The Art of Reading: Boston Latin Academy Book Club Visits Gardner Museum

Guest post by Sophomore Caroline Mayer, BLA Book Club President.  Caroline wrote this after the Book Club’s October 17th field trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Article was submitted by BLA Librarian & Book Club Advisor Molly Lewis.

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Isabella Stewart Gardner Painting by John Singer Sargent

The Isabella Steward Gardner Museum is a gorgeous and beautiful place that offers insight into many different cultures, religions, and places around the world. The artwork was put in certain rooms based on the themes within that room. Although the museum is big and may appear to be quite eerie, the experience was warm and welcoming. We got to see a fine painting of Queen Marye I, Queen of England by Antonis Mor, where she was dressed to the nines and looking very royal. Our tour guide showed us the frames of the paintings that were stolen in the Gardner heist of 1990. Not only did we see these but we got to go and see an elegant painting of Mrs. Gardner, painted by her friend John Singer Sargent. In the painting she is standing straight ahead with an innocent look on her face; she wore a basic pearl necklace as well as a string of pearls around her tiny waist. The dress she was wearing was a long black and well-fitting dress that accentuated her hourglass figure. Surprisingly, this was the most controversial picture of the time it was made because it showed Mrs. Gardner with what is supposed to be a crown or halo around her, but Mrs. Gardner was not a Queen or Saint. Mrs. Gardner was definitely a woman of taste though, with how she arranged her whole museum. The entire place has an aura that shows Mrs. Gardner’s personality and tastes that speaks to whomever enters her museum. Since we went to the museum, the book club will now read books on Isabella Stewart Gardner or the Heist that occurred in 1990.

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4 Big Ideas Around the Connected Educator

Article by Sylvia Rosenthal Tolisano; reposted from Curriculum21.com

Curriculum21 — 4 Big Ideas Around the Connected Educator.

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Building BGA Community with Recycled Art and Solar-Powered Lanterns

Guest post by Lucas Hall, Library Teacher at Boston Green Academy

Boston Green Academy celebrated Summer Reading on September 5th with an event called “Making Our Mark @ BGA.” During the summer, BGA students and staff read about people from six countries who have created electricity in innovative ways using local, recycled materials to harness solar and wind energy.

Our sixth, ninth, and tenth graders also used local, recycled materials — generously donated by Extras for Creative Reuse in Lynn and Save That Stuff in Charlestown — to create a “BGA” sign for the front foyer of the Taft Building — our new home. Thanks to expert guidance from VSA teaching artists, we have a beautiful entryway!

Meanwhile, the eleventh and twelfth graders created solar-powered lanterns with our physics and engineering teacher, Erica Wilson, and BGA Board member Chris Stokes.

Here are some photos from the day. Thanks to everyone who helped out!

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BGA Summer Reading Activities

 

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Target School Library Makeover @ The Hurley K-8 School

Cutting the ribbon on the new Hurley library

Cutting the ribbon on the new Hurley library

When Principal Marjorie Soto came on board at the Hurley K-8 School nine years ago, there was no library at the school. She knew that a school library is essential for developing a reading culture in a school, so creating a library space became one of her priorities. With the help of Librarian Jen Varney and the Hurley K-8 School community, they developed a library program for the school. Their vision for the school’s library space came to life this week when, thanks to Target and the Heart of America Foundation, the Hurley opened their beautiful, newly renovated school library.

Ms. Varney testing out the new reading chair

Ms. Varney testing out the new reading chair

One of School Librarian Jen Varney’s goals each year is to instill in her students a love for reading. Ms. Varney has always tried to create a welcoming library and to generate that excitement about reading. It is obvious that Hurley students have come to truly value how important their librarian and library are to them and to the school when, during the new library planning process, they were asked by Target what in the current library they absolutely had to have in the new library. Overwhelmingly, the students’ top two answers were, “Ms. Varney and our favorite books.”

Seeing the new library for the first time!

Seeing the new library for the first time!

Since Principal Soto has been at the helm of the Hurley, a dual language Spanish-English immersion school, and through the efforts of the entire Hurley School community, reading scores have soared with 90% of 3rd graders reading proficiently at or above grade level. So, when Target and Heart of America wanted to award the sixth consecutive Boston Target School Library Makeover to a school that is doing well with limited resources, the Hurley was the natural choice.

Mayor Walsh celebrates new Hurley library

Mayor Walsh celebrates new Hurley library

On Tuesday, June 10th, Boston’s Hurley K-8 School celebrated the opening of their new library. Mayor Walsh and other guests, including BPS Deputy Superintendent of Academics Eileen de los Reyes and former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, joined Principal Soto, Ms. Varney, Hurley K-8 students and staff to cut the ribbon on their beautiful new school library.  “When you walk into a school, you can tell right away how a school is doing,” remarked Mayor Walsh, “and you can feel the love and the life in this school as soon as you come off the sidewalk.” In speaking to the Hurley students, Eileen de los Reyes noted, “Libraries are magical places. Always find in libraries a place where you can think and become great.” Principal Soto, referring to the Jorge Luis Borges quote “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library”, thanked Target and Heart of America for “helping create our own paradise.”

Tim Wakefield speaks to Hurley students

Tim Wakefield speaks to Hurley students

Surprise guest Tim Wakefield attended as part of Target’s educational partnership with Major League Baseball. The former Red Sox Pitcher told students, “For me to be successful on the field I had to be successful in the classroom.”

As a result of the Target School Library Makeover, the library at the Hurley received brightly painted walls; new furniture; 2,000 new English and Spanish library books; iPads and Chromebooks.

Excited about the new technology!

Excited about the new technology!

Approximately 120 Target employees volunteered their time that day to shelve new books and assemble furniture, paint murals around the school, visit classrooms to run educational and fun activities, and help with other projects throughout the building. As part of the library makeover celebration, each student and his or her siblings also received a backpack filled with seven new books to add to their home libraries.

Beautiful new reading corner

Beautiful new reading corner

We are tremendously grateful to Target and their partners the Heart of America Foundation, Suffolk Construction, and others for this incredible gift to the Hurley K-8 School community.  The new Hurley library space will inspire readers and learners for many years to come.

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Getting to Know Ms. Armistead

A Guest Post Written By Brianna Crockett, Boston Latin Academy Class of ’14

Author Cal Armistead with the BLA Book Club

Author Cal Armistead with the BLA Book Club

Recently the Boston Latin Academy Book Club hosted a high tea with novelist, Cal Armistead, author of Being Henry David. It was an exciting, fancy social event that only the book club, with the help of Librarian and Book Club Advisor Ms. Lewis and BLA parent Ms. Nolan, could pull off. Once Ms. Armistead arrived, we found out that she was an easy going, smiling, effervescent person. She was an easy person to relate to and an even easier person to talk to. We were so honored to have her and we got to ask her questions. Her responses were witty and funny. I got to sit with her and pick her brain on some ideas and life mottoes. Her responses were surprising.

BC: What is your favorite book to read?
CA: I would have to say The Secret Garden. I love the book and all of the movies.

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Author Cal Armistead with BLA Students

BC: What’s a quote that you live by?
CA: I don’t remember where I’ve seen this, but I write it in all of my books when I sign them. It’s a quote by Henry David Thoreau that says “Live Deliberately”. I take it as not letting yourself become passive. Not letting life happen to you.

BC: Sometimes I write stories but I find myself getting disinterested so I never finish them. How do you keep yourself interested in your own work?
CA: (Laughs) That is one of the hardest things to do when writing. It is to remind yourself why you’re writing and not get into a rut where your only goal is to finish the story and not make it your best. I have that problem too. But I have to reread everything and go with my instinct as to where to take the story because I’ve never been someone to write out an outline. I hate them.

Thank you to author Cal Armistead for a fun and educational visit!

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Winners of the 2014 Youth Media Awards

Guest Post by Mary Boutet, Suffolk University Student/BPSLibraries Intern
florax 222x300 Winners of the Youth Media Awards | ALA Midwinter 2014The American Library Association just announced the winners of the 2014 Youth Media Awards. It’s exciting to see Markus Zusak win the Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults—and so close to the release of The Book Thief movie, as well. Other stand outs include Printz Award winner Marcus Sedgwick for Midwinterblood and Newbery Medal winner Kate DiCamillo for Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures.

What do you think of the choices?

See the full list of winners at the School Library Journal website.

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Tynan Elementary’s Target School Library Makeover Video

Watch the Tynan Elementary School’s Target School Library Makeover process unfold in this fantastic and inspirational video created by BPS/OIIT’s wonderful videographer Mark Pijanowski: 

For more information about this project, see Tynan Elementary School Receives Target School Library Makeover!

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Community Partners @ the Josiah Quincy Elementary Library!

jqs-kpmgOn Wednesday, November 6, volunteers from KPMG dressed as characters for a read-aloud of Amelia Bedelia and a book giveaway at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School (JQS).  KPMG’s Family for Literacy program KPMG Reading Relay provided more than 1,500 books for the students of JQS!  After reading to the students, the KPMG volunteers distributed their First Five Collection of books (Amelia Bedelia, Charlotte’s Web, Green Eggs and Ham, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit) to more than 300 kindergarten, first grade and various other students to bring home.  Thank you to Marie Stapleton of KPMG who coordinated this event!

Also on November 6th, MUFG – The Bank of Tokyo sent several volunteers to the Josiah MUFGQuincy Elementary School (JQS) as part of its MUFG Gives Back program.  An eager team of volunteers played recess games with students on the playground. Others volunteered in the JQS library reading to students and organizing books while some also assisted students with art projects.  The event was facilitated by Catherine Riede and Nicole Young from JQS City Connects.  Thank you to everyone who participated!
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Boston’s SBEC Library Celebrates Teen Read Week!

First Annual SBEC Library Read-In!

On Wednesday, October 30th, 40 students participated in a Library Read-In to celebrate Teen Read Week at the South Boston Educational Complex Library. Teen Read Week is a national literacy initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association. The purpose of Teen Read Week, according to YALSA, “is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.”

photo (9)Participating students from Excel High School and Boston Green Academy started the morning off with donuts and juice before they settled in for a morning of “reading for the fun of it.” The event was organized by librarians Theresa Fisher and Lucas Hall and, according to the students, it was a huge success!

 “It was very peaceful and entertaining.  Very good stress reliever.”  -Charlene J.

 “I found the Read-In to be a good chance to sit down and enjoy a book without having an assignment attached.”
-Bridgette H.

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Readers in all corners of the library!

“I’m really enjoying this Read-In.  It feels nice sitting down with everyone and reading.”  -Samawada S.

“Reading for a few hours in the library was peaceful.  The donuts were delicious too.”  -Madison Wilson

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Looks like the donuts were delicious!

 

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Relaxing with a good book!

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Great way to spend a morning!

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All readers received homemade bookmarks!

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Librarian Theresa Fisher

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Tynan Elementary School Receives Target School Library Makeover!

So many new books to read!

So many new books to read!

On Thursday, October 3rd, the Tynan Elementary School students and school community cut the ribbon on their beautiful new school library.  There was much excitement as Principal Leslie Gant, Parent Services Coordinator Orlando Diaz, Librarian Liz Toczko, and Tynan students, staff and parents entered the newly completed school library for the first time. The Tynan was this year’s recipient of Boston’s fifth consecutive Target School Library Makeover.  As a result of the makeover, the library at the Tynan received colorful new flooring; brightly painted walls; new furniture; 2,000 new books; laptops; and a mobile iPad cart.

Target volunteers

Target volunteers

Approximately 150 Target employees volunteered their time that day to shelve new books and assemble furniture for the library makeover, paint murals around the school, visit classrooms to conduct readers theatre workshops and help with other projects to make the day a success.

As part of the library makeover celebration, each student and his or her siblings also received a backpack filled with seven new books to add to their home libraries.

We're Making Noise in the New Library!

We’re Making Noise in the New Library!

Superintendent John McDonough, City Councillor Bill Linehan and Representative Nick Collins were among the speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.  All spoke about to the importance of the new library for the Tynan School community.

The school library event also coincided with the kickoff for Boston’s third consecutive Target Meals for Minds program. With this program, Target, in collaboration with the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), brings a mobile food pantry to Boston schools. The food pantry is a grocery store style set up where Tynan families are able to choose up to 22 pounds of healthy food per child to bring home.  As part of the Target Meals for Minds program, the GBFB will continue to bring this service to the Tynan School on a monthly basis.

New Library @ the Tynan!

New Library @ the Tynan!

We are tremendously grateful to Target and their partners the Heart of America Foundation, Suffolk Construction, the Greater Boston Food Bank and others for this incredible gift to the Tynan Elementary School community.  The new library space will inspire readers and learners for many years to come.  For more information about the Tynan’s Target School Library Makeover, please see the Boston Public Schools website.

Story time!

Story time!

I love my new school library!

I love my new school library!

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