Monday, November 26, 2012

A Constitution Website

With the recent Presidential election and speculation about Supreme Court appointees that could possibly be made during his tenure, it seems like information about the Constitution is more prominently taking a place in the news.

I had heard about the Hillsdale College offer to let any American citizen take a free on-line class on the Constitution, taught by their professors, but I wasn’t aware until last week that they also offer a website with the same information.  The U.S.Constitution: A Reader, found at , has the college’s core course on the Constitution. 

It also has digitized and searchable topics important to understanding American government, key debates from our Founding Fathers, the Progressives, and others, a database of quotes, and an illustrated timeline of American Constitutional history.

If you personally need brushing up on your knowledge of our Constitution, I found this to be a great resource.  I’ve just gotten into the first sections, but I have learned a lot (Did you know that Thomas Jefferson was only 33 when he wrote theDeclaration of Independence and that he wrote it in 17 days?)!   The website can be perused or studied at your own pace which makes it a great resource for those of us who don’t have a lot of extended periods of study/reading time.  These documents are rich text that will fit in well with our new standards in Alabama, too!  High School librarians, please share with your social studies teachers.  You all may want to save the website and do something with it next year for Constitution Day or use it to brush up on your personal knowledge!

(posted on behalf of Meg Brooke)

Friday, November 2, 2012

National Novel Writing Month

We had two students approach us about sponsoring a "write in" for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). We had advertised the event last year using posters around the library, but had no takers. These two students remembered the event and that it was in November and approached us.
Cheryl and I set up a NaNoWriMo writing area:

GHS Library
We also set up a display for the window for recruiting more participants.
We have had three meetings (9 students writing just to write, no grades) with students and spoke to 8 classes about participating. offers a library kit ($10.00 shipping) and a forum for Media Specialists.

                On day one (Nov. 1) we had six students visit the library to write (combined writing over 8000 words) and a freshmen studies teacher (along with 94 freshmen) implement a classroom project based on NaNoWriMo. He will be back on November 2nd with 88 more freshmen.

                Often Cheryl and I feel that our students are consuming so much information, but not creating as much. NaNoWriMo provides an outlet for students to create any novel they want. If you want more information check out there is also a Young Writers Program ( that teachers can set up an online classroom to follow progress of students.


I will leave you, future novelist and novel facilitators, with two quotes from the founder of NaNoWriMo:

“There's a book in you that only you can write.” 

“A novel rough draft is like bread dough; you need to beat the crap out of it for it to rise.” 

James Green

Gardendale High School

NaNoWriMo 2012 Participant

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Collaborate with a Science Teacher!

Can you imagine how much you need to know to be a science teacher? It's an exciting subject and I love learning as I collaborate!

One of the ways I collaborate with science teachers is to send them links and ask them how I can help. Discovery Education is a great site to belong to. Regular e-mails come and I explore them when I have time. Here's what I found lately:

  • Hands on Science Activities
  • Siemens contest to win a science assemby
  • Teacher Support Center
  • New Hands on Science for K-3
  • Teacher Refresh Videos
Here are two great websites that can help you collaborate with a science teacher: (for elementary schools - win an assembly by daily log ins)

So, start a conversation today and good luck!