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.