Week in Review: Book Club and Winter Break Edition

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Dr. Whited’s Biology class came in to do some research for their GMO food debates.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. We had various Christmas carolers drop by on Friday to sing us some very festive songs. What a delight!
  8. 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.


What Our Faculty Has Been Reading


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 FelsThe 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 AlbrandThe 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 WellsAfter 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.”)


A Picturesque Trip to the Park

Ms Monahan’s Digital Photography elective went to McKinley Park recently to visit the rose garden and duck pond. They took some lovely photographs and then edited them in class using the Picasa program. Here’s some of the cool shots they got!


Weekly Update: Dark Arts and Crafts


What a crazy week in the library! As you all know, next week is our last week before Winter Break. As SCDS winds down 2015, we had to take a moment to appreciate the finer activities in life: arts and crafts. Particularly, Winter Crafts!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ms. Melinson invited Middle School advisories this week to make our annual winter craft…we’re talking snowflakes galore! There were buttons, popsicle sticks, and paper snowflakes flying all over the library! Well, not really. Because that would get a little messy. There were minor glue disasters, but no one was injured and overall the classes were a huge success.

We also had our second to last Book Club of 2015 and it was a special one: we discussed Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s “sequel” to To Kill A Mockingbird. Our Mockingbird expert, Ms. LaMay, offered her opinions about the book, and a lively discussion was had by all; read more about that book club here.


Throughout the week, Ms. Burns’ and Mr. Whited’s 6th Grade Science classes joined us to do research for their constellation projects. Way to go, guys!

Sophomores also spent time in the library on Friday to work on their Sophomore Projects. They learned how to make note cards and research databases that would help them with their topics. IMG_1542


A Very Special Book Club


For our second-to-last book club of the calendar year (Winter Break, is that you creeping around the corner?!), we had a special topic to discuss: Harper Lee’s “new book,” Go Set a Watchman. We also had our guest of honor, Ms. LaMay, give us her thoughts about the book. As most of you know, Ms. LaMay has been teaching To Kill a Mockingbird with her English classes for many years now. She is our Mockingbird expert!


We had a very crowded library for this lively discussion; the brownies and cider did not last very long! Ms. LaMay kicked things off by telling us how she felt about the book’s release: she didn’t think it should be published. In fact, the general consensus was that the book is nothing more than a staged literary event—a profitable boon to HarperCollins. Many agreed that Watchman would not have done well at all had it been published when it was originally written; the characterization is a bit off, and a few of the stories do not align. Ms. Fels said that while she enjoyed the first chapter, the story falls off a bit afterwards. And there’s much chatter about Harper Lee’s mental faculties being intact (let’s say she’s no longer a young lady)—perhaps it was cruel to bring this manuscript to the public eye. Ms. LaMay thinks it should only exist within the archives of the University of Alabama. Perhaps!


However, our conversation also highlighted the good points of this much-debated book. We enjoyed the childhood flashbacks (when the children “play Revival” in particular), and the story itself is historically accurate to the South during that time period. Ms. Melinson also brought up an excellent point: perhaps all the hoopla and frenetic energy to read this book will motivate people in the future to read To Kill a Mockingbird—which remains one of the best books of all time (your narrator might be slightly biased, here. She’s a fan!).

Week in Review: Musical Edition

Tuesday we had a musical lunch in the library! The High School orchestra delighted us with some tunes to get us in the spirit of the holidays. Since last year, we’ve discovered that musical lunches are pretty amazing, so we’re trying to schedule as many as we can throughout the year. We hope to have another musical lunch in February, and we’ve confirmed March 8th.

Wednesday we had a Leadership Lunch, where Jag talked about his service trip to India during the summer. He also shared some homemade samosas—which did not last long in the crowded library!

And on Friday we got down to business…well, the Sophomores did! Ms. Fels brought her English classes to the library so they could choose their Sophomore Project topics. Good luck, you guys!