Thursday, September 20, 2018

Library off to a Sizzling Start in September!

Multi-functional library zones: Students are taking advantage of having a place to eat, meet up with other classmates and use resources.  The library has different zones for creating, virtualizing, eating, collaborating, focusing, and of course, teaching.  Students have been finding the niche that works best for them.

Practicing circuitry
Discovering the VR lab
Food is permitted in the #uppperlib only
Social learning in the #lowerlib
Focusing is important too!
We have lots of flexible teaching spacing

Makerspace Reorganization Update: The final details of the makerspace reorganization is coming to fruition, and students are assisting to make sure items are in their proper place. Color-coded areas and labels will make accessing (and putting away) materials more efficient.

Makerspace Activity: Students are making good use of the makerspace for a variety of projects. In American Studies, students are designing brochures depicting the Founding Father's viewpoints on issues that confronted them, such as voting rights. Other students in Global II are using the makerspace to depict the many faces of absolutism. 

Intern Visit: An intern from the state of Connecticut Alternate Route to Certification (ARC) program for library media specialists spent a day shadowing us. The intern observed collaboration with social studies teachers on the research process and asked questions about how to facilitate an integrated high school library program that is standards based.

Bibliography Feedback: Librarians are explaining how to drop off bibliographies for feedback, and students are encouraged to take advantage of having the librarians check their bibliographies before submitting them to their teachers. The feedback gives students a chance to revise their work and learn how to cite correctly. Students simply attach a citation checklist and checkbric to their bibliography and drop it off at the library. The checkbric has QR codes explaining the various parts of a citation. Simply take a photo of the QR code to get the citation rules.

Open House:  Parents attended NCHS Open House on September 13th and the library was open for visiting. Parents stopped by to see the facility, check out the makerspace area, and talk to the librarians.

W.I.S.E.R. Research Process:  Various social studies classes are using the W.I.S.E.R. (Wonder, Investigate, Synthesize, Express and Reflect) research process to conduct research on Absolutism Philip II, and Why We Fight?,  Students can find the projects in The Annex on the library homepage. A project chart appears, making for easy access to the projects with just a click. Projects are color-coded by grade level.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Back to School 2018-2019

We hope that everyone had a wonderful summer!

The NCHS football team helped us with a project a couple of weeks ago. As they entered the library, they greeted us warmly asking about our summers, and then one student asked, "What's new at the library this year?" We love that he asked the question because it shows that our students expect a dynamic and responsive library program. So yes, there are quite a few new things in the library this year.

Rams football & the Rams library join forces #strengthinnumbers

Ms. Sheehan is our new librarian. She is coming to us from the Saxe Library. She has decades of experience teaching inquiry to students and she knocked out several awesome booktalks for sophomore English classes this week.

A new familiar face in the library!

Makerspace reorganization: We reorganized the makerspace following last semester's Interior Design class recommendations (thank you, Ms. Zilly!). Students were given a budget and they worked in groups to develop and present proposals. Using their recommendations, the library faculty then developed a plan for a makerspace makeover. We are very excited to see student's ideas driving makerspace workflow.

Ms. Zilly's interior design students presenting their makerspace makeover proposals

A new media lab: The green screen and Virtual Reality lab was so popular last year, we felt compelled to create a second one. We hope to train student volunteers to become Virtual Reality VIPs (VRVIP, pronounced ver·vip) who can help facilitate student use of the VR equipment. If you love virtual reality and you have one free period per 8-day cycle, please ask about this opportunity!

Biology students exploring anatomy in virtual reality

Ms. Burns switched her office to "the other side". She is now outside of ColLabB.

Ms. Burns in her new office

Ms. Sheehan and Ms. Luhtala became permanent nomads, meaning that we removed our fixed desks and now have mobile standing desks. We work where we are needed.

Ms. Luhtala at her mobile standing desk

THE ANNEX@ has a new face. This is a process. We are still fine tuning the default project template. We think that our instructions for the Philip II Global History project may be the model we will use for all projects. We invite students to give us feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Library instructions for the Philip II project

There are new procedures for getting librarian feedback on bibliographies. They follow.

We are personalizing the booktalk experience. Before meeting for a booktalk, each student completes a questionnaire about their reading preferences. Then the librarian(s) make book recommendations for each student based on their questionnaire responses. Student responses also guide our book selection for the featured book talk, then at the end of the day, the librarians generate a circulation report for the class (just the titles, not student names). The recommendations, featured books, and circulated are then posted on THE ANNEX@ to guide future booktalks with the same class. Here is an example.

Personalized booktalks are documented

Speaking of booktalks, we had record turnout for our first Somewhat Virtual Book Club meeting on September 5th. Our next NCHS book group will meet in the high school library on October 3rd at 6PM. The History of Jane Doe is our featured selection. The author, Mike Belanger, who graduated from NCHS in 2004 and teaches history at Greenwich High School, will join us live for the discussion. Please check out a copy of the book, and join us for this exciting event.

Mike Belanger (NCHS Class of 2004) signing his book at Greenwich Library

Somewhat Virtual Book Club meeting on September 5, 2018