Monthly Archives: October 2013

What do Teacher-Librarians Teach?

Whew! It’s been quite a few weeks, as I’ve been out of the library for several professional development experiences which I hope to chronicle on the blog. Until then, here’s a quick note on the emerging role of the teacher-librarian in schools, as presented by rockstar teacher-librarian Joyce Valenza. It’s a poster I hang right next to my workstation to serve as my guiding principle behind librarianship, and as we explore inquiry based learning, it’s guidance for all educators, as well.



Passion Projects & 3D Printing

In our Upper School, we strive to motivate our students to pursue what interests them most. We provide a robust activities program which includes Debate, Yearbook, Film, and Student Newspaper, among others, and we also provide a program called The Passion Projects. In this year-long program, 9th graders are exposed to a range of areas they may develop passions in, and 10th graders are given time and space to pursue their own self-created passion projects.

This week, a Blue Tie named Soojin came to the library to work on one of her passions: creating artifacts that relate to the Harry Potter series. She had spent 4 hours designing two items, which she describes in the project description she sent along:

For my passion project, I’m creating a couple props from Harry Potter as well as Harry Potter inspired crafts. As part of that, I designed a deathly hallows necklace charm and an alohomora key. The deathly hallows necklace is going to be painted silver to imitate Xenophilius Lovegood’s necklace in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The key has the word ‘Alohomora’ on it, which is a well-known spell that unlocks doors.

Two early prototypes from Soojin's designs. We're still working out how to avoid the scraggly edges.

Two early prototypes from Soojin’s designs. We’re still working out how to avoid the scraggly edges.

The print itself was rather wonderful. Soojin and I were monitoring the Makerbot while several Day School students, a faculty member, and a student’s grandfather also watched the items print (from a safe distance, of course). Soojin has a few kinks to work out of the actual design, but she’s off to a great start. All from a student who taught herself how to use the software!

If you’re interested in designing items to print on our 3D printer, check out TinkerCAD. While not the most complete 3D rendering software package, it’s easily one of the speediest to learn, with several tutorials that walk you through a design process. Once you’ve created your 3D design, stop on by the library, and I’ll show you the next few steps to get your material printed.

And finally, the library team wants to express complete appreciation to the Annie Wright Schools Parents’ Association, as they were incredible generous in providing the funds for a 3D printer, the MakerBOT Replicator 2. Technology Manager Eric Shandrow and I spent the spring calibrating the machine, and we wheeled it up to its home in the library at the start of this school year. Now, it’s here for all students to enjoy. Not a day goes by when someone doesn’t ask me about how to use the printer!

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Jim Trelease’s The Read-Aloud Handbook

My initial transition into the role of school librarian involved many, many book recommendations. Just not the kind you might think. So many friends and colleagues came forwards with suggestions for books I should read (really, guys, this is how it works: I dish the books!).

But, since my colleagues and friends are so fantastic, the books were wonderful, as well. One of those books, lent by Upper School Director Jake Guadnola, is an absolutely classic in reading and literacy: Jim Trelease’s The Read-Aloud Handbook.

In this tome, Jim Trelease explains how reading aloud to kids can help children discover a love of reading. It’s full of evidence-based reading strategies and recommendations for books to read aloud for a variety of ages. The Read Aloud Handbook is the work I’m reading for my October professional development, and I hope it’s one you’ll stop by the library to check out as you explore the benefit and joy of reading aloud, as well.