We've been celebrating National Poetry Month in multiple ways in the library that I have chronicled. Through Book Spine Poetry, Blackout Poetry, and Poem-A-Day, we have celebrated all things poetry here! I wasn't quite sure though what to do for Poem in Your Pocket Day, which is today. I found a few ideas on Pinterest and toyed around with the ideas of them in my head. However, one of our English teachers took on Poem in Your Pocket Day and promoted it to the staff during our staff meeting last week, encouraging teachers, no matter what discipline they teach, to promote poetry on campus.
She followed up with an e-mail to the staff with all kind of ideas. She listed multiple ways, and at the very bottom, she suggested "Get a tattoo of a poem." Then she wrote, "Just kidding! Wanted to see who would read to the bottom of this very long e-mail!"
A few teachers joked with her back, including my library tech. We laughed about it later, but then I said, "I wonder if there's a way to do a temporary tattoo of a poem and freak her out!" Our IT guy, who has multiple tattoos, said, "Yeah, you can get a temporary tattoo before it becomes permanent to make sure you want it." And the idea began to take shape.
What if I found a way to create temporary tattoos for students on Poem in Your Pocket Day?!?! Off I went to research.
I immediately was drawn to Rupi Kaur's poetry. Her poems have nice simple graphics with them, and she has many short and powerful poems. I first uploaded her original poems and images into PicMonkey, deleted the original text, and inserted new text in a larger and similar font to the original. I felt as if the original images would not be readable. In the end, my design ended up being about 1.5" square. Take a look at all 6 poems I chose below.
The *only* thing I would change for last year would be to have a few more "upbeat" poems. Rupi Kaur's poems to tend to be a little more on the depressing side. I personally think they are powerful, but students wanted something a little more happy for a tattoo! The one with the sun was the first to go.
We set up a station near the front desk to apply the tattoos and put up a sign letting students know what was going on. At our little tattoo station, we set up a basket with the tattoos, some instructions for how to apply them, a bowl with some wet washcloths, and a water bottle. See image below I took WAY later in the day when they were almost gone!.
The process for students was simple. They just peeled off a plastic film on the front, placed it on their skin, covered it with a wet washcloth for 10 to 15 seconds, and peeled off the paper backing. Done!
I was SO impressed with how these tattoos looked once they were applied! I was afraid I was going to get a dud on the first try, but my first tattoo looked GREAT! I'm only upset I didn't order twice as much tattoo paper, something I will make sure to do for next year.
The only other thing I would change is to create some kind of hashtag for students taking a picture of the tattoo. I would also encourage the rest of the staff to use the hashtag as well so we can see what everyone is doing around campus! Students even asked what hashtag they should use as they took pictures of themselves!
Overall, what an awesome event! I've never had so many students say to me, "This is really cool!" so often about something I did in the library. They pleaded with me to do it again next year as well, so this is definitely one I will bring back again bigger and better next year!
One of the projects I've had on my plate for the 15-16 school year has been weeding my very outdated reference section. Here is my library, our print reference is split in two different areas of the library, so there is even more reasons to weed! The print reference are on some "regular" bookshelves and then in a "T" lower bookshelf section int he middle of the library. See picture below. My goal was to weed the reference section to the point where only the lower "T" bookshelf held out print reference section.
So I began my journey and I followed the typical things you think about when you are weeding. How does the physical copy look? When was it published? Is the information up to date? Etc. However, there are a few other practical tips I found as I went through as I thoroughly weeded. Here are a few.
#2: How much information do you need on one topic?
Here's another dilemma. When it came to books on World Religion, did I really need 10 print reference books on this topic? For my school, no I did not. I do not currently have classes coming into the library doing research projects on religion. Therefore, I don't need those 10 books. I only need one or maybe two for our library's needs.
There were other books as seen in the image above that I held onto that were single volumes on a specific topic as well. Many of these topics were popular in persuasive essays, and a student is much more likely to pick up a book that is on their specific topic than comb through a larger encyclopedia of a broader topic.
#3: How accurate are the view expressed in the book in 2016? Not just for accuracy but. . . .
This is a no-brainer and something we think about all the time as librarians, but I found some interesting situations as I debated over a few topics. We all know that science has an expiration date for accuracy, but it extends far beyond this. Here are a few interesting situations I came across as I weeded. . . . .
* A book on homosexuality published in 2009. While this may seem somewhat up-to-date, so much has happened in the LGBTQ community in the past 7 years that this book had some out of date ideas, such as the state of same-sex marraige, the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, etc. In the end, I decided to keep the book because it was the only book we had that was a single volume on homosexuality and at least contained some accurate information. I would only recommened this book as a selective supplemental.
* A book on transgender people publish in 2011. Again, much like the book above, 2011 doesn't seem too far away. However, so much has happened just in the last year for the transgender community. Does the book reflect the world today? No. But again, was it the only single volume we have on transgender people? Yes. So it stayed.
* Multiple books on race relations published within the past 10 years. The tension of race relations has changed in recent years. Many of the books I went through focused mostly on African American/White America relationships with very little mentioning of other races. The landscape is changing in America. While many of these books were of good quality and I kept a few, so many were simply (and sadly) out of date to the current tension of America.
Overall, while weeding does not seem like a tasks that anyone enjoys, I actually find some joy in going through the reference collection. I start to understand the collection more. I understand what I'm keep and why so I can help that next kid a little more accurately when they come through the door. It's an excellent project, and I can't wait to figure out what I will do with the space I create! My modern library is starting to come together. . . .
Being a former drama teacher, I was thrilled when the current drama teacher at my school came to me wanting assistance with her theatre history project! Theatre history was one of my favorite classes in my undergrad work, and doing a theatre history project was always one of my goals I never achieved as a drama teacher. I simply didn't have time to put together a project I thought the kids would enjoy and covered all of the important topics. Lets face it. . . . .the last thing the beginning drama student wants to hear is that they are doing a research project! (Although it may be fun for some nerdy little drama geeks like me!)
When Renee came to me with the project, her format was spending just one day doing research in the library, having the students write a script where they incorporated all the important facts they researched (i.e. a game show, a "time travel" skit, etc.), and then to quiz the class on what they saw. In her opinion, the unit was scattered at best. Students didn't always do the best job at writing a script or researching, their quiz questions were too specific or too general.
So we sat down like any good librarian-teacher should and began to collaborate. What made this even more exciting was the fact that I used to be a drama teacher, and this was a project I always wanted to do. Renee already had some great guiding worksheets available to help guide the student's research, so we decided to use those as a platform to jump off of. In the end, I think we found the perfect balance of research and performance.
PART ONE: Research
The begin their research students will spend two day in the library. We decided the best way for the students to do their research was through the guiding questions she created for each group. After all, these were beginning drama students, many of which are freshmen. They would need the guidance. I took her original Microsoft Word documents and converted them over to Google Docs and started her up in Google Classroom. The only hitch in our plan was that her students were working in groups with different topics. Google Classroom STILL does not have a way to create groups! This is how we fixed the issue.
One of the ways in which you can fix the problem of not being able to assign groups in Google Classroom is to assign each group a separate assignment, which is what we did for this project. Each group has an assignment with their topic and attached are a link to the library website research materials and a copy of their guiding questions for research they must complete. Normally, a teacher could simply say that the guiding questions can be "Students can edit this document," but they would let anyone in the class open up any of the documents and edit anything they wanted, not just the group members. (Come on, Google. Get it together here!) Therefore, I decided to just have it simply say "Each student will get a copy." That way one group member will go in and share it with their other group members. This was the easiest and fastest way to distribute all of the information.
The next step will be creating a Google Slide Presentation presenting the information they have researched. I decided to take a risk and create an example presentation for Renee. She wasn't super familiar with Google Slides, and I felt that with my extensive background knowledge in theatre and Google Slides, I would be able to do this quickly and effectively. So I took the risk and made the presentation.
I decided to go with a format similar to what I did with an Art Critique Project I created for our Art 1 classes earlier this year. Each of the guiding questions have their own slide. Each student in charge of those guiding questions puts their name in the corner of the slide. Each student has a background color that corresponds to their slides. This way, the teacher knows exactly what each student has done.
In addition to this, I created a slide at the end (again, a risk! I didn't ask the teacher about this ahead of time!) where they found a You Tube clip that showed their genre of theatre in a professional manner.
Then there are a few more slides coordinating with part three and four of this project.
On this slide, students would introduce the cast and give just a simple set-up to the scene. Then, as I imagine it, the projection screen on the stage would roll up for a moment, the projector would turn off, and students would perform their scene. We decided the scenes would be chosen by us, since some of the genres (Kabuki Theatre, Vaudville, etc.) would be difficult for students to find an effective scene on their own. It would be nice if we had the time to give students some options.
PART FOUR: Quiz
The final portion of the slide show and the presentation by the group would be a short ten question quiz. The students will be receiving this example presentation as a template to work off of. Much like the guiding terms Google Doc, one group member would go into Google Classroom, open this template attached to an assignment in Google Classroom, and share it with their group members.
Therefore, since students will be working from this template, they can use the quiz slides at the end to see what good quality questions look like. Renee could also require them to keep the format of a certain number of True/False, Multiple Choice, and Short Answer.
Beyond those slides are the answers to the quiz questions and their bibliography.
Overall, I'm excited to see how these projects come out in the end! I think it's the perfect blend of research, presentation, and performance to fulfill the standard of teaching theatre history to a beginning drama class.
I only wish I had thought of it sooner!
As it approaches the end of the year, I already have some really exciting ideas for what I would like to do for celebrations here in the library, especially for the Class of 2016. However, since I'm not a classroom teacher anymore, I often forget just about how stressed out everyone can get at the end of the year. It's a crazy time for students and staff alike, and I have been toying with an idea of having quiet hours in the library as we approach finals as my library is usually very lively. I've done on occasion when forced to with pretty good success. Therefore, I think with a little warning, I could pull off my idea of a Zen Library.
That's a mantra I used a lot as a teacher and continue to use as a librarian. Give them guidance, back away, and then give them the chance to do the right thing. If you constantly hover or are paralyzed by how students may negatively react, you'll never take risks.
So I took my own advice given to me by my library tech, and I told her I decided to do a coloring table for the end of the year along with some coloring bookmarks I found on Pinterest. Then she said to me, "I wonder what other 'Zen' things you could do because that's really the point of the adult coloring book."
I love it when she says something that simply sends the wheels in my head turning! So then I began to think about all the things I possibly do to help kids through finals by destressing and becoming more Zen. Immediately I thought of simple things such as quiet library time to help students study and destress. In addition to this though, I began to gather ideas beyond just a coloring table and bookmarks. What else could the library offer to help students destress?
The idea would be for students to think of positive things during this very stressful time. It's a simple idea that could easily change every other day or have multiple areas where students could post answers and let it grow throughout the two weeks I plan on having a Zen Library.
In addition to the coloring and "journaling," we also have a meditation club on campus this year. How amazing would it be to ask if the meditation club wanted to meet in the library one lunch during these two weeks to have an open session for anyone interested in de-stressing and getting into meditation, a new love of mine. We'll see if it works out, but it's just another things to add to our Zen Library.
Finally, there's the idea of gathering various simple handheld game such as a Rubrick's Cube, stress ball, etc. and setting up a de-stressing area featuring these kind of simple games.
Overall, I think the idea of coming together nicely. Hopefully I can manage to pull it off. Future posts will tell!
Just recently I did a post about National Poetry Month and all the different ways we are celebrating in the library. One of those ways is through Blackout Poetry, which is not a new idea by any means. I've seen it all over Pinterest and Twitter. However, I always like to take ideas I see and make them my own. Trying not to do just what everyone else is doing. So here's our version of how we did Blackout Poetry.
First and foremost, there was the set-up. We had a couple of dead weeks in the beginning of April, so I invited the English classes over to the library in order to partake in Blackout Poetry. I was overwhelmed by the responses! We have block days on Wednesday and Thursday on our campus, so it was a perfect break in a block day!
Next, we hung up the finished works. . . .all over the library. Again, at The Dollar Store I bought clothespins and put string all over the library! My goal was to absolutely fill the library with poetry during this month. Only a few days in to bringing in classes, and we already have a ton of poetry posted. I might run out of space!
What I love more than anything is how brave these teachers are in asking their students to share their works in front of the class. Even the "regular" English classes always have at least one volunteer that will share. And they've created some amazing stuff.
I make sure to post on our Facebook page and our Instagram account every day the best Blackout Poem of the day that I've found. By inviting the classes in as well, it gives them the opportunity to see our Book Spine Poetry and our Poem-a-Day. Teachers are awesome about encouraging their classes to participate in those events while they are here. Our teachers are awesome!
Overall, this has been a great event for everyone! Students overall seem to be enjoying it, teachers absolutely love it, and we're getting some awesome foot traffic into the library during a time we are usually dead.
This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, and so it allowed me to finally do a couple of events I've been looking for an excuse to do for quite some time! I scoured Pinterest and the National Poetry Month website for ideas on how to celebrate, and I finally got everything set up in our library.
As a preface, this past week I finally finished the freshman health research projects, and every year after those projects, we start to get into our slow month of April before the craziness hits again with the end of the year. Therefore, I knew I wanted to create some events to celebrate that would create some foot traffic. While being slow is nice sometimes, I like to keep busy.
Immediately once I put the display up, students started looking at it. Our more "frequent flyers" immediately started to fill out some poems and hung them up! Despite the immediate pull of the display, I knew I was going to need to do more than just put the display up and hope that students would participate. I wanted to fill the library with original poetry.
So I invited English teachers over. It was the perfect time! April is a slow month for us, and the back computer lab is being redone. So it was the perfect time to book some English classes to come in, take a break from "the grind," and make some poetry! In the first hour after I sent out the invitation to the students, I already had 4 English teachers booked with their classes. I'm looking forward to hanging up all the poetry all over the library! I hung up string all over the library across the fiction shelves, along the back non-fiction shelves, and around the computer kiosks. Then I bought a ton of clothespins at the Dollar Store along with some tablecloths to put down on tables when students complete the poetry in order to make sure our tables stayed in good shape. More pictures to come in a week or so!
More often than not though, my TA's like to participate in these types of events to help me promote our events. In the end, I set up an assignment in Google Classroom where I asked them to participate in Blackout Poetry and Book Spine Poetry and attach a picture of both of their poems.
The Poetry Slam is coming up on this Friday and many of our English classes are in the middle of studying poetry as well! Sometimes things are mean to be. . . . . .
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past three years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University
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