School Library Month @ the Mira Costa Library

Statistical and Visual Snapshots

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:

School Library Snapshot

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:

School Library Month Photo Snapshot

Library Activities

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.

Themed Accordion Books

Themed Accordion Books

Themed accordion books

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 @DramaHighRafranz 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:

Please watch!

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:

SLM Storyboard That Story

March 7 – April 1 at the Library

The month of March flew by at the Mira Costa Library. Here are some of the highlights of our busy month before Spring Break.

Class Research Projects

As always, we had lots of different classes coming to work on research projects. Two of our new English teachers, Keely Gabbert and Maddie Hutchinson, brought their 11th grade English classes for several days of research on culture in the 1920’s in conjunction with their study of The Great Gatsby, with supporting lessons by me.  We talked about quality database sources; how to do citations and annotations; and how to evaluate sources from the open web. Here is the form we had students complete to help them evaluate sources they found on the open web:

I adapted this form for our students from my librarian colleague Glen Warren’s form. Many thanks to Glen for sharing his form with me.

Glen Marx’s 12th Grade Government and Psychology classes visited for a lesson to help launch their research paper assignment. Here are the presentation slides I used during that lesson:

Other Class Visits

In addition to research, Aaron Braskin and Ken Brenan’s Robotics class came to work on modeling 3D chess pieces in Tinkercad. Mr. Braskin and Mr. Benan’s Computer Programming students completed this same assignment recently. You can see information about it in a this previous post. Here is a link to the assignment. While there is other software available for 3D modeling, we love Tinkercad since it is 1) almost completely intuitive with very little learning curve, 2) it’s in the cloud, and 3) it’s free! Here is one of the first chess pieces completed:

Student with chess piece

2016-04-01 12.08.46

A lot of the challenge of this assignment is figuring what our printers can and cannot handle. Often, a piece will need to be tweaked to print properly, so perseverance is frequently part of the learning experience.  We will be printing the rest of the chess pieces after we get back from Spring Break next week.

Another class visiting the library was Anita Rossell’s support class for English Language Learners. Ms. Rossell and I have been collaborating on an assignment to have the students document their year at Mira Costa. Working in pairs, the students will script and produce a documentary-style film with several different scenes about their experiences. For one of the scenes, they will take advantage of our new green screen. (see below.) I can’t wait to see the films they make. I’ll be sharing more about this project as the students proceed. Last week, the students worked on storyboarding their film scripts, using StoryboardThat.com, an easy-to-use, very flexible tool for digital storytelling I was able to share with them.

Maker Fair

We held our third maker fair in the library on March 24. The Geeks Club, Library Club, Girls Coding Club, and Robotic Club all did a great job of hosting activities. Here are some photos of students doing 3D modeling with Tinkercad, participating in the Robotic activity, making pinwheels, using Google Cardboard, and more:
Maker Fair 3-24-16

Green Screen!

The library just got and set up a green screen kit, which students can use for photography and film making projects. The green screen allows us to take photos in front of the screen and then use software to make the green background transparent so that we can lay the image on a different background. Here is what our setup looks like:

green screen

Green screen

So far, we have been using Do Ink‘s Green Screen app on our library iPad to take the photos and lay them on other backgrounds. To assure that we are respecting intellectual property, we found all the backgrounds by searching Pixabay for copyright-free images or Photosforclass for Creative Commons images. To make students aware of this resource for film making, I started advertising last Wednesday that they can come in and have their photos taken, and some of our Geeks Club and Library Club members have pitched in to take the photos. Here are some of the fun photos we have taken so far:

Green Screen Fun

We also took a number of photos when Stacy Cabrera’s students used our green screen room for a “speak easy” party celebrating their completion of The Great Gatsby on April 1:

Stacy Cabrera's English students mock "Speakeasy " after completing The Great

Individual students and classes are invited to schedule time in our green screen room for projects. As I mentioned about, Ms. Rossell’s students will be using the green screen as part of their documentary film project.

Hokki Stools and Legos!

And, we have four great new Hokki stools. Students and teachers alike are loving them!

Mr. Brown on new stool
Teacher William Brown trying out one of the new Hokki stools

hokki stools!

We also just got a big box of legos and Sarah Geller, one of our library volunteers, donated some lovely origami paper. Students are enjoying unwinding at our craft table drawing and making items with the origami paper and legos:

craft table

craft table

craft table

 

Feb. 22 to March 4 at the Library

Here are some of the library highlights since we returned from our Ski Week break:

#WRAD16

February 24 was “World Read Aloud Day.” Every year World Read Aloud Day calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories. For several years now, librarians have been connecting students via Skype and Google Hangouts to other schools to meet each other and to read and be read to. This year, many libraries chose to celebrate all week in order to expand the options to connect. Two amazing librarians, Shannon Miller and Andy Plemmons, set up a Google Doc we could use to make connections. Scheduling sessions across different time zones can be a challenge, but our library made two matches. Our Library Club President Danit Rich read Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax to a 1st Grade class at Punahou School in Hawaii, and William Brown’s International English class read C. Alexander London’s New Day, New Friends to a Kindergarten class at Searington Elementary School in Albertson, NY. Our students were awesome!

Unfortunately, we had some tech issues connecting with Punahou, so, while we did get to read, and the 1st graders enjoyed it, there wasn’t enough time to visit as well. For the Kindergarten class, our students all got to introduce themselves, share what country they are from and how it compares with where we live, and to each read a page from the book.

And here are some photos from the library club reading:

WRAD reading

2016-02-23 12.50.10

Here is a recording of a portion of William Brown’s students reading and visit, plus some photos:

WRAD reading

WRAD reading

WRAD reading
Research

Laura Clarke’s Freshmen English classes visited the library the week of February 22 for five days of research related to topics that will provide background information for their study of Romeo and Juliet. We explored different databases and print books and recorded citations and notes in EasyBib, with all the needed links set up in Google Classroom. We also talked about how to find copyright-friendly images for their presentations and how to credit them. Her 10th grade classes, that visited before the break to do research on topics related to Romanticism, returned on February 26 for a lesson similar to her Freshman students on finding and crediting images in their presentations. Then, they all made good progress preparing their presentations.

Stacy Cabrera’s 11th Grade English students spent four days in the library doing research for their Capstone project comparing two different literary works. We talked about how to find research material in Artemis Literary Resources, a literature research database available to us from the Los Angeles County Library system, about our own subscription databases as resources, about evaluating websites for quality, and note-taking and citations in EasyBib.

Greg Kloes’s 11th Grade U.S. History students visited the library for three days of research in preparation for creating their own magazines on different themes depicting the 1920s. We explored useful database sources for information and websites for finding photos and other images from the time using this library website link: bit.ly/historicalimagesources

SWVBC Afterworlds Discussion

The Library Club participated in its monthly Google Hangouts on Air book discussion with our “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” network of school libraries from around the country. This month’s discussion was of Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield. Here’s the recording of our discussion:

As always, the discussion was lively and participants shared what worked and didn’t work for them in the book.

3D Design and Printing

Our two 3D printers seem to be running non-stop these days! Over the last two weeks, I have been printing projects for Kate Martin and Amber Dixon’s Art 2 students as well as Bharathi Singh’s Algebra 2 students. The Art students used these instructions – bit.ly/2Dto3Dprint – to draw a design with a sharpie and then convert it to 3D in Tinkercad. The Math students did a very similar assignment; they drew a design with a sharpie, but with the requirement that it be a linear, quadratic, or cubic function and its inverse. And, on Thursday and Friday, the Robotics students visited to learn about how 3D design and printing work. Then, they worked on a project, also converting a design from 2D to 3D. The variation in their assignment from the Art and Algebra 2 students was that they created their initial design with Scratch, a graphical programming language, rather than drawing it.

Robotics class
Working with the Robotics Class

These similar projects for students in very different subjects demonstrates how cross-disciplinary the process of learning about and creating 3D designs is. Our 3D printers are truly helping to break down artificial subject area barriers.

Here are just a few examples of the recent work we have printed:

Math project on printer
Algebra 2 design set to print on our printer
Art Class 3D projects
Art Class 3D project examples

I also printed a set of conic section objects that make up a cone at the request of Christine Baral for her students:
conic section with credit

This design came from Thingiverse, a great site for finding and sharing 3D design ideas. These sections will enable students to actually hold and examine objects they normally have to mentally visualize from 2D illustrations.

This week, we will be printing the Robotics class assignments, and the students will be coming back March 10 and 11 to work on the same chess piece assignment the Computer Science students recently completed.

Valentine Serenades

Finally, I was flabergasted and tickled to receive not one, but two, Valentines Serenades from Mira Costa’s talented singers. The first video is from the a cappella serenade; the second is from the Sax Pax. Many thanks to these amazing students!

January 19 – February 12 Highlights

We had just 19 days of school from January 19 to February 12, and several of those days included semester finals and semester textbook checkouts and returns. Even so, the library was packed with activity! Here are some of the highlights.

Research

Some of the class research visits included Stacy Cabrera’s 11th Grade English students working on group research projects completing a collaborative dossier based on author genre/theme/style groupings and Laura Clarke’s 10th Grade English students exploring a research topic that will lend background to their study of the Romantic period in literature. The classes had short lessons in research and took advantage of our subscription databases, including our two new video databases from InfoBase and Alexander Street, as well as evaluating open web sources for quality.

3D Design

Mr. Braskin and Mr. Brenan’s Computer Science students finished their 3D chess piece projects and created some very original and attractive pieces while learning about 3D design using Tinkercad and becoming astute with measurements and understanding what types of designs are feasible to print on our printers. Here’s a link to the assignment. Here are just a few examples of their work:

3D chess pieces

3D chess pieces

Kate Martin and Amber Dixon’s Art 2 students also visited the library for three days and worked on 3D design projects. I introduced them to how 3D printers and Tinkercad work, and then they had the choice of creating a 3D design starting with a sharpie drawing, using these directions (bit.ly/2Dto3Dprint), or creating designs from scratch in Tinkercad. We will be printing out their designs next week, so stand by for some photos.

Marisa Reichardt Author Visit

The library was honored to host debut author Marisa Reichardt on February 10. She spoke to groups of students during both AM and PM office hours and to Shannon Vaughan’s Creative Writing class about her new novel, Underwater and how she became a writer. Here are a couple of photos of her with students.

Marisa Reichardt and Students

Marisa Reichardt and StudentsThe library has copies of Underwater for students to borrow, and copies can also be purchased from {pages}, our local independent bookstore, either at the store or online at bit.ly/orderunderwater.

CSLA Conference

Doorways to Diversity

Jane Lofton presenting how to Become an Images Ninja with Google and Other Killer Web-Based Images Tools

I was in San Diego for California School Library Association’s annual conference on the theme of “Doorways to Diversity” February 3 – 7. I served as Social Media/Website chair for the conference, and I presented a workshop session on “Become an Images Ninja with Google and Other Killer Web-Based Apps” and a concurrent session on “Make Twitter Your Number #1 Tool for Building Your Personal Learning Network.” I also coordinated CSLA’s third annual “Unconference,” at which participants chose their own topics to discuss and shared great ideas with each other.

Here are my Images Ninja session slides:

 

I also recorded the session using Google Hangouts on Air:

 

Here are my Twitter session slides:

And, my Twitter session recording:

I also encouraged other presenters at the conference to take advantage of Google Hangouts on Air to easily record their sessions. Here’s a link to my personal blog with information about how to do that. The information applies equally well to recording class lessons to make them “re-windable.”

I came away from the conference with many wonderful new ideas of ways to build diversity into our library program and collection and how I can better serve both our students and faculty. I’ll be sharing more about the conference soon.

November 9 – 20 at the Library

Research

The library was busy with research visits the last two weeks. Mr. Holland’s Freshman English classes visited for a mythology project and learned about good resources, bibliography, and note taking, while Ms. Vaughan’s Freshman English classes learned similar skills while doing research on topics related to Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. I also taught her class a lesson on being “Quotation Savvy.

Digital Citizenship

The last two days before Thanksgiving Break, I taught a two-day digital citizenship lesson to Mr. Davidson’s Health classes. On Day 1, we talked about online safety, etiquette, digital footprint, and respecting intellectual property, roughly following these slides:

Here are some of the thoughts the students shared about what digital citizenship is in Period 0:

Here’s what Period 1 students shared:

For homework, students completed this short activity, which had them searching for themselves on Google, learning about modifying Facebook settings, and sharing something they leaned so far. Here were a few of the comments students shared of what they learned:

“I learned that it is very important to never put anything bad up online because in the future it could possibly be used against you or haunt you. I learned that getting involved in positive online use can benefit your skills and interests on certain topics (ex: blogs). Lastly, I learned that the Internet is very helpful, but should not be taken for granted because anything and everything you use it for can be traced.”

“1) Blogging is a positive source to interact with others and to share your thoughts. 2) If you are not comfortable with the whole world seeing something, don’t post it or make it visible on the Internet. ”

“I learned how to find pictures labeled for reuse. I also learned about copyright and how not to infringe on the rules. I finally learned how to be respectful online.”

On Day 2, the students explored ways they could learn about and share online about topic they care about. They found blogs, Twitter feeds, and copyright-friendly images on their topics, and completed this form:

Books We’re Thankful For

During the week before the break, some of the visitors to the library shared books they are thankful they read:

Books We're Thankful For

International Gaming Day

We also participating in International Gaming Day last week, and a number of students enjoyed playing board games in the library:

Gaming Day

 

2015-11-19 13.06.04

 

Sharing with the Science Department

During our Office Hours/Collaboration Time on Wednesday, November 18, I visited with the Science Department faculty and shared some of the options available at the library, including our 3D printers, littleBits, and research databases. I also showed them the free Daqri Elements 4D augmented reality app for exploring chemical elements, which I learned about at the American Association of School Librarians conference. Look for it in the app store!

Here’s the ethanol molecule I printed on our 3D printer to share with the science teachers:

Ethanol Molecule

 

Maker Fair Featured in La Vista

I was pleased to see our Maker Fair featured in a La Vista article. Thank you, Ellie Shalvarjian! Here’s the link.

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:

Rich Historical Film Archive from British Pathé

British Pathé https://flic.kr/p/nexQKv
British Pathé https://flic.kr/p/nexQKv

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!

Thanks to Joyce Valenza for sharing this news on her blog and filling me in on it.

Make Bibliography Easy with EasyBib

EasyBib

The Mira Costa Library has just added a great new tool, EasyBib Premium School Edition, to make citing sources, taking notes online, and evaluating the creditability of online sources easier for students. Don’t wait for a class visit to take advantage of this great new resource. Come by the library or email Mrs. Lofton for information about how to create an EasyBib account, get access to our Premium School Account with our Mira Costa coupon code, and take advantage of all the help it can offer you when you do research.