I love being a high school librarian not just because I am surrounded by great reads, but because I get to interact with so many teachers and students. While I may not have a classroom setting to work in daily, I am privileged to be invited to participate in a variety of classes in big and small ways, and I am always happy to help as I can.
Thank you to Ms. Medvetz and Ms. Sullivan for asking for assistance for their classes’ English research papers. Both teachers require students to have print and electronic sources. Rather than having students rummaging through the library stacks, however, they have the LMC prepare a cart with the best, most current books and magazines in our collection. Students are still free to look for themselves through our shelves, but with so many good online resources available, most students don’t.
One thing teachers might not know, is that once a cart is prepared for a particular topic, we scan the books into our Follet’s software where we create a category, such as PRO/ CON Topics or Novels About Math. This can be printed out as a reading list for students, and can be amended as new titles are added.
In checking on a link for E-Library, Ms. Medvetz discovered that it was broken, and we had to turn to other databases. Ms. Sicard (my trusted aide) found a good alternative in Gale Student Resources, a database I never mention. We also reminded Ms. Medvetz of Pro/Con.org, a site run by a non-profit organization whose mission statement says, “”Promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, primarily pro-con format.”
Ms. Sullivan’s class was rewarded by Ms. Sicard’s persistence when she checked the E-Library link again and found that it was now working. In order to access these subscription databases, students need a library card from the Haverhill Public Library, so we always remind students to apply for one. (All you need is an ID and proof of residence).
Another way I got to participate with a class this past week was by being invited (along with History teacher, Ms. Jones) to debate one of Mr. Levine’s classes. Wednesday through Friday during 4th period, groups of three, four and five students did a wonderful job presenting opening statements, rebutting counter points and examining tough questions that we confront as a society. Among the topics we covered were, “should children’s beauty pageants be banned” and “should Columbus Day be recognized in the United States”? To prepare for the debates, the students used many online resources including a site recommended by Mr. Levine himself, and hosted by the international debate education association. Needless to say, we will be adding it to our blogroll.
I also want to thank Ms. Nunez-Donnelly for her recent visit and for helping us recycle our People in Espanol magazines by repurposing them as authentic examples of Spanish language in print. When her classes recently visited the LMC to do research, she noticed that People in Espanol was among the periodicals which we receive. Since we no longer archive print periodicals, Ms. Nunez-Donnelly asked that we pass along the magazines for classroom use. The articles in the magazine are perfect for practicing Spanish as they tend to be short, high interest and non-technical in nature.
We do keep a few back issues of other magazines, as space allows, and classes often use these for art projects and/or presentations. Ms. Nieves in F22 (aka, in-house) also gets a bi-weekly delivery of older magazines for students to read. When they claim to have no homework or classwork to make up, she encourages them to find something interesting to read. Considering that we pass along back issues of magazines such as Mad, Motor Trend, Seventeen, Hot Rod, Entertainment Weekly, Discover, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone and ESPN, they should be able to find something to spark their interests.
Whenever possible, I try to copy and share interesting articles with teachers, especially those who frequent the LMC and discuss their classroom interests with me. Among the articles that I passed along recently are:
- Elite Athletes Have a Brain for the Game (Science News Magazine): Studies show that what separates the best athletes from the rest of the pack is usually a case of mind over matter. Practice, focus and attention are all variables for how an athlete performs, and in the end it really is in their minds.
- Self Control Pays Off Says Study (Science News Magazine): According to this article, patient children can be identified as early as age three. Turns out the quiet, aloof ones might be on to the secret of success.
- 50 Best Restaurants in Boston (Boston Magazine): While the print article is pretty good, the online equivalent has great pictures of delicious food with the restaurant information (I know, your smartphone also has it). What a great list to have the next time your field trip just happens to be in Boston.
- Friending Atticus Finch: English Teachers’ Perspectives on MySpace as a Contemporary Framework for Literary Analysis (Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy). What better demonstrates the quick pace that technology is moving at than having an article published in 2011 talking about MySpace? By the time the JAAL starts writing articles about using Twitter at school, it’ll be so yesterday.
In closing, I’d like to again thank everyone that uses the LMC and its many resources, especially the two humans who staff the place. Nothing makes us happier than seeing the place being well used and feeling like we could help you all in your academic pursuits. Thank you for stopping by. Have a great day and a great new semester.
Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2011. All rights reserved.