Librarian: Cathy Collins
Sharon High School Library LibGuides
This year, Sharon High School librarian Cathy Collins decided to incorporate the theme of poetry into a unique activity for Banned Books Week .
In honor of Banned Books Week, students were offered the chance to attend Blackout Poetry sessions before and after school, as well as during Study and Lunch periods. We are focusing on poetry as a theme throughout this school year, and future planned activities include a spoken word performance, workshops, and a school-wide "Poetry Out Loud" competition.
Librarian: Linda Coviello
Lane Book Blog
Lane Biblio-Tech Website
Lane Elementary is a vibrant 3rd-5th grade school in Bedford, a wonderful community in the Metrowest area. Supportive parents, staff, administrators and community partners all contribute to a strong educational message to students, and this translates into strong school libraries.
One year ago, our Technology Administrator broached the subject of transitioning the Library into a blended Makerspace. My principal was enthusiastic. I, a little less so, agreed. My concerns:
We embarked on numerous site visits for guidance.
I was extremely fortunate that some items were already in place at various spots around the school, so we simply collaborated and consolidated them into the library program. Other items came from grants, donations, yard sales, thrift store finds, book fair funds, and creative budgeting. I scrounged for carts to use as movable storage. My goal was that the widely varied activities would connect to literacy in some way and reach a variety of learning styles.
I turned to project-based learning as a model. I wanted to maintain the literary aspect of the library by combining the topic of a book, article or website reading with an activity, alternating between low and high tech. My mantra became “Try...fail. Try again...fail better!” I collected recyclables, enlisted donations (fabric, yarn, Legos) and spent my supply budget on Spheros and accessories, and I spent my book budget on author/illustrator visits and Skype sessions.
We started out small. One project involved reading a Wright Brothers biography and then making bamboo dragonflies and paper airplanes. Students utilized Google apps to create book bin tags, children's book quote posters, and shelfies. We played with Sumo paint (a free, web-based art program introduced to the students by David Biedrzycki) and created mandalas after reading “Rickshaw Girl” by Mitali Perkins. Students programmed Spheros to bowl, then taught them to navigate around obstacles, and we also adapted the LEGOS robotics unit. A bonus budget got spent on Meccano Meccanoid G15 robots that I had seen (and fallen in love with) at a Barnes & Noble Maker Faire, and I wrote a grant for 2 Afinia 3D printers. I even got our PTO to fund author Deborah Lee Rose to relate the 3D printers to her story of how a bald eagle received a prosthetic, 3D-printed beak!
Additional sessions included a tinker table (taking apart old technology), creating I Spys, arts and crafts (decoupage, origami, drawing, coloring, bookmarks, weaving), building "significant literary objects" out of LEGOs, writing Poet-ographies, building a water jug igloo, doing part of the Hour of Code curriculum, playing with Makey Makeys, and many other small projects. We also created a student-run magazine for creative writing. We even participated in the school garden, raised 2 guinea pigs, and housed 15 baby chicks until they were sufficiently big enough to stay outdoors in our own chicken coop!
At the end of it all, I came back to literacy and coordinated the Summer Reading program.
The students were engaged and enthusiastic, the administrative response overwhelmingly positive. I was exhausted, so far out of my comfort zone, but encouraged. There were certainly trade-offs: less time for traditional library skills or research, and even book exchange suffered occasionally when maker activities took more time than expected. But the positives? Student engagement, increased collaboration with my technology partners, a boost in relevancy in the eyes of my administrators, and compliments from parents raving about their child's follow-up interest in library activities.
With one year under our belts, I feel that the shift in programming was successful. The plan for 2016-17 is to follow the model, refine it, and to continue to evolve as technology changes. The future role of traditional Libraries may be uncertain, but the importance of teaching our young minds to read, think, design, innovate and create will never be irrelevant.
Librarian: Patsy Divver
Millis Middle/High School Library Website
Millis Middle School/High School Website
Millis is a small combined middle and high school library, serving about 800 students. There are a dozen desktops, a cart of Chromebooks, and fifteen Nooks. Students can search the internet, library collection, and databases from numerous devices and spaces.
The “Nook Nook” and the College Corner are favorite spaces for students to “hang out”, and the decor is artwork from Middle and High School Classes. Middle and High School students come to the library from classes, study halls, before, during and after school, and it’s a challenge to keep everyone ‘happy’.
However, here are some “success stories” for connecting and collaborating all the grades:
High School students from our Creative Writing and Speech classes read to Middle School students for Dr. Seuss’s birthday, holidays, and the annual Scary Story Day, where they read stories they wrote!
Guest authors, such as Jeremy Ames, hold workshops for high school school students in the library. Also, our Middle School Writers Group presents their work in a Showcase event for the public.
This year, we also received a grant to fund Literary Arts Night, featuring student and professional musicians, writers, and singers, in a coffee-house setting.
Librarian : Dee Kohler
Mill Pond School Media Center Website
Mill Pond School Website
This past March, our 4-6 school participated in a March Madness Battle of the Books. We started the month off with a flash mob featuring many teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, office staff, and tutors. Here’s the video our local TV produced for us:
School Librarian: Heidi Boulogne
Josiah Quincy Elementary School Library Website
Josiah Quincy Elementary School Website
We have a twenty-two station media lab with a mounted large screen TV. The lab includes five touch screen monitors with jumbo size keyboards and voice-to-text features. Digital lesson materials are visually interesting and allow for multiple ways of learning language and comprehension. We are able to accommodate our students with visual impairments, attention deficits, and other disabilities with voice-text features, touch screen monitors, and large keyboards. In this way, we engage all our students with exciting lessons and improve learning by keeping students stimulated and interested. Our entire school community has benefited greatly from this interactive library lab!
These new technologies in our library are bringing us closer to achieving our mission that all our children are 21st century learners!
Westborough High School Library was awarded a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant for $5000 from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) for the 2015-2016 school year.
NAMI In Our Own Voice (IOOV) :
In a program of the National Alliance of Mental Illness, two young adult presenters will tell their personal recovery stories from mental illness, through the framework of 5 stages of recovery:
Trauma-Sensitive Yoga is an opportunity to feel your body, allow you to make choices for yourself based on what you feel.Key theoretical underpinnings include: Neuroscience, Complex Trauma Theory, Attachment Theory & Developmental Trauma. Resources and recent publications by David Emerson and Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk highlight the scientific significance of yoga-related trauma treatment. Goals: Engage the interoceptive pathways in the brain; Empowerment; Rebuilding and/or strengthening our relationships with ourselves and others.
Educating the Educator:
Part I - Physician Perspective “ The Biological Nature of Mental Illness:
Part II - Family Perspective: “Walk in My Shoes”
Part III - Teacher Perspective: “Where Do We Go From Here”
Resources, Empathy Building, Understanding: “Strong School mental health programs can attend to the health and behavioral concerns of students, reduce unnecessary pain and suffering and help ensure academic achievement.”
Local veterans are invited to participate in a Writing Marathon sponsored by Westborough Reads Together and Westborough High School Library on Thursday April 7. Laura Harrington, author of award winning book, Alice Bliss, will co-facilitate the marathon with WHS educators. Small group discussion, a few 10 minute writing sessions and whole group sharing.
In six years, the Canton High School Library has undergone dramatic changes. Physically, the spacious library (previously the gymnasium before the school renovation in 2004), was weeded of nearly 6,000 print books and five large bookcases.
Inspired by Dartmouth High School’s Hybrid Dewey organization, the CHS library just completed its reorganization by subject area (examples include European History, Psychology, STEM, Sports and Memoirs). In addition, we have “genrefied” all of our Fiction books. As a result of our efforts, students are more successful in finding a book that meets their academic or personal needs. The circulation of our books, along with a renewed school emphasis on independent reading, has nearly doubled!
Librarian-Teacher collaboration has also significantly increased. Students are given mini informational literacy lessons when classroom teachers come to the library and last fall a new “Library Bootcamp” class was taught to freshmen. The CHS Library has become the district’s center for Professional Development as we regularly host faculty, curriculum and mentor meetings and our space is frequently used by community groups and clubs in the evening.
Our flexible space and furniture has enabled the library to be transformed into Ellis Island for a US History class and a crime scene for a Forensics class. We host classroom debates, poetry aloud events and listening lunches where our chorus, jazz and music technology classes perform for faculty and students. Last year we created a dedicated “makerspace” area and have chess, puzzles and coloring available to students and will be adding more makerspace activities in the future. Last year during World Languages Week, we hosted an African Drumming class and this year we will have Salsa Dancing!
Lastly, we have developed a wonderful, collaborative relationship with our Art Department. Our walls and space are adorned with CHS student art work. Drawings, sculpture, photography and coffee and end tables have been created by our talented students and can be seen throughout the space.
Library Media Specialist: Rachel Bouhanda
Credit Recovery Coordinator/ Library Assistant: Jeff Bernoth
Library Clerk: Joni Mitza
Virtual Learning Commons Website
The library shelves have been condensed on the floor to create an open space and more seating for students and staff to work. New books are showcased at the front of the Learning Commons in addition to rotating displays, which are maintained by the school’s community service class students.
Studio B, our TV studio, received an update from donated equipment from BATV and we continue to upgrade with an additional year long Television Production class added to our curriculum this past fall. Students in the AV Club produce a news announcement segment Tuesday to Friday during our advisory block.
One of the Library’s storage areas has been re-invented to create a video editing lab with six MAC computers to use iMovie. A few classes have already started using the space, but it is still in the beginning stages.
One of my most important tasks is collaboration with the staff in the building. A first grade teacher, the literacy coach and myself implemented two collaborative projects this past year. One was on nocturnal animals and the other was using the book Perfect Pairs, Using Fiction & Nonfiction Picture Books to Teach Life Science, K-2 by Melissa Stewart and Nancy Chesley supported by a grant through the Dennis Yarmouth educational foundation. I use Symbaloo in my computer classes to make sure my lessons are targeted and the students are using the proper websites. I have the link on my teacher page on the school’s website so the students can access it from home. The staff in the building works hard to create a school wide culture of reading.
Media Center Website Co-Librarians: Paula Cross and Kristin T.J. Foti
Methuen High School, a Comprehensive High School of approximately 1800 students, has just completed a 3 year renovation that transformed the Media Center from a dated, open concept space to a bright, accessible, and accommodating learning environment. The mission of the media center is to empower students to be critical thinkers, seekers of ideas, ethical users of information, lifelong learners and readers through instruction, collaboration, and programming. 2014-2015 has been a busy year in the Media Center. In addition to approximately 70 classes and 3600 students visiting the Media Center per month, 30,000 print materials were re-shelved and interfiled in the newly opened space, we redesigned our Freshman orientation program, began to administer pre and post assessments of Works Cited pages, started utilizing the new space for co-curricular displays; developed a school-wide reading program called “What Am I Reading?” (a competition between faculty members to advertise their reading and promote reading throughout the school); continued an extensive web site redevelopment; created space for the Early Childhood Development students to observe the librarians reading to the pre-school students; advised a 40+ student Books and Bagels reading club that participated in 8 monthly book discussions, fundraising, and a field trip; collaborated on grant funded initiatives; our relationship with the Nevins Memorial Library staff has continues to amaze and their support to our students and faculty is unparalleled. As the year winds down, we are wrapping up our instruction and research projects. While we look forward to the end of the year, there is still work to be done to prepare for the summer reading program and reopening in the Fall to another year of exciting initiatives and student development.
Librarian: Sheila Geraty (also a 2015 MSLA Super Librarian!) Associate Librarian: Becky Keller
Brookwood School is a Pre-K – Grade 8 independent school in Manchester, MA. The library is a comfortable, open, light-filled space with the adjacent Shlopak Library housing lower school print, audio, and DVD collections. In the last three years, the library began using LibGuides to develop targeted web resources designed to enrich and support specific curriculum. Dedicated parent volunteers are integral to the success and the vibrancy of the Brookwood Library as well. Each spring, Upper School students are engaged with in-depth social studies research that requires print materials, databases, and web resources. Students share their work with teachers using GoogleDocs, EasyBib, and NoodleTools for organization and citation. During this time of year, the students are immersed in poetry as they prepare for the Harold W. Wise Declamation, one of the few formal traditions at Brookwood. Poet Douglas Florian regaled students and teachers during his visit in April, inspiring many to dig deeper into the poetic form. But, most importantly, the library seeks to inspire readers by creating a school-wide culture of reading. Programs like, One School, One Book, Upper School Book Club, Mystery Book of the Month films, Faculty book reading programs, and author visits generate enthusiasm.
Library Website Librarian: Reba Tierney (who is also a 2015 MSLA Super Librarian!)
Here at Burke High School we are blessed with a beautiful physical library space. There is plenty of light and openness, creating a visually pleasing but highly functional space for class visits as well as oasis for students who come in to study or work independently. Spring is a very busy season for us! Several teachers utilize our space and resources for a variety of projects. Senior Research Papers are always a big collaborative effort. Students spend several weeks researching, revising and typing their papers. Another recent collaborations is with Ms. Rodny’s Studio Art Class. Her students have begun their research papers which will culminate in each student teaching a class in the style of the artist they have chosen to study. They are using the PBS sponsored website www.art21.org to research and choose an artist. Our student Book Club is alive and well and continues to meet during lunches to have general and directed book discussions. Our library is located directly above The Grove Hall Branch of the BPL, so the Young Adult librarian will come up and participate in Book Club. This connection builds and fosters relationships with the Public Library, and exposes our students to the wider world of resources available through the Boston Public Library.
The Dracut High School Learning Commons has been a renovation of space, attitude, and culture. The renovation of Dracut High School was completed in September 2014. We are now in what was the old gymnasium with high ceilings and a gorgeous wall of windows overlooking the athletic fields. In late August, 14 senior interns and I began going through boxes of books and weeding materials before shelving. New materials arrived. In particular, lots of new fiction that was recommended by our students to freshen up the collection. Thanks to lots of input from lots of MSLA members at the UNconference, we now have a website that is user-friendly and provides access to databases and our new catalog, Follett Destiny! The last few months have been very busy with so many big changes. Most importantly our students and staff are thrilled to use the space for events like Poetry Out Loud, class discussions, and career seminars. Our computers are used all the time, couches and comfy chairs are moved for collaboration, laptops are brought in, books are being checked out, and lots of productivity is happening!
This month we’re championing the work done by a group of PTA volunteers to reinstate a library program in the Commonwealth! Last year, parents responded quickly to proposed library budget cuts by the Swampscott School District. Their hard work, along with advocacy from MSLA Executive Board members, led to a recent Grand Opening Celebration at the Hadley Elementary School… and the promise of a professional librarian at the middle school next year and elementary the year after.
“We have come a long way!” says Melissa DeFilippi, PTA co-president. Today they have 7,000 books logged in a new e-catalog at Hadley, all done by hand by parent volunteers. The e-catalog is installed at all schools in the district. According to DeFilippi, “We could not have lit the fire without MSLA support. There is library buzz at Hadley. The parents are excited, the teachers are excited, and best of all, the children are excited."
Swampscott is well on their way toward having professional library staffing throughout the district. Congratulations again to Melissa DeFilippi and all the Swampscott parent volunteers on being selected for a 2015 MSLA School Library Advocate Award. Read more about the 2015 Award Winners and join us in celebrating everyone at the MSLA Conference in March!
Ninth grade Spanish III students have chosen a holiday theme of interest to use as a basis for writing a children's storybook. After investigating chosen themes, students were required to write drafts of their stories, which were submitted and assessed on content and developing grammatical skills. Each student was provided with feedback that was incorporated into a final copy of the storybook, complete with illustrations, dedication page, and information about the author. Once completed, 6th grade students were invited to the library to enjoy special reading time together with our school's newest authors. As each 9th grade student read their story to their 6th grade 'compañero', a conversation ensued that allowed each reading buddy the opportunity to share new knowledge and information about the story, the illustrations, the Spanish vocabulary, or just to make connections with a new friend!
Señora Rodriguez deserves much credit, as she is the force behind this collaboration. We are a small middle/high school, and I was thrilled to see such engagement among middle and high school students, with the high school students acting as true mentors. In a combined school such as ours, the library becomes the veritable center of the school. Excluding the hallways, it is the only space where middle and high school students mingle on a daily basis. As all libraries, it serves its users in many ways, offering quiet space to study, comfortable space to lounge and decompress, and classroom use for instruction. Servings users ranging in age from 11-18+ can be tricky; this moment created by Señora Rodriguez highlights what powerful connections a school library can foster.
Several years ago, I read Donalyn Miller’s book The Book Whisperer and was inspired to try some of her ideas. Well, time got away from me, and nothing happened. This year when I heard Donalyn was speaking at MSLA I re-read the book, plus her new book Reading in the Wild. I also read the recent MSLA Twitter chat transcript about Donalyn’s book. Happy to share that we now have a “Currently Reading Project!”
I asked my six ELA and two reading teachers to use an 8 x 11 inch white board (only $3.19 each from Office Depot from the library budget) to post what they are currently reading (it did not have to be a YA book). Well three re-orders later and nearly 40 boards posted around my school, it is has been successful beyond my dreams. Teachers are coming asking if they can have one. It has been a great conversation starter with students about reading. There is also ELA teacher looking to start the project at our high school.
Last year as a way to get our students excited about poetry and to recruit students for the Poetry Out Loud contest, the English Curriculum Supervisor and I held a Poetry Slam in the library. Not feeling especially versed in poetry, I decided to call in some experts… students from Wheaton College’s Ispeak team. Wheaton College in Norton is located just north of Taunton and I felt the students would connect better with students of college age than an older more established poet. The reaction from the students was phenomenal! Over 70 students and faculty stayed after school on a Friday to listen and participate. Tyrek and Jillian, the reps from Wheaton, were just perfect. Both from urban school high schools, they told their stories about how they got interested in the spoken word and performed slam poems that really spoke to our students. For the remainder of last year our students kept asking “when are the Wheaton students coming back?” and “Can we have our own slam club?” I am happy to say we will be holding another slam on November 7th with our Wheaton friends and a small but enthusiastic and talented group of students has been meeting regularly to share their poetry. It is our hope to eventually have our students share with the middle schools in the same way. You never know where an idea will take you, but I’m really proud of this one.
Why a Learning Commons? For us at Pingree, the learning commons model is a team-based, student-centered design. The library, technology department, writing center, and educational resource center collaborate to provide the best resources and academic supports to our community. We have several student-led services such as the Peer Leader Tutoring program, a Peer Writing Feedback program, and a NerdHerd which provides level one technology support to students and faculty. All of this happens in a multi-purpose, multi-room facility with designated group areas and a quiet room to address the variety of learning styles of our students. This summer, our quiet room is actually undergoing a significant renovation, thanks to an E.E. Ford Foundation grant that we received to continue the work we’re doing to encourage innovative teaching and learning. Our main circulation/reference desk will become a more inviting, rounded shape. We will also be adding a new group room that will also serve as a production room, complete with green screen technology.
Holyoke High School Library Website: Librarian: Ellen Stein
The library at Holyoke High School was renovated during the summer of 2011. The lighting, ceiling, and air conditioning were updated as well as the circulation desk, which was made handicap accessible.
The library is open after school two days a week until 4:00 p.m. to provide students the time to work on projects or obtain assistance with writing or research. A monthly newsletter which lists new resources or events related to books are distributed to staff and posted on the library's website for parents to read.