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May 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. Reading A-Z: Building Young Readers
  4. CultureGrams in Focus
  5. eLibrary Elementary Activity
  6. Top 3 Websites
  7. Free Online Training Courses
  8. Call for User Testimonials
  9. 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.

SIRS Government Reporter & WebSelect Surveys

Got an opinion? You could win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com! Give us your feedback on SIRS Government Reporter or WebSelect and you'll be entered to win.

What are typical classroom assignments that these databases are useful for? What could we change to make the products more useful and effective?

We’re working on updating the home page of both Government Reporter and WebSelect. Customer feedback is important to us, so please fill out the surveys in order for us to learn more about
your needs. Your feedback will help us shape our products --
click an arrow to begin:








Knowledge = Power: Spring Training Videos

Spring is in full swing! It’s time for Mother Nature -- and our trainers here at ProQuest -- to show off a little.

Along with the new flowers, leaves, and warmer temperatures, we’re proud to present an extra-large virtual bouquet of fresh, up-to-date training videos for more than half of our popular K-12 learning solutions.

These videos are presented in Flash, sporting quick load times and larger formats for easy viewing. Here’s a list of our newest offerings -- look for the rest of our popular library to be updated in July:
SIRS Decades
eLibrary & eLibrary CE
eLibrary Canada
eLibrary BookCarts & QuizCarts
History Study Center
ProQuest Platform: Platinum, Education Journals, etc.
ProQuest Learning: Literature
ProQuest Learning: Literature Canada
ProQuest Historical Newspapers
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: Fresh Sample Searches: Live!

Conducting an upcoming training session? On the hunt for laser-focused sample searches to highlight the best content inside your subscriptions?

Look no farther than our all-new sample search collection. Connect to www.proquestk12.com, click the Training & Support tab at the top of any page, then select the name of your solution subscription. You’ll see a link to our new Sample Searches document!

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: Subject Tree Updates

At SIRS, we're continually reviewing the Discoverer and WebFind Subject Trees to provide a more comprehensive search function that reflects the carefully selected content available in the database. Visit ACTIVITIES in the Database Features to access new articles and activities relating to Editorial Cartoons, Pro/Con discussions, and Maps.

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

May is Get Caught Reading Month. Reading is the fundamental skill that all students must develop to be successful in further education, careers, and in life. Reading is the primary focus of the No Child Left Behind Act and billions of Title I dollars.

Activity: Equally important is that reading is fun for students in grades 3-8 and Discoverer provides the resources for teachers to take advantage of this. Any one or more of the fiction collection in Discoverer can be printed for classroom reading and discussion, or students can summarize their favorites and present them to the class as part of a mini-research activity.
  1. Click the Fiction link on the right side of the Search page.
  2. Note the variety of Topics/Subtopics list on the right side.
  3. Students should choose the category that proves to be most engaging for them.
  4. Select two stories and read and summarize them.
  5. Present their summaries to the class in two to three minute oral reports.

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PROQUEST LEARNING PAGE: BUILDING YOUNG READERS

I use Reading A-Z's guided reading books daily, and the students love having their very own books. We can highlight words they are having difficulty with, and the children can take ownership in their books when they color the pages. The students can then bring the books home so that they have their own library with books they can read independently or to a parent.
Janice McNulty; Kindergarten Teacher; Bridlewood Elementary; Flower Mound, Texas

This month, Reading A-Z features books about trees, animal moms and babies, a puppy's adventure, American sports legends, and a sightseeing trip to the Far East. We also have stories about monsters making music, a wordplay mystery, a boy who learns to fish in Singapore, a fantasy visit to the Land of Oz, and a mouse who finds a very imaginative use for oatmeal. A collection of ocean poetry rounds out our April offerings.

Visit Reading A-Z to view all the new materials.

This month's additions bring the total number of books on our website to more than 1,650, with thousands of accompanying lesson plans, worksheets, and activities.

Imagine having instant access to all the books you need for students at different reading levels, books they can take home and keep for repeated reading. Now you can. And it only costs between $49.95 and $74.95 per teacher annually (depending on the type of license purchased). Nowhere else can you get so much for so little. Sign up today!

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BONUS: ELIBRARY® ELEMENTARY ACTIVITY

May is Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Physical fitness and sports go together and help elementary students form the habits that will keep them fit and active for a lifetime. Many schools have expanded their elementary Physical Education programs to include more of an emphasis on lifetime individual sports such as golf, tennis, swimming, hiking, and bicycling vs. the traditional approach of competitive team sports. Student participation in competitive team sports often fades as students get older because of the difficulty of getting enough participants, lack of ability, and the fear of injuries as factors. Competitive sports also do not provide the inherent fitness component that is part of the individual sports listed above.

Activity: Students need to expand their view of sports to include the variety of individual sports that provide recreation as well as fitness through participation.
  • Click the Topics tab
  • Click the topic Sports and Gym
  • Click the subtopic Sports
Assign each student a different sport to research and present to the class. The sports assigned should be individual sports that combine recreation with fitness, for example:
  • Kayaking
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Golf
  • Inline Skating
Students should summarize information about the sport, mention something special or exciting about the sport, and indicate how the sport contributes to fitness.

Find our more and sign up for a free trial of eLibrary Elementary visit our K-12 website!

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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.

Country: New Zealand

Did You Know?
  • About 90 percent of the plants in New Zealand can't be found anywhere else in the world.
  • A New Zealander, Sir Edmund Hillary, became the first person to climb the world's highest point, Mount Everest. He did it in 1953 with Tenzing Norgay, who was from Nepal.
  • Hector's dolphins, the world's smallest dolphins, are found only in the coastal waters of New Zealand.
Land and Climate
New Zealand's islands have some of the most amazing scenery in the world—huge mountains, rolling green hills, giant waterfalls and glaciers, and narrow sea-filled canyons called fjords. You can also see geysers exploding with hot steam and volcanoes blasting hot lava and ash into the air. New Zealand's climate is generally mild. In the winter, average temperatures rarely go below 40°F (4°C). Summer highs average about 73°F (23°C). Because New Zealand is on the southern side of the equator, it has seasons opposite from North America. Summer is from December to March and winter is from June to September!

Games and Sports
Rugby is the most popular sport in New Zealand. It is similar to American football, but players don't wear helmets or pads. The national team, the All Blacks (named for their black jerseys), is one of the best teams in the world. New Zealanders also like to play soccer and cricket, a game like baseball with a flat-surfaced bat. Another well-known sport is netball, which is like basketball but there is no dribbling. Because New Zealand is so beautiful, people spend a lot of time outside hiking, biking, sailing, swimming, and skiing.

Maori Culture
The Maori people are proud of their traditions. When two Maori greet, they close their eyes and rub noses. This is called a hongi. Maori men sometimes perform a fierce warrior dance, or haka, in which they stamp their feet, swing clubs, and stick out their tongues. Women perform a slower dance in which they swing poi balls on cords around their heads. Performers wear beautiful costumes and paint their faces with a moko. In the past, the moko was an elaborate tattoo that decorated the whole face of a man and the chin of a woman. Today, Maori usually just paint their faces with a temporary moko instead of getting a painful tattoo.

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

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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.
Cyberchase: The Quest
Organization: Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

Solve a series of science and math puzzles to defeat the evil Hacker and save cyberspace. Create your own character and choose from one of two quests: "Race for Radopolis" or "Mission: Motherboard."

Hercules Illustrated
Organization: Joel Skidmore

"Hercules was the Roman name for the greatest hero of Greek mythology--Heracles. Like most authentic heroes, Heracles had a god as one of his parents, being the son of the supreme deity Zeus and a mortal woman." (JOEL SKIDMORE) The story of Hercules is told here with illustrations. In Greek and Roman mythology, Hercules was a son of Zeus, the greatest of the Greek heroes, and the only hero ever to become a god.

The All-Star River Explorers
Organization: University of Illinois

"Welcome to The All-Star River Explorers, an elementary program for third through fifth grade students. The All-Star River Explorers is designed to introduce students to the basics of hydrology and increase their understanding of how rivers are formed and their importance in our lives. Activities will enhance students' skills in math, science, language arts, social studies, and art." (UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS)

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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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