Library Breakout Launched

IMG_2093What has teachers running through the library to find clues, using blacklight torches to reveal messages written in invisible ink, and solving riddles that lead to a key that opens a treasure box?  Library Breakout!

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An interactive game I designed for teacher library orientation, it mirrors the popular physical adventure game Escape the Room. The 35-minute game challenges players to beat the clock while exploring the physical layout of the library, solving secret clues hidden in library books, and using online resources to break the combination codes to open locks.

Currently piloting the program with student and teacher teams,  I plan to open the Library Breakout! challenge to teachers and administrators teams from the three schools on campus next month.  

Breakout.edu lessons teach problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking. They can be used in all content areas. Library Breakout! is a custom-designed game which models the ways librarians can collaborate with teachers to create similar lessons in their classes.

 

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Books & the Creative Process

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The Learning Commons recently featured two members of the ISG community in our Author/Illustrator Spotlight. A group of over 100 students and teachers gathered to listen to author León Kevin Clarke and illustrator Abdul-Aziz Ahmad share how they worked together to publish the children’s book Slonkey the Christmas Donkey. The creative duo had a number of fans in the audience, possibly because they hail from DBGS, one of our campus schools. Mr. Clark is a Year 4 teacher and Abdul-Aziz is a Year 5 student. The two shared a reading of the book, photos of their creative process, and stories of how they collaborated to publish. clark readingBy working together as a team, the two designers collaborated to find solutions, publishing a truly original children’s book that has reached not only our campus community, but a global audience.

The Learning Commons is honored to have hosted Mr. Clarke and Abdul-Azziz. Their imaginations and their stories are really what the creative process is all about: being unafraid to make mistakes and being willing share with others. In the process, they enrich the lives of us all.

 

Library Love: The Value of HyperDocs

The Challenge

Let’s face it. When librarians teach classes on academic integrity, database use, and MLA citation, it’s a challenge to keep teens from nodding off in boredom.

The Solution

Enter the Hyperdoc. I first heard of this handy-dandy tool from Sandra Paetkau over at The Total Tech-Over and by searching around the web at places like Google Teacher Academy. The Hyperdoc has allowed me to move away from presentation-style lessons to becoming more of a guide on the side.

The Process

As a Hyperdoc newbie, here are the steps I took to create stand-alone lessons:

  1. I accessed a hyperdoc template at Teach It With Tech.
  2. I created questions that students discussed online, in real time.
  3. I curated stand-alone resourcesScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 4.42.09 PM
  4. I designed a task that required each student to contribute to a shared class document.Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 4.47.13 PM
  5. I formed a shared Google doc to which all students in the class contributed
  6. I developed a class Padlet for feedback.

After sharing the HyperDoc link with the teacher to post at the class Google Classroom, students were able to access it. (Using Bit.ly is another option.) By using YouTube tutorials as mini-lessons, Padlets, and Hyperdocs, I have been able to transform sage on the stage,  stand-in-front-of-the-room lectures into collaborative, student-centered lessons that allow students to take ownership of their own learning.

Why HyperDocs?

Lessons that include hyperdocs allow students a choice in HOW they learn important digital literacy skills. In addition, as learners and educators, we are able to check to see to what extent the students have mastered the content in accessible, fluid ways other than the traditional quiz. Most of all, hyperdocs create a space where it is natural and simple for ALL students to contribute to a class discussion- especially the quiet ones.

I am looking forward to learning more about Hyperdocs with Ms. P. at The Total Tech-Over and from Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and  Sarah Landis’ book The HyperDoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps available in print and on e-readers such as Kindle.

Librarians Share!

Feel free to use my novice attempts at Hyperdocs as a springboard for your own lessons, modifying as you like.

Better yet, take a look at the take a look at this useful Google Doc template created by Sarah Landis.

Afterthoughts

Hyperdocs work for librarians because they serve as a portal for curated sources (videos, websites, audio, databases, and multi-media).  They work well for online learning,  Virtual School activities, resources for students who are absent, and as tools for differentiation. They also serve as important learning portals that can be accessed long after the class lesson is over. Most of all, Hyperdocs can support the ISTE standards, allowing all students – not just the outspoken ones —  to experience the power of online digital collaboration and real-time, written discussion.

I want to hear from you! How have you used Hyperdocs in your lessons?

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This work by Katrina Lehman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Creativity & Collaboration in Grade 5

Teacher-librarians aren’t always found in the library. As a matter of fact, they are oftentimes out and about, working with classroom img_5297teachers. DEMS grade five students in Mr. Coleman’s class have been making classroom connections with storytelling by writing personal narratives that reveal creative tension and develop an emotional impact.  Mr. Coleman and I developed the storytelling unit during shared planning  time.

IMG_5281.jpgDesigned to challenge students to compare and contrast memorable stories and to find their own compelling stories to tell, the lessons have offered a way for students to dig deep to find the stories that IMG_5292.jpgoffer meaning and important lessons to share. Based on Bernajean Porter’s Digitales storytelling structure, students are examining the Six Elements of Good Storytelling and using the process to guide their creative work.

After working together as a class to create a story arc using The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch as a model, they are designing story arcs for their own personal narratives.

Sitting down to plan as a team takes commitment, hard work and time. As ideas are shared and put on the table, collaboration requires a certain sense of humility, a desire to listen to the other and a willingness to adapt.  Teachers working solo make good lessons, but teachers  working together make mind-boggling, juicy, super-duper lessons.

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Ebooks: Good Books in the Hands of Students

book-imageThe other day a student came into the library looking for a copy of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  I pulled a copy off the shelf, excited to get a needed book into the hands of a pupil. She looked at the tiny print and the yellowed pages, handed it back to me and said, “Can I get this as an eBook?”

Fortunately for us all, many works in the public domain (no longer under copyright law) are freely distributed online.   The student had her laptop with her, so I showed her how to find the book at Project Gutenberg, highlight the html text, copy and and save it into a document. The entire play was on her laptop in less than a minute. When she opened it on her laptop, her face lit up. She was happy to see that not only could she change the background color of the page, but she could also adjust the font size and text typography of the work, using the “highlight” and “comment” feature to make notes as she read the book. She also noted how to decrease the light on the computer screen to make it easier on her eyes. Best of all? The book was hers to keep for a lifetime: no need to return it to the library.

Project Gutenberg, which offers more than 50,000 free eBooks for download in Kindle, epub, pdf, or html format offers free eBooks that were previously published by bona fide publishers. Users can find books by Dickens, Dumas, Oscar Wilde, Thoreau, Ibsen, Kipling, Agatha Christie, the Brontë sisters, Sophocles, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci (without illustrations, unfortunately), the Works of Edgar Allen Poe, the Complete Works of Shakespeare, and even the illustrated version of Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”. Another free resource, Bibliomaniahas thousands of eBooks, poems, articles, short stories and plays, all of which are absolutely free.  Tumble Book Library,  an interactive online resource that supports younger readers with access to picture books and chapter books, is another resource that enriches our book collection. Our school subscribes to Overdrive, which allows students to access books twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, no matter where they are in the world.

When downloading free ebooks, I suggest making a folder to keep your collection handy, easy-to find, and easy-to-manage. In addition, iPad/iPhone apps such as Kindle, Kobo, and iBooks allow some free ebooks to be read on hand-held devices.

Connecting our students to the wide array of online options is a way of preparing them for the world-wide trend of moving books from print to digital form. E-books don’t replace the traditional library collection of print books. Instead, they enrich the collection, adding a vibrant and dynamic way to encourage young readers to access books in an environment that they are comfortable navigating.

It behooves us all, especially those of us in love with the printed page of a hardbound book, to be open to new options. After all, our job isn’t to educate our students for our past, but to prepare them for their future. Like or not, digital books are not only the future; they are the present.

Connecting with Authors: Snail Mail in the Digital Age

In an age of email, texting and blogging: is there a case for sending a letter?

It all started with my fourth and fifth grade students begging to set up class Skype sessions with some of their favorite authors. In the past, we had arranged teleconferencing with classrooms and students in other countries during World Read-Aloud Day, so why not invite the authors that we love?

“Okay,” I said. “If we’re going to contact authors, how do we reach them?” And thus began the Great Library Scavengimg_3514er Hunt to find contact information of favorite authors.   As a class we searched within author websites, looked in books for publishers, and then paired up for an online search. We discovered that most well-known authors prefer to be contacted by mail, via their publishers.

I set up a quick lesson in letter writing: the envelope, the stamp, the return address. About 25% of my students have sent letters by post, so we listened to their experiences. “I received a letter from my grandmother in India,” said one. “I wrote to my aunt in Colombia,” said another.

The class settled into a quiet hush, when I told them that when I was their age the internet as we know it didn’t exist, and neither did email. By the wide-eyed expressions on their faces, I might as well have said, “I am an alien from another planet.” They tried to imagine a world where a telephone phone call or postal mail was the only way to communicate with someone far away.

Fast forward to our present world: the autumn of 2016. Here we are at a school in Saudi Arabia, engaged and connected in a digital landscape of cell phones, Instagram and Facebook.  Today’s discovery? To reach most of the authors who we love, we must write a good, old-fashioned letter.
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Creative Gatherings, Shared Space

It all began with the DEMS middle school students. They cracked open the puzzle box and formed the geometric outline. Later, when DBGS students came in during their break, they added their own contribution. img_2614

By the next morning, the DHS high school students had added even more pieces to the puzzle, forming the central image: a blue jay.

Three schools. Dozens of students. One simple, fun artifact evolving over time. These types of shared activities give students a chance to relax, socialize, and take a break from the academic rigor of school life.

Stop by the LRC before or after school, during break, or during lunchtime  to see students participating in creative game-playing, coloring in giant coloring books, or perhaps adding the final piece to a blue jay puzzle.

As the go-to meeting place for students from all three campus schools, the LRC will continue to add interactive games to our collection and offer shared activities that allow students to connect and collaborate in our open-access space.

ISG Students Make Connections: World Read-Aloud Day

Last week during library class, upper elementary students celebrated World Read-Aloud Day. Six different classes held teleconferences with students all over the world via Skype.

Students in Siberia read to us one of their favorite Ukrainian folktales, “The Old Man’s Mitten” while we read to them Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw ’s book “Same, Same But Different”.  ISG students played “Mystery Class” with a fourth-grade class in an unknown part of the world. After many failed attempts to guess where our mystery class might be located, even with their helpful clues, we finally guessed by entering the longitude/latitude coordinates via Google Maps.

The class was in Chennai, India! Students jumped up and down when they finally guessed correctly. As a student in India read to us a chapter from their class favorite book, “Wonder” , the  tens of thousands of miles that separated us  melted away and we were all together in one place, captivated by a story. In exchange,  one of our primary students read to them a section of Michael Morpurgo’s “War Horse”. You could have heard a bookmark drop as the two classes, thousands of miles away from each other, listened.

Then we moved on to Birminghan, UK, where we were surprised to find out that some of our very own DBGS students have hometowns not far away. Even closer to us, across The Kingdom near Jeddah, the energetic students in library class at The KAUST School informed us that they love reading some of the same books, and some of the same authors, as we do.

One of the most important parts of  World Read-Aloud Day is that it demonstrates, in practical, concrete ways, that out there in the big, vast world of schools and desks and books and learning, there are students everywhere who love to read. This love of reading connects us in tangible ways.  Thanks to LitWorld and World Read-Aloud Day , for setting up this forum for connecting our young readers to the world.

For more photos and details of the event, check out our LRC Library in Saudi Arabia: World Read-Aloud Day #WRAD16 padlet.

Happy Reading, everyone,  from the LRC library!

~ Katrina Lehman, Library Media Specialist~

LRC Library’s Annual Book Fair January 24th-28th.

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The LRC Library is pleased to announce that the annual Book Fair will be held January 24th – 28th. Over 1,400 high-quality books from UK and USA publishers will be on display. Every student will have the opportunity to attend with their teacher or during break for the older students. Parents are also welcome to attend on Tuesday, January 26th from 2:30 – 4:00.

Facebook Book Cover Photo Contest

2130 (1) copyThanks to everyone who participated and voted in our Facebook Book Cover Photo Contest!  DEMS and DBGS students in Grades 4/5 and Years 5/6 participated in a book scavenger hunt and were photographed with their books. Here are the winners!

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Funniest

Matthew, 4R (Mr. Rider) “Ripley’s Believe It or Not”

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Most Realistic

Thayviana  5D (Ms. Duncan) “Faith: Five Religions and What They Share”

 

 

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Best Cover Drawing

Faisal  4J (Ms. Johnson) “Boy 21”

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Best Non-Human Face

David Y5 (Ms. Liptrot) “Sloths”

 

 

 

 

Best Symmetry: a tie!

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Best Symmetry #1 :

Yasmin, 6R (Mr. McMahon) “Shabanu”

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Best Symmetry #2:

Muhammad Ali, 5H (Ms. Haas)” Muhammad Ali: The King of the Ring”

 

 

 

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Honorable Mention

Ahmed and Ahmed, Year 6R (Mr. McMahon)  “Face Relations”