June at the Library

As I write this, our Seniors have finished all their finals and will be graduating next Thursday, and our other students have just one more week, all filled with final exams, ahead. Sadly, the library at this point becomes pretty much a textbook warehouse with all the textbooks stacking up on tables and even the floor until they get checked out again in the fall. (I’ll spare you a photo of what that looks like.) Still, the beginning of June was busy as ever with library activities. Here are some highlights.

Calculus Class Videos

I wrote in the May posting about the Calculus classes coming to work on instructional videos. In the beginning of June, we all enjoyed watching the various videos as they were completed. Here are a couple of examples, one made using our green screen, and the other made using Powtoon.com:

You can see more of the Calculus videos on the library website.

Using Our Green Screen

The green screen has been very popular this month. I demonstrated how to use it with Do Ink’s Green Screen app for Ms. Nielsen’s and Mr. Nodado’s AP Chemistry classes for their video assignments, and we had students using it to make videos for those classes and for AP European History, Calculus, and ESL Support classes.

Shooting a green screen scene
Shooting a green screen scene

One of the rewarding parts of sharing new technology tools with students is seeing them apply them in other contexts. The AP European History video was created by students who learned about green screen technology for their Chemistry class. And, one of the Calculus students shared how he used the Powtoon software he learned about for an assignment an Economics class assignment. Transfer of knowledge, of course, takes many forms. One of the Calculus videos included information the students learned in their Physics class.

Ms. Clarke’s class booktalks

I also wrote in the May posting about Ms. Clarke’s class visiting the library to learn about book talks in preparation for creating book talks they posted to YouTube and created QR codes in order to share them with classmates. It was a delight on Friday to have all her students come in the library and scan the QR codes now posted all over the library to watch their classmates’ book talks. Stand by to see some of them on the library website.

Library Club SWVBC

Our Library Club held our last meeting of the year on Tuesday, June 7, and we celebrated our four graduating seniors – Yuka Noda, Joanne Qi, Danit Rich, and Crystal Yu – who have been with the club and supported it and our library programs for all four years of their time at Mira Costa. Here’s a huge thanks And, we also had a cake for my retirement. 🙂

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The week before, on June 1, we had our final Somewhat Virtual Book Club (#SWVBC) meeting via Google Hangouts. Other participants this month included New Canaan High School in New Canaan, CT, and James Caldwell High School in West Caldwell, NJ. Instead of our usual discussion of one book, this month was a BYOB, “Bring Your Own Book” session: everyone shared a favorite book with the group. Here’s the list of our book recommendations on Goodreads, and here’s a recording of our session:

Photography Slideshow by Lyla and Lizzie

I was delighted to have several visits by two talented Photography students, Lyla Floyd and Lizzie Tsuang. They were completing an assignment on “A Day in the Life” of one of their teachers. I was honored that they chose me as their subject. Here’s their slideshow they kindly agreed to let me share here:

Mustang Morning News and La Vista Features

I was also honored to be featured in two articles in  La Vista on June 7. Here is the article about my retirement, and here is the article about my Sandacre Teacher of the Year Award. I was also included in a Mustang Morning News story about retiring teachers on June 6. Here is a link to the 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

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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