December 2015 at the Library

December was a challenging time at Mira Costa. We were closed on two different days and sheltered in place for an hour a third day, all due to bomb threats. I can’t pretend I wasn’t ready to have some time off for Winter Break. I believe we all were. Nevertheless, the library was busy with student and class visits our last three school weeks of 2015. Here are a few highlights.

Class Visits and Projects

Along with a number of other class visits, Mr. Zeoli’s Freshman English class spent several days in the library for a mythology project in which we helped the students learn about good sources, bibliography and note-taking with Easybib, and finding and crediting copyright-friendly images for their slideshows. They also learned about Twitter as a learning tool, as they set up accounts for their gods and heroes and tweeted in the role of each god or hero. Here’s a link to the site for their project, which was also used by Ms. Clarke’s students earlier in the fall. Students will be finishing the Twitter portion of their assignment after the break.

Mr. Brown’s English Language Learners class visited to “speed date” biographies. We planned three rounds of visiting tables with different categories of biographies to sample. Every student in the class selected a book by the end of the second round!

Speed dating biographies

3D Printing

The two 3D printers were busy all month printing cookie cutters inspired by our December challenge and other student projects. Ms. Arazi’s DHH class took up the challenge in their classroom as a group, and sent us a cookie cutter to be printed. While the design was lovely, it was too complex to print well on the printer. The class came to visit and we talked about how the printer works, then some of the students made new designs. Here’s a photo of the original design they drew and of the cookie cutter made from it:

DHH class 3D printing visit

Here’s a photo of us watching the printer in action and discussing how it works:

DHH class 3D printing visit

And, here is one of the students’ new designs:

3D cookie cutter design

3D cookie cutter

We are learning that mastering 3D design and printing is an iterative process. We often need to tweak both designs and printer settings a number of times to make things work. Perhaps perseverance will prove to be one of the most important skills learned by all of us making use of our printers. Malik, one of our students, has been working on a stand he designed for his iPhone. He has tweaked the design a number of times to get it small enough to print on our printers, to make the printing time more efficient, and to ensure adequate support for the portion that doesn’t lie flat at the bottom. The Thursday morning before the break, we loaded his design, which the Cura software told us would take  8 hours, and let it run all day:

malik design

It was going really well before we left at 3pm:

iPhone stand printing

Unfortunately, something went wrong after we left. This is what I found in the morning:

iPhone stand printing

Malik plans to keep working on the design, and I am confident we will get it to work. Here he is with a smile and the completed portion:

Malik's iPhone stand design in process

If you haven’t seen a 3D printer in action, you need to come by to watch it running. It’s fascinating to watch each layer being laid. This film will give you an idea, in – at 10x the actual speed – of the process:

Hour of Code

The library served as one of the sites for Mira Costa’s Hour of Code on December 9 during morning and afternoon office hours, coordinated by Mr. Braskin’s computer science class students. Ever computer was taken in both the morning and afternoon, and we were standing room only in the morning.

Hour of Code

Hour of Code

Office Hours

The library is also always standing room only during Office Hours!

standing room only during Office Hours

Standing room only during Office Hours

Alexander Street Video Streaming

We were very fortunate in December to add Alexander Street Publishing’s Academic Video Online Premium video streaming for both teacher and student use. It offers an amazing selection of over 48,000 titles from producers such as 60 Minutes, PBS, BBC, NBC, and many more, spanning every discipline. Here is an overview of the collection. Here is the login portal link. Check with me by email or at the library for login information.


Dec. 8 – 19 2014 at the Mira Costa Library

Before the New Year comes, I wanted to fill you in on library activities the last two school weeks of December.

Class Visits

As always, we were busy with class visits, including Ms. Vaughan, Ms. Cabrera, Sra. Rossell, Ms. Chen, Ms. Wachell, Mr. Wheeler, Mr. Reichardt, and Mr. Davidson. I worked with Ms. Vaughan’s Freshmen finishing their Of Mice and Men research project and with her Sophomores on a short lesson on how to incorporate quotations in essays. Here are the slides I shared as part of that lesson.

For Ms. Wachell’s Freshmen, I provided lessons on research skills, using our databases, EasyBib for notes and citations, evaluating sites, and finding and giving credit to images using Google Slides for their Mythology Research project. I taught Mr. Reichardt’s Ceramics classes a short lesson on finding good sources for their research in preparation for creating a sculpture on a social issue.

Mr. Davidson’s Period 5 class visited for a two-day digital citizenship lesson. You can see details about the lessons in my last post where I shared about his Period 0 and 2 classes.

Weeding the Reference Section

Weeding the Reference Section
Joan Kramer helps me weed the Reference Section

I was very fortunate and grateful to have Joan Kramer, a wonderful teacher librarian friend who is now retired, visit to help me plan and launch a major weeding project in our Reference Section. Every library needs to make a practice of discarding unused books to make room for new books and make the newer holdings more accessible. We made a lot of progress on the day of her visit, and you will see big changes in the New Year. Our remaining Reference books will be integrated into the main Nonfiction Section, and the “prime real estate” where the Reference Section has been will become a Fiction Section.  Please look for a complete write-up on this weeding project coming soon.

Empty Reference Shelves
Empty Reference Shelves

Hour of Code

Hour of Code at Mira Costa

During the week of December 8, we hosted sessions of Hour of Code during lunch each day in the library, facilitated by Geeks Club and Girls Only Coding Club members. Students were also able to participate in Mr. Braskin’s lab and the Math/Science Lab. Participants had a fun and rewarding experience getting quick introductions to computer programming, and they can also continue on their own at any time with the many fun options on the Hour of Code Site.

Other Activities

As Chair of our school Curriculum Committee, I led a meeting of the group on Monday, December 8. Our group is working on a goal, tasked to us by Ed Council, to better communicate to students and parents what the expectations are in Mira Costa courses, focusing on AP courses, electives, pathways and overall expectations in all classes. To facilitate our work and allow for as much virtual communication as possible, I set up a shared Google Drive and Google+ Community. We look forward to accomplishing our goal this Spring in time for the 2014-2015 registration period. I also represented the Curriculum Committee at the bi-monthly Ed Council meeting on December 16.

I also attended a meeting of the District Technology Committee on December 17. I am on the Professional Development sub-group of the Technology Committee, and contributing to the development of a three-year plan.

Happy New Year!

I wish all of you a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.

Happy New Year