Notes for ways to extract information

At the end of the lesson, it was important to reinforce the idea that students have a choice about how to record information they've learned.

If the words are so juicy, perfect, and couldn't be said better ourselves, which method should we choose?

If the words are a bit complicated, or we could easily write them in our own way, which should we choose?

If the words make up a long section with a key point but include many unnecessary details, which should we choose?

This was about a 20 minute lesson. I'll follow up next week to see how they are doing!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Board!

Our wonderful assistant, Ms Aggie, has completed an amazing bulletin board to bring us into springtime.

Here's the inspiration pin (which, sadly, leads to a spammy link) and our result below.

Come down to The Pit and pick a bunch of books!

"Pick a Bunch of Books"

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dr. Seuss, for Seniors

It just happened that our seniors were taking their Mock IB exams during the week of Dr. Seuss's birthday. Turns out our new bulletin board was a hit with at least one student!

He came up to me and said that the board full of Seuss quotations really "cheered [him] up", and that the free bookmark "made [his] day." 
We had printed up some colorful quotations, added some pockets of Seussy bookmarks 

It's great to see that Dr. Seuss's wit and wisdom really do strike a chord with all ages.

Our March board, made by our wonderful library assistant, Ms Agnes