Friday, October 31, 2014


Halloween's roots can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival Samhain that marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the cold dark period of winter. The Celts believe on this day the boundary between the living and dead were blurred and ghosts came out to haunt and cause mischief to crops and people. To honor the day, the Celts built large bonfires where they sacrifice crops and animals. They also wore costumes usually of animal heads and bones.

Halloween in America really took off in the mid 1800's when a wave of European immigrants, many from Ireland, came to America and brought with them the Celtic tradition. The tradition of dressing up dates back hundreds of years ago. Winter was a frightening time for many, the darkness and cold, and the short food supplies. Many believed ghosts haunted during Halloween. In order to not be seen, people would wear masks trying to fool the ghosts that they too were spirits. 
Americans began to dress up in costumes and go door to door asking for money and food which eventually became "trick or treating." By the late 1800's Halloween became more of a community/neighborhood event and has grown into one of the biggest holidays in America. At Natick High we celebrate it with the littlest and the oldest!! The preschoolers parade around the building in their adorable costumes while the only others allowed to dress up today are the seniors!!

Halloween is a long standing tradition for
seniors. For as long as I can remember, dating back to when I went to school here, the seniors are the only ones who are allowed to dress up. All morning we have been snapping pictures of Hot Air Balloons, Golden Trophies, The Wizard of Oz and Zoo Keepers! The day culminates with a class photo and an ice cream social! I think every year the students are more creative and are trying to think outside the box.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow Or EPCOT.......

Mr. Cuoco's Philosophy classes were hard at work this week creating their own versions of a utopian society. My job was to teach students how to find examples of utopian communities in history. I began the lesson with an introduction to EPCOT. Walt Disney proposed to the Florida legislature in 1966, (a few months prior to his death), an idea for his own perfect utopian community. Walt Disney died shorty after his meeting with legislators and his idea of EPCOT was never realized, however elements he envisioned were included in the EPCOT we know today. The following is a link to the article detailing Disney's utopian idea and even cooler, an actual half hour video Walt Disney produced for Florida legislators. Lets here it for primary sources!!!

This week one of the preschool classes had a "mystery reader." Senior Aileen Morley-McLaughlin is in the library frequently during her privs and asked if it would be possible to read to the preschoolers one day! Knowing how much the preschoolers love to have one of the "big kids" read to them and how rewarding the experience would be for Aileen, I jumped at the chance. No one was disappointed! The preschoolers did a great job welcoming Aileen and listening to her read and she was fantastic with them! I love watching the interaction between our youngest and oldest students in the school.



 Book of the Week:

Little Green Peas: A Big Book of Colors / Keith Baker

In keeping with the preschool theme, the book I chose for this week is a beautifully illustrated story about colors. It has been a while since a picture book has excited me this much! Little green peas make their way across the pages to various objects of different colors. The story introduces our youngest readers to colors, seasons and the cuteness of the "little green peas." The colors jump off the pages and the illustrations create a warm feeling for each color. This is a great book to share with a group, one on one and to teach concepts such as colors or seasons. One of my favorites!!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

It's Never Too Early to Start Reading!!

It is never too young to share the love of reading with others!!
I had the amazing opportunity to go to Candlewick Press this morning and hear about some of the soon to be published new books. The enthusiasm the editors felt for the new material was contagious and I left their very cool headquarters in Davis Square with a renewed sense of excitement about literature! The best part of the visit was as I was taking notes I had specific students in mind for each book. Whether it was a preschool book some of my littlest visitors would enjoy or a young adult novel I know a certain student would devour, each book had an impact on me. I can not wait to put the books on our shelves. The best surprise was having author/illustrator Matt Tavares as a guest speaker discussing his new book Growing Up Pedro. It is a picture book biography for the middle grades. He discussed how he narrowed his theme of the story, (the focus is on growing up very poor in The Dominican Republic and the bond between Pedro and his brother Ramon, both making it to the major leagues) and how he creates his illustrations. It is an amazing piece of work and brought tears to my eyes!

Author/Illustrator Matt Tavares at Candlewick Press

Book of the Week:

Out of the Easy / Ruta Sepetys

Out of the Easy was our first book for Students as Readers this year! It was recommended by one of our members and is a gripping mystery taking place in the French Quarter of 1950's New Orleans. Josie, the daughter of a prostitute was able to successfully complete high school while raising herself and working non stop as her mother was not much of a role model. She has dreams of escaping New Orleans attending Smith College when she becomes involved in a murder investigation. The author has you completed invested in Josie and the characters that support her. You want to see good happen to Josie. The novel moves quickly and one of the best aspects of the story is the role New Orleans plays. It is just as major a character as the people. This was a fan favorite among our Students As Readers and one I would recommend to anyone who likes a good mystery, strong characters and an intriguing setting!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Library as a Seed of Experiment!!

 Last week, Ms. Daley's AP Psych classes were in the library conducting research for their social psychology experiments. Aside from providing the classes resources to gather the background information on topics such as conformity and persuasion, the library has always been a partner in the implementation of the experiments! Students use the library and the library teachers to help them conduct their various experiments. It is always interesting for us to watch the unsuspecting students and staff attempt to figure out what is going on in the library.

The following article clearly supports not only the benefit but the NEED for a strong library program at the high school level for our students. It is so important for students to learn HOW to research effectively and not just rely on the instant gratification from Google. In today's world yes the information is there but it is not so much about finding the information but rather analyzing information and how one uses' it for new knowledge. That is a skill Google can not teach alone.

Book of the Week: A Volcano Beneath The Snow: John Brown's War Against Slavery / Albert Marrin
For history buffs and those interested in a fascinating character, this biography on John Brown traces his life from childhood through his times as a staunch abolitionist. The author paints him as the "father of American terrorism" as his ferocious means to eradicate slavery was by any means necessary. He did however raise questions regarding the treatment of humans that are as pertinent today as they were during his time. This is a fascinating read and one not to be missed!

Friday, October 3, 2014

PreSchool Rockin in the Library!!!

Preschoolers have arrived in full force this week! Nine classes are scheduled in the library for story time and book sharing! The smiling faces of the preschoolers were eager to begin their weekly trips to the library! Returning students did a great job showing the new students what "whole body listening" looks like and all participated with enthusiasm and excitement!!

To kick off the year we read two books, Oopsy Teacher / Stephanie Calemenson and Row Row Row Your Boat / Jane Cabrera. Oopsy Teacher follows Mr. Bungles the loveable teacher who sometimes runs into mishaps throughout his day. Row Row Row Your Boat is a take on the classic song. Students were able to sing along and show off their animal sounds! I am looking forward to the weekly time with my little guys!!

Book of the Week:

New books are arriving in the library and they are flying off the shelves! I am going to try and highlight a book here each week to promote our collection. This week it is
This Star Won't Go Out / Ester Earl with Lori and Wayne Earl
John Green's The Fault in our Stars is a gigantic best seller about a girl who battles terminal cancer. It was made into a blockbuster movie and John Green has a legion of fans around the world. The book is best loosely on Ester Pearl. An amazing individual who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 12, Ester was a positive, generous and "normal" teenager. She died at 16 but touched the lives of thousands through her online journal, including John Green who connected with Ester and was able to meet her and get to know her before her untimely death. This memoir is a collection of Ester's journals, fiction, letters and sketches. It is a way to tell her story through her her words and thoughts. She is truly an inspiration!