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Elementary Cases

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Katie: Architecture in Our Community

girl drawingKatie is looking forward to the school-wide art fair. Regional artists will be displaying their work in the school library media center. These regional artists will also serve as judges for the annual art competition.

This year's competition will focus on local architecture. Students are being asked to submit designs for a new county courthouse to be build in the historic downtown area. Selected designs will be presented to the city council.

architectureExplore Ms. Anderson's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore how writing tools and student work are used by student information scientists.

Mature Information Scientist

In middle and high school, Katie's interest in architecture are connected to mathematics. Although she's not particularly interested in mathematics, she sees the relevance of geometry to her growing interest in becoming an architect.

Jasmine: The Science of Bubbles

girl blowing bubblesJasmine has always been fascinated with bubbles. After her teacher introduced the interesting connections between air and water, Jasmine decided to investigate the science of bubbles.

She found the tools she needs in the mini-lab set up through a partnership between the primary teachers and the media specialist.

Explore Ms. Anderson's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore how science and math tools are used by student information scientists.

Mature Information Scientist

As Jasmine matures as an information scientist, her investigations become more complex. She explores microscopic bubbles inside the human body and pollution on the sea shore.

bubblesbubbles on shore

Jake: The Snake Wrangler

boy with snakeJake the Snake was abandoned by its owner. When the school library media specialist agreed to adopt the snake from the local humane society, Taylor was one of the first to volunteer his time as a snake wrangler.

To join the Critter Wranglers, Taylor was required to complete a WebQuest called Snakes Alive to be sure he had the necessary background and snake care skills. This inquiry-based activity led Taylor through a series of guided activities that required the used of a variety of online information resources.

Taylor has joined a group of students who have been observing and caring for the snake.

The media specialist suggested that the Critter Wranglers record their experiences working with the snake. She suggested that they go to the Bird Treatment and Learning Center blog from Anchorage, Alaska for inspiration.

The students created their own blog called Jake the Snake.

Explore Ms. Anderson's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Jacob: Laptop Explorations

boy with laptopJacob loves to use the computer.

He's an active, intelligent student who sometimes needs help focusing his energies toward productive activities.

Often bored in his classroom, the media specialist and classroom teachers have worked together to identify challenging projects for his active mind and body.

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Explore realia and blogs used by student information scientists.


Isabella: Closer Look

girl looking at boneIsabella enjoys looking at the world through a magnifying glass or microscope. She's particularly interested in collecting and viewing bird feathers. She's excited about a project being done by younger children in her school called the The Great Backyard Bird Count. She spend lots of time in the nature area of the learning laboratory and was excited to see a huge bulletin board being set up by a group of children. Isabella expresses an interest to the school library media specialist. Ms. Anderson suggests that she might be a "project coordinator" helping Miss Hamilton and assisting the younger learners. She's thrilled with the idea of sharing her feather collection and helping with the bird count project. As part of the bird project she creates an exhibit of her best feathers to share.

Ms. Anderson suggests that she might join a group like 4-H where she could expand her interest in nature beyond the school. Working with her parents, Isabella becomes active in 4-H and creates a demonstration on the care and preservation of bird feathers. She also creates a photo tutorial on the proper way to care and preserve for feathers.

Isabella's teacher, Ms. Smith has noticed that Isabella's social skills have blossomed since being involved with the bird project.

Normally, Isabella isn't interested in social studies, but when Ms. Smith explained that they would be using the magnifying glass she perked up. Their mission was to investigate the forms and functions of money. She was even more excited when her teacher brought the visual presenter into the classroom. They looked at quarters close-up and could see the tiny images etched on the coins.

Explore Ms. Anderson's and Miss Hamilton's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore how visual presenters are used by student information scientists.

Ryan: Student Information Scientist

boy scientistWhether it's figuring out the placement of bones in a human skeleton together or planning an fictional adventure to the Amazon rainforest, Ryan is a student information scientist. He uses a variety of resources to help in his explorations.

Ryan particularly enjoys reading nonfiction books, particularly series. The school library media specialist suggests the Scientists in the Field Series because these books each focus on a different topic but have a common thread of exploration and discovery.

An active boy, Ryan works best when standing. He's developed a love of the electronic whiteboard in the learning laboratory. He enjoyed using interactive websites such as Put Annie Back Together and Edheads activities.

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Hannah: Java's Not Just Coffee

girl with laptopHannah is interested in learning more about the impact of the Tsumani in Indonesia. She chooses the country of Java.

As she collects information about the country, she uses Post-it notes to classify facts and ideas.

Hannah developed a PowerPoint presentation to share her findings. She's particularly excited about using the whiteboard to show how the tsumani changed the landscape of the country.

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Explore charts and Post-Its and laptops, and presentation areas used by student information scientists.


Michael: Listen, Draw, Read!

boy drawingMichael enjoys drawing, but is having difficult with reading. He is easily frustrated and often throws tantrums when things don't go his way. His teacher has found that books on tape and CD seem soothing to him. He seems more focused when he can listen and draw what he hears or read along with the book.

chatoMichael particularly enjoyed the book and CD of Gary Soto's Chato and the Party Animals.

Michael is interested in all kinds of transportation, particularly construction equipment like bulldozers and dump trucks. He's been investigating how each construction vehicle is used. He uses books and videos to gather information about each vehicle.

Working with his special needs teacher and the media specialist, Michael is using the KidPix software to draw pictures, write descriptions, and record his narration.

Explore Ms. Anderson's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore digital media, writing boards, and audio tools used by student information scientists.

Christopher: Big Bucks

boy with moneyChristopher want to make some money. He'd like to start a T-shirt business. During the summer many people come to the area to visit the local historical sites. He wonders what kind of shirts people would buy.

He starts by looking for books in the school and public library on starting a business. He's frustrated that most of the books are written for adults, not children.

Explore Ms. Anderson's involvement as an instructional specialist.



Isaac: Civil Rights Movement

boy sitting and smilingboy with video equipmentIsaac has heard that his grandfather was active in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. He wants to videotape his grandfather's experiences for an oral history project.

Working with Ms. Anderson in the library media center, Issac develops his questions and learns to use the video equipment. His grandfather is thrilled with the results and agrees to have his video shared at open house.


Explore Ms. Anderson's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore how video cameras and video production area are used by student information scientists.

Vanessa: Murals

girl Vanessa wants to be an artist. She's particularly interested in murals. She enjoys looking through books at the murals created by others. She often copies the visuals she finds in the book.

The school library media specialist notes Vanessa's interest and encourages her to join a group of children who are creating ceiling tiles representing their favorite book characters. She encourages Vanessa to write down the things she likes best about the murals she's seen such as the use of color, lines, shadows, and subjects. Then, apply these to her ceiling tile creation.

A couple years later, the school library media specialist begins work with the local historical society on a "founders" project. They are forming a group of sixth graders to create a mural for the City Hall depicting different time periods in local history. Although Vanessa is younger than the rest of the group, she is invited to join the group because of her ongoing interests.

Explore Ms. Anderson's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore how inviting evironments are used by student information scientists.

woman and muralMaster Student Information Scientist

As Vanessa grows, her interests in murals also evolve. For example, she becomes interested in the work of Diego Rivera. She applies what she's learned about investigating murals to learning about artists.



Maya: Information Investigator

girlMaya loves school, but she doesn't always enjoy reading. However she becomes fascinated when her teacher describes the plight of immigrants. She wonders what it would be like to ride a ship across the ocean to a new home or walk miles through the desert seeking freedom.

Her mind becomes filled with questions. Why would people leave their homes to go to a new land? What would it be like to leave all your friends behind? Maya's teacher notices her interest and suggests that she go to the school library to find a couple books she might be interested in reading.

Rather than just sending her to the library, the teacher gives her a bright yellow "Information Investigator Badge" so they media specialist will know that she's on a special mission. Maya is thrilled with the attention and handles the badge carefully as she walks to the library.

Her positive experience with the Information Investigator Badge spilled over into other areas. When her teacher asked for volunteers to create a skit for younger students about maintaining a healthy body, Maya volunteered. They used clipboards for both planning and as part of their skit.

Grade 4 Science Standards:

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Explore clipboards used by student information scientists.

Haley: Queen of Cards

girl readingHaley loves to read and write. One of her favorite places to visit is the Communicator's Castle in the school library media center. She's known as the "Queen of Cards".

Haley wants to be a greeting card writer and is always looking for new holidays that need cards. She's beginning to see the connection between holidays, culture, and historical events. She's amazing that people don't know more about the holidays they celebrate.

Haley is always on the lookout for poems, quotes, pictures, and other things that can be used in making cards. Her favorite reference tools are collections of poems and quotes. She has a passion for the dictionary and thesaurus. She's always looking for interesting words and rhymes.

Alphasmart electronic keyboards are available in the learning laboratory for writing activities. She writes the captions for the cards in fun fonts, then uses the infrared feature to beam her project to the color printer. She uses the "silly shaped scissors" in the Communication Castle to cut out the text. Then, creates her cards.

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Zach: Community Workers

boy in police costumeZach is has a great imagination and is known as the class clown. He's frustrated by the slow process of reading and would rather be telling the story than reading or writing it down.

The teacher and media specialist specialist have been exploring ways to encourage active children, particularly boys to express their ideas in a variety of ways. They've designed an area of the library called the Communicator's Castle as a creative outlet for these children.

Rather than a traditional review of a unit on community workers, Zach is creating a storyboard for use in a class video production.

Explore Ms. Anderson's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Alyssa: Fish Are Friends!

girl at computerSince watching the movie Finding Nemo and reading the book The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, Alyssa has been fascinated with fish. Her questions are endless:

Alyssa is learning to use the new laptops in the learning laboratory. While learning to use the mouse, she used Nemo's Create-a-Scene to make her own online story.

She also enjoys using the computer to find the answers to questions. Her teacher provided three good websites to help get her started.

Since Alyssa doesn't live near the ocean, she took a virtual visit to the Monterery Bay Aquarium.

Alyssa and her best friend Emily are planning a puppet show focusing on the questions they have about fish. The fish puppet from The Rainbow Fish will be the star, but they area also creating their own puppets. They are decorating the puppet area of the media center to look like a coral reef.

Explore Ms. Anderson's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore puppets and laptops used by student information scientists.

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