Friday, October 20, 2017

It's what I want to be when I grow up

Really enjoyed a Communication Coordinators meeting at the DCMO SLS yesterday. Very professional presentations from OverDrive and NewsBank, but I was particularly taken with what I learned from Jesi Buell, the Instructional Design Librarian at Colgate University.

First, I learned that such a positions exit in the world and then I learned about the expertise she brings together to create "digital learning objects;" interactive digital experiences for learners. Her niche in the domain of libraries is of growing importance; as is her expertise in library science, coding, and visual design in creating effective objects. Her willingness to help mentor our system's efforts to "bridge the gap" between high school and college skills was enough to convince me to get on board with the initiative. Plus, the chance to learn and use software like Adobe Captivate looks like too much fun to miss!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Leveraging proportions

So one of the young men who solved my library "earth-sun proportion" question and pridefully brought me a print-out of his classroom solution last week, turned up today with four pages of calculations for distances and diameters for all the planets; given three different starting sizes for model suns! Yes!

Nice way to start the day

The first student through the door before the first bell today came up to me and said,"This is for you."

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Again, I am humbled by reading, by the ability to synthesize ideas,
by the shift it causes in my understanding.

     Earlier this week I read and shared with my colleagues the cover story in the NYT Magazine, “Why are more American teenagers than ever suffering from severe anxiety?” It deals with the repercussions of severe anxiety on student absenteeism, social development, and academic performance. It also questions whether the programs we implement to accommodate anxieties might enable their struggle; outlining other programs that explore incrementally pushing students to face their fears. The relationship of constant online immersion as a tool for exacerbating as well as avoiding fears is also discussed, if not implicated.
     Later in the week, this idea of “safe spaces” and “brave spaces,” of “risking some discomfort” to expand one’s opportunities surfaced in an interview with Beverly Daniel Tatum in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Upon the re-issue of her book, “Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?,” she talked about racial self-segregation on campuses and the value of getting past the discomfort of creating, “opportunities for students to engage across differences.”
     Whether it is “diversity silos” on campus or safe havens of 24/7 circumscribed online worlds, the value of a necessary degree of discomfort in our social world seemed to be common in addressing both crippling issues. And it makes sense to me; not so that we develop armor against what is alien, but so that we temper our ignorance with incremental measures of humanity – and the hope that comes with it.

Take me home

Displaying my "Take Me Home" withdrawn books on a 4'x8' canvas during our HS art exhibit in the library.

From the NEWSEUM

Great lesson plans, resources, and info-graphics from the folks at the Newseum. Many thanks to my DCMO SLS colleagues for sharing this.

The entrepreneurial library

I'm hanging "little " posters as well as the "usual" kind to advertise both the art show in the library ... and the library.. Art lesson number one from Mr. Benedict's 1968 class: "Contrast attracts the eye."

Friday, October 13, 2017


I have been collaborating with the Physical Science class that is investigating the hydrology of Bumps Creek. (Mainly I need to place these images online so that I can demonstrate to those students how to embed them in a Google Earth tour.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Listening in / Collaboration

I was hanging posters in the math hallway yesterday, when I overheard our Algebra teacher talking about cross-multiplying and proportions. Afterwards, I stopped by to quickly explain my earth/sun question in the library and put a handbill in her mailbox at the end of the day.

Well, she just came in at the end of the day to say that they did the problem today!  Tomorrow they are going to plot the "answer circle" as part of their" mapping and scale" exercise.



Have been working up posters and labels for our first art show of the year.  Excited.

Broadening the discussion

I thought this info-graphic story in the New York Times provided a good way to broaden the discussion with students following the shootings in Las Vegas by aligning the quantity of the killings in Las Vegas to gun deaths in selected U.S. cities; prompting discussions about the episodic nature of news consumers, the emphasis we place on cataclysmic human tragedy versus incremental tragedy, and context for issues like gun control, "black life matters," media responsibility, etc.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Build, play, build ...

The October issue of School Library Journal features a review of the Piper Computer Kit; a DIY kit powered by a Raspberry Pi. The inspired motivational piece is that once the basic assembly is completed, students fire up the included Minecraft software which leads users through a series of component instructions ( buttons, buzzers, lights) that are required to complete the game. Good idea.

Looks like it might be a nice fit for our library.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


I have been chipping away at my ACS web pages; adding Alternative Text to the images. Once that is completed, I will tackle some of the documents and videos.

The art of words

Some inspired cover-design-poetry from the folks at Poetry magazine. For me, those still-discernable absences on the October issue speak to the great intangible powers that reside within the ordinary shape and meaning of words.

Library resource person: bag-o-rocks

Our Health teacher is doing a great "Chenango County Rocks" project; students painting positive messages on small stones and then distributing them to be "found." Demand was out-pacing supply, so I shuttled over to the public boat-launch site during lunch to fetch a fresh batch of ... canvases.

Old story that does not grow old

Some great & varied takes on the ultimate oldie-but-goodie; inspired by this month's DIG magazine.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Friday, September 29, 2017

Open House

I enjoyed Open House last night. It was good to see so many students and so many parents who were once my students! Visitors enjoyed the slideshow I had running on my the large flat screen, parents did some photo-ops of their kids pictured in my Spirit drawing, and many asked questions about venues I had on display. I especially liked my career tables: a nice gradient from intro to professional resources, and cardboard "hook" into an overlooked career.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Trying this out

Turtle by Kate Ryan
Audio by way of the Poetry Foundation

A lot to like about this poem.

"Turtle" from Flamingo Watching © 1994 by Kay Ryan. Used by permission of Copper Beech Press.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Spirit Week drawing update

Those are "palette" remains up on the bulletin board. 
This is the current state of the library Spirit Week drawing. most of my concerns at this point have been working out some composition questions in the upper right hand corner.
I tried the idea of a fading-away volleyball heading from low-center to top-right, but it drew to much attention.
Instead, I penciled in a wedge of cheerleaders on the track. The diagonal of their feet and the track do the job of aligning with the field-hockey player's arm and stick to help with my "Giotto" shallow V composition.
Then I alternated Afton/Harpursville colors along the bottom to offset the colorful SPIRIT.

Will we follow through on this?

"...most of our online time is spent in a blurry gray zone where sites are real (and have real agendas) and decisions about whether to trust them are complex."
Read this post on Civic Reasoning in a Social Media Environment last evening, and have been drafting and crossing out ideas all day on how to share the urgency and importance of it with students and staff. Thinking maybe a video making my case ...

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Systems thinking

I enjoyed an article (see me if you don't have a login) in the recent Chronicle of Higher Education urging colleges to explore vehicles for students to immerse themselves in "systems thinking" situations. As examples, they used the three-month program aboard CSU Maritime Academy's ship-at-sea and various culinary programs with chef/kitchen experiences; both as venues steeped in interlocking technical and human systems that need to be understood, balanced, and leveraged for optimum functioning.

It reminded me of the value of my old 10-week Art/Library classes where students designed the course of study, designed and modified the timeline, and assumed responsibility for the process of pursuing a goal.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Making the grade

Produced this contour map of the area surrounding Bumps Creek for a hydrology unit in one of our science classes. They will be learning how to determine the watershed area.
Later in the unit, I hope to show them how to use Model My Watershed (which is where I configured the map).

Then I got to thinking it might be a fun project to plot a railroad track, with all its constraints, over a given contour map. That lead me to this nifty explanation (and consequences) about the art & science of railroad grades & curves!  So much to computing a RR curve:

Friday, September 22, 2017


Teaching science, history, economics, geography, technology, politics, and the intricate web which is the world with the cochineal beetle.  Read on.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Shameless plug

Your anonymous webmaster/blogger MS/HS Librarian, promoting "the positives ... taking advantage of this opportunity to paint a picture of what ACS is really like... and [promoting] stronger ties between our school and our community" for 16 years.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Unsung Hero

The current Chronicle of Higher Education highlights Inter-Library Loan Librarians as one of their five unsung jobs powering the modern college. Even in the digital world of higher education; perhaps even especially in that world, being able to research, locate, and serve up hard copy information remains indispensable.

Getting the ball rolling

ACS homecoming in on the calendar for October 7th. I transferred some recent ACS sports images onto one of our 4'x8' canvases with a projector. I'll start adding some color with some torn/cut paper "brush-strokes." My experience is that once students see that messy edges are OK, they will jump in to help/take over.

Projecting the world

Earlier this year I saw this book, Map (Phaidon), at a bookstore in Oneonta. I'm so glad I got it for our library. The history, perspective, and science behind so many of the maps/graphics are revealing and fascinating.

I chased down some further information on a favorite;  Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion projection, which affords a kind-of one-continent view of the world. I'm hoping some visiting student will give the cut-out I made a shot.