Information Literacy Skills for Middle Schoolers at HBW:

You are not on your own with your research.  Teachers and librarians collaborate to build instruction into the research calendar, and you are invited to the library to address the individual resource needs. As students move from grade 6 – 8, they can use the guidance below to self-monitor and ask for support when needed.

Skilled Researchers Work in a Self-Directed Way to…

  • apply the inquiry model and the research process to develop and research an over-arching question with focus questions that apply the “prime” questions of  How…?  Which?  and Why…?
  • apply strategies for locating information, including…
    • beginning with short, general reference articles, but moving to lengthier, more detailed and analytical sources
    • using search engines with skill within databases
  • ethically use information as they gather it for their projects; summarize, paraphrase and quote with skill as they take notes
  • understand the purpose of a bibliography; apply technology to use MLA style to compose a Works Cited list
  • improve awareness and skilled use of sources of scholarly, professionally curated resources including print and electronic reference articles, books, e-books and multimedia
  • evaluate sources such as web sites
  • synthesize information from a variety of sources
  • compose a well organized and effective presentation
  • reflect upon one’s personal development of research skills in order to set and achieve goals for lifelong learning.

Grade 6

A special focus we provide to our sixth graders aids in the transition from their elementary school libraries.  Sixth graders learn…

  1. HBW’s library houses books for students with beginning reading abilities all the way up to adult.  Accordingly, some of the material may cover topics of a mature nature, so it’s helpful to know how to search by “interest level” and place back on the shelves works that make a student uncomfortable.  Parents should be in open and ongoing communication with their children about the kinds of reading that is acceptable.
  2. The librarian posts “resource lists” in the library catalog that provide recommended reading according to grade level, genre and that have been selected for specific teachers’ projects.
  3. HBW’s library might be different from the student’s prior library because it does not divide its novels into different sections for each genre (such as science fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, etc.)  Rather, most novels are arranged (in alphabetical order by author) in the largest section of our library:  Fiction.  Therefore, it is important for HBW’s students to develop skill in searching for books with the library’s catalog (called Follett Destiny and linked from our homepage.)
  4. The exception to the rule above is that we have a special location for most of our graphic novels and comic books:  GN.
  5. The following labeling system helps students find books in the 6 sections of our library:
    1. E = Easy (picture books)
    2. GN = Graphic Novels (and comic books… arranged by alphabetically author or, in some cases, series name with Manga housed in its own section.)
    3. F = Fiction (and story collections… arranged alphabetically by last name of author)
    4. B = Biography (arranged alphabetically by the last name of the person whose life is described)
    5. EB = at the end of a call number indicates an audiobook or electronic book from Follett or Mackin
    6. ###  Non-Fiction = arranged by Dewey Decimal System where the number relates to the subject of study, for example, books about history are in the 900’s; books about the arts and sports are in the 700’s.
    7. SP = added at the end of a call number to books presented in Spanish language
  6. The library opens well before the Middle School day starts and remains open till 4:10.
  7. Many students visit for book check-outs during I-Block. However, there is not a fixed time of each week that students are brought to the library by any teacher. Rather, teachers bring students for lessons when it suits a unit of study.
  8. Research Projects get a lot of support from the librarian with recommended resources provided the “Research Guides” section of this web site.  See it here.
  9. Sixth graders learn to access the library’s research databases (housing scholarly, copyrighted articles from reference books, magazines and journals as well as videos and web links) at the MackinVia portal provided on the access.apsva.us web page.  That portal provides access to all of the library’s databases with just a single login (that applies their APS ID# and password.)
  10. The library’s catalog lists both print and an increasing number of electronic resources.  Sixth graders learn to interpret the catalog’s symbols for print books vs. DVD’s vs. electronic books and audio-books (sound recordings.)
  11. They learn how to use an app on their iPad to browse the e-books and audiobooks in the Mackin collection as well as check them out.
  12. They develop skill and independence with the library catalog in order to
    • search efficiently by title, author, subject, series or keyword
    • interpret search results to determine the medium of the content (print book, e-book, DVD, etc.)
    • view their account to check for materials they have on loan
    • view details of books, including summary, the subjects it relates, the reading level, interest level and awards it’s received
    • view details of book copies to determine if it’s on loan or available through inter-library loan from other APS libraries
  13. They learn how to arrange an inter-library loan.
  14. They learn library policies and procedures for checking out books:  3-week loaning periods, no fines for over-dues, how to renew.
  15. They begin to build their seven-year relationship with the library staff who can help them develop increasing skills with library and resource use for 21st century learning.
  16. They develop their care and sharing of our community’s expensive library resources, including their ability to return books on time, to use shelf-markers when browsing, and to keep books in good condition.
  17. The library’s web site provides access to a variety of resources including:
    • link to the library’s catalog (a “search engine” for our collection)
    • portal to the databases
    • book recommendations
    • research guides for major classroom projects
    • instruction on how to access databases and e-book collections
  18. The library runs TAB in collaboration with our public libraries in Arlington.  It’s a weekly book discussion at lunchtime to enjoy, review, recommend and rate books carefully chosen by leading librarians in the area.  Through this club, they can see their book recommendations published by the APL at their web site.
  19. Depending upon interest, students learn how they can participate in March Book Madness and The 40 Book Challenge, and the Warriors Book Club.  (Manga and Anime club as well as LGBTQ Book Club for high schoolers have been modeled on TAB in the past.) They are great programs that help students connect with other power readers and learn about others’ book recommendations. Students can also learn about how to build a personalized ‘reading list’ by using that feature in the library catalog. They learn how to make suggestions to be added to the “Sixth Graders Recommend” list that can be accessed by our whole community.