Our First Ever PARENTS Only Open House!


This week was our first ever Parents Only Open House at the Hubbard Woods IDEA Lab. Last year was an overwhelming success!  We had students manning each station and the response was overwhelming.  While fewer people attended this session, those who came were curious and enjoyed having the chance to see the tools and resources their students had access to.  They were impressed and looking forward to seeing how Seesaw Digital Portfolios played into the documentation of the learning of all students in the space.  They can’t wait for me to grant access to their student’s portfolios!

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We set up several stations for the parents to explore:

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Parents seemed drawn to the 3D printers; for many this was their first time seeing one in action.  It was fun describing some of our plans for them this year and explaining how they work.  They also enjoyed meeting Mr. Codell, our new tech associate who demonstrated how Bloxels worked.  Bloxels was one of the most coveted raffle prizes of the night!

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The most dazzling station was, however, the Augmented Reality Sandbox.  If you are interested in building one yourself, you can visit the University of California Davis website where Professor Oliver Kreylos has everything you might need!

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The students built a ‘house’ for the open house.   They used their absolute favorite tool, Rigamajig.  Rigamajig was the unanimous resource by both older and younger students through the first year of our IDEA Lab.  We are so excited that Rigamajig has decided to share with us two of the first sets of new tool extensions for the building sets: they are gears, cranks, chains and more.  In two weeks, our first grade students will video chat with Cas Hollman, the creator of Rigamajig, to share their ideas for ‘tweaking’ the carts that we use to store the building tool.  It’s been amazing watching some of the youngest students working through the design thinking process.

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On October 8th, we are hosting our second annual Cardboard Challenge.  I have been constructing my Halloween costume and am using it to teach the students a few ‘tricks’ of the trade when it comes to ‘joining’ cardboard together.  We love the tool Makedo because it essentially lets you ‘rivet’ two piece of cardboard together.  There are some amazingly cool tools that come with the kits: a combo saw/punch and a screwdriver that can both take rivets out as well as crank them in.

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The parents were curious how I had built it so I put the top piece of my robot samurai costume on to show them.  The chest piece fits on like a suit of armor.  I slide it on from the back and need my ‘armor paige’ to help me by fastening velcro loops on the back.  The velcro loops are conveniently hidden by my empty cheese ball containers that are painted to look like rocket packs!

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The final station I want to highlight was the collaborative string art project.  This idea came to me after a mission trip to Detroit this summer with my own children.  At a church where we stayed, there were two beautiful nail art projects that got my mind racing.  I knew I had to have our students make something like this at Hubbard Woods.  The result was a large, rectangular ‘canvas’ that had nearly 200 nails in it.  The idea is that each person will tie off on a nail and then make ten random connections to other nails.  It will take us quite a while to get every student, parent and teacher to add their connections to it, but the finished product is sure to be stunning.


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The whole point of the evening was to get parents in the space and see what’s possible.  We also hoped to encourage parents to sign up to volunteer with their student’s class.  We had tremendous parent participation last year.  Parents learned to hang back and watch their students learn and I modeled effective intervention (only as last resort and even then pose questions to kids rather than telling them ‘how’ to do it.)

I would say it was a fantastic success and it gives me tremendous hope for what is possible this year!  Thank you to all the fantastic parents who came and volunteered!

I’m the 2016 School Library Journal’s School Librarian of the Year!


Roger Jarman, School Library Journal, rjarman@mediasourceinc.com, 646-380-0746
Brittany Sullivan, Scholastic, bsullivan@scholastic.com, 212-343-4848

Winner Todd Burleson and Finalists Laura Gardner and Anita Cellucci Recognized
School Library Journal and Scholastic for Outstanding Achievement and Innovation in the School Library
NEW YORK, NY – August 25, 2016 – The 2016 School Librarian of the Year Award winner and two finalists were announced today by School Library Journal (SLJ). Sponsored by Scholastic Library Publishing, this award honors K–12 school library professionals for outstanding achievement and the exemplary use of 21st-century tools to engage students toward fostering multiple literacies. The 2016 School Librarian of the Year, Todd Burleson of Hubbard Woods School in Winnetka, IL, will receive a $2,500 cash award and $2,500 worth of print and digital materials from Scholastic Library Publishing. Laura Gardner of Dartmouth Middle School in Dartmouth, MA and Anita Cellucci of Westborough High School in Westborough, MA were both selected as finalists and will each receive $500 in materials of their choice from Scholastic Library Publishing.

The September 2016 issue of School Library Journal featuring winner Todd Burleson as the cover story is currently available in print and online. To read the full article, visit: http://slj.com/librarianoftheyear

A panel comprised of industry professionals including 2015 School Librarian of the Year, Kristina Holzweiss, judged all nominations based on several criteria including: exemplary service to fulfill the needs of students and the school community; creativity in programming and use of content; collaboration with teacher peers, staff, and administrators; demonstrated student engagement; exemplary use of technology tools; and more.

Quotes about the 2016 School Librarian of the Year Award:

Todd Burleson, 2016 School Librarian of the Year
“I am humbled and honored to be selected as the 2016 School Library Journal School Librarian of the Year. I’ve never worked harder or had more fun than my time working with students and encouraging collaboration in the library. My passion for learning, I’ve been told, is slightly contagious and I am excited to share my experiences and continue my professional growth with educators across the country.”

Kathy Ishizuka, Executive Editor, School Library Journal
“These outstanding educators provide an inspiring model for us all, demonstrating how individual, impassioned leadership can make a difference in the lives of young people. School Library Journal is honored to highlight their work through the School Librarian of the Year Award, which underscores the critical role of librarians and media specialists in supporting student engagement and learning. SLJ looks forward to working with the 2016 honorees in advancing the profession and raising awareness in the broader community of the great work that librarians do.”

Allison Henderson, Vice President and General Manager, Scholastic, Library Publishing Division
“These passionate librarians have transformed their schools’ libraries into vibrant spaces that present learning in interactive and exciting ways, paving the path for student success. At Scholastic, we believe recognizing the hard work, creativity and dedication of teacher librarians like Todd Burleson is important to showcase how their roles enrich schools and communities. We are excited to see how the School Librarian of the Year Award winners will share with their peers, fostering future generations of creative-thinkers and joyful readers throughout the country.”

About the 2016 School Librarian of the Year Winner and Finalists:

2016 School Librarian of the Year Todd Burleson, Hubbard Woods School, Winnetka, IL
Transforming Hubbard Woods School’s library into an IDEA Lab—an integrated, technology-driven space where students can exercise their creativity—has been the highlight of Todd Burleson’s seven-year tenure as a library media specialist. In an effort to enhance classroom learning and empower students to think critically, Burleson, director of Hubbard Woods’ resource center, established daily blocks of time where students are welcomed into the lab to experiment with hands-on makerspace activities including coding, assembling robots, woodworking, sewing, laser cutting and 3D printing. Burleson extends this theme of innovation outside the library by engaging families in fun competitions and training them to use new technology. When he isn’t working with K–4 students or their parents, Burleson presents his best practices with the library community and colleagues at national conferences, on his blog, and through professional development seminars within his district.

Finalist Anita Cellucci, Westborough High School, Westborough, MA
Library teacher Anita Cellucci created a dynamic and collaborative safe haven for students at Westborough High School, based on a school-wide Guided Inquiry Design Process. Working closely with teachers and guidance counselors, Cellucci used this research model to support students’ social-emotional learning, encouraging them to take the lead in their own individualized learning experiences using print and online tools. In response to a growing number of mental health issues within her school, Cellucci secured a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, which promoted awareness and established coping strategies for teachers, students and the community at large. Cellucci also serves as a coach for the school’s Poetry Power Club and the Teen Advisory Board, regularly speaks at education conferences, and facilitates professional development programs.

Finalist Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA
Through the ongoing support of parent and student volunteers, teacher librarian Laura Gardner, NBCT, established a dynamic makerspace in the Dartmouth Middle School library. Every day, students are empowered by choice as they explore their creativity using the library’s research and makerspace tools including a Lego wall, green screens, Touchcast, and more. To further engage students through leadership opportunities, Gardner brings young volunteers to conferences and committee meetings to present on their unique work in the library. Using social media, Gardner actively stays up-to-date with new technology, shares regular updates with families, and proudly celebrates her students’ accomplishments.