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Reference Tools

Reference Books

  • Putting Words in Alphabetical Order: It's EASY! (4:54).  Since traditional print reference tools like almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and maps are organized in alphabetical order -- I always start with lessons about this skill when working with elementary students. Having a video lesson also lets me provide remediation when older students with differing needs require more support. This video covers placing words/names in alphabetical order up to the third letter, usually enough for most reference work.
  • Almanacs (6:58).  Looking for an information one-stop? The reference section of your library media center has many useful books, all ready for you to use. Almanacs are published by organizations that are known for the quality and accuracy of the information in their books. While there are online versions of almanacs, you can probably look up many facts quicker with a print-edition of an almanac than you can log-on to a computer, access the database with an online almanac, and formulate keyword searches.
  • Almanacs: Find it FAST! (7:33).  Looking for some quick information? Do you need a source that is accepted as being credible and trustworthy around the world? Almanacs are easy-to-use and once you understand how they are organized, they are even quicker than a web search. Don't believe me? Then watch this video and see!
  • Dictionaries (3:25).  While not likely a book we want to take home and read, dictionaries are important reference tools. All of us periodically hear or see words that we don't commonly use, words that we need to check. Dictionaries come in all sizes. There are even picket dictionaries, though today, we may choose to use a smartphone to quickly check a word's meaning, spelling, or pronunciation. Once you have a dictionary in your hands, however, you can probably find the word you want fast using a print version.
  • Dictionary Guide Words (4:43).  Finding words in a dictionary is easy -- just use your ABCs. Each page has guide words on the top, which show the first and last word on that page. Just find the 2 guide words that the word you want would fall between, then just scan through the pages -- each word is in alphabetical order.
  • Encyclopedias (3:34).  Your library media center has a reference section, an area of books that are not circulated. They stay in the library so that they are available and ready to use when you need it. While there are online versions of the same print-editions of encyclopedias you will find at most libraries, picking up one of the books and flipping through the pages to the information you need is fast and easy -- often faster and easier than Internet searches!
  • Encyclopedia Guide Words (5:00).  Looking up information in an encyclopedia is easy. Yes, we can find online versions, but your library keeps sets of these ready for you to use. Each book is labeled on the spine -- they are organized by alphabetical order. Once you pick up the book with the topic you want, you can quickly flip through the pages, using guide words to find what you want. This video explains how. You can probably find information in a print-version of an encyclopedia faster than you can boot up a computer and do an Internet search!

Maps, Atlases, and Globes

  • Reading and Using Maps (8:56.  When we are lost, it is not the time to learn how to read a map. Important parts of a map to look for include: Title, Scale, Grid, Orientation, and Legend. This video will explain what each of these parts of a map tell you and how to accurately and confidently "read" a map. Understanding maps will also help us carefully choose maps so that they fit our needs and suit our purpose.
  • Maps and Globes (9:35.  Since the earth is round, what is the best way to represent it? Maps are a diagrams that representation of an area of land or sea showing physical features, cities, roads, etc. Globes are a spherical representation of the earth, a celestial body, or the heavens. This video explains how to "read" each and compares and contrasts the when each is best-used.