New Year reading challenge!

Happy New Year, Falcons!

Have you thought about your reading goals for 2016? Do you want to read more or maybe just finish those books you have already started? Challenge yourself (and inspire others!) to read 16 books in 2016.

Keep track of your reading by:

  • Sharing your reading by posting pictures and using #Read16in16 on social media.
  • List your completed books in your email signature.
  • Blog about your reading.
  • Join Goodreads and write reviews on the books you’ve read.

Sharing your reading creates conversations that impact everyone! Please join us and help us create a reading revolution!

 Thanks to OTHS staff member, Mandy Sandlin, for bringing #Read16in16 to my attention. Read more about it HERE.

Celebrating #HourOfCode

Hour of CodeHour of Code is a global movement to encourage students to spend one hour learning more about computer science. The library teamed up with the Computer Science department again this year to come up with a fun way to celebrate. Some of our current computer science students worked together to create a project using the Tickle App that allowed students to program a sphero ball to complete a maze. Students worked together in teams to see how fast they could complete four different mazes.

The smiles and the cheering when the mazes were conquered proved how much fun these students had coding!



Mr. Tully, one of our computer science teachers, showing students how to code the sphero using the tickle app.


One of our senior computer science student demonstrates how to code using the Tickle app.



I see coding in your future…

Check out these successful maze videos!

Winter is HERE!

winterIf you haven’t jumped into the world of Lunars and cyborgs, now is the time! Author Marissa Meyer just released Winter, the final book in her epic sci-fi series, The Lunar Chronicles, and it did not disappoint.

In the Lunar Chronicles, Marissa Meyer takes classic fairy tales and adds a sci-fi element to create a completely new story with hints of the fairy tale throughout each book. Meyer must have done incredible research when writing these books because there are so many direct correlations to the fairy tale that fit so nicely into the story. The book Winter loosely follows the tale of Snow White. Winter (Snow White) eats an apple candy that was poisoned by the evil Queen and then falls into a deep sleep. Although she doesn’t wake with the kiss of a prince, she does wake from a delusional state by the kiss from her true love. There are lots of other correlations, but I’ll let you read them for yourself.

At 800+ pages, Winter is not a quick read, but not a long read, either. The story is full of action with lots of twists and turns. I highly recommend this series for any sci-fi fan!

Read more about Lunar History HERE!

We have 2 copies available for checkout in the library, but if you want a head start, you can download chapters 1 & 2 of Winter for free HERE!

Creating poetry with books!

One of my favorite lessons of the year is Book Spine Poetry. Freshmen English classes have been discussing poetry in literature and came into the library to create their own poetry from titles of books.

Students were encouraged to create a poem about a feeling/emotion using 4-6 books. They looked at different book titles throughout the library that supported their topic and stacked them on top of each other to create a stanza. Some even used the catalog and performed title searches to find just the right book. 🙂

After students created their poem, they had to present it to their teacher, Coach Brown, and explain the meaning of the poem and what inspired them to create it. The students were so thoughtful in their explanations, which led to other great discussions!





This poem led to a great discussion about what makes a good leader. These students are incredibly insightful!



The author of this poem stated that this poem was about “fake friends”.

12 Days of Technology begins 12/3!

The 12 Days of Technology is something I started with my staff last year. It introduces them to technology that they may consider implementing into their classroom. I also include some kind of activity/holiday trivia for staff members to participate in that increases their chances to win “bookish” holiday crafts made by the Tompkins Library Staff.

Here’s how it works:
1. Click on a different tag each day and read about the highlighted technology.
2. Follow the directions at the bottom of each daily slide to enter the drawing for your chance to win a “bookish” holiday craft!
3. Winners will be announced on Friday, December 18th!

Bring on the 12 Days of Technology!!

Book Fair is coming to Tompkins!

Book Fair!

The library is teaming up with Katy Budget Books to give students and faculty an opportunity to purchase the perfect gifts for friends and family this holiday season…books!

Stop by 12/1 from noon – 3:00pm or 12/2 from 7:00am – 3:00pm in the library. See a complete list of titles that will be available at the book fair HERE! There will also be other great gift ideas, so mark your calendars and don’t miss this annual event!


And the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature goes to…

Neal Shusterman for his book, Challenger Deep!

national book award

Image courtesy of Neal Shusterman’s instagram.

I was one of those eager to know people that listened to the live feed of the National Book Awards on Wednesday, November 8th. While the rest of my family was watching TV, my eyes were glued to my computer screen waiting for the announcement on the Young People’s Literature winner.

I read Challenger Deep in April after I waited in line to have it signed by both Neal Shusterman and his son Brendan. I’m a huge fan of Neal anyway, but when I heard him announce at an author visit at Seven Lakes JH in October 2014 that the book was coming, I knew I had to read it. The book takes an honest look at mental illness and the challenges it presents to those with it and their families. Neal was inspired to write the book from his son, Brendan’s, experience with mental illness. You can read my review from April 2015 HERE.


Getting “Challenger Deep” signed by Neal and Brendan Shusterman!

I’m so thrilled that this book is receiving the attention is deserves! Congratulations to Neal Shusterman and his son, Brendan!

Watch Neal’s acceptance speech!

Saving Gale articles to Google Drive!


Organizing research articles can be challenging. Printing articles or saving them in various locations gets confusing for students and are often lost or forgotten. To make research easier, Gale has teamed with Google to allow students to save Gale database articles straight to their Google Drive…including the citation information! *happy dance*

Our dual credit English class learned about this new tool last week and was very excited about how easy it was to use. I’ve never seen so much excitement about research before! 🙂

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign into Google within a Gale database.
  2. Find an interesting article.
  3. Highlight important information or add notes.
  4. Select download from the tools menu and save to Google Drive.
  5. You will find your document in your Google Drive under the folder of the database you were using.
  6. Now you can edit the document, share it with others, and take advantage of all Google Drive features!

Gale to Google Drive Tip Sheet

“Finding Joy” in author visits!

joy-PrebleI absolutely love author visits! They are so engaging and provide students an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with published authors.

Author Joy Preble visited Tompkins HS on Thursday, November 12th and spoke about her writer’s journey and her latest novel, Finding Paris. The students really enjoyed hearing about her experiences as a writer and asked very thoughtful questions. We have some serious writers in our school that are trying to learn as much as they can about the writing world. They inspire me!

One of my favorite quotes that Joy Preble told the students was, “No one can tell your story except you.” As young writers, students hesitate to write because they don’t know what to write about or feel their story is not original. She stressed to the students that their story is unique.


We ended the author visit with a drawing for some free signed books and Starbuck’s gift cards. Finding Paris is about a road trip (among other things) – and no road trip is complete with a stop at Starbucks. 🙂


Be on the lookout for Joy’s next book, It Wasn’t Always Like This, coming out in 2016! It’s about a girl, a boy, a fountain of youth, and what happens when you’re stuck at 17. Definitely adding it to my 2016 MUST READ list!