Science teacher Brandon Watters is a gamer. He particularly enjoys playing The Room on his iPad. The Room transports gamers “into a unique space that blends spellbinding visuals with intriguing problems to solve,” according to its website. If you played Myst on your PC back in the 1990s like my brother and I did, The Room is a lot like that, Brandon says—super fun and filled with mystery. I don’t know about you, but I’m checking it out over spring break …

You heard it from Bill Daggett during our February Institute Day: Games help students learn more and learn faster. Why? Because like The Room and Myst, they immerse gamers into a fictional world where they rely on critical thinking and problem solving skills to compete against themselves. Also, because they are fun.

Daggett’s talk prompted social studies teacher Morgan O’Connor to invite Brandon, Antioch ILC director Barb Mason, and me to a meeting to discuss the possibilities surrounding gaming in District 117. We didn’t get far, but at least we got the conversation started.  Continue reading


Reach Out and Read Book Drive

logo1Take a moment to think back to your childhood. What is your earliest memory of reading or being read to by someone? That moment in time was when you started to develop language skills that would serve as the foundation for your learning.

Early literacy is so important for developing those critical early reading skills. In support of early literacy community efforts, Donna Corcoran, Nicki Sutherland, Andrew Van Herik, Marcia Zboril, and I have collaborated with the Lake County Health Department’s Reach Out and Read program. We have conducted book drives and have donated 11,087 new or gently used books for Lake County children ages 6 months to 5 years old!!!  Impressive work. And we’re not done yet!  Continue reading

Announcing the 2016 Abe Award nominees

AbeThe Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) released on Monday, March 2 the list of 20 books nominated for the 2016 Abraham Lincoln Award. The complete list, available on this LibGuide, includes titles and authors you might already know: FanGirl by Rainbow Rowell, author of 2015 nominee Eleanor & Park; Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline; and The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Twisted and SpeakContinue reading