Library Visits

To check out books or use the computers you MUST have: a signed pass from your teacher and your SCHOOL ID.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Recreation of the First Thanksgiving in the 17th-Century English Village at Plimoth Plantation (from

There are a lot of stories about Thanksgiving, and it is hard to figure out what is truth and what is fiction. A reliable website would be, which is the site of the historial Plimoth Plantation. They state: 

Giving thanks for the Creator’s gifts had always been a part of Wampanoag daily life. From ancient times, Native People of North America have held ceremonies to give thanks for successful harvests, for the hope of a good growing season in the early spring, and for other good fortune such as the birth of a child. Giving thanks was, and still is, the primary reason for ceremonies or celebrations.
As with Native traditions in America, celebrations - complete with merrymaking and feasting - in England and throughout Europe after a successful crop are as ancient as the harvest-time itself. In 1621, when their labors were rewarded with a bountiful harvest after a year of sickness and scarcity, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God and celebrated His bounty in the Harvest Home tradition with feasting and sport (recreation). To these people of strong Christian faith, this was not merely a revel; it was also a joyous outpouring of gratitude.

Have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Library Word of the Week

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, this week's work is food related!


mishmash, mix

Definition: pertaining to verse or poetry’s mixture of styles or languages
Pronunciation: say it in the same why you would have described a macaroni dish- ma-ca-RO-nic
The first use of macaronic in the description of poetry took place back in 1610 and pertained to a form of verse mixing vernacular (daily, simple, colloquial) speech with Latin contexts and endings. More generally the word referred to verse containing a mishmash of languages.
Why this word?
Macaronic. Really- this is the only reason and I do not feel others are needed. But, let’s look further into it as I really can’t remember the last time I’ve discussed the word macaroni and its forms.
In the definition section up there, I said that this adjective describes poetic mixtures. But there were times, in which the word macaronic also served to describe hip, cool and dandy people! How did that happen? Well, somewhere in the 17th century, a few Englishmen traveled around Europe and came across this exotic and extra special Italian dish called macaroni. They returned home with that new trend and brought forth the “Macaroni Club” which became a huge success in absolute no time. Assuming the phrase “Oh my! He is so macaronic!” made perfect sense at the time and was actually a good thing, but now, looks like things have changed…
How to use the word macaronic in a sentence?
Here we go back to the original definition rather than the dandy one…
Imagine a macaroni dish- no matter how well the chef made it look- it really is still a mass. Although the original definition has to do with poetry, I think we can feel free to use this great adjective for anything that is mixed, confused or generally contains a variation of styles.
“That film was too macaronic for my subtle taste. At moments I laughed, and then I cried, seconds later I screamed… Like, what was that?  A comedy? A drama? A bad horror film…?”
- See more at:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

One for the teachers

Undivided Attention
by Taylor Mali
A grand piano wrapped in quilted pads by movers,
tied up with canvas straps—like classical music’s
birthday gift to the criminally insane—
is gently nudged without its legs
out an eighth‐floor window on 62nd street.
It dangles in April air from the neck of the movers’ crane,
Chopin-­‐shiny black lacquer squares
and dirty white crisscross patterns hanging like the second‐to­‐last
note of a concerto played on the edge of the seat,
the edge of tears, the edge of eight stories up going over—
it’s a piano being pushed out of a window
and lowered down onto a flatbed truck!—and
I’m trying to teach math in the building across the street.
Who can teach when there are such lessons to be learned?
All the greatest common factors are delivered by
long‐necked cranes and flatbed trucks
or come through everything, even air.
Like snow.
See, snow falls for the first time every year, and every year
my students rush to the window
as if snow were more interesting than math,
which, of course, it is.
So please.
Let me teach like a Steinway,
spinning slowly in April air,
so almost-­‐falling, so hinderingly
dangling from the neck of the movers’ crane.
So on the edge of losing everything.
Let me teach like the first snow, falling.
Mali. Taylor. “Undivided Attention.” What Learning Leaves. Newtown, CT: Hanover Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN: 1-­‐887012-­‐17-­‐6)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Digital Vault

There are quite a few research projects that are dealing with primary sources. Primary sources are a very interesting type of source. They are original materials.

A good explaination that a student came up with was: "If there is a murder, the witness is a primary source. The police officer who takes the statement is a secondary source." 

This translates really well to history too: papers written by Benjamin Franklin are primary sources for that time period. A biography about Franklin is a secondary source.

Photographs are primary sources too!

Check out Digital Vaults for a fun way to see primary sources. 

Above see JFK's report card from Harvard! (did you know he got a "D" in History his sophomore year?)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Library Word of the Week

It is Friday and time for the Library Word of the Week. Today's word comes from L is for Lollygag, a new book the library has aquired.

(GON-zoh), adjective
bizarre or unconventional, or using an exaggerated style; also a type of journalism in which the reporter puts him- or herself in the story and mixes fact with fiction. 

Gonzo is also my favorite Muppet: 

[In a hot-air balloon
Gonzo: I'd like to try this without a balloon. 
Kermit: Try what? Plummeting? 
Gonzo: Yeah. 
Kermit: I suppose you could try it once.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Photo Mosaic

The website is featuring an article on the new photo mosaics in our building!

(photo from MassLive)

Congratulations to our Photography Club! 

Here is an excerpt from the article on MassLive (
“The club is always on the lookout for projects and this one spoke out to them,” said club volunteer David Modzelewski. With others, including retired oncologist Paul Hetzel he sought out the photographer behind the Obama mosaic, Anne Savage, who compiled more than 6,000 faces from Obama rallies over the years to make the photographic statement. 

“Each face,” she wrote, like the main image of the president, “is facing forward to signify our collective desire to continue moving forward with change.” 

Savage was eager to meet with the students and share the software needed to make the mosaic but it was the photography students who descended upon the school cafeteria for several days last year to request, cajole, and tease their fellow students and teachers to offer their faces for the cause. 

They are all in there along with images of Dr. Seuss characters, Springfield historical figures and of course Obama, inviting both Commerce veterans and causal viewers to play “Where’s Waldo” as they look behind the exterior of the school and into the faces it comprises. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Library Word of the Week

This Word of the Week is a little late, but could be very useful in the future (MCAS words!).


to separate into parts and explain


to carry out or transfer information


to explain exactly what something means


the background information of the characters and setting of a story


A character who provides a contrast to the protagonist


to reexamine the main points or highlights of something


Things, characters and actions can be symbols. Anything that suggests a meaning beyond the obvious.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Library Word of the Week


Definition: Someone with an egg-like head; a brainy/nerdy person.
Pronunciation:  OH-OH-seff-faa-luss
Greek and Latin–
From Greek’s “oion” (“egg”) and “kephale” (“head”), and a Latin suffix.
Why this word?
I’ve always thought “egg-head” was a pretty unpleasant term; not necessarily regarding the type of person it’s used for, but mostly regarding how it sounds in my ear. (This might stem from the fact that I’m really not fond of eggs to begin with.)
Similar sounding words, like “hydrocephalus”, have always sounded better to me, too. I think it might be the “ceph” and polysyllabic nature of the terms.
How to use the word oocephalous in a sentence?
Example: “The first thing the little man did was pass the Oocephalous Act, which forbade schoolyard bullies from taunting their bookish peers under pain of extreme embarrassment.”
- See more at: