Sep 14 – Oct 9 at the MCHS Library

The last four weeks have been jam packed with lessons and other activities at the Mira Costa Library! Here’s a brief summary.

Library Lessons and Projects

Students sharing their slides during Freshman orientations
Students sharing their slides during Freshman orientations

I continued and completed the Freshman Library orientations, teaching lessons for the 9th grade English classes I didn’t see during the first two weeks of teaching. See this posting for details about the contents of these lessons. From September 14 – October 9, Mr. Holland’s class completed their “Day 2” scavenger hunt, and Mr. Zeoli’s, Mr. Chow’s, Mr. Wheeler’s, and Ms. Jimenez’s classes all visited for Day 1 and Day 2 orientation lessons. All told, 29 9th grade English classes came for 2-day orientations during September and October.

In addition to the Freshman orientations, Ms. Clarke’s 10th grade English students came for a four day series of research sessions. Each student selected a Biblical painting, learned about the artist and style, and compared the work to the original Bible story. On each day, in collaboration with Ms. Clarke, I taught mini-lessons on research skills using databases, evaluating websites for quality, taking notes and crediting sources, and finding and crediting images in their presentations. We also helped the students take advantage of Google Classroom to access all the needed assignment information and submit their presentations.

On September 17, Mr. Knutson’s 11th grade Social Studies students visited to learn about taking advantage of our subscription databases for great research sources and our subscription for keeping track of sources, taking notes, and creating Works Cited.

On September 30, Ms. Hallgrimson’s 10th Grade Social Studies students visited and participated in a QR code scavenger hunt that helped them learn both about how QR codes work and how to work together to follow instructions and find information in the library. They all did a great job. You can see the Google Form we used for the activity here.

Spanish 2 Google Forms

On October 8 and 9, Sra. Rossell’s four Spanish 2 students came for a two-day visit to build vocabulary skills while working with Google Forms. I showed them how Google Forms can be used to create surveys and quizzes. After completing a sample survey created by Sra. Rossell and me, students worked in groups of four to create their own surveys, with each group assigned a different category of vocabulary. Next week, their class members will respond to all the surveys. Then, as a class they will use their Spanish vocabulary while viewing and discussing the results. The students really enjoyed working with their classmates and learning a new skill – creating Google Forms – which they can take advantage of for both academic and extra-curricular activities in the future. I look forward to sharing some of the surveys on this blog. Here’s the sample survey we used to get them started with the project:

And, here’s a link to just one example of the surveys the students created:

While I use Google Forms all the time and have helped other teachers use them to create quizzes and gather information, this was the first time I had the opportunity to help students create their own forms. Clearly, the students were engaged and learned some valuable tech skills while simultaneously building their Spanish vocabulary skills.

Along with these class lessons, a number of other classes visited the library to use the computers and get my help as they worked.

New Online Resources

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 8.01.26 PM

We have a brand new resource for streaming and downloadable video: Learn360 from InfoBase. Each of the teachers just got accounts to access the database and find videos, as well as timelines, maps, fact sheets, and more. Students will also have access to this resource when they do research. On September 30, I demoed this great new resource with our Social Studies teachers. I’ll be doing demos for other teachers and sharing more information very soon.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 8.01.59 PM

We also just added access to the online version of the Los Angeles Times. This is part of the free Los Angeles Times in Education program.

Contact me or come by the library for information about how to log into these great resources.

Library Club

#SWVBC Discussion of I'll Give You the SunOur Library Club was pleased to serve as moderators for our monthly Somewhat Virtual Book Club (#SWVBC) discussion of Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun on Wednesday, October 7. We had a great discussion with our club President, Danit Rich, as moderator. Our SWVBC network is growing this year! Eleven school library clubs have signed up to participate, and we were very pleased to have at total of seven able to attend this month. Participating schools on October 7 included Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, CA; the American School in Japan; New Canaan HS in New Canaan, CT; Dorman HS in Roebuck, SC; Decatur HS in Decatur, GA; Sunset HS in Beaverton, Oregon; and, of course, Mira Costa! Students and librarians alike gain so much from the interaction we have with schools from around the country – and, this year, international! – using the Google Hangouts on Air platform.

Visit from Rock Star Librarian Deborah Ford

Deborah Ford

On October 6, I was honored and delighted to have a visit from my friend and rock star librarian, Deborah Ford. Deborah is a former district librarian in San Diego County who now works as the School Library Outreach Librarian for Junior Library Guild (JLG), based in Ohio. JLG is a subscription service that allows libraries to receive an outstanding set of curated new books each month in genre categories of our choice. So many of the JLG books we receive each month at the Mira Costa Library end up winning national awards and being “must read” popular titles with our students.

Deborah helped me work on “weeding” our collection, i.e., discarding outdated titles to make new books more accessible to our students. Many thanks to Deborah for spending the day and sharing your expertise with our library!

Geeks Club and Maker Space Planning

Our Geeks Club is busy learning the ins and outs of running our 3D printers and making plans for maker activities for our student body. Stand by for information about an exciting after school maker event very soon. In the meantime, come by the library at lunch on Fridays to see our 3D printers in action and ask me if you would like to get involved or design objects to be printed.

Your Librarian on the Road …

School Library Journal Leadership Summit
At the School Library Journal Summit

During the last month, I was fortunate to participate in a couple of outstanding school library professional development events. July 25-27, I attended School Library Journal‘s annual invitational Leadership Summit, held this year in Seattle. I heard great speakers, got lots of inspiration, and networked with some amazing school librarians from across the United States. I will be sharing more on this summit as I process all the great ideas. Here are just two of my takeaways, one that will inspire how I think and plan, and one immediate practical project:

  • Keynote speaker Marnie Webb, CEO of Caravan Studios, which creates apps for social good, shared her organization’s technique of “extreme listening.”  We were all inspired by it to improve our listening skills as we develop programs and curriculum for our students in order to best address their needs. Here’s an excellent summary and video of the session by Kathy Ishizuka, Executive Editor of  School Library Journal.
  • Another speaker, Sabrina Urquart, is manager of the nonprofit Bezos Family Foundation‘s Students Rebuild project. I learned from her about various opportunities for our students to contribute to our communities and the world. Right now, Students Rebuild is challenging students to to help Syrian youth recover from crisis and grow into happy, healthy adults by creating and mailing pinwheels. For each pinwheel students send in, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $2—up to $400,000—to IRC’s Healing Classrooms program to support Syrian youth. Our Geeks Club is going to initiate Mira Costa’s participation in this project by having pinwheel making part of our first marker event.
At CSLA’s Annual Southern Region Workshop

Jane Lofton presenting at CSLA Workshop

On October 3, I attended and presented at California School Library Association’s (CSLA’s) annual Southern Region workshop. My session was on “Blogging is for Everyone.” I shared about the value of blogging for students, teachers, and librarians. This school year, I am excited to be working with two English teachers – Mr. Brown and Ms. Cabrera – who are having their students blog. Here’s the link to my presentation slides:

Your Librarian Around the School

I was honored last week to be elected as co-chair of Mira Costa’s Education Council. This group of department chairs is led by Dr. Dale as a permanent co-chair and an elected faculty member as the other co-chair.

Fall Library instruction program begins … and much more

The first two weeks of school have seen non-stop activity at the Mira Costa Library. Students filled the library each and every day before school, during Snack, lunch, after school, during our first ever Office Hours on September 2, and for class visits. Despite much remaining textbook distribution during the first few weeks of school, I always change focus to the library teaching program as quickly as possible each year. I began teaching Freshman library orientations on Monday, August 31, just four days after school opened. Each of the 9th Grade English classes come for two-day orientation lessons. From August 31 to September 11, 17 9th grade classes – Ms. Hutchinson’s, Ms. Cons-Diller’s, Ms. Chen’s, Ms. Clarke’s, Ms. Vaughan’s, and Westerberg’s – all visited for two days each, and Mr. Holland’s students came for their first day on Friday, Sept. 11, for a total of 36 orientation lessons over these two weeks. (To provide these lessons for all 9th grade English classes, I will be seeing additional classes over the next two weeks.) In addition to these orientations, seven other English classes – Mr. Brown’s and Ms. Cabrera’s students – came for lessons to begin blogging on September 2 and 10. All told, as your teacher librarian, I taught 43 class lessons during these nine school days.

Here’s a summary of what I have been covering in the Freshman library orientations:

Orientations Day 1:

On Day 1, 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.

I use a software 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 in 2014. 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 had in the past since it offers a “teacher lead” mode which allows 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 better assures 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 and modifications to the library program.

Orientations Day 2:

2015-09-01 21.53.48

2015-09-04 14.14.22
Students scanning QR code clues
Library orientation
Students working on the Scavenger Hunt

Day 2 of the orientation is a scavenger hunt. Students team up in groups of two and complete a Google Form 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 the form we are using:

My goal with this activity is to have every student complete every activity and get a 100 percent. And, fortunately, most of them do! This is the second year I have used the Google Form as their means of input. I love that it can validate those questions requiring a correct answer and provide them with hints if they don’t get it right initially. I also love that I can give very little oral instruction; but by and large, the students read the instructions, and, helping each other along, work out any issues on their own.

The 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.) The students clearly enjoy themselves as they find books on their interests and share about them in their slides. At the end of each period, I had one of the students run 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 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!

One final question on the form asks students what they learned during their orientation. Here are a few of the responses so far:

  • “I learned that the library is a great place to find books for independent reading that interest me since there are plenty of books to choose from here. I also learned how to look up books on the catalog and also that the library is great for studying independently and also in a group.”
  • “I learned about the online library that we have at Mira Costa and how helpful the library can be for so many things other than books.”
  • “I hadn’t thought of trying to read more on some of the passions I had; normally I would prefer to simply read what has been recommended for me. In the future, I plan on broadening my choices, though I’ve always been interested in many genres, and I’ll probably try to fit reading into my busy schedule. It can be a good way for me to relax. Thank you.”
  • “During this orientation, I have learned that the library is a safe and resourceful place for students to achieve academic success. The library is easy to reach on our school campus, and it is here to help the students with whatever they may need.”
  • “I learned that the library has so much to offer when it comes to helping my academic career. I am so excited to get to explore all these resources during my high school years.”
  • “Today I learned how to use Google Accounts in more depth. This will help me in my future learning because I can now collaborate easier in group projects with google accounts.”
  • “I learned that my school has a magnificent library that is always helping everyone and I’m looking to learn a lot more.”

Blogging Lessons

Those who know me or have been reading this blog know that I am a big promoter of student blogging as a way to build a positive digital footprint and portfolio, develop their informal writing skills, share about what they care about, and learn digital citizenship and digital literacy skills. This year, Mr. Brown is having all his English students (12th and 10th graders) blog, and Ms. Cabrera is having her 12th Grade Philosophy Seminar students begin blogs. To launch these projects, the students came into the library for a lesson on the value of blogging;  things to know before starting, including privacy concerns and respect for intellectual property; and how to set up blogs and get started. Here is the slideshow I used for the bases of the lessons. The first several slides focus on the value of blogging:

Library Club

Library Club
Library Club Meeting

The Library Club is meeting on Tuesday during lunch. New members are welcome! The club shares books but also supports special event and program planning at the library. In addition, we meet after school the first Wednesday of each month with our “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” network of library clubs from around the United States via Google Hangouts on Air to discuss books. Mira Costa has been participating in this network since it began in November 2011. We had our first meeting for the year on September 3. It was a “BYOB” (Bring Your Own Book). Each participant shared a book and promoted it to the group. Our next meeting will be October 7, when we will be discussing Jandy Nelson’s Printz-Award-winning I’ll Give You the Sun.

SWVBC I'll Give You the Sun for MCHS

That photo of Jandy Nelson is one I took when I was fortunate to meet her at the American Library Association Conference in San Francisco last June. Write now, Ms. Nelson’s travel schedule is uncertain, but she has agreed to attend our virtual meeting if she is home. Either way, I know we will have a great discussion of the book.

Geeks Club

Geeks Club

The Geeks Club is meeting during lunch each Friday, and will also make themselves available at other times to help students, teachers, and event parents with technology support. They are also going to be supervising the running of our new 3D printers and helping to launch our maker space with the 3D printers at the heart.  We have done demos of the 3D printers a couple of times during lunch so far, and we will be having a training for Geeks Club members and anyone else interested in designing for and running the printers. The training will take place next Thursday, September 17 from 3pm – 5pm:

3D Printer Training Flyer

Please RSVP at

Back to School @ the MCHS Library

Textbook distribution
Textbook distribution in progress
Checking out textbooks
Checking out textbooks

Textbook Distribution

The library definitely has been much more of a “textbook warehouse/distribution center” than a library so far this school year, but, as your librarian, I have enjoyed meeting many of our new students, greeting returning students, and helping them all find the textbooks they need for this year’s classes. We began textbook distribution on during student registration, August 17 -20, and 24, and continued helping students get their books the first three days of school, Monday – Wednesday, August 26 – 28. Since August 17, we have checked out 7,830 textbooks. We still, though, have a number of books waiting for students, so please come get them as soon as possible. We want to clear the textbooks out to make the library space more comfortable again!

This massive distribution couldn’t have happened without a lot of help from Cindy Gardner, from our Guidance Office, and the many regular parent library volunteers and other parents who stepped up to help with the process. And, speaking of library volunteers, we are in need of several new volunteers to fill our weekly shifts. Contact Irene White, our parent volunteer coordinator, if you are interested.

Library Open House

Library Open House
Getting ready for the Open House
Library Open House
Wayne Knutson checks out our 3D printer during our Library Open House

In addition to textbook distribution last week, I also held an “Open House” for teachers on Friday, inviting them to stop by during their prep periods to see some of what’s new, have a snack, and enter a prize drawing. Andrea Cons-Diller, one of our new English teachers, won the drawing, and will receive a customized name plate printed on our 3D printer.

Coming Up Next Week

I am looking forward to starting library orientations for each of the Freshman English classes on Monday. Each class visits for two days to learn about the library and how it can help them with their studies and exploring their personal passions. I will also be spending a day with William Brown’s classes getting them started with blogs.

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:


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!

April 20 – May 8 at the Library

The last three weeks have flown by at the Mira Costa Library. Ms. Cabrera’s and Mr. Wheeler’s English students and Mr. Knutson’s U.S. History students spent several days in the library working on research projects which began with lessons on how to find and evaluate research sources and how to do citations. Mr. Carlson’s music students worked on their new blogs and we talked about writing good blog comments. And, Sra. Rossell and Sra. Hernandez’s Spanish 2 students worked on projects using VoiceThread to practice their new vocabulary related to travel. Working in teams of two, the students all chose a country for a hypothetical trip and shared something about the country, how they would get there, where they would stay, what they would eat, and sites they would visit. In the process, they also learned about a new tool for finding and sharing copyright-friendly images, voice recording, and creating avatars. Here is an example, sharing a trip to Cuba:

Here are three more great examples:


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Library Club Activities

The Library Club was also very busy. We sponsored a very successful YA (Young Adult) author panel on April 22. Read about it in this blog posting.

SWVBC Meeting  SWVBC Meeting

The club also participated in one of our “Somewhat Virtual Book Club” Google Hangouts on Air discussions on May 6. The topic this month was “bring your own graphic novel.” All the participants brought and shared a favorite graphic novel or other book. Mira Costa had excellent representation at this get together, both from our club members and from Ms. Wiseman and her English students.

The club has also been working with me on selecting some new books for the library based on the student survey we recently conducted. Our order has been placed, and we will be receiving approximately 80 new books based on student input!

Outside the Library

Outside Mira Costa, I had the honor of co-anchoring the TL News Night on April 20 and of co-presenting a session with Pam Oehlman for the CUE Beach Cities/Los Angeles Affiliates Workshop on May 2. The topic for Pam’s and my session was the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning. We shared ways to use some of the sites selected by the AASL Best Websites Committee to enhance student learning. Although the slides don’t really stand alone, I am sharing them here, and encourage you to contact me to fill you in with more information about them.

Library YA Author Panel Rocks!

YA Authors with Library Club members

Our Young Adult (YA) Author Panel on Wednesday was a great success! We hosted three wonderful authors – Robin Benway, Gretchen McNeil, and 2010 Costa Graduate Emily Wibberley. They all shared interesting and helpful tips about writing during the panel and were so willing to visit with our students, teachers, and community members before and afterwards. As a school librarian, authors are my rock stars. I am always star struck when I meet an author, and, over and over again, I am surprised and delighted that most of them treat me as a friend and colleague. Our three visiting authors were all incredibly friendly to everyone.

I was also very proud of our library club members who organized the event, and especially of Colette for leading the effort and moderating. We got rave reviews from the attendees, and a number of people purchased books from {pages} bookstore and got them signed. If you missed the event, I’m pleased that we were able to tape it using Google Hangouts On Air. Here is the recording:

Here are photos I uploaded to Flickr from the event:

Here is my tweet commentary during the event:

Many thanks to our authors for coming, our library club for organizing, {pages} for providing books for sale, and to everyone who attended. Don’t forget to buy or get copies of the authors books from the library. I’m also looking forward to new titles by all three authors in June:

  • Robin Benway’s Emmy & Oliver 
  • Gretchen McNeil’s Get Dirty, the sequel to Get Even
  • Emily Wibberley’s sequel to Sacrificed


February 16 – April 18 at the Library

Speed Dating with Books
Speed Dating with Books

As you can see, I’ve gotten way behind here on my resolution to post highlights of library lessons and other activities every several weeks. Since this posting is catching up on nearly two months, please excuse the very brief summary.

As earlier in the year, the last two months were packed with classes visiting for help with research. These included Ms. Wiseman, Ms. Clarke, Ms. Cabrera, Mr. Brown, Mr. Zeoli, Ms. Brown, Mr. Wheeler, Ms. Chen, Ms. Sieker, and Ms. Owen’s English classes, and Mr. Uhalt, Mr. Marx, and Mr. Timberlake’s Social Studies classes. In addition Mr. Davidson’s Health class students came for lessons in Digital Citizenship, and I was delighted to work with Mr. Carlson’s Music students to get them started blogging.

An activity all the students enjoy is “speed dating with books.” In this activity, I set out books on different tables by genre. They get two minutes to choose one of the books and browse the offerings, then they spend two more minutes reading one of the books to decide whether to select it as their “date.” At the end of the round, they can check out a book or move on to another table for the next round. Ms. Brown’s English class students enjoyed “speed dating” with YA (young adult) books sorted by genre, while Ms. Clarke’s students selected from different categories of nonfiction.

On February 16, I was very pleased to join the TL News Night anchor team. I will be participating as one of the show co-moderators on the third Monday of each month. These shows are hosted live on Google Hangouts on Air and also recorded for later viewers. They always feature guests and news of interest to the school library world.

On March 9, I gave a short talk about the library program at the PTSA meeting. I showed the group the CSLA “Does Your School Have a Teacher Librarian?” film to provide some examples of what teacher librarians do. The film also includes scenes filmed at our library and interviews with some of our students and teachers. I also shared this slideshow, and described some examples of my information literacy, digital literacy, and digital citizenship instruction:

During the staff professional development day on May 6, I had the opportunity to talk to a joint meeting of the English and Social Studies teachers, and to share information with them about our research offerings, focusing primarily on our database subscriptions. With the addition of EBSCO Academic Search Premier and Academic eBook Collection, we now have access to 135,00 ebooks and 4,600 academic journal titles, giving our students a vast collection of high quality research materials.

The Library club participated in a Google Hangout on Air discussion of Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why on March 4 and hosted the discussion of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One on April 15. I was very proud of all the students for their excellent contributions to the discussion. Here’s the recording from the Ready Player One discussion:

We just learned that Steven Spielberg will be directing the film version of Ready Player One. The book should become even more popular as the film release approaches.

In mid-March, I attended and presented two sessions at the CUE (Computer Using Educators) Conference in Palm Springs. You can see my posting about that conference on my Jane Lofton’s Adventures in School Libraryland blog.

presenting at CUE

As Chair of MCHS’s Curriculum Committee, I have also been working with committee members and department chairs to get the course descriptions in our course description handbook updated and to create pathways files for each department to clarify course sequence requirements and options. You can see these under Academics on the Mira Costa website.

Finally, the Library Club has been busy going over the results of the student book survey and working with me to order new books based on student requests. They have also been working hard to prepare for our YA Author Panel on Wednesday, April 22. We hope that you can come!

YA Author Panel books
YA Author Panel books

YA Author Panel April 22

YA Panel FlyerThe Mira Costa Library Club is pleased to announce a Young Adult Author Panel and Book Signing on Wednesday, April 22 from 3:30pm-5:00pm in the Library. Students, teachers, and community members are all invited. So, please, mark you calendar! Here’s the line up of authors:

  • Emily Wibberley. Debut Author Wibberley is one of Costa’s own! She is a Mira Costa graduate and recently graduated from Princeton University. Sacrificed, the first book in her planned The Last Oracle series, tells the story of Clio, a very  reluctant 15-year-old Oracle.
  • Gretchen McNeil. McNeil has authored several popular YA books. Her latest is Get Even, the first book in the Don’t Get Mad series, about an unlikely partnership of four very different girls who form a secret society, DGM (Don’t Get Mad) to expose and seek revenge on bullies at their school.
  • Robin Benway. Benway’s latest book, Going Rogue, is the second featuring teenaged spy and safecracker Maggie Silver. Her next book, Emmy & Oliver, is coming out this June.

Books will be available for purchase from {pages} a bookstore, our local Manhattan Beach independent book seller, during the event. To assure getting the books you want, you can order copies in advance at this link.

Many thanks to Library Club member Colette Grubman for initiating this activity and inviting the authors.

Event Flyer

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 (or the embedded version here) by Friday, March 13 and let your voice for new library book purchases be heard!