Category Archives: Upper School

The 2017 Annie Wright Schools Book Fair

Students, Parents, Teachers!

During the week of April 10 through April 14, we invite you to the Library & Learning Commons for our Annual Book Fair. The Book Fair will open on the afternoon of April 10, and we will run  3:00 to 4:30 on each afternoon of that week. In celebration of Annie Writer’s Tea, we will also extend the book fair hours to 5:30pm on Wednesday, April 12.

As in years past, we are excited that Seattle-based independent bookstore Secret Garden Books will be organizing our book fair. They’ll stock the fair with classic, eclectic and contemporary selections for any reading level and interest in our community. We particularly appreciate Secret Garden’s commitment to high quality books that resist commercial messaging.

Students in Grades 3-5 are welcome to shop during the recess they arrange with their teacher, and all students are welcome to purchase books after school with a supervising adult. You can pay for your purchases with cash, a credit card, or a check payable to ‘Secret Garden Bookshop.’ Unfortunately, we cannot charge purchases to your Annie Wright Schools bookstore account at this time.

Our book fair provides a wonderful opportunity to excite readers young and old with wonderful selections, and proceeds of the fair contribute to maintaining our library’s expansive collection. If you have any questions, please contact Joe Romano or Carla Clark regarding the book fair.

And! Our book fair runs the smoothest with the generous help of volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering for our book fair for an afternoon (or for the week!), do let us know, and we’d be happy to have your help hawking books.

Happy Reading. And we’ll see you at the fair!

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9th Grade Humanities & Mission: Learning at the Service of [ ]

Over the past two years, our library has taken a prominent role in helping to develop our 9th Grade Humanities curriculum. The course itself is fairly traditional: we close read literary and informational texts for themes and concepts. We write argumentative paragraphs and essays. We perform research on historical events. We develop the skills necessary to excel in the study of history and literature. We even complete a few group projects, too.

Yet, we’re iterating Humanities into a interdisciplinary study of literature and history that supports individuals in skill development while situating learners into real world challenges that ask them to put their growing body of knowledge and ability at the service of our greater community.

If you tailed off, spun out, or otherwise crashed somewhere in the crags of that sentence, you’re not to blame. We’re building quite a bit into this course, and each component shows commitment towards creating learning experiences that fully embody our mission.

After all,  what steers our institution should drive the learning we undertake with our students, too:

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The course still needs to mature to more realize and measure the ideals, yet here’s a rundown of our progress thus far.


 

Individualization: Content & Skill

Our approach to course content with aspirations towards individualization? Balanced. We believe in the necessity of discussing, analyzing, and developing ideas within a safe intellectual community, so our students share texts such as Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. Yet, we’ll use such texts as launchpads for individual explorations: we’ll create annotated bibliographies (and, eventually research essays) on topics and questions of individual interest that we unearthed while exploring the texts. While such inquiries are highly individualized, they emerge from a collective experience, and the skills we cultivate challenge each student to become even more effective literary scholars and historians.

Our individualization continues to emerge within the realm of assessment, as well. We collect and distribute data sets from our assessments to showcase individual learning accomplishment and also target areas for growth in future units, lessons, and tutorials.

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The learning target students receive at the end of each project. This model is inspired by Mike Gwaltney, a history department chair at Oregon Episcopal School and one of the leading experts on project-based learning.

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The data we collect on each learner’s ability to comprehend and process texts, using the digital reading platform, ActivelyLearn.

 

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A bar graph displaying a student’s performance on a short oral presentation from last week. We’ll use these forms to create goals for another short oral presentation we’ll complete this week, and we’ll track the changes as we go.

We are using our data sets to provide detailed feedback to learners so they can create very targeted goals, developing individualized action plans for students who want to improve and extend their abilities. As our system solidifies, we want to empower each student to articulate their strengths and weaknesses, and we want each student to carry a personal toolkit for becoming even more effective scholars and performers.


 

Knowledge: A Conceptual Approach

As a learning environment that supports the principles and aspirations of International Baccalaureate programmes,, we forefront conceptual understanding ahead of any particular topic, issue, or text. We want our students to transition from one historical event or literary text to another equipped with frameworks to question, understand, and build knowledge.

Currently, our unit focuses on investigating how varying how varying perspectives and identities create conflict within the communities, and what factors influence the resolutions of such conflicts.

We look into the Abolitionist, Suffrage, and Civil Rights Movements. We unearthed the parallels between the the “Declaration of Independence” and the Seneca Falls Convention’s “Declaration of Rights and Grievances.” We investigated the rhetorical structure of Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman,” and we dived into the rhetorical strategy of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

We also read Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees to see how our considerations of race and gender intersect.

Even though we leap through space and time, these concepts are the threads that sew our understanding together.


Creativity & Citizenship

But our learning doesn’t stop with developing skill and understanding.

Instead, we want our students to see how they can set their knowledge towards the service of something–to put their knowledge into action.

A focal point of each unit of study in Humanities is a community focused action project.

For our unit on identities and perspectives, we are collaborating with Tacoma’s Reconciliation Project Foundation, as the 1885 expulsion of 600 Chinese workers from their residences on the Tacoma waterfront has been a human rights violation of local significance, and the city’s relatively recent actions to reconcile that event is perfect fodder to continue our investigation of communities, perspectives, and identities.

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On a recent visit to Chinese Reconciliation Park, we took photographs of aspects of the park that embody the foundation’s values. Here is a photograph of the Fuzhou Ting for the value, ‘inclusion.’

Currently, we’re mid-project. Our class has listened to board members from the Reconciliation Project Foundation who have presented on their aspirations for the project. We have toured the nearby Chinese Reconciliation Park. We have used these experiences to discern the values the foundation is striving to build within our community. Such activities have deepened our close reading abilities. After all, one should analyze a presentation or a space just as one analyzes a poem or a story.

We have created Opportunity Statements to recommend which values we feel should be amplified, and we have written Historical Studies to showcase how these values are embedded in the concepts and events surrounding the Chinese Expulsion.

We have also employed a toolkit of ideation methods, from the Impact-Effort Matrix to the NUF Test to develop plans to help the Foundation amplify the values we see the foundation aspiring to achieve.

In the coming two weeks, we will pitch both our understanding and ideas to foundation members. The feedback we’ll receive will be used to iterate our plans, and we will eventually create full-on presentations, some of which will be given to the entire board of trustees during their May meeting.


 

In future posts, we’ll showcase a few in progress or unrealized goals for the course as well as investigate why the library team is so involved. But for now, we’re excited to report some of the strong steps we’ve made towards transitioning our 9th Grade Humanities class into an even greater realization of Annie Wright’s mission, and we’re searching for  even more opportunity to amplify how we individualize learner interest and growth while building a body of knowledge that is then employed to engage and impact our wider community.

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The Book Fair Returns!

Students, Parents, Teachers!

During the week of April 11 through April 15, we invite you to the Library & Learning Commons for our Annual Book Fair. The Book Fair will open on the afternoon of April 11, and we will run from 7:30 to 8:00am each morning thereafter and from 3:00 to 4:30 on each afternoon of that week. We will also extend the book fair hours to 5:30pm on Wednesday, April 15 in celebration of Annie Writer’s Tea.

This year’s Book Fair also coincides with a visit from New York Times best-selling author Stuart Gibbs, who will speak to our 4th and 5th graders about the adventurous and imaginative life of a writer. 4th and 5th graders will have the opportunity to have their copies of Stuart’s books signed by the author himself. Click here to learn more about this opportunity.

As in years past, we are excited that Seattle-based independent bookstore Secret Garden Books will be organizing our book fair. They’ll stock the fair with classic, eclectic and contemporary selections for any reading level and interest in our community. We particularly appreciate Secret Garden’s commitment to high quality books that resist commercial messaging.

Students are welcome to shop during their morning recess with a teacher’s permission or before and after school with a supervising adult. You can pay for your purchases with cash, a credit card, or a check payable to ‘Secret Garden Bookshop.’ Unfortunately, we cannot charge purchases to your Annie Wright Schools bookstore account at this time.

Our book fair provides a wonderful opportunity to excite readers young and old with wonderful selections, and proceeds of the fair contribute to maintaining our library’s expansive collection. If you have any questions, please contact Joe Romano or Carla Clark regarding the book fair.

And! Our book fair runs the smoothest with the generous help of volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering for our book fair for an afternoon (or for the week!), do let us know, and we’d be happy to have your help hawking books.

Happy Reading. And we’ll see you at the fair!

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The Week in Library: 2!

The bustle! Our favorite moments in the Learning Commons arrive when there’s a cacophony meetings, classes, and independent workers sharing the space all at once. Stop by the library between 2:30 and 4:00, and you’ll likely see several Upper School activities sharing the many breakout spaces in the library, staff meetings for our Extended Day program, 4th graders participating in their Guided Reading program, parents and grandparents awaiting the day’s release, and several others wandering through for reading materials or library resources. These moments really showcase the flexibility and design features we engineered into the space in the summer of 2014, shifting the library into a ‘modern learning environment.’

Which is all to say that we’re settling into the normal pace of school life in the library. Despite the bustle described above, the library still serves for sanctuary for many of our students during certain parts of the school day, and each new school year brings a new corps of patrons who opt to use the library for study hall, a recess alternative, or for meeting space. It’s been wonderful to see a corps of 4th graders gather in the library to draw during recess, instead of the 4th graders of last year who made great use of the 3D printer during their daily breaks.

Among other events, classes, and happenings, this week’s library featured the first ever visit from Preschool, who showed exceptional library manners (even shushing the librarian during his read-aloud). We also hosted our 10th grade English class as they scoured the shelves for independent reading materials. I book talked several of our most renowned selections, while offering resources to help them find and select book titles, such as BookRiot, YourNextRead, and GoodReads.

Here are several recommendations, including my favorite podcast episode that I tuned into this past week!

FICTION

Kalpa Imperial, by Angelica Gorodischer

Click here for to access our digital edition

NONFICTION

The Orchid Thief, by Susan Orlean

PODCAST

Image borrowed from 99% Invisible’s landing page for Episode 180. Photo taken by Håkan Dahlström.

99% Invisible: Episode 180: The History of the Refrigerated Shipping Container

JUNIOR FICTION

Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos

JUNIOR NONFICTION

Volcano Rising, by Elizabeth Rusch and Susan Swan (illus.)

ILLUSTRATED

Quest, by Aaron Becker

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The Week in Library: 1!

Happy New Year, AWS!. After a long, quiet summer, the library is ready for another raucous, vigorous year of reading, learning, and sharing. As a community space, the library was

Blue Tie Library Camp OutSome highlights from Week 1:

*9th Grade Orientation’s Camp out on the Soccer Field was moved indoors due to rain. While the Learning Commons is typically home base for homework and quiet reading in the after hours, we’re happy to host a multitude of events, and it was incredible to see the various forts and palaces our new and rising Blue Ties created.

*Middle School occupied the library on the opening day of school, as we cast aside all of our furniture to clear the floor for an exciting new year. While I didn’t get the chance to spend much of the orientation week with Middle School, I had a blast heading out to Millersylvania State Park to supervise a cabin for their overnight.

*5th Grade visited the library two times in two days, first to find titles for independent reading and second to challenge their library skills by navigating a scavenger hunt for titles relating to their Unit of Inquiry on Peace & Conflict.

*PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, and First Grade all enjoyed reading and discussing Little Elliot, Big City. Inspired by Andy Plemmons’s ideas for using this text with his elementary library students, we also used the story of this industrious elephant to consider how we navigate our large library space with the help of our friends.

We rounded out the week with a visit from 2nd & 3rd grades along with a stint with my section of 9th Grade Humanities. If the week’s excitement and energy about reading and learning together is any indication, this year in library is going to be great.

A Week in Recommendations

I walk our shelves each Friday afternoon, unearthing titles in our collection that are worth a deeper look. With a return to wetter late summer weather, I was reminded of the great PNW tale of The Raven. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales has been such a hit with our younger readers, they are often unaware of the important dose of history these books provide; The Underground Abductor is Hale’s newest. The classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle wraps in almost every reader, and Drowned City is a timely reminder of the Katrina’s impact on New Orleans. And finally, The Theory of Everything: the story of a girl, her imaginary panda, and her quest to find her father. Kari Luna is an author to track, and this is best work to date.

FICTION

The Theory of Everything, by Kari Luna

NON-FICTION

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans, by Don Brown

JUNIOR FICTION

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, by Betty MacDonald

JUNIOR NONFICTION

The Underground Abductor: Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, by Nathan Hale

ILLUSTRATED The Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest, by Gerald McDermott

Michael Buckley is visiting Annie Wright!

The Library & Learning Commons is excited to announce the appearance of New York Times best-selling author, Michael Buckley on Wednesday, May 6 at 2:05pm in The Great Hall.

With experience writing for television and over 15 published titles to his name, Buckley is best known for The Sisters Grimm, a series of nine novels that showcase two sisters unearthing mysteries, encountering nemeses, and evading danger as they encounter many famed fairytale characters wandering around Everafter, a fictitious town set in New York State.

While visiting Annie Wright Schools, Michael Buckley will visit with our Middle and Upper School students to talk about the life of a writer and answer student questions.

He will also promote his May release of Undertow, the first book in a blockbuster trilogy about Lyric Walker, a high school girl who finds herself in the heart of a military zone, as Coney Island erupts in violent conflict over the appearance of The Alpha, a band of sea monsters who have taken residence upon its shores.

For a preview of Undertow, check out the following book trailer to see why Undertow will be one of the best beach reads of the summer:

A special thanks to Secret Garden Books for helping to arrange Michael’s visit. They’ll be on hand to sell copies several of Michael’s books, and the author will be available for book signings after the talk. Secret Garden Books will accept either cash or check. Here are the titles and costs that will be available for purchase:

Undertow | recommended for ages 12 and up) | hardcover | $20.81

Sisters Grimm #1 The Fairy Tale Detectives | recommended for ages 9-12 | paperback | $8.71

Sisters Grimm #2 The Unusual Suspects | recommended for ages 9-12 | paperback | $8.71

NERDS, Book 1: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society | recommended for ages 8-12 | paperback | $8.71

NERDS, Book 2: M is for Mama’s Boy | recommended for ages 8-12 | paperback | $8.71

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Announcing: OverDrive Digital Lending Services

Click here to get started by downloading the the OverDrive Media Console

We here in the Library & Learning Commons are thrilled to announce our new partnership with OverDrive, the leading ebook and audiobook lending service for libraries. While we maintain (and defend!) our love for reading works in print, we also hope our library will become ubiquitous: students, parents, faculty and staff should be able access our collection whenever they’d like and wherever they are.

If you’re interested in browsing our digital collection, you can click here to search our offerings. Your username and your password are the same: your student or employee ID number. Parents: please click here to e-mail the library team if you’d like access to the collection, as well, and we’ll set you up with an account straightaway.

Over the next few months, we will continue to grow our collection, but here are some highlights. Click the images for direct access to these titles.

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio.

Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson.

Flora & Ulyssess, by Kate DiCamillo

If you’re new to borrowing ebooks and audiobooks through OverDrive, you’re always more than welcome to stop by the library, and we’ll walk you through the steps. In the coming weeks, we’ll also post several short tutorials on this site to help you access and download titles on your e-readers and mobile devices.

Our Annual Book Fair!

Teachers, Parents, Students!

During the week of April 13 through April 17, we invite you to the Library & Learning Commons for our Annual Book Fair. The book fair begins on the afternoon of April 13 and runs from 7:30 to 8:00am each morning thereafter and from 3:00 to 4:30 on each afternoon of that week. We will also extend the book fair hours to 5:30pm on Wednesday, April 15 in celebration of Annie Writer’s Tea.

This year, we are excited to welcome back Seattle-based independent bookstore Secret Garden Books. They’ll stock the book fair with classic, eclectic and contemporary selections for any reading level and interest in our community. We particularly appreciate Secret Garden’s commitment to books that resist commercial messaging.

Students are welcome to shop during their morning recess with a teacher’s permission or before and after school with a supervising adult. You can pay for your purchases with cash, a credit card, or a check payable to Secret Garden Bookshop. Unfortunately, we cannot charge purchases to your Annie Wright Schools bookstore account at this time.

Our book fair provides a wonderful opportunity to excite readers young and old with wonderful selections. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Joe Romano or Carla Clark regarding the book fair.

And! Our book fair runs the smoothest with the generous help of volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering for our book fair for an afternoon (or for the week!), do let us know, and we’d be happy to have your help hawking books.

Happy Reading. And we’ll see you at the fair!

The Annie Wright Schools Library & Learning Commons

Libraries are changing! Without a doubt, you have heard  how libraries are rapidly morphing in this day and age. You may have questioned our need for libraries with our increasing access to digital texts. You may have heard of the bookless library in San Antonio or the Research Commons at the University of Washington.

But the hoopla in and around the 21st Century Library is largely forgetful of the library’s long tradition. Libraries have always maintained public resources that their communities have given greatest value. For some communities, freely accessible physical books are of greatest value to the community. Some communities need audio and visual materials. There are communities that want access to the world wide web. Other communities would like their libraries to be sanctuary spaces for the reader or writer. Still others are want a vibrant, noisy community space. No matter the amount of 3D printers, CNC Routers, baristas, tutors, ebooks, audiobooks, physical books (this list could go on!), librarians strive to infuse their libraries with the resources they feel the community values enough to invest in and share.

Our Library & Learning Commons at Annie Wright Schools wants all of this (and more) for our students, teachers, and community members. As a teaching library, our primary role is to help patrons understand what libraries can be and how to use their offerings. At some point or another, our students will leave the world of the classroom, but their ability to access the learning space that is library will always be there. If libraries host 3D printers, our AWS library should host one, as well. If libraries host meeting spaces, our library will, as well.

CampfirePictured above you’ll see “Campfire,” a gathering point in our library affectionately named for the fireplace video we sometimes have running on an LCD screen in the area. Yes, we house our Adult Nonfiction section in the area, and we can line the shelves with whiteboards depending on the nature of the session. But this is just one of many new areas in our library that pushes the space beyond that of a storage area and into a reflection of the shared resources our community values most.

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll feature other evolutions to our library and its services in this webspace. We’ll capture the many activities we host and facilitate in the room. But for now, we would like to thank the donors, volunteers, and colleagues who engaged in our efforts to improve our library, not because “libraries are changing” but because we believe in what our libraries have provided for us: common access to space, media, and, most importantly, opportunities to learn.

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Announcing: The Annual Book Fair!

Teachers, Parents, Students!

During the week of April 14 through April 18, we invite you to the Library Learning Commons for our Annual Book Fair. The book fair begins on Monday afternoon and runs from 7:30 to 8:00am each morning thereafter and from 3:00 to 4:30 on each afternoon of that week. We will also extend the book fair hours to 5:30pm on Wednesday, April 16 in celebration of Annie Writer’s Tea.

This year, we are excited to welcome back Seattle-based independent bookstore Secret Garden Books. They’ll stock the book fair with classic, eclectic and contemporary selections for any reading level and interest in our community. We particularly appreciate Secret Garden’s commitment to books that resist media tie-ins and commercial messages.

Students are welcome to shop during their morning recess with a teacher’s permission or before and after school with a supervising adult. You can pay for your purchases with cash, a credit card, or a check payable to Secret Garden Bookshop. Unfortunately, we cannot charge purchases to your Annie Wright Schools bookstore account at this time.

Our Secret Garden book fair provides a wonderful opportunity to excite readers young and old with wonderful selections. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Joe Romano or Carla Clark regarding the book fair.

Happy Reading. And we’ll see you at the fair!

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