Our Library Club, a group of students who enjoy reading, sharing about what they read, and supporting our library’s programs, is having our first weekly meeting on Tuesday, September 9 during lunch. Please join us! Please also read my posting on my personal blog for details about plans for our club’s participation in the “Somewhat Virtual Book Club (#SWVBC),” a group of school library clubs that connect together online once a month after school for book discussions. We’ll be having our first online discussion on Wednesday, September 17, at 3:30 PM, to talk about John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Even if you can’t get to the Tuesday lunch meetings, you are still welcome to join our after-school #SWVBC discussions. Come to the library after school on the 17th for fun, refreshments, and a great discussion using Google+ Hangouts.
It’s been a super busy week at the Mira Costa High School Library! We are still in the midst of getting textbooks to late-enrolling students and those switching classes, and we also have some new textbook titles arriving, I have also been training several new volunteers and one student aide, people I depend upon as a staff of one to keep my library running. Despite all this activity, I always switch focus to the library teaching program as quickly as possible, and I began teaching Freshman library orientations on Tuesday, September 2, just five days after school opened. Each of the Ninth Grade English classes come for two day orientation lessons. Eight Ninth grade classes – Mr. Holland’s, Mr. Wheeler’s, and Mr. Westerberg’s – all visited for two days each, and Ms. Cabrera’s students came for their first day on Friday, for a total of 17 orientation lessons this week. To get all the Ninth graders in, I will be continuing orientations for the next two and half weeks. Here’s a summary of what I have been covering with them.
Orientation Day 1
On Day one, we play a guessing game based on an iPad image I display on the screen for them, in which each “app” represents a feature of the library. I describe the app, then students guess what it is. Once they do, I share a little more about that feature. In the process, students learn about how students who use the library more are better students, about me and my role as a teacher librarian, how to find books and ebooks, research resources, technology resources, the library’s few simple rules and our basic procedures, the after school program, clubs and other fun activities and events, accessing the virtual library through the library website portal, and how they can explore their passions at the library. Here’s the Prezi presentation file I use to run the game:
While it’s not self-explanatory without my commentary, I embedded it here so that you can see the iPad image.
This year I am trying a new tool called Socrative.com for the student responses. It’s one of the websites that I learned about as a member of the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning selection committee. It is one of the top 25 sites our committee chose and is promoting this year. The students enjoy being able to submit their answers via computer rather than on paper. I decided to go with it instead of the Google Form I did last year since it offers a “teacher lead” mode which is enabling me to display just one question at a time and to see the student responses immediately and thus better check for understanding. It is also working better to assure that every student to responds to every clue.
Before we start the guessing game, I also ask the students to answer the question, “I wish the library would …” to give me input on what they would like to see in their library. I do what I can to accommodate all their requests. Many of them share what kind of books they would like us to have more of, and I always use that input when making purchases. I also get frequent requests to simply get more books, and I will definitely be doing that this year! In fact, I have a goal to add a new database from EBSCO that will radically increase the number of ebooks we offer. Here are a few responses I got this year that are going to more difficult to fulfill!
- have round, small tables so groups of friends could study together easily (I am hoping to get some new furniture soon!)
- have more staff and be open longer hours
- have iPads
- have more computers
Do know that I listen to all the requests and fulfill all that I can.
Orientation Day 2
Day 2 of the orientation is a scavenger hunt. For the last three years, I have had students team up in groups of two and complete a sheet of questions that gets them moving around the library looking for books, scanning QR codes as clues, and learning about how to use the library catalog and access the library website resources. Here’s a link to last year’s form: last year’s form. My goal with this activity is to have every student complete every activity and get a 100 percent. For the several questions with only one correct answer, I would check their responses for accuracy then help them through correcting them if necessary. I have been wanting to go paperless with this form for a while, but I couldn’t figure out how I would be able to quickly check whether the students got those several questions that only have one right answer. This year I was determined to take this activity paperless. With some inspiration from two of the model activities I experienced at the Google Teacher Academy I attended in July -Jon Corippo and JR Ginex-Orinion’s Google Iron Chef activity and Lisa Highfill’s HyperDocs activity – I created a plan that began with this Google Form:
One of the features of this form is that, in the case of two questions for which there is only one correct answer, I used “validation.” This feature allowed me to check for the correct answer and to return a hint if the student entered anything else. For example, if they don’t enter the correct call number for the most recently-published book for the topic in the QR code clue they scanned, it prompts them to be sure to sort their catalog results by date and to include the letters as well as the number. The students couldn’t submit their form unless they got these questions right. Since my goal was for every student to get everything right and thereby learn the skills of searching our library catalog, this validation worked beautifully. Of course, some of the students asked me for help when they found that their answers were wrong, but I was pleased that most of them headed the prompt and tried again on their own and corrected their own errors. And, although I had each student submit his/her own form, they were working in teams of two so they were able to help each other through a lot of it.
The last task in the Scavenger Hunt gives the students instructions on how to login to their district Google Apps for Education (GAFE) account, then navigate to Google Classroom, join the library orientation class, and find the assignment to edit a whole-class Google Slides file sharing their passions, a book or ebook they found on the topic, and their photo. Here’s a link to what the slideshow looked like before they started it. (For each class, I filled the teacher’s name and class period.) I gave the students very minimal oral directions for these activities; instead, I encouraged them to read the directions carefully and help each other figure out what to do before asking for help. I was pleased how many students worked out how to complete all the activities on their own. They also clearly were enjoying themselves as they found books on their interests and shared about them in their slides. At the end of each period, one of the students ran the completed slideshow and each of the students shared their own slides orally. They left the library with a number of skills, new to many of them. They left knowing:
- that students who use the library more are better students
- that the library is a place to visit both for academics and to explore their passions and interests
- how to browse the shelves and use our online catalog to find books
- how to login to our library computers using our Guest account
- how to use QR codes
- how to log into their GAFE accounts
- how to use Google Classroom to access an assignment
- how to edit a shared Google Slides file and add an image
I will be promoting use of our GAFE accounts and Google Classroom to our teachers this year, so the Freshmen will already be set up for it.
I plan to display of some of the students’ responses to the slide show question about their passions and books they found about them. Do come by to see them!
I’d like to extend a big welcome to the 2014-2015 school year both to our returning students and parents, and to our brand new students and families. I look forward to working with all of you in the library. One of my goals this year is to help every student use library resources not just for school requirements, but to pursue his or her own passion.
My Summer, My Fall Plans
One thing everyone to seems to agree on is that the summer literally flew by! I had a wonderful one, with some relaxation and travel, getting together with some Mira Costa teachers to talk about plans for this year, attending the American Library Association Conference in Las Vegas the end of June, and participating in the Google Teacher Academy in Mountain View the end of July.
Please see my posts in my “Jane Lofton’s School Library Journey” blog for an account of the ALA Conference (part 1 and part 2) and the Google Teacher Academy. While the summer did disappear way too quickly, I am excited to be back and to have the opportunity to share what I learned in Las Vegas and Mountain View. I am especially proud, now that I have completed the Google Teacher Academy, to be a new Google Certified Teacher (GCT). As we learned during the academy:
- Outstanding educators with a passion for using innovative technologies and approaches to improve teaching and learning.
- Creative leaders who understand opportunities and challenges, and have a desire to help empower others in their local community and beyond.
- Ambassadors for change who model high expectations, life-long learning, collaboration, equity, and innovation.” http://www.google.com/edu/programs/google-teacher-academy
One of the best parts of the experience is that I have a brand new network of 64 other cohort members with whom to share ideas and get support as to how best to improve education for our students. And, one of the commitments that I made as a Google Certified Teacher is to develop an action plan. I considered a lot of possibilities, but decided that mine will be to help teachers get their students blogging. I want students not to just learn about topics they are passionate about; I want them to go on to share their expertise and creativity, and a great way to do that is by writing online journals. Blogging has so many things going for it: it allows students to find their voices, to write across the curriculum, to learn all the key elements of digital citizenship, and to build a positive digital footprint. What’s more, it can be a lot of fun! I will be writing more about this soon, but you can view my action plan now here.
Out with the Textbooks!
The main “view” in the library during registration days and the first three and a half days of school was tall stacks of textbooks. With the help of Cindy Gardner from our main office and a crew of wonderful volunteers (see below), we checked out 7,566 textbooks and processed 1,493 new ones during the last two weeks. That’s a lot of books! I couldn’t have done it without their help. The best news, though, is that we cleared the textbook stacks away so the library could return to our normal seating arrangement and make room for student visits by Thursday afternoon. You can see these students taking advantage of our return to “normal”:
Textbook piles cleared! We’re back to being a library! Come visit pic.twitter.com/aOMH15Bh0i
— MiraCostaHSLibrary (@miracostahslibr) August 29, 2014
Starting Tuesday morning, each of the Freshman English classes are scheduled for two-day orientations to learn about how they can best take advantage of the library. I look forward to spending time with each class. Please come visit if you haven’t already. We are open from 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM Monday through Thursday, and 7:30 AM – 3:00 PM on Fridays.
Many thanks go to these people who helped us get the textbooks processed and distributed these last two weeks:
- Cindy Gardner, our main office clerk who supports the library, took all the returns and lost book payments
- My regular library volunteers, led by coordinator Irene White, who come each week and who also worked during textbook distribution: Irene White, Joyce Kashiwagi, Karen Gebert, Mae Sinkowitz, Melanie McFarland, Carrie Yusuda, Kathy Meola, Carrie Yasuda, Evelyn Rollins, Audrey Ritterman-Estes, and Kim Kluth
- It took all these additional textbook distribution volunteers recruited by the wonderful Ellen Chao to get the job done: Susy Werre, Debbie Strock, Edie Babbe, Barbara Helm, Lisa Bennett, Cecilia Verket, Shuntell Dixon, Patti Ackerman, Kim Brooks, Lisa Krigsman, Deida Merkens, Leslie Whittet, Kim Friedman, Tiffany King, Jeanette Pan, Lisa Taub, Karen Komatinsky, Sarah Geller, Maria Salazar, Daryle Aniello, Kim Brooks, Beth Nicosia, Sonja Pace, Carrie Cook, Joan Krull, Chris Alexiades, Michael Ann Otto, Madelaine Court, Lewis Annette, Marce Livingston, Joelle Knudson, Talia Resin, S. Chesnut, Angie Marer, Karen Avery, and Michelle Sidney
- I also had several great student volunteers: Yuka Noda, Connor Layden, Jimmy Shaw, and several additional great ASB students
Many, many thanks to all of you!
Last month, I attended the American Library Association Conference in Las Vegas. In addition to the huge stack of free published books, advanced reader copies, and audiobooks you see above, I came away with an even bigger stack of new ideas and connections I’ll be implementing at our library and sharing with staff and students in the fall. Please read about my experiences in these two postings on my librarian blog:
It’s been a very busy year at the Mira Costa Library! Here is a short review of some of the highlights of the 2013-2014 year at the Mira Costa High School Library:
You can also view this visual report here.
This report was created using slides made in Canva.com, a great site for dynamic graphics, then imported into ThingLink to add the pop-ups and links for a few more details. Many thanks to Sue Fitzgerald, Teacher Librarian at Pike Middle School in Justin, TX, who concept using Canva and ThingLink I adapted with her generous permission.
Yes, I know it isn’t summer just yet, but we’re all starting to think about it, aren’t we? And, the folks at SYNC are ready to offer some great summer reading options with audiobooks. Each year, SYNC offers a total of 24 summer reading audiobooks free of charge. So what is SYNC? Here’s the explanation from the SYNC site:SYNC is a program that gives away two complete audiobook downloads–a current Young Adult title paired thematically with a Classic or Required Summer Reading title–each week to listeners ages 13+ while SYNC is in session each summer. Titles are delivered through the OverDrive Media Console. You can prepare for the program by downloading the software to your desktop and whichever device you anticipate listening on. SYNC is dedicated to introducing the listening experience to the young adult audience and demonstrates that Required Reading can be completed by listening. SYNC gives away 2 FREE audiobook downloads every week each summer. In 2014, 26 titles will be given away over 13 weeks starting May 15th.
And, even though it’s not summer just yet, the free give aways start this week, on May 15. Here’s the schedule:
May 29 – June 4
CONFESSIONS OF A MURDER SUSPECT by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, Narrated by Emma Galvin (Hachette Audio)
THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE by Agatha Christie, Narrated by Richard E. Grant (Harper Audio)
June 5 – June 11
ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill, Narrated by Meredith Mitchell (Tantor Audio)
JULIUS CAESAR by William Shakespeare, Performed by Richard Dreyfuss, JoBeth Williams, Stacy Keach, Kelsey Grammer, and a full cast (L.A. Theatre Works)
June 12 – June 18
*CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein, Narrated by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell (Bolinda Audio)
THE HIDING PLACE by Corrie Ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill, Narrated by Bernadette Dunne (christianaudio)
June 19 – June 25
I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter, Narrated by Renée Raudman (Brilliance Audio)
ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery, Narrated by Colleen Winton (Post Hypnotic Press)
June 26 – July 2
*FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK by Matthew Quick, Narrated by Noah Galvin (Hachette Audio)
OCTOBER MOURNING: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Lesléa Newman, Narrated by Emily Beresford, Luke Daniels, Tom Parks, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, Christina Traister (Brilliance Audio)
July 10 – July 16
CLAUDETTE COLVIN: Twice Toward Justice by Philip Hoose, Narrated by Channie Waites (Brilliance Audio)
WHILE THE WORLD WATCHED by Carolyn Maull McKinstry with Denise George, Narrated by Felicia Bullock (Oasis Audio)
July 17 – July 23
THE CASE OF THE CRYPTIC CRINOLINE by Nancy Springer, Narrated by Katherine Kellgren (Recorded Books)
THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES II by Arthur Conan Doyle, Narrated by David Timson (Naxos AudioBooks)
July 24 – July 30
HEADSTRONG by Patrick Link, Performed by Deidrie Henry, Ernie Hudson, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine and Scott Wolf (L.A. Theatre Works)
THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE by Robert Louis Stevenson, Narrated by Scott Brick (Tantor Audio)
August 7 – August 13
LIVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS by Ben Lesser, Narrated by Jonathan Silverman and Ben Lesser (Remembrance Publishing)
THE SHAWL by Cynthia Ozick, Narrated by Yelena Shmulenson (HighBridge Audio)
The asterisks (*) are my indicators of books I have recently read in print and highly recommend.
A nice feature of the program is that the weekly titles are always paired with one YA (young adult) title and one more classic work on a related theme.
An important thing to know about the program is that you have to download and install the books during the week they are offered; they are only available during that time frame. So, don’t miss out; get and install the first two titles by May 21. Note that one you have the audiobooks, there is no deadline on when you listen to them, and they are yours to keep indefinitely.
To avoid missing any of the weekly offerings, you can sign up for email and text alerts and be first to know when new titles are available to downloadat www.audiobooksync.com.
So, get out your mobile listening device, and happy listening!
If you are looking for contemporary news film coverage of any world event between 1896 and the late 2oth century, here is a great find:
On April 17, Newsreel archive British Pathé announced that it had just uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 historic films, in high resolution, to its YouTube channel. British Pathé reigned as the premier newsreel organization for many years. It now has one of the world’s richest archives of historical and cultural footage which includes material major events, famous faces, fashion trends, travel, sport and culture from around the world. The two World Wars are prominently featured.
These videos would be great to show in class, embed in teacher and student websites and blogs, comment on, and use as sources for research projects.
Here are just a couple of the intriguing options. The first is a short clip of Armstrong’s stepping on the moon in 1969. The second is “The World’s First Mobile Phone,” a video made in 1922!
There are also a number of playlists of multiple videos on a theme, such as 85 videos on “A Day That Shook the World.” You could definitely spend hours and hours dipping into history with this archive!
(Note that I wrote this posting for the American Association of School Librarians Blog, and am cross-posting it here.)
I have had the pleasure during the last two years to collaborate with Teresa Nielsen, one of the science teachers at my high school. When she arrived at Mira Costa HS in Fall of 2012, I urged her to bring her classes to the library to work on projects together. For one project, she asked for my input on an assignment in which the students would learn about stem cells and then answer questions about the ethical issues associated with their use. I suggested that, instead of having them answer questions, she have them choose a side and write a letter to their congressmen for or against funding for stem cell research with arguments to support their viewpoints. She liked that idea, and I offered to set up and walk them through a pathfinder for sources and a template to help them learn the structure of a business letter. As a result, in addition to practicing research skills and learning about stem cells, the students also learned about finding their political representatives, how to write a persuasive letter in proper business format, and how to use Google Docs for word processing.
A few weeks ago, Teresa let me know that her Chemistry students were learning about combustion and the benefits and disadvantages of hydrogen power compared to gasoline. In talking about this in class, she told me, a local controversial issue – whether to proceed with drilling for oil off the coast in Hermosa Beach, California – came up, and she thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of this local situation to have the students research the issue, and, like we did with the stem cell project, write and send a letter to a local political figure about their stance on the issue. I agreed that this was an excellent idea! I offered again to set up a pathfinder and prepare a template for a letter to the members of the Hermosa Beach City Council. This time, we went with sending the letter as an email. Here is the pathfinder we used:
Not only did the students write excellent letters voicing opinions on both sides of the issue, but Nanette Barragan, one of the City Council members, responded to many of them, and both she and Hany Fangary, another Council Member, got in touch with Teresa. The students’ letters became part of the March 25 City Council meeting official input, the Beach Reporter featured an article about it, and both Council members came to speak to students from Ms. Nielsen’s class and several other science classes in the library last week.
The students learned about an important “real world” application of their chemistry studies, practiced persuasive writing, and became engaged in an issue affecting their local community.
Last week I attended and presented at the CUE Conference in Palm Springs. The conference had record attendance of over 5,300 attendees as more and more educators see the benefit of this professional development opportunity. In fact, CUE previously was “shorthand” for “Computer Using Educators.” At this conference, the association announced a new logo, included in CUE’s Twitter header pictured above, and that the association name will now be simply CUE. “Computer Using Educators” will no longer be part of the name. The rationale? It used to be that teachers and other educators interested in computers and technology were in the minority. That’s no longer so. Now all educators need to be tech-savvy; they all need the kind of professional development that CUE offers.
Here are a few of my personal conference highlights and takeaways:
LeVar Burton, pictured in my screenshot of CUE’s new Twitter header above, was the Friday morning keynote speaker. Here are some of my Twitter “notes” from his inspiring session: (Be sure to scroll this text box to see all the postings.)
As part of the conference, California School Library Association presented a “Digital Citizenship Summit” on Saturday. We were very fortunate to have Gwyneth Jones, aka The Daring Librarian, a middle school librarian from Maryland, as our lead speaker. In her session on “Secrets of the Remix Mash Up YouTube Generation” she shared that “Everything is remix; use it for engagement.” We all learn by repeating; we can leverage that and help students to be respectful remixers by working with the tools they already love, sharing other engaging tools with them, and teaching them about Creative Commons and attribution. Here’s a tweet shared by teacher librarian Sharlene Paxton during Gwyneth’s session:
— Sharlene Paxton (@SharlenePaxton) March 22, 2014
To engage students, we need to be using tools like YouTube and great YouTube channels like Horrible Histories and the History Teachers Channels, while also introducing innovative tools such as Scoop.it for curation, LessonPaths for online lesson playlists, and Flocabulary for engaging learning through rap music.
The Digital Citizenship Summit also included Pam Oehlman on “Teaching Digital Citizenship by Crafting Quick Flipped Tutorials and Using Existing Resources,” Glen Warren on “The Uncommon Core: New Standards, New Literacies, and Student Significance,” and my session on “”Inspiring Creativity While Respecting Copyright with Fair Use and Creative Commons.”
Pam shared an analogy comparing the pencil to digital citizenship instruction; our kids today need the same careful instruction on using devices as we use to teach kindergartners the safe use of pencils. She shared lots of great resources for digital citizenship instruction, and you can see them reviewed in her presentation file.
All too often in school, Glen shared during his session, we don’t ask kids what they want to learn. Instead, we just tell them what they have to learn. One the great things about school libraries, is that we ask them what they want to learn, and we help them connect that to the literacies, including those covered in the Common Core, that they need to learn. Here is a graphic showing how information literacy, which librarians teach, crosses all curricular areas, including personal interest:
Glen advocated for giving students the same kind of 20 percent time that Google provides, allowing them to pursue their own interests in that time. He also shared how he makes students accountable for their time and has them simultaneously learn and practice information literacy skills. He uses a Google Form to have them submit information about their work, including the questions they asked and the research they did.
In my session, I focused on teaching respect for intellectual property, on understanding copyright and fair use, and on taking advantage of using Creative Commons material to make that task easier. I also advocated for contributing to a creative society by licensing our own works with Creative Commons licenses and encouraging our students to do the same. Here is the presentation file:
If you haven’t already joined the Creative Commons community, please do so! By sharing, we all contribute to a more vibrant, creative world. Gwyneth Jones included this powerful message in one her slides from her Friday session on “Marketing Your Program Like Lady Gaga”:
I tweeted a photo of the slide during her session, and it clearly resonated with many people, since I got lots of retweets.
I was also proud to be a part of CSLA’s booth presence in the exhibit hall, promoting what teacher librarians do:
Thanks to Sue Heraper for taking the photo of me (current Past President) with Janice Gilmore-See, current CSLA President, and Pam Oehlman, 2012-2013 President.
I came away from the conference bubbling with new ideas and some fun tech tips to share. Many of these are included in my Twitter feed (I’m @jane_librarian) from March 20-22, since Twitter has become my primary note-taking method during conferences. Also check the #CUE14 hashtag for a wealth of quotes from presenters, links to sessions and tools, and more. Thanks to all the presenters for their great ideas. I’ve captured only a fraction of them here. Also, thanks to CUE and Executive Director Mike Lawrence for enabling CSLA to present the Digital Citizenship Summit.
Thanks to everyone for participating in last week’s library contest to guess where I took this photo:
And ….. here’s the answer:
It was a shot I took of the construction work on February 27 from the back window of the library. I was so surprised to see that the photo looked like a mountain range after I shot it that I did a retake. The retake came out the same. I also have to admit that, for the contest, I cropped the original photo so you wouldn’t see the part reflected in the glass. Here’s the original, which includes a faint image of me taking the photo and a book truck next to me:
You are welcome to visit the library and check the current view out the back window, but the “mountain” has been flattened. Here’s what it looks like today:
Congratulations to Joe Luck, who wins a Starbucks certificate and who will soon be featured in a library READ poster. Joe’s name was drawn from the several people who guessed correctly that is was the Mira Costa construction site. Other guesses included Catalina, the Mojave Desert, Machu Picchu, and China! Everyone who participated is invited to visit the library and get a Menchie’s discount coupon. Mr. Piorek’s Period 2 class, which participated as a whole class, is invited to be featured in a group READ poster.
Follow the library on Twitter (@miracosthslibr) for ongoing updates on the view of the construction site from the library back window.