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!


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.

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.

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

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.

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.