Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cite Site

Getting the word out to students about KnightCite:

Student resources

To make posters for our upcoming Spirit Week at ACS I incorporated student artwork on display in the hallways; wonderful paper people created by elementary art students.
I used the Instant Alpha function in Pages to remove the background; easier on some images than others.
Then I had fun "populating" my posters!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World

The article in the Chronicle that caught my eye was, "Scientists are Storytellers." Sounded like an interesting topic for a book. The short interview with the co-authors hovered around how schools don't "balance" the learning opportunities between "measurable proficiencies" and creativity. They responded:
One example you write about comes from a class where students draw an apple at the beginning of the semester, and then again at the end of the semester, after they’ve absorbed a variety of styles and skills — and the difference between what they draw is remarkable.
Brandt: Part of our approach was to show that there are measurable ways of evaluating someone’s creativity. So if the goal is to proliferate options and come up with five, and the student only comes up with two, then they didn’t complete the assignment. Or if the goal is to go different distances from the source material, and they stay too close to it, you can reasonably critique them. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a free-for-all or totally subjective.
That response resonated with my experience of student-directed projects which lend themselves to the critique process whereby the quantity and variety of ideas and pathways can be credited as well as the analysis and blending of them.

40 books

Red Chef

Students at SUNY Oneonta have a dining option from their food service to cook their own meal from a ready-to-go pre-pack. Good ingredients, good skill set. I really like the quick videos they have created to accompany the meals. We could do this!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Back stories

Many books have intriguing back covers with images and passages that might do as good a job of cultivating interest as the cover. At least that's what I'm giving a go.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Feeling the heat

Getting a grip on the scope of what 116,000 scorched acres of L.A. wildfires would look like here at home.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Phileas would be proud

A few weeks ago I demonstrated Google Earth tours to our MS ELA teacher. I am delighted to say that he has pursued it in his classroom and that he and his students are doing the nitty-gritty work of discovering, sharing, and building upon their mutual learning to create tours in support of their reading "Around the World in 80 Days." Cool.

The greening of ACS

Delighted that our library green-screen has been borrowed for a high school science classroom!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

My Day

While I still had my coat on, I began by recommending one of my books on display to a library friend who was substituting today: The Atlas Obscura.
Next, at the request of a colleague, I posted school photos and a link to Hour of Code on our homepage.

Another colleague forwarded a video of a recent school ceremony for me to post on the school site. I reduced the size of the file, posted it to the site, and created the home page ink and graphic.

Sent an email to high school students and the MS/HS staff with a link to a video I had created posted to our school site. The video answered questions about accessing and using our OverDrive ebooks and audio books. (Plus, my email included info on how I used our green screen to produce the video and an invitation to try it out... and I had a faculty request to use it!!!)

Posted two new 17' x'22' posters in the library lobby and library foyer.

Added two new Junior Library Guild arrivals to our catalogue and made a small display of our
latest Graphic Novels.

Recommended the Consumer Reports buying guide to student entrepreneur interested in equipment purchases.

Selected and printed NYT articles to share with Government teacher and PE department.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Did it with technology

I've been trying for three weeks to get our head of maintenance up to the library to discuss a problem with our shelving. No go. So today I shot and then emailed a minute of video describing and pointing out the problem and some possible solutions. He was up this afternoon to check it out.

Sharing our strengths

Plunging along on some SLS initiatives that I may or may not be interpreting accurately, I have created a how-to slideshow for library colleagues on how to create navigation icons for the web site platform that we all use/struggle with. The idea being that a more contemporary-looking graphic landing page will help us in our overall initiative of library advocacy.

Like many of my home projects, lots of tools to help in my work-around to fit a round peg in a square hole.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Library Abstracts

Mr. Higby delivered a portfolio of student work to the library yesterday. I commenced the process of hanging the exhibit by photographing the work first.
I did not have enough room in the library foyer to hang all the pieces, so I have an adjacent slideshow going of all the work. I made the poster (lower left) by taking a screen-shot of my iPhoto album that had the name of the artists below each piece.

Friday, November 17, 2017


This week's walk-in observe and think question at ACSLIB:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Duct tape duo

It was a tag-team effort between myself and my persevering student to decipher directions, tape, untape, but ultimately finish taping this very cool wallet. Lotsa teachable moments.


Rolled out and hi-lighted some of our standing tables for library users.

Cool beans!

A student introduced me to the FM transmitter for his device. We field-tested it on our library last-gen combo device. Tuned it in and it broadcasted line-of-sight for 20 feet. Cool!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Hidden Life of Trees

It was a bit of a journey for this book to get to our shelves from when I first read about it a few years ago; waiting for it to be translated from German, not forgetting about it in the interim. I’m glad we persevered because it unveils the world around us with the same awe, intimacy, and reverence as Annie Dillard’s Pilgram at Tinker Creek, Bernd Heinrich’s Winter World, and the cogent observations of Wendell Berry. It is a call, once again, to be humbled as a species as our colleagues on the planet are revealed to us as equally glorious.

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben surprises us with how much is known about the daily, seasonal, and lifetime commerce of being a tree, of being a forest. That the author shades his observations with allusions to the sensory and intellectual capacity of trees, does not diminish the sway of his data, the revelation of his syntheses, or the amazingness of our usually “back-drop” neighbors; trees.

It is difficult not to interrupt the other person in the room with new-found facts of the forest:

Forest trees support each other, the damaged and stricken, to maintain the sustaining biome of the forest – mutual care. Young trees, waiting 70 years under the sun-stricken canopy of a mature forest aren’t deprived – they are in  a “nursery,” often supplemented by decaying grandparents; slow growth and patience being the plan for when opportunity eventually knocks. Miles of fungal conduit in teaspoons of forest soil, onslaughts of silent infestations parried with chemical counterattacks (and prior notification to neighbors). Indeed, Wohlleben reminds us it much less a “delicate balance” in nature than one continuous siege between occupying forces.

Having read it now, I look at the trees in my yard, the clammer of saplings along the roadside, and my stand of hickory trees with renewed respect. The intricacies of this slow world of trees, with so much of the drama and dynamism happening in the opaque world beneath our feet, will not be easily dismissed as silent, unchanging, passive, or dull.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Water strider

Made another Bumps Creek Ecology poster after seeing this little guy on my walk over the bridge. Cool dude.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017



How oak leaves
strew across the mown lawn
bruised and stiff
like fallen soldiers

And how the math of things
have them, by thousands,
alone from each other
and arrayed in a healthy plot
upon the green

Flags done waving
caught between
life above and life below
by tender blades
and then the snow.

"Cool," they said.

Some veteran makers gathered for 40 minutes and in a wonderful exchange of ideas and "asking" built a slingshot of straws. Their openness to ideas, alternatives, and what-ifs was invigorating.

As it happened, I was reading a book at home about ship-building. The next day I shared these images of how builders used the native strength of "crooked" pieces of wood for braces and stress-bearing components of sailing ships... and why generations of children used a yoked branch so make their slingshots.

 "Cool," they said.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Launching ideas

One of our can't-help-himself makers dropped in this morning before heading out to BOCES to drop off this catapult he fashioned during breakfast break. I am displaying it next to a more finished one made years ago at Afton.

His model will be a very instructive tool as an example of a high-creativity / low craftsmanship first-draft prototype that gets an idea out on the table for analysis and revision.( I suspect this version has some revisions already; like that little piece of straw on the lip of the spoon to help hold the payload in place!)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

eBorrow an eBook from ACSLIB

A math question from the news

By the by, 7000 cubic feet of water would fill our lobby up to about 5 feet (our floor tiles are a foot square!). Imagining that volume filling 60 times in a minute. Yikes!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Our reach and our grasp

One of the Powerful Library Collaborations (PLC) that I have decided to be a part of is Library Advocacy. As I casted about thinking how we might work together to leverage that advocacy in our own SLS, one thing I considered was working for all our libraries to have a visual link on their building home page, if not their district home page. So I spent a few hours surveying our DCMO sites and came up with this data:
This led me to consider if the library landing pages that these home page links might lead to were, well, robust or perfunctory, illustrative of all that we do or narrow, and most importantly; contemporary-looking-enough to not make student users immediately say "Ugh" and close out of their visit.

This notion of being entrepreneurial about the services we offer and how we present them needs to be understood as a fundamental facet of our virtual presence. It is not showy posturing or being subjectively "pretty." It is about respecting and leveraging the power of good design to communicate our vitality and breadth as strongly as our programs.

While the graphic options may not be within the capacity of some of our sites, I think there are things we can do with design templates and SLS-sourced graphics within eSchoolView to raise the bar on many of our sites.

Meanwhile, here are some public library sites we may want to emulate.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Getting on board with OverDrive

Starting to get the word out about our latest DCMO SLS service: ebooks from OverDrive.
Made a graphic link on my library landing page. Thinking on a video script too.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Creating a Chapbook

Dramatizing science with math

This student-directed outside-of-class display illustrates the proportion-in-size of the sun and the earth (that's the earth atop the white column.).

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!