Monday, October 30, 2017

21C Libraries for Parents: Digital Intelligence

Last week, we had our first official 21st Century Libraries for Parents session. Led by our new IT Director, Santha Kumar, we discussed ways in which to develop digital intelligence in our children at home.

According to the DQ Institute, digital intelligence is "is the sum of technical, mental and social competencies essential to digital life." Here at CAC, we are starting to discuss this term and develop ways in which to ensure that our students can improve their digital skills. Advisory classes in the middle school are currently focused on digital intelligence skills. Guidance lessons in the elementary school also have touched about this. (The ES counselor has published summaries of those lessons in the grade level blogs, if you are an interested CAC ES parent.)

Our meeting last week was well attended and very productive. As the parent of two Internet-loving teenagers, I had a particular interest in the session. Just knowing that I am not the only parent with concerns about the quality of information and media my children consume is a relief, and I valued the opportunity to discuss those concerns with other parents.

We will repeat the session this Wednesday, November 1, from 8 to 9 am in the MHS Library. This repeat session is by request from the ES room mothers who were decorating classrooms last Wednesday and couldn't attend. It is an issue worth discussing again and again.

The 21st Century Libraries for Parents series is programming that we design to serve the needs and interests of our parent community at CAC. Stay tuned for details on our next session. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

DEAR Assembly - thanks for joining us!

We had a quiet but purposeful start to our day this morning as we all Dropped Everything and Read at our first DEAR assembly of the 2017-2018 school year.

I'm reminded of the video clip that is going around on Facebook right now. It's an Navy officer recommending graduates of the University of Texas that they start the day by making their bed. He says that making your bed first thing in the morning, gives you a small dose of achievement right at the beginning of the day, and that by having one task done, you set yourself up for a productive rest of the day. (The video continues to cover most of the commencement address. See it here on Youtube.)

That's what starting the day reading with the ES school feels like. It's going to be a productive day because we had that great shared start.

Do you wish you were more of a reader? Here is a handy infographic by Jennifer LaGarde. It was designed for teachers, but can apply to all adults.   Click on it to zoom in.

Want to get social about reading with me? Join me on Goodreads. I'm fitziane. I've been a member since 2005 and I really enjoy keeping track of my books. I also love setting myself reading challenges. This year, for the fifth year in a row, I want to read 365 books. I'm a little behind but will catch up soon!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Library Bags Build Responsibility Skills

All elementary students at CAC are required to bring a back to school to transport the library books and materials they check out each week.

Please be sure that your child’s library bag:
  • Is sturdy and made of cloth
  • Is large enough to transport at least 2 books
  • Is labeled with his/her name

We recommend that each child has his/her own bag. CAC logo bags are for sale at the Booster Club’s Spirit Store on the ground floor of the ES building. However, you can use any cloth bag you have at home, provided they follow the guidelines above.

We also recommend that when library materials are home, they stay in the library bag when you are not using them. Place the bag in the same place every night, perhaps by the door, so your child knows where it is and can pick it up on his/her day to go to the library. (This is a lesson I learned the hard way when my family lived in China. The ayee (housekeeper) would tidy up the books but, since she could not speak or read English, she'd put everything on the bookcases. The night before "library day" for my children would be a mad scramble looking for the library books on the shelves. As you can imagine, as a librarian, my house library is pretty large so it really was looking for needles in a haystack.)

We have some library bags that can be checked out, but only as a temporary measure when someone forgets their library bag and needs to carry a delicate book. We do not have enough bags to check one out to every child that forgets his or her bag.

Last but not least, please please please keep library bags away from swim bags and water bottles. We do not access late fines, but books that are water damaged will have to be paid for by the student.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year

Hello there! Welcome to a new school year at CAC. I hope you had a lot of time to read during the summer vacation. I did, although I did most of my reading with my ears because crochet is now my new favorite thing to do. Take a look at these gorgeous dolls that I made.

This was the first I made and I gave it to a little friend of mine in the US. 

This one I had to make when I found out that my little friend in the US had a sister!

This guy is an alien. You can't tell here, but I sewed his legs on backwards. That's the way they walk on his planet. 

While I worked on the dolls, I listened to audiobooks on Overdrive. It was very relaxing. Want to learn how to listen to audiobooks on Overdrive? Come ask me at the library. I'm always happy to show people how to use the library's resources. 

Here's a screenshot of my history on the Overdrive app that shows you a few of the books I read:

Looking forward to seeing you all on Wednesday. Stop by the library and tell us what you read. We have a little prize for you if you do. It doesn't count if you come with your class though!

Remember that all summer check outs are due back on the first day of school. Don't wait to find out when your library day is. Bring those books back so you can check out more!

If you are new to our school, note that all elementary school students must bring a cloth bag to transport their books to and from school. This bag will protect the books from harm and will help you stay organized. You can use a cloth bag that you already have as long as it is big enough. The new and improved Spirit Store sells cloth bags. Just remember to label your bag and to keep it very far away from your swim bag!

See you on Wednesday!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mark your Calendars for End of Year Library Dates

Here are a few dates to pay attention to as we race towards the end of the school year.

Drop Everything and Read Assembly - May 2

Image credit: CAC ES photographers, Sherifa and Ragia

Our very first date has nothing to do with the end of the school year and everything to do with having time to build our CAC reading culture. Join us on May 2, at our usual assembly time for another DEAR assembly. Students should remember to bring a book to read on their arrival at school. Teachers and the library will also have baskets of books available. Parents, you are welcome to join us in reading.

Used Book Sale - May 10 and 11

Stop by our annual used book sale and purchase lots of inexpensive titles. These titles have been weeded from the CAC libraries and classrooms. We welcome donations of books, DVDs, puzzles, magazines in good condition.

21st Century Libraries for Parents - Overdrive - May 29

The CAC Libraries have a large and varied ebook and audiobook collection on the Overdrive Media Console. Join us on May 29, 2 to 3 pm in the MHS Library, as we show you (or review with you) how to access the Overdrive collection. Please be sure to download the Overdrive app on to your mobile device before the session as downloading it on the guest wifi network will take a long time.

Also, please check to make sure that you can log in to the library catalog using your CAC single sign on as you'll need that to access the Overdrive collection.

Check out dates

Image credit: Britannica Image Quest

Last day of checkout - Monday, May 22
All materials due back - Monday, May 29
Summer check out starts - Saturday, June 3

Monday, March 27, 2017

How the ES library supports reading and writing at CAC

The CAC elementary school does a fantastic job of teaching reading and writing using a workshop model. Teachers guide students in acquiring literacy skills and strategies, and students have lots of opportunities to develop those skills.

The ES library supports the literacy workshop model in many ways. Here are a few of those ways.

The Library Catalog's Visual Tab

I use our Destiny catalog's Visual Tab as the central access point for library print and digital resources.
Visual Tab of the library catalog
The Visual Tab is visible from all the pages of the library catalog. Students learn to go to the Visual Tab from grade 1. 

Each grade level has a page on the Visual Tab. 
Take your time to visit the library catalog and explore all of the different pages. Literature integration such as book lists or specific websites are in the "CAC Units of Study" page, which is broken down by grade level. In each grade level, there are links to the all the science and social studies units, and for some grades, links to literature integration resources. 

On this grade 4 page, there are links to the 6 science and social studies units, and links to language arts and literature integration resources.

Each unit page includes at least one book list and has many links to teacher-selected webpages.  

Library lessons for preK to grade 2

All ES classes are scheduled for a weekly checkout session. For preK to grade 2 classes, that includes a library lesson. Usually, those library lessons include a read-aloud and basic library skills, like how to use shelf markers to return books to shelves in the picture book section and how to care for books. We try to tie the read-alouds to topics that are being studied at each grade level or that illustrate the CAC core values. 

In second grade, as students become more proficient readers, we start introducing more advanced library skills, like using the call number to locate books on shelves and using the catalog for research. For example, grade 2 right now is embarked in a informational reading unit so I gave them an overview of how our non-fiction collection is organized by Dewey Decimal system and how to browse the shelves noticing the titles and call number stickers on the spine. 

Genre stickers, displays and book talks

Our fiction collection is organized alphabetically by author's last name. To help students locate books in different genres, we have label stickers that we place on the spine. We also place small selections of books in each genre on top of the chapter book shelves, with an accompanying poster. When students are engaged in genre studies, I give them a brief talk about how to find titles in those specific genres and we often designate our display table at the front of the library to selections that will support grade level units of reading or writing. I also give book talks where I promote the best examples of each genre at the request of the teacher. 

Research skills

Grades 3 to 5 come to the library for a scheduled weekly checkout. Instruction in research skills happens at different times as needed by the requirements of each unit. I go to classrooms to help introduce and review those skills. We have an information literacy skills continuum that helps guide the progression of skills to ensure that we are preparing our students for middle school and beyond. We use the Big Six research model at CAC, and I am usually working with students on Steps 2 and 3: "develop research strategies," and "locate and access information."

Starting in second grade, I encourage students to use online databases for class and homework. The databases that we subscribe to on behalf of CAC are listed on the Home Tab of the library catalog. To access that page, you will need to log in to the library catalog using your CAC single-sign-on or our Quick Login. If you are a CAC parent of a student in grades 2 to 5, you should be able to ask your child/ren to help you. We practice accessing the library catalog a lot!

Collaboration with teachers

Last, but not least, I try to collaborate with teachers as much as possible to integrate information literacy skills to their classroom programs. We have an incredibly talented and dedicated team of teachers in the ES. The work they are doing in the reading and writing workshop is really inspiring and the results from the students are impressive.  It is a privilege to work with them.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Library Assemblies Coming Up!

We have 2 exciting dates coming up for the ES Library.

March 28 - DEAR Assembly

Bring a book next Tuesday morning and drop everything and read on the ES lawn during the time we usually have assembly. Parents are welcome to read with us too.

April 4, ES Book Parade

Dress up as a favorite book character and show your love of reading! Our assembly on April 4 will be given over to the ES Book Parade, hosted by our ES Library Council.

Costumes can be store bought but it's fun to make your own. The costumes don't have to be very elaborate. See my Pinterest page for simple and fun ideas.

Post your character costume pics on social media and tag with #CACESBookParade or #CACESReads. Images on Instagram tagged with #CACESReads will show up on the right sidebar to this blog.