Saturday, August 26, 2017

State Award Book Nominees & ThingLink

It's that time again--time for us to explore the state award books and start reading our way through the lists. To promote the titles and raise interest, this year's titles are featured in ThingLink images that connect to book trailers.

Let's start with the Iowa Children's Choice Award nominees:





You can also access trailers for the Iowa Teen Award nominees:





Enjoy the trailers--and when you're ready to try one of the nominees, be sure to stop by the library and check out a copy. Remember, you're eligible to vote for the building and state-wide winner when you read at least two books from either list.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Historical Fiction Focus

With so many great books released in the last year, how about a look at a few that are historical fiction, like the Newbury Honor book Wolf Hollow? Readers will find themselves pulled into the story of Annabelle, Betty, and Toby; can we trust what we believe we've seen, and do we really know the people in our lives?


Other great historical fiction promoted throughout the year in the library include some newer titles along with some old favorites:
If you haven't read many historical fiction titles--or if you're eager to read some more--we're happy to help you with that next book to read!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Pinterest Book Recommendation Board

Occasionally during the year we take the time to highlight new books or recommend old favorites using Pinterest. Both book trailers and cover images of many books are there if you're looking for something to read! Want to take a look? You can access the board by clicking in the caption below.
CLICK HERE to access the Pinterest board.
Want to see something added that you think others would like to read onto the board? Let Mrs. Ellis know, and maybe you'll see it there!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Using our AEA Databases

We are so fortunate to have access to a wide variety of databases from our area AEA, Heartland. Throughout the year, teachers and students alike use them for everything from pleasure reading to research to project creation support.
One database that students browse when looking for next books to read is NoveList K-8 Plus. When accessing our online catalog and library main page, students often use NoveList K-8 Plus, along with other book recommendation sites and tools, to guide their book selections. Students especially like that they can search author or series read-alikes.



Often, these available databases become part of our library lessons. Supporting students' many general research needs were databases such as Britannica Online, MackinVia, and Culture Grams. More specifically, however, students accessed NetTrekker to access information related to pro/con or persuasive writing and speaking presentations.
Students access AEA databases for research purposes.
As databases are updated and revised, we look forward to their continued use! Many projects await!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Destiny Quest

Using Destiny Quest has become an extension of the work we do with students throughout the year. When students were in Grades 3 - 5, using Destiny Quest was regular practice during scheduled library classes. Once students move on to the Middle School, using Destiny Quest becomes more individualized, and it has also become part of the language arts classes.

As students come and go from the library--and as they work in study halls--they sometimes sit at a library computer to respond to friend requests in Destiny Quest and send friend request themselves, sometimes making book recommendations when they do so. Students also add books to their virtual bookshelves, adding not only books they've read themselves, but also books they've enjoyed as read alouds. 

Part of the language arts curriculum includes writing book reviews, and Destiny Quest--along with our online catalog--offer students an authentic audience for their writing. Full classes visit the library, where we talk about what makes a strong book review, and then students write two reviews in a quarter. Over time our online catalog has become a place where students can read peers' reviews and thoughts about books in the collection.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Featuring New Books

Many new books will greet students when they return in August. Want a sneek peek at a few of our favorites?


Popular author Gordon Korman's new book is realistic fiction and features Chase, who remembers nothing after falling from his roof. As he begins his school year, Chase comes to understand that the person he was before the fall isn't anything like the person he is now. Will the influence of his friends sway him to return to his juvenile delinquent/bullying ways? Or will he take the opportunity to restart and become a different person?


If you were a fan of Between Shades of Gray by Sepetys, this book will not disappoint! Like Between Shades of Gray, this book is also an Iowa Teen Award nominee set during World War II. The story follows several refugees near the war's end as they make their way to a port city to try to secure passage on the Wilhelm Gustloff, hopefully to find friends and family in other parts of Europe. You can see a trailer below:


Another Iowa Teen Award nominee that's a great read is the nonfiction title I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda.

Told from both Caitlin's and Martin's points of views, readers learn of the pen pal assignment that connected the Pennsylvania girl with a boy from Zimbabwe and read portions of the letters that changed both of their lives. While Caitlin initially believes Martin's life is similar to hers, she slowly comes to understand the poverty and harsh conditions in which he lives. This knowledge--along with the warmth they feel for one another--will change both of their lives.

See something you might like to pick up this August? They'll be available for you--stop by to check them out!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: QR Codes in the Library

One of the tools we like to use in the library is QR codes. They're such a handy, easy, and convenient way for students to access information! We primarily use them to promote books by linking the codes to book trailers, like in this display. Students have also been able to access trailers as they browse the shelves.

Students have also used QR codes to access trailers related to our state award nominees. Cards showing the book covers and a corresponding QR code were at tables throughout the library, and students watched the trailers, then responded on a handout as to their interest levels in reading the books later.

Stay tuned--students will likely use QR codes again in the coming school year!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: State Award Nominees, 2017 - 2018

The state award nominees for the coming 2017 - 2018 school year were announced earlier in the year. Our DCG Middle Schools students are encouraged to read from the Iowa Children's Choice Awards nominees, as well as the Iowa Teen Award titles:


Over the course of the coming school year, students are encouraged to read at least two of the nominees from their lists, and should they complete the reading by late February/early March, they will be eligible to vote for the building and state-wide winner. Feel free to read any of the books over the summer, and stay tuned for many activities related to these great books!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Google Classroom in the Library

This year our DCG Middle School students started using Chromebooks in a 2:1 environment (2 students for every 1 device), and with the increased access came the use of Google Classroom in the library.
A few of the library Google Classrooms

Every language arts classroom in Grades 6 - 7 had its own library Google Classroom where students could access everything from our library main page to that day's digital activity. Below are just some of the examples of how we used Google Classroom:

  • accessing and viewing book trailers related to state award books
  • using our library Symbaloo to find websites and databases for research
  • accessing state award voting forms

The ease with which students could access that day's work--and return to it as they liked--made all the difference. This was especially true as we worked to promote our state award nominees throughout the year. Early last fall, students visited the library to view a Prezi presentation featuring book trailers for the Iowa Teen Award nominees. Then, students accessed a handout via Google Classroom to track their impressions of the books and make note of whether or not they'd like to read it.
You can access the full post when you CLICK HERE.

Now that students are more familiar with Google Classroom, they likely return to school with a better understanding of how we'll use it in the library. What a great tool to manage classes, share resources and assignments, allow for technology integration, and engage students!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

1-Thing Wednesday: Participate in a Summer Reading Program

Now that we're officially on summer break, it's time to bring back the weekly themed blog post. This year it's "1-Thing Wednesday," and the focus will be on just one thing related to the library, the school year, or the tech world. To kick off the very first 1-Thing Wednesday, let's take a look at the summer reading programs at the local public libraries.

Librarians from the Grimes Public Library spoke with students at the end of May about the summer reading program, and visiting the Grimes Public Library website will provide all kinds of information, as well as allow you to watch a promotional video:
CLICK HERE to watch the video.
The summer reading program began on Mon. June 5 and will run until the end of July. Here's what their website had to say about the summer reading program:


Want to see their Calendar of Events? You can access it from the library website, or you can CLICK HERE to view daily summer reading events

Live in Dallas Center and want to participate in the summer reading program there? They, too, kicked off their program early in June and are excited to sign up readers all summer long! If you're looking for a way to beat the heat, hang out with friends, or try something new to read, why not visit the public library near you and sign up!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Last Round of Book Talks

Seventh graders were in the library again today to listen to the last round of book talks for the year. Serendipity prevailed, and many of the new books that were ordered in April arrived just yesterday, and in the nick of time made it into today's book talk presentation.



The final slide in the presentation specifically promoted 4 of the new titles added just today:

With just a week and a half left to check out books, stop by today to pick up one of the new titles. Or, make a note to pick them up at your public library over the summer! They'll all make for some great summer reading!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Blackout Poetry & Book Spine Poetry

On May Day, how about a look back at April, National Poetry Month, when we celebrated by creating blackout poems and book spine poems. All of the seventh grade language arts classes passed through the library over three days to "write" poetry.





 Students also stacked library books into poems in a book spine activity. After students pulled books to use, poems began to emerge. Take a look below!








Monday, April 10, 2017

Book Talks with a Twist

In this latest round of book talks, our titles reflect a popular expression as we move into springtime and summer: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.



"Something old" refers to titles we've had in the collection for a bit--like Sanderson's The Rithmatist and Brow's The Wild Robot.

Some of our new spring book fair purchases are included in the "something new" category--books like Ghost by Jason Reynolds and Boy X by Dan Smith.

With classic retellings like Heartless popular now, our book talks also include "something borrowed" with Redwine's The Shadow Queen.

And our "something blue?" Cheating just a little, Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth--its beautiful dark blue cover meeting the need. 

Take a look at the Slides presentation--maybe you'll find something to interest you in this last quarter!

Monday, April 3, 2017

State Award Winning Books Announced

Earlier in March, Middle School students used Google Classroom to vote for both the Iowa Children's Choice Award book and the Iowa Teen Award book. More than 130 students were eligible to vote, having read at least two books from the nominations. Winning the Iowa Children's Choice Award was Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt; the Iowa Teen Award winner was Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman.

Iowa teacher librarians met today for their annual conference and state-wide winners were announced. A drum roll please. . . the Iowa Teen Award winner was also Backlash! And the Iowa Children's Choice winner was I Survived: The Great Chicago Fire by Lauren Tarshis. Statewide, 218 schools participated in the Iowa Children's Choice Award voting, with more than 17,100 votes submitted!

Stay tuned for the 2017 - 2018 Iowa Children's Choice and Iowa Teen Award nominees--and remember, if you read two or more of them, you'll be eligible to vote next spring. These great books make for some good summer reading!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Happy School Library Month!

April is here, and that means we're officially celebrating School Library Month, the American Association of School Librarians' celebration of school libraries, their programs, and all they do. Check out the poster promoting this year's theme "Because School Libraries Empower Students."

Just how are we in the library empowering students at DCG Middle School? With a lot of choice and voice and work and building. We're talking about & recommending books to each other; using technology to lean, explore, and create; make connections personally and digitally; and, strengthening our relationships. Visit soon--we'd love to talk with you!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Another Round of Booktalks

Seventh graders visited the library today to listen to book talks and to visit the Scholastic Book Fair. Some of the highlights from the Book Fair were Exo, The Shadow Queen, and Zero Day.

Below is the book talk presentation--including mention of this year's Newbery Medal winner The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Also featured is a new-to-us sports series by John Coy called the 4 for 4 Series