As always, we had lots of classes and lessons in the library during the last two weeks.
Mr. Brown’s Blogging Project
I am delighted that Mr. Brown is having all of his English students (grades 10 and 12) start individual blogs, and the five classes came to the library for two days to get them started. Blogging is a wonderful tool that allows students to practice writing skills and find their writing voices, reflect on and share about personal interests, build a positive digital footprint, and learn about and practice all the aspects of digital citizenship. Along with discussing what a blog is and the benefits of blogging, I taught lessons in different aspects of digital citizenship they will need to be aware of as they blog, and I helped them set their blogs up using Google’s blogging software. Here are some of the short films we watched as part of our class discussions on their first day in the library:
This film launched a discussion about what digital citizenship is, and how it doesn’t mean just being cautious online and staying safe; it also offers wonderful opportunities for making global connections.
We watched this film and talked about building a positive digital footprint:
We watched this film, and talked about protecting privacy and being careful about what you post in blogs and any other form of online communication to protect your own privacy and that of your friends and relatives from potential predators and to avoid sharing anything you would be less than proud of later:
We also talked about how online communication lacks tone of voice and body language clues present in the live world, meaning students need to take extra care to avoid accidentally insulting someone in their posts or their comments. We watched this film as a reminder to avoid engaging in any behavior that could be construed as bullying another person:
On the second day in the library, I showed the students how to set up their blogs and what to include in their first posting. You can see the directions I shared with them for reference here.
We also watched this film about Plagiarism, Copyright, Public Domain, Fair Use, and Creative Commons, all important concepts for students to understand for blogging as well as all their writing and other creations on and offline:
Along with the film, we viewed and discussed the court case related to the famous Obama Hope poster, as an example of fair use/copyright disputes. I shared that justifying Fair Use in published works like blogs can be very difficult, and that we are very fortunate to have many options for finding copyright-friendly images and other material to include in the students’ blogs. I demonstrated how to find Creative Commons-licensed images using the Flickr.com and Google Image Advanced Search options. You can see screencasts of the techniques I demoed for both of these sites on the directions page.
I was very excited to launch this project for Mr. Brown’s students, and look forward to working with them on it throughout the year. As the next step, once they write their first posts, they will then read their classmates’ postings and practice writing good comments. As we discussed, one of the big benefits of blogging is the ability to engage in conversations both with classmates and even globally with the commenting feature.
Other Lessons and Class Visits
I provided introductions to research project lessons for Ms. Parks AP Art History class and Ms. Mullen’s 12th Grade English class, worked with Adam Geczi’s World History classes on identifying the bibliographic information for citations and using EasyBib.com to assist with saving and formatting the citations, and introduced a new blog post assignment about La Llorona for Sra. Rossell’s AP Spanish Literature class. The library also hosted class visits for Ms. Bledsoe and Mr. Oystrick’s science classes, and I consulted with Ms. Nielsen on a project for her AP Chemistry students.
SWVBC – We Were Liars Discussion
Our Library Club again served as the moderators for our monthly Somewhat Virtual Book Club (#SWVC on Twitter) discussion on November 5. This month’s book was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I am very proud of our group of students who moderated, and they received kudos from the librarians in the other participating schools. Here’s our recording of the Google Hangout:
Our next SWVBC discussion will be on December 3 at 3 PM Pacific Time. We will be discussing Butter by Erin Jade Lange, a riveting contemporary realistic fiction book about a morbidly obese, outcast teenager who suddenly becomes popular when he creates a website advertising his plans to commit suicide. All Costa students are invited to join us for the discussion in the library lunchroom. Please come by the library to borrow a copy of the book and get more information about the discussion event. For a preview of Butter, please watch this engaging book trailer by Cathy Jo Nelson, the librarian at Dorman High School in South Carolina, one of our SWVBC school libraries:
Dorman High School will be hosting and moderating the December 3 book discussion.
Geeks – Planning Costa’s Hour of Code Participation
Our Geeks club, which offers tech support to Mira Costa students and parents, met this week and learned about the upcoming Hour of Code international event December 8 – 14. from Jeanne Reed, a technology consultant at the MBUSD District Office. The club enthusiastically agreed to work as facilitators and promoters for this event in partnership with the Girls Only Coding Club. Mr. Braskin, computer teacher and advisor of the Girls Only Coding Club, and I will serve as advisors for Mira Costa’s participation in the Hour of Code week. All of the schools in our district will also be participating. Stand by for more information about this event very soon.