Friday, May 19, 2017

February 2017 Highlights

The 2016-2017 school year is flying by with amazing speed!  Even though I'm a few months behind with blog updates, it is still worth mentioning the special library visits and projects we had during the month of February 2017.

Diversity Month
As mentioned in a previous post, Pioneer Middle School Library was the recipient of a grant from James Patterson.  This funded a bookmark contest and the purchase of a Kwame Alexander book for each student in the school.  In addition to this, the library also hosted lessons centering upon diversity.

One such lesson was delivered to the eighth grade ELA students of Mrs. Wood and Mr. Colaiacovo.  During February 2017, immigration, refugees, and the advent of "fake news" were hot topics.  This also coincided with the completion of the class book Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, which is based on Ms. Lai's experiences coming to the United States during the Vietnam War era.  Students participated in a Kahoot! activity to test their knowledge of refugee issues.  Through a slideshow and video clips, they then learned facts about refugees from reputable agencies such as the United Nations.  We then discussed the validity of news sources and how to evaluate websites before they are used.  It was a great opportunity to combine timely topics with classroom reading.

Mrs. Leavoy's Library Visits
Mrs. Leavoy's weekly library classes involved read alouds and activities based on diverse themes.  One week we read The Case for Loving, a book by Selina Alko about the fight for interracial marriage.  We used coloring sheets to create own people.  Using the Quiver app, these pictures came alive!


The Case for Loving by Selina Alko

The Quiver app is always a big hit!

During our next visit, we discussed the life of Louis Braille by reading Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jennifer Bryant.  This book gave us some insight into the life of Louis Braille and how he was able to create what is now known as the Braille alphabet.  We tried our hand at using Braille, too.

Six Dots by Jen Bryant

We learned how to write words using Braille patterns.

Finally, we took a look at the life of one of the world's first computer programmers: a woman named Ada Lovelace.  We then sampled a bit of computer coding through use of the Bee Bots.  Mrs. Leavoy's students are natural coders!

Ada's Ideas by Fiona Robinson

Enjoying a library visit with Mrs. Leavoy's class.

Using the Bee Bots to try out some computer coding skills.

French 8 Community and Neighborhood Project
The eighth grade French students came to the library to complete a very hands-on project to assist with learning community and neighborhood vocabulary.  Using paper cut outs and art supplies, student groups were responsible for creating 3D neighborhoods.

Once the neighborhoods were built, students used their knowledge of new French vocabulary to give directions to get from place to place within the neighborhood.  The activity concluded with a Nearpod activity where students were able to reflect upon their teamwork and learning.

Students used a variety of resources to create their neighborhoods.

An example of a finished product.

Another view of a completed neighborhood.

Historical Fiction Kickoff
The students in Mr. Zabaldo and Mrs. Irizarry's class visited in order to get some recommendations on great historical fiction titles in the library.  Students were introduced to prominent historical fiction authors and were provided with search terms to use in the OPAC for finding historical fiction about specific time periods.  Students were eager to get their hands on these books.  This made for a very busy day in the library - 243 books were checked out!


We enjoyed many interesting class visits in the month of February.  This, coupled with the special Diversity Month offerings, made February 2017 a very memorable month.

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