Monday, October 28, 2013

Character Day for Spirit Week Brings Books to Life

Last week was Spirit Week at PFTSTA. Each day the students could wear outfits fitting the theme of the day. Thursday was Throwback Thursday. Those planning the activity envisioned students choosing a decade and dressing from the 60s, 70s or 80s or anytime before that. However, some of the students interpreted it to mean a throwback during their own lives. They came dressed in flannel pajama onesies. I thought that was clever and thinking outside of the box. 

On Friday, it was character day. Most of the characters that I saw walking around the building live in video games or save the world as super heroes. I grabbed a couple of pics of characters found in the pages of books. Of course, those would be my favorite types of characters. Below is a student who took her character from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. She is a shadow hunter.

At every school, there are students who would like their school to be a little bit like Hogwarts. So when character day arrived, we were bound to see a Harry or two roaming the halls. Below is a senior enlightening his statistics class about the magical aspect of numbers and data. 

One of our new teachers, Maggie Grindstaff, really got into the spirit all week long. There were several Waldos lurking around the building, but I captured a pic of Mrs. Grindstaff who let us know that Waldo is hiding out at Patrick Taylor Academy. Where's Waldo was first published in 1987 when I was an elementary school librarian. I had all of the books in my old library. I don't have them on the shelves of the PFTSTA library, but I am happy to see that Waldo is still a well-loved character. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

TRW13 was a Huge Success

Every year, Bookmarked helps me create and design all the activities that we offer during Teen READ Week. I see this week as a time to get students into the library who do not usually visit or visit rarely. I offer games that students can play daily as well as something special for each day of the week during lunch. The idea is to get them excited about the library. It is exhausting. Especially so this year because I was teaching classes on research to all the 6th and 7th grade students along with the lunch time activities. 

I am still waiting for the entries for the annual bookmark contest to pour in, but all the other events have been chronicled with pics on the library website. Open here to see all the fun the students had last week

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Busy Teen Readers Review New Books from YA Authors

In this week's edition of SLJTeen, four teens had their reviews published. The members of Boomarked are fans of a variety of genres and styles of writing. Find some of what they liked by opening the link here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Research Season has Begun

On Friday, I began teaching lessons on how to conduct good research. This is a yearly event where I spend lots of time with all the middle school students helping them to prepare for writing a paper for the social studies fair. This year, the students do not have to do a full blown social studies fair project, but all students are required to write a paper.They cannot get honors' credit for social studies without writing a research paper. Several years ago, the English department and I decided that we wanted the students to write quality papers for this project. If that was going to happen, then the papers needed to be started in English class.We have really developed a method for teaching research that we are proud of. It is truly collaborative. Since the paper does not have to be as long as in past years (social studies fair had length requirements), we have scaled  back the paper to make it more age appropriate.

To make the process more manageable for teachers and students, the sixth graders are selecting a person, the seventh graders are selecting an event in American history and the eighth graders are going to select a topic from Louisiana history or culture. Students will receive grades from both their English teacher and social studies teacher. The high school students are also required to write a paper for honors' credit, but those papers will be completed with the social studies teacher only.

As librarian, I am the go to person to help with the research process. I can teach lessons to classes on where to access quality information, but I can't be there 24/7 in person. However, I can be there 24/7 virtually. I had made a wiki for the social studies fair a few years ago that I was very proud of. It was a one stop shop for the whole process from start to finish that could be used by both middle and high school. For the current year, I realized that I had to revamp the wiki because the teachers and I had revamped the requirements for the paper. I was able to take the old wiki and copy and paste and edit to make it relevant for this year without spending hours. I was thrilled with the outcome. Open here to find the new and improved wiki. On the home page you can find the three different pathfinders that I created for the students in middle school so that they will get a chance to explore all the different resources that we have available for them. The rest of the wiki offers pages for students to  get help in selecting a topic, help in finding the databases, help with writing a paper and help with creating citations. With this resource, I know that students can find what they need to get this paper completed. By viewing the statistics available to me in wikispaces, I can see if the students are using the resource. I understand that students don't always want to come to me for help, so the wiki is available to give them assistance whether they need it during the school day or at home.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Giving Back to the Library Profession

I have been teaching for a long time. More than two thirds of that time has been as a school librarian. I spent 12 years in an elementary library and the last 10 in a middle and high library. I think that I have honed my skills to the point that I am at the top of my game. I have had several mentors that I looked up to over the years who helped me.through my journey, so now I think that it is important for me to help guide others. Of course, I think that I can learn from those just starting out, too. New librarians always have some new fresh ideas that I never considered. 

On the big screen is a view of the LSU instructor and the students in Baton Rouge
One of the ways that I have given back is to welcome students in library school to visit my library and interview me for class assignments. I have also had students completing a library practicum work in my library. I try to apply and make presentations at local and state conferences. This past Saturday, Charity Cantey, an LSU instructor who is also the librarian at the LSU lab school, invited me to speak to her class on school libraries offered at LSU in Baton Rouge. I didn't have to drive to Baton Rouge. There are several satellite centers at universities around the state where students can attend the class from afar. The University of New Orleans has one of those centers. So I spoke to a room with two students locally, and spoke to students around the state through a computer connection. It was kind of cool actually. 

This is what I saw as I talked: the two students and  a screen with the camera pointing at me
I spoke for about 30 minutes about how I promote reading, use electronic resources and collaborate with teachers in my building. I showed my library website and this blog and explained why I think that it is important to have electronic resources. Then I opened it up to questions. Someone asked who creates the content for my website. The answer is me. Anything coming from the library, I have to do or ask students to help me do. It is very time consuming but so worth it. Another student asked about my degree. I received an MEd from the University of New Orleans in Curriculum and Instruction. I told them that I was envious that they have the opportunity to get an MLIS without having to travel to Baton Rouge. That would have been my only option when I was attending graduate school. I definitely felt that I was prepared to work in a school library with my education, but I still wouldn't mind having a MLIS behind my name. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

JPPSS Librarians Meet in the New PFTSTA Library

That is me on the left with Terry Young from West Jeff on the right
The librarians in the Jefferson Parish Public Schools don't get many opportunities to meet as a group. However, it is important for us to network because most of us are the only librarian in the building, and many can use some support and assistance with the new evaluation system, COMPASS. Also, there are many new librarians in the district who need guidance with available resources as well as some of the job expectations and requirements. On October 3rd, I invited all 75 librarians in the district to meet at Patrick Taylor for an after school meeting. We had 36 show up, and considering that the school is located in the far reaches of the Westbank, I think it was a great turn out. Lindsey Vindel, the Follett rep, shared how ebooks on  Follett Shelf work. Terry Young from West Jeff High School reviewed the evaluation system and how librarians should design the all important student learning targets (SLTs). We have created a wiki so that we can have a home for resources and documents for every librarian in the district, and I talked about the wiki and demonstrated how all members of the wiki can post and add links and resources. I was pleased that the space worked so well with plenty of room for presenting, refreshments and visiting. 

Lindsey Vindel talks about Follett Shelf and Ebooks

 JPPSS librarians

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

PFTSTA Library is Ready for the 2013 Teen READ Week

Teen READ Week is always a busy time in the PFTSTA Library. This year will be no different. You can visit the library website here to see all the planned activities for the week. You can even find links to the pics and activities from past Teen READ Week celebrations. We are looking to a fun-filled week in our brand new library. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Two Reviews by Teens for Upcoming YA Books

The members of Bookmarked only have a couple of months left to read and write reviews for the online newsletter, SLJTeen, from School Library Journal. We started this gig in June of 2012 and will submit our last review at the end of December. Until then, enjoy two new reviews here

Sunday, October 6, 2013

BRiMS Talks about Wonder by Palacio

For the second meeting of BRiMS, the students sat down with their lunch and chips with salsa. We had selected the book, Wonder, by R J Palacio for everyone to read. Since some of the students had not read the book or had not finished the book, I found lots about the author and book to share with the group. Including the book trailer embedded below, an interview with the author by NPR about how she came to write the book and the website where students can sign the pledge to be kind, a movement that has taken off since the book was published. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Two Teens Interview Visiting Authors -- Han and Vivian

When Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian visited the PFTSTA Library, they sat down with two juniors for an interview before they moved on to their next school visit of the day. The students are real fans and were thrilled to have twenty minutes to spend on their own with the two authors. The students wrote an article for the October 2nd edition of SLJTeen with highlights from the interview. You can read their article here.

Here is a link to Destiny's review of Jenny Han's book, To All the Boys I Loved Before that was published April, 2014.
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