What Books Do You Want in the Library?

Survey QR Code

The library club wants YOUR input on books to purchase for our library.  I have allocated the the book club with a portion of the school library materials budget to select and purchase books students want in their library.

Students, please complete the survey @bit.ly/mchsbooksurvey (or the embedded version here) by Friday, March 13 and let your voice for new library book purchases be heard!


Add comment Posted in  Books ,The Library Club ,Uncategorized  Tagged:  , , February 25, 2015

Participate in the International Student Blogging Challenge

student blogging challengeThere’s probably no better way for students to build a positive digital footprint they can be proud of than than through blogging. Blogging gives you the opportunity to practice informal writing, develop your personal writing voice, and to share with a global audience. You will also learn valuable digital citizenship and tech skills as you create and customize your blog and add text, images, videos, links.

To help you with your blogging skills and assure that your postings will be read by an international audience, consider participating in the semi-annual International Student Blogging Challenge. The next challenge starts March 1. Each week for 10 weeks, you will be given new tasks and challenges to complete in postings, commenting on other blogs, or working on your blog design and sidebar contents.

Mira Costa students who participate will be recognized in a special library display and will receive a certificate of completion that can be shared with their teachers. Do participate! Visit this link to get information and sign up. You can also contact me with any questions or for help.

Add comment Posted in  Blogging ,Events  Tagged:  , February 25, 2015

CSLA’s Centennial Conference

CSLA Centennial Celebration

I had a jam-packed four days of learning, sharing, and networking at the California School Library Association (CSLA) Centennial Conference February 5 – 8 at the Hyatt Regency, San Francisco Airport. I came away with:

  • Notes of many great new books to purchase for our library from Michael Cart’s workshop on “Best of the Best Young Adult Books”
  • New ideas of ways to help students become astute researchers and agents for change from author Paul Fleischman’s “Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines” workshop
  • Inspiration from opening Keynoter Michelle Luhtala to move more learning activities to where students love to be, on digital devices, and to make learning help available virtually on demand
  • Inspiration from closing keynoter Shannon Miller to implement more activities that break down the library and school walls and help students connect with the world
  • At least a year’s worth of lesson and program ideas and tools to engage students from so many talented colleagues whose sessions I attended and with whom I networked
  • Excited product purchase ideas from the many wonderful vendors who support school libraries and exhibited during the conference

I also did a lot of sharing at this conference. Here is information about my four presentations:

AASL's Best Websites

AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning: I presented this session with Sue Heraper. Here is a link to our slide deck.

Of all the sites we shared, I think our attendees especially liked the hands-on demos we did of how to use two of them, Kahoot and Socrative, to quiz or survey students during lessons.

Good Ideas!

Blogging, Digital Timelines, & More with Embedded Digital Citizenship: This was a short presentation I did to share the project for which I won a Good Ideas! Award. These awards are given for collaborative projects done by a teacher librarian and classroom teacher that can serve as a model for easy replication by our colleagues. The project I shared came from my collaborative work with Spanish Teacher Anita Rossell and her Spanish for Native Speakers Class. Here is the link to my slides for this talk. I will also be talking at more length about blogging at the CUE conference next month.

Going for Moonshot Thinking

Going for Moonshot Thinking: The Latest from Google from Two Googly Teachers: Amy McMillan, a middle school English teacher working on her teacher librarian credential, and I met at the Google Teacher Academy in Mountain View last summer. We co-presented this session to share some of our takeaways from the Academy and to encourage more teacher librarians to apply to attend future academies. As with almost every session I present, we learned so much more as we prepared and compared notes on our different practices. Here is a link to our slides. We also recorded this session using Google Hangouts on Air:

Make Twitter Your #1 Tool for Building a Personal Learning Network: Marie Slim and I prepared this session, an update of one we did last year. We are both passionate about the value of Twitter for learning and wanted to get more of our members on board using it at conferences and for learning and networking throughout the year. Unfortunately, Marie wasn’t able to be at the conference, so I did the presentation on my own. Here is a link to the session presentation Prezi. I also recorded this session with Google Hangouts on Air:

As Social Media/Website Chair for the conference, I did a lot of tweeting and encouraged tweeting by all our participants. In fact, I taught a four-week course on Twitter (which the presentation above was a short summary of) to help prepare more members to tweet during the conference. Although the course is now done, all the material is available to read and use on the course website. One great use of Twitter is to share highlights of conference sessions and events. Here is a Twitter summary of the conference, captured using Storify. You can see as you scroll through the tweets that, while we work very hard learning at conferences, we also have a lot of fun! This conference was CSLA’s Centennial, so it also included a wonderful Gala celebration of this amazing milestone.

I look forward to sharing great ideas from the conference with students and staff at Mira Costa.

Add comment Posted in  Blogging ,Conferences ,professional development  Tagged:  , , , , , , February 20, 2015

Spanish Class Mystery Hangout

Mystery Hangout

Sra. Rossell’s AP Spanish students had an engaging challenge on February 3. We connected them via Google Hangouts with Sra. Díaz-Ross’s Spanish 3 Honors class at Menlo School in Atherton, CA. I was able to make the connection between the two classes when I reached out through the Google+ GlobalTL community, and Cathy Rettberg, the Menlo School Librarian, responded and put me in touch with Sra. Díaz-Ross. Sra. Rossell’s class has been blogging for some time, and we wanted to find her students an audience outside our school for their postings. Sra. Díaz-Ross is interested in the possibility of having her students blog, and she welcomed having the two classes meet through a mystery hangout.

Here is how a mystery hangout works. The teachers or librarians find each other and set a date for the two classes to meet in a Google Hangout or Skype session. The students know about the event, but not where the other class is. They prepare for the get together in advance by brainstorming a number of questions and possible clues to share with the other class. The game rules are that each class alternates asking questions that require a yes or no answer. The goal is to be the first class to identify the school of the other class. We teachers decided, due to time restrictions, to also allow limited clues if no one guessed the location after about 25 minutes. Each of our class members had different “roles,” including introducer, questioner, photographer, videographer, and recorder. All of the students participated in being researchers, attempting through Google maps and other online sites to narrow down where the other school was based on their answers to our questions. The trick is thinking of the best questions to narrow down possibilities as efficiently as possible.

Classes around the world have been participating in these mystery events recently, using either Skype or Google Hangouts, and the activity works for all age levels. See the list at the end of this posting for some resource links. And, of course, our event was conducted entirely in Spanish. Our students found the fast pace exciting and challenging, as they had to use their critical thinking skills and come up with fast questions based on the previous answers. They were also proud to be the winners! We now look forward to receiving comments on their blogs from Sra. Díaz-Ross’s class. Unfortunately, I forgot to start the recording at the beginning of the session, but recorded a bit of the end of the hangout. You can see that below, along with some photos and short video clips taken by the videographers:


Student Videographer recordings:

End of hangout recording:

Here are some resource links:

Skype in the Classroom

Google+ Community for Mystery Hangouts

Google+ Community for Mystery Hangouts for Foreign Language Teachers

Add comment Posted in  Events ,Uncategorized  Tagged:  , February 19, 2015

February 2-13 at the Library

The first two weeks of February were packed with activity. Laura Clarke’s 10th grade English students visited for help with a research project on British poetry and poets, David Piorek’s 11th grade English students learned about good research databases for speeches they are writing on a controversial topic, Ian Uhalt’s Social Studies classes got help with preliminary research on an important historical event and its impact, and William Brown’s English students learned about and practices writing meaningful comments on each others’ blog postings. Here is the list of tips we went over together for the commenting discussion.

And, a highlight of the two week period was Sra. Rossell’s AP Spanish class’s Google Mystery Hangout activity with Sra. Adriana Diaz-Ross’s Spanish class at Menlo School. Stand bye for a separate posting about that activity.

In addition, I attended the California School Library Association’s Centennial Conference at the Hyatt Regency, San Francisco Airport from Wednesday night, February 4 – Sunday afternoon, February 8. I wrote a posting before the conference on my personal blog about the presentations I was doing there. Stand by for a posting here focusing on conference take aways.

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized February 19, 2015

January 2015 at the Library

letter H letter A letter P Garland Letter P MAGPIE plate letter y letter N letter e letter W letter Y letter E letter A letter R !
January was a short month at the library, with days off for Winter Break and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Finals and semester textbook distribution taking up several days. Nevertheless, several classes visited for research projects and had short lessons and help from me on sources and bibliography, and I taught lessons to Ms. Vaughan’s Freshmen on how to incorporate quotations in essays. Here are the slides I shared as part of that lesson.

Moving the Fiction Section

A big change in the library during the month of January was the move of the Fiction section into the former Reference Section shelves. With lots of help from volunteers and William, my 12th grade Period 5 teaching assistant, we eliminated the old Reference Section, discarding outdated and unneeded books and giving them to class teachers or integrating them into our main Nonfiction Section. (See my last post for an explanation of  the rationale for this project.)  This made room for the Fiction Section to adopt the “prime real estate” previously used by Reference. Our Fiction books are now more prominent and easily accessible to our students!

New Fiction shelves


Library Club’s January #SWVBC Hangout

If you have been following this blog for a while, you probably already know that our Mira Costa Library Club is connected with a network of other school library clubs around the country and participates in monthly “Somewhat Virtual Library Club” Google Hangouts on Air for book discussions.  On January 4, we departed from our norm of discussing one specific book and, instead, asked all t he participants to share one or more favorite books with the group. We had great participation from Mira Costa and compiled a list of book ideas for everyone. I was very proud of the Mira Costa students who shared. Here’s a recording of our meeting:

And, here is the list New Canaan High School Librarian Michelle Luhtala compiled for us of club member book recommendations during our hangout. Thanks, Michelle, for compiling the list. Do check it out and use it for some great reading ideas.

Add comment Posted in  What's happenign February 17, 2015

Dec. 8 – 19 2014 at the Mira Costa Library

Before the New Year comes, I wanted to fill you in on library activities the last two school weeks of December.

Class Visits

As always, we were busy with class visits, including Ms. Vaughan, Ms. Cabrera, Sra. Rossell, Ms. Chen, Ms. Wachell, Mr. Wheeler, Mr. Reichardt, and Mr. Davidson. I worked with Ms. Vaughan’s Freshmen finishing their Of Mice and Men research project and with her Sophomores on a short lesson on how to incorporate quotations in essays. Here are the slides I shared as part of that lesson.

For Ms. Wachell’s Freshmen, I provided lessons on research skills, using our databases, EasyBib for notes and citations, evaluating sites, and finding and giving credit to images using Google Slides for their Mythology Research project. I taught Mr. Reichardt’s Ceramics classes a short lesson on finding good sources for their research in preparation for creating a sculpture on a social issue.

Mr. Davidson’s Period 5 class visited for a two-day digital citizenship lesson. You can see details about the lessons in my last post where I shared about his Period 0 and 2 classes.

Weeding the Reference Section

Weeding the Reference Section

Joan Kramer helps me weed the Reference Section

I was very fortunate and grateful to have Joan Kramer, a wonderful teacher librarian friend who is now retired, visit to help me plan and launch a major weeding project in our Reference Section. Every library needs to make a practice of discarding unused books to make room for new books and make the newer holdings more accessible. We made a lot of progress on the day of her visit, and you will see big changes in the New Year. Our remaining Reference books will be integrated into the main Nonfiction Section, and the “prime real estate” where the Reference Section has been will become a Fiction Section.  Please look for a complete write-up on this weeding project coming soon.

Empty Reference Shelves

Empty Reference Shelves

Hour of Code

Hour of Code at Mira Costa

During the week of December 8, we hosted sessions of Hour of Code during lunch each day in the library, facilitated by Geeks Club and Girls Only Coding Club members. Students were also able to participate in Mr. Braskin’s lab and the Math/Science Lab. Participants had a fun and rewarding experience getting quick introductions to computer programming, and they can also continue on their own at any time with the many fun options on the Hour of Code Site.

Other Activities

As Chair of our school Curriculum Committee, I led a meeting of the group on Monday, December 8. Our group is working on a goal, tasked to us by Ed Council, to better communicate to students and parents what the expectations are in Mira Costa courses, focusing on AP courses, electives, pathways and overall expectations in all classes. To facilitate our work and allow for as much virtual communication as possible, I set up a shared Google Drive and Google+ Community. We look forward to accomplishing our goal this Spring in time for the 2014-2015 registration period. I also represented the Curriculum Committee at the bi-monthly Ed Council meeting on December 16.

I also attended a meeting of the District Technology Committee on December 17. I am on the Professional Development sub-group of the Technology Committee, and contributing to the development of a three-year plan.

Happy New Year!

I wish all of you a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.

Happy New Year

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized  Tagged:  , , , December 27, 2014

Nov. 17 – Dec. 5 2014 at the Mira Costa Library

The week of November 17 was a short week at Mira Costa, since we were closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, but we packed in a lot of activities on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Mr. Zeoli’s 9th grade English classes started a multi-day Mythology research project, which included lessons by me on good quality sources, the importance of citing sources and taking good notes to avoid plagiarism, using EasyBib.com for recording sources and taking notes, and finding and crediting images in Google Presentations/Slides. Ms. Mullen’s 12th grade English students also visited to continue work on their research projects exploring mental and physical disability issues and used our library books, ebooks, and databases, and tracked their soures with EasyBib.

Games Week

We celebrated Games Week, and students played chess and some of our new great new board and card games:

Games Week

Students playing Yu-Gi-Oh Trading card game

Vaughn & Shane with chess table

Chess board makers Vaughan & Shane

Ask at the library any time if you would like to play one of the games.

After Thanksgiving

From December 1 – 5, after Thanksgiving Break, Mr. Zeoli’s classes continued their research and research lessons, and Ms. Vaughan’s 9th grade English students visited for the first three days of a multi-day research project on topics related to their reading of Of Mice and Men. During their visits, I provided lessons on finding and evaluating good sources; using books, ebooks, and databases; and using EasyBib to record and cite sources and take notes.

On Thursday and Friday, Mr. Davidson’s Period 0 and Period 2 Health Class students visited for a two-day lesson in Digital Citizenship. We talked about online safety; online etiquette, good manners, and cyberbullying; building a positive digital footprint; and respecting intellectual property. Here is a link to the lesson file with some of the videos we watched and discussed. Students also completed a short homework assignment including Googling themselves and checking Facebook settings. On the second day in the library, they completed this activity in which they:

  • thought about a topic they care about and that they might be able to share about online and build their digital footprint,
  • searched for blogs they could follow related to their topic of interest
  • found Creative Commons-licensed images related to their topic
  • searched Twitter for tweets related to their interest

After school on Wednesday, December 3, our Library Club participated in our monthly Google+ HOA (Hangout on Air) with other library club #SWVBC (Somewhat Virtual Book Club) partners in a discussion of Butter by Erin Jade Lange.  Our club members were pleased to be joined by some students from Ms. Wiseman’s English classes. I was very proud of our students’ insightful contributions to the discussion. We record each session and store it in the SWVBC YouTube channel, so anyone interested can watch later:

In addition, our Geeks met and prepared to Facilitate Mira Costa’s Hour of Code the week of December 8. Students will be visiting the library and other computer labs on campus during lunch to participate in activities to teach them about computer programming. And, the Library Club and Geeks agreed to join efforts to participate in Mira Costa’s Operation Happiness and provide gifts for a child in need during the holidays.

I also participated in meetings of the Education Council, School Site Council, and Curriculum Committee. And, on the evening of November 17, I was pleased to participate as one of the California School Library Association (CSLA) guest panelists on the monthly TL (Teacher Librarian) News Night. This live news program features a different state library association each month. As one of the CSLA representatives, I shared about the making of the new CSLA advocacy film, “Does Your School Have a Teacher Librarian?” Please watch it if you haven’t already:

Add comment Posted in  Geek Squad ,Research ,The Library Club ,Uncategorized December 6, 2014

Hour of Code Coming to MCHS

Hour of Code at Mira Costa

Did you know that computer coding is becoming one of the most in-demand skills in the workplace?And, even in careers you might not think of, coding comes in handy.

Next week (December 8-14, 2014) the Geeks and Girls Only Coding Clubs are teaming up to bring the “Hour of Code,” an international event, to Mira Costa. The idea is to give students of all ages an exposure to this increasingly important skill. To support the event, organizations such as Khan Academy, Codecademy, and more have created a large selection of self-paced online tutorials.

We are still in the midst of getting the effort set up, but you can check this webpage in progress that has links as well as (coming soon) a signup form. Right now, you can see an introductory video and several tutorial links here. During the week of December 8-14, students can come to the library or one of the campus computer labs during lunch, and, facilitated by our Geeks and Girls Only Code Club members, work on a tutorial. They can also complete tutorials at any other time at home or school. Students may also be able to earn extra credit from some of their teachers for participating.

And, here’s just a quick personal story —Back when I went to Library School to earn my MLS (Masters in Library Science), I found out I had to take a programming class. I was an English Major, and thought, “that’s not why I decided to go to Library School, to learn programming!” To my surprise, I enjoyed what I learned, and it has stood me in good stead throughout my careers in public libraries, technical writing, and as a teacher librarian. While I’m not a programmer, knowing a little about how it works has been helpful over and over again for me as a software user and blog and website creator. And, I have had fun going through some of the Hour of Code tutorials. I am working now to review and strengthen my HTML skills that help me tweak formatting and more in this blog. While current blogging and website software don’t require coding skills, they definitely come in handy.
So … do please invest an hour in a coding tutorial the week of December 8! Teachers and parents can participate also.

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized December 1, 2014

Celebrating Games Week @ Our Library

Games Week

November 15 was International Games Day. As a member of the American Library Association, I was invited to sign our library up for this event and fortunate as a participant to be able to request free board games from different vendors. The great news is that we got eight brand new board games from generous vendors! These games will be a great addition to our new chess table. So, since the games arrived too late to celebrate before November 15, we’re making the entire week of November 17 – 21 a Games Week at the Mira Costa Library. Come by the library any time this week, play one of the board games or chess, and you will be entered in a drawing to win a gift certificate.

Many thanks to Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc., Steve Jackson Games, and Looney Labs for sending us these great new games.

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized November 16, 2014

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