Every summer, the wonderful folks at Sync offer free audiobooks for teens. And, summer starts early at Sync: this week. From now through August 17, you can download two free audiobooks per week. For example, until May 11, you can download Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle (Dreamscape Media) and L.A. Theatre Works productions of The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial by Peter Goodchild. Each of the weekly selections pair a YA (young adult) title with a classic title on a related theme.
You can download either to your computer or to a mobile device. There are instructions on how to do both on the site. The important thing to note is that you must download and install the titles during the designated week or you will miss the opportunity for those titles. You don’t need to listen to them right away – they are yours forever once you install them. Here’s a link to the complete list.
I’m afraid I’m posting this late for Week one, so go to the site TODAY to get the first two books. They will be available until 4am PT on May 12. Then, the selection will switch to Week 2 books, which are The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury (Scholastic Audio) and Divine Collision: An African Boy, an American Lawyer, and Their Remarkable Battle for Freedom by Jim Gash (Oasis Audio).
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:
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:
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.
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 @DramaHigh; Rafranz 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:
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:
Here’s a flyer I created to share information about the Somewhat Virtual Book Club. It came out a little too narrow embedded here. So, for ideal viewing, visit this link. Please join us for our discussion of I’ll Give You the Sun this Wednesday at 3PM.
Join the MCHS Library Club and our “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” network of school library clubs from around the country for a discussion Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun, Wednesday, October 7 at 3pm. Mira Costa is acting as moderator for this month’s discussion.
It’s that time of year when, sadly, library activities ramp down a bit and textbook returns start to take over the library. Still, we’ve had a busy last few weeks at the library. Here are some of highlights, including blogging, Calculus videos, booktalk videos, 3D printing, library club, summer reading, and more:
Anita Rossell and I have been collaborating on her AP students’ blogs for two years now. Last week, her students visited for the last time to work on posting assignments. I will miss them! You can see links to their blogs on this class blog. Several of the students wrote optional last reflections on blogging, including Chris, Jasmin, and Noemi. Thanks to all of you!
Some of Mr. Carlson’s music students also started blogging this semester and were in the library working on their postings.
This is the fourth year that Linda Gesualdi and I have collaborated on an end-of-year project in which students create Calculus videos for future Costa students. Since they publish them on YouTube or other public sites, they become available to a world audience, and help students build their digital footprints. We ask the students to develop an engaging story to explain a Calculus concept. In addition to sharing their Calculus knowledge and learning to use a new technology tool for digital storytelling, they also learn about finding copyright-friendly images and sounds to include in their videos and about how to give proper credit to material they use. You can see the assignment here. All the students chose to use PowToon as their video-creating tool this year.
I will be adding many of their videos to the library website over the summer in preparation for the fall. You can see selected previous videos there now on this project page. Here are just two great examples from this year:
This one, by Trace and Brooke, tells the story of determining how many people will be at the zoo at 6pm using simple integration:
This one, by Ed and Leora, uses implicit differentiation to make sure the world doesn’t explode!
In my last posting, I shared about Ms. Clarke’s students’ booktalk video assignment. The booktalks are now complete. I will be adding many of them to the library website over the summer and will create QR codes to display on copies of the books in the library to help other students select books they will enjoy reading. Here are a few great examples:
Makerspace / 3D Printer Progress
Members of the Geeks Club, library volunteer Sue Hefner, and I have been working on getting our new 3D printers calibrated and operational. We still have things to figure out, but we have been pleased to succeed in printing several objects so far. Here’s a time lapse video of printing out my own first design, the initials “MC”:
Based on our experience so far, I believe that the free tinkercad software is the best option for students who want to practice designing objects we can print. To print on our PrintrBot Simple Metal, files need to be in .stl format. Tinkercad runs entirely in the cloud so no software needs to be installed on your computer, it is very user-friendly, and it makes it easy to save files in the .stl format. Unfortunately, we are running out of time to print student projects this school year, but the printers will be available to any students interested in designing and experimenting with 3D modeling in the fall. Our new littleBits and Raspberry Pi will also be available. See my last post for more information about these items.
Library Club SWVBC meeting
The Library Club had our final monthly “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” Google Hangout discussion for the year on June 3. Our book for this month was The Martian by Andy Weir. (By the way, The Martian is one of the Alex Award winners this year, so on our list of summer reading options for 11th and 12th graders.) I believe this month’s discussion was the best one of the year! The students had many very interesting insights about the book, and our discussion branched off to a number of thought-provoking related topics. Here’s the recording of the session:
I am very proud of our club members for their consistency in participating in our club and our discussions. Our own club is the only one in our library club network that hasn’t missed a single one of our monthly discussions. Even in February when I was en route to my CSLA conference, the club set up the Google Hangout and held the meeting without me.
Summer Reading Requirement
Each year, the English Department has a required summer reading program. I have been delighted to participate in the department’s planning and the new program for this year, which includes having 9th and 10th graders select books from the prestigious Printz Award list and 11th and 12th graders select from the equally prestigious Alex Award list. Both of these awards are given by committees from YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. The awards are announced each January at the American Library Association Midwinter conference, and I always wake up early on awards morning to watch the streamed ceremony and wait with excitement to learn which books will be winners. Then, I immediately order those we don’t already have in the library. The Printz Award recognizes the best young adult titles published in the previous year, while the Alex Award recognizes adult books with particular appeal to young adults.
Please visit this page on the library website for links to all the summer assignments and more information about the options – including audio clips, book trailers, and author interviews – to help select a book you (or, for parents, your child) will love. Please also feel free to contact me for suggestions based on my reading of most of the books.
More on Summer Reading
Please don’t stop reading after doing the summer reading assignment! Stand by for another posting on lots more summer reading ideas.
During the month of May and early June, I served as guest editor of the CUE blog. I wrote two postings and solicited and edited two more. Please check them out:
As many of you know, I am a big fan of using Twitter for positive social networking for students, teachers, and anyone interested in developing a personal learning network. Last January, I developed and taught an online class, Learn2Tweet, for California school librarians attending the California School Library Association conference. By going through the four week class, they were prepared to participate as active tweeters during the conference. Over the last month, I have had the pleasure of teaching a similar course for the American Association of School Librarians leadership, in preparation for the American Library Association Conference. While that course content is password protected, you can get an idea of the content from my Learn2Tweet course. Please contact me if I can answer any questions about Twitter or get you up and running on it!
Since the library is one of the several places on campus with class sets of computers, it has been used for the new California standardized testing during much of the last two weeks. All 11th graders participated in two mornings of testing May 14 – 21. That meant, unfortunately, that the library was closed for other class or individual student visits all those mornings. I do, nevertheless, have some exciting library lessons and other activities to share.
Makerspace Startup Supplies Arrive!
On May 11, the Geeks Club, with help from the Library Club, unpacked startup supplies for our library’s new makerspace! We are very excited about what we will be able to do with these these and how we can share them with the entire Mira Costa population. The supplies include two 3D printers, a Raspberry Pi, and two littleBits kits. So, you may be wondering, what are all these items I just mentioned? And, for that matter, what is a makerspace? Here are some short explanations:
A makerspace is a space in which students can tinker with electronics and other materials, have fun, challenge themselves to figure out how to design something, and make creative products. While many of our students take classes in which they learn about and practice programming, art, and/or electronic building, a makerspace allows all students to tinker, explore, have fun, and be creative. The library is an ideal place in which to start a makerspace, because it is open to everyone on campus and has a staff person (me, your librarian) and enthusiastic helpers (the Geeks Club members) to provide help and support.
3D printers provide the capability to “print” 3D objects designed in 3D software applications from strands of plastic filament. The printer melts the plastic filament and then reshapes it in layers into an object using directions derived from the 3D software.
A Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer. Once plugged into a computer monitor and keyboard, students can use it to explore computing and to learn how to program the operating system in languages like Scratch and Python. Our Geeks Club members, and anyone else interested, will be using it to learn about and experiment with programming computer operating systems.
littleBits are small electronic light, sound, motor, and sensor building block modules that all snap together with magnets and allow students to experiment and create machines. Students will have the opportunity to try out unlimited combinations of the components to create working machines.
Right now, our Geeks Club members are working away getting the 3D printer up and running. Stand by for introductory makerspace events open to all students very soon. In the meantime, contact me or any of the club members if you want to get involved in the planning.
Booktalk videos in progress
Ms. Clarke’s English students visited the library for a short introduction to booktalk videos. As a final project for the year, they will all be creating short videos promoting a nonfiction book they recently read. We talked about what makes a good booktalk, using these guidelines I provided. Once the projects are complete, we will be uploading good examples to the library website and adding QR codes to books so students can view a booktalk while considering whether to read a book in hand.
Here’s an example of a booktalk done by one of our students earlier this year:
The Library — a very busy place!
And, as you can see in one of my first experiments with making a hyperlapse video, even on Senior Ditch Day last Friday, the library was a very busy place during lunch!
One of my activities outside school this month has been serving as guest editor of the CUE (Computer Using Eductors) Blog. You can see the post introducing me here. My first of four postings summarized highlights of California School Library Association’s Information Literacy Summit during the March CUE Conference. The second posting, on how we can support teachers implementing the new standards, was one I solicited and edited. It’s by Mark Archon, Director of Instructional Technology Services for the Fresno County Office of Education. Stand by for two more postings about selecting quality research sources by Tasha Bergson-Michelson and why we need teacher librarians by me.
Each year, I know that summer is near when I get the announcement of the start of Sync’s free summer audiobooks. The amazing Sync website offers an annual summer program of two free audiobook downloads each week. This summer, the program has been extended to 14 weeks with a total of 28 free audiobooks! And, summer starts early with Sync; Week 1 began yesterday, May 7, and and the program continues through August 13. Titles offered each week are always paired, featuring one contemporary YA (young adult) book and one classic on a related theme. Week 1’s books are popular YA title, Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and classic Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Read about these selections here on the SYNC blog.
To participate, be sure to download each of the selections during the scheduled week. The books will no longer be available after the last day of each week. Each week starts on a Thursday. You don’t actually need to listen to the books during the availability week; you just need to download and install them. Once you download and install the books, they become yours and you can listen to them at any time. You can visit the SYNC site for more information and to request text message or email alerts each week. Be sure to check this link for information about how to download titles.
So, be sure to enrich your summer with some great YA and classic literature.
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 13and let your voice for new library book purchases be heard!
The Mira Costa Library Club is delighted to serve as host for this month’s “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” online book discussion. We will be discussing All Our Yesterdays. Here’s what I wrote about the book in my Goodreads summary after I finished last summer:
I really, really loved this book. I loved the time travel part and how it made me puzzle out how all that works. I loved gradually discovering how characters from one time and another are connected to each other. I loved the suspense. And I loved the romance.
I am especially excited that Christin Terrill, the author, has agreed to join us! If you are still a doubter as to the value of Twitter, please note that I was able to connect with her and extend the invitation via Twitter.
Many thanks, Christin, for agreeing to join us in our online Google + hangout! All the students and the librarians in the participating clubs are so jazzed that we will have the chance to talk to her live. All Mira Costa students are invited to join our club for the discussion in the library lunch room at 3 PM on Wednesday, and we also welcome any remote remote participants who would like to participate as well. The event will be viewable live by anyone at this link. If you want to join the Hangout room as a participant, please email me. Here’s a map of our current network of library clubs, created for us by Cathy Jo Nelson, Librarian at Dorman HS, in Roebuck, SC: