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 here to self-monitor and ask for support when needed.  Expand the —> lesson menu—> at right! —>  (It might appear as the “hamburger menu” on your device.)

Skilled Researchers Work in a Self-Directed Way to…

  • apply the inquiry model and the research process (and lessons in our menu) 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 before selecting them for use, because we live in an age of misinformation
  • 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 library’s shelves are color-coded according to sub-locations and different kinds of materials; sixth graders learn what each of those types of sources are: fiction, non-fiction, biographies, quick picks, graphic novels, manga, libros en espanol and everybody books (picture books.)
    Map of HBW and Shriver Library with colors depicting sublocations of various formats of books including yellow for fiction, green for nonfiction, brown for biographies, red for picture books, purple for graphic novels, orange for quick picks and blue for Spanish.
  3. The librarian posts “collections” in the library catalog that provide recommended reading according to grade level, genre and that have been selected for specific teachers’ projects.  For students looking for books within a particular genre for middle schoolers, the catalog’s PINK collections list great titles by genre.
  4. 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 Discover and linked from our homepage.)
  5. The exception to the rule above is that we have a special location for most of our graphic novels and comic books:  GN.
  6. The following labeling system helps students find books in the 6 sections of our library:
    1. E = Everybody’Easy (short picture books)  Shriver’s collection in the classroom provides even more.
    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 electronic book from Follett or Mackin. In some cases it is an audiobook.
    6. AB = at the end of a call number indicates an audiobook.
    7. ###  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.
    8. SPA = added at the end of a call number to books presented in Spanish language
  7. Library Hours:   8:50 – 3:55.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Sixth graders learn to access the library’s research databases (which contain scholarly, copyrighted articles from reference books, magazines and journals as well as videos and links to the highest quality web sites about a subject.) Access the databases by the steps described here.
  11. 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. electronic books and audio-books (sound recordings.)
  12. They learn how to use the Destiny Discover app to ACCESS e-books and audiobooks that may contained in several places. Then they read e-books or listen to the audiobooks from these resources: Destiny Discover, MackinVia and SORA.
  13. SORA is used to access electronic magazines. Learning SORA enables a patron of the public library to access e-content from Arlington’s Public Library system.
  14. 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
  15. They learn how to arrange an inter-library loan.
  16. They learn library policies and procedures for checking out books:  3-week loaning periods, no fines for over-dues, how to renew.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. The library runs TAB in collaboration with our public libraries in Arlington.  It’s a twice-monthly book discussion at lunchtime to enjoy, review, recommend and rate books carefully chosen by leading librarians in the area.  Details.
  21. Depending upon interest, students learn how they can participate in March Book Madness.
  22. Opportunities for additional challenge: Students have the opportunity to set a personalized reading goal. They can build a personalized ‘reading list’ by using the “collections” feature in the library catalog. They learn how to make suggestions to our book recommendation lists (called “Collections” in our catalog) or work with the librarian to suggest books to buy for the library. See links on the library’s home page.