Week 8

Last week we sent out emails to the freshmen introducing the librarians, so this week we split up and went into study halls to put faces to names. We want them to know who to turn to when they have research questions, need help with citations, or just want a good book recommendation. On Wednesday, the Upper School had a different schedule for every grade level – Seniors got a day off to work on college applications, Juniors and Sophomores took the PSAT in the morning, and Freshmen rotated around stations. One of the stations was thought up/planned out by our very own librarians. They introduced Question Formulation Technique (QFT) with the topic of “grades.” Students worked in groups to come up with as many questions as they could regarding grades, then labeled questions as open or closed, and reworked questions to switch them to open or closed. Students had to dig a little deeper, and the result was some pretty great discussion.

Outside of the library, I got to cheer for the Severn cross country team as they raced in the Baltimore half marathon this weekend. Always fun to see a kid’s face when they don’t recognize you outside of your librarian clothes šŸ™‚ Great job toughing it out on those hills!


Week 7

There’s a lot to catch up on from the last few weeks! We had 7th grade English classes come in to do a book tasting and pick out their first quarter free read, which went really well.Ā  So many books from the tastings got checked out that we were refilling the selections after every class! 6th graders created their first NoodleTools citations in Geography, as part of their country research project.Ā  There were meetings on a couple of big projects coming up – the annual Breadwinner cross disciplinary unit for the 6th grade and the 7th grade’s cross disciplinary unit on the state of the Chesapeake Bay and what legislation they would propose to improve the situation.

Last week was spirit week for the Upper School in preparation for Homecoming weekend, so every day we saw a lot of awesome costumes, practicing for Sing For Your Supper, and donations to the food drive.

This week the highlight was our amazing 6th grade book club.Ā  16 kids came in excited to talk aboutĀ The Unwanteds,Ā  eat some cookies, and play a game where they had to figure out what famous sibling they were and then find their brother or sister in the room.

Happy Friday!!

Week 4

Another week down. This week we went into the 8th grade English classes to begin the research process for their speeches. Every 8th grade student is required to give a speech on a topic they are passionate about in front of the entire middle school, so the research matters! The 6th graders also got a visit in their Geography classes where they learned how to create their first citation in NoodleTools. We headed into an US news class to show students how to use the Historical NY Times database and how to research particular news events and their impact on history.

The big news on the US front was the Admiral Community Day on Thursday. Teachers recommended their favorite films and students chose which to watch. After they watched the movies together, groups discussed structure, content, and experience. Students then broke into groups of 8 with combined grade levels and were given a genre, prop, and theme. They had the entire afternoon to shoot a 3-5 minute movie trailer and produce a movie poster. It was a lot of organization and went very well, especially since it was a new event for the school.

Last highlight for the week was 7th grade book club. We readĀ The MiscalculationsĀ of Lightning Girl, an adorable book about a girl who is struck by lightning and turns into a math savant. She goes to public school for the first time and is tasked with creating a meaningful service project. With her 2 friends, she heads to the animal shelter and creates an algorithm to determine which dogs will take the longest to be adopted. The kids then publicize the dogs to help them find a home. In book club, our kids created an adoption profile for themselves if they were dogs (or cats) and read them aloud to guess who was which dog. We also talked about the possibility of Skyping an author for our next book club. Fingers crossed we can work something out with their top authors – Chris Grabenstein, Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, Beth Vrabel, Dan Gemeinhart, or Samantha Clark.

Week 3

What a week! We saw just about every MS student, but far and away, the most enthusiastic students are in 6th grade. They came in for an introduction to the library and completed a GooseChase scavenger hunt which proved they can now log on to the computers, search the online catalog, and locate a book based on genre or author’s last name. GooseChase produces quality selfies and silliness.

We also introduced them to our quarterly reading challenge (41 out of 65 students signed up!) and had an interest meeting for 6th grade book club (18 out of 65!). Unwanteds was the popular vote, so students will have a month to read the book before our next meeting. The 6th graders also got a lesson in plagiarism and signed up for a NoodleTools account in their Geography class. Since they’re new, they quizzed us on their names – fingers crossed our memories don’t fail us the next time they come to the library.

7th grade Science students also got a dose of research skills with a lesson on being skeptical of sources. Do you trust a source that provides information contrary to what you believe? Would you believe a government website, science textbook, book written by a scientist, or an article in a scholarly journal? Students worked in groups to determine what information they could trust, and how to determine if a source might have an agenda.

7th grade History students came to the library for a quiet place to conduct research, and US English students used our newspapers to find articles they disagreed with in the op-ed section. Finally, the club fair for US was this week, so we loaned out plenty of tape, glue, and markers and supported some library regulars leading clubs like Engineering Club and United Spectrum.

Week 1: We’re Back!

The school year is already off to a busy start! Wednesday we met our 10 new advisees for our first Morning Meeting then got to know each other better by playing Super Fight and eating lunch together. This year we plan to organize our daily 10 minutes together under general themes of Monday – academic check-ins/weekly planning, Tuesday – nothing, Wednesday – mindfulness, Thursday – games, and Friday – high/low/cheers. This way we can keep on track and set the kids up for a good school year.

Our first week back we also met with the Upper School students to welcome them back, remind them of library expectations, and introduce our new system of room reservations! Upper School Spanish classes came for an escape room upstairs, while 8th grade science students were downstairs learning about plagiarism and paraphrasing. Finally, today was convocation and after an all-school assembly, the library was overrun by seniors readingĀ Not Norman to kindergarten/1st graders – too cute!

Next week, we’re going on a 3-day camping trip with our 8th grade to Echo Hill, so there’s a lot to look forward to next week and beyond!

2019 Summer Reading Challenge Round Up

Summer is officially over, so it’s time to round up my Summer Reading Challenge.

Total Books Read: 44

#OwnVoices Books Read: 23 (52%)

LGBTQ+ Books Read: 7 (16%)

Graphic Novels Read: 10 (23%)

My goal was 76 books, so I didn’t get there, but I’m pretty happy with 44! I also have a lot of great books to recommend and talk about with students and teachers.Ā  I would like to have read even more #OwnVoices and LGBTQ+ books, but I’m fairly happy with the diversity of books I read as well.


Book Forty-Four: Dear Martin

dear martinSo this one is cheating a little bit… Summer is officially over, but I started listening to this book before it ended, so I’m going to count it as part of my Summer Read Challenge. And what an awesome, powerful, emotional book to end on. Definitely a last but not least situation.

This book is an incredibly timely story, speaking to the racism that so many young people experience every day. The conversations felt so real to me, as did the pain and frustration the main character felt throughout the book. I wanted to reach through the pages and hug some characters and throttle others.

I would recommend this book to all of my high school students, as well as my faculty. You should go read it too.