New MLA Guidelines for Citing Sources

When writing a research report or an essay, it’s important that you know the rules and guidelines for writing a bibliography, using images, or using quotations from research sources. Oak Meadow students are asked to use the MLA style of creating and formatting citations.

Quick Guide to MLA Citations

In 2016, the Modern Language Association (MLA) released simplified citation guidelines, which aim for a more universal, consistent format regardless of the source medium. Most notable are the following changes:

  • No longer include the city of publication for print publishers.
  • No longer include the medium (print, web, film, etc.).
  • Include URL in website citations.
  • No longer include n.d. (no date) if website/article date is unknown .
  • Date accessed by you is optional for website citations.
  • Make entries as consistent as possible in terms of information and punctuation.

Feel free to continue to use the previous MLA style as long as you’d like — it’s still correct. The new style is more streamlined and hopefully will be easier to learn, use, and read. For those who want all the details, read this.

MLA Guidelines for Citing Sources (updated 2016):

For print sources, include the following:

Author last name, first name. Title. Publishing company, year.

Here is an example:

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island. Dover, 1993.


When citing online sources, use this format:

Author last name, first name (if known). “Title of article.” Website. Organization,
publication date (if known). URL (without http://, brackets, or ending punctuation)

Here is an example:

Bradbury, Lorna. “25 Classic Novels for Teenagers.” Telegraph.co.uk. The Telegraph, 5 April 2012. www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/9189047/25-classic-novels-for-teenagers.html/p>

Website dates are given in this format: day month year. Longer months are abbreviated: Jan, Nov. You can delete the http// from the URL.


When citing an online video clip (such as YouTube):

Author last name, first name (if known). “Title of article.” Website. Organization, publication date. URL

Here is an example:

Schlickenmeyer, Max. “The Most Astounding Fact—Neil deGrasse Tyson.” YouTube. YouTube, 2 Mar. 2012. www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D05ej8u-gU


When citing a film, here is the format:

Film Title. Dir. First name Last name. Perf. First name Last name. Distributor, year of release.
Note: Dir. stands for director, and Perf. stands for performers. You can list as many or few performers as you like.

Here’s an example:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Dir. Chris Columbus. Perf. Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltraine and Tom Felton. Warner Brothers, 2001.


To cite an image, write a caption that includes “Image credit” and the creator’s name (if you can find it) and/or the original source. If you found the image on the web, try to provide a link back to the source.

Books for Kindergarten Students

As many of us are winding down the school year, it is encouraged to continue reading stories and picture books to our children throughout the summer season. This is especially important for the preschool and kindergarten aged students, so the Oak Meadow teachers teamed up and shared some of their favorite books for this age level:

Sarah Antel:

Tasha Tudor wrote some sweet animal stories.

What about Robert McClosky’s Blueberries for Sal and One Morning in Maine?

I have memories of my parents reading me The Wind in the Willows no matter how old I was; it was my favorite story growing up.

Leslie Daniels:

One of my favorites for a kindergarten student is Adrienne Keith’s book, Fairies From A to Z. The drawings are colorful and delightful, and the book is formatted in poetry style. This book also includes special “fairy words” for each letter that are found along the borders of the pages. In addition, there is a fairy box (home) to construct at the back of the book. My own children at this age level loved this book – and they also loved making their own fairy boxes.

Also, we can’t forget the wonderful books written by Margaret Wise Brown, Elsa Beskow, and Barbara Berger. They are perfect for kindergarten students!

Meg Minehan:

In addition to some already mentioned, here are a few of my kids’ kindergarten favorites: My Father’s Dragon series, Jenny Linsky series, Pierre The Truffle Pig, and for a newer book – the Tumtum and Nutmeg series, which are contemporary but with that charm and adventure of The Wind in the Willows, etc. They are fabulous to read aloud.

Andy Kilroy:

My kindergarten-aged granddaughter is already reading pretty easily, so I have been spending my time with her on Explode the Code books. I have also been doing poetry with her, as she loves to make up rhymes. We are both rhyming straight up and she is writing songs, which she loves to do. When we do read, we do books in the “easy reader” genre, so they vary. I have not hit upon any that she likes as much as she likes the rhyming books. I have been trying to do some longer stories with her; she likes Mo Willems books that are written in the non-rhyming format, and she loved Angela and Her Alligator, which is a “chapter book”. She also liked the Berenstain Bears series, which includes great morals and values. My granddaughter also loves Gruffalo and Where the Wild Things Are.

Choosing which books to share with your kindergartener is where the home teacher can use intuition and knowledge of the child to branch out and get creative!

What Happened?

images-1This week my father turned 91 years old. (Happy Birthday, Dad!) We always enjoy birthday parties with my Dad! We have a tradition of having him tell us what he was doing at the present age of each member of the family. This year the youngest among us was a great grandson just 13 months old. It was fun to hear my father speak about what he was doing when he was 13 months old! The oldest at the party was 68 years and that too was amusing!
We decided this year to list many of the things that had been invented since our father (grandfather or great grandfather) was born. Each family member brought a description of the invention to the party. Wow! He has certainly seen many, many inventions in his lifetime!
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I think we take for granted some of the inventions he saw in his lifetime, such as the color TV or the black box flight recorder. Lithium batteries and the pocket calculator surprised all of us as just being invented in the 1970s.
All this talk about past inventions got me wondering what is being invented (and patented) right now! I found out about The Lemelson-MIT Program which strives to celebrate  “outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.” It is so interesting to read about the most recent inventions that are being awarded!
Do you have something that you are working on that will one day be an invention that will benefit us all? Join an inventor’s club! Here’s a list of them by state: http://www.freeinventorshelp.com/Organizations.html#states
Good luck!

Homeschool Rhythms

What do you think of when you hear the term, homeschool rhythms? It could mean many things, but for each family, the homeschooling rhythms will be unique as they segue into personal school lessons and extracurricular activities. As you establish a rhythm for your family, keep in mind that it should never be a burden, nor end up as a forced schedule. It is meant to be a sequence of simple activities that is beneficial and frees the home teacher from constant decision making. The most significant goal in creating a homeschool rhythm is to use it as an aid in bringing quality to your family life.

Rhythms within each day, week, month, season, and year are an important aspect of the homeschooling family. The daily rhythm could be as simple as doing morning chores, eating breakfast and engaging in circle time activities before diving into schoolwork; taking a daily walk after lunch, before beginning the afternoon lessons; setting the table and helping with dinner preparations; and settling in for the evening and reading a chapter book together as a family.

Weekly rhythms could consist of painting on Mondays, baking bread on Tuesdays, visiting extended family or friends on Wednesdays, enjoying family game night on Thursdays, and helping to clean the house on Fridays.

The monthly rhythm might include taking a full moon walk with the family or choosing a specific day each month to do a service for others in need. The yearly rhythm might focus on seasonal festivals, holidays, birthdays and other special events. Perhaps your family enjoys sharing seasonal poetry or songs together, or reading stories and books that correlate with the yearly holidays and festivals.

As a homeschooling family, it’s important to live fully in the moment. However, maintaining a balance between the present moment and the scheduled activities is the key to a vibrant and healthy family life. An essential part of this balance exists between active and quiet times. It offers times alone and times to share with others. It also provides times to focus on the family, as well as work at building community with other families and community members who share similar values.

Here are more articles about finding your homeschool rhythms:

Prepare for the School Year!

As school begins for many in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to get school supplies in order for the school year. For those of you in 7-8 grade, I hope you have your very own dictionary and thesaurus! Both will become your best friends as you go through the year. If you are looking for a good dictionary that will last you through the junior high years, find a Merriam-Webster’s Intermediate Dictionary. imagesAlso recommended is the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. (Try to get the most recent addition.) For a good thesaurus, try Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus.
Also really useful will be a good atlas for discovering new places in the world. I like Rand McNally’s Goodes World Atlas, but look through a bunch at the bookstore or library until you find one you like. These three items will serve you well for many years to come!
Have a wonderful beginning!
 

Adventuresome teens

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
John A. Shedd

I’ve always loved a good adventure! My parents tell the story of when I was just three years old I ventured out into the neighborhood alone. I was gone a couple of hours before my distraught mother finally found me. The story goes that she found me a few houses away, painting the front door of the house. I guess I found some paint and decided it would look good on that door! Our family traveled a lot and moved a lot because my father was in the U.S.Navy. Moving every two years to a new place was always a terrific adventure for us. Now, after many more adventures and travels throughout my life, I also enjoy sitting down and reading adventure books in which others go out to see and experience the world. I’m amazed at the imagination and determination of some people! It’s so impressive to read about the preparation that goes into an adventure and the high goals set by some.
I’ve just read about Laura Dekker, a New Zealand born teen, that sailed solo around the world at the age of 15. Pretty astounding! She had a lot of experience sailing and of course was well prepared for her trip, but what strength and courage to attempt it!
In looking for a good list of adventure books, I looked at some “oldies but goodies” that are exciting adventure books that everyone should read! Here are some of them:
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Duma, The Crater by 73James Fenimore Cooper, Ivanhoe by Walter Scott, Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, Kim by Rudyard Kipling, The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley and of course, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.images

Use a Quotation!

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.
From “Two Tramps in Mudtime” by Robert Frost

I love this stanza from Frost’s poem! It is such a wonderful description of how the weather changes in the springtime here in New England. One minute you are enjoying the warmth of the sun and the next minute you are zipping up your coat as a chill wind brings a drop in temperature.

If you are an Oak Meadow student, you may have received a comment from me on an essay that says something like, “Next time use a quotation at the beginning or end of your essay that sums up or supports what you are writing about.” I like to encourage my students to look deeper into the world, think more about what is being written, and use lots of examples with good details!

Robert Frost encouraged his eldest daughter in a writing assignment when she was at Amherst College. She was struggling with how to write about a required reading book that she hadn’t liked reading. His advice to her was, in part, “Take it easy with the essay whatever you do. Write it as well as you can if you have to write it. Be as concrete as the law allows in it — concrete and experiential. Don’t let it scare you. Don’t strain.”images

A quote from what you’ve read can provide just the starting point or foundation you may need for an essay. Give it a try next time you write an essay or research report!

I'm Bored!

When I was young, I quickly learned that announcing I was bored brought on the intense displeasure of my mother. My brother, sister, and I didn’t say it very often because of that. Mom would say, “Only a boring person is bored! Go find something constructive to do!” Not very helpful when we couldn’t think of anything to do! Inevitably she would speak a list of things we could do, knowing full well we didn’t want to do any of them. “Go fold the laundry, and there are toys to pick up in the living room, and while you are at it, you could change the beds.” We would immediately run out of the house and go find something to do. Going outside was just the answer for my boredom! I never got tired of skipping rope, riding my unicycle, playing marbles with my brother, swinging on the swings, climbing trees, or the zillion of other things I could think of to do outside. Inside we played endless games of Scrabble, Sorry! and Monopoly. I also got really good at Jacks! I loved to doodle with colored pencils, and I liked to sit and read. I wasn’t an early reader. I remember not knowing how to read in second grade. We had just moved to a new state and I hid my lack of reading skills by pretending to be shy. So, when I actually learned how to read, I was really ready for a good book!
Reading a recent article in the newspaper about being bored really got me thinking. It stated that today’s many technological advances and devices don’t allow us to be bored. What if I had never been bored? What if I could have turned to my phone, the internet, video games, TV, or Netflix? Would I have developed the skills I have now? Would I love the outdoors and always be able to find things to do outside? Would I enjoy playing board games with my sister and brother and later with my own children? Would I have learned to enjoy reading? Would my art projects bring me joy?
I’ve recently read some studies about boredom. In each one researchers found that allowing oneself to be bored may increase a person’s creativity. I think my mom was right. Being bored–and finding ways to alleviate that boredom on my own–helped me become a more creative person. A creative person takes on boredom and turns it into something to do!
If you find your family turning on a device when boredom hovers, check out the list of ideas for screen-free fun in this great article, first published in Oak Meadow’s Living Education and later in Peggy O’Mara’s blog. It’s written by Deb Velto, mom, teacher, and Oak Meadow’s K-8 Program Director. I love her last sentence!
 
 
 

What's in a snowflake?

As I sit here at my computer this evening with a winter storm warning in effect for my area of New England, I am once again fascinated by how these tiny crystals can impact whole regions of the United States.
Some of you may have read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. That story is about actual winter storms that raced across the prairie lands in the winter of 1880-1881. In his book The Children’s Blizzard David Laskin gives an account of the deadly prairie blizzard of 1888 and also gives a very excellent description of the different types of snowflakes there are and what the conditions are that create them.
The Native American Indians had many ways to predict the weather by observing what was happening in the natural world around them for clues. In the 1880’s the weather news was sent via telegraph across the United States from Army base to Army base. The weather often arrived before the news of its coming. Today we have the National Weather Service and technology to help us predict storms and to warn us of storms.
If you are interested in learning more about snow crystals, go to your library and find  Snowflake Bentley. You may also want to visit snowcrystals.com.

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