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 🙂 Great job toughing it out on those hills!
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. 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. 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. 16 kids came in excited to talk about The Unwanteds, 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.
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 read The Miscalculations 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.
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.
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 reading 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!
This was our first week back from Spring Break, and while I could have used some warmer temperatures (seriously – where are you spring???), it was a great week in the library.
The big project this week comes from the 10th grade English classes, who are studying magical realism as part of their global literature curriculum. We got to help kids find novels or collections of short stories from the genre, which they will use as part of their larger research project. I think it’s going to blow some of their minds; magical realism is (to me) one of the most challenging, but interesting, genres since what’s real is always in question. I did realize, though, that we have a couple of gaps in our collection, even though we purchased a number of titles for this project. In particular, one comment from a student sticks out in my mind – “I just want short stories by an Asian author.” We’ve got Haruki Murakami, but that’s it – and his were checked out when her class came. So I’m on a hunt now.
Other highlights of the weekend included daily library trivia, which has taken off in popularity. Questions this week included “What actor portrayed James Bond in the first movie?” and “What country was the first to use paper money?” I also got to help with a session at the AIMS Diversity Conference on elevating underrepresented voices using primary sources and literature. AND I was able to talk with the amazing librarians at the Key School in Annapolis about the work they do around diversity in their libraries. They’ve got a great thing going there.
This is our last week of school before spring break, and the weather has turned a bit warmer, so everyone can see the light at the end of the winter tunnel. My brain is officially ready for vacation, so I’m just going to give a bullet list for this week’s activities.
- Helped 9th graders find books to read over Spring Break
- Gave book talks to our 4 awesome 6th grade English classes
- Had a library lunch staff meeting
- Supervised for middle school lunch cleanup (now THAT is fun times)
- Hosted a board game playing enrichment for the upper school
- Met with 6th grade book club for The Hunger Games
- Presented to middle school about upcoming author visit (Steve Sheinkin!)
- More stuff but my brain isn’t cooperating
We will be back in April. Happy Friday!!!!