April 2013, Volume 5, Issue 4
Check Your Calendars!!
School Library Month
National Library Week
Money Smart Week
World Book Night
Featured e-Resources of the Month
World Book Student now available for iPad and Online Resources for English Language Learners
Why Didn't I Think of That?
Alaskan author mushes across South Dakota
by Cindy Whisler, Jefferson Elementary librarian (Sioux Falls)
When we read that Shelley Gill was planning to visit schools in South Dakota to celebrate Read Across America, Principal Teresa Luecke and I invited her to visit with our K-5 students at Jefferson Elementary.
After our winter break, we prepared students by routing nine of her books to classrooms for teachers and students to read, enjoy and discuss. Biographical information was displayed in the library, as well as her books for checkout. At the end of January, decorations in the library were displayed with classes contributing artwork to the walls, created with inspiration from one of Gill's books. Students were able to buy one of her books ahead of her visit, and on the day of her visit, Gill autographed them all.
In February, we held a door decorating contest as an optional activity. Each classroom could choose a topic from one of Gill's books and plan the door design. Four judges picked the top three doors and prizes were awarded—Shelley Gill books, of course!
Shelley Gill's visit was great! She spent an hour with fourth and fifth grades, an hour with second and third grades and an hour with Kindergarten and first grades. We heard her talk about her Iditarod experience, swimming with whales with her daughter, the places she's been, people who've inspired her, how ideas come about for writing and especially about research. The hour went way too fast with her descriptions and her pictures. Students were able to ask questions at the end of each presentation.
If you're interested in having Shelley Gill visit, call 907-299-1178 or send an email to email.
Calendar busts teen boredom
by Emily Harris, Siouxland Libraries, Sioux Falls
I put together a "Boredom Buster" calendar of activities for teens. On the second page, the librarian signs that the activity has been completed. Questions or challenges are designed to not take up too much of the librarian’s time. If the teens complete five activities, they can have a small prize. (We have leftover Summer Reading Program prizes, necklaces and candy.) Our "Emergency Fun Kit" consists of free word puzzles that I printed off the internet. (We hope it will branch out to include playing cards and colored pencils someday or maybe even games.)
I used Microsoft Publisher to create the calendar. Publisher has many templates for calendars. You can change the font and colors, set the month you want to use and it magically knows the dates, which is helpful. Also, to find the birthdays and special events, I used Chase's Calendar of Events and Hallmark's website. I got the quizzes from dkquiz.com. (Originally, I just planned on having the teens go to the website and take the quizzes there, but I wanted to be fair to teens who couldn't get on the computer. Also, if you take more than one quiz per computer, you have to create an account with the website, which I didn't want to ask the teens to do. So I created an account for Siouxland Libraries, typed the questions and printed them.)
I printed off about 15 copies of the calendar, and had the PDF put on the library's teen blog. I plan on handing the calendar out to rambunctious teens if they seem like they need something to do. Also, I mention it when teens come to the desk to ask for books or computers. I plan on keeping a few at the desk and putting most of them in the teen section. I have found at our library, however, more teens participate if I tell them about it myself. Signs just don't work as well for some reason.
I have a binder with copies of the quizzes to give out. I also have some in page protectors that the librarians can copy if they need more and I am not around. The answers to the quizzes are in the binder as well, in case teens want to see how many questions they got right. Also, I have the calendar in the binder in case they need more of those. I plan to make a form for teens to write their name on if they complete the five activities, since we limit prizes to one per person per month.
School maker spaces promote exploration
Recently, State Librarian Daria Bossman wrote about "maker spaces" (SDSL Cornerstone Article: Maker Spaces? Programming on Steroids?) and changes occurring in public libraries as they meet the needs of patrons to use the local library as "a gathering place, a safe, comfortable community space for citizens to explore and learn."
Many school libraries are also maker spaces, with a variety of learning activities taking place. From chess tournaments to podcasting, students and teachers are taking advantage of the school library as another "classroom" where collaboration, exploration and experimentation can occur.
Memorial Middle School in Sioux Falls is one such place where students have set up a "penny pyramid" to practice math concepts. Another maker space in Memorial’s library contains items and resources for students to work on arts and crafts for assignments in any content area.
While a cozy corner around a fake fireplace provides a great place to study or read, a television plays videos of the school's teachers reading portions of their favorite books. Memorial's library keeps a "green screen" which students may also use to create presentations, similar to the screen behind a weatherman on the local news.
What "maker space" programming is your library doing?