March Toward Spring with Next Issue

January 29th, 2015

The Table of Contents for the March 2015 issue of School Library Monthly is posted online!

Coming Up in SLM March 2015 via kwout

The issue will feature a great balance of practice and research, including articles and columns on inquiry implementation and embedding, school library supervisors, and collaboration with students.

The current TOC is online, too– take a quick glance here at February’s issue!

–Rebecca Morris

Midwinter Conversations about Libraries & Learners

January 23rd, 2015


I’m gearing up (and bundling up) for Chicago and the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting, beginning next weekend, January 30. I’ll start my week with educator and researcher colleagues at the ALISE (Association for Library and Information Science Education) Conference, and wrap up the week with ALA friends. It’s unofficially library week!

Here is a link to the schedule of events for AASL (American Association of School Librarians):

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association):

and ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children):

Are you heading to Midwinter, or following online at #alamw15? Let us know what sessions you’re interested in following!

–Rebecca Morris


Hail to the Chief (through Inquiry!)

January 20th, 2015

“Hail to the Chief, he’s the Chief and he needs hailing . . .”

Does anyone else recall those lyrics from the 1996 film, My Fellow Americans when the Presidential Anthem is played? (In the movie, James Garner and Jack Lemmon play former presidents and rivals who pull together against a corrupt new president. Jack Lemmon’s character recalls how he used to sing these made up words when the tune was played for him, and sings them to his presidential foe.)

As we prepare for the State of the Union in January and President’s Day in February, it’s a great time to make some literature connections to history, social studies, and current events. In the February issue of School Library Monthly, Kay Weisman’s article, “Hail to the Chief!” offers book summaries across five categories:

  • White House Life (sample: Words from the White House, by Paul Dickson)
  • Founding Fathers (sample: Maira Kalman’s Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Everything)
  • Remember the Ladies (sample: First Mothers, by Beverly Gherman)
  • Assassinations (sample: Tracking an Assassin! Nickolas Flux and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, illustrated by Amerigo Pinelli)
  • Leaders and Legends (sample: Mac Barnett’s President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath)

There are two really special things about this article– first, it’s available full-text online here:

(It also appears on pages 40-42 of the February SLM.)

Second, the article features inquiry questions for each category of books, coded to the stages of the Stripling Model of Inquiry:

Connect <–> Wonder <–> Investigate <–> Construct <–> Express <–> Reflect

Here’s an example, from the Founding Fathers section:

“Before reading the books by Gilpin or Kalman, develop wonder questions that might be answered by the text. After reading, note answers and queries not addressed. Which answers come from the text? Which comes from visuals? What sources might provide additional answers?” (page 41)

Whether or not you have these particular titles in your library, this prompt is an excellent one to use across books and topics! I especially like the latter portion of the question, which provides a specific and focused suggestion for students to interact with the text and illustrations. Thinking about what information was provided– and where and in what format — is a focused strategy for learning to provide evidence to support an idea.

What presidential titles and inquiry activities are you sharing with your students at this time of the year? Tell us in the comments!

–Rebecca Morris