May at the Library

Mira Costa was overwhelmed with testing in May – AP tests and Common Core tests for 11th graders. Sadly, many school libraries virtually shut down and become testing facilities this time of year. The library had its share of testing sessions; I helped several English teachers administer Common Core practice tests. Fortunately, though, most of the testing took place in other classrooms, and the library remained open for class and individual student visits throughout the month. Here are some of the highlights:

Book Talks Lesson

Ms. Clarke’s students visited the library in preparation for creating video book talks for their outside reading books. We discussed tips on creating an engaging book talk. We also discussed options for creating their videos and how to upload them to YouTube from either a computer or a mobile device. Finally, I showed them my favorite QR code generator, qr.snipp.com, since they will all be creating QR codes for their book talks and posting them in the library. Here’s an example of the beautiful QR codes it can generate, going to my video book talk on If I Knew You Were Going to Be This Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let You Go, by Judy Chicurel:

Chicurel Book Talk

I look forward to Ms. Clarke’s class visits next month to share their book talk QR codes.

Health Class Digital Citizenship Videos

Health Class Digital Citizenship PSA Videos

Mr. Davidson’s Health classes visited for lessons in digital citizenship. We discussed being an upstander and not bullying or cyberbullying, building identies and positive digital footprints, online privacy, and respecting intellectual property. I used this slideshow as the basis for the lesson: (direct link: bit.ly/mchsdigitalcitizenship):

Next we went over this assignment, in which the students were to create a PSA video on one aspect of digital citizenship. We gave the students several days to learn more about their topics and work on their films. Finally, we had a day to share them with the class. Here are some example of their work:

 

 

Please visit this page on the library website to see more examples.

Calculus Class Videos

Calculus project

Last week, Ms. Gesualdi’s and Mr. Robertson’s Calculus classes visited to work on instructional videos on a calculus topic. We started by discussing intellectual property – copyright, Creative Commons, and fair use – in preparation for making the films so the students would understand what they can and cannot include in a published online work. We also discussed different software options for producing their films. As was the case with the Health classes, most of the students are choosing to use Powtoon, fun, easy, and free software for creating animated videos. Here is the assignment. I am looking forward to seeing their work next week. I will be posting it on this library webpage, where we currently have examples from previous years.

Library Club Poetry Open Mic and SWVBC Discussion

Poetry Open Mic event at the library

Last month (April) was National Poetry Month. Our Poetry Open Mic event didn’t quite fit into April, so we held it on May 6. We had a great turnout and everyone enjoyed hearing the students share their favorite poems.

Our library club also participated in our monthly “Somewhat Virtual Book Club (#SWVBC)” discussion of Winger by Andrew Smith. As always, the discussion was lively and the students and librarians all enjoyed visiting with the other schools in the group. Here is the recording:

And, some photos:

SWVBC on GHOI

TYSL

I am a member of the advocate board for the “Transform Your School Library” movement sponsored by Mackin, and I wrote a blog posting about our Somewhat Virtual Book Club for the Mackin TYL (Transform Your Library) blog. You can read that posting here

Geeks Club and Making

The Geeks Club has continued to support our making activities. Students have been taking advantage of our 3D printers, our green screen, and popular craft table. 

May Making

 

May 26 – June 12 at the Library

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:

Blogging

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.

Calculus Videos

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!

Booktalk Videos

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”:

3D printer hyperlapse

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.

CUE Blog

CUE Blog

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:

Teaching Twitter

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!

May 11 – 22, 2015 at the Library

Our Makerspace Supplies Arrive!

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.

These supplies came to us thanks to a special Google-sponsored offer from DonorsChoose. Twenty one of our students completed a Khan Academy self-paced introductory course in JavaScript, which earned us $100 per student. Many thanks to Jeanne Reed and Aaron Braskin for bringing this program to my attention and supporting getting students signed up for it.

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

Laura Clarke with her English Class

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!

CUE Blog

CUE Blog

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.

 

Nov. 17 – Dec. 5 2014 at the Mira Costa Library

The week of November 17 was a short week at Mira Costa, since we were closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, but we packed in a lot of activities on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Mr. Zeoli’s 9th grade English classes started a multi-day Mythology research project, which included lessons by me on good quality sources, the importance of citing sources and taking good notes to avoid plagiarism, using EasyBib.com for recording sources and taking notes, and finding and crediting images in Google Presentations/Slides. Ms. Mullen’s 12th grade English students also visited to continue work on their research projects exploring mental and physical disability issues and used our library books, ebooks, and databases, and tracked their soures with EasyBib.

Games Week

We celebrated Games Week, and students played chess and some of our new great new board and card games:

Games Week
Students playing Yu-Gi-Oh Trading card game
Vaughn & Shane with chess table
Chess board makers Vaughan & Shane

Ask at the library any time if you would like to play one of the games.

After Thanksgiving

From December 1 – 5, after Thanksgiving Break, Mr. Zeoli’s classes continued their research and research lessons, and Ms. Vaughan’s 9th grade English students visited for the first three days of a multi-day research project on topics related to their reading of Of Mice and Men. During their visits, I provided lessons on finding and evaluating good sources; using books, ebooks, and databases; and using EasyBib to record and cite sources and take notes.

On Thursday and Friday, Mr. Davidson’s Period 0 and Period 2 Health Class students visited for a two-day lesson in Digital Citizenship. We talked about online safety; online etiquette, good manners, and cyberbullying; building a positive digital footprint; and respecting intellectual property. Here is a link to the lesson file with some of the videos we watched and discussed. Students also completed a short homework assignment including Googling themselves and checking Facebook settings. On the second day in the library, they completed this activity in which they:

  • thought about a topic they care about and that they might be able to share about online and build their digital footprint,
  • searched for blogs they could follow related to their topic of interest
  • found Creative Commons-licensed images related to their topic
  • searched Twitter for tweets related to their interest

After school on Wednesday, December 3, our Library Club participated in our monthly Google+ HOA (Hangout on Air) with other library club #SWVBC (Somewhat Virtual Book Club) partners in a discussion of Butter by Erin Jade Lange.  Our club members were pleased to be joined by some students from Ms. Wiseman’s English classes. I was very proud of our students’ insightful contributions to the discussion. We record each session and store it in the SWVBC YouTube channel, so anyone interested can watch later:

In addition, our Geeks met and prepared to Facilitate Mira Costa’s Hour of Code the week of December 8. Students will be visiting the library and other computer labs on campus during lunch to participate in activities to teach them about computer programming. And, the Library Club and Geeks agreed to join efforts to participate in Mira Costa’s Operation Happiness and provide gifts for a child in need during the holidays.

I also participated in meetings of the Education Council, School Site Council, and Curriculum Committee. And, on the evening of November 17, I was pleased to participate as one of the California School Library Association (CSLA) guest panelists on the monthly TL (Teacher Librarian) News Night. This live news program features a different state library association each month. As one of the CSLA representatives, I shared about the making of the new CSLA advocacy film, “Does Your School Have a Teacher Librarian?” Please watch it if you haven’t already:

Nov. 3 – 14 at the MCHS Library

As always, we had lots of classes and lessons in the library during the last two weeks.

Mr. Brown’s Blogging Project

blogging

I am delighted that Mr. Brown is having all of his English students (grades 10 and 12) start individual blogs, and the five classes came to the library for two days to get them started. Blogging is a wonderful tool that allows students to practice writing skills and find their writing voices, reflect on and share about personal interests, build a positive digital footprint, and learn about and practice all the aspects of digital citizenship. Along with discussing what a blog is and the benefits of blogging, I taught lessons in different aspects of digital citizenship they will need to be aware of as they blog, and I helped them set their blogs up using Google’s blogging software. Here are some of the short films we watched as part of our class discussions on their first day in the library:


This film launched a discussion about what digital citizenship is, and how it doesn’t mean just being cautious online and staying safe; it also offers wonderful opportunities for making global connections.

We watched this film and talked about building a positive digital footprint:

We watched this film, and talked about protecting privacy and being careful about what you post in blogs and any other form of online communication to protect your own privacy and that of your friends and relatives from potential predators and to avoid sharing anything you would be less than proud of later:

We also talked about how online communication lacks tone of voice and body language clues present in the live world, meaning students need to take extra care to avoid accidentally insulting someone in their posts or their comments. We watched this film as a reminder to avoid engaging in any behavior that could be construed as bullying another person:

On the second day in the library, I showed the students how to set up their blogs and what to include in their first posting. You can see the directions I shared with them for reference here.

We also watched this film about Plagiarism, Copyright, Public Domain, Fair Use, and Creative Commons, all important concepts for students to understand for blogging as well as all their writing and other creations on and offline:

Along with the film, we viewed and discussed the court case related to the famous Obama Hope poster, as an example of fair use/copyright disputes. I shared that justifying Fair Use in published works like blogs can be very difficult, and that we are very fortunate to have many options for finding copyright-friendly images and other material to include in the students’ blogs. I demonstrated how to find Creative Commons-licensed images using the Flickr.com and Google Image Advanced Search options. You can see screencasts of the techniques I demoed for both of these sites on the directions page.

I was very excited to launch this project for Mr. Brown’s students, and look forward to working with them on it throughout the year. As the next step, once they write their first posts, they will then read their classmates’ postings and practice writing good comments. As we discussed, one of the big benefits of blogging is the ability to engage in conversations both with classmates and even globally with the commenting feature.

Other Lessons and Class Visits

I provided introductions to research project lessons for Ms. Parks AP Art History class and Ms. Mullen’s 12th Grade English class, worked with Adam Geczi’s World History classes on identifying the bibliographic information for citations and using EasyBib.com to assist with saving and formatting the citations, and introduced a new blog post assignment about La Llorona for Sra. Rossell’s AP Spanish Literature class. The library also hosted class visits for Ms. Bledsoe and Mr. Oystrick’s science classes, and I consulted with Ms. Nielsen on a project for her AP Chemistry students.

SWVBC – We Were Liars Discussion

Our Library Club again served as the moderators for our monthly Somewhat Virtual Book Club (#SWVC on Twitter) discussion on November 5. This month’s book was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I am very proud of our group of students who moderated, and they received kudos from the librarians in the other participating schools. Here’s our recording of the Google Hangout:

Our next SWVBC discussion will be on December 3 at 3 PM Pacific Time. We will be discussing Butter by Erin Jade Lange, a riveting contemporary realistic fiction book about a morbidly obese, outcast teenager who suddenly becomes popular when he creates a website advertising his plans to commit suicide. All Costa students are invited to join us for the discussion in the library lunchroom. Please come by the library to borrow a copy of the book and get more information about the discussion event. For a preview of Butter, please watch this engaging book trailer by Cathy Jo Nelson, the librarian at Dorman High School in South Carolina, one of our SWVBC school libraries:

Dorman High School will be hosting and moderating the December 3 book discussion.

Geeks – Planning Costa’s Hour of Code Participation

Our Geeks club, which offers tech support to Mira Costa students and parents, met this week and learned about the upcoming Hour of Code international event December 8 – 14. from Jeanne Reed, a technology consultant at the MBUSD District Office. The club enthusiastically agreed to work as facilitators and promoters for this event in partnership with the Girls Only Coding Club. Mr. Braskin, computer teacher and advisor of the Girls Only Coding Club, and I will serve as advisors for Mira Costa’s participation in the Hour of Code week. All of the schools in our district will also be participating. Stand by for more information about this event very soon.

Get Ready for the Geek Squad

Some of the new Geek Squad members at a planning get together.

Are you a geek? Do you enjoy using and helping other people with computer hardware. software, or mobile devices?  Then please consider joining the Mira Costa Geek Squad. This group will be offering their assistance to staff and students most days during lunch in the Mira Costa Library. If you would like to consider being a member of the squad, come to an organizational meeting during lunch on Thursday, September 27 in the library workroom.