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Check It Out: 12/4/19

Your monthly news from the OPS Library Services Staff



Use Multimedia to Promote Critical Thinking

The Learning Network helps teacher use content from the New York Times to teach creative and critical thinking skills and promote literacy. They produce about 1,000 resources per year based on NYT content. They intended audience is ages 13 and up, but some of the content can be used in elementary settings as well. My favorite resources include:

What’s Going On in This Picture?Every Sunday night we post an intriguing photograph without its caption and ask students to think critically about what they see. On Mondays, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time, we host a live-moderated student discussion with our partner organization, Visual Thinking Strategies. Students continue to comment all week, and then on Thursday afternoons we reveal the “back story” about the photo and what it depicts.

What’s Going On in This Graph? (Weekly)For this related feature, we invite students all week to notice and wonder about a Times graph, map or chart. With our partners at the American Statistical Association, we host a live-moderated discussion on Wednesdays, and publish additional background about these graphs on Thursday afternoons — around the same time we publish a new graph for the coming week.

Check out all the resources by going to

OPL Teen Poetry Bash!






Teens can bring two of their original poems to perform as slam poetry or read aloud.   Each entrant will perform one original poem. Top scoring entrants will pass the first round to perform a second poem and be eligible for the cash grand prizes. Featuring Louder Than a Bomb coaches from Nebraska Writers' Collective as the judges and emcees. Must be in grades 8-12.

  • 1st place: $100
  • 2nd place: $50
  • 3rd place: $25

Space is limited to 40 entries. Pre-registration is required for contestants only. Non-contestants do not need to register. Event check-in begins at 1 p.m., event starts at 1:30 p.m. Please see the official rules for complete details.

Parking will be validated for Poetry Bash attendees. Park at Omaha Park One (northwest corner of 15th & Douglas), catty-corner from the library and bring in your parking stub.

Keep Them Reading Thorugh the Winter Break!

Download the SORA Winter Reading Challenge!

Literacy and Making

Take your maker activities to the next level by having students use stories, novels, and expository texts as the basis for engineering design challenges that help them identify problems, design realistic solutions, and engage in the Engineering Design Process while reinforcing their literacy skills. Forr a few ideas to get you started, visit Novel Engineering


When pairing stories from your collection with making activities, ask yourself:

•Does the book inspire student imagination?
•Can I design an age-appropriate, fun maker activity for this story?
•Can this story and maker project extend the
classroom learning?
And then share your ideas with others on TEAMs.

Neal Shusterman at Barnes and Noble

Neal Shusterman, author of the Arc of a Scythe series, will be at Barnes & Noble Oakview for their Young Adult Book Club on December 12th at 7 PM. He will be joining in the discussion of his book Scythe and then signing books for anyone present. The B&N YA Book Club Edition is available at the store and includes an exclusive Q&A with the author.Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)

Scythe is the award-winning first installment of the thrilling Arc of a Scythe series by Neal Shusterman. A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life – and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe – a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking a life, knowing that the consequence of failure could be losing their own. Citra and Rowen will learn that their perfect world comes with a heavy price.


Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).