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.


IB Theatre Research Investigation

Our theatre teacher recently approached me to present to her HL Theatre class on their Dramaturgical Research Investigation.  The investigation requires an annotated bibliography (called a “critique of sources” by the IB) and she ask that include some guidance on source evaluation and in-text citation.  Here’s my presentation and a shoutout to Tony Tepedino’s excellent tutorial on embedding.

AGOPPE meets the Extended Essay

I’m pretty excited to debut AGOPPE in the Extended Essay subject meetings.  I’m meeting with the Biology group and a Philosophy students to discuss the process and share resources.  At this point, all the juniors should have met with their sponsors so now it’s about introducing them to the Moodle page and getting them to think about their topics and research questions in a defined way.

I’m starting to appreciate my Atlanta IB training more. I feel better equipped to talk to kids about their EEs.  I feel like I understand the IB methods more and understand how much of the language needs to be translated into discernable, specific tasks for students.  The IB is really good at being simultaneously very specific and very vague about their requirements.  I’ve seen a number of students struggle because they don’t have a path through the process.  I imagine it’s especially hard to work on the EE in the summer away from school and a teacher’s guiding hand/ hard deadlines.

To that end, here is my new handout, Researching and Writing the Extended Essay.  I’ve attempted to take the requirements from the EE Guide and synthesize them with the AGOPPE research model.  I hope it will help students break down the process for the EE into achievable chunks.


Non-fiction, Common Core and the IB

I really loved Sara Mosle‘s NYT Opinionator piece about non-fiction and the Common Core.  I started working in libraries just as Eat, Pray, Love and Three Cups of Tea became book-club bestsellers and was reminded of the literary merit of other non-fiction writers like David Sedaris, Chuck Klosterman, Diane Ackerman and Mary Roach.  Reading literary non-fiction helped me as a writer, gave me the stamina to slog through graduate school reading and expanded my knowledge of the complexities of world history and the human experience.

I understand the consternation of high school English teachers faced with finding and teaching non-fiction but agree with Ms. Mosle that excellent examples of literary non-fiction are everywhere.  Schools that do both the IB and Common Core have limited options on the new (2011) Prescribed Literature in Translation list which contains memoirs from Wole Soyinka and Orhan Pamuk and the autobiography of Janet Frame, An Angel At My Table. The World Literature List from 1999 does not contain any non-fiction selections.

Here at WIS, our 6th graders read The Other Side of the Sky by Farah Ahmedi and the 8th graders are reading Persepolis but no non-fiction is taught in the Upper School.  A teacher admitted s/he doesn’t teach non-fiction because of a lack of knowledge of excellent sources. I see an opportunity here and hope you do too.

Mock Elections and Internationalism

Good Morning!  It’s another beautiful day for democracy in America!

Our library hosted a mock election and here are our results.

As you can see, Mr. Obama won by a landslide.  One hundred sixty-eight students participated, which is about half of the Upper School.

We also added four state ballot measures to the ballot.  These are real voter-driven initiatives from States around the country.

Choosing our ballot measures was a challenge because we wanted the ballot to reflect a range of conservative and liberal initiatives as well as being appropriate for both Middle and Upper school students.  We discussed and rejected the Massachusetts Death with Dignity initiative and the Colorado legalization measure for their controversy.  At the same time, so many of our students don’t think of themselves as American, so it was fun to challenge them to think about the views and positions of citizens around this country.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the DP learner profile and the idea, embedded in the IB mission, that “other people, with their differences, can also be right”.  This idea is the polar opposite of the campaign we’ve just survived and I wonder how we reinforce this level of intellectual engagement and flexibility in students when they are constantly bombarded by small-mindedness.

Is the answer in engaged mindfulness?  Or in an equal bombardment of diverse points of view?

Pleasure Reading and the IB Prescribed Authors List

As mentioned, I need to take  a break from teen novels.  I’ve had enough of “beautiful” boys and vampire-werewolf-angel triangles.  I joined a book club last Spring but have only finished one book in 5 months.  My brain is unused to slower pacing, descriptive setting, sentences that float.

I should have finished A Sense of an Ending, or Open City, or Mortality but always end up reading something I can book talk.  So I’m hoping to split the difference with the new IB English Prescribed Authors List.  I’ve been creating a Resource List in Destiny to share all of the books by these authors we already own and also create a collection development list.  I’m hoping to read (or re-read) these books to get back to literature and put them in kids hands.

How?  I’d like to work more closely with the 9th & 10th grade English teachers to book talk these titles.  The will be a part of the History students 20th century novels winter break reading list.  I should create a Diploma Program summer reading list of recommended titles.  And I should pull a truck and create an electronic resource (maybe via Goodreads?) for students interested in doing their Extended Essay in English.

The list is divided into 4 sections: drama; poetry; novels and short stories; and non-fiction prose.  I wonder why certain authors (Michael Ondaatje) are on more than one, while others (Truman Capote) are restricted to a single genre.  How are these decisions made?  And how should this effect what we collect?

On Goals & Goal Setting

Today, many weeks late, I submitted my goals to Sean.  Here’s what I hope to accomplish this year and why.

Re-establish and refine library services for our user group now that we have two people doing collection and curriculum development.
Now that I’ve got a real sense of the dimensions of the library program and we’ve gone through some massive hiring, it’s time to think about how to improve services.  Meghan and I are splitting up our areas of expertise by divisions, so finally got time to really work with the Upper School.  It’s also time I get the library into faculty and subject meetings.  We need to be part of the conversations happening at every level about knowledge literacy and how our space is used.  Major changes are afoot and I want the library to be part of them.
Create an information literacy scaffold for grades 6-12.
As we re-imagine the 6-10 curriculum, I have a responsibility to work with teachers on creating and refining knowledge seeking and knowledge evaluating skills.  I’m excited to work with Jim and Richard to modify the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner and the NET-S standards for our school.  This will be how we deepen the library’s connection to the curriculum.
Work deeply with Humanities and History to create more access to more methods of research and kinds of material across the divisions.
This was one of my goals for last year and I didn’t get very far but I think the staff turnover is creating lots of opportunities.
Engage with librarians at other schools to learn about other methods of library service and instruction as well as to create a regional consortium of independent school librarians.

I’m hoping the newly re-formed MWISLA will jumpstart a change.  I guess I’m ready to see what our peer schools are doing and how we can work together to up the level of service and the role of the library in our schools. 
Contribute to the national discussion about school librarianship and/or IB librarianship in some way.
With this blog, by attending trainings and conferences, and (hopefully) by contributing to conferences.  One thing I learned in Atlanta is that there are very few IB librarians blogging and sharing resources.  I hope to change that.
And I plan on reading more adult books and fewer teen books this year. I have ODed on paranormal romance/ dystopian fantasy and need to read more books on the DP lists. Books with adults.  Who don’t think every teen boy is “beautiful”.  Ugh!
After spending 2 years inhaling a TON of teen novels that serve our MS audience, I need to focus on US books.  And I need to remember what it’s like to read “real literature”.