After year of work by both the Hoot staff and all middle school writers and artists, the Middle School Literary Magazine is finally here! Throughout the year, the staff met at least once a month, which meant twice a month for me since I had to break the large and eager staff into two groups. We had homemade cookies and read through/looked at all the submissions, and voted on the ones we wanted for the magazine. Submissions came largely from teachers passing along work done in class, or photos I took of student artwork displayed around campus. At the end of the year, we chose the most highly-rated submissions for publication, and I notified the lucky creators, so we could get their permission to publish their work. The magazine was put together with Publisher, and printed at a local copy store. All published creators and staff members got an automatic copy, as did any other student or teacher who requested a copy. There are a few extra copies available in the Library for those who forgot to order one. If your student got published or worked on the staff, please congratulate them on a job well done! (And yes, the students chose their favorite drawing for the cover; drawn by Jennifer L.)
The last Library contest of the year, which challenges students to figure out common book titles, Hangman-style, was a big hit again this year. The toughest title to figure out? Surprising, it wasn’t ‘From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’ (though that one was actually harder than I thought it would be, being an older book that not all the kids had read when they were younger), but ‘Rapunzel.’ It’s always the short ones!
I was thrilled to be able to attend this conference in my old hometown of Baltimore, along with 130 other independent school librarians. The conference supports professional development through school tours, conference sessions, and networking. The school tours allow us to see many other libraries, and get ideas for our own spaces. The sessions are a more traditional way of gaining information about various library topics from knowledgeable speakers. Networking with other independent school librarians is possibly the most valuable part of the conference, as it allows us to compare notes on our libraries and programs with similar institutions, and gain knowledge about new products and practices we might want to try. It also helps us connect with other librarians with whom we can communicate in the future about other library topics. I learned a lot about how other librarians are approaching ebooks, library space issues, programming, and selecting materials.
The sessions taught me many things. One was how to market our library “like Lady Gaga,” and I was pleased to find we’re actually already doing most of these things! I also learned about Garrison Forest School’s intriguing reading program, which involves many teachers and genres. One speaker taught me about making our library more multicultural, and later introduced me to a lot of her wonderful programming ideas connected with Battle of the Books. I also learned how much effort it takes to create a spiralling information skills curriculum that goes from k-12, and how valuable it would be for Overlake. I also learned about NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month program, which can be adapted for a teen class or club.
St. Paul’s School for Boys (I worked here for eight years!), K-12, three libraries
Garrison Forest School For Girls, 5-12, two libraries
Key School, Annapolis, K-12, three libraries
Maryland State Archives
Boys’ Latin School, K-12, three libraries
Enoch Pratt Free Library (main branch of the Baltimore City Library system)
Garrison Forest Middle/Upper School Library
Key School Upper School Library
St. Paul’s School for Boys Middle School Library (my old library!)
St. Paul’s School For Boys Upper School Library
Lists are arranged by call number/subject. All ebooks listed have print versions in the library as well.
Every year, the PE and Library departments co-sponsor the Green-Gold Readathon, which challenges students to see how many words they can read during Project Week and Spring Break. Students pick up forms to record their reading, which includes a formula for estimating a book’s word count, in the Gym or the Library. Every 25,000 words read earns the student a “green” or “gold” point; all students in the Middle School are assigned to one of the two teams at the start of their Overlake career, and earn points throughout the year at various events, contests, and Field Day. Here are the Readathon winners for 2013, who each read over a million words!
- Andrew, 5th, Gold: 1,759,637 words, 70 points
- Yoni, 5th, Gold: 1,610,741 words, 64 points
- Vivek, 8th, Green: 1,014,290 words, 41 points
Overall Team Scores:
Green: 4,305,647 172 points
Gold: 5,529,269 221 points
Overlake 6th graders got a treat this week; a full-day visit from local author Robin Russell, who led each 6th grade English class in a writing workshop. She described how she works on building characters for her books, and involved the students by having them start building a villain character. They needed to come up with a reason why s/he turned evil, things s/he did in their free time (evil or otherwise), a physical description, abilities, and also a few humanizing elements–like his or her most embarrassing moment. The students had a wonderful time and displayed immense creativity in their villainous characters–I especially liked the villain who turned evil after an argument with his imaginary friend!
Russell also presented an assembly for the whole middle school, focusing on the family background and experiences that led to and inspired her writing. She had the kids in stitches as she talked about how the family ended up in India–illegally!–among many other experiences. Russell also explained some of her writing process, which budding writers would find helpful as they started out to create a book of their own.
Books by Robin Russell:
This year, the library ran its first Book Spine Poetry Contest, inspired by similiar contests in other libraries. I brought a cart of books to the Campus Center during lunch, and invited students to find three or more titles to combine into a “poem.” I photographed all poems and posted them in the library; the winners were chosen by faculty vote.
First Place: Lavinia, 5th
Second Place: Raya, 6th
Third Place: Devika, 7th
Honorable Mention: Haeli, 6th
Drop by the library to check out the picture books created by the Project Week group “Written & Illustrated By…”, run by Rebecca Moore and Karen Mihata. The students spent the week writing and revising stories, creating illustrations, and binding their books. We formed a publishing company named “Wembley Waldo,” and each of the students acted as editor for another student, and art director for a different student. It’s always a lot of hard work, but the students always blow us away with their talent! Even those who insist that they can’t draw always come up with distinctive illustrations that never fail to impress us.
How many words can students read over two weeks? Help them find out and earn Green/Gold points!
1. Pick up a form in the Library, gym, or online.
2. Come to the Library to learn how to estimate the number of words in a book.
3. Every time you read a book, do an estimate and get it initialed by a parent.
4. You can also bring books in to Miss Moore for a word count estimate.
5. Books must be appropriate for your age.
6. Books must not be assigned reading for class.
7. Readers earn 1 point for every 25,000 words read.
8. Your forms must be initialed by a teacher, librarian, or parent for each word count.
9. Periodically bring in your form so Miss Moore can count your totals towards your team totals.
10.Reading dates: March 30-April 16.
11. Deadline for turning in forms: April 22.
12. Top ten readers who read over a million words will earn a $5 Starbuck’s card.
Join Miss Moore and Mrs. Hunt in being a: