A-musing on magazines

I’ve read the recent email thread on print magazine subscriptions with interest; like many of you, I waffle between wanting to honour this format while aiming to ensure budget dollars are well spent.

I’ve felt particularly guilty as we ordered not 1 but 2 magazine cabinets for our renovated library in 2015 (prognostication not on point). Moving them has helped, but we really need to see more traffic to justify renewing subscriptions.

And then we had a thought. The kids always seem shocked to realize that they can lift the lids to find issues – what if we just left the lids open?  So we did. And they’ve attracted more attention so far this week than they have all year. 

Go figure. Shame it took us so long to figure it out…..

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Curiosity killed the… wait, what?


The Curious Classroom by Harvey Daniels (2017), aptly subtitled 10 Structures for Teaching with Student-Directed Inquiry, is one of those professional books you can read on the beach, in a busy airport, on the train, or anywhere else, really. It’s practical and conversational, with plenty of real-life examples, photographs of classrooms, and handy sketchnotes at the end of each chapter.

Read this book: If you are a lower or middle school librarian looking to boost curiosity and wonder at your school, wanting to let students take control and run with their own interests and ideas rather than focusing on the same old research project (is it birds this year? or animals in general?), grab a friendly and collaborative teacher partner and read this book together! This study guide will be gold as you’re reading together. 

Having read this book recently for our Board Book discussion at the AISL conference last week, I’m left with so many nuggets of wisdom and little ideas to embrace students’ curiosity. Here are a few that I’d like to implement ASAP:

Idea: Why don’t I have a Wonder Wall in the library (Google it with a -oasis unless you’d rather listen to the song…)?! The setup is easy — a blank bulletin board with the words “Wonder Wall” and sticky notes or slips of paper for students to tack on. That’s such a simple way to validate and explore students’ questions!

Idea: I feel similarly about Genius Hour — this seems like old news, but I’ve finally found a way to make it work in our lower school library. We have scheduled time throughout the year for Friday afternoon classes that generally last three weeks called Interest Groups. I’ve led Library Helpers, Finger Knitting, Book Budgets, and a variety of other crafty and library-related groups, but I’ve never tried a Genius Hour. And this would be PERFECT for this structured time because students can choose to be in the group and spend their afternoons exploring and researching anything they wanted to! I love having small group research help time and feel like this would be such a natural way to support students.

Nugget: This tip (followed by an example) really made me reflect on my own practice:

With inquiry projects we sometimes spend too much time setting things up. And if we slow down too much, kids can lose energy and start complaining.

Though the example in the book seemed entirely too-smooth-to-be-true (in less than 5 minutes, students wrote down what they already know about the topic and questions they have), I know that one of my growing edges is to let go of some control and let kids start the work without so much frontloading. They’re going to stumble and make mistakes and get frustrated, and that’s okay! That’s real life!

The real struggle that I have been having with this kind of open, student-directed inquiry, especially for my young students, is that their interests are SO MUCH more complex than the texts written for them. Their questions are just not easily answered in a book at their reading level. So, we talk a lot about the research process, about the kinds of sources we have available to us and about which one would give us the best answer. We document our research process, noting the hard parts, and work towards making meaning of the information we find. This book validated that process for me, assuring me that it is, in fact, messy work, and if it’s not, then we’re not doing it right!

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AISL Day 1!

As Day 1 of the AISLATL conference winds down, I want to share with you some highlights, but I don’t want to limit it to just my voice. I will share with you some moments that stick out to me, but even better, I want you to hear the voice of other Board members.

Living in Upstate New York, I honestly haven’t seen the sun in weeks. Landing in Atlanta, I laughed as I heard other ride share passengers complaining about how cold they were. It was mid 60’s and sunny. It has only gotten more beautiful from there. We spent the first half of the day today at the lovely Marist school. In a true moment of serendipity, I sat next to a new person on the bus, the lovely Lia Carruthers, who ended up being a mentor I had been matched with. Lia is the library whisperer. She has energy to spare and has set up two libraries, one in Utah and her current library in New Jersey. My notes are copious.

At Marist, I attended a great session on creating an interactive research tutorial using tech to flip information literacy lessons and then finally, I got to attend a Dave Wee session. We want more Dave Wee! Dave introduced a fantastic worksheet to guide our thinking when setting goals and approaching colleagues, anticipating challenges, and planning our elevator pitch. My bus buddy to the Coca Cola museum was another new friend, Lisa from Toronto, who inspired me with talk of her school’s service trip to Tanzania and filled my notebook with ideas on how to create a boy friendly library (has anyone heard of botcubes?) I need fidget cubes, play doh, and legos people, STAT! I could go on. Today was awesome. I can hardly wait for tomorrow.

Now, some thoughts from other Board members on their Day 1:

Each year as the time for our annual conference approaches, I am excited but I also generally wonder if this is really the best time to be away. There is always so much to do and many items to cross off the to-do list before I can leave Dallas. This year was no exception, in fact the last couple of weeks have felt especially busy and full. At the start of each conference however, I am always reminded why I continue to venture to the host city and engage in this exceptional opportunity for professional development. I am so grateful that I can identify AISL as my community—I also feel so honored to be a part of this talented, fun, and intelligent group. I learn something from each session and every encounter. Yesterday, after I had gathered my luggage and made my way out to the curb to get a cab, I immediately spied a few familiar faces and was welcomed in to share a ride to the hotel. I think this was my defining moment and explains our group’s appeal—I had found my people! Thank you Atlanta for organizing this family reunion! I look forward to two more days jam packed with experiences and know that I will take so much with me back to Ursuline.
-Renee Chevallier

I am loving this conference and the hospitality of our hosts! Marist has a beautiful campus.
I thought the board books discussion was a highlight. I appreciated the option of moving between the book choices and how quickly we were able to shift from critical analysis and pedagogy to getting to know each other. I left looking forward to continuing several discussions in the morning.
Outside of the library world, watching the whale shark feeding was amazing.
-Christina Pommer

I got a charge out of the interactive research tutorial session this morning. I am not a particularly engaging speaker, and I always have more to say than a middle schooler’s attention span would allow. So this was a great idea to get the point across without causing my audience to fall asleep!

-Kate Patin

It has been an exceptional day of meetings. My big take-away was the concept of the “No paper research paper project.”  I took copious notes on the concept and execution. The ‘aha’ moments for me were faculty collaboration, teaching research skills to freshmen, and “good quality source material is NOT FREE!”

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Is “All the World a Stage?”

As I see many of you at AISL this week, you may notice two things about me. First, I take a lot of notes. I’m someone for whom the process of learning is greatly assisted by the practice of writing things down, even if I never return to the specific notes again. Though AISL conferences are so full of information that is relevant to me, I keep my AISL notebook in the drawer to the immediate left of my chair. So even if a presenter says the entire presentation will be online, I’ll probably still have my pencil in hand. Second, I’m generally pretty quiet in group situations. Like many introverts I’m listening and I may seek you out to continue a conversation on the bus but I would literally hide behind a pole rather than belly dance in an airport. (Just a little reminder of what a multi-talented group we librarians are.)

So it came as a surprise to me this spring when my advisees, who know me pretty well as far as students go, asked why I hadn’t yet given a chapel speech.

Me-“Guys, I hate speaking in public. There’s no way…”
First student-“What are you talking about? You love it. Pause. Right?”
Second student-“Right! You talk like all the time.”
First student-“Yeah in our classes. You talk a lot.”
(Cue sad face for student-centered classroom failure…)

And so that brings me to my main thought of today, particularly for those of you with flexible scheduling who depend on teachers to invite you into their classes for co-taught units. Many people harbor a stereotype of a silent librarian, but are we all, secretly, theatre people? At least in one way, my answer is assuredly yes. I follow improv’s “rule of yes” whenever I can. With both students and teachers, I think it’s important to think about why you’re saying no.

 “Oh, interesting that you can’t write 1750 words on Nazi propaganda because there’s not enough out there? NO, here’s a 257 page book entirely on your topic.”

But for many questions, consciously thinking about learning goals rather than tradition might move a no to a yes or at least a let’s think about how this could work.

 “I know it’s not really history, but I don’t understand Brexit, and I want to know if it’s really about refugees. Can I research it?” YES.

“I know you want us to have a website, but I found this really interesting podcast and it’s led by doctors. Can I use it? YES.

“I have to read a fantasy book and this one takes place in the real world except that ghosts are real. My friend recommended it, and I want to know if it can count for the assignment.” YES.

“I want to include an appendix with a picture of “Guernica” so my readers can see it for themselves.” WHY NOT?

Formal research is a tough process for our kids in today’s “infobese” culture. This is especially true for perfectionists who want to get everything right the first time. Keeping foremost the learning goals for an assignment, why not challenge yourself to say yes when there isn’t a contradicting reason to say no? As my mom says…

Along with this idea, when I’m collaborating I try to focus on the things within my control. This includes my interactions with my school community and my management of my library. For many of us, we can’t control our colleagues, their assignments, the work ethic of the students, or delays due to weather, illness or alternate schedules that pop up out of nowhere. I attend classes at the invitation of the teacher. They know their class dynamics and they are the ones creating and grading assignments. Since I ultimately want to provide support to the teacher, I try to think carefully before “correcting” a teacher, particularly in front of students. Not every project is going to meet both my research goals and the classroom teacher’s subject-specific goals. That said, it’s often possible to start tweaking a project to improve it for next year even as you’re assisting with the current version. I’ve found a variety of ideas can help as I try to link these projects to the learning goals I’d like the students to attain. Take the long view and suggest some “adaptations” for next time. Or ask if a project can be used to help you “test a database’s effectiveness.” Offer to grade the annotated bibliographies you fought so hard to include. I’ve found this comes easier the longer one’s tenure at a school. So breathe easy, continually do your best in promoting your library’s resources and leave your feedback below.


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Author Visit: Tricia Springstubb

This National Library Week we were lucky enough to host two authors! Janet Stevens and Tricia Springstubb shared their talents with our Prime and Middle schools.

I really enjoy coordinating programs that bring in people passionate about reading and creating reading materials. Our Prime librarian Kristen organized programs for the Prime with Janet, author and illustrator, where each group created their own characters. Tricia, author and reviewer, shared her passion and talents for linking the written word with the Middle School.

Our MS students were a buzz with ideas; wanting to write about what they knew and what they connected with in the world. As Tricia said in her workshops, the best ideas hatch like baby chicks- pecking from both the inside and outside.

Tricia also joined our book club students for a lunch filled with book recommendations, writing advice, and of course, signed bookmarks!

I love connecting with students after they meet authors to hear their ideas bloom. What great author visits have you had?

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Our Personal Experiences + Collaboration = Knowledge for Students

Our second grade teachers do a yearly unit on landmarks and since I attend their grade level meetings, I made a suggestion last year to read the story about Hachicko -the true story of a loyal dog- to all of their classes. I felt it was a great choice since both boys and girls like dog stories, especially real ones they can relate to. In our library collection, I found 3 choices: a poetry book entitled : I Remember Hachiko Speaks by Leslea Newman, Hachiko Waits (a novel) by Leslea Newman and Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog by Paela S. Turner. After reviewing my choices and considering the time element, I choose the shorter story by Pamela Turner. I took some photos from my internet searching with me and went to each of the four second classes to read the story and introduce them to landmarks. Their challenge was to create their own landmark and write a story as to why it should be built. They would be working in groups so collaboration and planning needed to be done together.
After I read the story, we discussed the pain of losing a pet and also the joy the statue at Shibuya Station in Tokyo brings to all those who see it and meet there.
“Imagine watching hundreds of people pass by every morning and every afternoon. Imagine waiting and waiting and waiting for ten years. That is what Hachiko did. He was a real dog who lived in Tokyo, a dog who faithfully waited for his owner at the Shibuya train station long after his owner could not come to meet him. He became famous for his loyalty and was adored by scores of people who passed through the station every day.”
Seeing Hachiko in real life became something on my personal “bucket list” and this past summer I was fortunate enough to check that off. Yes, I really went to the busiest train station and had my very own picture taken with this famous sculpture. It took at least 20 minutes for my husband to take this photo. It is such a busy place and people from all around use this as a meeting place, no atter what time of day or night. I informed the students this year that the original one was melted during World War II, when the Japanese military was desperately short of metals.
In 1947, a few years after that war ended, the son of the original sculptor made a new statue of Hachiko. That is the one I saw.

Other facts about his landmark:
-I informed the students this year that the original one was melted during World War II, when the Japanese military ws desperately short of metals.
-There is a special festival, held every April 8, one month after Hachiko’s death anniversary, when Tokyo’s cherry trees are in full bloom. The Shibuya mayor, police chef, and stationmaster are always there. A Shinto priest performs a ceremony, and Hachiko’s friends come to admire the beautiful wreaths of flowers that are displayed around his statue.
-There is an old photo of the real Hachiko next to the bronze one, which I also saw while visiting.
– In 2015, another statue of this famous Akita Inu and his master, Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor of agricultural engineering for over 20 years, was erected at the University of Tokyo, where he taught.


The legend of Hachiko touched my heart and inspired me as it has inspired thousands all over the world.

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on annotating our works cited…

Happy spring, all! For me, spring means:

  • Two week break!!! – I mean, I love my kids and my job. Blah, blah, blah… Let’s get real, though, not having to work for two weeks is pretty sweet, right?!?!? I was in New York City for an awesome Nor’easter that dumped 8 inches of snow in Brooklyn. Yes, I have now seen snow fall out of the sky two times. Yay! Quite a thrilling thing if you reside in the tropics and the humidity has been hitting 94%.
  • Spring Conference – The AISL Spring Conference in Atlanta starts in a week! #SoExcited #Yay!
  • Student Projects – Spring means that those of us working in project-based learning oriented schools start to drown in projects.

We are in the midst of many, many projects so I’ve been thinking a lot about works cited lists and annotations. What do I think?




One thing I think is that I don’t really care if the citations are in perfect MLA 8 format. Hah!!! There, I said it… Yes, I do not care if citations are wrong exactly, precisely right.

[Insert gif of angry mob of librarians with torches and pitchforks here]

I teach my kids to take the preformatted citations from databases and put them into NoodleTools. I realize that sometimes the citations are wrong. In a perfect world, all of the citations would be perfect, but in the imperfect real world that I live in, if my kids know that they need to cite the source for the content they’ve used and they’ve provided enough information so that the source can be easily accessed, that’s enough for me for where they are as high school students. When they write for publication in a peer reviewed journal I’m confident that they’ll know to take the time to get their citations right, or that at the very least, they’ll know how to find a librarian or editor who can help them build publication-worthy citations.

In my mind, it comes down to “Why do we cite?” Very honestly, I am not a fan of the approach that many teachers take which, basically, equates failure to cite three sentences from an obscure essay on the use of horses in WWI to stealing a BMW from the neighbor’s garage and taking it for a spin out to the North Shore like they’re on an episode of Hawaii 5-0. “Failure to cite is STEALING!!!”

Now, please don’t get me wrong, plagiarism is REALLY BAD, but in most cases I see the actual harm as being more cognitive and moral/ethical, than criminal. If you’re taking someone else’s work and presenting it as your own, you’re short circuiting your own learning. As a school librarian, that’s the harm I want kids to grasp first and foremost.

If citation isn’t about “preventing theft,” then, why do we want kids to cite? After all, while I may not care much about the specifics of MLA 8 formatting, I’m still a proponent of “citation.” As I see it, for the kind of work that my students are doing, citation mainly serves as a framework for the initial work of source evaluation.


  • Who is this author and why should his/her ideas matter?
  • What clues about bias and orientation can I glean from the title?
  • Do the container, publishing platform, or publisher provide clues about the orientation for the information?
  • If the content is date sensitive is it past its expiration date?

You can’t evaluate any of that if you can’t or don’t locate it so that seems like a good place to start.

All of that information is important, but it’s really just a first pass. Our main interest is the point after a source has been chosen from that long list of hits and getting the researcher to more deeply engage with the sources. Unfortunately, we’ve all probably seen student papers where 90% of the content comes from a single source and there are four or five other sources in the works cited list from which the student has cited something rather trivial from the first page of all of his/her other sources. I’m sure this isn’t true of the rest of you, but to be perfectly honest, that characterizes most of the papers I wrote in my high school years. #SadButTrue #IWasNotAnAcademicStar

Two years ago we began encouraging teachers to require annotated bibliographies as a way to “encourage” engagement with sources–the whole source, not just the first page. I wasn’t really sure that the idea would be an easy sell so we came up with an annotation format that was intended to be as easy as possible.

We got a surprising degree of buy-in from our teaching faculty so at this point a majority of our teachers are now requiring annotated works cited lists.

Interestingly, our Social Studies department has decided that they would like students to use a more substantial OPVL (Origin Purpose Value Limitation) format that is often used in International Baccalaureate courses. We are currently in the midst of our first effort to use it at scale across all four years of high school social studies classes. Honestly, it is really good, but it isn’t easy by any means!

This is all very much work in progress and I’m pretty much making this up as we go along so it isn’t exemplary by any stretch of the imagination. We’re giving this a go and we’ll see what happens… If you’re doing work with annotated works cited lists, I’d love to hear about what you are doing and how you are approaching the work!

Looking forward to seeing many of you in Atlanta, but if you can’t be there this time around I’ll look for you virtually via the comments below or via the listserv.

Happy spring!

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Our Beautiful Balancing Act of Place and Program:


A contemplative post to celebrate libraries in their fullest glory and realistic struggles

Mirror Lake Library- A Carnegie Library

San Diego Public Library with a makerspace







It is National Library Week- I want to spend this post celebrating and contemplating our shared love of libraries and our roles as school librarians through the lens of both exuberant and tough love. We get to touch the lives of students and staff whether through a book recommendation or a new technological device. Our programs are academic, social-emotional, extra-curricular and everything in-between. Our spaces are communal, contemplative, and creative. As stewards of the library we are jacks-of-all-trades, wear many different hats; and sometimes, we are the leaders of a three-ringed circus. Dare I say, we are the unicorns of the educational world; practical and magical. But I would also like to dispel myths and misunderstandings frequently perpetuated from outside sources and share questions that I grapple with tenderly and doggedly daily.

Since we are keen purveyors of media and news I have noticed a repeated pattern of news coverage of libraries that shape people’s perceptions of our roles that many of you have probably also noticed. Headlines that shoutout “are libraries dying” or some iteration of that, but then the rest of the article extols the virtues and vital services we offer and the innovation transformations taking place. So, those that do not read beyond the titles are not picking up the positive press. So while the majority of article shows a fuller picture- the “If it Bleeds, It Leads”  title approach undercuts the support they offer. Some of our stakeholders, administrators, and patrons in their busy lives only remember the misleading lead. On the flip-side, have any of you noticed the new decorating trend for restaurants and co-working spaces to look like a traditional library- they are intuitively seeking the quieter side of libraries. Imitation is the sincerest form flattery. The world of commerce and interior decorating are turning to libraries for space inspiration and ambiance recognizing that many people love the structure and architecture of libraries with all the positive associations and purposes of them. Yet, the direction that actual library design is going moves towards a futuristic aesthetic. I feel both of these circumstances fall prey to the “either/or” fallacy in the classical argument; a faulty reasoning that states that there are only two extreme solutions that are possible.

I am officially reclaiming our headlines so that libraries are an “and” not an “or.” This false dichotomy has been plaguing the understanding of our programs and space that you are either a quiet, traditional library or you are a buzzing, cutting edge learning space. Why can’t we have we have both. I want both. I try to accomplish both; and I know through this organization, many of you do too. Instead of swinging wildly on the pendulum of trends represented in  “either/or” thinking, I prefer that we move to the rhythm of a metronome where we set the pace- ticking back and forth in equal measure-contemplation and collaboration, introspection and expression, solitude and camaraderie, traditional and contemporary, print and digital, etc. How do we influence, convey, educate stakeholders outside of our library world- our administrators, teachers, and students that we as experts in this domain continue to contemplate the uses and purposes of our spaces that we can honor and improve the best of our heritage and embrace new ideas, mediums, and space usage as well. To listen equally to our veteran and venerable librarians and our riveting, rule-breaking rookie librarians and every librarian in-between?

I find solace and inspiration in our AISL and greater librarian community. When you share a new way you restructured a research project you are adding the “and” back in. When you share how you restocked recycled items to your makerspace you are adding the “and” back in. When you share about “big literary events” productions you are adding the “and” back in. When you share how you defined a quiet space and collaborative space you are adding the “and” back in. I also find immeasurable support and ideas about how to balance the spectrum of our roles through the annual AISL Convention. I had never been to a convention before with an equal balance of program sharing and exploring many physical libraries- a marriage of program and place.  I now conduct my own library-tourism based on the AISL convention when I travel. I am so excited to learn how we all balance program and place next week in Atlanta. These narratives are the primary sources so important to share the broad and all-encompassing value we add to our communities. I send my gratitude to your multitudes of library forms. Happy National Library Week!


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Origami with Lower School

In my last year of library school, I did my teaching internship hours with a librarian who traveled between schools for adjudicated youth. There were lots of limitations on these schools, some of which included no scissors, hardback books, a collection of books let alone a room dedicated to it (or a room without asbestos in it). I’d done library service in jails, but this was something different. One of the days I spent with shadowing the librarian, we did origami with a group of older middle schoolers. The young man I sat beside was decidedly not into paper art. After every fold, he refused to continue. I’d encourage as I stumbled my way through the activity, too. But, then he would the next step. Each argued fold turned into a crane. On the subway home, in the paper for the semester, in the years that have followed I have thought of that interaction and what it taught me, all of which can be summed up in a slogan a teacher I loved taught: “I love you, keep going.”

On the Friday leading into spring break, a half-day, all the 1st-4th graders spend in the library. They spread out on towels and read silently or listen to a storyteller. It is a well-loved tradition, no matter if the mechanics of the day sometimes shift in big (the annual big/little Easter Egg hunt bifurcating the day) or small ways (the mobile zoo instead of a storyteller). So, this year we read, watched an episode of Mister Rogers that included an interview with the inventor of our beloved mindfulness tool, the Hoberman Sphere, took a break for egg hunting on campus with the older kids, read some more, had a Horton Hears A Who inspired yoga story time with a guest instructor, and a surprise visit with the fluffiest rabbit and newborn baby bunnies care of a parent. In there too I snuck in a craft that I’d been brewing up with the aid of Pinterest. We watched a video on loop- how to make an “easy” origami heart. By the end of the day, I had dozens and dozens of hearts. When we came back from Spring Break I set out to do as I’d planned and that was to make a mobile. I’m not crafty. There are lots of things I am. Interested in patient, quiet crafts is not one of them. But I spent Monday threading the hearts. Tuesday we hung it from a lucky little hook already installed in the ceiling.

Today, one of the kids said to me, Are those the hearts we made? Why did you choose those hearts for the mobile? They aren’t that good. Some people couldn’t even fold right!” Because I’ve had similar conversations about perfection with myself and others, I had a response ready. “That’s the point! They aren’t perfect. But you all made them and so they are perfect. The point was the effort and love y’all put into it.” And I wasn’t just saying it to sound good, really. These hearts dance from the ceiling, the rest hang in a garland/banner elsewhere. When I look at them I think of all these imperfect hearts, some more than others, all together and how lovely it is. When I look at the ceiling I think, “I love you [no matter what, no matter who], keep going.”

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Time for a Throwback

When I was younger most of my projects came in the forms of book reports, posters and the occasional diorama. Today, our students are creating movies, podcasts and slideshows to share what they know. The skills they develop from collaborating and problems solving together are invaluable. And of course they become more facile with the tools they will need for their future. But there is something so satisfying in creating with your own two hands. It was with this in mind that we decided to create dioramas in third grade. Students were challenged to pick a part of the book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin and recreate it in a shoebox. This is a book the entire third grade reads, so it gave us a common ground.

Before we started we discussed the importance of setting in a story. We read Dogteam by Gary Paulsen, a story of a dogsled ride through the woods on winter night. We found the words and phrases in the story that described the setting and helped to convey the feel of the ride. The students then shifted their attention to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Since this is a chapter book, we discussed how the images we see in our mind are similar but still different. In this way the book, like all stories, is a unique and personal experience. The students then chose a scene from the story they could clearly visualize in their head and then set to work recreating the scene in the shoebox.

Right away it was obvious the different skills this project demanded. Students had to problem solve differently. Instead of seeking and finding different parts of a program they had to create from scratch using paper, scissors, glue and clay. They could not choose from a vast array of colors, they had to find ways to develop the colors in the clay. What colors and how much do you add to get the exact shade you need? What happens when you have limited materials and you make a mistake? When working digitally there is much more room for error, for discarding something that didn’t work. When working with physical materials, we needed to discuss conserving, sharing and adapting when there is a mistake. Digitally we can bring in images that we don’t create, but rather use something someone else created. In this project every aspect was created by hand. For some, those who maybe struggled with fine motor skills this was more challenging. And yet, not one person complained, checked out or asked for someone else to do it for them.

Some aspects of the process were very similar to working with computers. Although each student was creating their own diorama, there was a sharing of ideas, of technique and much discussion on how to create a certain vision. In this way, the collaborating and group problem solving was the same as when the students work with technology. Although there was some roaming as students checked out each other’s work, mostly students were absorbed in their own process or stuck with the students near their own work space.

For me, this was a reminder that technology is awesome and students love to work on computers. And there is legitimate value to working off computers and working in the throwback project.

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