Discover South East Library

April 2016

Collaborative Teaching and Learning

This month, Ms. Sims has spent her 8th hour with Ms. Basile's Video Production class. Students in this elective are learning the basics of film making from planning, to shooting, to voice-overs, and editing. Students are using a combination of smart phones, school video cameras, and shared footage to create mini-documentaries about the lives of students at SEJH based on the documentary Life in Day. Editing is done in a cloud-based video program called WeVideo, which allows teachers to organize projects for students, share footage, and even co-edit with students. Like any technology, it is not without pitfalls! We've discovered that when 30 students attempt to upload footage at the same time, our internet can get a bit slow!

Mrs. Schau has also been working with Ms. Basile this month, collaborating on a research project for the Sheltered LA8 ELL class. Students are working on researching different careers, with a focus on avoiding plagiarism by understanding how to paraphrase. No matter the student, paraphrasing can be difficult - most plagiarism is done unintentionally when attempting to paraphrase by replacing a few words or rearranging the order of the words in a sentence. Mrs. Schau has been helping students in this class recognize and practice "good" paraphrasing skills.

Ms. Schau and Ms. Sims have also been planning ahead for next year's big research project in 8th grade science. Working together with Mrs. Salter, who is an Instructional Design Strategist, we identified several ways we could differentiate our instruction for all types of learners - including how they take notes, what sources of information they will use, how we will teach key vocabulary, and how students will show what they have learned!

In addition to co-planning and co-teaching, Ms. Sims and Mrs. Schau have been focusing extra time on building our library collection. A library collection is constantly changing - adding great new titles, and removing older ones that are out of date or no longer useful to students and staff. To choose what new titles we add to the library, we use student suggestions, book reviews from professionals, and our own knowledge of students interests and curriculum connections. Occasionally, we will focus on one area of our library to improve. This month, we are working to build up our (extremely popular) collection of Graphic Novels, and to increase access to books in the languages our students speak at home - mainly Spanish, French, and some Arabic.

Save the Dates!

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Technology Supporting the Curriculum

This month, all of the secondary schools in the district received brand new carts full of Chromebooks! At SEJH, each of the 5 carts was assigned to a permanent home in a language arts or literacy class - ensuring that teachers and students will have guaranteed access to technology during those classes, and freeing up access to the other carts of laptops available to checkout for other classrooms. Thanks to these new carts, we now have 371 mobile devices available for our 822 students to use during their school day! We are getting one step closer to having a 1:1 ratio of students to computers. The library staff was responsible for putting together the carts, ensuring they charge, and helping teachers plan for their use in their classrooms.

Of course, having increased access to technology changes the way that we teach and learn. Instead of a teacher being the keeper and transmitter of knowledge, student now have information at their finger tips - allowing the teacher to become a guide and facilitator of learning. More technology access allows students more opportunities to create something new with their knowledge, rather than just absorbing or repeating it back.

Increased technology also means we have to have clear expectations for students. Two ways that we shared our expectations are through an Agreement form, and a lesson on appropriate use of school email accounts. These lessons are part of a growing collection of digital citizenship curriculum that will increasingly be taught throughout the building.

Creating A Culture of Readers

April is School Library Month

School Library Month is the American Association of School Librarians' celebration of school librarians and their programs. Every April school librarians are encouraged to host activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs play in transforming learning. This year, we created an infographic with some numbers demonstrating what the librarians, library staff, and the program in general do to support our students in their learning!
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