Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Announcing the HVLA YA Book Club

Our board has been talking for awhile about the idea of offering a book club for HVLA librarians to read and discuss young adult literature. With the help of member Karyn Silverman (Someday My Printz Will Come) and board members Angie Ungaro and Rachael Myers (Chair of Great Graphic Novels for Teens and Teens' Top Ten) we are announcing our first book club meeting.

HVLA YA Book Club

Date/Time: Tuesday, February 7th at 5:30pm

Elizabeth Erwin High School
(btwn 6th Ave & Varick)

What We're Reading:

We'll have snacks, discuss the book, and pick our next read for February. Since this is our first meeting we're open to suggestions about the direction of the book club. So come with ideas and some thoughts on John Green's exciting new release!

UPDATE: On January 28, John Green and his new book The Fault in Our Stars was featured on NPR's Weekend Edition. Listen to/read his interview here!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Member Spotlight: Natasha Goldberg

It is always nice to hear about the success stories and ongoing projects of our members, so us board members thought it would be nice to spot-light some of these from time to time. This month, I'd like to share with you a member's reflection on a recent unit she implemented with her students. 

Natasha Goldberg is the Middle School Librarian at Chapin and a former Communications Coordinator for HVLA.

Recently, Natasha shared a Dewey Decimal activity with me, so I asked her if she had any more tricks up her sleeve... Below is her written account of another Dewey activity. Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Natasha!

Still dreading your Dewey Decimal unit?   Perhaps you might consider teaching Dewey in conjunction with your school's math teachers.   This past fall, I partnered with 5th grade math teachers Shannon Quinn and Jonathan Shiller to conduct a workshop that illustrated the connections between math and library.   

“The Dewey Decimal system fits perfectly into our unit on place value of decimals,” said Mr. Shiller. 
First, the girls were coached how to say the numbers in proper math speak and place them on the number line.   When it was clear to the math teachers that the girls were ready to try their hand at sequencing, I gave them photographs of book spines from our non-fiction collection.  Each photograph clearly displayed the book's call number. Working with two math sections at a time, Ms. Quinn, Mr. Shiller, and I held races to see which team could sequence their twenty cards first, as well use the catalog to determine the call numbers' corresponding titles and authors.   

(Top photo: students sequencing Dewey Decimal Cards; Bottom photo: a close up of a Dewey card)

In a follow up library class, the students took the twenty cards they had sequenced and used them to find the corresponding books on the shelf.  (I armed them with digital cameras so that they could take pictures of themselves holding each book as proof.   It's a trick I highly recommend as a way to amp up your next scavenger hunt!)

Finally, some enthusiastic singalongs to the Dewey Decimal Rap on YouTube encouraged the girls to cement the connection between the call numbers and subjects of those books they found during the scavenger hunt.

Posted by Laura Bishop, Membership Coordinator (2012-2013)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Literary Happenings: NYC

One of the greatest things about being a bibliophile living in New York City is the abundance of literary happenings on offer to delight in...and so many of them are free! It's cold out there, but it sure is worth bundling up to head out and partake of some of these great events. Following is just a sampling of events in New York for book lovers this week and through January....

Readings and Signings

Fantastic Fiction
Tuesday, January 17th, 6-8pm (Free!),
Books Of Wonder Bookstore, New York

Fans of  YA sci-fi and fantasy will find a lot to sink their teeth into at this year’s first installment of “Fanatastic Fiction” at Books of Wonder. Presenting their new books, taking questions and offering signings will be a group of both seasoned and debut female authors: Julie Cross, Maureen Lipinksi, Megan Miranda, Beth Revis and Carrie Ryan. Info:  http://www.booksofwonder.com/events011712.asp

The Future of Us with Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Tuesday, January 17th, 7pm (Free), Word Bookstore, Brooklyn

Jay Asher (author of Thirteen Reasons Why) and Mackler (author of The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things) will give a joint presentation and reading of their recent collaboration The Future of Us , a story about two teens who glimpse themselves 15 years into the future. Info: http://wordbrooklyn.com/event/future-us-jay-asher-and-carolyn-mackler

Hue-Man Bookstore and Cafe in Harlem has some big ticket evenings coming up: 
On Tuesday, January 17th at 7pm (Free) Dr. Bill Cosby himself presents and reads from his latest book, I Didn’t Ask to Be Born (but I’m glad I was) and Walter Mosley from his latest All I Did Was Shoot My Man, Tuesday, January 31st at 6pm (Free).

Why We Broke Up: Daniel Handler & Maira Kalman

Tuesday, January 17th, 7pm (Free), Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Union Square, New York
Writer Daniel Handler & artist, Maira Kalman present their new YA book tracing the birth and death of a teen romance. Info: http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/74136 
OR catch them the following night in Brooklyn at Word Bookstore: 7pm
126 Franklin St (at Milton St.), Brooklyn, NY 11222

Smith Magazine Presents: The Moment

Thursday, January 26th, 6:30 pm (Free), Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn
Join Larry Smith, founder of SMITH magazine for an evening of readings from contributors to his latest book,The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure. Presenters: Julie Metz, author of Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal; Colin Nissan, author of Don’t Be That Guy; Said Sayrafiezadeh, author of When Skateboards Will Be Free; Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black: My Year Inside a Women’s Prison; Gillian Laub, author of Testimony; and Josh Axelrod, author of Repeat Until Rich.  Info: http://greenlightbookstore.com/event/evening-larry-smith

Mark Strand, Almost Invisible

January 31st, 7pm (Free), Bookcourt Bookstore, Brooklyn
Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Mark Strand, will read from his most recent collection of prose poetry, Almost Invisible. Info: http://www.bookcourt.com

Miscellaneous Fun

Book Nerd Jeopardy
Tuesday, January 18th, 7pm (Free!), McNally Jackson Books, New York
Put your literary knowledge to the test! 

A special preview screening of The Secret World of Arrietty 
Saturday, January 21, Symphony Space, New York, NY
This animated film, based on The Borrowers, was co-written by famed Manga artist and film director, Hayao Miyazaki (Nausicaa of the Valley Wind, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro) and produced by Studio Ghibli. Tickets ($15 single/$12 group) will sell out FAST, and it’s next week! More Info & tickets: http://gkids.tv/intheaters.cfm 

KidLit Drinks Night (KLDN): Special SCBWI--Conference Edition 
Friday, January 27th, starting @ 8pm, Public House (http://www.publichousenyc.com/), New York

Join fellow lovers of "Kid Lit" and raise a glass with interesting and talented illustrators in town for the
SCBWI annual conference.
Join the KidLit Drinks Night by emailing: nyckidlitdrinks@gmail.com

*Related SCBWI tidbit:
Walter Dean Myers, a long time board member of SCBWI, was recently named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature


The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats at The Jewish Museum on view until January 29th.
Dickens at 200
On view until February 12th, The Morgan Library

Quick! If you missed our Fall meeting at the Morgan Library or wished you’d had more time to linger over this very charming exhibit of Dickensian ephemera--from original illustrations to handwritten letters, photogrpahs and manuscripts--you still have time: the exhibit runs until February 12th.


Real Characters 
Every 2nd Tuesday night of the month, 7pm (Free), McNally Jackson Bookstore

A storytelling event featuring a host of New York's wittiest comedians and writers.
Info: http://mcnallyjackson.com/event/real-characters-mcnally-jackson-3
New York Review of Science Fiction Readings 
1st Tues of every month, 6:30, Soho Gallery for Digital Art 

This post by Laura Bishop, Membership Coordinator (2011-2013)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mapping on the Mind...

At my school, 2012 began with the beginning of a journey: curriculum mapping for our entire school’s curriculum. Now, it is not as though our school had not engaged in mapping before. Various divisions and departments had mapped curricula over the years, but this is different. This time we’ve been given a software program known as Atlas Rubicon, peer leadership through the creation of a curriculum committee and our own, department-specific time lines, complete with semester goals.

Prior to the advent of this school-wide initiative, our library services and technology departments had been viewed as separate, nor were we officially recognized (read:legitimized) as a “department”. This is not to say we did not collaborate andview ourselves as a department; on the contrary, we did, but our fledgling school has been evolving and, with it, the groundwork was laid for establishing our place within the academic community. It is with great enthusiasm that we began the new year, with the birth (and naming!) of our LibraryInfoTech department.

Naturally, our enthusiasm has been tempered at times with a degree of trepidation: curriculum mapping for grades PreK-12 is a daunting task. Then there’s the name of our software: “Atlas Rubicon”. This name--so austere and futuristic sounding--possesses a sci-fi, dystopian connotation for me. The things I heard from colleagues who’ve had the Atlas experience at their schools did not bode well, either: “It’s a beast”, “a hellish experience”, “such a headache”...and on and on.

I put stock in the opinions and insights of my colleagues, so I do have my apprehensions. There is a great deal of data and content to be agreed upon and entered into the Atlas Rubicon software. That being said, I feel like--in the long run--this will be a very powerful tool for us.

Our Process & Template for Unit Design
Using the Understanding By Design (UBD) developed by Grant Wiggins--AKA "BackwardsDesign"--template for instructional planning developed by Wiggins and we must enter our curriculum as units that ask us to complete a 3-stage Process:

Stage 1: “Desired Results”. We begin by selecting thestandards and benchmarks we wish to fulfill along with listing the core knowledge and skills (according to Bloom’s Taxonomy) or key vocabulary to be acquired. Here, too, we must craft “Essential Questions” that will guide the teaching and learning experience for the unit.
Stage 2: “Assessment Evidence”. Here we will enter whatever forms of assessment we will be choosing for our unit.
Stage 3: “Learning Plan”. Here is where all the action lies: Activities are outlined, while modes of differentiated instruction & and resources to be used are listed.

Types of Standards Used: Spoilt for Choice?
As far as standards are concerned, we have been allowed a good deal of latitude for choice. When
creating a unit of instruction, we may select and attach standards from a number of standard sets (New York State, ALA/AASL, ISTE, IB, NYLA, NYC-DOE’s Information Fleuncy Continuum,NETS, 21st Century Skills Framework and ITEA). However, is it better to limit oneself to drawing from only one or two sets of standards...or is that actually limiting? Would cherry picking standards be a help or a hindrance?

Customizing for the Library InfoTech Department
We occupy a unique niche within the school as the only department with what we view as an “embedded curriculum” since--for the most part--the actualization of instruction and curricular goals is tied to our classroom collaborations and/or coordinated “push in” activities. This makes laying out formalized units of instruction a bit more complicated. Since there is no space to lay out spreadsheets detailing skills and benchmarks across the grade levels, only unit design is possible, making it seem like a case of the chicken or the egg.

We are told we have a good chance of being able to customize the Atlas interface so that we may link our units to teacher pages and work collaboratively with teachers within unit templates. At the moment, we are unable to link our skills and units directly to the teachers’ pages, and thus remain a destination one must visit. Ideally, we’d love to see “library and technology integration" have a space somewhere built into the UBD unit template. This would not only encourage collaboration, but would give it a place of purpose within our curriculum and academic community. After all, collaboration should not be the end we strive for, but the means to an end.

Still--even without that function--we will have a searchable database of all units and curricular topics being taught across the grades, which is something we’ve never had before. The search feature seems
powerful--scanning not only the unit plans, but any attachments or notes for the search terms entered. The trick is choosing and using keywords-as a department--to describe certain skills and activities consistently so that our units are tagged in a way that allows for the best search results. Indexing reflexes are set to be sharpened!

Possible benefits to the Library Media Center
A helpful device to aid with collection development: Ordering library resources can be done in a more timely fashion and more strategically. I can pin point more specific texts relevant to particular
units; reading about exactly which activities or topics will be covered will help reveal gaps in the collection.
A useful tool for collaboration: It’s all out there on viewwhenever you want it. This way I can see exactly what units are being done by whom and when, rather than asking around for various maps or scope & sequence documents. This will also assist me the door up for approaching teachers: I can come armed with specific ideas, books or resources tailored to their unit plans.

Keep in mind, that "old chestnut": Rome was not built in a day

 One thing that I take comfort from in approaching this is that we are not expected to finish this for several years...! I believe the projection is that in three years, we should be entirely rubiconed (yeah, that’s my word!).

Mapping Veterans and Comrades...
I am interested in hearing about your experiences with curriculum mapping and curriculum mapping software. What software--if any--did you use? If you used Atlas Rubicon, what was your experience like. Any words of wisdom or mistakes I might learn from? Where or how did the library media program fit into your school’s process? What benefits have you derived from mapping?

Posted by Laura Bishop, Membership Coordinator