Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
by Lisa A
If you like to play with words, and what librarian doesn’t, then you will enjoy having exploring Google’s n-gram viewer .
Using the viewer you can graph trends in word and phrase usage based on the text found in Google’s digitised book collection, over 5.2 million books (more than 500 billion words) published between 1500 and 2008.
You can narrow your search by specifying date ranges or by selecting the corpus of work you want to search, e.g. English fiction, French, German, American English, British English and so on.
Type in your search terms with a comma in between each e.g., vampire, werewolf, ghost, fairy. The results will appear on a graph showing how often the words have occurred in the range of books that you selected.
To check out some of the searches that other people have tried, go to this tumblr. You can find out which day of the week gets the most mention, when pizza became more popular than hamburgers or hot dogs, when the war on terror outstripped the war on drugs, when groovy was the ‘in’ word, and when Hitler was written about more than Jesus. (NB: needless to say, some people are interested in profanity so a few of the examples include swear words).
Educational libraries are transforming themselves into “learning commons”: centres of thinking and inquiry where students are supported to think widely and deeply across curriculum boundaries about the big questions that life throws up.
That’s the theory in a nutshell.
There is a considerable body of evidence that some foods can help our thinking processes. So should food consumption be allowed in the library? It’s a question that is being asked more and more frequently. A quick Google search will quickly reveal the question can evoke some pretty strong responses, from the traditional :“No, certainly not” to “Why not, if it will help me to succeed in my studies?”
For example, foods such as salmon, walnuts and kiwi fruit contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which provide many benefits to brain function, including improving learning and memory. Children who have increased amounts of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to perform better in school in reading and spelling and have fewer behavioural problems. Omega-3 is better from food than capsule supplements
Studying How Food Affects the Brain
flickr image by cjbvii
Examples of some other suggested “brain foods”:
It is a small next step to argue that students should be allowed to eat such foods while they are studying to assist their learning. James Trelease and Steven Krashan have commented on the value of eating and reading in the school library.
(Trelease, J & Krashen, S. (1996) Eating and reading in the school library. Emergency Librarian, 2 3(2), p27)
Against “It’s just not done!” “That crunching/ fishy/ eggy odour coming from next to me might help my neighbour to think but it certainly does not help me!” "Leaves a mess behind"…and so on
Food for thought…. an interesting inquiry topic maybe? What do you think?
L2 - Libraries and Learning is a new blog from Services To Schools. We will be writing about a range of topics that fall within the scope of libraries and learning. Expect to read about: Literacies in the 3rd millennium, technology trends for teaching and learning, research about libraries and student achievement, culture, heritage, and much more.
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