Week in Review: Sophomore Symposium, Book Club, and Poem in Your Pocket

The library had a busy week of events. The Sophomore Symposium took place on Monday and Wednesday, a culmination of the tenth grader’s almost year-long interdisciplinary research project. Students presented on a variety of topics. Check them out below!

The Connection: Literacy and Socio-Economic Status—Jennifer F.
Concrete and Its Effects on the Environment—Sundiata D.
Quarantine Tech Transition: How Education Changed During the Coronavirus Pandemic—Linda Z.
AlphaFold: Deep Learning and Structural Biology—Ryan P.
How Barbie Has Stayed Relevant—Anniston M.

Reducing Food Waste: A Key Step Toward a Sustainable Future—Ava E.
Enhanced Mineral Weathering: The Key to Weathering Climate Change?—Saheb G.
The Social and Political Impact of Hip Hop—Garrett X.
Google’s Sustainability Efforts Against Climate Change—Aaryan G.
Applying Economic Principles to Help Solve California Agriculture’s Existential Water Crisis—Andrew B.

The library also held its monthly high school book club this week. Ms. Melinson shared that she read White Out, the companion book to Black Out. She didn’t like it quite as much as Black Out, finding it more melodramatic. Ms. Melinson is also reading The Carrying: Poems by the current U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón.

Dylan is reading a cookbook that’s part recipes and part tips for becoming a better chef. Jess read The Betrayal and enjoyed it. Suketa is reading The Joy Luck Club for English class. Siri is reading a book of poems called Allegria she picked up from the famous beat poet bookstore Citylights Books. She likes that both the English and Italian versions of the poems are side by side on the page.

Mr. Comer mentioned Borderlands, a sci-fi/fantasy/horror bookstore in San Francisco where he got the short story The Lady Astronauts of Mars and the follow-up, The Calculating Stars. Jordyn read Song of Achilles and described it as “amazing and full of angst.”

Friday was Poem in Your Pocket Day where students were encouraged to bring a poem or write one of their own and present it for a treat. We got several fun poems, including two about gerrymandering. You never know what you’ll get here!

Week in Review: Read Across Country Day!

What a week! We started with students performing scenes in Mr. Panasiti’s English class and ended with Read Across Country Day.

In 10th grade, students read the play Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, which is about the Rodney King riots. Students worked in groups and acted out scenes from the play in the library.

On Friday, the whole school celebrated reading with Read Across Country Day. The library was transformed into a reading lounge with tea, comfy seating, a selfie station, and even a celebrity sighting—Waldo! At 2:15, everyone on campus stopped what they were doing to read.

Advisories sent in pictures of their groups reading at that time. Check out the gallery below!

Week in Review: Seventh grade takeover!

The seventh grade was in the library this week using databases to research some tough topics for their PSAs. Students are taking a stance and exploring topics like capital punishment, voter suppression, and plastic waste reduction.

The library was host to a Lunar New Year celebration where students got to sample some local Chinese food.

On Friday, the Leadership Lunch team interviewed members of the Black Student Union, who explained their philosophy behind the club.

Finally, our intrepid puzzlers finished another one!

It’s a Salon, darling

This week saw the return of a fun Middle School event: the Enlightenment Salon. Seventh grade students in Ms. Kahn’s history class are learning about historical figures from the Enlightenment period. Salon guests included Toussaint Louverture, Sor Juana de la Cruz, John Locke, Olaudah Equiano, Benjamin Franklin, Joseph II, Catherine the Great, Mercy Otis Warren, Phillis Wheatley, Thomas Hobbes, and Olympe de Gouges. For the salon, they acted as their figure against a roaring fire backdrop while discussing topics from the time, including equality, slavery, and women’s rights. Some students even dressed in costume! Check out the gallery below!

High school students are continuing to prove themselves as puzzle fiends. Students completed one at the beginning of the week, bringing the total number of completed puzzles for January to 6! They quickly started a new one and are making excellent progress.

January in Review

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.

Week in Review: The Week Before Break

The week leading up to winter break is a busy time. Papers, projects, and tests—oh my! The library happenings were no exception.

At the beginning of the week, Mr. Hobbs’ eighth grade class returned to finish up Suspicious Scoops, their unit on misinformation.

Much of the rest of the week was devoted to the sophomores finishing up their papers for their Sophomore Project. Students turn in their final final papers on Friday and let out a huge sigh of relief.

On Thursday, Ms. Melinson’s advisory decorated their gingerbread houses.

Puzzles continue to be a popular library activity. On Friday, a group of enthusiastic puzzlers started and finished a 550 piece puzzle of the heartland.

Before school started on Friday, a group of students were caroling in the quiet room in festive outfits. While not caroling, student Jesse got in on the festivities with her own fun holiday sweater.


Dogs! It’s always a good day when we’re visited by our doggo friends.

Suspicious Scoops

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

Weeks in Review: Classes & Visitors!

This week in the library, we saw 6th, 7th, and 9th grade classes working on various research. The 9th grade was in at the beginning of the week to begin their National History Day project. They discussed topics that would fit in with the NHD theme of “Frontiers in History,” and later in the week, they learned how to find related information in the library’s databases.

On Thursday, the 6th graders had a special visitor—Jim DeBoo, Executive Secretary for Governor Newsom. DeBoo talked to the students about his perspective on leadership in government and the private sector. This tied into the 6th grader’s English project around leaders.

Ms. Melinson’s advisory got a fun lesson in time management from Learning Specialist Ms. Adams.

On Friday, the 7th graders began their library research for their Ancient Civilizations museum project. Ms. Melinson took them on a field trip out and around the library to get their blood pumping for research.

The following week saw the 7th graders return for more research fun on their Ancient Civilization projects.

The library also hosted the Leadership Lunch with seniors Amaya and Ryan interviewing members of the Asian & Pacific Islander Alliance club. Club members spoke about why they started the club and what they plan to accomplish this year.

Finally, the whiteboard in the Quiet Room is seeing some fun drawings, as evidenced by Triangle Tuesday:

Week Review: Sophomore Project + Book Club

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.

Week in Review: Sophomore Project Round-up + Return of Leadership Lunches

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.