Friday, November 16, 2018

It's Cold Outside but the Library is Heating up with Activities

Book Mingling: In English, sophomores started second quarter by visiting the library for booktalks and to share what they read last quarter. Through these conversations, students are introduced to a wide range of books which promotes independent reading. While students take notes during booktalks, the librarians also publish featured book lists on THE ANNEX@. Absent students can check online to see what they missed. As we remember our Veterans, one popular choice has been Left for Dead: A Young Man's Search for Justice for USS Indianapolis by Pete Nelson. This is the true story of how Hunter Scott's sixth grade history project on the Indianapolis resulted in him becoming involved with exonerating the ship's captain in any wrongdoing in the tragic sinking of the ship in WWII. Scott was only eleven when he heard of the sinking of the ship while watching Jaws. The book tells the story of what happened when the ship was torpedoed by the Japanese, the heroism of those Navy men, and the quest for justice to clear the name of the captain.

Junior Research: Libraians are collaborating with English teachers to guide juniors through the research process of WISER. Students Wonder by asking questions, Investigate by locating, accessing and evaluating sources, and Synthesize by reading across texts, taking notes, and forming new understandings. Students complete a Research Journal as a way to stay organized and gather ideas. Students Express by presenting a thesis with support, and Reflect by using feedback to revise and self-assess progress. 

Design Thinking in the Makerspace:  Mr. Riley's Earth Science students designed a Lander (or vessel) to prevent an egg from breaking when dropped from a considerable height. Students created a sketch and then designed a prototype in the makerspace. Next, they tested their Lander to see how effective their design was in protecting the egg during the drop.

3-D Constellations: Mr. Haag's astronomy class made 3-D constellations. Students had to demonstrate that our perspective of constellations is specific to our location in the galaxy. If our location changes then our "view" of a constellation will change also. On graph paper, students drew a constellation, such as the Big Dipper, as it appears from Earth. Students figured out scaled distances from the Earth. From a "top view" and from a "side view" the constellation will look totally different.

President Wilson in the Makerspace: Students in Mr. Staffaroni's history class were learning about President Wilson, the last of the Progressive Presidents who served from 1913-1921. Student were charged with determining how to best represent President Wilson's accomplishments.

Professional Development in the Makerspace: On Professional Development day, the ICT Team took time to discuss the book Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student by educators John Spencer and A.J. Juliana. Teachers had a chance to use the makerspace to experience the launch cycle for design thinking.

Images used with permission from author.

Earn those Modern Language Association (MLA) Badges to Become MLA 8 Certified:  Freshman in Mrs. Brown's English class are earning their MLA 8 badges, indicating they understand how to cite a source properly.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Databases? We use them!

As we move into budget season, we are taking a close look at our students' database use. We are pleased to report that our overall database use is growing at an outstanding pace. We attribute this to several factors:
  • We introduced meta searching in 2015. EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) cross-searches 60 of our 67 databases. Students enter their search terms in a search box on the home page and connect to their results with one click. 
  • We set up single sign on (SSO) authentication, which means that students do not need to log in to individual databases so long as they are logged into their school Google account in the same browser. Before SSO was implemented, username and password inquiries were those most frequently texted to the library. Eliminating that barrier has made it exponentially easier for students to access these valuable resources. 
  • Databases cite sources for students. Students find that piecing together website citations is complicated and using resources that provide citations streamlines their inquiry process. 
  • The content is vetted, and once they master the tricky business of crafting advanced searches, they appreciate the search refinement features that our database cross-searching tool (EBSCO Discovery Service) offers.
Our overall database usage increased by 20% between 2017 and 2018 

Individual database use is also trending upwards by 34% since introducing SSO
ProQuest National Newspapers 
In 2018, student use of ProQuest National Newspapers, a database that cross searches the six following daily newspapers increased by 95% over 2017 and 65% over 2016.

  • Christian Science Monitor
  • Boston Globe
  • Hartford Courant
  • New York Times
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Washington Post