August-October 2019 Term B

Verdugo Hills High School Library & Research Center Monthly Report

Lisa Cheby, Teacher Librarian
Days Open: 33

Statistics

Circulation

  • Total items: 1026
  • Computer use (not counting class visits): 483
  • Headsets: 63
  • USB:0
  • Fiction: 221
  • Database page views: 1,900

Student and Class Visits

  • Student Visits (students who visit library with a pass during class):112
  • Class Visits: 67
  • Reasons:   Library Orientation, Check Out Books, Research and Information Literacy Instruction, Poetry Lessons, Personal Essay Workshops, Digital Portfolios

Resources: Accessibility and Management

This year collection development started with cataloging about 300 new YA fiction titles (and a few non-fiction) that were donated as part of my participation as a reader for a YA fiction award. I had to first catalog all the titles and then have my student and a volunteer from leadership help with labeling and covering all the books. We are about half way to having them all shelf-ready.

Additionally, I have another cart of non-fiction books from given to us by ILTSS which need to be cataloged and labeled for circulation.

Meanwhile, I am using fines money and money that was said to be allocated to the library for books to update our non-fiction collection and to fill in high-demand titles in fiction. I recently submitted an order to update our collection of books about congress members and supreme court justices. I also ordered books to provide more personal and updated materials about genocides, a topic that is covered in literature and history classes and that students want to read more about. Particularly, with a large Armenian population in Los Angeles and our school in particular, we needed to have more books about Armenian history and the Armenia genocide. It is encouraging that when I put out new book displays, I usually need to replace books in the display within the week as students check them out.

Events 

This school year the LDNE is piloting a new professional development approach for teacher librarians, who are often the sole member of their department on campuses. During banked PD time, LDNE teacher librarians are meeting at various libraries to share best practices in information literacy instruction, literacy advocacy, and library management. In October, VHHS library hosted 18 teacher librarians.

With an increase in teachers collaborating on research units and the shorter semesters in the fall, the literary assembly will take place in February.

Technology and Instruction

Research units

This term Mrs. Heerman, Dr. Norton, and I continued implementing the level 1 of research with 9th, 10th, and 11th graders from both the STEMM magnet and the residential schools. We still don’t have enough students to jump into Level 2 with a class, but see the momentum building.

Mrs. Heerman immediately launched her 10th and 11th grade classes into Level 2, which allowed me to really start to develop this second level, merging some of the steps and adding in more depth to search strategies in order to build independence and resiliency into their research process. It is exciting to see students choose topics and use the databases to find credible information to answer their own questions.

For Mrs. Heerman’s Advanced ELD Class I had the opportunity to develop new ways to better differentiate the research unit for these students. It is a mixed grade level class so the material needed to allow student more time to engage with each skill more often and to see us model more as they also still are developing the vocabulary for academic tasks. Rather than moving into level 2, we stepped back to develop digital literacy vocabulary in interactive games that allow students to also develop collaborative skills and language.

Second term, I also started to work with Ms. Shin, our new English teacher, in delivering the research unit. She liked the lessons developed with Dr. Norton and Mrs. Heerman. However, her 11th and 12th grade students had a much more mixed level of skills and experience with writing and research. In order to allow for more independence and support in acquiring the skills, we chose to deliver lessons using blended learning techniques I developed when working with Mr. Berg on his master’s thesis. Delivered through Google Classroom, students had access to videos and narrated slide presentations to complete activities, culminating in a presentation of their process and research. This strategy improved participation which was resistant at first and in our last session, though all at different stages towards completion, students were engaging with questioning, query building, and searching of the databases using self-selected topics. As the semester winds down, I will start to formalize and refine an information literacy scope and sequence that I hope will eventually be adopted by the campus.

Digital Portfolios

I continue to work with teachers to set up student digital portfolios. The upperclassmen seem less invested in the project, so I will focus on getting 9th and 10th graders set up with portfolios and hope our coordinators will encourage teachers to have students add projects each term to these portfolios.

If you are logged into your LAUSD account, you may see the portfolios by clicking here.

Professional Development

CSLA SR Fall Workshop

As a member of the California School Library Association Southern Region Board (CSLA SR) I helped to organize and attended their fall workshop in Long Beach in October. The day consisted of four concurrent sessions and time in between to network with other teacher librarians around Southern California. Sessions I found particularly interesting included one on incorporating graphic novels into the core curriculum and another on teaching how to spot fake news, but sparking some new ideas about how to tackle such a large issue.

Update Verdugo Reads Committee

While the Verdugo Reads Committee met after reading contenders over the summer and selected a title, the budget for providing books school wide exceeds the resources of our school and the community grate I hoped to apply to for funding. At this time, we are exploring alternatives to implement a reading program on a more limited and affordable scale.

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March-June 2019 Term D

Verdugo Hills High School Library & Research Center Monthly Report

Lisa Cheby, Teacher Librarian
Days Open: 51

Statistics

Circulation

  • Total items: 1396
  • Computer use (not counting class visits): 717
  • Headsets: 111
  • USB: 3
  • Fiction: 174
  • Database page views: NA (moved the website and stats not available)

Student and Class Visits

  • Student Visits (students who visit library with a pass during class): 238
  • Class Visits: 115
  • Reasons:   Library Orientation, Check Out Books, Research and Information Literacy Instruction, Poetry Lessons, Personal Essay Workshops, Digital Portfolios

Resources: Accessibility and Management

IMG_2834

This term our genrefication project was completed by Library Practice student, Citlali Aguilera-Rico. She labeled every fiction book by genre and created these wonderful signs.  While she is known for her achievement and leadership at Verdugo, this will be her legacy in the library helping all future students find books in the genre they seek.

In addition, I completed the weeding project of the fiction section. This eliminated books that have not been circulated for the past 20 years, books that are worn beyond use, and books that simply are outdated.  Now the fiction section has space for new contemporary titles students want to read.  There is also space on the shelves to highlight feature books and for easier browsing. Patrons no longer need to  to wade through old books to find the  books they want!

Events 

This term we partnered with Yallwest to bring Tochi Onyebuchi to Verdugo Hills High School and add 70 new titles to our collection from current YA authors.  Read more about this event on the library blog. 

Technology and Instruction

Research units

This term Mrs. Heerman, Dr. Norton, and I assessed students who completed the research unit in the library. The results were pleasing to both students and teachers in that all classes showed significant gains in their information literacy skills.  Here are the numbers:

Additionally, Dr. Norton had her classes take the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment Blocks for the research component of the the test before and after the unit and had similar results as we saw in the TRAILS test:

IABNortonResultsSpring2019

All these results show that through direct instruction in research we are able to move students towards mastering the research skills needed to meet the Common Core State Standards in Literacy and to be prepared for career and college information needs.

I look forward to working in building units for level 2 and 3 of research with these and other teachers and to continuing to track student performance through the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

Digital Portfolios

In February Dr. Norton and I attended a seminar by Anthony Devine, teacher librarian, at the California School Library Association conference on creating digital portfolios for students.  We took the last two weeks of classes to try out what we learned with her 3rd period honors 9th grade class.  We started by having students look at the samples from Devine’s school and discussing what a digital portfolio is.  Next we walked them through setting up a basic template in Google Sites using their LAUSD accounts.  Finally we talked about privacy and copyright. For now we had students limit the audience to LAUSD users and make sure the select images licensed for reuse and cite the images.  The students were excited to be able to create a personal presentation of their work and their interests.  I hope to expand this to more classes next year until it is a school wide initiative for students to build their portfolios throughout their four years at Verdugo.

If you are logged into your LAUSD account, you may see the portfolios by clicking here and then under STEMM select the class of 2022.

Professional Development

Copyright & Creativity

This term I completed a training with Copyright and Creativity.   The four hour training plus homework walked me through a deeper understanding of copyright and the nuances of fair use.  This training also introduced me to the Copyright and Creativity resources to qualify me to train teachers in the tools they offer and the importance of teaching copyright to students as creators and users of media.

Though I had already been teaching the connection between understanding copyright (and intellectual property) and citation as vital for students who are both creators and users of media, this training prepares me to better guide students and educators to grapple with the grey areas of using copyrighted material in classrooms and in creative work. It has also motivated me to claim ownership of my work and to be clear how I want to allow others to use and re-use my work.   Education is all about sharing, but sharing does not mean I don’t have to let my work go unattributed.

LASLA Advocate Award

On June 2nd the Los Angeles School Library Association held their annual retirement and awards luncheon.  This year I was honored to be recognized as Outstanding School Library Advocate.  This was quite the honor considering the many years of advocacy my fellow librarians have put into promoting and protecting the presence of school libraries in LAUSD long before I became a librarian.  I was recognized for the work I did to advocate for an expanded computer lab in my library, for working with district, county, and state officials to clarify and protect duties included in our credentials, and for standing in solidarity with other teacher librarians and UTLA members to win gains for libraries and librarians in the January strike.  My mentor who I worked with at Daniel Webster Middle School when I first transitioned into the library was there to introduce me.

Launching of the Verdugo Reads Committee

After several years of participating in the Big Read LA, I wanted to create a similar program at Verdugo.  Big Read is a program sponsored by the NEA in which cities choose a book for all residents to read.  Free books are provided at events throughout the city. These events are sponsored by civic organizations creating programming connected to the book.  While it is great to participate, the books often do not have wide appeal for teens, so I invited members of our community to form a committee to start a similar program just for Verdugo.

We had our first meeting in May.  The committee consists of three teachers and three students, though more are welcome to join!  We have selected six books we will read over the summer to consider as our 2019-2020 selection. In August we will begin planning fundraising to purchase books and programming to create community and discussion around themes in the books.

Battle of the Books Coming in 2019-2020

Next year Battle of the Books has expanded to include a new, separate list for high school.  I started recruiting some students this last week and will put out a larger call for members next year to form the first VHHS Battle of the Books Team.

Final BOB Poster-4

January – March 2019 Term C

Verdugo Hills High School Library & Research Center Monthly Report

Lisa Cheby, Teacher Librarian
Days Open: 32

Statistics

Circulation

  • Total items: 1220
  • Computer use (not counting class visits): 473
  • Headsets: 89
  • USB: 0
  • Fiction: 227
  • Database page views: 1983

Student and Class Visits

  • Student Visits (students who visit library with a pass during class): 85
  • Class Visits: Total classes: 79
  • Reasons:   Computer Use, Check Out Books, Research lessons, Library Orientations

Resources: Accessibility and Management

This term our Literature Club president joined the library practice class and started our genrefication project. I was excited to have an avid reader who could take on the responsibility of labeling all the fiction books by genre. With the color coded key, students will be able to more easily locate books by genre such as romance, mystery, fantasy, and sci-fi.

Meanwhile, I started a project to weed the fiction section so that titles, eliminated multiple copies of older titles that no longer circulate and titles in general that are outdated or have not circulated in a decade.

Events

This term the library hosted its annual literary assembly.  This year’s assembly rolled out a new format.  Rather than each author reading and talking for 20 minutes, our literature club students led a panel discussion with authors and then opened up the session to Q&A from the audience.  Once again we partnered with Once Upon A Time Bookstore in Montrose to sell books.

More about the event is posted here: Literary Assembly

Technology and Instruction

This term I continued developing the redefining research unit and worked with Mrs. Heerman’s and Dr. Norton’s classes to give students a basis for research.  Currently we are still implementing this unit in all levels since most do not have consistent or extensive instruction in research.  I’ve had increased interest in this unit from other teachers, though implementation has been delayed until term D due to scheduling limitations caused by the UTLA strike in January and the closure of the library for filming in March.

I am also working on developing the next level of research lessons to incorporate more in-depth understanding of types of sources and evaluation of sources, including internet resources (those found outside the databases).  While most libraries use something like the CRAAP test, I would like to develop a unit that, like our introductory unit, focuses more on critical thinking and develops the transliteracy skills.  I am exploring resources from the Center for Media Literacy and Newseum.

Professional Development

In February I attended the California School Library Association (CSLA) conference. At the conference I presented two sessions — on teaching copyright and citation for digital images, the other on redefining research in collaboration with Dr. Norton.   I also received the CSLA Technology Award consisting of a $1000 gift certificate from Mackin, allowing me to buy new books for the library.  In conjunction with the award, I presented at a session for award winners about how to integrate technology in meaningful ways into library instruction.  In addition, I attended workshops and sessions on Student Directed Inquiry, diversifying literature in libraries and curriculum, and creating digital portfolios.

I also attended the LAUSD-LAPL join PD at the Central Library.

Library Remodel

Last term Mr. Barcenas asked me to get together a plan and quote to remodel the seating area to be more inviting for reading  and more flexible for instruction and collaboration.  I worked with the SOTU team that designed our computer lab to create a plan that was approved by the principal.  In February, the future was installed.  So far, students and teachers love the new space.   Below you can see the faculty enjoying the new space. At the bottom, you can see a bit of what the library looked like before the remodel!  Since the funds came from the many film shoots on campus, I guess I cannot complain about film crews disrupting library services for a while!

 

 

October-December 2018 Term B

Verdugo Hills High School Library & Research Center Monthly Report

Lisa Cheby, Teacher Librarian
Days Open:

Statistics

Circulation

  • Total items: 1,328
  • Computer use (not counting class visits): 667
  • Headsets: 123
  • USB: 0
  • Fiction: 113
  • Database page views: 2,347

Student and Class Visits

  • Student Visits (students who visit library with a pass during class): 122
  • Class Visits: Total classes: 88
  • Reasons:   Computer Use, Check Out Books, Research lessons, Library Orientations

Resources: Accessibility and Management

New book purchases were received, including increasing the currency of the biography section with a focus on national and world leaders.  We now have books on many well-known current senators and congress members.

New signage has been implemented, with each bookcase labeled with the call number ranges to make it easier to find books. Next, I want to label the fiction section by genre.  Students often come in wanting a mystery or romance book, for instance, and currently the only way to find them within the fiction section is using the catalog. While that will get them to the book, many readers enjoy being able to stand and browse the shelves rather than using the computer (I know I do!).  This will allow them to scan the fiction section for books labeled with the genre they are craving.  Eventually this may lead to re-arranging the section by genres, but for now I will settle for labels.  Finally, I would like to find a better system for call numbers in the graphic novel sections.  We have four sections — Marvel, DC, independent comic labels, and manga — but the call number for all are 741.5.  I added DC or MVL to existing books, but as new titles come in I cannot custom label them and with no staff, it is labor intensive to adjust labels and the catalog.  I might use something similar to the genre stickers for graphic novels.

The principal offered a budget to remodel the seating area of the library to better accommodate flexibility for group work, to increase the comfortable reading areas, and to better match the remodeled computer lab.  The SOTU design team who designed the lab agreed to help us come up with a design plan for this remodel.

Events

The book club portion of the Literature Club meets weekly on Wednesdays.  Upcoming events include the annual literary assembly in February.

Technology and Instruction

This term I continued to teach our level one research unit with both Dr. Norton and Mrs. Heerman.  With all classes we covered the Question Formulation Technique, Concept Charts and Search Strategies, Boolean Operators and Databases,  Saving and Annotating Articles, and citation.  Differences include using all-digital delivery and submission of assignments versus paper submissions and a final product of a PowerPoint presentation of reflecting on the process and presenting research versus an annotated bibliography presenting research.

With all classes, we saw great progress on the pre-post TRAILS tests. I the pairs below you will see the Trails Class Reports for four classes showing how the student performed at the beginning of the unit and the end of the unit.  You can see the class mean for each group increased significantly and there was significant improvement in some of the focus areas (we focused on develop topic and search strategies).

 

While these same skills are included in the research strand of the ELA SBAC test, according to the English teachers, the format is quite different.   Nonetheless, we will track how these units may also be apparent in noticeable differences in the research strand scores over the next few years.

In addition to research instruction, the library has been working with the Humanitas classes to incorporate independent reading books into their Humanitas, interdisciplinary essays.  I am working to find other ways to help teacher incorporate independent reading into their curriculum and to, in turn, use this to better inform collection development goals.

Professional Development

In December I received my National Board Certification.  I attended the district professional development day for teacher librarians in November at Beaudry.

Final Thoughts

I am looking forward to working to build the next level of information literacy units now that the level one unit is solid and being implemented regularly by some of our English teachers.  I hope that soon, we can expand this to other disciplines also.

 

August – October 2018 Term A

Verdugo Hills High School Library & Research Center Monthly Report

Lisa Cheby, Teacher Librarian
Days Open: 37

Statistics

Circulation

  • Total items:1610
  • Computer use (not counting class visits): 842
  • Headsets: 144
  • USB: 0
  • Fiction: 141
  • Database page views: 2033 (a new record high!)

Student and Class Visits

  • Student Visits (students who visit library with a pass during class): 148
  • Class Visits: Total classes: 67
  • Reasons:   Computer Use, Check Out Books, Research lessons, Library Orientations

Resources: Accessibility and Management

With inventory, weeding, and shelf adjustment projects done, I am now ready to move onto some cataloging clean up projects and as well as other labeling and signage projects to make the library even easier to navigate.

The past two years I focused on weeding the non-fiction section and adjusting every shelf in the library.  Together, this allows the library shelves to hold each book upright so spines are clearly seen and to open up space on shelves for some front facing display titles.  While this may seem like a minor change, it greatly enhances accessibility by giving patrons a quick idea of what is in each section and by inviting patrons to browse and find books that match their interests.  Evidence of this is found in that I often will find the display titles on the tables and we have had an increase in circulation rates.  Recently in the biography section, where I created space to display titles of interest in the window ledges, after a class visit all the display books were checked out and I had to replenish the display!

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Currently I am in the process of labeling each bookcase with the call number ranges to make it easier to find books. Next, I want to label the fiction section by genre. Students often come in wanting a mystery or romance book, for instance, and currently the only way to find them within the fiction section is using the catalog. While that will get them to the book, many readers enjoy being able to stand and browse the shelves rather than using the computer (I know I do!).  This will allow them to scan the fiction section for books labeled with the genre they are craving.  Eventually this may lead to re-arranging the section by genres, but for now I will settle for labels.  Finally, I would like to find a better system for call numbers in the graphic novel sections.  We have four sections — Marvel, DC, independent comic labels, and manga — but the call number for all are 741.5.  I added DC or MVL to existing books, but as new titles come in I cannot custom label them and with no staff, it is labor intensive to adjust labels and the catalog.  I might use something similar to the genre stickers for graphic novels.

Finally, with the large weeding project done, I want to work on getting new materials to the collection up to CA Model School Library Standards.  I submitted a budget request to our budget committee and Governance Council.  The principal was able to fund the request through discretionary funds for this year. Thus, I was able to spend $5000 to update books on US Presidents, Senators, and Representatives.  I also used the funds to increase STEM titles and update our test prep books to reflect changes in the SAT and some of the AP tests.  Finally, I included new YA fiction.

In March, I will receive a Librarian Technology Award from CSLA which includes $1000 Mackin credit, so I look forward to being able to buy some new books in the spring.

Events

The book club portion of the Literature Club meets weekly on Wednesdays.

 

In October the library collaborated with Once Upon a Time Bookstore to bring eight classes and a group from our community middle school, Mt. Gleason to the auditorium for a presentation from Young Adult Author Taran Mattharu.  Mattharu spoke to students about how he started writing in elementary school, eventually combining his love to fantasy books and video games to complete stories on the social writing platform, Wattpad.  When a story went viral, he was able to secure an agent and book deal.  He then led students through a writing exercise to learn how to take their own interests in popular culture and turn them into potential stories.   After the presentation students were able to purchase books through Once Upon a Time Bookstore and have Mattharu sign their books.

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Early in the year for Back to School Night, the library invited YA author E. Katherine Kottaras working with Vote.org and the LAPL to set up tables in the main hall.   Read more about this event on the Virtual Librarian Blog.

In Term B, the library will host its annual Poetry Out Loud contest and in February, the literary assembly takes on a new look with a student-led panel discussions!

Technology and Instruction

I started off this year by revamping the library orientation to focus less on policies, which students will not remember if they don’t use the library regularly, and more on getting students engaged with the catalog and materials. First, I created an interactive presentation with Pear Deck to give a quick overview of when they can access the library and what the library offers.  Next, we looked at how to find books in the library catalog. To practice, I divided students into teams and we played a round of Kahoot in which they students have to use the catalog to find the answer to book query questions (i.e. What is the call number for a poetry book about Hurricane Katrina?).  As they do this, students help each other in using key words to find books they want and to locate call numbers.  I then ended the orientation by explaining where to locate the main sections and allowing time to check out books.  I came in for one day of the Bridge Program to deliver this orientation to all freshmen.  Next, I designed a level two orientation for returning students that focused on a review of the catalog and an introduction to the databases.

For instruction, I continued to deliver and develop the introduction to research unit Dr. Norton and I created last year for her freshmen classes.  We started with what we did last year and adjusted for her varied classes. For the blended AP Language/ AP US History group we accelerated the unit and expected them to assemble the presentation on their own.  For her regular 9th grade class that has a large percentage of students with IEPs and has the disadvantage of being the last period of the day, we slowed down the unit by simplifying the topic selection to those in the Gale Opposing Viewpoints database and restricting the first round to finding and saving article from there.

I also adapted this unit for 9th and 10th grade honors classes. This time collaborating with Mrs. Heerman, she wanted the final project to be an annotated bibliography.  We moved through the unit within five weeks.  For term B, she wanted to redo the process so students could deepen their engagement with these new skills and this time to produce a presentation.  I took the presentation Dr. Norton created that focuses on presenting the steps of research and reflecting on it for round 2, level 2 that requires students to synthesize their information and formulate a thesis. The presentation still begins with an overview of the research process and closes with a reflection and works cited.

2018-10-16_1152

I hope to expand applying these lessons in other subject areas and to develop an interdisciplinary pacing plan for implementing research skills school wide.  Thanks the collaborations with these teachers and continued work with many of our special education teachers, we tripled the usage of our databases from the same time last year.

Professional Development

Finished with my MLIS and awaiting my NBCT results, this year to maintain professional growth as a teacher librarian I joined the selection committee for the Westchester Fiction Award.  This will result in me reading about 100 books as we select a winner and 10 runners-up.  While the MLIS and NBCT honed my skills in using and teaching technology and information literacy, I wanted professional development to help me reconnect with reading advisory skills.  I would like this to feed into re-invigorating my reading recommendation blog that I started as part of a graduate school assignment. Finally, as a selection committee member I will be able add almost $2000 work of new YA fiction to our library collection!

I also attended the district professional development day for teacher librarians in August which focused on the new databases from the State of California.

Final Thoughts

This term Mr. Peterson signed up to bring his classes in every two weeks to check out books. Each time they come in he provides them with a focus for choosing books.  They started out with subject related topics but opened up to books about a value they support or a cause for which they would want to advocate.  It allows the students to bring in their interests while also requiring them to use the catalog to find books to fit the task.  He requires them to have the book for silent reading time in his class a few times a week. This reminds me how, the research units picking up momentum, I need to return attention to getting classes in for independent reading.  Currently I am working with a small group of teachers and administrators to develop the idea of a Verdugo Reads selection modeled after the Big Read program.   I hope to have update next term!

March 9th – June 7th 2018

Verdugo Hills High School Library & Research Center Monthly Report

Lisa Cheby, Teacher Librarian
Days Open:

Statistics

Circulation

  • Total items: 1500
  • Computer use (not counting class visits): 1107
  • Headsets: 117
  • USB:1
  • Fiction: 114
  • Database page views: 1067

Student and Class Visits

  • Student Visits (students who visit library with a pass during class): 244
  • Class Visits: Total classes: 87
  • Reasons:   Computer Use, Check Out Books, Research lessons, Library Orientations

Resources: Accessibility and Management

This term I had three students who enrolled in library practice, allowing me allowing us to complete the inventory required by ILTSS.  With the help of faculty and administration, I was please to be able to clear all senior accounts, reclaiming many of our lost books, before graduation day!

The weeding and re-shelving project is complete! All reference books are now integrated into our non-fiction section and our fiction section has been expanded to the entire area around the circulation desk.  Every book is now able to stand upright so all spines are visible for easier browsing and each shelf has room for a display book to more easily identify each section.

 

 

We finally received our allocation for IMA funding from the budget committee and governance council, so I was able to order some new fiction books students have been eager to read and to complete some series.  I also received additional funds from the filming funds which I used to place orders that will arrive just in time for the new year!

Events

On April 11th, Nohe Torres and Aleesis Curtis read at the Big Read LA launch at LA City Hall.  A group of about 60 students, parents, and teachers attended to celebrate the launch of Big Read LA.  This year’s selection was CITIZEN, by Claudia Rankine (copies available in the library).

I also organized a field trip to the Huntington Library and Garden for students to see a performance of Langston Hughes’ 12 part hybrid Jazz and poetry composition.  Before the performance we learned how the Huntington came to house an archive of Langston Hughes’s work and letters.  After we got to tour the gardens.

Finally, for National Poetry Month, the library hosted the creative writing club for a poetry open mic.  We had food, shared poetry, and celebrated literature and community.  Incidentally, a study has show poetry reading is on the rise.  Look out for Poetry Out Loud next year!

Technology and Instruction

This quarter, partly in conjunction with my National Board Certification requirements, I wrapped up two ambitious units in collaboration with Dr. Norton and the special education department intended to be a model for rethinking how we teach research at Verdugo Hills High School.

The unit with Dr. Norton for 9th grade English classes uses the TRAILS as a pre/post assessment and put information literacy skills at the center of the lesson, resulting a presentation that highlighted not only what students learned about their chosen topic, but about information literacy skills and the process of research.

With the special education department, I worked on a unit to build digital vocabulary so that teachers could be more effective in using technology in their classroom. The challenge was giving students instruction on technology without a common vocabulary.  Using Quizlet and Google Docs, I create a 4-part lesson delivered over 4 weeks introducing key digital vocabulary (such as address bar, URL, desktop, window, and tab).  Using Quizlet students could practice the vocabulary between each lesson. We then used those words to teach students how to use Google Docs.  Finally, we created a scavenger hunt for student to follow to practice using the words.  The most successful was the Quizlet live reviews which not only required students use the words correctly, but taught students the importance of working slowly and collaborative to find the right answer rather than rushing or guessing.

Professional Development

I attended the Teacher Librarian Professional Development session at the ILTSS offices downtown.

I also completed the final components for my National Board Certification for Teachers.

Final Thoughts

I am grateful for all I learned this year thanks to the challenges of completing my National Board Certification Components and from working with such talented teachers. I am excited about doing outreach to more faculty next year and building on the units I created to increase differentiated lessons for students of all levels and across subjects.

 

January 8th – March 8th 2018

Verdugo Hills High School Library & Research Center Monthly Report

Lisa Cheby, Teacher Librarian
Days Open: 39

Statistics

Circulation

  • Total items: 968
  • Computer use (not counting class visits): 550
  • Headsets: 131
  • USB:0
  • Fiction: 142
  • Database page views: 705

Student and Class Visits

  • Student Visits (students who visit library with a pass during class): 78
  • Class Visits: Total classes: 88
  • Reasons:   Computer Use, Check Out Books, Research lessons, Library Orientations

Resources: Accessibility and Management

This term I have two students who enrolled in library practice, allowing me to make much progress on the inventory required by ILTSS.  This will improve the accuracy of the cart catalog, assist in collection development analysis and decisions, and facilitate identifying and finding desired materials for our patrons.

The weeding and re-shelving project is about 95% complete.  I got slowed down a bit by the increase in teachers booking lessons. I am pleased to notice that the new organization of books on the shelf allowing for ‘presentation’ or highlight books seems to draw attention as these books are often checked out or found in the return boxes where patrons leave books they browsed in the library but did not check out. Likewise, during teacher meetings, more faculty, staff, and administration have noticed books and checked them out.

We finally received our allocation for IMA funding from the budget committee and governance council.  The council passed the budget with the addendum that a unique formula for the library and academic decathlon needs to be created as using the formula for other departments has resulted in a gross under-funding of these unique programs.  Therefore, we will make little progress in getting our STEM sections up-to-date, though will be able to purchase about 100 new books for the library with the funds from IMA, fine money, and the principal’s effort to find other funds not restricted that could be used for books.   I will also think about summer fundraisers.

Events

In February, Poetry Out Loud contest winner, Lusine Ohanyan, represented LAUSD and Verdugo Hills High School as the Los Angeles Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition in Cerritos.  She did a fabulous job reciting two poems.  However, only one winner is chosen to move to the state level.  As a junior, I hope Lusine enters again to possibly have a chance to move up to the state level.

 

The library also has provided a series of lessons for the AP English classes around the Big Read LA selection, CITIZEN.  Working with Dr. Norton, we have guided student through analysis and poetic responses to the book, culminating in a poetry workshop with poet and activist, Dr. Ashaki M. Jackson on March 8th.  This program was funded in

partnership with the LA Department of Cultural Affairs and we were happy to have Dale Guy Madison from that department join us in the workshop.  Two students will read their work at the April 11th launch of the Big Read LA at City Hall.  A group of 80 students, parents, and teachers will be in attendance at the launch thanks to this partnership as well as as the funds from Councilmember Monica Rodriguez for transportation.

Technology and Instruction

This quarter saw the roll-out of 14 new Chromebook carts on campus. Interestingly, this has actually allowed the library to increase its usage for reading, writing, research, and orientation lessons as more teachers use the Chromebooks for testing and assessment programs.  This was also required as midway through this term the secure browser and library operating system become incompatible, so the browsers cannot be use.  After discussing with our school and local district IT personnel, it was decided that the labor to update all 42 computers would be too burdensome on the school and district.  Since the Chromebooks are compatible, it was decided that the testing coordinator would reserve those for testing and teachers doing the interim assessments could do so on the Chromebooks.  Again, this allows the library to bring in more classes for instruction, so actually has increased usage of library resources such as books and databases.

This term I also engaged in more small group and long term instructional units with several classes.  Teachers who are using group-based instruction have collaborated with me to work with small groups on research projects over the term. This has allowed me to individualize instruction and help students delve deeper into hands-on research with our resources.  It has also allowed me to refine how I teach research, differentiating based on grade level and student need.

Professional Development

I attended the Teacher Librarian Professional Development session at the ILTSS offices downtown.  In this session we talked about blending learning, updates on the library catalog, and protocols for inventory and cataloging.

I also started the final components for my National Board Certification for Teachers.   This requires me to videotape and reflect on my teaching in two different settings. I chose to work on a grpi[ senior research project with the seniors from Mrs. Talbott’s classes and library orientation and basic research lessons with Dr. Norton’s freshman.  For the senior project, I also incorporated a new step in research based on my findings that colleges find students come into college unable to identify different types of sources and when each would be used.  For the freshmen, I revamped my orientation to focus more on skills and to get student finding books using the catalog.   The other component focuses on assessment, collaboration, and reflection.  For that I worked with Mr. Berg’s AP Government class and we wanted to focus on finding their weak points in information literacy and do one or two focus lessons to prepare them for college by trying to fill in that gap.  We identified, using the TRAILS assessment, that student struggled with understanding copyright, ownership, and licensing of images that should determine their use and citation of images in their work.  We collaborated on a lesson to learn and practice identifying ownership/licensing of digital images and to use critical thinking to determine when they could or could not use the image, including applying Fair Use guidelines.

Final Thoughts

This has been an exceptionally busy month with new, more in-depth collaborations with teachers on campus as well as planning the events in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs for the Big Read LA.  I am also working with my library practice students who want to organize a reading contest for the final term.  Now that I have momentum for getting classes in for research instruction and that the weeding project is almost done, I want to start strategizing how to increase readership on campus.  I have been reading about what motivates and supports students in becoming avid readers and will research what stragegies other librarians have use.  However, so far, there is a lot on what does not work and little on what does.  Another challenge is getting buy-in from adults on campus, which I feel is essential to a successful reading program.

October-December 2017

Verdugo Hills High School Library & Research Center Monthly Report

Lisa Cheby, Teacher Librarian
Days Open: 41

Statistics

Circulation

  • Total items: 1823
  • Computer use (not counting class visits): 1101
  • Headsets:132
  • USB:0
  • Fiction: 348
  • Database page views: 1438

Student and Class Visits

  • Student Visits (students who visit library with a pass during class): 313
  • Class Visits: Total classes: 81
  • Reasons:   Computer Use, Check Out Books, Research lessons, Library Orientations

Resources: Accessibility and Management

I was surprised this quarter by the circulation statistics.  I hope the efforts to keep new books coming in and to adjust shelving to makes existing books more discoverable  are contributing to the rise in circulation.  However, it is more likely rooted in computer use and, with the district wide implementation of Schoology, increased use of using technology to assign and submit homework.

The weeding and reshelving project is about 90% complete.  I continue weeded many books with outdated science and medical information from our non-fiction section as I integrate the reference section into the general non-fiction. While doing this I decided to keep the REF prefix so that the books are findable if someone wants to find a reference source.

I am still waiting for the final allocation from the budget committee, but thanks to a DonorsChoose Campaign we were able to add about 20 new titles to the collection.  This order consisted mostly of National Book Award finalists and winners.   I was excited to see a few of them were also recognized by We Need Diverse Books and Goodreads.   It’s been hard to keep the new fiction displays full since students are checking out the books — which is exactly as it should be!

Events

This year’s literary assembly was a great success.  Poet F. Douglas Brown came early to work with Dr. Norton’s AP English class to prepare them for studying the 2018 Big Read LA is Citizen by Claudia Rankine (available in our library).   Likewise, I received wonderful feedback from many of the teachers and the nearly 200 students who attended the assembly in the auditorium.  Each speaker gave heartfelt presentations including not only their writing, but how they rose up through often difficult beginnings to find their voice and to seek education that gave them the ability to articulate their experiences and to write against injustice in the world.

Later in this quarter, Mr. Ryan and Dr. Norton’s classes met in Exhibition Hall to watch about 15 students compete for the  Poetry Out Loud  title.  The winner, Lusine Ohanyan, will got to the regional contest in February.   This will be the 4th year Verdugo has participated in this national poetry recitation contest supported by the NEA.

Technology and Instruction

This quarter my focus has been on getting more classes in for orientation and research and to support staff in being more technologically fluent for their classrooms.  I started using some new presentation tools, such as PearDeck and Kahoot, to move my presentations into more interactive lessons and to model for teachers some of these tools.

Professional Development

This semester I attended the Librarian Professional Development at the Museum of Tolerance where we not only learned about the Museum’s resources, but received instruction from the Center for Medial Literacy.  When I first started teaching and had many intervention classes, I used their toolkit to building literacy using visual media and popular culture so that they could bring more confidence and skills to approaching written texts.  I would like to see how this model might supplement or replace some of the source evaluation tools I use in research lessons, such as the CRAAP test, as I feel the 5 Key Questions and 5 Core Concepts from CML are build a stronger critical thinking and metacognative skills for students to engage more deeply with media of all types.

Final Thoughts

This term was disrupted by many events beyond our control, such as the local fires that forced an evacuation of the campus and neighborhood and closed the school for several days.  That said, I am proud of our resilience and our dedication to closing out the semester as normally as possible. This also did not change the increased use of the library during lunch.

 

August-September 2017

Verdugo Hills High School Library & Research Center Monthly Report

Lisa Cheby, Teacher Librarian
Days Open: 33

Statistics

Circulation

  • Total items: 918
  • Computer use (not counting class visits): 508
  • Headsets: 99
  • USB: 0
  • Fiction: 148
  • Database page views: 604

Student and Class Visits

  • Student Visits (students who visit library with a pass during class): 136
  • Class Visits: Total classes: 48
  • Reasons:   Computer Use, Check Out Books, Research lessons, Library Orientations

Resources: Accessibility and Management

The year started off strong with several classes coming in for orientations and projects.  It was exciting to work with a new teacher, Mr. Camacho, to collaborate on using the databases for research for all levels of Spanish Classes.  By coming in, I was able to teach students and the teacher about the various resources available, including access to article in Spanish! While he has not been back to to the library, he did call me down to his room one day as students used their phones to access our subscription Encyclopedias to look up information.  He said he does not allow students to use Wikipedia or Google and our databases are the first-stop for research questions.  I am still trying to get more teachers in and to continue to promote these resources across campus as it is essential to preparing our students to be information literate citizens and future scholars.

The weeding and reshelving project is about 75% complete.  I continue to weed duplicate and outdated books from our non-fiction section as I integrate the reference section into the general non-fiction.  Likewise, as the shelves are adjusted to accommodate the reference collection, the books now fit better on the shelves to increase visibility, brows-ability, and accessibility.  The books from the donation by Monica Ratliff’s office allowed us to start off the year with displays of new fiction and non-fiction.  Our Mackin Fundraiser allowed us to purchase $1100 of new titles which should be arriving in a few weeks.  The free year of non-fiction titles from Junior Library Guild also brings in great titles each month and we still have the fundraiser online to hopefully continue that into next year.  The budget committee has not allocated department funds yet, so the library has not received a budget from the school.

Events

Invitation copy

I moved the literary assembly to the fall semester this year.  Originally, the literary assembly started as as celebration of National Poetry Month in April.  However, as it evolved I started to diversify the program with writers in all genres.  More recently, as we partner with LA Department of Cultural Affairs in the Big Read LA events, which culminate in March, it made sense to move the assembly up and to choose a theme that would build interest in the Big Read LA selection.  The selection for the 2018 Big Read LA is Citizen by Claudia Rankine (available in our library), so I invited writers who write about race and class.   So far we have about 200 students attending the assembly.

Also this Fall, there are three teachers, Ms. Leserman, Mr. Ryan, and Dr. Norton,  who will be participating in Poetry Out Loud  by hosting competitions in their classes.  The class winners will compete in a school-wide competition on November 29th in Room 7 during Period 2.  The winner will go to the regional contest in February.   This will be the 4th year Verdugo has participated in this national poetry recitation contest supported by the NEA.

 

Technology and Instruction

While there was a lot of interest and progress last year, I am disappointed that I have not had any teachers sign up to incorporate more research skills into their curriculum.  I have some of my regular collaborators and hope maybe later in the year they will also work with me on more long-term plans for embedding information literacy lessons into their courses.

After the school’s phase one of technology investment, which focused on providing all teachers with technology such as laptops and projectors so they may start using technology themselves in order to bring it into their classes, we have started a series of PD’s for teachers to learn how to use the LMS, Schoology, and Google Apps.  Our first session had small groups of teachers working with a team leader to co-create a Google Slide presentation using our LAUSD SSO.  I realized a lot of the digital readiness needs of our students are also needed by teachers.  Therefore, I started to create a series of videos (my goal is about 2 per week) on various processes.  The first one in response to this PD was a video about how to select and cite images with consideration for copyright laws and licenses.  I often see students go to Google, take images, and print them for posters or put them into presentations.  I rarely see students filter for images licensed for reuse and/or cite them.  While teachers fall back on fair use clauses, the larger issue is that we are neglecting to teach students to think critically about the origin and use of information and proper citation.   If we are not teaching them to understand that what they access are all created by people and that ideas are valuable and original thought is valuable, then how do we expect them to take their own thinking, writing, and creations seriously?

In order to push us in this direction, I will continue to develop online video tutorials for teachers and students to use as well as collaborate with fellow librarians on information literacy lessons that can be adapted to assignments in various disciplines so that as I continue to promote library services on campus, when teachers come to me I have some options for collaboration.

Professional Development

This semester I attended the Librarian Professional Development at the district office where we studied the Instructional Technology Initiative Task Force Recommendations and the ISTE Standards for Students through interactive lessons delivered through Schoology by the ITI and ITLSS teams.  The teams modeled how to create units, forums for socratic seminar discussions.

I was able to apply some of these ideas by working with my school Principal to create a similar PD for our faculty.  However, we had to scale back the session to create the Google Slides PD described above.  It was useful to be both a participant and leader in that and to have the chance to apply what I’ve learned in modeling how to introduce technology to students.

Final Thoughts

This year I have noticed an increase in library use during lunch.  In the past we have only used about 3 of the computer pods and now most are used with anywhere from 15 to 25 students working at a time.  In addition, the back tables and other seating areas are filled.   It is great to see so many students coming in to finish work.

 

January – June 2017

Verdugo Hills High School Library & Research Center Monthly Report

Lisa Cheby, Teacher Librarian
Days Open: 71
Days Closed: 31 (19 due to testing)

Statistics

Circulation

  • Total items: 2807
  • Computer use (not counting class visits): 1797
  • Headsets: 176
  • USB: 25
  • Fiction: 366
  • Database page views: 1528

Student and Class Visits

  • Student Visits (students who visit library with a pass during class): 833
  • Class Visits: Total classes: 27
  • Reasons:   Computer Use, Check Out Books, Research lessons, Library Orientations, Smarter Balanced Testing, VoiceThread/Google Slide Projects,

Resources: Accessibility and Management

The increase in class visits to the library is evident in the tardiness of this report.  We had most math and English classes come in to use the library for the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments to use as pre/post-tests for students.

We also had many teachers wanting to use the computer lab for research lessons as well as work using online tools such as Google Apps, Read Theory, and Quill.  Mr. Berg and Mrs. Arentoft had students use the databases, verified online government and non-profit websites, and the Library of Congress primary source collections to create collaborative projects in Google Slides, Google Docs, and VoiceThread.  Dr. Norton continued to emphasize digital literacy and independent work habits through her “4 Goal Fridays” in Edmodo.

Finally, I am continuing to implement collection management and development through weeding, rearranging shelving, and fundraising.  I have continued to weed the collection, eliminating out-dated materials and duplicate materials that are not frequently circulated according to LAUSD and ALA best practices for collection management.  In the process, I’ve come across some beautiful and unusual books such as these:

As the shelves are adjusted so all books fit on the shelves so all spines are visible, I hope more patrons will find these lovely books as well as others of interest.  This is also making new room for books that I am able to purchase through fundraisers and donations.  Though the school only gave the library about $450 to manage the collection, I was able to secure one free year of a subscription for non-fiction titles from Junior Library Guild.  We also received $1000 from outgoing LAUSD Board Member, Monica Ratliff’s office.  I am currently running a fundraising campaign through Mackin and Junior Library Guild. Our alumni already donated $1100 in books via Mackin, bringing us one third of the way towards our goal.  Finally, I was able to also acquire new books through a Donors Choose campaign with books recommended by the We Need Diverse Books Campaign.

Events

This spring I also organized several events through the library. First, was our annual literary assembly with three wonderful writers, Xochtil-Julisa Bermejo, Lilliam Rivera, and Seth Fischer.   Each spoke about how they use writing to promote change they want to see in the world.  Many students wrote inspired thank you letters and the readers thoroughly enjoyed meeting our students.  Thanks to Donors Choose we were able to offer a small honorarium to thank the writers for their time and talents.

Additionally, I coordinated a field trip and events for Book Club, Creative Writing Club, and Dr. Norton’s AP class in conjunction with the Big Read LA.  We once again were invited to attend the launch ceremony at LA City Hall in the Council Chambers followed by a literary program and lunch in the park outside City Hall.   We also had scholar and author of a book about Emily Dickinson and her recipes visit to talk share with students what we can learn about Dickinson’s life and society through food and recipes.  It was fascinating!

The library also continues to host the Book Club every Wednesday during lunch.  They continued with more successful Donor’s Choose campaigns for more books.  They also participated in welcoming our incoming 8th graders and Verdugo Day.  In addition, they hosted their first movie night, looking at an adaptation of one of their selections from this year: World War Z.   We all agreed it was interesting to see how loosely the movie related to the book.

Technology and Instruction

I am excited to say that the innovation in using technology for instruction has continued this term.  We used the computer lab for tests, such as Smarter Balanced and the AP Spanish Language test, which requires a listening and speaking component.  For this AP test, we had ITD install audacity and used the new headsets with mics donated by a group of alumni.  They worked great!  More recently Mrs. Arentoft’s class created VoiceThread presentations, which allowed them to combine Google Slides, photos, audio, and video into collaborative presentations on the American Dream using the Library of Congress primary source collections.  Finally, as mentioned above, Dr. Norton has taught me much about how to consistently train her 9th graders in digital literacy using Edmodo, Schoology, and Google Apps!

As a reminder from my last report, I am also available to co-teach more in-depth research units!   Dr. Norton and I administered a pre and post-test via TRAILS for her 9th grade class and a post-test for her seniors.  We were pleased to see a 6% increase in overall class average on the TRAILS test for 9th graders.  Additionally, in surveys, many of the students commented how challenged they were by the critical thinking and planning required by research and how introduction to the databases allowed them to delve more deeply in to topics than before.   Though hard, the students appreciate the challenge and the chance to learn skills they will need in college.

Here are a few quotes from the survey from our AP English Students:

  • “I think the ability to use databases effectively will be most helpful to me, because it is a good way to get reliable and credible information.”
  • “Databases will be the most usefull[sic] because I need them for college level research papers.”
  • “knowing how to use a database. I’m glad that I learned how to find reliable information”
  • “I wish I had gained more strength with the databases so I would have more sources to my disposal when needed.”

Her 12th grade class had similar responses

Screenshot of survey result showing 65% though the research unit had the most impact on students' learning.
Dr. Norton’s end of term survey results from a 12 grade English class. As one student commented “these taught me how to start doing better research and start thinking like a college student”. Others noted the research papers as the most valuable writing assignment because they, “learned how to search for information on my own” and “learned how to cite the author correctly and to make sure not to plagiarize.”

What we learned from this is that we need to not wait until the senior year to introduce students to research tools like the databases and skills like citing and formatting according to MLA or APA.

Professional Development

In order to keep up with technology and education, I attended the CUE conference in Palm Springs in March.   I attended with Mr. Berg, with whom I collaborated on a hybrid designed lesson on research in the fall.   Our intention was to take part in the Information Literacy Summit co-sponsored by CSLA, but we found many of the presentations in the expo and the short “Cue tips” sessions from other teachers using technology to be inspiring.  We were happy to see that in our lesson included many elements covered in the information literacy summit (use of hybrid technology, focus on research and critical thinking, use of the Question Formulation Technique and Information Search Process).  I learned better the connection between 3-D printers and skills students need to master in math and science, and how they may be combined with art for hands-on learning.   I also was challenged to think more about how to use online learning tools, such as VoiceThread or EdPuzzle, to create rich, differentiated instruction in a class.  One of the objectives of the design of the lab was to allow for small group instruction around the projector while other students work independently.  In a presentation from an alternative school about creating hybrid lessons, I saw how this model could allow me to adapt the study I did with Mr. Berg, where the class was divided in two so some received a live lecture while others accessed the lesson via video, so that both lessons could be delivered simultaneously with students choosing if they wanted to participate in live whole class instruction or listen independently to the online lesson.  Either way, all would have access to the video lessons for review or for if they miss a session.

One of the greatest opportunities for professional growth this term was learning from my colleagues.  In collaborating with faculty on campus, I pick up new skills and see new way to adapt research lessons and skills to fit into a variety of curriculum.  I am working with the information literacy committee to put together standards and samples of this in a Google Doc.  I hope by the end of next year we will have clear proposals to bring this schoolwide.  Additionally, we had our best practices professional development sessions where I learned what different departments are doing to engage students in their content area.  I liked the emphasis on collaboration, effort and failure, and process from the Math department; the modeling of structured patterns to then be adapted by students for their individual needs in the P.E. department; and emphasis on critical reading skills in the “Reading Like a Historian” model used by the Social Studies department.

Final Thoughts

This was great year for increasing class visits, collaborative lessons, and technological use on campus through the library.  However, this also resulted in a bit of a drop in book circulations, particularly for independent reading.  For next year, I hope to continue the collaborations, but also reinvigorate independent reading.  I hope all teachers would consider how to promote independent reading and perhaps this will open a new area of collaboration.

The other area that will likely be the next management project is cataloging of books. As noted, we have some wonderful books, new and old, in our collection.  As I work on weeding and rearranging shelves for easier access, I notice that some are mis-categorized and some have incomplete catalog records. When a book in the catalog is missing items like proper subject headings, this makes the book invisible unless someone stumbles upon it on the shelf since the catalog will only be able to find terms associated with a book if those terms are in the record.  For a library as old and as rich as Verdugo’s library, this will be a challenging task.  However, as a librarian, it is also one that will be great fun as I discover, and help patrons discover, the treasures of our collection.