On this last half day of school before the Thanksgiving break, I worked on some of the inventory, cataloging, advisory, and helped some students with books. Towards the end of the morning, I took a small break and went down to the cafeteria to observe cluster 7-2′s annual “Bagels & Books” Day. Originated by ELA teacher Mr. Lundberg about 7 years ago, Bagels & Books is an opportunity for students to gather with each other, and parent volunteers, to eat bagels and discuss the books that they’re currently reading or recently completed.
When I arrived, some students were on line for bagels and juice, while others were either eating and talking about their books or talking while they waited their turn. I walked around and observed that the tables were set up with at least 5-7 students with an empty chair for a visitor. Each table had a card with the names of the participants and their group name. Mr. Lundberg had thought of creative “book themed” names, which included titles like “Library Loungers, Bibliophiles, Booklovers, Perusers and Bookworms.”
In addition, the tables had colorful paper bags filled with slips of paper which contained suggestions to keep the book conversations flowing. Some suggestions were “How is the setting of the story like a place you know? How is the world of your book the same or different from your world?, Will this be an important, memorable book 25, 50, 100 years from now?, Does the main character remind you of someone you know?, Which character taught you the most or gave you the most, to think about?”
As I walked around, I saw students seriously discussing their books with each other and their visitors (who also had their own books.) I asked one girl to tell me about her book called “A Mango shaped space,” by Wendy Mass, and it sounded really interesting.
I sat down with Table 9 called “Cogniscenti”, made up of Jacob, Rebecca, Jack, Peter, Harrison and Gabi, and listened in on their conversations as they pulled out slips of paper and talked to each other. They listened, and gave creative, knowledgeable comments and encouragement to help each other come up with deeper thoughts. When one participant said her book didn’t remind her of anyone then someone asked her what the book was about, which was an excellent way to change the question enough so the participant could actually participate.
This group of students had their books all ready to discuss, and included titles such as “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney, “Snail Mail no more” by Paula Danziger, & Ann Martin, “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold, “The Second Summer of the Sisterhood” by Ann Brashares, “Dune” by Frank Herbert, and “Waiting for Teddy Williams” by Howard Frank Mosher. There was a great variety of titles, interest, genre and difficulty levels with these selections.
When the question arose about whether or not their book would be considered memorable in 25, 50 or 100 years from now, I asked how many of them had either read the “Wizard of Oz” or seen the movie. All of them had done one or the other. When I told them the book was 110 years old, they were astounded. I told them that the definition of a classic is a book that stands the test of time. One of the boys proudly announced that his book “Dune” was published in 1965 and was recommended by his father who had also read it. One student asked him if he would now recommend it to his son and he said he probably would. Using the definition of a classic, they discussed their titles and gave reasons for whether or not their book might become a classic.
I thanked the Cogniscenti group for a wonderful time, and for allowing me to interview them for the blog, then gave them slips of paper with the url so they could go online and read about the day. Thank you to the parents for preparing a great bagel breakfast for everyone, and for coming out to support your students and reading. Thank you to Mr. Lundberg for the invitation and for the hard work to put on such a spectacular book discussion festival every year. I really enjoyed myself, and I know that the students did too. I’m sure many book titles will be tucked away into their memories for future reading.
Today was the annual Pie Day, which took place for the first time in the Library’s Inner Space classroom. I arrived early this morning and helped Dr. Martin to move the Book Fair book trucks and boxes to the sides of the room, since delivery wasn’t expected until later in the day.
Faculty and staff stopped by all day to eat, talk and drop off delicious creations. I baked an apple pie last night, and it joined the likes of pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, custard pie and many other culinary delights. Soft strains of holiday music played as conversation took place throughout the day as everyone drifted in and out between classes.
Thank you to the Pollard Social Committee for another school-wide endeavor of unity. It was delicious, and much appreciated.
Today was my first taste of Tag Team Teaching, and I loved it. Mr. Lundberg (7-2 ELA) and I had planned out a lesson about magazines several weeks ago. He had wondered if it was okay for students to read magazines during Free Friday Reads, so I did research to show him which listed the benefits of children reading magazines. We prepared a lesson that would garner information about magazines, show differences between a magazine and journal for research purposes, and settle the question “Should magazine reading be allowed on Free Read Fridays?”
The students were placed in groups of four at six different tables where I had set out magazines on various topics. Some titles included National Geographic, Consumer Reports, Sports Illustrated for Kids, GL (Girl’s Life), Smithsonian, and American History. Mr. Lundberg introduced the lesson with his essential questions.
In the “Magazine Ice Breaker” game, I called out clues and students searched the magazines for answers. Some questions included: “Find a magazine printed years ago, and find the contemporary issue.” (I included issues of National Geographic from 1925-32 as well as American History issues from 1966.) We discussed why the older magazines looked much duller, had less information on the covers, and only had a few color photos. Another question was “Find a magazine that would be used if you wanted to buy something.” This led to a short discussion about magazines being geared towards specific interests.
Mr. Lundberg introduced the next project, where students worked in groups to find out what all the magazines had in common. After 5 min., I asked for comments and wrote responses on a chart. Similarities included: table of contents, page numbers, pictures, advertisements, and several others. Mr. Lundberg talked about pricing and placing of ads, “teasers,” feature stories and departments.
I flipped through a journal and had them tell how it was different from a magazine. (No pictures or ads.) I talked about how scholarly journals were great sources of information for research reports because they include citations while most magazine articles do not. “Does it have pictures?” was their rule of thumb for whether or not to use a journal or a magazine in their future high school and college research.
Mr. Lundberg discussed whether or not magazines should be read on Free Read Fridays. They had varied opinions, with some feeling that books should be used because they had plots, continued on for a length of time, were better to read, and did not involve “flipping around.” The magazine enthusiasts said they liked reading shorter articles, enjoyed lots of pictures, and magazines interested them more than books.
Mr. Lundberg told them he’d come to the conclusion that reading magazines was still reading, and said they would be able to bring magazines in for Free Read Fridays. He noted that a steady diet of them would be the same as having a Hershey bar for every meal, and suggested they also read books. They then scattered throughout the library to relax and read magazines they had brought with them, or one from the Media Center’s collection.
I thought this was a wonderful Tag Team Teaching lesson. Thanks for a fun time Mr. Lundberg! After today, I know students will not look at (or read) magazines in the same way as when they started the day.
The Student Council, led by Mr. Berk (7th grade) and Ms. Smith (8th grade), has decreed that this week be “School Spirit Week.” Each day of the week was designated with a particular theme, with students dressing accordingly. Monday was “Neon Day,” and I will admit I didn’t participate as I didn’t have anything neon colored to wear.
The Student Council “spiced” up the week beginning Tuesday, by including faculty in the mix. Students and faculty from each advisory, who are dressed in the proper clothing for the day, will be counted by student council members. At the end of the week, the grade that has the most “participation marks” for the week will win a bagel breakfast.
Tuesday was “Sports Team Jersey” Day. I wore my Celtics jersey while students and staff paraded around in Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox, Patriots and Needham team colors. My advisory received a 9 out of 11 score for participation.
Today was “Advisory Picks the Theme” Day. My advisory chose to be Ninjas, so we all wore black clothing and some of us sported black headbands. I saw some very interesting themes from other groups. Mr. Dussault (8th grade) was standing in the hallway wearing the letter “H” around his neck. When I asked what he was, he said the students in his advisory were all wearing a single letter and the idea was to try to unscramble them throughout the day to make a word that they had chosen. I thought that was very clever, and laughed as an “A” went walking by us.
One 7th grade advisory wore ties and long socks, while another group wore colorful bandaids. Mr. Lundberg (7th grade) had an eye mask on top of his head and wore a short lime green cape. When I asked what was the theme of his advisory, he said they were “Super Students.” Mrs. Daigneault (7th grade) wore colorful leis, and her advisory’s theme was “1980′s Hawaii.” It was fun watching students walking around trying to guess each others themes.
Tomorrow is “Lumberjack Day,” and Friday will be “Blue & Gold” or “Pollard Colors” Day. I’m sure smiles will continue as various lumberjacks lumber into the building. I have my outfit all ready for both days.
Nice job Student Council members!
Did you know that the Pollard Media Center contains a large (over 600 volume) collection of books for teachers in its Professional Collection?
Contained in the collection are regular adult “I want to sit down, relax and read” books on various topics, as well as books for working with students in areas such as as bullying, advisory, math, creative thinking, diversity, book talking, reading skills, gifted students and much, much more. Also included in the collection are wonderful kits containing large 8 1/2″ x 11″ photographs that are fantastic primary source documents. Some of the kit topics include Immigration, the Revolutionary War and Native Americans. There are also lessons and study guides on all sorts of topics just waiting for teachers to browse through and borrow.
Currently, the bulk of the Professional Collection is located at the back of the library. Look for the large, yellow “Professional Collection” sign displayed over the books. Today, I began inventorying the professional collection and “weeding out” old titles. In addition, I moved the Advisory and Math book sections from the back of the room to the front of the library to give it better visibility. These books are now located in the bookshelves directly in front of the checkout counter. Based on space availability, the entire collection may be moved to this area, however, I won’t know for sure until the inventory and weeding processes are completed.
Until then, come on over to the Media Center and “check out” something from the Professional Collection. All items are borrowed just like regular books. So come into the library, look for an item (or two or three), bring it to the checkout counter, and leave with a new viewpoint on a subject of interest.
See you at the Professional Collection!
The annual Pollard Book Fair (hosted by the PTC) is now in session. Held in Inner Space, the Book Fair is a wonderful time to browse through the latest books, and sift through the sale rack to see what gems might be hidden in the pile. Students come with their English teachers, and get a chance to look at what’s available and purchase items. If they didn’t bring money, they can come another day with a pass from their teacher.
Despite buying books this weekend for 40% off at Borders and Barnes & Nobles that caught my eye that I knew would be perfect for the library, I was still tempted to enter the doors of the Book Fair. I couldn’t resist buying several more books for the library. The Book Fair has a great selection.
So, stop by and shop. There is a separate adult section with books and cookbooks for gifts and/or home reading, so the Book Fair has something for everyone. The hours are Tuesday through Friday from 8:30-2:20 pm. The Book Fair will also be open on Wednesday evening during the Musical performances.
Shop and read, then read and shop at the Pollard Book Fair.
“Book Mania” is a good title for today because today was “all about books.” Here is how the day stacked up:
- At 6:45 this morning the Scholastic Book Fair arrived, as cart after cart and box after box of books for the upcoming Book Fair (Monday Nov. 16-Friday Nov. 20), were wheeled into Inner Space.
- I searched for, and prepared, a cart of books for Ms. Scribner’s students, who will be working with books about the Revolutionary War and the original 13 colonies for an upcoming project.
- I worked my way through a quarter of the Reference books, scanning them for the Inventory and restoring any books that had lost their MARC (online) records.
- I worked with 7-2 ELA teacher Mr. Lundberg’s classes for his “Free Read Friday.” His students came into the Media Center today to return, renew or borrow books. Once they had the book they needed, the students spread out throughout the library to read.
- Ms. Flanders (ELA 8-3) brought her students in this morning to do “quick” book borrowing and searching. Students whetted their appetites for titles in preparation for another round of booktalks and book borrowing that will take place in the Media Center next Tuesday.
- One of my parent volunteers worked very hard to input individual subject headings for each name listed in our collective biographies titles into our online catalog. A generic title like “Extraordinary Black Americans from Colonial to Contemporary Times” can now be searched online by the name of every person listed in the book. This is a time consuming process, and will be ongoing throughout the year, but it is also one which “opens” up the collective biographies in a more meaningful way.
- Plans are underway to do the same “expanding” of titles in the Short Story Collection, by listing the individual titles that are in each book. These titles will be placed into the “book summary” section of the Short Story. Thus, when searching for the title “Crazy Loco” by David Talbot Rice, the reader will see the titles of the 9 short stories that are contained in this collection of Mexican American kids growing up in the Rio Grande Valley.
So, as you can read, today was definitely a “Book Mania” Day. I’m sure many more of these type of days will come during the course of the year, as it’s only November.
It’s begun. An important part of maintaining a good library collection is seeing what’s in that collection. Yes, I can go online and get an “idea” of what I have, but nothing beats good old-fashioned “hands on seeing.” When I conduct an Inventory, it’s a chance to handle each book one at a time, see what needs to be repaired, what needs to be discarded because of age, what should be reordered, etc. While handling the books, I scan them into a program on my laptop which records its presence, and counts the number of items. When done, the program will let me know any items that are missing, as well as how many total items of that section I should have in my collection.
Last year, I finished the Nonfiction sections, all Biographies, and the Short Story collection. This year, I hope to complete the Reference, Professional Collection and Fiction sections. I began inventorying the Reference collection today, and was able to do a small portion of it. Inventory is a time-consuming job, so I plan to work on it a little bit at a time, whenever I get a moment, between now and the end of the school year.
With the arrival of Ms. Cohen’s group of 8th graders from 8-2, I am proud to announce that EVERY SINGLE student at Pollard has visited the Media Center to take out a book and listen to book talks. Whew! It took a few months, plus having to reschedule the cluster when I became ill last week, but my goal of reaching every student with a book has been met. I am very happy.
Ms. Cohen’s students gave some good book recommendations to their fellow students, and rushed to take the ones I recommended. The “hot” ones were “Slob” by Ellen Potter, “Found” by Margaret Peterson Haddix and “Enemies & Allies” by Kevin J. Anderson. Several students asked me to put these on hold for them, when the titles were quickly claimed after I booktalked them. In addition, many students borrowed 4 or 5 books each, which told me this was a class of heavy readers.
Congratulations to cluster 8-2 for being the cluster that completed the “circle of reading” at Pollard! Thank you for visiting.
I ended the week at the American Association of School Librarian’s (AASL) conference in Charlotte, NC. While there, I networked with librarians across the country, picked up free ARC’s (Advanced Reading Copies) and free/discounted books. I went to several author breakfasts and luncheons, meeting such authors as Laurie Halse Anderson (“Chains,” “Speak,”) Charles R. Smith, Jr., (“Chameleon,” “Rimshots”), Barry Lyga (“Hero type,” “Wolverine,”) James Patterson, (“Maximum Ride” and “Daniel X” series), Linda Sue Park (“When my name was Keoko,” “A single shard”), Richard Peck (“A year down yonder,” “River between us”) and many, many more authors. All of the authors posed for photos, which will be displayed in the Media Center, with other author photos, alongside of their books.
Going to the AASL conference (held every two years) involves a whirlwind of activity, but getting to learn about the latest and greatest in the school library field is totally worth the trip. I also had a chance to connect with important vendors like Baker & Taylor and ABC-CLIO. These are vendors which are part of the Pollard Library, and it was important for me to discuss ways in which their products could be put to better use in the library.
With all the meetings, I never had a chance to stray further than the hotels and convention center meetings. Thus, I hope to return to Charlotte in the future to be a true tourist. Despite all the hard work, it was a successful conference and a wonderful opportunity to bring home great ideas and free “stuff” for the Pollard Library.