Volume 3, Issue 10
Check Your Calendars!!
National Novel Writing Month
Native American Heritage Month
National Gaming Day
American Education Week
SDLA Legislative Day
ALA Midwinter Meeting
PLA Annual Conference
Featured e-Resources of the Month
Downloadables now available in State Library electronic resources
Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards adopted
The Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards outline core concepts for teaching SD tribal history and culture to all K-12 students. Following the mandate of the 2007 Indian Education Act, work began on the standards in 2008 with the help of a grant from the Indian Land Tenure Foundation. Official adoption of the standards by the SD Board of Education took place on July 25, 2011.
Organized in grade clusters (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) the standards also include suggested activities and resources. Many of the items listed are websites and community resources. However, there is a sampling of books and videos all of which can be found in the State Library’s collection. These and other related titles may be requested though interlibrary loan. For more information and a copy of the standards go to doe.sd.gov.
Big Stone City School Library sleuths investigate Sherlock Holmes
When school librarian Janelle Kelly of Big Stone City asked the State Library for grant information, one particular grant stood out to her as interesting and doable with sixth through eighth graders in her small school of 122 students. Kelly and Big Stone City School were awarded the Jan Stauber Grant through the Beacon Society, with which she was able to purchase a variety of Sherlock Holmes books and plan activities centered around a teaching project.
The mission of the Jan Stauber Grant is “to provide needed financial assistance to persons and organizations proposing literacy projects and other educational experiences that will introduce young people to Sherlock Holmes.” Kelly produced a unique experience for students through collaborating with other teachers in her building to create interdisciplinary activities, inviting an author to share his expertise on Sherlock Holmes, and setting up book discussion groups through the library. By combining the project with Teen Read Week (October 17-22), Kelly was able to encourage students to try a different author/genre than they might normally read. As an incentive, she also awarded mystery prizes to students for sharing about books they had read for enjoyment or by completing puzzles.
Students in the middle grades began reading Sherlock Holmes stories when school started and have built upon their enjoyment and knowledge through a variety of activities. They created posters for their books which hang in the school hallways. Author Jeff Falkingham, a Minnesota mystery writer who has written two books for middle graders, Sherlock Holmes and the County Courthouse Caper, and Sherlock Holmes: In Search of the Source, donated his services as a presenter to students and the community to aid in the study. Falkingham portrayed Dr. Watson in the opening skit, giving principal/superintendent Dan Swartos the opportunity to play the role of Sherlock Holmes (costume included). Falkingham also offered a wealth of information on Holmes’ clothing (hat, cape, pipe), illustrations of Holmes from 1891 in magazines to movies as current as 2011. Falkingham closed the school program by making the connection between the crimes Sherlock Holmes solved and forensic science, including blood analyses, fingerprinting, toxicology, and ballistics.
With a strong base of background information through the author visit, students continued to study forensics during science class with thumb printing, identifying shoe tracks, and using/reading invisible ink. Students in gym class used their energy in detective relays with each group racing to dress and act the part of Sherlock Holmes. Language arts classes enjoyed choice reading books and materials during a Read-In, and book discussion groups continued the Sherlock Holmes study, coming together in the library to talk about their first quarter reading requirement on Holmes.
Regarding the Jan Stauber Grant process, Librarian Janelle Kelly remarked,
“It has been really worthwhile, because I had a student come forward to say that she loved Sherlock Holmes and wanted to read more, and she didn’t even like mysteries before. Even if you have served one student, all the work pays off.”
Eric — A Success Story
By Beth Hannasch, Roosevelt Elementary School, Watertown
(Editor's note: This article is reprinted with permission from Prairie Trails Memorandum, Fall 2011, SD Braille & Talking Book Program. It was written last school year. Eric is now attending Watertown Middle School.)
Eric Tulowetzke is a sixth grade student. He attends Roosevelt Elementary, located in Watertown. At the beginning of the school year, he set an Accelerated Reader goal for himself. The goal was to earn 200 AR points. At Roosevelt, students who reach 200 AR points, get to ride in a limousine to Pizza Ranch to eat with the mayor (Gary Williams).
To help work toward this AR goal, Eric has been listening to audio recordings of books. The audio versions enable him to accomplish lengthy texts without eyestrain. He started listening to recorded chapter books during February of 2010. He finished the first two books in the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling last spring. This year, Eric completed the Harry Potter books. He scored 100% on all of the AR tests for each of the books of that series. That was quite an accomplishment.
The first sound recordings Eric used were checked out from the Watertown Regional Library. Later, when one of the books needed was unavailable, the library suggested the use of interlibrary loans and requesting materials from the State Library.
Contacting the State Library led to Eric being provided a digital player for use at his school. The digital player is very user friendly. The player gives audio prompts (and has Braille labels) that guide the user through the needed steps for playing a recorded book. The recordings are in a digital format. These recordings are called digital talking book cartridges. Eric was then also able to request books in a digital format, not just CD's or cassette tapes. The cartridges arrive in a few days after they are requested. No postage is required for return. A return address label comes with the cartridges making the return process even easier.
To obtain a digital player a patron must be eligible for the SD Braille & Talking Book Program. In order to be eligible an individual must be unable to read standard print due to a visual impairment that prevents seeing the print, a physical disability that prevents holding the materials and/or turning the pages, or a learning disability caused by an organic dysfunction.
Members of the Braille & Talking Book Program can check out books from the collection at the State Library or they can download books from BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download). BARD has over 20,000 digital books and more that 40 digital magazines available. Individuals can choose to download the materials onto their own purchased jump drives or digital cartridges. Teachers working with students, who are members, can request available equipment and books to check out on the students' behalf.
Eric is able to listen to current books that are at and above his grade level. He already has strong listening comprehension skills and is now able to build upon these skills. While he listens to books he is creating a habit that he can use throughout his life. Non-fiction books and magazines can help him learn new information for research and to pursue his interests in the future.
Eric recently completed the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. This completion earned him the 200 points he desired. Watching him take the test is a delight. He is so confident in his responses he does not even want to listen to other responses once he hears the correct one. He has scores of 100% on nearly all of the tests he has taken for the chapter books he has been listening to. His listening comprehension is so refined he can take the AR test in record speeds.
It is interesting to note that Eric comes in before and after school to accomplish his reading goals. While other kids head for the playground or their video games, Eric plugs in to books. It will be fun to see where his points end up when the school year comes to an end. He is now into a series of seven books by Garth Nix.
Eric continues to use sources available from the State Library, Watertown Regional Library and interlibrary loan. He appreciates the efforts made by all in helping him to accomplish his reading goals.