Student Work in the Library

The end of April/early May always brings lots of student work for display in the library. Right now, we’ve got an exhibition from Film & Photography, selected works from a MS French poetry unit on poems of ordinary life, and (my favorite) the 11th grade Heat Maps charting Hamlets descent into Madness!

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January = Winter Weeding

The new year, for me, is always the time I start my yearly weeding project. This year I intend to evaluate, weed and develop the nonfiction collection. Probably going to focus on the 000-799s (general knowledge – the arts, in Dewey) this year since the 800s and 900s are so massive. I love weeding for many reasons but especially because it’s another opportunity to collaborate with faculty, learn more about their curriculum and start planning for projects in the Spring or following year. Weeding helps reveal the hidden gems in our collection and gives me so many ideas for projects and displays. Maybe this will be the year we do Blind Date with a (nonfiction) Book or a PostSecret project.

What are you weeding this year?

Book Knowledge Challenge: Accepted

Our 9th and 10th grade English teachers asked me to present books to their classes before the winter breaks and I decided to switch it up this year. In the past, I’ve organized faculty ideas and requests and laid out a few tables of books. Students descend and I have shortshort conversations with each about one good title. This has led to some serendipitous moments, a majority of happy-ish readers, and, always, a few student slipping through the cracks without books (or with books that are in the return bin at the end of the day).

This year, I’ve decided to challenge myself to push my own boundaries of Reader’s Advisory and book knowledge. Students have been asked to fill out a form detailing their preferences: recent books their enjoyed; genres; particular titles of interest; pop culture; and a book they feel they “should” read. From these, I am selecting 3 books per student from our collection. One teacher has asked that his student each receive a modern classic or Alex Award-style “adult book with appeal to teens”. So, here’s my progress so far on selecting 240 titles for 80 students from our collection.

I used a Google Form  to gather student data and then converted it into individual reader’s advisory.

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This was the hard part! The range of reading and book knowledge, particularly in 9th grade was all over the place. One student had recently read the Autobiography of Malcolm X while others listed only books they’d read for 8th grade English. I used NovelList a great deal in connecting their personal interests to titles in our collection. I also learned a lot about the television they like. My students and huge fans of Hemlock Grove, Criminal Minds and superhero shows.

 

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I selected three books for each student. If they specifically requested a title, they got it. I’m surprised by the number of students who requested non-fiction and memoirs, and it’s a good reminder that I need to develop these parts of the collection this year. I also learned that the majority of our paperback classics look like they’ve been living in a garage. I need to replace a lot of them this year.

On Monday, my first group of students will be presented with their books and my notes on why I picked them. The goal is for each student to leave for Thanksgiving break with ONE great book – hopefully one in their pile – and come back with feedback. If this goes well, I hope to do it again before Spring Break.

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Another big takeaway is that I tend to rely on titles I’ve read – and I need to read more classics. It’s been a while since I read a Faulkner or Steinbeck and I have no idea how much they resonate with teens. I’m still not convinced of the necessity of reading “the great books” of the Western canon. It’s too old, white, male and upper class for me. I need to be careful my bias doesn’t negatively affect my readers. More to think on…

Global Reads for the International Baccalaureate @ AASL

Thanks for stopping by to check out my presentation and book list. I’m passionate about finding the right titles for students and teachers, so let me know if I can help you find a new book for your library or classroom.

My presentation:

Here’s my working sheet of titles, including books I decided against including. This is open to your comments, so let me know what else you’re using.