Back to School @ the MCHS Library

Textbook distribution
Textbook distribution in progress
Checking out textbooks
Checking out textbooks

Textbook Distribution

The library definitely has been much more of a “textbook warehouse/distribution center” than a library so far this school year, but, as your librarian, I have enjoyed meeting many of our new students, greeting returning students, and helping them all find the textbooks they need for this year’s classes. We began textbook distribution on during student registration, August 17 -20, and 24, and continued helping students get their books the first three days of school, Monday – Wednesday, August 26 – 28. Since August 17, we have checked out 7,830 textbooks. We still, though, have a number of books waiting for students, so please come get them as soon as possible. We want to clear the textbooks out to make the library space more comfortable again!

This massive distribution couldn’t have happened without a lot of help from Cindy Gardner, from our Guidance Office, and the many regular parent library volunteers and other parents who stepped up to help with the process. And, speaking of library volunteers, we are in need of several new volunteers to fill our weekly shifts. Contact Irene White, our parent volunteer coordinator, if you are interested.

Library Open House

Library Open House
Getting ready for the Open House
Library Open House
Wayne Knutson checks out our 3D printer during our Library Open House

In addition to textbook distribution last week, I also held an “Open House” for teachers on Friday, inviting them to stop by during their prep periods to see some of what’s new, have a snack, and enter a prize drawing. Andrea Cons-Diller, one of our new English teachers, won the drawing, and will receive a customized name plate printed on our 3D printer.

Coming Up Next Week

I am looking forward to starting library orientations for each of the Freshman English classes on Monday. Each class visits for two days to learn about the library and how it can help them with their studies and exploring their personal passions. I will also be spending a day with William Brown’s classes getting them started with blogs.

May 26 – June 12 at the Library

It’s that time of year when, sadly, library activities ramp down a bit and textbook returns start to take over the library. Still, we’ve had a busy last few weeks at the library. Here are some of highlights, including blogging, Calculus videos, booktalk videos, 3D printing, library club, summer reading, and more:

Blogging

Anita Rossell and I have been collaborating on her AP students’ blogs for two years now. Last week, her students visited for the last time to work on posting assignments. I will miss them! You can see links to their blogs on this class blog. Several of the students wrote optional last reflections on blogging, including Chris, Jasmin, and Noemi. Thanks to all of you!

Some of Mr. Carlson’s music students also started blogging this semester and were in the library working on their postings.

Calculus Videos

This is the fourth year that Linda Gesualdi and I have collaborated on an end-of-year project in which students create Calculus videos for future Costa students. Since they publish them on YouTube or other public sites, they become available to a world audience, and help students build their digital footprints. We ask the students to develop an engaging story to explain a Calculus concept. In addition to sharing their Calculus knowledge and learning to use a new technology tool for digital storytelling, they also learn about finding copyright-friendly images and sounds to include in their videos and about how to give proper credit to material they use. You can see the assignment here. All the students chose to use PowToon as their video-creating tool this year.

I will be adding many of their videos to the library website over the summer in preparation for the fall. You can see selected previous videos there now on this project page. Here are just two great examples from this year:

This one, by Trace and Brooke, tells the story of determining how many people will be at the zoo at 6pm using simple integration:

This one, by Ed and Leora, uses implicit differentiation to make sure the world doesn’t explode!

Booktalk Videos

In my last posting, I shared about Ms. Clarke’s students’ booktalk video assignment. The booktalks are now complete. I will be adding many of them to the library website over the summer and will create QR codes to display on copies of the books in the library to help other students select books they will enjoy reading. Here are a few great examples:

Makerspace / 3D Printer Progress

Members of the Geeks Club, library volunteer Sue Hefner, and I have been working on getting our new 3D printers calibrated and operational. We still have things to figure out, but we have been pleased to succeed in printing several objects so far. Here’s a time lapse video of printing out my own first design, the initials “MC”:

3D printer hyperlapse

Based on our experience so far, I believe that the free tinkercad software is the best option for students who want to practice designing objects we can print. To print on our PrintrBot Simple Metal, files need to be in .stl format. Tinkercad runs entirely in the cloud so no software needs to be installed on your computer, it is very user-friendly, and it makes it easy to save files in the .stl format. Unfortunately, we are running out of time to print student projects this school year, but the printers will be available to any students interested in designing and experimenting with 3D modeling in the fall. Our new littleBits and Raspberry Pi will also be available. See my last post for more information about these items.

Library Club SWVBC meeting

The Library Club had our final monthly “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” Google Hangout discussion for the year on June 3. Our book for this month was The Martian by Andy Weir. (By the way, The Martian is one of the Alex Award winners this year, so on our list of summer reading options for 11th and 12th graders.) I believe this month’s discussion was the best one of the year! The students had many very interesting insights about the book, and our discussion branched off to a number of thought-provoking related topics. Here’s the recording of the session:

I am very proud of our club members for their consistency in participating in our club and our discussions. Our own club is the only one in our library club network that hasn’t missed a single one of our monthly discussions. Even in February when I was en route to my CSLA conference, the club set up the Google Hangout and held the meeting without me.

Summer Reading Requirement

Each year, the English Department has a required summer reading program. I have been delighted to participate in the department’s planning and the new program for this year, which includes having 9th and 10th graders select books from the prestigious Printz Award list and 11th and 12th graders select from the equally prestigious Alex Award list. Both of these awards are given by committees from YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. The awards are announced each January at the American Library Association Midwinter conference, and I always wake up early on awards morning to watch the streamed ceremony and wait with excitement to learn which books will be winners. Then, I immediately order those we don’t already have in the library. The Printz Award recognizes the best young adult titles published in the previous year, while the Alex Award recognizes adult books with particular appeal to young adults.

Please visit this page on the library website for links to all the summer assignments and more information about the options –  including audio clips, book trailers, and author interviews –  to help select a book you (or, for parents, your child) will love. Please also feel free to contact me for suggestions based on my reading of most of the books.

More on Summer Reading

Please don’t stop reading after doing the summer reading assignment! Stand by for another posting on lots more summer reading ideas.

CUE Blog

CUE Blog

During the month of May and early June, I served as guest editor of the CUE blog. I wrote two postings and solicited and edited two more. Please check them out:

Teaching Twitter

As many of you know, I am a big fan of using Twitter for positive social networking for students, teachers, and anyone interested in developing a personal learning network. Last January, I developed and taught an online class, Learn2Tweet, for California school librarians attending the California School Library Association conference. By going through the four week class, they were prepared to participate as active tweeters during the conference. Over the last month, I have had the pleasure of teaching a similar course for the American Association of School Librarians leadership, in preparation for the American Library Association Conference. While that course content is password protected, you can get an idea of the content from my Learn2Tweet course. Please contact me if I can answer any questions about Twitter or get you up and running on it!

May 11 – 22, 2015 at the Library

Our Makerspace Supplies Arrive!

Since the library is one of the several places on campus with class sets of computers, it has been used for the new California standardized testing during much of the last two weeks. All 11th graders participated in two mornings of testing May 14 – 21. That meant, unfortunately, that the library was closed for other class or individual student visits all those mornings. I do, nevertheless, have some exciting library lessons and other activities to share.

Makerspace Startup Supplies Arrive!

On May 11, the Geeks Club, with help from the Library Club, unpacked startup supplies for our library’s new makerspace! We are very excited about what we will be able to do with these these and how we can share them with the entire Mira Costa population. The supplies include two 3D printers, a Raspberry Pi, and two littleBits kits. So, you may be wondering, what are all these items I just mentioned? And, for that matter, what is a makerspace? Here are some short explanations:

  • A makerspace is a space in which students can tinker with electronics and other materials, have fun, challenge themselves to figure out how to design something, and make creative products. While many of our students take classes in which they learn about and practice programming, art, and/or electronic building, a makerspace allows all students to tinker, explore, have fun, and be creative. The library is an ideal place in which to start a makerspace, because it is open to everyone on campus and has a staff person (me, your librarian) and enthusiastic helpers (the Geeks Club members) to provide help and support.
  • 3D printers provide the capability to “print” 3D objects designed in 3D software applications from strands of plastic filament. The printer melts the plastic filament and then reshapes it in layers into an object using directions derived from the 3D software.
  • A Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer. Once plugged into a computer monitor and keyboard, students can use it to explore computing and to learn how to program the operating system in languages like Scratch and Python. Our Geeks Club members, and anyone else interested, will be using it to learn about and experiment with programming computer operating systems.
  • littleBits are small electronic light, sound, motor, and sensor building block modules that all snap together with magnets and allow students to experiment and create machines. Students will have the opportunity to try out unlimited combinations of the components to create working machines.

These supplies came to us thanks to a special Google-sponsored offer from DonorsChoose. Twenty one of our students completed a Khan Academy self-paced introductory course in JavaScript, which earned us $100 per student. Many thanks to Jeanne Reed and Aaron Braskin for bringing this program to my attention and supporting getting students signed up for it.

Right now, our Geeks Club members are working away getting the 3D printer up and running. Stand by for introductory makerspace events open to all students very soon. In the meantime, contact me or any of the club members if you want to get involved in the planning.

Booktalk videos in progress

Laura Clarke with her English Class

Ms. Clarke’s English students visited the library for a short introduction to booktalk videos. As a final project for the year, they will all be creating short videos promoting a nonfiction book they recently read. We talked about what makes a good booktalk, using these guidelines I provided. Once the projects are complete, we will be uploading good examples to the library website and adding QR codes to books so students can view a booktalk while considering whether to read a book in hand.

Here’s an example of a booktalk done by one of our students earlier this year:

The Library — a very busy place!

And, as you can see in one of my first experiments with making a hyperlapse video, even on Senior Ditch Day last Friday, the library was a very busy place during lunch!

CUE Blog

CUE Blog

One of my activities outside school this month has been serving as guest editor of the CUE (Computer Using Eductors) Blog. You can see the post introducing me here. My first of four postings summarized highlights of California School Library Association’s Information Literacy Summit during the March CUE Conference. The second posting, on how we can support teachers implementing the new standards, was one I solicited and edited. It’s by Mark Archon, Director of Instructional Technology Services for the Fresno County Office of Education. Stand by for two more postings about selecting quality research sources by Tasha Bergson-Michelson and why we need teacher librarians by me.

 

April 20 – May 8 at the Library

The last three weeks have flown by at the Mira Costa Library. Ms. Cabrera’s and Mr. Wheeler’s English students and Mr. Knutson’s U.S. History students spent several days in the library working on research projects which began with lessons on how to find and evaluate research sources and how to do citations. Mr. Carlson’s music students worked on their new blogs and we talked about writing good blog comments. And, Sra. Rossell and Sra. Hernandez’s Spanish 2 students worked on projects using VoiceThread to practice their new vocabulary related to travel. Working in teams of two, the students all chose a country for a hypothetical trip and shared something about the country, how they would get there, where they would stay, what they would eat, and sites they would visit. In the process, they also learned about a new tool for finding and sharing copyright-friendly images, voice recording, and creating avatars. Here is an example, sharing a trip to Cuba:

Here are three more great examples:

Denmark

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Library Club Activities

The Library Club was also very busy. We sponsored a very successful YA (Young Adult) author panel on April 22. Read about it in this blog posting.

SWVBC Meeting  SWVBC Meeting

The club also participated in one of our “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” Google Hangouts on Air discussions on May 6. The topic this month was “bring your own graphic novel.” All the participants brought and shared a favorite graphic novel or other book. Mira Costa had excellent representation at this get together, both from our club members and from Ms. Wiseman and her English students.

The club has also been working with me on selecting some new books for the library based on the student survey we recently conducted. Our order has been placed, and we will be receiving approximately 80 new books based on student input!

Outside the Library

Outside Mira Costa, I had the honor of co-anchoring the TL News Night on April 20 and of co-presenting a session with Pam Oehlman for the CUE Beach Cities/Los Angeles Affiliates Workshop on May 2. The topic for Pam’s and my session was the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning. We shared ways to use some of the sites selected by the AASL Best Websites Committee to enhance student learning. Although the slides don’t really stand alone, I am sharing them here, and encourage you to contact me to fill you in with more information about them.

Great Free Summer Audiobooks

SYNC Audio

Each year, I know that summer is near when I get the announcement of the start of Sync’s free summer audiobooks. The amazing Sync website offers an annual summer program of two free audiobook downloads each week. This summer, the program has been extended to 14 weeks with a total of 28 free audiobooks! And, summer starts early with Sync; Week 1 began yesterday, May 7, and and the program continues through August 13. Titles offered each week are always paired, featuring one contemporary YA (young adult) book and one classic on a related theme. Week 1’s books are popular YA title, Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and classic Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Read about these selections here on the SYNC blog.

To participate, be sure to download each of the selections during the scheduled week. The books will no longer be available after the last day of each week. Each week starts on a Thursday. You don’t actually need to listen to the books during the availability week; you just need to download and install them. Once you download and install the books, they become yours and you can listen to them at any time.  You can visit the SYNC site for more information and to request text message or email alerts each week. Be sure to check this link for information about how to download titles.

So, be sure to enrich your summer with some great YA and classic literature.

Here’s the full list of YA titles:

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (Hachette Audio)

A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty (Scholastic Audiobooks)

COURAGE HAS NO COLOR: THE TRUE STORY OF THE TRIPLE NICKLES by Tanya Lee Stone (Brilliance Audio)

CROWS & CARDS by Joseph Helgerson (Brilliance Audio)

DODGER by Terry Pratchett (HarperAudio)

ECHOES OF AN ANGEL by Aquanetta Gordon (christianaudio)

THE EXPLORERS CLUB by Nell Benjamin (L.A. Theatre Works)

THE LIVING by Matt de la Pena (Brilliance Audio)

MARCH by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin Audio)

MONSTER by Walter Dean Myers (Listening Library)

THE RING AND THE CROWN by Melissa de la Cruz (Recorded Books, Inc.)

ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein (Bolinda Publishing)

UNDER A WAR-TORN SKY by L.M. Elliott (Tantor Audio)

X: A NOVEL by Ilyasah Shabazz & Kekla Magoon (Brilliance Audio)

And, here’s the full selection of classics:

THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain (Mission Audio)

ANNE FRANK REMEMBERED by Miep Gies & Alison Leslie Gold (Oasis Audio)

AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS by Jules Verne (Tantor Audio)

BUDDHA BOY by Kathe Koja (Full Cast Audio)

DRACULA by Bram Stoker (Naxos AudioBooks)

GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens (Naxos AudioBooks)

HERE IN HARLEM by Walter Dean Myers (Live Oak Media)

JOHN BALL’S IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT Adapted by Matt Pelfrey (L.A. Theatre Works)

LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott (Listening Library)

LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding (Listening Library)

THE OLD BROWN SUITCASE by Lillian Boraks-Nemetz (Post Hypnotic Press)

THE PERFECT STORM: A TRUE STORY OF MEN AGAINST THE SEA by Sebastian Junger (Recorded Books, Inc.)

REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier (Hachette Audio)

SEA HEARTS by Margo Lanagan (Bolinda Publishing)

Happy listening!

Sync audio

Library YA Author Panel Rocks!

YA Authors with Library Club members

Our Young Adult (YA) Author Panel on Wednesday was a great success! We hosted three wonderful authors – Robin Benway, Gretchen McNeil, and 2010 Costa Graduate Emily Wibberley. They all shared interesting and helpful tips about writing during the panel and were so willing to visit with our students, teachers, and community members before and afterwards. As a school librarian, authors are my rock stars. I am always star struck when I meet an author, and, over and over again, I am surprised and delighted that most of them treat me as a friend and colleague. Our three visiting authors were all incredibly friendly to everyone.

I was also very proud of our library club members who organized the event, and especially of Colette for leading the effort and moderating. We got rave reviews from the attendees, and a number of people purchased books from {pages} bookstore and got them signed. If you missed the event, I’m pleased that we were able to tape it using Google Hangouts On Air. Here is the recording:

Here are photos I uploaded to Flickr from the event:

Here is my tweet commentary during the event:

Many thanks to our authors for coming, our library club for organizing, {pages} for providing books for sale, and to everyone who attended. Don’t forget to buy or get copies of the authors books from the library. I’m also looking forward to new titles by all three authors in June:

  • Robin Benway’s Emmy & Oliver 
  • Gretchen McNeil’s Get Dirty, the sequel to Get Even
  • Emily Wibberley’s sequel to Sacrificed

 

February 16 – April 18 at the Library

Speed Dating with Books
Speed Dating with Books

As you can see, I’ve gotten way behind here on my resolution to post highlights of library lessons and other activities every several weeks. Since this posting is catching up on nearly two months, please excuse the very brief summary.

As earlier in the year, the last two months were packed with classes visiting for help with research. These included Ms. Wiseman, Ms. Clarke, Ms. Cabrera, Mr. Brown, Mr. Zeoli, Ms. Brown, Mr. Wheeler, Ms. Chen, Ms. Sieker, and Ms. Owen’s English classes, and Mr. Uhalt, Mr. Marx, and Mr. Timberlake’s Social Studies classes. In addition Mr. Davidson’s Health class students came for lessons in Digital Citizenship, and I was delighted to work with Mr. Carlson’s Music students to get them started blogging.

An activity all the students enjoy is “speed dating with books.” In this activity, I set out books on different tables by genre. They get two minutes to choose one of the books and browse the offerings, then they spend two more minutes reading one of the books to decide whether to select it as their “date.” At the end of the round, they can check out a book or move on to another table for the next round. Ms. Brown’s English class students enjoyed “speed dating” with YA (young adult) books sorted by genre, while Ms. Clarke’s students selected from different categories of nonfiction.

On February 16, I was very pleased to join the TL News Night anchor team. I will be participating as one of the show co-moderators on the third Monday of each month. These shows are hosted live on Google Hangouts on Air and also recorded for later viewers. They always feature guests and news of interest to the school library world.

On March 9, I gave a short talk about the library program at the PTSA meeting. I showed the group the CSLA “Does Your School Have a Teacher Librarian?” film to provide some examples of what teacher librarians do. The film also includes scenes filmed at our library and interviews with some of our students and teachers. I also shared this slideshow, and described some examples of my information literacy, digital literacy, and digital citizenship instruction:

During the staff professional development day on May 6, I had the opportunity to talk to a joint meeting of the English and Social Studies teachers, and to share information with them about our research offerings, focusing primarily on our database subscriptions. With the addition of EBSCO Academic Search Premier and Academic eBook Collection, we now have access to 135,00 ebooks and 4,600 academic journal titles, giving our students a vast collection of high quality research materials.

The Library club participated in a Google Hangout on Air discussion of Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why on March 4 and hosted the discussion of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One on April 15. I was very proud of all the students for their excellent contributions to the discussion. Here’s the recording from the Ready Player One discussion:

We just learned that Steven Spielberg will be directing the film version of Ready Player One. The book should become even more popular as the film release approaches.

In mid-March, I attended and presented two sessions at the CUE (Computer Using Educators) Conference in Palm Springs. You can see my posting about that conference on my Jane Lofton’s Adventures in School Libraryland blog.

presenting at CUE

As Chair of MCHS’s Curriculum Committee, I have also been working with committee members and department chairs to get the course descriptions in our course description handbook updated and to create pathways files for each department to clarify course sequence requirements and options. You can see these under Academics on the Mira Costa website.

Finally, the Library Club has been busy going over the results of the student book survey and working with me to order new books based on student requests. They have also been working hard to prepare for our YA Author Panel on Wednesday, April 22. We hope that you can come!

YA Author Panel books
YA Author Panel books

YA Author Panel April 22

YA Panel FlyerThe Mira Costa Library Club is pleased to announce a Young Adult Author Panel and Book Signing on Wednesday, April 22 from 3:30pm-5:00pm in the Library. Students, teachers, and community members are all invited. So, please, mark you calendar! Here’s the line up of authors:

  • Emily Wibberley. Debut Author Wibberley is one of Costa’s own! She is a Mira Costa graduate and recently graduated from Princeton University. Sacrificed, the first book in her planned The Last Oracle series, tells the story of Clio, a very  reluctant 15-year-old Oracle.
  • Gretchen McNeil. McNeil has authored several popular YA books. Her latest is Get Even, the first book in the Don’t Get Mad series, about an unlikely partnership of four very different girls who form a secret society, DGM (Don’t Get Mad) to expose and seek revenge on bullies at their school.
  • Robin Benway. Benway’s latest book, Going Rogue, is the second featuring teenaged spy and safecracker Maggie Silver. Her next book, Emmy & Oliver, is coming out this June.

Books will be available for purchase from {pages} a bookstore, our local Manhattan Beach independent book seller, during the event. To assure getting the books you want, you can order copies in advance at this link.

Many thanks to Library Club member Colette Grubman for initiating this activity and inviting the authors.

Event Flyer