Monday, February 24, 2014

Mock Newbery 2014!

As you read about in an earlier blog post this year by HVLA member Angie Ungaro entitled Strength in Numbers: When One Book Club is Not Enough, a few Brooklyn Heights Independent Schools teamed up last year to create a Mock Newbery book club with an online component. The schools involved were Brooklyn Friends, Brooklyn Heights Montessori, St. Ann’s and Packer Collegiate. As Angie detailed so wonderfully, each school still maintained their own school book club but also used the online component to facilitate conversations with student’s in nearby schools.

Since we were using Edmodo, we did not have to meet in large groups very often. The online piece allowed our students the opportunity to speak with others without the need to constantly travel between schools. However, our proximity to each other is important in regards to our two major celebrations!

Last year, went so well in fact, that we decided to do it all again!

We began our book club this year with a Fall kick off celebration at St. Ann’s. Students had time to chat and eat snacks and then were introduced to the speaker of the day, Michael Santangelo, who was on a previous Newbery Committee. The students were so enthusiastic to hear from him and to learn all about the Newbery Process. In fact, the Q & A period seemed to usurp the presentation itself due to the overall excitement of the group.

Our second celebration was held this past Friday at Packer Collegiate! It was well attended with about 60 4th, 5th and 6th grade students. We started off with snacks and moved on to showing some student made book trailers. It was exciting to see what the student’s produced. Afterwards, we played a quick game of trivia and then had time for our speaker, Marilyn Ackerman, who was on the most recent Newbery Committee. Students were able to ask questions about the Newbery in general, this year’s Newbery winner and honors, as well as share their own opinions. A fun time was had by all.`

What was extra special for Packer was that 4th graders were also invited to this event. Due to scheduling at Packer, 4th graders are not members of our Mock Newbery Club. However, the 4th graders did learn about the Newbery Award during Library. We ended up having about 10 4th graders in attendance. It was a great opportunity for them to mingle with other 4th graders from St Ann’s and it also served as a brief introduction to the MS/US Library at Packer. Packer has two physically different libraries - a LS library, The Hart Library,  and a MS/US library, The Blackburne Library. Many 4th graders sometimes find the transition to the the MS/US Library from the LS Library a little intimidating so this also served as a nice, low-key introduction. Since the event, some of the 4th graders have already expressed interest in joining the Mock Newbery Club next year in 5th grade. So many things were achieved in this one little event - learning, socializing, recruiting, and building awareness and enthusiasm for the Newbery Award.

If you would like to know more about how we run our Interschool mock Newbery or if you are interested in starting your own please let us know.

Kristyn Dorfman & Megan Kilgallen, The Packer Collegiate Institute

Special thanks to Rebecca Duvall from Brooklyn Heights Montessori, Angie Ungaro from Brooklyn Friends, Hannah Mermelstein from St. Ann’s & Ragan O’Malley from St. Ann’s.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Some Upcoming Literary Happenings in New York City

Here are just a few literary happenings in NYC in the next few weeks. If you know of anymore upcoming events please post them in the comments!

Housing Works Bookstore
Enjoy 30% off all science fiction, fantasy, comic books, vintage vinyl, science and math books! There will also be other special events including geeks vs. nerds trivia happy hour Friday, February 21st at 6pm.

YA Lit at 92nd Street Y
Come out and see Veronica Rossi, Sophie Jordan, Tahereh Mafi, Kiersten White & Ransom Riggs as they discuss their newest books. A “free” tote bag filled with arcs, courtesy of HarperCollins will also be given out at the event. Sounds pretty exciting!
(YA Lit at 92nd Street Y has a lot of interesting upcoming events so definitely check out the site for other events).

Authors John Freeman, Andre Aciman and Adam Thirlwell will discuss their books and how our rapidly global world is changing the way we communicate forever.
How to Read a Novel by John Freeman
Harvard Square by Andre Aciman
Kapow! by Adam Thirlwell

Strand Books
Joyce Carol Oates will specifically be focusing on her latest novel Carthage. This is a novel about a young girl who has disappeared from her home in the Adirondacks and an Iraq War Veteran is the prime suspect.  

McNally Jackson Bookstore
A selection of exclusively female participants will discuss books they have read in their youth that were formative to their lives. They are all found in a pamphlet entitled No Regrets edited by Dayna Tortorici

Examining the life and works of Jane Austen through the NYPL collection. Note that this is during the day so best if you happen to have off the whole week.

Greenlight Bookstore - LIU Brooklyn Collaboration Event
Edwidge Danticat will be the guest speaker at LIU Brooklyn’s “Starting from Paumanok” lecture series.

The New York Society Library
The event is open to the public and is $10 with advanced registration ($15 at the door). Leo Damrosch, with his new biography, will go into depth on the life and work of Jonathan Swift, best know for Gulliver’s Travels.

Looking to the Near Future

Books of Wonder

60 Young Adult authors will be in attendance for a large signing event at the bookstore. May be exciting to share for those of you who work with teens.

Friday, February 14, 2014

February Book Club

Come join us for our first book club of 2014!  Also, even if you are unable to join us in person, head over to Goodreads where we now have an official HVLA Bookclub Group.

Tuesday February 25, 5:45

Elizabeth Irwin High School - meet in the library
40 Charlton Street
(between 6th Ave and Varick)

What We're Reading:
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Meeting recap

Thanks to everyone who attended our Winter Meeting, where we toured the NYPL exhibit The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter with curator and historian Leonard Marcus. Before the tour, we were given an insider's look into the exhibit with Mr. Marcus sharing with us how he chose the pieces for the exhibit and how they were laid out. Below are some pictures from his enlightening talk and the exhibit. If you haven't seen it yet, you definitely need to check it out. It's a beautiful testament to what we all know and appreciate about the wonders of children's literature.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Working with the time you have

I am a librarian at The Packer Collegiate Institute. Here, we have two libraries. Our PS/LS library (The Hart Library) is used by Pre-K to 4th grade and runs on a fixed schedule. Our MS/US library (The Blackburne Library) is used by our 5th-12th grade and is used on an as needed basis.

There are known concerns with both these models. The LS librarians often find it difficult to find the time outside of their schedule to collaborate with teachers as much as they would like. We at the MS and US level love working with teachers and incorporating information literacy skills in an applicable way, but by not having our own classes, find it difficult to assess their knowledge base. We are also only able to work with those teachers and grades that are open to collaboration.

I would love to have an Information Literacy class but I also find a lot of value in our collaboration. Through collaboration I can give purpose to these skills and allow students to see their value. It also helps me to understand what is being taught throughout the school. Though our current schedule currently does not allow for a class dedicated to this we have found a way to work with what we have.

The sixth grade English teachers wanted to create a Non-Fiction based assignment that would be interesting to the students. My colleague and I then created a program with them that fulfilled all of our needs.

I work with one teacher and my colleague the other. We meet with 4-5 students for a total of of five weeks throughout the year. The fifth meeting is presentation day. With this schedule, students meet at different times throughout the year. We formed this assignment inspired by The Big6 though we do not follow it hard and fast.

We start by defining the problem. We go over the assignment sheet and determine what is needed to do a good job. Students then think of a topic that is of interest to them and then develop a research question based on their interest. We discuss why a topic can be too broad or too narrow. We also use this time to talk about and develop keywords.

The next steps are a combination of information seeking and location and access. We determine what materials we will need and how to find them. This includes a quick refresher on using our catalog and our databases. We usually start with the first group in October so we have worked a little bit with it but the first group definitely needs more time than say our group that meets in April. Working in small groups makes this easier to do quickly and efficiently. Based on their topics, different sources will be useful for different people and we also discuss why.

During this time, we also review the importance of using reliable sources and citing sources before taking notes. We use EasyBib to both cite our sources and as our note-taking platform. Their notes signify their use of information. I am a huge fan of EasyBib and have introduced it to several teachers in our middle school in place of physical notecards and other online note-taking options. I also love the new addition of SweetSearch to their site, which is what I often have our younger middle school students use in place of Google.

Our next step is for them to present what they have learned or synthesis. We have the students use Google Presentation and it has been great. We can look at what they are doing and leave comments. We are able to use time outside of our dedicated 50 minutes to make any adjustments or tweaks.

Our assignment sheet and Thesis worksheet are also on Google Documents and this way we can see their process and comment on it. Additionally it allows students to do some work at home and we can focus on their exact needs when together.

Our Final step is evaluation. On our final day together prior to their actual presentation day, we go over their Google Presentation document and review the assignment sheet. We and the teachers have developed a rubric that we work on together. There are three separate portions that we focus on. The first portion is entitled The Research Process and is graded by the librarians alone. This section includes criteria such as development of a research question, appropriate use of sources including finding reliable sources & citation, development and use of a thesis statement and efficient use of time. The second set is entitled Google Presentation and is graded by both librarians and teachers. The final portion is the oral presentation, also graded by both parties.

This process allows us, the librarians, to get to know the students, teach them basic information literacy skills and makes us a part of the assessment process so that we can determine how much of these skills they have absorbed.

There are many other forms of collaboration that we do throughout the year that vary in length and level but this continues to be one of my favorite projects. Please let me know if you would like me to share our Presentation worksheet with you.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Professional Development Sampler 2014

Here's a word from our scholarship committee:

Many librarians actively seek out professional development: we are information seekers and lifelong learners! It is just the start of 2014, and many enriching opportunities to learn new skills and strategies are available in a variety of venues.

Association of Independent School Librarians

New York Library Association

Responsive Classroom

Teach 21 Institute

NYSAIS Workshops

No funding for a workshop or conference you say? Now is the time to apply for the HVLA Scholarship! These awards in the amount of $1000 each are given to (1) one current librarian and (1) one current library student. These funds can be used for professional development activities during the 2014 calendar year.

For more information, and for links to the online application, please visit the HVLA Scholarship link.

Apply today!

Monday, February 3, 2014

NEIT 2014

This past week, January 29th-January 31st, I attended the NYSAIS Education and Information Technology (NEIT) conference as a first time attendee. This conference is held annually, recently at the end of January, at the beautiful Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY.

The interesting thing about NEIT is that for the most part it is an “unconference.” Throughout the three days there are 4 hour-long “open spaces” during which any attendee can pose an idea or topic of their choice. The person who poses the idea does not have to be an expert, they can merely be curious and want to start a forum for discussion. You can see a list of this year’s proposals and their notes here.

An unconference is a great way to gather information from new and eclectic voices in the education world, however, things can get overwhelming at times. For example, it can prove a real challenge attending each of the many discussions I had my heart set on when they often overlap. There is, though, always an opportunity to walk in and out of sessions but for the most part I stayed where I started.

Besides the unconference element there are also speakers. This year’s speakers included Ian Jukes (@ijukes) and Don Buckley (@donbuckley). Ian Jukes was our opening and Day 2 speaker and focused on “Education in the Age of Disruptive Innovation” and “Literacy is Not Enough: What does 21st Century Learning Really Look Like?” Don Buckley, as the closing speaker, discussed “Information Technology: Design Thinking our war to the Future.”

On Thursday evening, at dinner, there was also something called “Ignite!” which are small 20 slide PowerPoint presentations at 15 seconds per slide. They can be both humorous and thought provoking and this year’s presenters did an excellent job at keeping us both entertained and mindful of what we do and why we do it.

NEIT generally garners the attention of librarians and technologists and it is always a pleasure to catch up and converse with colleagues. NEIT, however, is open to all educators interested in how to explore and use technology in their own educational practices. I met several teachers at the conference who were interested in learning more and implementing these practices within their own departments. I think this would be a great conference for department heads and division directors to attend to see what new and innovative things the library and technology departments are discussing and developing.

            One of my favorite things about this conference is how it touches on the fundamental reasons why we are educators. The location is beautiful with time built in to experience the amenities or simply relax. It was a little cold for my taste but I know that several people took advantage of the hiking trails and other outdoor activities. Minus a ubiquitous stomach bug wreaking havoc on a majority of the attendees - spurning #MoChunk - this was an enriching experience. Hope to see some of you there next year in a hopefully germ-free NEIT 2015!