Thursday, December 27, 2018

A Bit of Biography Genrifying

Recently in a librarian group post online, a middle school librarian described genrifying her biography section in the hopes of increasing the circulation for those particular books. The librarian established several broad categories for her biographies, rearranged books into those categories, and in just a short period of time, she saw increased circulation.

Our own biography section also sees limited circulation, and even with new titles added each year, biographies remain one of the lesser checked-out genres in the library. With the sixth grade biography project approaching later this spring, the holiday break seemed like a good time to try a little biography genrification ourselves.

First, we needed to create those broad categories that our biographies could fall into. These included some "obvious" piles, like Sports/Athletes, Authors, and American History. Other categories included World Leaders/Politicians, World War II/Holocaust, and Native Americans. All told, 12 broad groups covered all of the biographies in the collection, as well as some of the collected biographies.

Once all of the books were sorted into piles, it was time to reconfigure their places on the existing shelves. With a bit of rearranging to condense books from the reference section, the biographies are now expanded on the shelving. Some of the section appears below.

The only piece of the genrification process that remains is signage, so stay tuned! We're also in the planning stages of literacy studies class activities to reintroduce students to the biography collection. More to come!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

2nd Quarter Library Projects

Each quarter in literacy studies, students work on a project related to their reading classes. Last quarter, sixth graders created Slides presentations showing their understanding of genre by choosing an independent reading book they'd read, identifying the genre, and providing supporting examples. Seventh graders also created a Slides presentation to show their understanding of different literary terms, including protagonist & antagonist, point of view, conflict and theme.

In the new quarter, students are again working on different projects. Sixth graders are developing better book talks based on a poster from
LINK to access full blog post
Students chose a book they could enthusiastically recommend, developed their book talks, then used the Unsplash add-on in Google Slides to add an image to also grab the listeners' attention. Finally, students recorded their work using Screencastify. This will allow students to take part in a gallery walk, of sorts, after the holiday break and listen to multiple book talks.

While sixth graders worked on book talk presentations, seventh graders again this year completed an author study project. Over time the project has undergone several revisions; this year, those revisions included using Thinglink as the basis of the project and adjusting the written requirements to include both required and personal choice items.
LINK to site
Students used Google Drive to write and present information about an author of their choice--they wrote about the author's publishing life and included an analysis piece of a passage of their choosing, and they also included one of the following: a personal narrative about their interest in the author, a creative interview, or a scene rewrite.