I am working with the Gold and Yellow teams to create the 6th graders’ NoodleTools accounts while they work on their bibliographies for the landforms project booklets in social studies. 

Our students are using a NoodleTools this year for the first time.  NoodleTools is a citation and research organizing tool.  Students may enter source information, take notes, outline, edit, and create Works Cited pages using NoodleTools.  As students work on research and inquiry projects, they will create a unique user account and keep track of sources and notes using NoodleTools.

Once students create their accounts at school, they can access their accounts from anywhere using their unique username and password.  NoodleTools helps our students answer the question, “How do I use information ethically?”

Welcome back to school!


Welcome back to school!  This year we “Dare you to be EXTRAordinary” at Chippens Hill MS!

The library media center is currently undergoing some changes as I settle in as the new library media specialist.  I am excited to be here in Bristol and get to know all my new students.  I have moved from Nebraska by way of Georgia and some other places, but I was raised here in Connecticut and love being back “home!”  This is my eighth year as a middle school media specialist.  You can take a look at what I have been reading at my LibraryThing and take a look at other books you might be interested in reading.  I am working on a new media center website here, keep an eye out for a new link on the main CHMS Media Center website.

Some new programs this year include:

Faculty Favorites: take a look at what your teachers love to read!  Try to guess the mystery readers each month.

Adopt-a-Shelf: take care of a few shelves and earn a pass to eat lunch with a friend in the media center.

Playaway Audiobooks: Available to check out for any student who has returned a signed parent permission form.  Playaways are small players that hold an entire book to listen to while you read along with the print version.  Take a look at the selection by the cafeteria windows.

Return Ticket: Return your books early or on time, ask for a ticket, drop your name in the bucket to see if you win a book.

You can subscribe to this blog via email by using the subscription box at the top right.  Stay tuned for more news and happenings at the CHMS media center.


Multigenre project: Dr. Seuss is WANTED!


The charge?  Create a digital story video with a script written by an FBI agent aimed at viewers of America’s Most Wanted that includes information about Dr. Seuss’ life, an analysis of a Dr. Seuss advertising or political cartoon, and discussion of Dr. Seuss’s writing style to inspire the audience to hunt down and read Dr. Seuss’s books again and look for the hidden messages.

The project begins with reading fluency work with books by Dr. Seuss,  theme analysis of a chosen book, creation of original book covers, and writing of original poems.  Students accomplished this work, along with modeling the analysis of a political cartoon using these questions from the National Archives, before beginning work on the digital story.

We then move into the research phase of the project.  The students begin with an introduction to the information pathfinder, how to save and cite an online picture, and folder creation (knowledge management).  We discuss collecting reference citations using PowerPoint (to then turn the slide into a jpeg) and begin biographical research.

The project continues with choosing a Dr. Seuss political cartoon or advertising cartoon (see pathfinder), saving and citing pictures, and beginning the analysis sheet.  We are also using the book, Dr. Seuss goes to war: the World War II editorial cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel by Richard Meniar for contextual information about the chosen political cartoons.

Students next learn how to create the video using PhotoStory.  We discuss the concept of visual literacy and the importance of telling the story through pictures, mood, and focused movement. For instance, to choose a picture for the original poem, ask, “When you read the poem, what picture comes to your mind?”

When research is complete, using this graphic organizer for notes and script planning, students will then write the script and continue creating the digital story.

The final project will include at least the title picture, three pictures with a timeline narration of  three turning points in Dr. Seuss’s life, one cartoon with narrated, analytical description of one of Dr. Seuss’ advertising or political cartoons, the original Dr. Seuss book cover with narration of underlying theme and description of the book, one picture representing the imagery of an original poem written in Seuss style (at least 6 lines of poetry), and the Works Cited slide with sources used for information and pictures.

Covering literature, history, political cartoon analysis, drawing, writing, poetry, visual literacy, and biographical research, our project comes together using a multigenre approach for learning the research process, reading fluency, writing, and information creation.

February News


…and the award goes to…while the movie and television industry celebrated the best of the best over the last several weeks, in January, the American Library Association announced the 2011 Youth Media Award winners and honor books for several categories of literature.  You can view the entire list by going here.  Of special interest to FMS are the Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature (Moon over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool), Robert F. Sibert Medal for most distinguished informational book for children (Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot, by Sy Montgomery), Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults (One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia), and Pura Belpré (Author) Award honoring a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience (The Dreamer, by Pam Muñoz Ryan).  All these selections are available for check out to our students.  On February 8th, we participated in the NCTE African American Read In Chain.  All our teachers read a work by an African American author to highlight the important literacy contributions these authors make to the world.

In our continuing series on the research process, the fourth step is the use of information.  Once a student has located and accessed the best sources to use (Step 3), now it is time to engage with the information and extract the important details.  Students read or view the available information, decide on its relevancy to the task, and use note taking strategies such as paraphrasing, summarizing, list taking, and quoting to record the information. 

March brings us a celebration of the literary contributions Dr. Seuss made to children.  We are celebrating Read Across America on March 2, in our classrooms.  Dr. Seuss’s books are generally thought of as children’s stories but carry themes better understood by older children.  Did you know Dr. Seuss was a political cartoonist  in the early 1940s?  Our students are working on bookmark reports to share with all the FMS students in the month of March.  If they come by the media center, each student is welcome to take a bookmark and discover a new book.

Connect with the library media center to enhance your student’s learning:



Media in the Middle blog

Pull this off the Shelf! Blog

Twitter: @middlemedia

Wikipedia vandalism

Here is a good lesson in online digital citizenship, good sportsmanship, and the authority of online resources.  Justin Beiber fans defaced the Wikipedia page of Esperanza Spalding after she won the Grammy for Best New Artist.  The 3:46 minute story goes over the appropriateness of this response as well as the fact that Wikipedia can be edited by anyone (and thus is not reliable for research purposes due to the lack of authority).
Listen to the story here,  there is a link at the top to listen to the story.
Wikipedia is not a reliable source for information.  If you “must” use it, do not use the actual information (who knows who wrote it?) in a Wikipedia entry, but use the bibliographic links at the bottom of the entry as resources to then evaluate the information and make your own critical thinking decisions about the information you find.

Your Digital Footprint


Are you aware of the digital footprints you are leaving behind when you are on the Internet or your cell?  You are leaving behind a digital trail of yourself that others can follow: how careful are you with what you publish online?

video via digitalnatives

Also see Footprints in the Digital Age and Connect Safely

Along similar lines is this BrainPOP video on Online Safety (free resource)

Book Talks


Today and tomorrow we are doing book talks in the media center for seventh grade classes.  7A is concentrating on fiction and 7C is checking out nonfiction.  If you would like to see more of the books than you saw during class, check out the book talk blog, “Pull this off the shelf” at  to see all the other book trailers.

If your top choice is checked out, put it on hold and we can also check to see if Keene Memorial has a copy for you.