BSMS Library News

January 2016

Overall News

Our numbers for classes are holding steady with an average of 243 students a day. We taught 105 classes this month with Rhonda teaching 28 of those classes this month.

Circulation continues to increase! Last January, 2041 items circulated while this January, 2259 items circulated. In December, we circulated 1925 items. No wonder our drop box is always full and we can’t seem to keep up with the demands of our readers. As I look at these numbers, I wonder how much more of an increase it would be if we didn’t have to turn students away when Rhonda and I are both teaching classes. During one block this month, we turned away 20 students. During that time, a student walked out and told Mrs. Kump, “Can you talk to Mrs. Motler? Tell her we need more staff in here so I can get my book!” It saddens me when we can’t help all our students when they need the assistance.

Major Projects

Inquiry with 6th grade for mining produced awesome results. It started with meetings between myself, Hilary and Val. The proposal was for a poster with facts supporting or arguing against a mine in Ballston Spa. Posters aren’t very challenging and I feel, although they serve a purpose at times, it wasn’t right for this project. This was going to be an intense project with students using many higher order thinking skills. I proposed preparing and giving a speech to the class as a practice to give the same speech to the board. This was welcomed and we started the process. Students were engaged and quite interested to learn about this topic. There is much to learn about mining. When I was able to watch Hilary’s students present their findings and conduct a bit of a debate at the end, it was inspiring. Passion was found on both sides and because research was done so well, they had facts to present that substantiated their claim. Although there are always changes to make when teaching something for the first time, I am very excited to try this project again next year.

Great Depression and Dust Bowl research with 8th grade was conducted in January. New this year, I incorporated source exploration. During the first day of research students explored the resources available and had the opportunity to evaluate websites. They then put stars next to their top three sources. For the rest of their research, they were able to go back to this page of sources and choose the best source for the next step in the research process. Having students complete this task allowed them to have more ownership in their project and make choices about sources leading them to be more vested in the assignment.

Author Visit

Throughout January and beginning of February I made it around to the 7th grade English teacher classrooms to book talk Steve Sheinkin’s books. This was met with overwhelming enthusiasm which caused me to order more copies of his books because so many students were looking for his books. When students get this excited about non-fiction, you know something is being done right. As they are reading the books, they have been coming in to talk to me about the books as well. Go Sheinkin!

After meeting with all the 7th grade SS teachers, they found value in Sheinkin’s books. They are and will be incorporating excerpts from his books during classes. Teachers are using different books to supplement their curriculum.

I have been in touch with Steve and he is all set for May 23rd. He will be talking about his books and the research process he goes though to write them. He has also agreed to sign books for students and have lunch with a select group of students. See image below of his books on display.

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Good News

My first article came out and it was amazing to see my name in a publically acclaimed periodical for my profession. My editor contacted me to write another article about differentiation because the person she had asked went on their own and deviated from differentiation. The only catch was that she needed it within one week. I was able to write another article and it will be published in May. I think I have caught the writing bug. It’s something I had only dreamed of doing and never thought was a reality. To have three articles published in one year, is quite exciting!