School Library Month @ the Mira Costa Library

Statistical and Visual Snapshots

We were on Spring Break for the first week of National School Library Month, but we made up for it in activities during the last three. The American Library Association (ALA) and its school library division, The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) asked school librarians to complete and share a “snapshot week” of statistics for our libraries. Here is Mira Costa’s snapshot, from April 25 to 29:

School Library Snapshot

Some of these figures are pretty amazing, I think. For example, we estimated 2,511 student library visits not counting those there for scheduled class visits. These were all students who chose to visit to study, visit with friends, use the computers, do research, participate in our Geeks or Library Club, use our green screen or 3D printer, enjoy our craft table, play chess, and more before school, during Snack, lunch, office hours, lunch, or after school. And, we had 46 different class visits, with students working on and getting help from me and their classroom teachers with research or selecting books. The figure I really wish were higher is our book circulation. Students make lots of use of our electronic resources; I’d love to see more checking out books for pleasure reading. So many of them tell me they are too busy with homework and other activities to read anything beyond what is required for class. I wish they could find more time for reading!

Numbers are one thing. Here’s another snapshot view of the library, with some of the photos of busy students I took during the month of April:

School Library Month Photo Snapshot

Library Activities

As you can see, students are busy participating in lessons, learning and using research skills, studying, using our green screen, playing chess, designing and printing with our 3D printer, “speed dating” with books, enjoying crafts, and, often, just “hanging out.”

Some of the class research projects I assisted students with included:

  • Ms. Meyer’s French students investigated different neighborhoods in Paris in order to write a business proposal for a cafe in their area of choice. To help them with this project, I showed them how to create customized maps using My Maps in Google Maps, how to use Diigo.com for storing bookmarks of sites, and how to find Creative Commons and Public Domain images for their project.
  • Mr. Zeoli’s Freshmen English classes learned about topics related to the Shakespearean era that will enrich their upcoming study of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Ms. Hutchinson and Ms. Gabbert’s freshman English classes explored topics affecting teenagers to enhance their reading of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher  in the Rye
  • Ms. Camaano’s Sophomore English classes investigated topics to help them better understand George Orwell’s 1984.
  • Ms. Sieker’s 1980’s Literature Senior Seminar students each investigated a topic relevant to the era of the 1980’s.

In addition, Ms. Clarke’s Freshman and Sophomore English students all visited to “speed date” young adult literature and select independent reading books. It was exciting seeing so many students leave with a book they found on one of the different genre tables.

Ms. Chen, Mr. Brown, and Ms. Nielsen’s classes also visited and took advantage of our library computers for class assignments.

Library Art: Accordion Books

We have been delighted to display “Themed Accordion Books” made by Ms. Park’s Art 1 students. These photos definitely don’t do them justice; please come by and see them.

Themed Accordion Books

Themed Accordion Books

Themed accordion books

Your Librarians Activities Outside the Library

Outside of the library, I was delighted to participate as one of the co-anchors of TL (Teacher Librarian) News Night on April 18. The topic this month “Providing Books for Diverse Populations.” Our amazing guests included  Paula Chase, Author of The Del Rio Bay series and co-founder of The Brown Bookshelf; L. Divine, Writer and Author of @DramaHighRafranz Davis, Executive Director of Professional & Digital Learning for Lufkin ISD; and Librarian Kathy Burnette, a member of the 2014 ALSC Website Advisory Committee and the 2014 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Committee. The discussion of the importance of supporting books that depict diverse characters, both to allow students to see themselves in books and to help them understand and empathize with people who are different from them, is one everyone will benefit from and enjoy watching. Here is the recording:

Please watch!

In addition, I served as co-moderator of a live Twitter chat for the #TLChat group on April 11 on the topic of Rethinking library spaces & learning space design. Here is a link to the chat archive.

I also had the pleasure on April 27 of co-leading, with Shannon Miller, a webinar for AASL on Storyboard That, a wonderful digital storytelling tool that can be used for storyboarding scripts, telling a story, and as a graphic organizer in so many ways. The recording of our webinar is for members AASL members only, but do visit the Storyboard That site and ask me for more information. Here is a storyboard I made, and also demonstrated how to create, during the webinar:

SLM Storyboard That Story

School Library Month, Poetry Month

April is full of celebrations! It is both National School Library Month and National Poetry Month. School libraries and poetry both have the power to transform lives.

To celebrate the library and the library club have three fun activities on tap:

 

Please note that the date for the Open Mic has been rescheduled To May 6. Looking forward to seeing you at the library! RSVP’s aren’t required for the Open Mike on May 6, but we’d appreciate it if you would let Ms. Lofton know if you plan to perform.

 

March 7 – April 1 at the Library

The month of March flew by at the Mira Costa Library. Here are some of the highlights of our busy month before Spring Break.

Class Research Projects

As always, we had lots of different classes coming to work on research projects. Two of our new English teachers, Keely Gabbert and Maddie Hutchinson, brought their 11th grade English classes for several days of research on culture in the 1920’s in conjunction with their study of The Great Gatsby, with supporting lessons by me.  We talked about quality database sources; how to do citations and annotations; and how to evaluate sources from the open web. Here is the form we had students complete to help them evaluate sources they found on the open web:

I adapted this form for our students from my librarian colleague Glen Warren’s form. Many thanks to Glen for sharing his form with me.

Glen Marx’s 12th Grade Government and Psychology classes visited for a lesson to help launch their research paper assignment. Here are the presentation slides I used during that lesson:

Other Class Visits

In addition to research, Aaron Braskin and Ken Brenan’s Robotics class came to work on modeling 3D chess pieces in Tinkercad. Mr. Braskin and Mr. Benan’s Computer Programming students completed this same assignment recently. You can see information about it in a this previous post. Here is a link to the assignment. While there is other software available for 3D modeling, we love Tinkercad since it is 1) almost completely intuitive with very little learning curve, 2) it’s in the cloud, and 3) it’s free! Here is one of the first chess pieces completed:

Student with chess piece

2016-04-01 12.08.46

A lot of the challenge of this assignment is figuring what our printers can and cannot handle. Often, a piece will need to be tweaked to print properly, so perseverance is frequently part of the learning experience.  We will be printing the rest of the chess pieces after we get back from Spring Break next week.

Another class visiting the library was Anita Rossell’s support class for English Language Learners. Ms. Rossell and I have been collaborating on an assignment to have the students document their year at Mira Costa. Working in pairs, the students will script and produce a documentary-style film with several different scenes about their experiences. For one of the scenes, they will take advantage of our new green screen. (see below.) I can’t wait to see the films they make. I’ll be sharing more about this project as the students proceed. Last week, the students worked on storyboarding their film scripts, using StoryboardThat.com, an easy-to-use, very flexible tool for digital storytelling I was able to share with them.

Maker Fair

We held our third maker fair in the library on March 24. The Geeks Club, Library Club, Girls Coding Club, and Robotic Club all did a great job of hosting activities. Here are some photos of students doing 3D modeling with Tinkercad, participating in the Robotic activity, making pinwheels, using Google Cardboard, and more:
Maker Fair 3-24-16

Green Screen!

The library just got and set up a green screen kit, which students can use for photography and film making projects. The green screen allows us to take photos in front of the screen and then use software to make the green background transparent so that we can lay the image on a different background. Here is what our setup looks like:

green screen

Green screen

So far, we have been using Do Ink‘s Green Screen app on our library iPad to take the photos and lay them on other backgrounds. To assure that we are respecting intellectual property, we found all the backgrounds by searching Pixabay for copyright-free images or Photosforclass for Creative Commons images. To make students aware of this resource for film making, I started advertising last Wednesday that they can come in and have their photos taken, and some of our Geeks Club and Library Club members have pitched in to take the photos. Here are some of the fun photos we have taken so far:

Green Screen Fun

We also took a number of photos when Stacy Cabrera’s students used our green screen room for a “speak easy” party celebrating their completion of The Great Gatsby on April 1:

Stacy Cabrera's English students mock "Speakeasy " after completing The Great

Individual students and classes are invited to schedule time in our green screen room for projects. As I mentioned about, Ms. Rossell’s students will be using the green screen as part of their documentary film project.

Hokki Stools and Legos!

And, we have four great new Hokki stools. Students and teachers alike are loving them!

Mr. Brown on new stool
Teacher William Brown trying out one of the new Hokki stools

hokki stools!

We also just got a big box of legos and Sarah Geller, one of our library volunteers, donated some lovely origami paper. Students are enjoying unwinding at our craft table drawing and making items with the origami paper and legos:

craft table

craft table

craft table

 

#CUE16 Conference

Last week I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the CUE (Computer Using Educators) Conference in Palm Springs. It is a huge conference, with approximately 7,000 enthusiastic educator attendees this year. As always, I came away charged with a wealth of new ideas, new information, new friends, and motivation to try new ways to make our library program better.

We were also so lucky to have Joyce Valenza as a spotlight speaker this year. She is a top leader in the school library field, my #1 role model for my work, and has so much to offer all the educators at CUE. I was able to attend two of her sessions, and, even though I regularly follow her blog and hear her at national library conferences, I still learned many new ideas from her. I was inspired by her presentation on all the important transliteracies we need to be teaching students today. She also did a great session on ways that we can be curating helpful sources for students and how we can teach them to curate their own research. Some of the other inspiring sessions for me were one by Anna Kozma on the ins and outs of using green screens for filmmaking and one by fellow teacher librarian Liz Dodds on ways students can building positive digital footprints by creating social media content.

To quickly share my CUE highlights and take-aways I’ll be taking advantage of in my library, I have assembled a “Storify” story using my tweets and those of others at the conference. I’ll also share my presentation slides below the story. Be sure to scroll to see the full story.

Here are the slides from Gail Desler’s and my “Can I Use That?” session (link). I share as much of this information as as I can when classes visit to work on projects that include use of images and sounds.


Here are the slides from my “Students Are Makers” session (link). You will see lots of photos of engaged Mira Costa students in it!

Obviously, sharing a slide show doesn’t really begin to convey what was said during a session. Please contact me for more information about the content of either of these sessions.

Feb. 22 to March 4 at the Library

Here are some of the library highlights since we returned from our Ski Week break:

#WRAD16

February 24 was “World Read Aloud Day.” Every year World Read Aloud Day calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories. For several years now, librarians have been connecting students via Skype and Google Hangouts to other schools to meet each other and to read and be read to. This year, many libraries chose to celebrate all week in order to expand the options to connect. Two amazing librarians, Shannon Miller and Andy Plemmons, set up a Google Doc we could use to make connections. Scheduling sessions across different time zones can be a challenge, but our library made two matches. Our Library Club President Danit Rich read Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax to a 1st Grade class at Punahou School in Hawaii, and William Brown’s International English class read C. Alexander London’s New Day, New Friends to a Kindergarten class at Searington Elementary School in Albertson, NY. Our students were awesome!

Unfortunately, we had some tech issues connecting with Punahou, so, while we did get to read, and the 1st graders enjoyed it, there wasn’t enough time to visit as well. For the Kindergarten class, our students all got to introduce themselves, share what country they are from and how it compares with where we live, and to each read a page from the book.

And here are some photos from the library club reading:

WRAD reading

2016-02-23 12.50.10

Here is a recording of a portion of William Brown’s students reading and visit, plus some photos:

WRAD reading

WRAD reading

WRAD reading
Research

Laura Clarke’s Freshmen English classes visited the library the week of February 22 for five days of research related to topics that will provide background information for their study of Romeo and Juliet. We explored different databases and print books and recorded citations and notes in EasyBib, with all the needed links set up in Google Classroom. We also talked about how to find copyright-friendly images for their presentations and how to credit them. Her 10th grade classes, that visited before the break to do research on topics related to Romanticism, returned on February 26 for a lesson similar to her Freshman students on finding and crediting images in their presentations. Then, they all made good progress preparing their presentations.

Stacy Cabrera’s 11th Grade English students spent four days in the library doing research for their Capstone project comparing two different literary works. We talked about how to find research material in Artemis Literary Resources, a literature research database available to us from the Los Angeles County Library system, about our own subscription databases as resources, about evaluating websites for quality, and note-taking and citations in EasyBib.

Greg Kloes’s 11th Grade U.S. History students visited the library for three days of research in preparation for creating their own magazines on different themes depicting the 1920s. We explored useful database sources for information and websites for finding photos and other images from the time using this library website link: bit.ly/historicalimagesources

SWVBC Afterworlds Discussion

The Library Club participated in its monthly Google Hangouts on Air book discussion with our “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” network of school libraries from around the country. This month’s discussion was of Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield. Here’s the recording of our discussion:

As always, the discussion was lively and participants shared what worked and didn’t work for them in the book.

3D Design and Printing

Our two 3D printers seem to be running non-stop these days! Over the last two weeks, I have been printing projects for Kate Martin and Amber Dixon’s Art 2 students as well as Bharathi Singh’s Algebra 2 students. The Art students used these instructions – bit.ly/2Dto3Dprint – to draw a design with a sharpie and then convert it to 3D in Tinkercad. The Math students did a very similar assignment; they drew a design with a sharpie, but with the requirement that it be a linear, quadratic, or cubic function and its inverse. And, on Thursday and Friday, the Robotics students visited to learn about how 3D design and printing work. Then, they worked on a project, also converting a design from 2D to 3D. The variation in their assignment from the Art and Algebra 2 students was that they created their initial design with Scratch, a graphical programming language, rather than drawing it.

Robotics class
Working with the Robotics Class

These similar projects for students in very different subjects demonstrates how cross-disciplinary the process of learning about and creating 3D designs is. Our 3D printers are truly helping to break down artificial subject area barriers.

Here are just a few examples of the recent work we have printed:

Math project on printer
Algebra 2 design set to print on our printer
Art Class 3D projects
Art Class 3D project examples

I also printed a set of conic section objects that make up a cone at the request of Christine Baral for her students:
conic section with credit

This design came from Thingiverse, a great site for finding and sharing 3D design ideas. These sections will enable students to actually hold and examine objects they normally have to mentally visualize from 2D illustrations.

This week, we will be printing the Robotics class assignments, and the students will be coming back March 10 and 11 to work on the same chess piece assignment the Computer Science students recently completed.

Valentine Serenades

Finally, I was flabergasted and tickled to receive not one, but two, Valentines Serenades from Mira Costa’s talented singers. The first video is from the a cappella serenade; the second is from the Sax Pax. Many thanks to these amazing students!

January 19 – February 12 Highlights

We had just 19 days of school from January 19 to February 12, and several of those days included semester finals and semester textbook checkouts and returns. Even so, the library was packed with activity! Here are some of the highlights.

Research

Some of the class research visits included Stacy Cabrera’s 11th Grade English students working on group research projects completing a collaborative dossier based on author genre/theme/style groupings and Laura Clarke’s 10th Grade English students exploring a research topic that will lend background to their study of the Romantic period in literature. The classes had short lessons in research and took advantage of our subscription databases, including our two new video databases from InfoBase and Alexander Street, as well as evaluating open web sources for quality.

3D Design

Mr. Braskin and Mr. Brenan’s Computer Science students finished their 3D chess piece projects and created some very original and attractive pieces while learning about 3D design using Tinkercad and becoming astute with measurements and understanding what types of designs are feasible to print on our printers. Here’s a link to the assignment. Here are just a few examples of their work:

3D chess pieces

3D chess pieces

Kate Martin and Amber Dixon’s Art 2 students also visited the library for three days and worked on 3D design projects. I introduced them to how 3D printers and Tinkercad work, and then they had the choice of creating a 3D design starting with a sharpie drawing, using these directions (bit.ly/2Dto3Dprint), or creating designs from scratch in Tinkercad. We will be printing out their designs next week, so stand by for some photos.

Marisa Reichardt Author Visit

The library was honored to host debut author Marisa Reichardt on February 10. She spoke to groups of students during both AM and PM office hours and to Shannon Vaughan’s Creative Writing class about her new novel, Underwater and how she became a writer. Here are a couple of photos of her with students.

Marisa Reichardt and Students

Marisa Reichardt and StudentsThe library has copies of Underwater for students to borrow, and copies can also be purchased from {pages}, our local independent bookstore, either at the store or online at bit.ly/orderunderwater.

CSLA Conference

Doorways to Diversity

Jane Lofton presenting how to Become an Images Ninja with Google and Other Killer Web-Based Images Tools

I was in San Diego for California School Library Association’s annual conference on the theme of “Doorways to Diversity” February 3 – 7. I served as Social Media/Website chair for the conference, and I presented a workshop session on “Become an Images Ninja with Google and Other Killer Web-Based Apps” and a concurrent session on “Make Twitter Your Number #1 Tool for Building Your Personal Learning Network.” I also coordinated CSLA’s third annual “Unconference,” at which participants chose their own topics to discuss and shared great ideas with each other.

Here are my Images Ninja session slides:

 

I also recorded the session using Google Hangouts on Air:

 

Here are my Twitter session slides:

And, my Twitter session recording:

I also encouraged other presenters at the conference to take advantage of Google Hangouts on Air to easily record their sessions. Here’s a link to my personal blog with information about how to do that. The information applies equally well to recording class lessons to make them “re-windable.”

I came away from the conference with many wonderful new ideas of ways to build diversity into our library program and collection and how I can better serve both our students and faculty. I’ll be sharing more about the conference soon.

Marisa Reichardt Author Visit

Marisa ReichardtThe library is delighted to be hosting author Marisa Reichardt on Wednesday, February 10. Ms. Reichardt, wife of Mira Costa Ceramics teacher and Water Polo coach Jon Reichardt, will be speaking about her first novel, Underwater, which was just published this month. Here is the publisher’s description of this YA realistic fiction book:

In the aftermath of a deadly high school shooting, seventeen-year-old Morgan is an agoraphobe trapped in the apartment she shares with her mother and brother. When surfer boy Evan moves in next door, she has to face the life she’s been missing.

Underwater

Ms. Reichardt will be speaking to students during both AM and PM Office Hours on February 10. Students can choose to attend either in the morning or the afternoon. Following each session, we will also have books for sale and she will be signing books.

Do purchase a copy of this engaging, thought-provoking book. We have arranged with {pages} bookstore, a local Manhattan Beach independent book vendor, to provide the books at the discounted price of $16. To order in advance online, go to bit.ly/orderunderwater and {pages} will deliver the book to our library for you. You will also be able to purchase books on the day of the visit at each of the presentation sessions and during lunch, but we encourage pre-orders to guarantee availability.

Here is a flyer about the visit.

Parents and members of the community are welcome. Be sure to sign in in the office.

January 4 – 15 at the Library – Lots of Making!

LittleBits & Robotics activities at the Maker Fair

While we have, of course, had a number of classes visit for research projects, lessons, and support, the theme for early January has definitely been on making with our 3D printer and other makerspace resources.

Maker Fair

On Thursday, January 14, we had a great maker fair after school, with activities from the Geeks Club, Library Club, Art Club, Robotics Club, and Girls Coding Club. Students got to experience a wide variety of activities, including:

  • designing in 3D using these “Sharpie Drawing to 3D Object” directions (bit.ly/2Dto3Dprint) and getting their projects printed with the help of the Geeks Club
  • experimenting with Google Cardboard virtual reality and littleBits electronics, also with the help of the Geeks Club
  • making pinwheels as a community service project in support of Syrian youth, organized by the Library Club (Get information on the community service project here.)
  • manipulating robots in a fun competition from the Robotics Club
  • making art from recycled books, organized by the Art Club
  • programming our Sphero and BB-8 robots with the help of the Girls Coding Club

Many thanks to all the clubs and students who participated.

Here’s a slideshow with photos of some of the activities and student creations:

Maker Fair - 1/14/16

Computer Science Class 3D Projects

Mr. Braskin and Mr. Brennen’s Computer Science classes visited the library to learn about 3D printing, then embarked on a project in which they:

  1. programmed a 2D geometric shape using Scratch, a programming language
  2. converted their file to .svg format, which is readable by 3D modeling software
  3. imported their files into Tinkecad.com, a 3D modeling app
  4. exported their files to .stl format for printing on the 3D printers

They all came up with amazing, unique designs. Here are just a few examples:

Computer class 2D geometric shapes to 3D printing

ComputerComputer class chess pieces class 2D geometric shapes to 3D printing

Computer class 2D geometric shapes to 3D printing

And, to follow up this first project, they are now working in teams to design chess pieces we will be printing.

Computer Class chess piece project

Stand by for some of these examples!

Malik’s iPhone Stand

In a recent posting, I wrote about how projects often require several design iterations and printer adjustments to make them work, representing an exercise in persistence. Here’s Malik’s Phone stand completed!

Malik's iPhone stand

More Photos

For more photos of our 3D printing activities, visit this Flickr album.