PSMS Library

December 2014/January 2015

Winter is Coming! Stock up!

The library staff wishes our school community a very joyful and restful winter break! There’s “snow” better time to snuggle up with a great book! To encourage reading over the break, students who complete our December Make it! and return it to the library by January 9th will be entered into a drawing to win a pair of movie tickets to the Dickinson Palazzo theatre. Information below!

Library Dates to Remember

November 25 Library Closed after school -- Robotics will meet 3-4:30

November 29 Robotics will meet @ with coaches Time to be determined

December 3 Robotics 4-6 pm

December 4 Broadcast 3-4 pm

December 6 Robotics 9-11 am

December 9 Early Dismissal Library Closed after school

December 10 Robotics 4-6 pm

December 11 Broadcast 3-4 pm

December 12 Book Talks by Johnson County Library all grades

December 13 Robotics Competition!

December 15 8th Grade Poetry Cafe Library Closed hours 1-6

December 18 TAG during all lunches

Return/Renew Overdue Library Books

No Broadcast Club

December 19 Early Dismissal Library Closed after school

January 12 Broadcast 3-4 pm (new meeting day!)

January 13 Library Closed after school early dismissal

January 14 Genius Hour kick off 3-4 pm

January 16 Library Closed after School MLK holiday weekend

January 19 No School

January 20 TAG during all lunches

Broadcast 3-4 pm

January 22 Genius Hour 3-5 pm

January 26 Broadcast Club 3-4 pm

January 27 Library Closed after school Early Dismissal

January 29 Genius Hour 3-5 pm

League of Robotic Panthers

What's the future of learning?
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams are finding the answers with this year's World Class Challenge. Born into a Digital Age, where information gathering is literally at their fingertips, students unleash new ways to gain knowledge and skills through research and robots.

FLL Qualifying Tournaments are FREE and open to the public at noon:

Saturday, November 22
Kearney Jr. High School, 2215 S. Campus St., Kearney, MO

Saturday, December 6
Bingham Middle School
1716 S Speck Rd, Independence, MO

Saturday, December 13 PSMS will compete on this date!
Wyandotte High School, 2501 Minnesota Ave. Kansas City, KS

For more information visit

Your World Empowered

Tuesday, Dec. 2nd, 6-7:30pm

9400 Ward Pkwy

Kansas City, MO

Shape It. Change It. Improve It.

Students grades 7-12 , along with parents and interested teachers, are invited to explore careers in engineering, architecture, drafting, environmental sciences and construction management at Burns & McDonnell World Headquarters. It's going to be their world before we know it. Isn't it time to help them discover all that's really possible?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 • 6 - 7:30 pm
Information & Registration


Middle school students are known for being picky. Along with being picky, this age group very rarely wants to read “assigned books.” Here are the Top 10 ways to get your middle school students to read.

  1. CHOICE – This is probably one of the most important things you can do for your MS students. Give them a choice for independent reading; teach them how to choose a book.
  2. VARIETY – Push students to read in different genres. I've had so many students with a solid preference for one particular genre only to change their mind with the right book. So, a little push will never hurt anyone…promise!
  3. SET A CHALLENGE – Guess what?! MS students love a challenge! Donalyn Miller‘s “40 Book Challenge” is one. also lets you set a yearly book challenge for yourself.
  4. MAKE INDEPENDENT READING A VITAL PART OF THE CLASS CURRICULUM -- Encourage your student to complete his/her reading log each month. Students gain insight into how to improve their writing through reading!
  5. FIND SOME GREAT MENTORS – Anytime the message can be given by someone else, let them. We don’t want to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher…do we? The Johnson County Library has some great resources! There are a lot of resources online too. One of my favorites is EpicReads Check out the PSMS All About the Books page for more book recommendation sites.
  6. SPEAKING OF ARCS – This is a great “pull” for students. If you tell them that the book isn’t out yet and they can really have an impact on student views, students LOVE to read the books. Check out Net Galley or become a reviewer on LitPick
  7. READ THE BOOKS – You have to be reading these books. I've had many students pick up a book simply based off of a conversation that they heard. We, as teachers and parents, have a great impact on students. When they hear us talk about books, interest sparks.
  8. BRING IN THE CLASSICS – OK. I know what you’re thinking. Class novel, annotation, BORING. NO WAY! It's a good way to challenge students although the classics can be challenging with archaic language or mature content.
  9. DON’T FORGET THE GRAPHIC NOVELS – Growing up, I knew these beauties as “comic books.” Yet, today’s graphic novels are amazing and kids love them. Developing visual literacy is an important 21st century skill.
  10. JUST HAVE FUN – Share your joy, enjoy the process and just have fun. I think sometimes we forget how much fun a good novel is. If we can just relay that to our students, think how many lives we will touch and how many kids will be reading!

Adapted from MEREDITH DANIELS NOVEMBER 8, 2014 from:

Tweet it!

Writing a short, concise, quality book review is a challenge! Using the Twitter style, create a short book review that hints at the story, not give TOO much away - add a shortened link to the Amazon book listing (for more information, buying, and expanded book reviews) and your emotion rating.=D
Paring a review down to 140 characters and a rating really forces reviewers to get to the essential appeal or flaw of the work being reviewed --AND it's a challenge!

How to:

To do this activity, get ready to have more than one window or tab open to do this. If you like multitasking, then this is the lesson for you!

1. Choose a YA book to review that *you have read* (non-negotiable!)

2. Go to Amazon Books and search for your book, Copy & SAVE the URL (highlight + control C)

3. Shorten the URL using Paste URL (control + V) into window & click shorten - then copy!

4. Go to Character Counter & Paste (control + V) the shortened URL

5. Add your review Emoticon review at the very end.
These are the the four ratings:
=D for Squee! I LOVED it!
=) for It was good - not Great!
=| for Meh...I guess it was just OK.
=( GAH! Did NOT like it a bit!

6. Write your Review in FRONT OF the URL & Emoticon

Count your characters as you go along to see if you are close to 140 (including the URL & emoticon review) Cut out words that are unnecessary - re-word, re-think, re-write, re-mix, & be creative! Hints: use "&" rather than the word AND, dashes as breaks,
but try NOT to write too much in leet speak. Like "OMG, UR going to h8 this book" Informal text is fine but don't go overboard! :-O

When you're ready to Tweet your review, add the hashtag #psmsbooks &/or tag me @librarygoddessz

Did you do all that and you're under 140 characters? AWEsome!

Activity Modified from Gwyneth Jones, The Daring Librarian

Geography Bees Coming Soon to a Social Studies Classroom Near You!

January 8th school-wide bee

National Geographic Study Corner

Geography Bee resources

Introduction: Study geography with the goal to be a good geography guesser. Listen for clues in the questions in order to make your best educated guess. For example, you will not be asked to cite the exact elevation of a mountain, but you might be asked which of three mountain ranges has the highest average elevation, or which of three cities is near a specific mountain range. You might be asked to name the continent where a mountain range is found. Which continent might you guess if the name sounds like it is in Spanish? Probably not Asia! Using logic to reason out the answer will help you more than lots of memorized facts.

Step 1: Learn about the National Geographic Bee: Are you trying to convince your parents to give you more computer time? Show them this bee info page and ask for permission to play geography games! Every day you can take a new geobee quiz for practice. Studying geography for 20 minutes a day is better than studying just before the bee.

Step 2: Surround yourself with maps: Look for U.S. maps at the dollar store, or print them off the internet. Print blank maps off the National Geographic website and practice pointing and naming the state or country. Look at a map or atlas while you are playing geography games.

Step 3: Check out the National Geographic Study Corner: Ignore the stuff for teachers on the top left, but try ALL of the links on the bottom left of the page.

Step 4: Start with U.S. Geography: Develop a good mental map (a map in your head) of the United States by playing geospy. For example, if you are asked about a fruit that you know only grows in a very warm climate, you probably won’t guess North Dakota. Once you know the 50 states, learn the 13 provinces of Canada.

Step 5: More U.S. Geography: Play more U.S. geography games to learn lakes, rivers, mountains, port cities and state capitals. Learn about agriculture, natural vegetation, major industries, tourist and historical sites, national parks and population trends. Connect what you learn to your mental map. As you learn about the Mississippi River, for example, look at an atlas to think about which states and major cities are near. Can you close your eyes and picture the Mississippi River on your mental map of the United States?

Step 6: ­­­World Geography: Play world geography games to develop a good mental map of the continents and familiar countries of the world. Learn about landforms, climate, crops and natural vegetation, bodies of water, important cities, culture and religion, general latitude and longitude, and tourist and historical sites. Donate rice to countries in need with each correct answer at this site that focuses on world geography. Check out the library to find books about different countries around the world.

Step 7: Current Events: Read up on current events that relate to geography. This is especially important for you if your goal is to win the Anwatin geography bee and qualify for state competition. Reading a weekly news magazine is a good way to learn about current events.

Get the Necessary Tools: A good, up-to-date world map, atlas, and geography reference book are your best study tools, along with blank outline maps with which to practice locating places.

• Learn Map Terminology: Understanding what you're looking at and correctly reading labels and coordinates on a map are essential.

• Understand the Interconnectedness of Geography: Subdivisions of geography, such as physical features, climate, and culture, are all influenced by each other. Once you understand this, it will be easier to categorize and remember information about countries and regions.

• Follow Current Events: News items regarding political upheavals, international agreements, and discoveries are fair game for Bee questions, so make sure you are an informed citizen of the world. See our National Geographic News site for recent stories.

• Analyze the Questions: Visit our Sample Questions page to see the types of questions asked in the Bee and to learn how you can look for clues within the questions to help you figure out the right answers.

• Keep Geography Fun: There are many games you can play to help study for the Bee. Check out the GeoBee Challenge, with ten new questions each day, and GeoSpy, to test your map skills.

Classroom Spelling Bees Coming Soon!

The school-wide Bee will be January 15th. Study Packets are available for download on the library website.

What is the origin of s-u-c-c-e-s-s?

You can find it by following these 11 tips along your way to spelling superstardom:

For inspiration, watch the documentary Spellbound on family movie night.

Keep a "great words" journal for every new and interesting word that you find.

Designate a spelling wall in your home. Post new words to the wall each day.

For family game night, conduct an impromptu themed spelling bee. Use a newspaper for a current events bee or a cookbook for a cuisine bee.

Do like Akeelah did. Spell and jump rope!

Ask friends and neighbors to challenge you with great spelling words.

Find a good luck charm—perhaps shoelaces with a bumblebee design or a special coin.

Read great books. You'll be entertained while you effortlessly improve your spelling and increase your vocabulary.

Scour the dictionary in search of words to stump your parents and teachers.

Have a parent sign you up for a Word Club season pass. Word Club is a fun new way to study official Scripps National Spelling Bee study words online, with tests on both spelling and vocabulary! Click here to learn more. Contestants -- that's you! -- in grades 1-8 will listen to three stories, one at a time, and then spell words from each story. Students in high school will listen to separate sentences and then spell the words from each sentence. play against other spellers simple but fun to practice common words. Works on your typing skills too! Come in and buzz around our nest of word fun.Find out more about this year’s Spelling Bee or
take a turn at our daily Spelling Quiz. Hard words! Based off the musical The Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

The Genius Hour

Beginning in mid-January the library will be offer "The Genius Hour" on Thursdays from 3-5 pm. The Genius hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity. It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time. Our Genius hour is a hybrid of sorts. It's two hours rather than one for starters. Students can stay some or all of the time. Our sessions will give students makerspace opportunities to pursue hands-on learning, exploration, and creativity. A makerspace is a place where students can come together to explore science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics, reading, writing, or anything else that they find interesting. It is a place where students think outside of the box to develop new ideas and self-direct learning. What it is not: It is not a place where someone is going to give a lecture, provide examples, and direct how to get from point A to B. Students are going to jump in and get messy, figuring things out and learning as they go. Some sessions will have guest speakers. Sessions will offer opportunities for hands-on "crafting," building and programming a robot, building and computing with raspberry pis, arduinos, and makey makeys, and 3D printing.

January 14th will be our first meeting featuring a hands-on science lab featuring students from Blue Valley Southwest High School. This is a Wednesday meeting and will go from 2:50-4:00 pm. Following this activity the club will follow the weekly Thursday schedule, 3-5 pm.

We are very interested in inviting guest speakers who can provide a hands-on, interactive experience for students from a variety of careers, especially with an eye towards how technology impacts/enables their work. Any engaging speaker from any walk of life will be considered! If you are crafty and would like to share an activity (from knitting to power tools!) or if you would be interested in presenting or know someone who would be great, please email Lisa Nocita with information

PSMS Library

Lisa Nocita, School Librarian

Meryl Mayer, library paraprofessional

Stephanie Cinquanta, library paraprofessional

Jill Tretter, library paraprofessional