It’s been a pretty adorable week here in the library. We like to think that we maintain a certain level of cute/quirky/fun in the library, but this week we were off the charts. You may have noticed all the bright polka dots all over the library the last couple of days… but why? First, let’s go over some of the other fun stuff we had going on on this side of campus. Here’s your week in review!
At the beginning of the week we served up some delightful cups of tea (Ms. Nellis and her Minion were happy to share a cup). She also brought in her History 9 classes this week to do research for an ancient American culture project, where students compared and contrasted other ancient cultures that they’ve studied so far.
Wednesday we had our monthly book club, where we discussed a variety of genres and authors and a few exciting new titles we’ve added to the library collection. Oh yeah, and we had brownies and hot apple cider. Because that’s how we roll.
And finally…the reason the library was especially adorable this week: we hosted a celebratory baby shower for Ying, our Breakthrough Program Coordinator, as she and her husband Peter are adding a sweet little addition to their family. We polka-dotted the library and enjoyed a lot of ooo‘s and ahhh’s over the amazingly cute Cal Bears banner that Carol made. We want a thousand of them for future use. Just saying.
On Wednesday we had a nice crowd for our lovely lunch time book club, with brownies and hot apple cider to fuel the discussions.
Ms. Melinson was excited to share Bellweather Rhapsody, a book that she started reading over summer and didn’t really get into until recently—but she reached a point where the book was so compelling that she had to finish it immediately! She also mentioned our current display in the library featuring Book List Editor’s Choice winners for 2016. We have a considerable amount of these books in our collection, and more on the way!
We talked about a few of the new books we’ve added to the collection in the past few days, and one of them was recommended by our very own Josh F.: Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words. Josh appreciated the funny nature of this book, and everyone agreed that it was delightful in its whimsy and a fantastic resource for learning otherwise complicated science.
This month’s book club featured a variety of topics spanning across various genres, from the sci-fi/horror world of Welcome to Night Vale, to the beautiful scenic descriptions of the western US in The Whistling Season, to coming of age novels like She’s Come Undone. Amelia recommended Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of We Should All Be Feminists. Ms. Melinson mentioned an amazing TED Talk the author gave about writing about her own culture. Check out the talk below! And also check out our Goodreads page for a list of all titles recommended during book club.
What a busy week we had in the library! On Monday the Glass Knife had a writing contest during lunch (and your narrator can confirm that these were some of the best-ever entries!), and on Tuesday during lunch Ms. Melinson served up some tasty desserts to accompany her advisory gathering.
Wednesday and Thursday we had the MS Book Club Elective class come in to check out books, as well as Ms. Little’s English class to snag some literary classics for a project. We checked back with one of the classes on Friday and caught them in the act of reading! We were very proud.
Ms. Nellis’ 9th Grade History classes visited on Friday to begin research for their Ancient Civilizations projects. Between all the classes, we had a pancake frenzy going on outside! Check out Ms. J in the photo above slinging some tasty pancakes and rocking the coolest apron we’ve seen in a long time.
To top off the week, Ms. Melinson had a pop-up self-serve tea station set up in the library. It was a wonderful end to a chilly, rainy week!
Last week we had a flurry of activity in the library, otherwise known as Finals Week. After observing Martin Luther King Day on Monday, we had a library full of High Schoolers looking to escape the rain between taking their finals.
Perhaps the most exciting activity we had last week was the Glass Knife retreat. Staff gathered on Thursday for several hours to plan this year’s magazine. They feasted on a buffet of Thai food before getting down to the nitty gritty details.
We were also pleased to have the 7th Grade History class in to work on their Renaissance Faire characters with a “choose your own adventure”-style site that the library made for them.
This week we celebrated National Letter Writing Week. We had our fancy letter-writing station set up in the library during school for folks to drop by during free time and write a letter to a friend, pen pal, or author. We stamped and mailed them on Friday.
Tuesday we had our first-ever tea tasting during lunch. It was a wild success! We had a variety of teas to choose from (some of which were generously donated by faculty!). In fact, so many people joined us for a cup of tea that Ms. Melinson decided we should make it a weekly event.
On Wednesday, Julia (our Leadership Lunch Coordinator) gave a great presentation about body image during lunch. We had a sold-out crowd!
Mr. G’s 8th Grade science class spent some quality time in the library this week to work on their ~*Extreme!*~*Weather!*~ projects. Students spent class time doing research on tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and other not-fun weather situations. Their final product will be a detailed poster about their assigned disaster. Good luck, guys!
Joanne’s advisory had fun preparing for finals!
Can you believe it’s 2016 already? We can’t! Last week flew by as we welcomed back the class of 2015 for the alumni lunch and student panel, where last year’s class enjoyed a feast of pizza with current Seniors and High School teachers in the library. Afterward they headed over to the MP room to chat about their first college semesters.
Ms. Melinson hosted a very productive Glass Knife meeting—and though the planning/plotting of this year’s book is top secret, sources say that it is coming along swimmingly.
We also kicked off National Letter Writing Week (January 7th-15th)! Until this Friday, we’ll have our letter-writing station set up for anyone that wants to come practice the art of putting pen to paper for the sake of good ‘ol fashioned corresponding! We have fancy paper, cards, and envelopes for your perusal. We’ll be stamping and mailing all the letters on Friday, the 15th, so there’s still plenty of time to get in on the action. Don’t have any pen pals? Why not send a letter to an author? Inside sources say that sometimes…they write you back. Just sayin’.
And finally, we enjoyed some delightful classical music on Friday. Once a month we’ll be playing soothing tunes from our classical music collection in the spirit of promoting a super-chill atmosphere!
The holidays may be over, but the weather outside sure was frightful for our first Book Club of 2016. And since we couldn’t build a fire to make it delightful, we had hot apple cider and brownies instead!
The overall topics for this book club ranged from economic hit men (thanks, Johann!), to Bill Nye (the Science Guy!)’s new book about climate change, and some good ‘ol fashioned dystopian literature to match the cold and rainy weather we’ve been having this week.
And we all witnessed the truly rare moment of Ms. Melinson admitting, perhaps for the first time ever, that The Princess Bride movie was actually better than the book. She did not like the way the author interjected the fairy tale with his own fake “life story”—it was distracting and, frankly, not very interesting. Drats!
We had a handful of fantastic recommendations during this book club (including one that tells us 1,000 foods to eat before we die, and also a handful of hilarious Star Wars-themed titles), and we think that you should find out more about them over here on our Goodreads page.
Whew! It’s been a hectic final week in the library. As we wrapped up the last school week of 2015, we had so many events that we could barely keep up! Check out all the photos in the slideshow above for a sampling of the crazy stuff we had going on throughout the week! Here’s a handy-dandy rundown of the festivities:
- Monday we had the Glass Knife latke throwdown, where staff members brought their favorite family holiday dishes and enjoyed Ms. Melinson reading Lemony Snicket’s The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming.
- Dr. Whited’s Biology class came in to do some research for their GMO food debates.
- We had a couple of Middle School advisories pop in to make more fun Winter Crafts. Check out some of last week’s classes here.
- Wednesday we had the 467th annual Glass Knife Gift and Bake Sale, where staff members sold the heck out of some homemade cookies, cakes, and DIY crafts.
- The Pre-Med Club had a special guest speaker, Jeffrey Southard, MD, FACC, talk about Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy to students interested in going to medical school after college.
- Friday we had the holiday Book Club, where students and faculty shared what they hope to read over break. One of the main books we talked about was A Christmas Carol, and Luca mentioned a cool audio version read by Neil Gaiman. You can listen to that right over here. For a list of those books (and all books recommended during Book Club), check out our Goodreads page here.
- We had various Christmas carolers drop by on Friday to sing us some very festive songs. What a delight!
- Daniel H. felt like showing some love in the spirit of the new Star Wars film that was released on Friday, and wore a sweet Storm Trooper onesie to school.
We hope everyone has a wonderful Winter Break, happy holidays, and that everyone gets to read all the books on their lists! Be safe, and may the force be with you.
As we wind up the end of the calendar year at SCDS, we’d like to take a moment to share what some of our faculty has been reading lately. We’ll be having our holiday book club on Friday, where we’ll all share what books we hope to read over the lovely Winter Break.
Here’s what our faculty and staff have enjoyed lately… (drum roll):
- Brian Frishman – The Age of Betrayal: The Triumph of Money in America 1865-1900 by Jack Beatty, and also Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
- Carol Wessels – The Princess Bride by William Goldman (she loves how funny the book is!)
- Jane Batarseh – Whistling Season by Ivan Doig (Jane says: “His panoramic description of rural Montana, of the one room schoolhouse, of an enlightened class of pioneer farmers, of inbred integrity of youth, of human foibles and forgiveness for those transgressions made for a long and ultimately comprehensive and fully enjoyable read.”
- Patty Fels – The Whites and Lush Life by Richard Price (she says: “[The Whites] was recently chosen one of the top books of last year by TIME magazine. It is an absorbing police story that is not about white people, as the title suggests, but about the “white-whale” police cases that remain unsolved and always torment the police who couldn’t solve those cases…and I don’t read police stories as a rule. These two are exceptional.)
- Andy Cunningham – Watchlist, Edited by Bryan Hurt (he says: “It’s a collection of short stories about surveillance of sorts.”)
- Cade Grunst – The Water Knife by Paulo Bacigalupi – (he says it’s a “near-future dystopian sci-fi about the Southwestern US in an age where climate change has left many parts of the world very arid. Bacigalupi is the rare sci-fi writer who knows how to craft sentences, and his prose is tight and detail-rich. I also loved his previous book The Windup Girl, which I read last summer.”)
- Laura Monahan – Recently read and enjoyed:
Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (most recent book in the Imperial Radch series), A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear (A Masie Dobbs novel), The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
And she’s looking forward to reading over Winter Break: Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman, Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card, and the 2015 The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novellas, Edited by Paula Guran
- Sandy Lyon – Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, Armand Gamache Mysteries by Louise Penny, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, The Wright Brothers by David McCullough, The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl, and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
- Ron Bell – Gilead and other novels by Marilynne Robinson (he says: “I’m also planning to read Sue Grafton’s “X” novel – X is for – no, it’s just X. She couldn’t come up with an X word. She’s almost through the entire alphabet now! This is all contingent on Santa actually bringing them for me, of course. It’s entirely possible I’ll get a lump of coal. Or socks.”)
- Melisa Albrand – The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (she says it was good, but: “don’t let the title fool you. :-)” And Life on the Color Line by Gregory Howard Williams (she says: “A ‘white’ kid finds out he’s really black. Interesting and well written.”)
- Dan Neukom – Elephant Company by Vicki Croke (he says it was: “A well-written, well-researched book about ‘elephant Billy Williams’. He was commander of an elephant corps in Burma in WW II. Great description of the contemporary culture, the war effort, and especially the elephants. A terrific read! A New York Times best seller-deservedly so.”)
- Lauren LaMay – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
- Tucker Foehl – Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith (he says they read excerpts in the Curriculum Committee), The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander (one of Tucker’s former professors), and Dr. Daniel Siegel’s Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain.
Brooke Wells – After Dark and Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami (he says: “I think I will find another couple for the holidays.”)
Jo Melinson – A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (she say it was her favorite book this year!), and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (she says it “is the most moving book I’ve read in a long time. I think everyone should read this. I love the idea of a parent writing to a child to explain what he believes in. This one really works on a universal level, too.”)
Mollie Hawkins – Essays of E.B. White (your narrator says: “White’s writing style is quick-witted and fun, and the way he describes New York makes one nostalgic for it…even if you’ve never been there.”) and Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (your narrator adds: “Another fun book of short stories from my favorite guilty pleasure author. I was mesmerized with the cover…sometimes I do judge books by them.”)