Today, school librarian Cathy Potter and I are moderating a School Library Journal webcast titled Using Nonfiction in the Library, the Classroom and at Home. The focus of the webcast is showcasing new and upcoming nonfiction from Gale, ReferencePoint Press, and Scholastic. I’ll link to the archived webcast here when it’s available, but in the meantime, perhaps you’d like to peruse some additional resources?
As supplementary material to the webcast, Cathy and I are both expanding on some of the topics we’re sharing with attendees. Head over to Cathy’s blog, The Nonfiction Detectives, to get some context for the nonfiction we’re seeing published for youth today. Cathy and her co-blogger, Louise Capizzo, are veritable experts on this topic, and they have lots of examples and food for thought for understanding the nonfiction available now.
I’m sharing some programming and classroom connections for titles mentioned in this webcast. I’ve connected a variety of titles from each of the three featured publishers to public library program options--so you can see how you can add these titles to your programming repertoire as well as your nonfiction stacks. Cathy shared some great info about how some of the titles can connect to classroom activities (I don’t go into as much detail here, as no one wants to see me pretend to know what school curriculum or a typical school day looks like in 2014).
So check out Cathy’s intro to the types of nonfiction available for libraries serving youth; read up on some programming and classroom connections for specific titles; accessing the archived webcast when it’s available; and get using more nonfiction in your library. I’d love to hear what you’re currently doing with nonfiction down in the comments.
In the public library:
The Book: Eye on Art: Walt Disney by Barbara Sheen
The Program: Animation School-Age Program
Every librarian knows that Disney is big--and perhaps more so here in Missouri, Disney’s birthplace. So an animation program that has some Disney materials tie-ins will be popular. To create context around animation, I’d use Sheen’s book as well as the Disney Animated app (the 2013 Cybils winner for best app!). Then we’d get animating. If we have enough tablets, we could go high-tech and use animation apps for the iPad to create cartoons. Or we could go old-school and make flip book cartoons using markers and pads of sticky notes.
The Book: Science Behind Sports: Cycling by Stephen Currie
The Program: Sports and Simple Machines School-Age Program
Lots of sports equipment uses the principles of simple machines to help athletes perform well. In this program, we’d introduce the different types of simple machines and test them out at different stations. From there, we’d see either video clips or still images of athletes performing their sports, and then we’d try to identify how simple machines are at work. Currie’s title would add great context and examples to this activity. We would end with some hands-on, creative construction to try to imagine making our own sports equipment.
The Book: Teen Rights and Freedoms: Bullying by David M. Haugen
The Program: Teen Chat & Chew: Bullying Edition
My library regularly hosts Chat & Chews for teens. These programs take the form of a book discussion, although there is no assigned reading leading up to the event. Instead, teens gather to enjoy some snacks and talk books. Teens share what they’ve been reading, and then the library staffer shares book talks for titles on a theme. Bullying happens in a huge variety of young adult titles, and it’s a nearly universal experience, so it would make a great topic for book discussion in a Chat & Chew. Haugen’s title can also add great context to these discussions and instances of bullying in books, allowing teens to see facts and legislation about bullying.
The Program: Graffiti Art for Teens
I’d share some examples of public art from Loonin’s book as well as some graffiti images (think Banksy) to get the graffiti juices flowing. From there, I’d designate a space--a bare wall covered with butcher paper, large glass windows--and hand out supplies for teens to create their own graffiti. We’d talk about keeping it appropriate if it’s going to be displayed, but I don’t see too many teens at a library program trying to get away with crude illustrations. I’d love to host this program in the lead-up to summer reading and have teens decorate on the summer reading theme.
In the classroom:
The Book: Hot Topics: Medical Marijuana by Kevin Hillstrom
The Classroom Activity: Supporting opinion with facts in both persuasive writing and speaking
The Book: At Issue: Drones by Gale
The Classroom Activity: Persuasive writing on a current event topic in social studies class
The Book: Opposing Viewpoints: Human Genetics by Louise Gerdes
The Classroom Activity: Understanding different points of view in biology class
In the public library:
The Book: Tattoos, Body Piercing, and Art by Kris Hirschmann
The Program: Henna Tattoos Teen Program
Many teens are drawn to tattoos for the artistic aspect, which means a henna tattoo program can be a huge draw. Hirschmann’s title allows the program to have just as much information as creativity. Share facts about tattoos as teens sketch their own designs and then get temporary henna tattoos.
The Program: Music Club Teen Program
My library hosts a monthly teen music club. Each month highlights a specific genre or decade in music, allowing teens to both enjoy the music they love and hear music to which they’ve not been exposed. Marcovitz’s title can add a lot of context and interesting facts to a music club meeting, and I can see several of our die-hard musician teens checking it out for leisure reading.
The Book: Life During the Roman Empire by Stuart A. Kallen
The Program: Minute to Win It - Gladiator Style for Teens or School-age Kids
Even if they aren’t familiar with the Minute to Win It television show, lots of kids and teens are drawn to game competition programs. The quick pace of Minute to Win It tasks (ideas here) keeps everyone interested. I’d throw a Roman Gladiators-themed Minute to Win It program, complete with an introduction about all the perils facing those alive in Ancient Rome--info that can be provided by Kallen’s title. Togas optional.
The Program: CoderDojo for teens or school-age children
Make a STEM programming connection and help teens and kids learn to code by offering a CoderDojo at the library. I would either use Scratch or Code Academy to introduce basic coding skills, and I would include facts from Netzley’s title to give context to the potential for coding skills to do both great and destructive things. We would of course talk about using our coding powers for good.
In the classroom:
The Book: Thinking Critically: Social Networking by Andrea C. Nakaya
The Classroom Activity: Classroom debate on the school’s social media policies
The Books: Life in the North During the Civil War by Jim Whiting and Life in the South During the Civil War by Diane Yancey
The Classroom Activity: Understanding different points of view in history class; Using first-person accounts to further understanding
The Book: The Future of Renewable Energy series
The Classroom Activity: Persuasive writing about current topics in science and politics
In the public library:
The Program: Preschool Construction Party
Preschoolers love to build, and they love the equipment associated with construction. Monopolize on those interests by offering a construction party program. Share plenty of nonfiction with great images, like Bowman’s book, to work in some great construction vocabulary, then let the construction begin. You can set out all the library’s building materials and let kids engage as they please, or you can follow a more specific program plan.
The Book: Unexplained Mysteries series
The Program: Fact or Fiction? School-Age Trivia
Take advantage of the common fascination with the unexplained and myths to put together a trivia program for school-age kids. I’d create a long list of possible questions on a variety of topics using the Unexplained Mysteries series as well as some Ripley’s Believe it or Not! titles. During the program, I’d break kids into teams and have them compete to answer each question as fact or fiction. Prizes may result, but bragging rights are great, too.
The Book: You Wouldn’t Want to… series
The Program: Time Travel Adventures School-Age Program
Set up a carnival-style program with several different games and activities stations. Each station would represent a historical time period, with the games and activities gleaned from this popular nonfiction series. Think pyramid-building tasks and mammoth- and whale-hunting skills. I would make sure to display titles from the different historical time periods alongside the activities, because so many of these little history factoids inspire interest and leisure reading.
The Program: 12-Hour Comics Day for Teens or School-Age
I previously worked at a library that offered a variation on 24-Hour Comics Day, a worldwide event that encourages comic writers, artists, and fans to create a full 24-page comic in one day. I’d book the program room for an entire day and set out plenty of paper, pencils, pens, and coloring implements as well as tons of resources for crafting stories and drawing. The new titles in this You Can Draw It! series would assist comics creators in making comics around some of their favorite topics: mythical beings and cars.
In the classroom:
The Book: Blastoff! Readers - Exploring Countries series
The Classroom Activity: Using different text features to get all the information, in the school media center; Social studies country projects
The Book: Cornerstones of Freedom: Gun Control by Steve Otfinoski
The Classroom Activity: Persuasive writing or speaking assignments
The Book: Extremely Weird Animals series
The Classroom Activity: Animal research unit; Science unit on animal adaptation
The Book: Rookie Read-About Science: Acorn to Oak Tree by Lisa M. Herrington
The Classroom Activity: Science unit on plants or the life cycle; Arbor Day activities
How would you use these or other new nonfiction titles in your school or public library?