Week in Review: Welcome Back!

Welcome back!

Welcome back!

We’re back! The library was busy this week as usual. All sorts of activities happened in the library including a screening of an informative and entertaining video made for Freshmen by Sonja & Nico about the rules at Country Day. The 9th Graders learned a lot–including not to mess with Sonja! There were also parent orientation meetings as well as very helpful College Application sessions for our seniors (thanks, Mrs. Bauman & Mr. Kuipers!)

Some 6th graders learned the legend of the library St. Bernards when they came in for a short orientation.

Some 6th graders learned the legend of the library St. Bernards when they came in for a short orientation.

Speaking of orientation, our 6th graders came in for a quick library orientation so they could find out where to find the books they want as well as how to log in to their email. Some of them even got to learn the legend of the library St. Bernards.

Ms. Melinson’s advisory met for the first time on Thursday to plan their takeover of the world–or really just to figure out who’s bringing snack each week and get to know each other (that way they’ll know who should do what when they take over the world).

Book elective class received pizza bookmarks and checked out their first books of the year.

Book elective class received pizza bookmarks and checked out their first books of the year.

On Tuesday and Thursday, Ms. LaMay & Mr. Crabb’s Book Elective classes came in to check out books and get a slice of pizza (well in bookmark form–food for thought?)

Employees from SpaceX captivated us with stories of their latest projects.

Employees from SpaceX captivated us with stories of their latest projects.

On Friday, Adrianne and Brady from SpaceX came in to speak to interested High School and Middle School students and teachers about their jobs at SpaceX and current projects.  Thanks again to Mrs. Bauman for arranging their visit–Adrianne is her niece. Here are three things we learned:

  1. Since the Space Shuttle retired, SpaceX Dragon is used to shuttle things to the International Space Station. Because Dragon does not burn up upon re-entry, it can also bring things back from space.
  2. The ISS has requested to use Dragon as a camera to take a photo of the Space Station (so in addition to its other useful purposes, it’s kind of a selfie stick for the ISS).
  3. The engineers at SpaceX use math from video games to help them in design.

It Got Weird, it Was Awesome

Ffeud2

Last week was busy in Matthew’s Library! We had the six grade classes working hard learning how to research topics. They learned all about being skeptical readers when looking for reliable websites. 

And then on Friday, the competition was fierce for the Friendly Feud game. There was a Green Team and a Blue Team, and both were chomping at the bit to answer questions about content, bias, usability, and authority of the websites they were given to evaluate. 

Then things got really intense. 

The score was 10-10. Someone had to be the champion.

For the tie-breaker, Anu  (Blue Team) and David (Green Team) had a chance to take home the theoretical gold by answering this question: what can you tell me about the organization of this website? Ffeud1

Family Feud music echoed through the library, and the air was so thick you could cut it with a butterknife, and everyone was in the Friendly Feud spirit. We even had the Family Feud logo graciously provided by Isael. 

Ffeud3

And–wait a minute–who was the friendly moderator? Why, it was none other than Ms. Melinson as Steve Harvey! Check out that glorious mustache. 

In the end, Anu was the champion. She offered a great answer about the website and its layout. The Blue Team goes undefeated, for now…

Salman Khan & Khan Academy Flip Education

I just watched the TED video of Salman Khan called “Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education.” Khan developed the Khan Academy, an online educational resource that includes video lectures on a variety of topics including many math and science topics. The site also includes online exercises for students to work at their own paces. Once students get ten answers correct, they can move on to the next topic. It also includes peer tutoring. One thing Khan said teachers do with his site is flip their classes. They have students watch the Khan Academy lectures for homework and then they have the students work on what they’d normally have as homework in the classroom. This means the teacher is there to answer questions and help where necessary and also to observe how the students work. I thought it was an interesting concept and might also be helpful for students who seem to be stuck on a certain topic and could use more practice or instruction.

Here’s a link to the website: http://www.khanacademy.org

Here’s the video: http://www.ted.com/talks/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education.html

“Experts”

Today a librarian, on behalf of her students, asked other librarians how they handle the issue of a student who is a self-taught expert in an area “for example, a sophomore taking 20th Century World History might be an expert on military tactics and therefore not have any outside sources to cite for some parts of her paper.” They wanted to know if is there a way for a student to indicate this (for instance citing herself as the source) that would eliminate the need for a conversation about sources after the paper has been turned in? So for everyone who has heard me rant about authority, here is how I replied:

Regarding self-taught “experts” (I’m putting this in quotation marks for a reason and not because I’m one of those kooky air quotes people who puts everything in quotation marks)… I tell my students I don’t want them to use as a source anyone whose number can be found in their own cell phones. If I were writing an article on your topic for Smithsonian Magazine or the New York Times or The American Journal of Public Health, would I call this person as an expert? If your answer is yes, then by all means hit that speed dial and revel in the delight that you know someone famous in the field you’re writing about and be sure to ask the person for suggestions of more sources you can use in your research.
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