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!!

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