It’s hard to believe it’s already almost February, but it’s true! We had a full and busy January that flew by. The first few weeks of January were spent grading the bibliographic portion of the Sophomore Project. We managed to squeeze in a high school book club between grading, and then the library was taken over by students in temporary madness for high school finals. Some students are voracious puzzlers and decompressed from studying by completing two 1000 piece puzzles!
Toward the end of finals week, the sixth grade science students came into the library to listen to presentations by different professionals in the STEM field. First, they heard from Mrs. Frandrup’s husband, Kurt, who is an engineer for a construction company. Students learned all about the work it takes the be an engineer and the kinds of projects they do.
The following week, students heard from an array of professionals, including: Dr. Nasirov, a cardiac surgeon; Dr. Lang of Ancestry.com; and Dr. Altman, a Sacramento State professor and scientist. After hearing from their visitors, students began to research science figures and careers for a project.
During the last week of January, the tenth graders returned to debrief about their Sophomore Projects and to get ready for their presentations. Against a cozy YouTube fire, students began learning how to give good presentations via content and design.
This week we hosted the 8th grade for their “Suspicious Scoops” unit on misinformation–how to recognize it and fact check it. At the beginning of the week we examined confirmation bias “our subconscious tendency to seek and interpret information and other evidence in ways that affirm our existing beliefs, ideas, expectations, and/or hypotheses”* as well as satire, conspiracy theory, the differences between mis- and disinformation, and what “post truth” means (“when objective facts are less influential than personal beliefs and emotion.”**) We also discussed click bait, hoaxes, media bias, and altered images/videos including deep fake technology. Then we balanced all of that with skills we all have to separate reliable from unreliable sources including common sense, searching skills, lateral reading, and OPVL, a way of looking at historical information to examine its origin, purpose, value, and limitations.
On Wednesday people at High School Book Club (more here) shared their wishes for types of books they were looking to read over the break–let us know if you recommend a favorite series, mystery/thriller, realistic fiction where you can learn about and connect to others who live differently than you, or just a really great read.
During Thursday’s meeting, Ms Melinson’s Advisory started their gingerbread houses that they will finish next week.
Tenth graders have been working hard on their Sophomore Project papers that are due next week. Good luck, Sophomores!
*from Facing History and Ourselves; **from Oxford Dictionary
The tenth graders were again in the library this week to work on their Sophomore projects. Some highlights include the return of the site visit! In pre-COVID years, students would visit a location related to their topic, usually in conjunction with their interview, and include that information in their research paper.
Students also got a crash course on how to contact and interview expert sources from Mr. Panasiti. He reminded students to behave professionally and courteously when interviewing and to come prepared.
The remainder of the week was spent learning about different sources, such as books and websites, as well as how to add relevant information from those sources to their NoodleTools.
Mid-week the library held the October book club, which you can read all about here.
The sophomores visited the library every day this week to work on some aspect of their project. And there were many! Students worked on focusing their topics and went on “The Walk,” where they discussed their subject with a classmate while walking around the track. They also learned about Boolean search techniques and lateral reading, two important research skills that will help students find accurate and authoritative information for their papers.
The Leadership Lunch also had its first interview of the school year—and it returned to its pre-COVID lunchtime slot! Junior Ryan interviewed senior Amaya about her involvement with the Latinx Club. Amaya talked about wanting the club to focus on art in the Latinx community and hopes to have a bake sale in support of Latine artists. She plans to have the first meeting of the club before Hispanic Heritage Month ends in mid-October.
The new school year began last week and the library was off to a running start with the 10th grade visiting to learn about their big assignment, the Sophomore Project. We were also visited by the Middle School Book Elective, who came in to browse the shelves for a new favorite.
The High School Book Club met for its first meeting of the year—and the first to take place at its previously usual time at lunch. Students and faculty shared what they read over the summer, and Ms. Melinson shared some new-to-the-library books. Read more about book club here.
This week, the library held its 6th grade orientation. Sixth graders were introduced to their new library and went on a silent conga through the stacks to learn how the books are organized. Then they rotated through stations where they learned about the library’s databases, watched videos on evaluating websites (which will come in handy next week when they further explore the topic), practiced sorting call numbers, and then used those skills for a library scavenger hunt.
It’s always a good day when we get dog visitors, and today we said hello to Ms. Adams’s dog, Ruby, and Mr. French’s dog, Fritz!
The sixth graders were in the library on Monday with Ms. McGinnes to begin research for their passion projects. Student topics include various sports, animation, organic food, Lego, and music.
It’s hard to believe, but we held the final high school book club of the year on Tuesday. To start us off, Ms. Melinson shared a number of books she got on Independent Bookstore Day, including the Joan Didion classics Let Me Tell You What I Mean and The Year of Magical Thinking, Call Us What We Carry, and All About Love. She also shared some cool-looking books like The Coasts of California, a beautifully illustrated field guide, an oddly sized edition of 1984, the graphic novel adaptation of 1984, and the Maya Angelou poem Life Doesn’t Frighten Me with illustrations by Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Avery shared she’s only reading a school book right now, The Tempest. Jordyn talked about returning several books, including Scythe, which reminded Ms. Melinson to share that a prequel to Scythe will be released this year. Mrs. Strong read The Personal Librarian and liked it well enough. Samhita is re-reading House of Leaves, although it’s much less weird the second time around. Dra. Portillo read Circe and said it’s really good and makes you wonder about gender roles in that time period.
The library was hopping this week with classes and events. It almost felt like a return to the before times!
On Monday, the library hosted an Enlightenment Salon with Ms. Kahn’s seventh-grade history class. Students became a variety of Enlightenment figures, including Voltaire, Diderot, Wollstonecraft, and Benjamin Franklin, as well as some lesser-known people from that time, like Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Toussaint Louveture, and Phillis Wheatley. Students discussed such enlightened topics as should their characters support monarchy or democracy? What is the role of women in society? And what does it truly mean to be an enlightened society?
We also had the March edition of book club on Wednesday. Ms. Melinson presented a number of new books that recently joined the library’s collection. Her focus was on beautiful book covers like Drawn Across Borders, Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Butler, and Watch Over Me. Ms. Melinson also talked about new releases from popular authors like Rhythm of War, Cloud Cuckoo Land, The Lincoln Highway, and Again Again.
We ended the week with a lovely springtime concert courtesy of the Middle School Orchestra. Click here to watch a clip on our Instagram page!
Check out these great shelfies from Read Across Country Day!
The library was drama-central this week as the space was used for two different productions. At the beginning of the week, Mr. Panasiti’s tenth-grade English class was in the library to perform scenes from Anna Deavere Smith’s play Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992. Students read the play in class and then adapted scenes to perform a dramatic monologue in front of their peers.
Later in the week, Ms. McGinnes’ high school Drama elective rehearsed for their upcoming play. It was a neat opportunity to see all of the work that goes into putting on a performance.
On Friday we had a furry visitor – Elton, Sage’s cat. Elton is a munchkin cat and looked quite content to be carried and have his fluff pet by his adoring fans.
Students in sixth, seventh, and 10th grades were in the library this week working on research for their various projects.
Sixth-grade students learned about curating their resources for their Scientists in the Field project. Seventh graders evaluated the authority of websites that might be useful for their National History Day projects. Tenth-grade students took a deep dive into databases and how to find relevant information for their Sophomore Projects.
The outside of the library got a little more informative this week when senior Masai decorated the window display with images and information honoring Native American Heritage Month.
Ms. Melinson helped host the first meeting of the Grands & Friends book club. Check out the selection of books she shared with the group.
The 6th graders were back this week to continue their research on learning differences. To encourage their quiet research, students worked with a “crackling fire” in the background.
Also this week, Gavin brought Chinese Checkers and struck up a game with new student Jiayu.
February is Black History Month. The library is participating in a #readingblackout by only featuring African American authors on our end cap displays. Come view (and check out books from) our displays or view them on the library’s Instagram, where a new display will be featured every week.