It’s that time of year again! Yes, it’s School Library Month, and what better time to announce our brand new DCS Teen Lit Top 10 list? But first, a bit of background...
What is the DCS Teen Lit Top 10?
The DCS Teen Lit Top 10 list, first implemented by high school librarians during the 2016-2017 school year, was created to give Davidson County high school students options to explore high quality young adult titles through a variety of activities at their home schools and online. While we’re still exploring ways to help readers from different schools interact and we had to cancel our planned DCS Lit Con due to scheduling conflicts, the first year of this initiative was still a success. Our students enjoyed having a curated list of books to read and discuss, and some of the titles from this year’s Teen Lit Top 10 were among the highest circulated books in our collections! This year’s favorites included Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Looking for Alaska by John Green, I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, and Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman.
How is the DCS Teen Lit Top 10 Different from Battle of the Books?
The Battle of the Books is a great program, but a more flexible format works better for DCS high school students. Many high schoolers have jobs, take advanced classes, and participate in extracurricular activities, which makes finding time for pleasure reading a challenge. With the DCS Teen Lit Top 10, students simply read the books from the list that appeal to them, and share and discuss their favorites.
How was the Top 10 list created?
DCS high school librarians chose books based on a variety of criteria to create a list that we believe represents a wide range of reading tastes, diverse perspectives, social issues, and cultural significance. For inspiration, we looked to the Audiobook SYNC program as well as quality lists curated by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association. For newer releases that haven’t had time yet to win an award, we chose titles that are “buzzworthy” in the YA genre and have a very high Goodreads average.
Where can I get the books?
All titles should be available at DCS high school libraries, as well as through the North Carolina Digital Library, which students can access with a public library card. This is a great time to sign up for a library card if you don’t have one! One title is also available for free through Audiobook SYNC, a summer audiobook program for teens. See our Smore (www.tinyurl.com/DCSTLT10-2017) for more complete information and detailed summaries of each book, and our Toolkit (http://tinyurl.com/DCSTLT10Toolkit2017) for a printable poster, bookmarks, and handouts for students to rate the books they read.
What does it mean to participate?
Students can read as many or as few titles as they wish, and activities will vary from school to school. This is meant to be a flexible opportunity for readers to participate at the level they feel comfortable with. We realize that not every book is for every reader, and that’s okay!
How can librarians help?
Middle school librarians can inform their current Battle of the Books teams of this opportunity, while high school librarians can spread the word to their feeder schools, teachers, and patrons.
We’re still figuring out the best way to give our students an opportunity to build a reading community that reaches across our schools. While we did have some participation in the Google Classroom we set up this year for this purpose, we’d love to hear your suggestions about how to invite further participation--please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Did you know there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 (43 quintillion) ways to scramble a Rubik’s Cube? This best selling toy of all time was invented in 1974 by Erno Rubik. He wanted a working model to help explain three-dimensional geometry. It took him one month before he was able to solve the Cube for himself.
According to Brandon Lin, expert at Rubik's, you don't need to be a genius to solve these puzzles. The skills you do need are as follows:
First year ETS/media assistant at Tyro Elementary, Hawshen Flinchum, has started a Rubik's Cube Club. Currently, the club is offered for 4th and 5th grade students on Mondays and Fridays during their Recess time from 2:00-2:20.
Flinchum has created a Google Slide presentation as well as handouts with the algorithms for students to learn.
If you need a club idea, this has gotten the students excited!!!
Beverly Cleary, author of the Ramona series among other favorites, was born on April 12. In conjunction with School Library Month, www.dropeverythingandread.com is promoting a day to "just read". Since April 12th fell during our spring break, some elementary schools chose to celebrate another day.
Students at Tyro Elementary celebrated DEAR day on Monday, April 17th. The theme was "For Peeps Sake, Drop Everything And Read!" Each student received a Peep bookmark and enjoyed Peep marshmallow treats. See below for a pdf of the bookmarks.
Dianne Wright is highlighting Beverly Cleary on the morning news programs at Friendship and has invited guests to come and read excerpts from their favorite Cleary titles. I got to share my favorite, Henry Huggins, today with kindergarten!
You can celebrate D.E.A.R. day anytime and adopt any theme. If you have celebrated DEAR day or School Library Month, comment below. We would love to feature your school library in the next blog.
Grades 3, 4 and 5 at Denton Elementary attended programs in the library media center today featuring Michael P. White, children's book illustrator, from Atlanta, GA. Mr. White earned his degree in graphic design from the Art Institute of Atlanta nearly 3 decades ago and became a children's book author quite by accident! He had his artwork on display at a large festival when a famous author bent down to retrieve a lost earring that had rolled into his booth. When she stood up she fell in love with his work and asked him if he ever thought about illustrating children's books.
Mr. White talked about his evolution as an artist and all about the process of illustrating books. Students helped to brainstorm ideas and were encouraged to follow along and learn to draw like Michael with this highly-engaging and entertaining program.
Mr. White said he was "born to draw", having drawn nearly every day since he could remember. Now, he draws 8 hours a day 6 days a week! He's completed over 30,000 pieces of artwork and draws 500 different images for a single book. Only 32 of those images make it into a picture book, and the process takes several years.
Mr. White left behind the artwork he created during the event for students in the school to enjoy. He encouraged students to have an open mind when drawing, to keep practicing, and told them to always sign their work! This was definitely an experience that those students will remember.
Teen Tech Week is one of the most successful programing events that we hold at East Davidson High School. Teen Tech Week is a week for the Libraries to spotlight digital resources and services that are available to teens. Typically at East we schedule a whole weeks worth of activities and this year was no different. The theme this year was “Be the Source of Change” so we spotlighted resources that students could use to get engaged in learning! Here was our schedule of events for the week:
All of our activities were scheduled during lunches, so the Media Staff set up tables each day outside the cafeteria so that students coming to, during and leaving lunch could participate. We found that by taking the activities to the cafeteria we typically have more interaction with students.
Monday was Take a Trip Monday. Students were able to stop by the Green Screen and take pictures with props and different backgrounds. This is always a popular activities that we use with many classes so the students are familiar with how it works. Since this is becoming such a popular activity we have students and teachers come to us with fun ideas. Like can you put me on the boat in the movie “Jaws?”
Tuesday was Stop Motion Tuesday. Students had the opportunity to create their own stop motion videos using iMotion and Stikbot Studio. This is always a fun day because we sit out the iPads and a random collection of items and let the students’ imagination roll. Some of their favorite items to use to create are old Scrabble pieces and legos.
Wednesday was Virtual Reality Wednesday and this is a student favorite. We set up tables with various VR activities. We have iPad apps like Discovery VR, YouTube 360, a VR Roller Coaster App and the Quiver App. The Google Cardboard Headsets and VR ViewMaster VR Headsets with ViewMaster targets are always fun for students to try out. Students and Teachers are always excited about the Nintendo Virtual Boy that I bring from home to share with them how VR isn’t a new concept and that there were VR headsets and game consoles even in the 1990s. This is always a busy day for us.
Thursday was Low Tech Thursday where we share with students low tech resources and activities like legos, k’nex and other building resources. It is fun to see how into building some of our students get. They get serious about their creations and will check back to make sure that another lunch hasn’t dismantled their creations.
Friday was by far our most popular day with our Flashback Friday: Game Edition. We bring out a variety of gaming activities, from old Sega Genesis Games to the Nintendo Virtual Boy to Mrs. Pacman and Wii games. There are handheld game systems like original Gameboys which the students are amazed are still working to Nintendo DS and even a Computron that still plays games. The Media Staff has found that this particular day we know that we will be slammed and end up spreading many of these games out down the hall to accommodate the students and teachers that come out to participate.
Do you need some ideas about how to go "all out" for book fair? Then be sure to consult @dcsnc's own personal Pinterest board, Shanna Leonard, this spring or next fall when you are planning your event. Her ideas are simple to recreate and build tremendous enthusiasm for book fairs at Tyro Elementary. Thanks, Shanna, for sharing your ideas and pics! Do you have more ideas to share? Be sure to comment below or submit ideas and pics for a blog post.
We decorated the entrance of the Book Fair like a camp site with a tent, campfire, and picnic table. We had " I'm a Happy Camper" t-shirts made to wear during the Book Fair Preview Party and for our Parent Night.
During the Teacher Preview Party, teachers completed Wish Lists as we served Camping Snacks such as Fishing Supplies (gummi worms), Bear Claws (fudge rounds), Smore Trail Mix (mini marshmallows, Golden Grahams cereal, and mini chocolate chips), Bear Poop (Whoppers candy), and Spring Water (mini water bottles).
We hosted our First Annual Unusual Reading Spot Contest. The students were asked to take a picture of themselves reading in an unusual place with a matching book. Pictures were posted in the hallway and judged by local Photographer Mike Rowe and his wife Martha Rowe who is a retired teacher. One grade level winner was chosen and awarded $10.00 in Scholastic Bucks to spend at the Book Fair. We were amazed at the entries. Examples of the entries included: a student reading Cinderella at Cinderella's Castle, a student reading Charlotte's Web in a barn with a live pig, and a student reading Who Was Daniel Boone at Boone's Cave. The contest was a great way to get the students excited about the book fair.
All seven middle schools in @dcsnc came together today to compete in the annual Battle of the Books competition. Each school competed 6 times, going head to head with other teams answering questions from a list of 25 book titles, for a total of 21 rounds.
Never before has the competition been this fierce! Judges and scorekeepers checked and tabulated numbers numerous times before announcing this year's winners. Three teams tied for third place, each scoring a healthy 91 points: Ledford, Tyro and Brown Middle. Last year's winner, Oak Grove Middle, came in a close second with Central Middle School taking first place.
Coach Jennifer Jackson will accompany her team of Spartans to the Region 5 competition in Winston-Salem on April 4th where they will compete with teams from 15 other school districts. The winner from that competition will go on the the state level event.
All readers are leaders, but just like any sport, winning takes practice, dedication and perseverance. One CDMS student was so thrilled with the victory that he had to share his BOB story:
A very special thanks to Central Middle staff and Principal Sloan Denny for accommodating the competition today.
For a glimpse of today's events, please see the video below:
Although this is only her first year as library media coordinator at South Davidson, Mary Howell is a Wildcat through and through. As a graduate and veteran teacher of South, Mrs. Howell's passion for the school and community really shines through.
Lots of changes have been made since Mrs. Howell's move to the school library. One change is the new Makerspace where students can tinker and create. Just recently, 7th grade teacher, Kayla Craft, utilized the Makerspace as an extension of a poetry lesson.
Mrs. Craft shares a little about her project: "This was a brain child of Mrs. Morris and me. The students were really getting into poetry and I wanted to do a spoken word poem. Mrs. Morris helped me find Prince Ea and I found "Can We Autocorrect Humanity?" The kids loved it and I wanted them to create a response to the poem. I gave them the following instructions, "Create an appropriate response to the poem." The kids were confused at first, but they knew I had high expectations. The result is what you see!"
In February a group of students at NDMS had the opportunity to Skype with author Sundee Tucker Frazier from her home in Seattle, Washington. Mrs. Frazier was extremely friendly to the students, and they loved listening to her stories and asking her questions. She has written several children’s books, but her most well-known is The Other Half of My Heart, which has been on the middle school Battle of the Books list in years past. It was a great experience, and I would love to do it again!
How I found the author:
After hearing several presenters at NCSLMA talk about their positive experiences with Skype events, I wanted to give it a try. I searched the Microsoft Educator Community for authors who do Skype visits for schools. https://education.microsoft.com/skype-in-the-classroom/find-guest-speakers
I was hoping for someone whose book we already had in the media center and someone who would Skype for free or a minimal charge. When I found Sundee Frazier, I sent her a request through the Microsoft Educator Community. I knew we had several copies of her book because it had been on BOB, plus the book has a North Carolina connection - it was perfect! The book is a sweet story about identity and the bond between sisters. She emailed me back and we set up our day/time. She agreed to do a 30 minute Q&A chat for free!
How I picked the participating students:
I sent information to all of the ELA teachers and asked them to share with their students. I required that students read The Other Half of My Heart in advance (this was also a request from the author). I set up a waiting list. As soon as one student returned a copy of the book, I let the next student in line know that it was available. There were interested students who were not able to check out a copy in our time frame; however, I did tell them when they added their names to the waiting list that they could always buy their own copy of check one out from the public library.
How we prepared:
When students checked out their copy of the book, I asked them to think of some questions they had along the way. We met a couple of days before the Skype so that we could talk about the book and plan out which questions we wanted to ask. After our planning meeting I created an agenda for us to follow so that every student had the opportunity to ask at least one question. I did tell them to be active listeners - if their question was answered earlier in the conversation, they should ask another question so there was no repetition. They did a wonderful job coming up with questions in advance and on the spot.
I found that the Skype app on my Dell laptop did not work well with Zscaler. Using Skype online with Internet Explorer worked perfectly! Our ITF Jill Elberson did a couple of “test runs” with me to make sure I could connect to her and the sound/audio worked well. We did one of these test runs with our student group so they could see what it would look like to Skype with someone! Mrs. Frazier and I were not able to connect ahead of our scheduled Skype to do a test run, but that would have been a great idea.
What I will do differently next time:
Next time, I will meet with the students an additional time or two beforehand so we can spent more time chatting about the book. It would also have been helpful for the students to have visited Mrs. Frazier’s website in advance because some of their questions were answered there. I wish more interested students had been able to read the book before our deadline. Maybe next time I will try to tie an author Skype with a book that is available as a multi-user eBook or one that we have in our building as a class set (or that we could borrow from another school). Google Hangouts is another option for virtual guest speakers that I would like to try.
If you have used Skype in your media center to connect with authors or other experts, I would love to learn from your experiences!
Thanks to Marley Knapp, ITF, for all of this great information about BreakoutEDU!
BreakoutEDU is a game based concept where students solve a series of problems and puzzles to determine the clues which unlock the box containing the final piece of the puzzle. The problems and puzzles can take on any form from a mix of coded messages to curricular problems and activities. The clues come from answers to the problems and could be a numbered combination, a word, a series of directions, etc. and all of those clues unlock different types of locks. Students work together in small teams to complete the activities and solve the problems.
The Breakout games are great for blending 21st Century Skills with curricular lessons for students. Critical thinking, collaboration and teamwork, communication, creativity, organization and perseverance are proven factors in a better understanding and a greater retention of content. It’s a great way to explore and strengthen content knowledge with students.
BreakoutEDU is sweeping the nation AND Davidson County!
Davidson County elementary AIG Teachers have been planning and delivering some exciting things in the classroom. The AIG teachers have been working with the Elementary ITFs to set up and deliver lessons from BreakoutEDU that allow their students to study math and language arts as they "Break Out of the Box".
Some of the exciting games that have been delivered here in DCS so far are “The Bad Case of Stripes” with Christa Halsey’s 5th grade students using the Book by David Shannon and a variety of activities and puzzles about Context Clues to break out of the box and find out Ms. Halsey’s final clue. Nina Allen adjusted the “Breakout of the Meeting” Game with her students which was a great game for enhancing critical thinking skills perseverance and collaboration.
Christa Halsey, Angela Stanley and Dolly Fields all wrapped up the semester before the holidays with 4th and 5th grade students completing the “Reindeer Games” which was a fun exciting holiday game to build teamwork and organizational skills.
There are some fun breakout games being planned for the spring semester. Jessica Callaci is developing a game with activities and problems on decimals and fractions and Angela Stanley and Dolly Fields plan to have the students create games for each other’s class where the final clue in the box is necessary for the other class to finish their game. They will get together and complete the game via Google Hangout so they can collaborate with each other from across the county.
The Elementary ITFs have also been working with teachers on Digital Breakouts. BreakoutEDU also has a digital section where the games are all completed on a website page. This is a great way to get started with breakout games. Students can use the chromebooks and group up in pairs or teams of three and collaborate to complete the games and get an idea of how codes and puzzles render the combinations for the different locks. For more information on the BreakoutEDU idea visit their website http://breakoutedu.com/digital
How can I try it?
Reach out to your Instructional Technology Facilitator. Each ITF has been given a full BreakoutEDU kit and can assist you or your teachers to bring this new, engaging method of team building and problem solving to your school library or classroom.
The BreakoutEDU website has many pre-created game ideas that have been shared by teachers. They are searchable by grade level and content area and are designed to go with the locks and boxes in the Breakout Kit. Teachers can use the exact lesson shared, adjust it to meet their needs and lock types, or simply create a game with a series of activities/puzzles on their own. The Breakout website offers a kit for purchase with all of the boxes and locks necessary to complete the games, or teachers can obtain these materials from other sources to collect all the items needed. For more information on the BreakoutEDU idea visit their website http://breakoutedu.com
Welcome to the official blog just for DCS library media programs. Enjoy new posts from one of our many contributors and follow along to see the amazing things happening in Davidson County school libraries.