Tweeting with the 9s!

Using Twitter Loewen JPG

I love collaborating with NL to bring Twitter to his 9th graders. We always have a great conversation about social media, I learn a lot about their internet habits, and (if I’m lucky) I start having really cool/interesting conversation with students online.


Goal Setting 2015-16

We have to do SMART goals this year. I dunno why, but I love SMART goals! I like being Specific and Measurable and Relevant. Here are mine.

Goal 1: Non-Fiction Collection Development

The non-fiction collection hasn’t been evaluated and weeded in a long time. Looking over, removing old and adding new books will bring freshness and relevancy to the collection. It will also provide a forum for collaboration with departments about changes in their curricula.

Fall: Assess and have department conversations

Winter: Weed and discard

Spring: Purchase new items

Goal 2: S4 Teacher Collaborations

I plan on collaborating with each member of S4 this year on projects which span 9-12 and history, economics and geography. The new faculty (and new 9/10 curriculum) bring fresh opportunities to embed information literacy skills from the ICT Outcomes document. This will be on-going throughout the year. Don and I have spoken extensively about the needs of the program and we are developing a plan to standardized IL classroom practices.

Goal 3: OverDrive/Ebook Promotion and Development

Now that we have OverDrive (yay!) I’ll be spending part of this year ensuring that every Tregaron student knows about it, has the app, and understands how it works. We’re investing boatloads of money so it’s important we get good usage. This work will be on-going with bigger pushes before and after school breaks (Thanksgiving, Winter, Spring, etc.) As part of this goal, I’ll work on developing our OverDrive Advantage collection to better suit our population.

Collections Policy Meets Hebdo


We met with our Head of School this afternoon after a copy of the most recent Charlie Hebdo arrived in our mailbox. Given the nature of our school and the attacks in Paris, I wasn’t surprised to learn the senior parents had decided to subscribe us to the magazine. Okay, I am totally surprised but I also see my reaction as being very American. Charlie Hebdo themselves asked readers to subscribe as part of the fight against censorship. I have a lot of conflicted feelings.

So, I am really glad that I wrote our Collection Development Policy a few years ago and was able to show it to our Head. It outlines what we do and do not collect, our challenge/reconsideration policy, and, most importantly right now, our donation policy. We talked about a few of the possible outcomes of having Charlie Hebdo available in the library and I feel satisfied the decision provides commonsense access to an important/controversial publication while also being sensitive to the potential for harm.

What we’re doing: Keeping the magazine in a container in the library, available for teacher and US student use. It will be weeded at the end of the year with the rest of the periodicals. We will not subscribe once this year runs out.



Weeding Young Adult

I’m spending a lot of time weeding the general fiction collection since winter break and this NYT article about young adult fiction came at exactly the right time. As I’ve weeded, I’ve noticed our share of literary novels diminish and noticed how dominant YA is here.  Of course I love YA and I love how much it circulates but it’s becoming harder to get excited about the new Morris, Alex and Printz award winners.  I’m kind of sick of reading young adult.  I need to take a break because it all seems so much the same, same, same.

I’m discouraged by the plethora of new authors with trilogies.  I’m over the love triangles, the need for regime change, the “beautiful” boys.  I spend 8 hours a day with smart, interesting, charming teenagers and I think their lives are more complex and compelling than many YA characters.  I want to read books that honor those complexities and don’t constantly tie their lives neatly into a bow.  (Thank you Maggie Stiefvater, Kristin Cashore, AS King, Tamora Pierce, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green and many others for doing just that).  It’s hard to not notice that most of these authors have 4 or more non-series titles under their belts.  They understand how to construct a satisfying beginning, middle and end.  They can write great sentences.  And yes, they are all over 30.  They have been reading and (probably) writing for over 25 years.

I agree with Michelle Dean that YA has becomes a young/new writer’s game.  And I agree the books have suffered for it.  I want to have a collection full of excellent titles to share with teens. I have “a desire for stories substantial enough to withstand the ages, that are like smooth river rocks you can turn over and over again”. For me, that means not collecting a substantial swath of new authors this year.  I’m spending our budget dollars on new copies of much loved books instead. This is a year for weeding and replacements.  Next year we’ll take another look at the field and find more new authors to love.

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.