Monday, May 28, 2018

Library Media Center bids farewell to three spectacular seniors

Vianca Mendez, Tracy Siggers, and Daniel Urban helped keep the 
Library Media Center running smoothly. 
Three of Morton's 2018 graduating seniors spent the spring semester working as Library Media Center interns. Vianca Mendez, Tracy Siggers, and Daniel Urban earned an elective credit by working as members of the Library team during the second semester of the school year. They performed a variety of tasks, including supervising the circulation desk; helping create and dismantle book displays; providing collection management support; transporting equipment around the building; maintaining Chromebook carts; and addressing various requests for technical assistance.

Senior Daniel Urban said he would recommend the experience to other students who are looking for hands-on experience in a work environment. "You don't really realize how much goes on in the much technology circulates through the Library," he said. "Chromebooks come in and go out all the time. It's been fascinating." 

Daniel also acquired a newfound appreciation for the art of shelving books. "I like things organized!" he added.

Library media specialist Ms. Kelly Hladek sang the trio's praises: "We hummed along like a well-oiled machine this term, thanks in great part to our three very capable seniors. Tracy, Vianca, and Daniel have been exceptional Library ambassadors, and we wish them the very best as they begin a new chapter in their lives."

Thursday, May 24, 2018

New eBooks in OverDrive Teachers' Lounge help mark the start of the summer reading season

Student library intern Daniel Urban puts the finishing touches on a display he helped create that features the
new selections in the OverDrive Teachers' Lounge. Take-away bookmarks are scattered throughout the
display and provide helpful instructions for accessing and navigating OverDrive.
New eBooks have been added to the School City of Hammond's OverDrive Teachers' Lounge digital library—just in time for summer when teachers have a little more time on their hands to read for their own enjoyment. 

The new selections include many helpful professional development titles, such as Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess (the South Shore eLearning Conference keynote speaker on June 6!), Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller, and Alice Keeler and Libby Miller's 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom and its companion book 50 Things To Go Further With Google Classroom. Justin Ashley's The Balanced Teacher Path and Thich Nhat Hanh's Happy Teachers Change the World emphasize the mindfulness approach to leading a more meaningful (and less stressful) life as a teacher. 

Alice Keeler and Libbi Miller's two 50 
Things You Can Do With Google books
offer teachers endless possibilities for
their Google Classrooms.
Quirky nonfiction selections like The Useful Book by David Bowers (which, by the way, teaches 201 life skills that used to be taught in "home ec and shop" classes...remember those?) pique readers' curiosity. And riveting adult fiction, such as Celeste Ng's mystery Everything I Never Told You or Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See, will keep teachers swiping the pages on their reading devices. 

Whether the goal is to slow down and savor the summer or gear up for another school year, the district's OverDrive Teachers' Lounge has something for everyone. For technical support over the summer, readers can visit 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Soak up the sun and some stories: Summer Reading 2018 offers Governors plenty of opportunities to stay in tip-top reading shape

Summer brings fun in the sun, but every bit as precious is the freedom for students to read whatever they want! Governors can stave off the "summer slide" by exploring reading opportunities that are just a few clicks away on a personal device.

The Hammond Public Library returns to Morton on Tuesday, May 15 to issue library cards during the lunch periods. The HPL's Summer Reading program runs from June 1-July 31. HPL cards give students access to the library's physical and digital resources (including the HPL's OverDrive collection) and special summer programs just for teens

Hammond OverDrive, the district's digital library, also sponsors a Summer Read program from June 6-July 18, offering four popular YA selections with no holds or waiting. Of course, users also are welcome to sample any of the eBook or audiobook selections in the collection. If you haven't tried the district's OverDrive library, now is the perfect time! For help accessing OverDrive on your personal device (, feel free to stop by the Library Media Center or go to

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Eight poets shine during Morton High School's 8th Annual Poetry Slam

Morton High School's 8th Annual Poetry Slam, celebrating April as National Poetry Month, featured eight wordsmiths who performed their original works of poetry before family and friends on Wednesday, April 25 in the Library Media Center. First-place honors went to Dariel Woods who performed her poem "Dear Mom." Thalia Salloum won second place with her poem "Here Is My Story." Yavette McGee placed third with her poem "Treason."

Desalyn Gonzalez performed 
her poem "The Silent Cry."
This year's group of Governor poets also included Desalyn Gonzalez, Shomari Harris, Trisheena Harris, Kiara Hicks, and Daniel Urban. Slam organizers thank judges: Mrs. Anita Cox, Mrs. Katie Larsen-Turner, Mrs. Elizabeth Marino-McElmurry, Ms. Rebecca Pederson, and Ms. Katie Silaj; scorekeeper Mr. Wes Miller; and co-hosts Mrs. Susie Zajakowski and Mrs. Susan Standley. Mrs. Patricia Kujawa's Advanced 3D Art students' African wildlife exhibit set a festive stage.

"Our poets wrote very moving pieces," said Ms. Kelly Hladek, Morton library media specialist, "Performing their work for others is a bold step, and we congratulate them for their creative efforts."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sure signs of spring: Poetry Slam time and advanced 3D art projects

The deadline to enter the Poetry Slam is Wed., April 18. Students 
are required to submit their poems and permission slips at that 
time. Event flyers are available in the Library Media Center. 
April showers bring not only May flowers, but also Morton's annual Poetry Slam, which is slated for Wed., April 25 at 3:30 p.m. in the Library Media Center. The 8th annual slam, celebrating April as National Poetry Month, will showcase students performing their original works of poetry. Poets perform before a panel of judges and compete for first-, second-, and third-place honors. All participants are recognized.

A steady stream of visitors stop by the Library Media Center to visit 
the African wildlife exhibit. 
Adding whimsy and wonder to the event will be Mrs. Tricia Kujawa's advanced 3D art students' colorful exhibit of African wildlife currently on display in the Library. Students handcrafted 25 animals from everyday materials, including as newspaper, glass, cardboard, yarn, paper towel tubes, aluminum foil, and wire. Large and small land animals, birds, reptiles, and insects are represented.

Did you know that Fennec foxes (pictured above) feed 
primarily on locusts and grasshoppers, but they also 
eat other insects, rodents, birds, lizards, and roots? 
Captions for every creature in the exhibit offer 
enlightening information for visitors. 
"The African animals made this year by the advanced 3D art students were a first for both myself and the students," Mrs. Kujawa noted. "The students surpassed my expectations on so many levels. They picked interesting animals, and they stepped up to the challenge by figuring out how to creatively solve any and all challenges that came up as they worked. The students are very proud of their work, as am I, and I hope everyone who visits the library will enjoy our wild exhibit!"

Blog note: The deadline to enter the Poetry Slam is Wed., April 18.  Poems and permission slips need to be turned in by that date. Interested students can pick up an flyer in the Library Media Center. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Book Club's next read: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Through Rebecca Skloot's careful
research and writing, Henrietta Lacks'
daughter Deborah was able to learn
more about her mother.
Morton's Book Club is reading Rebecca Skloot's compelling true story The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The author traces the life of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman from Virginia and then Maryland who died in 1951 of cervical cancer but whose cancerous cells went on to become the first immortal human cell line called HeLa. 

While HeLa made many of the scientific discoveries of the last 60+ years possible, very little was known about Henrietta. Skloot documents her journey getting to know Henrietta through her family and, in particular, her daughter Deborah. The author also describes how the tissue samples, taken without Henrietta's or her family's knowledge, were used to create the cell line, and she examines the ethical implications of such a health-care practice under close scrutiny. 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) received many awards, including the National Academies Best Book of the Year Award; the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Young Adult Science Book award; the Heartland Prize for non-fiction; and the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, which is awarded annually to an outstanding work of fiction or non-fiction on the theme of health and medicine.

Blog note: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is available in print in Morton's Library Media Center or in an eBook format on OverDrive, the district's digital library.