Previous by DateNext by Date Date Index
Previous by ThreadNext by Thread Thread Index
LM_NET Archive


Let me begin with an apology for the tardiness of this hit - I was already a bit 
behind when our email server was knocked out for several days. Technology...!

Many, MANY thanks for everyone who responded. I tried hard to be sure nothing was 
zapped by our spam filter, so hopefully everyone who responded is represented here. 
I tried to email each of you individually to say thanks, but if I missed you, 
please know I am exceptionally grateful.  There have been so many suggestions for 
both ideas and resources that I now have an embarrassment of riches! 

I am not going to attempt to attach any files, so if you see a response that 
mentions an attachment and would like a copy, please send me an email, and just 
include the first line of the response that references the attachment you would 
like.  I'll email you as quickly as I can.

Getting on to the good stuff: to abbreviate my rather rambling request for a hit, I 
asked for resources & suggestions relevant to teaching a fixed schedule information 
literacy class that was to include some MS Office and Web 2.0 technology as well. 
Here's what I got:


I also teach middle school classes as a related arts teacher.  I have had two 6th 
grades and 2 7th grade classes on daily basis for 8 week sessions.  THis year I 
will be teaching an 8th grade class also, so I've been looking for ideas.  One site 
I found that covers everything I would want to cover and more is: 
Another great source is
From experience, I would say that students of this age are much more interesed in 
doing projects than in going through lesson after lesson as the above site does.  
They tend to get bored quickly.  So I have tried to incorporate some of the skills 
into projects that also use the databases we have. I do have access to a computer 
cart, so everyone can have a computer.  
I also have had sustained silent reading as part of my curriculum, as I feel that 
is also an important part of library, along with the research skills.  I have the 
reading on an every other day basis, with some kind of a written (Compare yourself 
to a character, write a diary entry as your main character, describe a setting in 
your book, for ex) or visual or computer based response for the last 10-15 minutes 
of class.  Some of the computer responses take a whole individual class.  


I feel your pain, anxiety, frustration, and panic.  But I do have a couple 
suggestions. You might want to start with, or early on get to a survey of their 
info lit skills. Do you know about Trails?  It's designed very well, to assess 
skills. There is a 6th grade test and a 9th grade test. I have used the 9th grade 
test with 8's; the 6th grade test is not too easy for 7's. You can take a look and 

Create an account and off you go--it's pretty self explanatory, and they mark the 
kids tests and tell you what they didn't know. You can set it up so each kid takes 
the test either when you say, on their own. It may well
inform the rest of your time with them.

I have also just added a media literacy unit now that I also have 6th graders. I'm 
pretty excited about that, but it'll take some doing to get it together. The New 
Mexico Media Litearcy Project is a good place to start.

To "throw them into the deep end" you might want to look at Sharron Cohen's 
Mysteries of Research and Mysteries of Internet Research. I think they are 
available from Linworth.  Each has a series of mysteries (you copy them and each 
kid or group gets a copy to work from) that kids have to solve by determining which 
suspect is guilty; the one who is lying is guilty. They have to check out each 
one's story and alibi to see if they are lying, e.g.,
a suspect might say they were born the year Judy Garland won the Oscar for Wizard 
of Oz. They have to look that up and see if it makes sense in light of the story. 
They have to use all kinds of reference books or web sites. The kids love it, and 
although I used to give it to them after we had "taught" the reference sources in 
isolation, last year I just threw the mystery at them first, and they struggled 
through, but like it better. Then I went back and taught better ways to use the 
sources. Especially since 8th graders "know it all" this approach might work well.


I recommend these resources that can assist you with planning and
executing lessons:

IMSA--Information Fluency Project
Online Tutorials and interactive games

Check out left nav. for topics or sequenced lessons

I also highly recommend what they are doing in NC
North Carolina Computer Skills


I am wondering if you could use the big6. It has 6 steps and you have half a 
semester. I vision using the first lessons to help students "identify the 
problem/assignment" and what do they need to accomplish it? etc. You could match 
that to what is going on in content. Then move into the other steps.2.Information 
seeking: you could help them see what is out there and what is of value related to 
the first step or assignment 3. Location and access: teach searching skills in a 
variety of formats: print and non print also (evaluate what is going to work best 
for them 4. Using information: teach notetaking and outlines and processes for 
completing the assignment. 5. Synthesis: teach word processing/ppts/ 
podcasts/voicethreads etc or ways to show what we have learned about the topic 6. 
Evaluation: How did they do? What proved to be the best resources? What was not 
helpful etc. And the teacher would grade this or eval. the product as well. You 
could always make sure that the original assignment was related to something that 
was in the semester content and something each student was interested in. 


Although I have lessons for 6th graders in this area, I think you could use them 
and adapt them.  My students each have a laptop but again if yours don't you could 
probably adapt.  I have a library skills blog that I use for teaching.  It's very 
convenient and easy to change and add to plus is gives the students a model for 
using Web 2.0 skills properly.  I see these students for one hour each week and 
most of the time the teacher will divide them into 2 groups so the lessons usually 
take about half an hour.  However, most of them could take longer if you just slow 
the pace a little.  Sometimes in a half hour I feel like we are kind of rushing.

You can find the blog at:

The one they really like is the website evaluation lesson.  It's called "When in 
Doubt, Doubt."  I've included the evaluation sheet



You will find an extensive list of information literacy and study skills resources 
for the middle level at my project's website at 
If you can't access it from work, try from home...sometimes there are issues.


I got stuck with a 6th grade DAILY study skills class one year. I ended up loving 
it. They ended up shelving, helping check books out, adding memory to computers and 
other assorted jobs like that.


 I have been in your shoes at the elementary level several times and, I have to 
agree, find a flexible schedule much more conducive to teaching information 
literacy skills effectively. However, since that is not an option, I did want to 
point you in the direction of something recently assembled by AASL that might be of 
help to you. It is the "Top 25 (Landmark) Websites for Teaching and Learning" 
(available at ). I attended a session at ALA given by Pam 
Berger and others on these 2.0 technologies and it was fantastic. When you go to 
the link, they will also note the 21st Century Literacy standards which correlate 
with each of the technologies. I could envision many of these being useful for your 
age group.


I am sorry to be able to only offer mostly condolences.  You actually have a 
crazier schedule than I.  I have 6, 7, 8th graders 4 days a week for 10 weeks and 
then it switches to a new section.  I am learning that I can just start all over 
again, even though I get a little bored.

 I give 8th graders a "study hall" period.  They are not used to the idea that they 
can use the library for study, reading, their own interests and I think this is a 
good sequel to the real world (more than teaching them the Dewey Decimal system 
*again*).  I encourage them to do their schoolwork, get ahead or catch up, chat 
quietly and maybe even play games such as chess.

I spend a lot of time using the big 6 and trying to get the kids to work down to 
"essential questions"  where they are creating answers based on information that 
they have found.  That takes a long time but I think that's the most important part 
of learning how to do "research"     what was it Einstein said "if we knew the 
answers, it wouldn't be called research"     So I don't allow projects about "which 
team won the Superbowl the most times"  but rather "what makes a winning team, 
based on the teams that have won the Superbowl the most times"

I am attaching my "syllabus"  for the 6th and 7th grade,  plus a couple of project 
descriptions. Feel free to use/adapt/discard whatever.  Sharing information is what 
librarians do.


Sounds a bit daunting! For what it's worth, here are our Info Lit standards for 
Middle Schoolers:
It seems to me that if the 7th graders are new to the school you could begin with 
media center layout (physical map and virtual location), and introduce the course 
as one-long project.  You break it down week by week, Day 1 of the week teaching 
that part of the project and the remaining days they apply what you've talked about 
to their project.  You could discuss essential questions, and then they would come 
up with one of their own to research.  Week 2 is what materials can you use to 
conduct research? (nonfiction, internet, etc.) week 3 locating info in the media 
center (opac, reference, online databases, etc.).  Week 4: media literacy:  What 
makes a good website? the importance of evaluating the authority, currency, 
reliability, goal of a website (and if your district hasn't already done so with 
them take a look at the tree octopus website) Then Week 5: giving credit 
(copyright/plagiarism, etc.) Week 6: creating new knowledge - what software 
applications/equipment can you show them (yourself or through online tutorials) to 
use (powerpoint, audacity, garageband, videocamera)   So I would have them come up 
with an essential question and work during the semester to conduct research and 
present their learning in the form of  a movie, podcast, slideshow or paper.  You 
could base it on the Big 6 method, too.  I think that's what I'd do.  While it 
would be better if it were connected to a curriculum topic, they'll probably be 
more vested in researching something they are interested in learning more about.  
Should I become an EMT or a physicians assistant?  considerations: schooling 
needed, responsibilities, cost of education, salaries, benefits/drawbacks of each, 
etc.  Which motorcycle should I get?  People say Harley is the best, cost, speed, 
repairs/parts, appearance, etc. I don't know - that's what I'd do I think.  The one 
thing we've learned in our district is not to walk them step by step through 
learning anything to do with computers.  They learn by experimenting with it, 
playing around with it, talking with friends, with you there for tech support or 
small group instruction.


We have a similar class with our 7th graders.  We meet with them every other day in 
a six day rotating schedule so basically we see them M,W,F,Tu,Th ...

While not perfect, what we do is introduce the Big6 and take them through the 
research framework right off the bat.  Each 7th grader picks a research topic off 
of a big list.  We then walk them through a very short (one paragraph) "research 
project." We've vetted the topics so that we know students will be able to find an 
encyclopedia article, ref book article, and non-fiction book on their topic.  
Instructionally, after we intro the Big6, we have kids brainstorm keyword terms 
(broader, narrower, related) then:
-Using an index
-Gathering bibliographic data for an encyclopedia article
-Note taking
-Writing bibliographic citations
-Ref books (including gathering bibliographic data, and taking notes)
-Searching the book catalog, locating a non-fiction book on the topic,
and notes, bibliographic data, etc)
-Organizing notes and outlining
-Intro to Word basics ... write rough draft
-Using the Word reference utilities to create your bibliography

After students go through the arc one time with the "practice" topic, we're into 
October or November and the kids get a "real" research assignment from their 
history teachers and they go through the process
right away, but this time for "real."

We've had this model in place for three years and we've had really good success 
overall.  When students come in with their content area teachers for subsequent 
research projects we have common vocabulary and we are
able to shorthand a lot of our instruction.

Subscription databases and basic web searching strategies also get introduced, but 
later in the school year.


My junior high has a research class as one of the specials in 7th and 8th grade.  
The class is only one quarter.  There is a research teacher, so I help support what 
she does in her classroom.  I find other teachers don't spend enough time on info 
lit skills because they think the research class is sufficient.  The teacher 
frequently gets very overwhelmed that she doesn't have enough time to teach 

The 8th graders focus on careers.  They use Career Cruising (database), find books 
related to a career they chose, write a paper (or powerpoint, or letter 
recommending college), and more.  

The 7th graders do a smaller career project.  Next year, they might find a career 
they would hate, just to spice things up a little.  They also do a lot with web 
evaluation, discuss the different between a website and a database, and lots more.


Privileged/Confidential information may be contained in this message. The 
information contained in this message is intended only for the use of the 
recipient(s) named above and their co-workers who are working on the same matter. 
The recipient of this information is prohibited from disclosing the information to 
any other party unless this disclosure has been authorized in advance. 

If you are not intended recipient of this message or any agent responsible for 
delivery of the message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any 
disclosure, copying, distribution or action taken in reliance on the contents of 
this message is strictly prohibited. You should immediately destroy this message 
and kindly notify the sender by reply E-Mail. Please advise immediately if you or 
your employer does not consent to Internet E-Mail for messages of this kind. 
Opinions, conclusions and other information in this message that do not relate to 
the official business of the firm shall be understood as neither given nor endorsed 
by it.

Please note: All LM_NET postings are protected by copyright law.
  You can prevent most e-mail filters from deleting LM_NET postings
  by adding LM_NET@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU to your e-mail address book.
To change your LM_NET status, you send a message to:
In the message write EITHER:

 * LM_NET Help & Information:
 * LM_NET Archive:
 * EL-Announce with LM_NET Select:
 * LM_NET Supporters:


LM_NET Mailing List Home