Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New School Year? Find New Adventures @Your Library!

          Are you ready for a new school year? I am more excited about this school year than any other in my sixteen year career. After spending my time, up to this point, at high school,  I moved to our middle school campus last spring.  It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  The students are excited, creative and ready to participate in all the adventures their new librarian can think up!  I decided that I would do things differently this time around.  I listened to the students first. I asked the students what they wanted to see in their library.  After spending a couple of months listening, I found the students love technology, but they did not always know the best ways to use their devices at school.  Our students were practically born with technology in their hands.  Some call them "digital natives."  Yes, they are "digital natives," but they need proper guidance and training.  I feel this is an area library media specialists can help; therefore, I created a tech club.  We explore digital citizenship, cool tech tools, coding, apps and much, much more. We meet during grade level lunches once a week. I was amazed at the response from our students.  Over one hundred students from sixth, seventh and eighth grades joined the club. I could hardly contain my excitement!
          In addition, students expressed an interest in starting a book club.  So, we formed a club that started off pretty small, but continues to grow.  This year, thanks to a Donors Choose grant, every book club member will receive their own book!  Last April,  I met author Chris Grabenstein at a Random House dinner at the Texas Library Association Conference.  Wow! He is funny, creative and intelligent. I knew right away our students would love his book, Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library.  So, I wrote a Donors Choose grant for seventy-five copies of his book.  I am honored to say that Mr. Lemoncello, himself, was our first donor (courtesy of Mr. Grabenstein). The students and I are looking forward to our author Skype with Mr. Grabenstein this fall.  Go book club!!!

          What else is new at the HMS Library? I am so glad you asked. Our newest club is all about robotics! While presenting at ISTE 2014 last summer, I met some talented educators who have a robotics club at their middle school.  I brought the idea back to our school and found a ton of support for the program.  I am looking forward to getting started, and I will keep you posted on our progress.

         Are you looking for ways to get students excited about learning? You may want to try starting a library club at your school. Library clubs are a wonderful way to help get students involved and trying new adventures.