News & Notes for K-8 Teachers
April 2010

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For more information about Library resources for schools and teachers, please contact School Services Liaison Susan Heist Carlton by phone at 847.324.3144 or by .

Web resource Web resource   Available everywhere with your Skokie Public Library card Available with Skokie Public Library card  Available in Library only Available in Library only

Curriculum Connections

Live Homework Help

graphicSkokie Schools often invite Library staff members to attend Family Nights and PTA meetings. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to share information about Library services and resources with teachers and parents.

One of our most popular online resources is Live Homework Help, a free online tutoring service available on computers inside Skokie Public Library and from home for Skokie Public Library cardholders. In this issue of News & Notes, we're exchanging our usual Curriculum Connections feature for information about Live Homework Help. Please take a few minutes to learn about this valuable free-to-you resource, pass the word to students and parents, and even schedule a live demonstration at your school.

graphicLive Homework Help was introduced at Skokie Public Library in August 2003. In its first year, 7th and 8th grade students were the most frequent users, and the most popular subjects were math and social studies. By year two, the trend shifted to 8th and 9th grade students in search of math and science help. It was clear that the "first wave" of Live Homework Help users was maintaining a strong connection to Live Homework Help as they moved through junior high and on to high school. Monthly usage statistics and unedited feedback from students who use Live Homework Help confirm that this free online tutoring service is well worth the time it takes to point, click, and ask a certified tutor for one-to-one help. We've also learned that Live Homework Help is extremely valuable for students whose parents aren't able to provide homework help, including ESL students whose families don't speak English at home.

A tutoring demonstration is one of the best ways to introduce Live Homework Help to your school community. A Youth Services staff member can arrange a tutoring demonstration, provide instruction, and answer questions about Live Homework Help in your classroom or at a PTA gathering, Family Night, or faculty meeting.

Help us help your students get connected to qualified homework help, improve their academic accomplishment, and increase confidence. Your connection to Live Homework Help begins at, which is the shortlink to our Live Homework Help Web page. Live Homework Help is is also available to Morton Grove and Niles Public Library cardholders from each library's website.

Please contact Ruth Sinker by phone at 847.324.3104 or by , or Susan Carlton at 847.324.3144 or by for more information or to schedule a Live Homework Help introduction or tutoring demonstration. We look forward to helping your students make a lasting connection with Live Homework Help!

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The Reading Corner

Voice of Youth Award (VOYA) Voting During National Library Week

Don’t forget to encourage your students to vote for their favorite VOYA author. Students who have read at least three titles from the 2009-2010 VOYA reading lists may vote during National Library Week, April 11 through 17. Voting will take place in participating schools and at the Library. We’ll then try to arrange for the winning author to visit with Skokie students in the 2010-2011 school year.

VOYA Winning Authors Ann Martin and Laura Godwin Coming to Skokie

coverAnn Martin and Laura Godwin, co-authors of the 2008-2009 Voice of Youth Award winning book The Doll People, will visit Skokie Public Library and talk with students on Tuesday, April 27, 2010. Martin and Godwin authored The Doll People, published in 1999, and two sequels, The Meanest Doll in the World (2003) and The Runaway Dolls (2008). Skokie students voted The Doll People their favorite book from the 2008-2009 VOYA titles.

Martin and Godwin will speak with students from East Prairie School during the afternoon of April 27 about the writing of The Doll People. Ann Martin will also speak at the Library that evening about her writings and her career as an author. Registration for this presentation is open to the public and will begin on April 1. Sign up online or call the Youth Services Desk at 847.324.3149.

National Poetry Month

logoApril is National Poetry Month. For some ideas on how you might celebrate with your students, visit the Academy of American Poets website. You can sign up for Poem-a-Day or learn how to participate in Poem In Your Pocket Day on April 29.

If you are looking for a way to turn your students on to poetry, you might want to consider having them read a story in verse. Take a look at some of these suggestions…

Grades 4-5

Grow: A Novel in Verse by Juanita Havill
Berneetha and her 12-year-old friend, Kate, are trying to create a community garden. What they get is not only fruits, vegetables, and flowers but also a community. Just when the garden and the community begin to bloom, the plan to build a parking lot jeopardizes their dream.

Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech
For the second year in a row, Jack is encouraged to express his thoughts and feelings through a poetry journal. His teacher introduces her class to the works of a variety of poets; and as Jack explores rhythm and sound, he also wonders how poetry is experienced by those who cannot hear, such as his mother. When Jack receives a kitten for Christmas, he uses poetry to explore his feelings for his dog who was hit by a car and this new pet who is worming his way into his heart.

Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
This novel in poems is about 11-year-old Lonnie Collins Motion and his life in foster care. His parents died in a fire when he was seven. Since then he has lived with a series of foster parents, finally settling in with Miss Edna, gruff but with a big heart. Separated from his younger sister and missing his parents, Lonnie’s teacher is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper.

Grades 6-8

Carver: A Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson
Sincere, beautiful poems tell George Washington Carver’s life story. Born a slave he went on to head the agricultural department at the Tuskegee Institute.

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Billie Jo’s life is transformed by a terrible accident which leaves her with wounded hands and unable to play the piano. With her mother gone, a father she can’t really talk to, and dust storms that are devastating the family farm, she struggles to make sense of what has happened to her.

Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham
Jane is smart, good-looking, and the best artist in her school. A shark attack at a local beach results in the amputation of her right arm. This free verse novel explores Jane’s loss, touching on her anger, frustration, and fears as she tries to adjust to her fate. Jane’s voice is authentic as both a teenager and a victim.

Audiobook Downloads: Take the Tour

If you haven't yet checked us out, take a look at the Library's Digital Media collection! Your school librarian has been provided a special library barcode number for you to "check out" audiobooks, eBooks, and even a small selection of documentary, classic, and children's videos.

graphicOur Digital Media collection is hosted by the North Suburban Digital Consortium and powered by OverDrive, a digital library reserve system that supports a variety of operating systems, file formats, and portable devices. Regardless of whether you live your digital life on a Windows or a Mac computer; or carry an iPod, Zune, or Sony Reader device, a Skokie Public Library card is your ticket to hundreds of titles in the Digital Catalog and Download Center.

To get started, we recommend that you take the Downloadable Digital Media Guided Tour for an overview of technical and software requirements and step-by-step instructions for browsing, checking out, and downloading digital titles. If you get stuck along the way, help is available from within the Digital Catalog and Download Center. And, as always, feel free to contact the Library for additional assistance.

NEW!  Are you using an eBook reader? In early March, we added several new titles in the ePUB format. ePUB is a digital format designed especially for eBook readers. For more information about these new digital books and the ePUB format, visit Introducing ePub on the Library's Radar blog.

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Share & Share Alike

Congratulations to Jane Stenson!

photoOn Friday, February 12 Jane Stenson School completed their library card campaign, successfully ensuring that close to 100 percent of their students have Skokie Public Library cards. Principal Sue O’Neil and school librarian Molly Layman worked closely with all the teachers and the Library's Bookmobile staff to gather the necessary applications and process the library cards. Students received their cards in conjunction with special visits by the Bookmobile. Each class toured the Bookmobile and students were able to checkout materials during the visit.

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Elementary Tech

Search, Discover, and Refine with Our Enhanced Catalog

In summer 2009, Skokie Public Library introduced its new library catalog. Powered by AquaBrowser and dubbed the "Enhanced Catalog," this new system is packed with features that make it easier to search, find, and discover library materials and resources.

photoAs part of a research unit early in the school year, 5th grade students at Jane Stenson School learned how to use the Enhanced Catalog on their classroom computers to search for books at Skokie Public Library. With guidance from the Library's Youth Services Technology Coordinator, students learned from one of their own how to use natural language searching to locate materials by type, collection, and subject. They even learned how to easily find out which materials are available on the Bookmobile. This was especially exciting for the Stenson students, since the Bookmobile visits their school once a week.

The Enhanced Catalog is new, different, exciting for some, and daunting for others. Our Classic Catalog will always be available, but we invite and encourage you to explore the Enhanced Catalog and its features. We have several tools available to help you learn at your own pace, including a printable guide and a selection of Aquabrowser Essentials training videos created by Skokie Public Library staff. Check it out... you might even like it!

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