Sept. 9 – 18 at the Mira Costa Library

The last two weeks at the Mira Costa Library have been non-stop busy! Here’s a summary of just some of the activities:

Freshman Orientations Continue

Freshman orientations Library orientation

I am continuing to teach Freshman Library Orientations. (See my previous post on this.) Between Sept. 9 – 18, I hosted Ms. Vaughan’s, Mr. Heideman’s, Ms. Clarke’s, Mr. Chow’s, and Ms. Chen’s classes for the two-day program, and Ms. Wachelle’s and Ms. Wiseman’s students for their first day. I’ve been heartened by the feedback the students have been giving me orally and in their Google Forms where they share something they learned or enjoyed. Here are a few sample comments:

  • “I enjoyed collaborating on the introductory project and using lots of Apple/Google technology.”
  • “That you can check out as many books as you want! :)”
  • “Looking around the library searching for things was fun.”
  • “I enjoyed the enthusiasm of using the library and the scavenger hunt.”
  • “I enjoyed learning about all the cool stuff the library has to offer.”
  • “Well, I learned that the library is a cool place that isn’t just for school and there are all types of books I like.”
  • “I enjoyed the scavenger hunt we completed today. I think it helped me get more familiar with where things so I will be able to use the library more often and become a regular user.”
  • “I have learned that the library has many fun activities and it can help you learn your passion.”
  • “I learned what a QR Code is.”
  • “I learned about my new MBUSD account and how to make a good password.”
  • “I liked making my own slide through Google Drive.”

The most popular part of the orientation for students has definitely been creating their own slides in the class Google Slides file. I am working on a display of some of the great slides they created. Come by to see it soon! Through this activity, they learned a tool they can use on their own and to collaborate with other students on presentations in other classes. They also learned about group work. In one class, a student accidentally deleted other students’s slides. We had a learning experience discussing how to avoid interfering with another student’s work in a group project. They also got to see a great feature of Google Slides: the history option, which allowed us to restore the lost slides.

Library Orientation Video

For 10th-12th graders and website visitors, I updated the library orientation video:

Other Library Lessons

While most of the library schedule was filled with the orientations, I also hosted Mr. Geczi’s World History class and Ms. Cabrera’s 9th Grade English class for lessons on research skills as they begin research projects. With Mr. Gezci’s class, we discussed how to avoid plagiarism, how to find and evaluate sources, and how to credit them in their Works Cited. Here’s a link to the slideshow that shows some of our discussion. For Ms. Cabrera’s class, we discussed research sources and also spent time on plagiarism and respect for copyright, and how they compare. Here’s a film I showed them for some background information and to launch our discussion:

I also shared this Venn diagram with them as part of our discussion:

Plagiarism & Copyright compared

We were then able to talk about examples that fall into each of the there areas in the Venn diagram. The students are creating presentations, so they will need to know about both plagiarism and copyright as important aspects of respecting intellectual property. I am looking forward on Monday to introducing them to the built-in Research Tool in Google Slides that will make it easy for them to find and credit copyright-friendly images.

I expect to be teaching the plagiarism and respect for copyright lesson to other English classes.

Library Club Kicks Off

SWVBC Hangout
Our #SWVBC Hangout to discuss The Fault in Our Stars

The library club is now meeting each Tuesday during lunch. We also participated in our first monthly virtual discussion of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars after school last Wednesday. We have a goal this year to use Google Hangouts, and to help our students take ownership of running the software, so that gain experience in a tool that they can leverage for distance communication in other contexts.

All Our Yesterdays

The next meeting of the “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” will be Wednesday, October 8, when we will be the moderators/hosts for All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. All MCHS students are welcome to join the club or simply to participate in the discussion of this fast-paced, time travel story taking place in a dystopian near future. Check our Google+ page for more information:

The library also sponsors a second club, The Geek Squad. It will be starting up very soon, and will be selecting a new name. Stand by for more information on that group!

Your Librarian “On Air”

'Inspire Student Collaboration, Creativity, Copyright-Savvy with Slides, Search, & More' With or without GAFE, get tips on teaching students Slides/Presentations+Drive+embedded search and more to develop collaboration skills, creatively share knowledge mastered, and learn to find and cite copyright-friend images/video.

I had the opportunity during the last two weeks to be on air twice via Google+ hangouts. On September 6, I presented a session for the CUE Learning Revolution Online Summit Featuring Google for Education. As a Google Certified Teacher, I was invited to submit a presentation proposal. This event was a two-day, all-online conference conducted entirely using Google+ Hangouts. My topic was “Inspire Student Collaboration, Creativity, Copyright-Savvy with Slides, Search, & More.”
I talked about how I have become a big fan of using Google Slides with students to help them develop collaboration skills, creatively share knowledge mastered, and learn to find and cite copyright-friend images/video. A huge part of why I like Google Slides for student work is the built-in Research Tool that allows them to search for copyright-friendly  images and more and create an automatic credit for each source as they add them to their presentations. The recording of my session is available only to those who registered to attend the summit, but you can see my presentation slides here. I also post all my presentations on the library website on my Your Librarian Presents page.

GlobalTL Hangout

My second “on air” appearance was as a panel member for the Fall Kickoff Hangout for the recently-established #GlobalTL (teacher librarian) Google+ Community. This community was established by Joyce Valenza and Andy Plemmons, two teacher librarians, to facilitate Teacher Librarians connecting learners, classrooms, libraries and teachers to foster global connections and create meaningful collaboration and inquiry within and between schools. I was invited to participate on the panel to “pitch” greater participation across the U.S. and globally in the Somewhat Virtual Book Club. We had a wonderful discussion of a large variety of ways we can facilitate connections. I have also been engaging interest at Mira Costa in one of the projects Joyce Valenza is working on to connect students in environmental inquiry projects inspired by Sid Fleischman’s new book, Eyes Wide Open. I’m currently working with a group of my Mira Costa colleagues on developing an interdisciplinary curriculum project, and they may use this book as a part of launching it. I hope to have more to report about that soon.

Join the Library Club

FiOSOur 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.

Freshman Library Orientations Underway!

Library Orientation

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

2014-09-02 14.33.51On 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 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

Library orientationDay 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.

2014-09-03 08.43.27The 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!