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June 2006
 
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Enclosed is this month's free newsletter for SIRS Discoverer® and SIRS® Discoverer WebFind subscribers. This newsletter is designed to help teachers, librarians, and administrators stay informed about the latest changes to their subscription(s), while providing classroom resources and giving tips for using their ProQuest solutions in a variety of settings.

Check out our online archive for access to past issues.

In this issue:
  1. What's New @ SIRS
  2. Classroom Activities
  3. CultureGrams in Focus
  4. Bonus Curriculum Materials
  5. Top 3 Websites
  6. Free Online Training Courses
  7. Call for User Testimonials
  8. Email Service Information
WHAT'S NEW @ SIRS

Our product development team is constantly reviewing customer feedback and making changes to our learning resources to meet your needs. Several updates to our SIRS family of products were recently completed and we wanted to bring them to your
attention.

New SIRS Discoverer Platform: Live!

Our SIRS product managers are proud to announce that our all-new SIRS Discoverer platform is now live. Just login to your subscription to view the newest changes and additions:
  • Expanded results lists to include the Editorial Summary & Descriptors
  • Increased results list from 500 to 1,000
  • Preferences fully implemented
  • Consistent results pages
  • Maps are now indexed and searchable
  • Added Ability to search on plural terms (e.g. searching for ‘dinosaur’ will return results with ‘dinosaurs’ in the article)
  • Improved dictionary/thesaurus navigation
  • Two columns of results for subject search (try searching on "history") and it provides a pageable list of results
  • All graphics now display their captions
  • Custom start pages now fully supported
  • Page navigation changed from “next 25” to “1, 2, 3, …”
  • Added ability to “Show/Hide” search results details
  • Results provide for summary, descriptors, etc. as it does in SIRS Knowledge Source
  • Added ability to sort by title and publication
  • Added spelling suggestions, also known as Do You Mean? To see this in action, search for Nizxon. You’ll see: Did you mean Nixon?
  • When emailing an article with pictures, the thumbnail images are embedded within the emailed article
  • If an image is assigned to more than one article you get the list of articles to choose from on the picture display page.
Thank you for your continued interest in SIRS Discoverer!

Map Activities

Did you know that your Discoverer subscription also provides map activities geared for the younger researcher, from noteworthy sources including Scholastic News, Junior Scholastic, and Current Events?

Students can learn how to read and decipher varied types of maps, and answer discussion questions based on their observations.

Visit a sampling of the following articles to learn more: Political Cartoons in Discoverer

Discoverer provides political cartoons geared for the younger researcher, from noteworthy sources including Junior Scholastic, Scholastic News, New York Times Upfront and Current Events.

Students can learn how to read and decipher political cartoons, as well as understand the writing devices employed in them (satire, irony, metaphor, etc.). In a hurry? The quickest route to all of our political cartoons is Database Features, Activities, Editorial Cartoons.

Here’s just a few timely examples to get you started: Current Events

Our editorial team updates our SIRS products every day with new articles and resources. Here's a short list of the timeliest and most topical articles added to your product this month. Publication dates may vary due to the editorial selection process. Suggested Research Topics

Tens of thousands of students mine SIRS resources for the latest information on the leading issues of the day. To help maximize their research time, our Suggested Research Topics feature offers instant access to relevant articles and resources on many of the most popular research subjects.

Here's this month's list of hot topics and timely issues in Discoverer:
Caffeine
Cloning Animals
Global Warming
Iraq
Ocelots
Phillis Wheatley
Stepfamilies
Synesthesia
Tennis

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CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

June is Sports America Kids Month. This is a topic that students in K-8 can really get excited about because there’s so much going on right now: the World Cup of soccer; baseball pennant races and Barry Bonds home run records; pro football mini-camps and speculation on the upcoming season; Arena football playoffs; NBA playoffs; NHL playoffs; and Little League baseball too.

Activity: Click the Sports icon in the Browse Subject Tree Section. Students will see list of Topics/subtopics to choose from that include each of the sports that are in season, and some of which are mentioned above. Assign each student a different sport to research based on their interests. Assign a two-minute oral report (or PowerPoint if students have the skill) that uses as least three resources and that includes some of the following information:
  • Brief history including athletes of the past
  • Current happenings including athletes of the present
  • Any controversies or unusual events
  • Why the student prefers this sport over the others
These oral reports give students extra motivation to create interesting reports, so they’ll work harder and learn more. Oral reports are also excellent experience in developing essential presentation skills. These skills are part of all state standards and considered as 21st century essential skills for future success.

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CULTUREGRAMS™ IN FOCUS

CultureGrams can help you broaden your students' understanding of the world and its peoples. Our World Edition includes 187 country profiles, written for junior high students and older. CultureGrams also has a Kids Edition and a States Edition, geared for upper elementary students. These editions include kid-friendly profiles of 68 countries and all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.

CultureGrams goes beyond mere facts and figures to deliver an insider's perspective on daily life and culture, including the history, customs, and lifestyles of the world's people.

State:
Alabama


Did You Know?
  • The town of Enterprise has a monument to the boll weevil, a beetle that killed 90 percent of the cotton harvest in 1915.
  • George Washington Carver, a former slave who became a research scientist, discovered three hundred uses for peanuts, including peanut butter!
  • The Marshall Space Center in Huntsville is where scientists developed the rocket that took U.S. astronauts to the moon.
Resources and Economy
Alabama’s economy relies on agriculture, including cotton, soybeans, peanuts, pecans, and sweet potatoes. Dairy and poultry products are important as well. Abundant timber (forests cover 71 percent of Alabama) provides paper and wood products. More than one hundred tree species can be found, including bamboo. Water is everywhere, and Alabamians use it for crops and farming, for boating and fishing, and for hydroelectric power. Water also cools Alabama’s five nuclear power plants. Scientific research in the state helps improve medical and aerospace technology. In manufacturing, Alabamians produce plastics, paper products, textiles, and automobiles. Iron and steel are also important industries in the state. Oil is found on the Gulf Coast.

The Civil Rights Movement
Alabama’s African-Americans played key roles in the Civil Rights Movement, which led to national and state laws that treat all citizens fairly. In the 1950s and ’60s, Jim Crow laws (laws preventing African-Americans from voting or having equal rights) made people upset. Rosa Parks, an African-American woman in Montgomery, refused to give up her seat in the “colored” section of a bus for a white man. She was arrested. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a minister, led other African-Americans to boycott (or refuse to use) the bus system for a whole year. In 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Alabama could not make white and black people ride on different parts of a bus.

Cultural Note
One of the most important roots of rock and roll and modern jazz music is the blues. The blues is a kind of music that grew out of the experience of slavery. Slaves often sang while they worked in the fields. Hollers, chants, and other kinds of songs from Africa were commonly sung. William Christopher (W. C.) Handy, as a young black man in Florence, Alabama, used to hear such work songs. Later, as a musician, he mixed those songs with music for orchestra. He called this the blues because the songs were often about sadness and despair. One of his most famous songs is called “The St. Louis Blues.” Today, W. C. Handy is often called “the father of the blues.”

To find out more about CultureGrams, connect to our website today.

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BONUS CURRICULUM MATERIALS

ProQuest® Learning: Literature: Founded 40 years ago in June 1966, The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

NOW's goal has been to take actions that will achieve equality for all women. NOW works to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society; secure abortion, birth control, and reproductive rights for all women; end all forms of violence against women; eradicate racism, sexism, and homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society.

Betty Friedan was the driving force behind the founding of NOW and became its first president. She was also an accomplished author and her works helped to set the tone for the women’s equality movement. Other women have also been proactive for gender equity and were authors as well. Their ideas helped motivate the women’s movement over time. Here are some examples of these women authors: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Victoria Woodhull, and Gerda Lerner.

Using ProQuest Learning: Literature, teachers should assign students to research one of these authors and feminists. The reports should address some of the following essential questions:
  1. What was the main focus of the writings of this author?
  2. How did the work of this author support the fight for women’s rights?
  3. How did the literary world react to her works?
Find our more about ProQuest Learning: Literature at our website.

eLibrary® Elementary: June is Sports America Kids Month. This is a topic that students in K-6 can really get excited about because there is so much going on right now: the World Cup of soccer; baseball pennant races and Barry Bonds home run records; pro football mini-camps and speculation on the upcoming season; Arena football playoffs; NBA playoffs; NHL playoffs; and Little League baseball too.

Activity: Use the following procedure to access relevant information for Sports America Kids Month:
  • Click the Topics tab > Sports & Gym.
  • Click Major Sports to get some of the information needed
  • Click Outdoor & Water Sports to get additional information
  • Click Individual Athletes to get additional information
Assign each student a different sport that’s still in season to research based on their interests. Assign a two-minute oral report (or PowerPoint if students have the skill) that uses as least three resources and that includes some of the following information:
  1. Brief history including athletes of the past
  2. Current happenings including athletes of the present
  3. Any controversies or unusual events
  4. Why the student prefers this sport over the others
These oral reports give students extra motivation to create interesting reports, so they’ll work harder and learn more. Oral reports also give themexperience in developing essential presentation skills. These skills are part of all state standards and considered as 21st century essential skills for future success.

Find our more about eLibrary Elementary at our website.

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TOP 3 WEBSITES

Each month, our SKS WebSelect™ and Discoverer WebFind™ editorial teams scour the Internet for top-quality sites that help teachers teach and students learn. Although no Internet site can supplant a quality research database, these vetted resources offer unique resources that are sure to be of interest.
Walk in My Shoes
Organization: University of Illinois

"This project will give you an opportunity to understand your own attitudes about growing older, to develop new communication skills that can be used all through your life, and finally, to form new or enrich current friendships with older family or community members." (UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS) Learn to better understand older people with this online activity.

Moneyville
Organization: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Do you know how to manage money? Play these online activities to find out. Learn about choices and consequences of following a budget as you venture on your own in "Get Real!" Run your own business as you operate your own "Lemonade Stand." Flash player is required.

Infection Detection Protection
Organization: American Museum of Natural History

Play games and read articles all about microbes and infectious diseases. The illustrated articles are fast-paced and interesting and the games are interactive, colorful, and educational.

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FREE TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

Our ProQuest product trainers are standing by to help you get the most out of your subscription--and learn more about our other digital learning resources! We offer a wide variety of online training sessions each month.

Plus, all attendees can easily obtain a Certificate of Attendance (right) for any of our online courses! The certificate documents the course name, amount of class time, date, and verifies attendance. You can use the certificate to document attendance in the class and submit it along with the additional documentation your school district requires to award you with continuing education credits.

Be sure to tell your trainer that you would like to receive a certificate via email at the start of each class. They’ll be glad to help!

You can download three ready-to-print versions of forthcoming training dates and times in PDF format.

Our training sessions cover after-school hours within several time zones. Best of all, there's no cost to participate. All you need is a computer with Internet access, a phone, and one hour.

Register for a course!

You may also sign up for a timely enewsletter to receive training dates each month via email as soon as they're available.

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CALL FOR USER TESTIMONIALS

What features of your SIRS subscription do you and your students find the most useful? Have you recently used or are you planning to use SIRS as part of an assignment or student research project? How do you and other curriculum leaders in your institution use your ProQuest educational resources?

Share your experiences with peers working in schools across the country and around the world--through an upcoming Product News Bulletin! We're waiting to hear from you. Please send your ideas and stories to: tim.mclain@il.proquest.com

If we choose your submission, we'll contact you for additional information and permission to use your story in a future issue.

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FORWARD TO A COLLEAGUE + EMAIL SERVICE INFORMATION

Increase the usage of your digital learning resources! Our forward to a friend service makes it easy to instantly send this product bulletin--and all the great ideas and information it contains--to others in your subscribing institution with a click of your mouse.

Also, be sure to encourage them to sign up for our SIRS, CultureGrams, ProQuest, ProQuest Historical Newspapers, eLibrary, eLibrary Curriculum Edition, and additional enewsletters as appropriate.

To change your email address, sign up for additional newsletter titles, or modify your subscription settings, click here.

ProQuest offers a growing family of K-12 classroom-focused, subscription-based online research tools. Many of these education solutions offer reading level-linked (lexile) content, support 21st-century information literacy skills, and help schools differentiate instruction across all curriculum areas.

Learn more about all of our tools here, tap into our training resources and videos, and don't miss our new eLibrary research tool (more). We also have a pair of special resource pages just for teachers (with lesson plans) and librarians.

DCSIMG


Cordially,
Your ProQuest K-12 Team

Your SIRS license agreement gives us permission to send you email about product upgrades, special offers, and new services. If you'd like to discontinue receiving these messages, you may unsubscribe. If you have any questions or are having difficulty, please send email to Tim McLain. Thanks for your interest in SIRS and ProQuest!

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