Friday, March 27, 2015

Finding Spring.....

I think we are all still looking for it....April is less than a week away and it is still cold, snowy and raw...I won't mention that we could get up to 2 inches of snow Saturday.....It just seems like it is the winter that will not let go.....

This week I read to the preschoolers: Finding Spring / Carin Berger

Too excited to hibernate, a bear searches all over for spring and only finds bare branches, snow flakes and cold weather. He goes to bed thinking he has found it only to awaken to what is really spring.
Here is hoping we will wake one of these mornings to some beautiful spring like weather.

And just so we always remember how important our libraries are, here is a great article discussing why libraries are as important, if not more, today than they were decades ago!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Google It..

Another week in March has come to an end, another week of cold and some snow, it feels like the winter that will not end, but here's hoping the first day of spring will bring with it the beginning of nicer weather!!

 How to Google with Google!

It was with delight and some patting on the back if I do say so myself, that I opened this month's School Library Journal and saw the article regarding teaching students how to search effectively in Google! The last two weeks have been devoted to teaching sophomores research skills needed for their English research paper. Having completed the unit on database searching for sophomore chemistry, I worked with the sophomore English team to develop a lesson that would compliment what I had already taught the sophomores and would add another tool in their toolbox. I have to say this has turned into one of my favorite lessons. I loved seeing the article in School Library Journal because it confirmed for me that we are on the right path at Natick High. We are raising the research skills of our students to prepare them for higher level thinking and creating!


Blog Book of the Week

Paper Covers Rock / Jenny Hubbard
A book both disturbing, and thought provoking Paper Covers Rock in some ways reminds me of a more modern day The Chocolate War. The all boys boarding school setting, the pressure to fit in, to be an individual but not a complete individual that draws too much attention. It makes you think about choices, and consequences and the impact that can have, sometimes permanently. A sad and chilling tale of adolescence. 
Summary: In 1982 Buncombe County, North Carolina, sixteen-year-old Alex Stromm writes of the aftermath of the accidental drowning of a friend, as his English teacher reaches out to him while he and a fellow boarding school student try to cover things up.

Friday, March 13, 2015

March is "National Reading Awareness Month"

March can be a long month! It feels like winter should be over and spring should kick in but March typically makes fools of us all. We get our hopes up when we have one day with temps over 50 degrees only to be right down in the single digits the next day. We need to find things to keep our spirits up while we wait for the transition to spring! March is "National Reading Awareness Month" I can't think of a better month to take the time out to read and enjoy a good book. When kids see the adults in their lives reading they will be more likely to pick up a book as well. Share what you are reading with your children, carve out an hour when you all sit down and just read together, go to the book store and read there. We all need to take time out to read and relax!!


Ms. Tully's AP Environmental Science classes just completed a project where they designed and built a model of their own "Ecotopia" city.  The models focus on a particular type of renewable energy and principles of Smart Growth. The models are on display in the library and frankly are some of the most creative and colorful projects we have had displayed here. They are amazing!






Sophomores' have hit the library once again for their third term research paper. The research lesson we focused on is how to search Google effectively. We went over how Google creates it's search results and how to formulate a good search query.






BLOG BOOK OF THE WEEK: Orphan Train / Kristina Baker Cline

Summary: Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by luck and chance. This is the story of one such child. As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are reminders of a turbulent past. Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota,
Orphan Train is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is a moving tortured tale of two females, one who's story began in the 1930's and the other, a foster child trying to stay afloat in today's world. Their lives connect as Molly helps Vivian clean out her attic as part of a community service program she must do to avoid juvenile hall. From page one I was hooked, I could feel the anguish and raw sadness both characters experienced and the hard exterior they needed to survive. This is a gripping tale all should read.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Celebrating the New Year!!

Happy Chinese New Year!

The library was so excited to host Ms. Zhao's Chinese New Year Celebration. The library was filled with delicious smells from the dumplings, spring rolls and Chinese pastries. There was a station set up for calligraphy writing and student work from Ms. Zhao's Mandarin class is displayed throughout the library. The most enjoyable aspect of the afternoon was watching the student interaction. Students teaching other students about Chinese culture and traditions. It was a lovely afternoon and such a great way to use the library to celebrate some of our many different cultures at Natick High School.









What came first the book or the movie?

Always one of our most popular displays, the "Book to Movie" generates a lot of discussion. Students debate if the movie was better than the book and sometimes we have students who never knew a movie had started as a book!! Often we hear, "I will not see the movie until I have read the book" and still others are inspired to read the book after they have seen the whatever order they decide to tackle it, as long as they are reading we are happy!!!




Blog Book of the Week: 

Kitty Genovese : the murder, the bystanders, the crime that changed America / Kevin Cook

I chose this book because freshmen and seniors are working on their third term research projects. They are focusing on social issues and coming up with action plans. One student is passionate about the Bystander Effect. The term first becoming popular with the horrible death of Kitty Genovese. The book, detailing her life and tragic death was a page turner, reading like a novel. And it also brought up many questions about what role society has in taking care and watching out for each other.

Summary: New York City, 1964. A young woman is stabbed to death on her front stoop--a murder the New York Times called "a frozen moment of dramatic, disturbing social change." The victim, Catherine "Kitty" Genovese, became an urban martyr, butchered by a sociopathic killer in plain sight of thirty-eight neighbors who "didn't want to get involved." Her sensational case provoked an anxious outcry and launched a sociological theory known as the "Bystander Effect."That's the narrative told by the Times, movies, TV programs, and countless psychology textbooks. But as award-winning author Kevin Cook reveals, the Genovese story is just that, a story. The truth is far more compelling--and so is the victim.Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of her murder, Cook presents the real Kitty Genovese. She was a vibrant young woman--unbeknownst to most, a lesbian--a bartender working (and dancing) her way through the colorful, fast-changing New York of the '60s, a cultural kaleidoscope marred by the Kennedy assassination, the Cold War, and race riots. Downtown, Greenwich Village teemed with beatniks, folkies, and so-called misfits like Kitty and her lover. Kitty Genovese evokes the Village's gay and lesbian underground with deep feeling and colorful detail.Cook also reconstructs the crime itself, tracing the movements of Genovese's killer, Winston Moseley, whose disturbing trial testimony made him a terrifying figure to police and citizens alike, especially after his escape from Attica State Prison