The Indian Creek Upper School Library Blog

Category Archives: Library Lessons

Time for more brain rules!

#7: “Sleep well, think well.”

Your brain is so amazing that it even processes information while you sleep! While you sleep at night, your brain is consolidating and processing the information that you took in during the day. Without sleep, your brain is more likely to need to re-learn that information. Here at Indian Creek, our classes and midterm tests start later than at other schools in order to give you more time to sleep, so take advantage it! Get plenty of sleep during your upcoming midterms!

#8: “Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.”

While quick bursts of stress – about 30 seconds or so – are good for your brain functions, long-term stressors can negatively effect the way you learn. Midterms can be a stressful time, so visit the library between tests to take a breather, read something fun, grab a 20 minute nap, or even do some calming yoga! Practice calming exercises that you know work for you, and see how well your brain performs with less stress.

#9: “Stimulate more of the senses.”

If possible, try to incorporate more than one or two of your senses while you’re learning something new. Are you watching a PowerPoint presentation or a movie? Try chewing gum or kneading a stress ball at the same time. Then, when you study that information for your midterms, recreate those sensory environments by chewing the same gum or kneading the same stress ball. With your teacher’s permission, take that gum or stress ball with you into the midterm. When your senses are stimulated, you’re more likely to encode and remember the information!

#10: “Vision trumps all other senses.”

Looking at images can help you encode and recall information much better than if you were to just hear that information. In this TED Talk, Sunni Brown talks about how doodling can help you retain and understand information much better:

If your study guides don’t come with images, add your own! Draw pictures or print out images that help you understand what you are studying and keep them with your studying guides.

#11: “Male and female brains are different.”

Male brains are more likely to remember the gist of an event, while female brains will remember the details. How can this help you rock the midterms? Get a study group with a mix of boys and girls from your class! You will get two different perspectives on the information, and will be more likely to understand it better!

#12: “We are powerful and natural explorers.”

Want to understand a topic better? Explore! Take the time to delve deeper into the topic by searching online, reading books, and talking to your teacher about what interests you. Taking an active role in your learning will ensure that you remember  and understand more information!

12-brain-rules

As you prepare for the midterms, keep these brain rules in mind. If you need help getting ready for your tests, visit the library! We can help you set up a study schedule, provide a quiet place to study individually or in a group, and give any other assistance you might need! During midterms (Jan. 13 – Jan. 19), the library will be a silent study-hall during testing times and after school.

(this is a repost from our 2015 post)

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After the election of President-Elect Trump, many people were quick to point fingers at various media organizations that may have contributed to the unlikely election. One scapegoat that has popped up is Facebook, the world’s most popular social media website. The Pew Research Center has recently found that 62% of adults get their news from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit, and at least 18% of adults use social media for the sole purpose of seeking out news “often.”More alarming, the study found that 64% of Facebook users get their news from only one source, which means that many people who rely on social media for news are bound to get stuck in an “information bubble” that only reinforces what they already believe to be true.

pj_2016-05-26_social-media-and-news_0-04

Image credit: Pew Research Center

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, has already come out against the accusations that Facebook had a major influence on the presidential election. However, anyone who has used Facebook knows that the Newsfeed algorithm tends to set us up with links that we’ll be predisposed to “like.” We follow people who tend to have the same opinions on important topics like politics, civil rights, and equality. We block people who don’t share our views or who espouse ideas that are offensive to us.

The echo chamber effect is one of the reasons why information literacy is so important. “Information literacy” refers to the skills and dispositions that help people identify information needs and evaluate information for reliability, purpose, currency, and authority. In the current political climate, it’s important to hone skills that help you recognize bias in the news. It’s important to be able to recognize the difference between news articles and op-ed pieces on reliable news sources (a skill that Trump has not developed). It’s important find out more about the people writing the news, and looking into the backgrounds of the news sources. It’s important to entertain opposing viewpoints, especially when reading personal blogs or obviously biased writing.

With that in mind, here are some excellent resources to help you find reliable information and evaluate it:

ProPublica, a non-profit investigative news source: https://www.propublica.org/

National Public Radio: http://www.npr.org/

The CRAP Test Song: https://youtu.be/CMaLgec2XWY

Opposing Viewpoints in Context (you will need a password): http://infotrac.galegroup.com/default/crow66694?db=OVIC 

Still having trouble finding reliable information? If you need more help, visit the Upper School library or your local public library! Don’t let misinformation win!

 


calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutions

‘Tis the season to make resolutions to make your life better; why not start with a reading resolution? Personally, I am going to try the Read Harder Challenge from BookRiot (find it here), but if you want something a little more chill, try the following:

  1. Read a book written by a woman of color.
  2. Read a young adult romance novel.
  3. Read a nonfiction book about science.
  4. Read a biography of a pop icon.
  5. Read an historical fiction set in pre-1900s America.
  6. Read a work of classical literature.
  7. Read a graphic novel.
  8. Read a book that inspired a movie.
  9. Read something that your friend wrote.
  10. Read an ebook.
  11. Read a young adult horror novel.
  12. Read your own diary or journal.

That’s one book per month! You can do it! If you need suggestions, see your friendly neighborhood librarian for suggestions and recommendations.


  1. Thou shalt write EVERY DAY. Even if it’s only a few words and you know that you’ll have to scramble to make up the lost words tomorrow, get words written TODAY. Is your computer broken? Use a pencil and paper! Don’t have pencil and paper? Download Dragon on your phone and speak your novel!
  2. Thou shall not erase ANYTHING. No erasing, no rewriting! Endeavor only to add words to your novel, not subtract. You can edit when November is over!
  3. Thou shalt set a reasonable word count goal. If you want that coupon code from FastPencil, make sure that you set your word count goal for something achievable! Sit down for an hour, see how many words you can write, and then multiply that number by 30. That’s your word count goal. Easy! Most young writers set their word count goals between 10,000 and 30,000 words for the month. What’s right for you?
  4. Thou shalt not peek over the shoulders of other writers. Don’t try to read someone else’s novel without their permission! It’s distracting and rude!
  5. Thou shalt take breaks at least once an hour. Sitting for too long, even when you’re on a tear, is not good for you! Get up for five minutes, grab a drink of water, jog in place, or step outside. You might even see something that inspires a chapter in your novel!
  6. Thou shalt update your word count. Watch your word count grow and grow! Constant progress will inspire you to new heights of writing greatness!
  7. Thou shalt not criticize your own writing. That’s your inner editor talking, trying to get you to doubt your obvious writing skills. Don’t listen!
  8. Thou shalt not criticize others’ writing. Be supportive of your fellow writers! Cheer them on, ask them questions, give lots of compliments! Then, when they ask you to edit their novel in December, go crazy with the red ink (respectfully, of course)!
  9. Thou shalt not shirk your responsibilities. Make sure your priorities are straight: homework, friends, novel. Or friends, homework, novel. But novel comes last.

It’s day 6 of National Novel Writing Month! How are you doing so far? Do you still like your characters? Do you know what’s going to happen next? If you need help (or emotional support), come visit the library! We have writerly books to inspire your writing, a writer’s emergency pack, and other sympathetic writers! Or visit the Young Writers Program for author pep talks, the Dare Machine for helping you get over writer’s block, and other great resources for writers. Happy noveling!


Uh oh! Did you procrastinate and now you’re staring down the barrel of a research paper or project that seems impossible to complete? Here are three tips to help you get your researching done and that paper turned in on time!

Working-Schedule#1. Make an assignment plan, and stick to it. We love the SJSU Assignment Calculator for breaking down the research process into manageable chunks. Just enter the due date and follow the clearly described steps for research success!

No-Google#2. Skip Google. Chances are, your teacher and librarian worked together to create a pathfinder for your research assignment. Check out the pathfinder and use the databases and vetted links that were compiled specifically for your project. You’ll save time and you can be sure that the sources provided in the pathfinder are trustworthy!

20100525whenindoubt#3. When in doubt, visit the library. Your friendly school librarian can help you locate useful resources, teach you how to use the tools and tech to complete the project, and even proofread for you! If you need help, just ask! Stop by, or get in touch with your librarian through email at library.indiancreekschool.org or tweet @missfetterolf.

procrastinationSuper secret tip #4. DON’T PROCRASTINATE! Use the SJSU Assignment Calculator on the very first day that you are given your assignment! Keep track of the steps that need to be completed by setting alarms in your phone or on a digital calendar. Give yourself little awards for reaching each goal; a doughnut here, 30 minutes of Netflix there, and before you know it, you’ll have completed the entire project and had time to enjoy some little pleasures! And visit the library for help on your next research project or paper!


Time for more brain rules!

#7: “Sleep well, think well.”

Your brain is so amazing that it even processes information while you sleep! While you sleep at night, your brain is consolidating and processing the information that you took in during the day. Without sleep, your brain is more likely to need to re-learn that information. Here at Indian Creek, our classes and midterm tests start later than at other schools in order to give you more time to sleep, so take advantage it! Get plenty of sleep during your upcoming midterms!

#8: “Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.”

While quick bursts of stress – about 30 seconds or so – are good for your brain functions, long-term stressors can negatively effect the way you learn. Midterms can be a stressful time, so visit the library between tests to take a breather, read something fun, grab a 20 minute nap, or even do some calming yoga! Practice calming exercises that you know work for you, and see how well your brain performs with less stress.

#9: “Stimulate more of the senses.”

If possible, try to incorporate more than one or two of your senses while you’re learning something new. Are you watching a PowerPoint presentation or a movie? Try chewing gum or kneading a stress ball at the same time. Then, when you study that information for your midterms, recreate those sensory environments by chewing the same gum or kneading the same stress ball. With your teacher’s permission, take that gum or stress ball with you into the midterm. When your senses are stimulated, you’re more likely to encode and remember the information!

#10: “Vision trumps all other senses.”

Looking at images can help you encode and recall information much better than if you were to just hear that information. In this TED Talk, Sunni Brown talks about how doodling can help you retain and understand information much better:

If your study guides don’t come with images, add your own! Draw pictures or print out images that help you understand what you are studying and keep them with your studying guides.

#11: “Male and female brains are different.”

Male brains are more likely to remember the gist of an event, while female brains will remember the details. How can this help you rock the midterms? Get a study group with a mix of boys and girls from your class! You will get two different perspectives on the information, and will be more likely to understand it better!

#12: “We are powerful and natural explorers.”

Want to understand a topic better? Explore! Take the time to delve deeper into the topic by searching online, reading books, and talking to your teacher about what interests you. Taking an active role in your learning will ensure that you remember  and understand more information!

12-brain-rules

As you prepare for the midterms, keep these brain rules in mind. If you need help getting ready for your tests, visit the library! We can help you set up a study schedule, provide a quiet place to study individually or in a group, and give any other assistance you might need! During midterms (Jan. 16 – Jan. 22), the library will be a silent study-hall during testing times and after school.