Saturday, August 29, 2015

This Week in the Library@JCHS: August 24-28, 2015

You never know what will happen in the JCHS Library!

Class Visits

This week the library "hosted" classes for STAR Testing, saw Ms. Hamilton's students as they worked on a really cool project for Chemistry, and we read and did arts & crafts with Ms. Humphrey's students.

Ms. Hamilton's Chemistry students are researching about scientists and creating birth certificates, wedding certificates, designing, drawing, researching and more! Ms. Hamilton really kicked what could have been a boring research assignment up a notch! The kids were engaged and excited about what they were creating.

Ms. Humphrey's class read The Napping House by Audrey Wood. After reading we created rainbows just like the beautiful rainbow at the end of the story.  Our awesome student aides even got into the creative fun!

Ditching Dewey

Much progress has been made in our effort to ditch dewey and genre-fy the library collection.  We have four free standing "kiosk" shelving units in the middle of the library in between the computers and the MakerSpace.  I have put the following in these four kiosks: Arts & Crafts (mostly 700s plus matching biographies), Sports (fiction, non fiction & biographies), Biographies (all others), and one kiosk w/a mix of career, picture books, graphic novels, and vintage fiction.  

We are also making progress with the rest of our genre sections and can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel.  In just the short three weeks we have been in school we have already noticed an increase in book circulation as our genre sections form.  Students have also told us how much they like the new set up and how much easier it is for them to find the books they like to read!


The JCHS Library MakerSpace went through some growing pains this week as students continue getting use to the one hour Refuel Hour and what type of behavior is acceptable. 

One student finally completed a charm bracelet she made from items in the MakerSpace Arts & Crafts section! It turned out so good!

The students building the K'nex Roller Coaster completed it this week and it works GREAT!

Students were also introduced to the art of book folding this week.  Ms. Johnson, the JCHS Library Aide, has found some pretty amazing patterns and discarded books for the students to use.

Students also continued discovering the fun of Makey Makey, Dash & Dot, the Green Screen Room, Coding, Google Cardboard and more!

Coming to the JCHS Library MakerSpace soon:

Library Promotions 

As we have genre-fied the library collection we have become aware of areas in which we need more books.  These include manga, anime, picture books, and classics.  Also, our MakerSpace still needs some board games, card games, and 1000+ puzzles.  We now also need items for our Photo Booth: hats, feather boas, funny glasses, etc. 

To encourage students to donate these items we have started a Library Bucks program.  

Students can donate needed items specified to earn library fine forgiveness and/or use the credit toward printing fees.

Coming Soon

Next week the JCHS Library launches an "inspirational quote" contest.  We have a great deal of blank wall space in the library and would like to use our new Cricut to make wall quotes.  The inspirational quote contest will determine which quote will go right above the library doors for all to see as they leave the library to go about the rest of their day.

Tech Tips of the Week

This is our weekly tech tips S'more Newsletter:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

This Week in the Library@JCHS: August 17-21, 2015

Watch the original video HERE

In The News

This week JCHS was featured by the local news reporting on our bold new lunch approach known as, Refuel Hour.  As you can see from the video the JCHS Library and it's MakerSpace was prominently featured.  Students can be seen in the JCHS Library using computers to study and catch up on homework, others can be seen coding Dash & Dot, programming the Makey Makey, creating in the Arts and Crafts area, and directing videos using our green screen room.  

Class Visits

Ms. Beckett, Mr. Burkett, Ms. Turner, Ms. Steinert, and 
Ms. Humphrey's classes came to visit the JCHS Library this week.  

Ms. Beckett's 12 grade English classes learned about Google Classroom while also summarizing, "Get Up and Bar the Door", medieval Scots ballad about a battle of wills between a husband and wife.  

Ms. Humphrey's students were introduced to the book app, EPIC! Books for Kids.  From the app we read the book, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.  We then explored the library makerspace and checked out books. We had lots of fun playing with Dash & Dot and the green screen room!

Ditching Dewey

Ms. Johnson and the JCHS Library student aides continued pulling books off shelves, labeling genres and reorganizing books via genre.  Already our circulation statistics are on the rise and all student reviews about this change are positive.

We also spent this week creative new signage for our genre sections using our Cricut Explore Air.  Once the JCHS Library has completed our various signage projects the Cricut will become a part of the arts and crafts are of the makerspace.  

Upcoming News

As the JCHS Library creates new spaces we have also become aware of areas that are in need of improvement.  To help build these areas the JCHS Library will begin a sort of bartering system for our areas of need.  In exchange for board games, card games, 1000 piece or more puzzles, and books in these genres: anime, manga, classics and everybody books (picture boos/easy readers) the JCHS Library will forgive library fines and/or give printing credit.

Social Media

Keep up with all the adventures in the JCHS Library via our social media feeds.

Flickr Images by Day

August 17, 2015

August 18, 2015

August 19-20, 2015

August 21, 2015

Tech Tips of the Week

Each week the JCHS Library offers Tech Tips of the Week via S'more, an online newsletter.  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

This Week In The Library@JCHS: August 10-14, 2015

Co Teaching

This week the library calendar was overflowing with co teaching sessions to get students up and using Google Classroom.  Students liked being able to access their school work from any Internet connected device, they liked the ease of sharing a Google Document, and they liked the comments and chat features in Google.  Students were a bit freaked out by the Revision History feature....WHAT?!...Accountability?!  Poor kids!  

This week it was also a pleasure to work with Mr. Ennis' students helping them build ePorfolios using Weebly.   

Story Time

Yes! You CAN have story time in a high school library.  The library should be all inclusive, including making time each week for self contained special needs students.  This eek our DD classes came to the library for story time.  We read the book, Baghead by Jarrett J. Krosoczka and followed up the story by making paper bag puppets! 

Not Your Average Book Club

Students were able to preview over 50 clubs offered at JCHS this week and sign up for the ones they wanted to be a part of during our new Refuel Hour.  Because clubs are now offered during this time instead of before or after school students who typically couldn't be a part of clubs now have that opportunity.

The Not Your Average Book Club attracted quite a bit of attention this year as students learned that the club would focus on the social aspect of reading by connecting with other high school students from around the country with the Somewhat Virtual Book Club National Group and with authors via Twitter and the #2JennsBookClub.

Learn more about this club and sign up to become a member HERE.

Ditching Dewey

Efforts to Ditch Dewey and Genre-fy the JCHS Library collection is progressing nicely.  We already have genre areas sorted and ready for students to devour! Ditching Dewey will be a long, messy process so please pardon our progress.  

Want to know more about Ditching Dewey?  Here is a great SlideShare by some of the best librarians in the country who have Genre-fied their school libraries:


Students continued to discover the cool opportunities to explore, tinker and create in the JCHS Library MakerSpace.  This week our new additions included Google Cardboard, robots Dash & Dot, a Parrot Spider Minidrone, and Incredibox via laptop, screen and LCD projector.  

The looks on students faces as our drone flew through the library was priceless!

Sock puppets were the rage this week in the MakerSpace Arts & Crafts area.  It's fun to see what creative ideas the students bring in each week.

The Library Graffiti windows continue to collect creative art by students. Next week we upgrade from plain Expo Markers to real window markers! 

We even had a special visit to the JCHS Library MakerSpace this week; Madison City Schools Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Robby Parker.

Social Media

Don't miss a single moment of the hustle and bustle of active learning in the JCHS Library! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Refuel Hour: Lunch, Clubs, Advisory and MORE in just ONE HOUR!

Image by Kristin Combs

At James Clemens High School (JCHS) all classes stop for one hour every day and Refuel Hour begins.  During Refuel Hour our 1600+ students eat lunch, attend clubs (no before/after school clubs), connect through Advisory sessions, get tutoring, tinker in the library's MakerSpace, and more.  Teachers during Refuel Hour eat lunch, hold office hours, lead clubs, tutor, conduct Advisory sessions and more.  

Impossible you say?  This couldn't possibly work?!  Many of us thought the same thing but have been amazed at just how well Refuel Hour is working.  Even though we have only been in school eight days, I think our students would revolt if we went back to the old lunch wave system.

So how does Refuel Hour work?  The JCHS administrative team took bold moves this year researching, planning and implementing Refuel Hour; inspired by other schools who have initiated similar programs in their schools (

You can view the Google Sheet that details how Refuel Hour works at JCHS HERE.  

Want to hear a student perspective? Read this article by Julia Gorti, writer for the JETStream:

We are in the paper, ya'll!

Image by Kristin Combs

Image by Kristin Combs

Image by Kristin Combs

Image by Kristin Combs

Saturday, August 8, 2015

This Week In The Library@JCHS: August 6-8, 2015

This week in The Library@JCHS was one filled with CHANGE!  Quiet is no longer a word associated with the JCHS Library! Now words like social, curious, creative, active, involved, energetic and happy are associated with the JCHS Library.

Here is a run down of the changes made to the JCHS Library this week:


The JCHS Library is eagerly awaiting the arrival of items for our new MakerSpace.  The hits of the JCHS Library MakerSpace this week was the arts & crafts area, LEGOs and Google Cardboard.  

A few things students have to look forward to arriving in our MakerSpace in the next few weeks include Cubelets, LEGOs Mindstorm EV3, Dash & Dot, Parrot Spider Drone, Makey Makey, MineCraft Pocket, iPads, and a Green Screen Room.  I am also looking forward to the Library Graffiti area and student created Pandora station.  

We need you help to build our Arts & Crafts area, Gaming area, and the Equipment Autopsy area.  Arts and crafts supplies, board/card games, and old electronics (TVs, VCRs, radios, computers, laptops, etc.) are all needed.


The JCHS Library might start looking like dinosaurs ran through the library knocking books off the shelves and scattering them about.  Don't be alarmed.  We started pulling books off the shelves this week so that we could group books by genre.  

Benefits of a genrefied library collection:

1. It’s student-centered. School librarians (especially solo ones) spend an enormous amount of time helping students locate the book they want. The easier it is for kids and teens to locate materials, the more content-rich conversations can be happening about the actual books!
2. It makes browsing easier. Like materials are grouped together. Students and patrons looking for their favorite kinds of books can find them faster and often without having to rely on the catalog.
 3. It allows for closer arrangement of related fiction and nonfiction sections. Some genrefied libraries group fiction and nonfiction subject in the same section or side by side. Students who love sports fiction will also find sports biographies nearby. It’s a great CCSS tie in; students read more nonfiction because it is more visible.Students read more broadly.
4. It can be adapted to meet the changing needs of students. As curriculum changes or trends in student reading habits shift, the collection can evolve and grow with them.
5. Students discover new authors and read more broadly within their favorite genres. For a child who loved reading J.K. Rowling, she may branch out to enjoy C.S. Lewis, Tolkein, Norton Juster, or Ursula K. LeGuin by browsing deeply within that genre.
6. It allows librarians to examine, evaluate, and really get to know the collection. By separating into genre-based sections, librarians can see clearly which areas need weeding and which ones need an influx of new titles. 


Teachers and students embraced Google Classroom this week with a little help from the JCHS Library.  Teachers have reserved me (the friendly JCHS librarian), a laptop cart, and the Harvard Room to get their students set up and familiar with using Google Classroom.  


My "office" in the JCHS Library is located in the back of the library through a hallway behind a door and glass.  My real office is smack int he middle of the library entrance so that I can be accessible and aware of everything that is happening in the library.  Drop by to visit me sometime and #GetUrSelfieOn!  


A selfie stick is part of the JCJS Library MakerSpace.  The rule for using the selfie stick is that you must post the pictures you take and tag them with #proudtobeajet and #geturselfieon.  Stop by and #geturselfieon!


Keep an eye on the JCHS Library's social media accounts! There's lots more fun to come!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Watch JCHS LIVE on #periScopeOut

JCHS is scheduled to be part of a national event LIVE via Periscope on August 6th starting at 8:40 am CT.  We will have just 15 minutes to give the nation a private tour of our amazing school.  

To learn more about this event and how to watch click HERE.

JCHS MakerSpace: Phase II

This weekend Phase II of Operation: Create a Library MakerSpace at James Clemens High School was completed.  The reimagining of the space.

One thing I have noticed over and over again while researching library MakerSpaces is the way the look and the feel of the library changes. Furniture is moved and areas are clearly designed to enhance the use of each of those spaces.

The James Clemens High School library serves a large population.  Providing a space that could be noisy, active, and ideal for robots to roam the floor and air (Spider Drone) with minimal distraction to students using the computers, seeking a quiet study or reading area needed to be established.  You can watch our MakerSpace grow throughout the school year HERE.

Be a part of making history at James Clemens High School and donate items to our MakerSpace.  We need board games, card games, old electronic equipment (TVs, radios, VCRs, etc.), LEGOs, & MORE! See a list of needed MakerSpace items HERE.

Here is a slideshow of the results:

Learn more about our MakerSpace needs and what a MakerSpace is below: