Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mid-September: Going Strong!

We were very excited to meet so many parents at Open House. Thanks to all the parents who shared favorite books with us. You are all part of a new display in the MakerSpace called "New Canaan Parents Recommend..." It is hard to resist reading a book that someone heartily endorses!

EasyBib is back! Due to corporate shifts that occurred last year at EasyBib, we had decided to transition to NoodleTools for student citation work. Unfortunately it became apparent in just the first two weeks of school that NoodleTools was not a good fit for us: we were sacrificing too much instructional time in NoodleTools guidance to make it worthwhile. Last week, as research projects ramped up, we needed to make a decision and make it fast. With the release by the Modern Language Association last April of a new citation protocol (MLA 8) it is essential that we maintain a quality and easily accessible service. EasyBib, missing us, was amenable to restoring our relationship and we were able to resume their use. Favorable responses from students abound! We consulted as many people as we could in making this decision, so if you are pleased about it, please thank Garrett who served as the spokesperson for the students during these conversations!

With the familiarity of EasyBib restored, students are engrossed in many different research experiences. Many of the ninth graders are wondering: RU What U Eat? and are getting their first exposure to our databases in pursuit of answers to this essential question. In tenth grade, student sleuths are seeking the murderer of Philip II or preparing to serve in a symposium on Absolutism. In this grade, the students are challenged to extend their skills beyond reporting to deeper research and reflection. Grade ten students will learn to synthesize the information they find to create unique meaning and show their insight. Our juniors, having already experienced the research projects of freshmen and sophomore year, will soon be undertaking the first of their two junior research papers. We are eager to get into classes with them, too!

School-wide there many places students can connect their BYOD devices to projectors for presentation or collaboration purposes. In order to take advantage of this utility students need to bring an HDMI cable with them. Please be sure that the cable adapter matches the device ports. If your student has any questions, anyone in the library and tech services is happy to assist!

Did your student participate in The Big History Read? Through this program, Ms. Goldhawk energized students in ninth and tenth grades to independently read fiction and non-fiction that complimented and extended their history studies. This year, Ms. Goldhawk is teaching  civics and law to upperclassmen so we have worked with her to develop a corollary to TBHR called TBLR (The Big Law Read). We are excited about the expansion to our vibrant collection this venture has inspired.

NCHS's bookshelf: tblr

The Abduction
tagged: nchs-legal-thrillers and tblr
Absolute Power
tagged: nchs-legal-thrillers and tblr
tagged: nchs-legal-thrillers and tblr
After Dark
tagged: nchs-legal-thrillers and tblr

We added two new database suites to our digital collection. Global Newsbank includes three modules - Access World News, Latin American Newspapers, and Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Students will find all three of these resources indispensable for weekly current events reports, as well as assured learning experiences throughout the NCHS curriculum. We also subscribed to a new suite of Gale products for several reasons. First, they organize search results into categories that align well with the NCHS research model, and also because it integrates seamlessly with Google Drive and Google Classroom Google integration.
Destiny, our online catalog has a new interface for students. We think it will simplify searching for materials print or digital materials in our collection. It is important for students to

On Wednesday, October 5th, our Somewhat Virtual Book Club (#swvbc) will gather face-to-face in the high school library at 6PM to meet virtually with students in South Carolina, New Jersey, and California to share thoughts on this month's book, Some Boys by Patty Blount. The author has agreed to join us virtually! Author participation plays an important role in our club. This month, we included the author handle in a twitter post about a #SWVBC member wearing a book-inspired outfit. The author enthusiastically responded. It was a great moment for our NCHS reader!

Our club seeks new members. We meet on the first Wednesday of the month at 6PM in the high school library.

We have a Google Photos account! We linked it to our website, and we hope to add a carousel of library activity pictures to our home page within the next few weeks.

Tech Tips of the week:
  • Set up multiple Google Chrome accounts and toggle between accounts to save time. 
  • Download extra browsers to your device to help troubleshoot when you cannot access an online resource. 
  • Mac users: Protect your AirDrop. Keep it locked down when not using it to avoid exposing your files to everyone in the BYOD network. 
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Thursday, September 8, 2016


Ms. Whiting and Ms. Luhtala
We can't start the new year's news without an important introduction. We warmly welcome Jackie Whiting to our library team. Yes, we look very similar. No, it was not planned. Yes, we share many other similarities. Our daughters, for instance, are both named Emma. We seem to make daily doppelgänger discoveries, most of which center around teaching and learning. We are having lots of fun, and it seems as though students are having fun too. Today, one student asked, "How did you get your sister to become the other librarian?" Just for the record, we are not related. 👯

Collaborative work stations
The first update is always a big update because so much changes over the summer. In order to further increase the flexible use of the library space by students, during the summer months we removed some freestanding shelves and streamlined the print collection. We added much needed power and data drops to the makerspace. To the lower library we added collaborative work stations (where students can project from their devices to large monitors and work in small teams), and we repurposed what used to be called Computer Lab B (AKA, Lab B) into ColLaB - a versatile classroom in the library soon to be equipped with mobile furniture adaptable to the many ways teachers teach and students learn. We are still waiting on a few deliveries, and we will post updated photos in our next bulletin.

EasyBib, our online citation generator, was sunsetted this summer, and we replaced it with Noodletools. The Modern Language Association also released its new MLA 8 Citation Manual last spring, so students and teachers alike will be adapting to new research documentation guidelines this year. Our first tutorial will be released shortly on our YouTube channel.

We introduced our incoming freshmen to NCHS Library services through a slide show this year. It follows:

Helpful insert in the planner
Helpful library information, including passwords for the database page and the databases themselves is posted to page 51 of the NCHS Planner, which was distributed to students on their first day of school. Unfortunately, the library phone number is missing a character. The correct number is (615) 669-6670. Students are invited to text their research questions to the library.

We expanded our digital collection to align with our learning community's increased computing capacity. We have many new
  • eBooks
  • audiobooks
  • eMagazines
  • databases
Author celebrates SWVBC on Twitter
We held our first Somewhat Virtual Book Club (#swvbc)meeting on September 7th. We met, virtually, with students in South Carolina, and a school librarian from California to share our favorite summer reads. Next month's book is Some Boys by Patty Blount, and the author has already agreed to join us. Our club seeks new members. We meet on the first Wednesday of the month at 6PM in the high school library.

Speaking of summer reading, the high school's library books are trickling back from New Canaan Library, and they will be featured in the special Vide Collection at the circulation desk all year. It is never too late to delve in to summer reading!

NCHS students love their school library. On Tuesday, we counted 225 students during period three. There are many ways to learn in the library, ranging from quiet study in the carrels to active, hands on learning in the makerspace. Students can earn school credit for their library involvement. We are working with the counseling department to increase student awareness of programs such as Techxperts, and MakerMajors, where students can develop leadership skills while learning.

While the library has a long history of circulating chargers and adapters for student-owned equipment, it will have to scale back those services this year. Students are expected to bring their own chargers to school.

On the third day of school we facilitated our first round of booktalks with Ms. Henrberg's students. Here is a list of what circulated as a result of those library visits. We launched other research projects including, a Global History II project, several current events units (seniors and sophomores), and the junior research paper - all in the first week of classes. Science classes also visited the makerspace to create 3D name placards to use in class.

Tech Tips of the week:

  • Mac users: Protect your AirDrop! Restrict its visibility from the public. 
  • Aviary edits photos on smartphones
  • Trello is a useful group project management tool

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