Friday, February 27, 2015

What Are You Passionate About?

Welcome Back to school! I can't believe mother nature allowed us to complete a full week of school. Here is hoping the pattern is broken and we will be on our way to green grass, blue skies and warmer weather!!!

The library was crazy busy this week! While continuing with the sophomore chemistry project, freshmen English has begun their research paper! Students are looking at topics they feel passionate about and researching in depth. Topics ranged from hate crimes to air pollution to ISIS. I spent the week teaching students how to use our general reference databases. We learned what a database is, what it can do for you and how to develop a search that will result in high quality hits. Often times, students have an idea or a topic but they are not sure "WHAT" they want to know. It is difficult to search for information if you are not sure what it is you want to know. By creating a question first and then a mind map of your topic with potential search terms students will be able to flush out the areas they want to develop for research. From there they can also think of ways to look at their topic from different angles. They need to know how to find synonyms or like terms. All in all I was so impressed with the topics they chose and can't wait to see how they develop into well researched papers.

One English teacher decided to take the project one step further. Ms. Dangel's classes will not only be researching and writing a paper on a current event but they will be coming up with an action plan that any 14 or 15 year old can execute and then have to actually complete it! What made this even more special was when Mr. Galvin, assistant principal, came to speak to the classes in the library about Yahoo Day.

Yahoo Day is the day he created to commemorate his last day of chemo and radiation 18 years ago.  On February 26th Mr. Galvin spends the day giving back, random acts of kindness. He wanted to thank all those who gave to cancer research that allowed him to survive, people he will never meet.  He takes this day and spends his time giving to others. For example, yesterday he handed out iTune gift cards to people waiting at the T-Stations. What is wonderful about this is how simple it can be. It doesn't have to be a large expensive act. It is the act of taking out time in your life to think about others. The day has grown from Mr. Galvin taking out some friends for dinner, to numerous friends, colleagues and strangers getting in on the day and giving back. I think his talk inspired the students as I know it did me. I participated in my first Yahoo Day and look forward to doing it again next year!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Vacation!!!

Well, It has been hard to be from MA this winter! Every time we turn around there is another storm hitting us! Out for two days this week and with vacation beginning today, I am looking forward to a restart! But despite Mother Nature trying to take us down, there were some great things happening in the library this week!!

One of my favorite projects is the annual chemistry paper. I have had the pleasure of teaching multiple chem classes this week regarding how to locate academic resources tied to a topic of their choice around chemistry. This project is one where one can see the personality of students come out!
Students can choose any topic they are interested in that can be tied to chemistry. Topics range from forensics, to music therapy to protein powder and the body. I love watching the ideas come alive, being able to direct students to the databases that will work best for each topic and see how their idea develops into a full blown paper! And working with the chemistry teachers is always a treat. I feel like the students really become excited about the project because their teachers feel passionate about it.

As we move on to February vacation, I hope everyone survives the next few storms, we are after all New Englanders and we can handle this. Let there be good reading, exciting books and great conversation for your time off!!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Library as Hub for Study Groups.....

Depending on the time of day and the block, the library can be what some consider the "traditional library" quiet as a mouse, students heads in a book or their laptop diligently working away. At other times the library is a hub of activity..students coming and going, groups working together on projects, kids relaxing and laughing. While I cherish the quiet time in here as it makes it easier for me to get some of my administrated work done, I love the time in here when the library is jumping with activity. I think my favorite thing to see are the working groups. For example, students who come together to work on their AP Physics, students helping students, working through problems as a unit rather than everyone fending for themselves.

I truly believe we foster an environment where students want to help each other succeed and they see the value in learning from each other. Other times you may see a group of students working on a history project, creating a presentation, throwing out ideas, developing a strategy for presenting. It creates a library that feels lived in and used rather than a relic people walk through to admire but don't stop and stay.

Blog Book of the Week: 
Panic / Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver is one of my favorite young adult authors. She penned the very popular Delirium series and her latest Panic, is one of her best! I felt a connection to the main characters, wanted to see them overcome the obstacles set forth for them and come out on top. The story kept me interested from cover to cover and I felt as if this was a story kids and adults would relate to and find a piece of them in each of the main characters. Not one to be missed, Panic is one for everybody!

"In the poor town of Carp, New York, a group of teens enters a high-stakes game that involves a series of secretive, possibly deadly challenges throughout the summer, with the winner receiving more than $50,000--enough money to start a new life"--Provided by publisher.