Sunday, April 17, 2016

Promoting Reading with Speed Dating and Book Trailers

Just a very quick post this month to highlight some of the discussions we have been having at our Library Department meetings about book talks, speed dating, and book trailers.  We have been experimenting with offering shorter “talks” and giving students a chance to preview and react to books.  They sit at a table with several titles on display; choose one and then for a timed two minutes, look at the cover, inside blurb, and read a few pages. As they finish, they rate their level of interest on a form we supply.

It’s fun and the students seem really engaged, often suggesting titles to classmates when we re-start the timer for a new book.  It is relatively easy to interject with quick reviews or to highlight a neglected table or category, too. Response from teachers and students has been very positive.

We have also been experimenting with creating some book trailers and reviewing those that are available on “channels” like the ones listed above. Each year, we use short videos to help promote the Abe Lincoln award nominees, too.  They are often incorporated in a LibGuide like this one (for 2017 already!) by Diana Nelson at Crystal Lake High School.  

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Some ideas for searching help ....

Just posting a few links that lead to much more:

One is Illume Learning which I first came across in an email.  This site makes me think of open educational resources and the efforts to make those more widely available.  Illume Learning is the result of a collaboration between founders Peter Quandt and Justin Irizarry.  On the site, one can search for key terms in a wide variety of sources (books, periodicals, even syllabi and lectures or Khan Academy).  I have shown this to other librarians and we want to spend more time investigating this currently free source.   

My first impressions center on the amount of material that is available – almost too much to efficiently search. The filters (e.g., choose a newspaper name or date range) and advanced searching (add a second term) appear to only work sometimes or in certain patterns but not in others. Although the site may still be under development, it has some exciting potential. This video will give you an idea of the range of sources:

In the meantime, I often turn to the Libguides Community to find ideas of links related to new projects and topics.  The search function could be improved there, too, by allowing for a search of multiple terms and adding K-8 and 9-12 subcategories. Increasingly, it seems that only version1 Libguides are available and that should definitely be addressed.

Saving what is arguably the best for last, here is a link to another favorite, the Journalist’s Resource, a project of the Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center and the Carnegie-Knight Initiative, which recently posted about “Reporting with Web and Social Media Data.” Last Fall, they also offered a timely pre-election review of “Polling Fundamentals and Concepts.”  Our journalism teachers and student researchers turn to this well-regarded site on a regular basis.  

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Makerspaces in Libraries

Here’s a picture of several New Trier students having fun working on a puzzle in the Library:
This all started for us last December when we decided to offer some “de-stress” activities during the lunch periods in the week before finals.  We had a variety games (and participation from our Gaming Club – thank you!), coloring and drawing, puzzles and even hot chocolate. Plus, we had visits from Comfort Dogs (thank you to that club, too!) and Haven Youth and Family Services who demonstrated yoga for interested students and faculty. 

When we returned to school in January, students asked right away about where the chess set was and we ended up creating a space to house games, Legos, craft supplies, and puzzles.  While we haven’t yet incorporated all of the hand-on activities that many other libraries have (there is a 3-D printer elsewhere in the building), we are excited by the student interest…. The puzzle in that picture? It was brought from home. And we are still actively seeking donations, particularly for Legos. It is great to see our students feel so comfortable and “at home” in the library, to be spending time talking to each other face-to-face and not on screens, and to simply be taking a break from the stresses of their day. 

It is exciting to see that colleges are also exploring this trend, as profiled in this recent article from Mind/Shift and from The New York Times: “Wood Shop Enters the Age of High-Tech”.   For more ideas on makerspaces in high school libraries, see a recent series of articles in School Library Journal. Two librarians who strongly advocate this work are Kristin Fontichiaro (University of Michigan) and Michelle Luhtala (who created this 5 minute video on makerspaces), although there are many, many more. A long list of resources is available from the Renovated Learning blog as well as more background information from the Institute of Museums and Library Services.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Digital Resources from NYPL via " NewsHour Shares"

Just this past week in its NewsHour Shares, PBS mentioned the New York Public Library and its collection of digitized materials:

Not only are these 180,000 public domain digital resources available; the NYPL also has a searchable database of several hundred thousand resources.  Scroll down that page to see links for collections related to diverse topics like Fashion, Posters, and New York City. One can narrow the search to a specific time period or ask for a particular geographic location.  Many of the materials are photographs and postcards, giving a glimpse of everyday life.

Additional NewsHour Shares are archived here.  One I hope that they add soon is the way that Intel recently used programming, lights and music to simultaneously manipulate 100 drones, setting a record:

A longer video with more information on how Intel engineers created this project is available here.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Primary Sources, apps, and more ...

Recently, we have had classes in the library who were looking for primary sources, particularly related to waves of immigration.  We also had several classes who are writing letters from the time of the Civil War.  They, too, used primary sources and found documents compiled by Gilder-Lehrman to be especially helpful.  In working with these classes, I came across several useful resources to share.  One is the Blog from the National Archives which includes information on their catalog, transcription, and Docs Teach, an online tool for teaching with documents.
Another is an app which is listed as one of 10 best apps from SLJ for 2015.  Described as "mining resources from a range of cultural institutions, The New Immigrants NYC 1880–1924 (Vangard Direct, Gr 4 Up) presents a curated collection of 100-plus primary and secondary sources, from historical essays and oral histories to archival photos and video clips related to the second wave of U.S. immigration."  This was designed with an intended audience of New York City classrooms, but the varied primary sources will certainly be of interest to those studying this topic from an historical perspective and in relation to the present day's on-going national conversation.  

Here are two additional app lists which may be of interest to you, originally brought to my attention by Nicole Hennig:  
If you have more ideas to share on apps or primary sources, please let us know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Great Thanksgiving Listen

StoryCorps is appealing to high school students and teachers to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend.

Learn more about the Great Thanksgiving Day Listen  It is an ambitious attempt to collect stories from around the country and across generations. That site has links to a downloadable pdf with lesson plans and suggestions for student discussion.

In addition, the main StoryCorps site suggests numerous Questions for student interviewers to use as well as links to many, many stories already recorded. Several print collections (such as Listening is an Act of Love) published by StoryCorps are available for checkout from the New Trier library.

Added 11/18: This morning, Geoffrey A. Fowler wrote about the StoryCorps project and App in The Wall Street Journal, "Make Family History with an App from StoryCorps."  He says, this is "about more than recording history.  It's about listening more intensely than our busy lives usually allow." Here is a short video as he explains how it works: