Year 7 Information Literacy Programme: Mind Maps & Keywords

So how do you pick a good keyword? and how are Dewey Numbers organised anyway?

 

Setting the scene with year 7…

 

Okay so your teacher goes and sets you ANOTHER homework challenge.

Find out about…, When did…., Who was… etc,

 

 So where do you start?

 

By picking a good Keyword to unlock the question.

 

You can then use this word to look in the Subject Index, Oliver Database, or even on the Internet.

To do this I gave my year 7 student a series of questions from which they had to to pick the keywords. The biggest challenege for some of them was not to write the actual answer!

 

So for example for the question…

 

 

 

 

“Name the colours of the spectrum” we discussed what results or information we would find if we picked “Colours” as our keyword rather than “Spectrum”.

 

 

They went onto organise their keywords and ideas into a mind map and used the Subject Indexes to find the shelf numbers.

 

It was great to see the penny drop with some of them when Dewey Shelf Numbers showed the relationship between Keywords.

Eg. Sport= 790, and all other individual sports shelf numbers start with… guess what the number 79 something.

 

 

 

  

 

Year 7 Information Literacy Programme: Christmas Fun

In the last IL session all 12 classes of Year 7 students learnt how to use the Subject Index, to look up keywords and find the corresponding Dewey Shelf Number.

 

During the last two weeks of term and in the build up to the Christmas Holidays I designed a Christmas ‘fun’ activity that allowed them to practice using these Subject Indexes.

 

I gave each student a Christmas picture (star, pudding, reindeer, etc) and they had to find the correct shelf number (star = 523, pudding = food = 641, reindeer = animal = 599, etc) then colour in their picture, cut it out and stick to their class Christmas Tree.

 

 

These trees are then hung up in the MRC and make great decorations. 

 

Each year this display reminds older students of how they can use the Subject Indexes. 

 

 

A prize is awarded to the class with the most correct Dewey numbers, best decorated tree and team work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Subject Index is available in an editable format from Carel Press it is called the “Find it Index”

 

Year 7 Information Literacy Programme: Subject Index

Continuing from the last IL session, which introduced all 12 classes of Year 7 students to Dewey Decimal Classification, I showed them the Subject Index.

 

I started with a brief recap by making use of the podcast I had previously created about the 10 main classes in the MRC.

 

 

 

 

 I then gave them a story which had some missing words (those naughty book worms again!). I demonstrated how I could look up the missing word in the Subject Index to find the “magic” or Dewey Shelf number. They then had to fill all the gaps using the Subject Index, learning their way around it as they did the activity.

 

The Subject Index is available in an editable format from Carel Press it is called the “Find it Index”

 

Year 7 Information Literacy Programme: DDC

I’ve been working with the Year 7 students to introduce them to Dewey Order, or DDC (Dewey Decimal Classification), as part of their Information Literacy Programme.

I started by telling them a silly story about Mr Dewey, his wife, and their big house which was full of books. obviously when his wife couldn’t find her favourite cookery book she set him the task of sorting all the books out to make it easier to find what you want.

The story explains how he organised all of knowledge into the 10 main subject areas and then gave them subject numbers. The students are then given a floor plan of his house and have to label each room with the main subject area, the main Dewey Shelf number and then run around the MRC shelves to find each subject area, note the colour on the spine labels and then finally colour in their floor plan.

It can be a bit hectic but at least it gives them more confidence and gets them moving around the MRC.

Research and Referencing for all Year 12 Students

During October I ran a series of workshops for all our Year 12 students entitled “Research & Referencing“. This was part of a series of sessions looking at Study Skills in general, from Time Management and Skimming and Scanning (the latter I created an activity for).

My session was in two parts.

Research

Firstly we discussed the students favourite first ports of call – Wikipedia and Google. Many are aware of the downsides, lack of authority, reliability, volume of hits etc, but very few knew about the alternatives, – they do now!

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

I demonstrated the Oliver Homepage (our OPAC system) and showed them a quick search which found both books and (reliable & educational) websites. I also showed our links to our local library service and the British Library, from which they can, for a small fee, get their hands on out of print books that may be really useful for their studies.

I then demonstrated that from the Oliver Homepage they could gain access to the databases that the MRC subscribes to. The key ones for P16 studies being Britannica Encyclopedia; NewsBank and InfoTrac. I gave a brief demonstration for each of these and encouraged them to give them a try as their teachers will be expecting them to use a wider variety of sources than just Google and Wikipedia. The internal links within Britannica to other journal articles and the Webs Best Bits are invaluable on their own and makes a great starting point for research. Plus no-one will ever know if they use the Primary version to get a really simple definition to help them! With all of these you can save, print and email results – which is a great way of checking with your teacher that you are on the right track.

The second part of the session looked at:

Referencing

I installed Plato onto our VLE back in 2008 and use this fabulous resource when teaching reference skills. I showed a few videos to introduce the concept of Plagiarism or cheating, then asked them to discuss/ answer 5 ‘Plagiarism’ questions with a partner before showing a series of clips about common plagiarism mistakes.

Collusion, Copying, Paraphrasing, and incorrect Citation.

The two most contentious of these were collusion, “but our teacher tells us to work together” and paraphrasing “doesn’t everyone do this?” and led to some interesting conversations with students (Great!).

I shared examples of good practice, and then some video clips I put together (with the aid of Plato) to demonstrate how to reference a book, journal and website. Interesting to find out that some weren’t familiar with the word ‘journal’, and that the date of access is required for websites. I advised them that before they started researching online, they create a Word document and put todays date at the top, all they then need to do is paste in any useful URLs to keep a record.

Another look at the 5 ‘plagiarism’ questions showed that some had changed their minds and answers. When going through the answers the question that sparked the biggest debate was about the copyright symbol not being essential for the ‘work’ (photo, article,video etc) to be protected. During one session we also had a discussion about using Creative Commons.

So I sent them off into the big bad wide world of research and information overload, with a reminder that at any point over the next two years they can come back and ask for a reminder “about that newspaper database you showed us….”, or for guidance about references.

I can only hope that this has helped solve the problem of when I have worked with Year 13 groups who complain that they “should have been shown this at the start of Year 12”. Well this year they have been!

Year 7 Information Literacy Programme

Year 7’s have recently finished looking at the differences between Fiction and Non-Fiction.

They discovered that an easy (or cheats) way of doing this is by looking at the spine of the book, as Fiction books have letters on their spine labels and Non-Fiction have numbers on theirs.

First they had to sort a pile of library books into two piles – one each for Fiction and Non-Fiction and then organise these into the right order:

Alphabetical order for Fiction and Numerical order for N0n-Fiction.

Science Research Session

Yesterday I went into a post 16 (Year 12) Science lesson to discuss how they approach their research.

Where do they start when given a piece of research?

Not surprisingly the top two answers were…

Google and Wikipedia.

So we discussed some of the pitfalls of each of these options, pointed out ways to use these safely; to get reliable and relevant  information from them and a few hints and tips, before going onto show them some alternatives.

These alternatives can be found via the Oliver Homepageand not only would these provide a more reliable place to start  a research project, would, with practice save you valuable time.

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

Have a look at the Research Guides for details on how to use the databases.
 

Year 7 & 8 Information Literacy Programme

Year 7’s and Year 8’s have all had by now their first IL (Information Literacy) Session.

Year 7’s have an introduction to the MRC – looking at how to borrow, return resources etc.

Intro

They were then told to “get lost” in the library, and had a great opportunity to browse and start to learn their way around the MRC – most of them managed to find the shelves with their favourite topic on, and all had an opportunity to borrow their first book.MRC Image

Year 8’s have had a refresher on choosing keywords when planning their research, practising on picking alternative, narrower and wider keywords, they too had an opportunity to borrow or return resources.

keyword umbrella

Here is a link to the MRC Planner Pages.

Happy 13th Birthday Google

The original Google homepage first appeared in November 1998. So it looks like Google is here to stay, having been around and developing for 13 years.google blog

There are other search engines but Google has managed to become a household name across the world. About 70 percent of all online searching goes through Google.

The name Google was derived from a misspelling of the word googol, a mathematical term for the number onegoogol followed by 100 zeroes.

I google, you google, we google.

The word Google was officially recognised as a verb in 2001.

Merriam-Webster defines Google as “to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web”.

Research Hint: Google tip 1

CONTROL F

“A deceptively simple tool, the Control F allows you to immediately find the word you’re looking for on a page. After you’ve typed in your search, you can jump directly to the word or phrase in the search list. 90 percent of Internet users don’t know this, and spend valuable time scrolling through pages of information trying to find their key word.” Barseghian 2011

Bibliography

Barseghian, Tina. (2011). 12 Ways To Be More Search Savvy. Available: http://mindshift.kqed.org/2011/09/cracking-the-code-to-the-best-google-search/. Last accessed 06/11/2011.

Google Inc.2011. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Retrieved6 September 2011, from all/comptons/article-301005

Yr 9 BTEC Science

I’m popping into Year 9 BTEC Science lessons this week to advise them how to research more quickly and find the best, most reliable sources of information. Freeing them up to do the things they want to do!

We’ve been looking at the pitfalls of relying on Wikipedia (unreliable, who created the information and having to check the information in more reliable sources).

The inefficiencies of Search Engines like Google – which roughly only searches 3% of the information available on the web – and still brings you a hit list of thousands of articles, that no one has the time or the willpower to read through.

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

Instead I reminded the students about the Oliver Homepage, Searching for keywords to find the best books and websites on our database, and showing them some of the online databases they can use courtesy of the MRC. I gave quick demonstrations of Britannica Online; NewsBank; InfoTrac and Clipbank; plus I pointed out the guides to referencing and bibliographies.

They spent the rest of the lesson researching topics like electromagnetic spectrum and BP Oil Spills and were able to find videos and newspaper articles as well as books and websites. Cool.

Let’s hope they remember the next time they are set some research based work.