Lately! in the GMS Learning Commons

A recap of Sept - Nov in the new library media center


With the help of numerous dedicated volunteers, the collection from the old Galvin was unboxed and brought to life in the new space! The new shelving units are mobile, making the space dynamic and multifunctional. New furniture tied together the instructional spaces and casual seating arrangements.

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Ms. McCall also got to know students' information literacy skills with an entrance survey in Social Studies class, demonstrating their library, research and evaluation skills. This helped to show determine what skills to hone in on with collaborative research and instruction throughout the year.

Students of all grade levels came down with their English classes for a general overview of library organization, resources available and independent book check out.

For a sneak peek of the introduction, follow the link below.

English class students of various grades also came in for a quick book talk, online catalog mini-lesson and book browsing session, seeking books of specific genres and asking me and Mrs. Gutowski-Connell for readers' advisory suggestions.

Ms. McCall began to develop the new Virtual Learning Commons website (follow button below) with links to the online catalog (for access from anywhere!), new databases provided by the Mass. Board of Library Commissioners, new books, tech. support information, a blog run by Ms. McCall, a Google calendar for teachers to book blocks in the library for research, instruction and Chromecart use.


Ms. McCall developed a recommended reading list for grade 8 students to browse when seeking an independent reading book for Ms. Kennedy's class! Browse the full list or use the left sidebar to navigate different genres. (Follow link below.)
New books for the collection were displayed in the new window boxes. Some titles were purchased by parents at the Back to School Night as part of the Adopt a Book program!
Several grade 5 teachers signed up for weekly instruction and book exchange, and it's been really exciting working with grade 5 on such a regular basis! The 5th grade students are becoming experts at navigating the shelves! They have determined a fiction book's genre by seeking keywords in book summaries, located a book by call number on the shelf and wrote book recommendations on their favorite recent reads.

Now grade 5 students are beginning a unit on exploring the nonfiction collection by Dewey Decimal range. They're getting to know all of the informational texts available in the Learning Commons. After that, we'll be tackling the online catalog and other new-to-us resources!

Ms. McCall attended the Boston Book Festival and encouraged all readers to attend as well! Rick Riordan, Gregory Maguire and Scott Westerfeld were among the well-known author-presenters, but also up-and-coming authors whose works we wait to get on the Galvin shelves! You can follow along with Ms. McCall's BBF experience below.
Grade 7 English students came down to access short stories and learn about the annual O Henry Prize Stories using Chromebooks, independently and in pairs. Students navigated the new Learning Commons website's Research Guides section to find their links and then broke off and spread out, using the whole Learning Commons to find a work spot.
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Grade 8 Health students came down to select topics for their Health Topics research and dive into the two new healthy encyclopedia eBooks. They jumped between print and online resources to gather plenty of information on their topic.
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Did you know that the eBooks are available to the entire GMS community and can be accessed from home? While we only have a dozen at the moment, we hope to expand this collection very soon! Follow this link for instructions on how to use the eBooks.

Ms. McCall travelled to Ms. Langlois' Grade 5 class to provide instruction on creating Google Slides collaborative presentations and to help students work in pairs to create digital slideshows about native American cultures. Students used Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education to organize information and demonstrate understanding, all while planning and creating collaboratively.
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Some grade 5 students wrote book recommendations to make the Learning Commons website's "Reading" subpage a little more exciting! They loved using the Padlet tool and getting to read each other's recommendations.
Grade 5 students also began researching different science careers using print encyclopedia articles and reliable career online sources such as the Massachusetts Career Information System (CIS) Junior database. The full research guide for the project is available here.
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Ms. McCall used the large whiteboard and front window boxes to display new books about writing and materials about NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, an initiative that encourages writers of all ages to start and finish a novel in one month! Our next display will tie into The Hour of Code Program through introduced by Mrs. Foley and Mrs. Biscardi in Computers class.
The Learning Commons welcomed students down for book exchange during Directed Advisory, with a designated day in the 6-day rotation for students from each team. The Learning Commons is also open after school for the general student population on Mondays and Wednesdays and any other time that Ms. McCall is present after school.

Note: Students may only use the space and Chromebooks while Ms. McCall stays after voluntarily. Students staying after school must sign in at the Circulation Desk.

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Ms. McCall applied for an Innovation grant to fund dozens of new books and eBooks on the topics of engineering, programming and coding, and she got it! The resources will help provide support the Technology Club, the Robotics team, Tech Engineering classes and use of the 3d printer! Interested in the titles we will be receiving soon? Here's a peek!
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Thank you for following along during such exciting times! We can't wait to see what December and the new year will bring.

Ms. McCall

GMS Media Specialist