What High School Students Need To Know….

After attending many of the presentations by college librarians at the Ohio Educational Library Media Association Conference in October, I found that overall these librarians stressed the need for high school seniors to become familiar with the following concepts and tools:

1.      Using a citation generator program such as Noodletools or EasyBib. Many students arrive at college without the slightest clue as to how to cite sources (other than books or basic web sites) or how to use an electronic citation generator to organize their resources.  They do not realize that the course content dictates the citation style and that if they were to use a citation generator program, that it would format the citation in the style that they need – be it APA, Chicago Turabian, or MLA.

2.      Being able to develop a topic into a research paper.  They have difficulty narrowing down broad topics and writing thesis statements.

3.      Using multiple search strategies – their first choice is Wikipedia or Google; they do not use Wikipedia for the resource/reference lists at the end of the articles or as a starting point to have a better understanding of their topic.  They have difficulty navigating databases, electronic books, or using OhioLINK’s Union catalog. They don’t realize that in Ohio they have access to books from every college library through Cuyahoga County Public Library’s partnership with OhioLINK’s free interlibrary loan program.

4.      Identifying potential sources for information.  They don’t realize that information can be found in journals, databases, books, and websites. They don’t know how to save and bookmark the resources that they do find when using databases so that they easily access the resources that they have found without re-doing the entire search.

5.      Knowing how to take detailed notes when conducting research.  They cut, copy, and paste their way through writing research papers.  They do not know how to synthesize information, read critically, and draw their own conclusions.  Often times, when they submit their papers via plagiarism detection programs, they are amazed that their papers are flagged for plagiarism.

6.      Being able to manage their time when conducting research.  They under-estimate the amount of time it will take them to gather their resources, read and evaluate the material, write and compose the paper – they end up stressed because they’ve run out of time.

7.      Understanding the difference between facts and opinions.  They have a hard time discerning bias in articles or hidden agendas behind web sites.

8.      Understanding remote authentication for access to databases.  They do not understand that they need to use passwords or work through the school’s proxy system to gain off-campus access to these paid resources.

9.      Understanding the resources found in databases.  They are not certain if they are looking at articles from journals or newspapers, they do not understand that sometimes database articles will not have an author listed, but will instead have been written by a staff writer.  They do not know how to pull apart citations to know what type of information they have retrieved from their search.

10.     Knowing how to search a database or library catalog – using advanced search strategies to find information.  Sometimes students are unable to go into the library and find books by just using call numbers.  They don’t understand that material is organized by subject content and they don’t understand that there are two library systems:  Dewey and Library of Congress.

Dropbox – No Need for Flashdrives Anymore

Tired of sending files back and forth from home via email or copying files to a flashdrive?

Dropbox LogoDropbox removes the middle man and lets you save your files in the Cloud.  It couldn’t be easier, you create a free Dropbox account, upload your files, and then when you are at school, all you have to have is Internet access to retrieve your documents.   Your files are password protected in Dropbox and it accepts all types of files:  doc, docx, pdfs, wmv, jpgs, bmps, and ppts.   Our school computers allow you upload your documents and download the documents, you don’t have to worry that our server or network will block your actions.

Just remember, if you can save a file to a flashdrive, you can save it to your Dropbox account.  Dropbox also allows you to share folders with friends, which means that if you are collaborating on a project with a classmate, you both always have access to the document.  Makes your life a lot easier, plus it eliminates the problems that arise when a project is due and the person that you are working with is absent from school.

Dropbox also has Apps so that you can sync your Dropbox account to your phone and to your home computer.  If you want to use Dropbox at school, you do not have to download the program – you can just sign into the account.  However, if you want to sync your home computer with your phone, you have to download the program to your home computer.   Unfortunately, since our computers are networked, you cannot sync your home computer with your school accounts.  Dropbox works on Macs, Windows, and Linux machines.

We Are All Inspired By Great Literature – Friday

English Week 2010

catcher in the ryeCatcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescence.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists.

It begins,

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.”

His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.  (Book description adapted from www.amazon.com)

Mr. Pasko

waldenWalden – Henry David Thoreau

“Simplify, simplify, simplify!”

Over and over again in my life, Henry David Thoreau’s Walden has beckoned me to live life more fully and consciously through simplicity.  Often I fail miserably, letting both mental and physical clutter cloud my ability to “suck the marrow out of life.”

During my college days and afterward, I became involved in a program called Voluntary Simplicity, a 10 week discussion course rooted in the cause of making choices to live more simply, consciously, and tread more lightly on the earth.  The course included among others, readings from Thoreau, whose writings inspired much of this movement.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I have not lived.”

His writings have also become manifest in my life in my ever-growing love and appreciation for the natural world.  Recently, I had the opportunity to accompany Ignatius students on a retreat to the wilderness where we sought to, like Thoreau, “front the essential facts of life.”  Some of my favorite times as a parent have been wandering out in the woods with my children, watching them explore the glorious world of creation that surrounds them.  Do we need much more to find happiness?

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

We, as humanity,  must continue to hope and dream with great imagination.  Without action, our dreams will never become reality.  Thoreau’s words challenge me not only to imagine a better society, but also to build a better society with my heart and hands today, brick by brick, one nail at a time.

Mr. McCafferty

We Are All Inspired By Great Literature – Thursday

English Week 2010

Paddle to the Sea – Holling C.  HollingPaddle to the sea

A young Indian boy from Nipigon country in the Canadian wilderness carves an Indian figure in a 12-inch canoe that he names Paddle-to-the-Sea. Wishing that he could undertake a journey to the Atlantic Ocean, the boy sends the toy carving instead. Paddle-to-the-Sea begins on a snow bank near a river that eventually leads him to the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and finally the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, Paddle’s journey is fraught with danger including wild animals, saw mills, fishing nets, and a shipwreck. Paddle receives help staying on course from people who read the message carved on his canoe (“Put me back in the water. I am Paddle-to-the-Sea”). Four years later, Paddle has reached his destination, and listeners have experienced an incredible story complete with geography, nature, drama, and adventure.  (Book description adapted from www.amazon.com)

Mr. Fujimoto

Things they carriedThe Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien

The Things They Carried marks a subtle but definitive line of demarcation between Tim O’Brien’s earlier works about Vietnam, the memoir If I Die in a Combat Zone and the fictional Going After Cacciato, and this sly, almost hallucinatory book that is neither memoir nor novel nor collection of short stories but rather an artful combination of all three. Vietnam is still O’Brien’s theme, but in this book he seems less interested in the war itself than in the myriad different perspectives from which he depicts it.  Every story in The Things They Carried speaks another truth that Tim O’Brien learned in Vietnam; it is this blurred line between truth and reality, fact and fiction, that makes his book unforgettable.  (Book description adapted from www.amazon.com)

Mr. Strauss

Seven Storey

Seven Storey Mountain – Thomas Merton

The book that specially impacted my life is Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain. I remember reading it in high school, probably my junior or senior year and being so taken/inspired by Merton’s conversion.  I do think he will be a saint one day, perhaps even in our time.

Ms. Betz

We Are All Inspired By Great Literature – Wednesday

English Week 2010

Blue highwaysBlue Highways – William Least Heat Moon

In the spring of 1995, I picked up a book by a professor of English, Bill Trogdon .   In a gray Missouri spring, Trogdon—or Least Heat Moon, his Native American name and nom de plume—loses his teaching job, and, facing a crumbling marriage, buys a white van he names Ghost Dancing. He decides on a cross-continental tour keeping to the small roads, the blue back roads of the old highway maps; as Least Heat Moon puts it he “took to the open road in search of places where change did not mean ruin and where time and men and deeds connected.” If driving around the country in the company of an oddly named van full of books, notebooks, and pens could accomplish this, Blue Highways was for me.

Amazingly, the book delivered.  Least Heat Moon recovers his bearings and celebrates the virtues of paying attention.  Many of Least Heat Moon’s encounters with people and landscape have stayed with me; he begins these with simple questions about place names or local history and uncovers terrific stories.

How often, I think each time I read this book, do we ignore the very places we inhabit? Least Heat Moon’s insight is to read closely the names of places, to listen to people’s histories, to consider the connections to generations past.  Now, I think more about my surroundings:  Detroit Road which runs by near my house is named for the city where it ends. Center Ridge Road just a mile south of us is named for the great ridge of sand placed there by the last glacier. Who knew? Then there are city names like Euclid—given as compensation to the surveyors of the country, geometers all—or Lakewood, Rocky River, Westlake, and Bay Village named for their association with water, the 18th and 19th century freeways. Examples like these abound. William Least Heat Moon has helped me to see them.

Mr. Beach

Lord of the flies

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

My first encounter with Lord of the Flies was not in English class at St. Ignatius, but theology class my junior year with Mr. Brennan.  As a rich allegory, Golding creates a world where humanity has a chance to start anew through the experience of a group of stranded school boys on a deserted island.  Golding’s microcosm is a comment on the inherent nature of man’s goodness, issues of social order and disorder, and the influence of religion on culture and humanity.  Golding’s most famous work provokes its readers to examine the human condition and ask the question, “If we were given a chance to start from scratch how much would truly be different?”

Mr. Gallagher

if I never get backIf I Never Get Back – Darryl Brock

This is the first of the many baseball novels that I’ve read.  It grabbed my attention immediately as it begins in Cleveland during the 1980’s.  Suddenly the main character, Sam Fowler, goes back in time.   The story is then centered around Sam’s dealings with the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. It’s an entertaining story that includes a lot of interesting baseball history.  Also, there is quite a bit of American history;  Mark Twain is even a character.    My appreciation for baseball literature began with this novel.  This Darryl Brock tale is one of the main reasons that I enjoy reading baseball novels and it led me to teaching Baseball Literature.

Mr. Lauer

We Are All Inspired By Great Literature – Tuesday

English Week 2010


1984 – George Orwell

George Orwell’s “1984” changed my life more than any other book.  From these pages I learned to question authority, to be skeptical of political, educational and religious institutions.  I learned also to despise totalitarianism in all its forms and to pay closer attention to language (“doublespeak”) that is designed to hide the truth.  At the same time, I discovered an author on whom I modeled my own writing style.

Mr. Hodermarsky

Moby Dick

Moby Dick – Herman Melville

I was a junior at John Carroll University.  I decided to take an eight day seminar on the novel Moby Dick. For three hours a day, we scrutinized the book, chapter by chapter.  It was a very rewarding experience.  The book is filled with allegory and history.  The ship named The Pequod is a microcosm of the world.  The major question presented by the book is “Why is evil so attractive for humans beings?”

I am proud to say that I influenced Mr. Mike Gavin to read and study Moby Dick when he was a senior in high school.  He enjoyed it, and decided to be an English major in college.  Do you think the book Moby Dick had an influence on his decision?

Mr. Kyle

end of the affairThe End of the Affair – Graham Greene

While I would never consider any book life changing, I would recommend The End of the Affair for its remarkable treatment of the struggle for an adult faith and its subtle presentation of a God who is active in the daily circumstances of these characters.  Readers learn something encouraging about the ongoing significance of the Incarnation.  And no cheap grace here: instead, men and women playing for the highest possible stakes—their chance at sainthood.

Mr. McKenna

We Are All Inspired By Great Literature – Monday

English Week 2010

“What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote it.”

-C.S. Lewis

grapes of wrath 1The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

I first studied this book in high school, but it not affect me significantly at the time. I wish now that I had invested more energy into the book when I was a teenager. I re-read it years later, when I was a student teacher, working with a sophomore seminar class. As part of the unit we studied the plight of modern-day migrant farm workers in the United States. Steinbeck led me to Caesar Chavez, and The Grapes of Wrath brought my interest in peace and justice to another level.

Mrs. Hruby

Mr. Blue by Mylmr. bluees Connolly

Years ago Mr. Blue was a frequently assigned novel at St. Ignatius High School in both the English Department and the Theology Department. It is the story of a young romantic who decides “to take Christianity seriously, not as a chore but as a challenge.”  A modern-day St. Francis with an enthusiasm for life, Blue gives away his inheritance to the less fortunate and helps the downtrodden.  For a time he lives on the top of a New York skyscraper because it brings him “the air, the view, the solitude, the closeness to heaven.”  Blue stands in sharp contrast to Holden Caulfield (The Catcher in the Rye) and Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby).

Fr. Streicher

Count of monte cristoThe Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite book of all time. The protagonist Edmond Dantes is, for me,  the quintessential hero; he embodies faith, courage, loyalty, and perhaps most appealing, style. To succeed in life, it is not enough to say that one has not done any wrong. It is also necessary to be strong enough to handle the injustices life presents you with. This tale has been said to be the greatest story of revenge ever told. Take my advice men, this is a must-read if you have ever cheered for the underdog or wanted to see justice served!

Death, as Dantes discovers, is a poor punishment. It is over far too soon.

Mr. Bradesca

3D Art on Display

Now on display in the library….

Interesting sculptures from Mrs. Kyle’s 3D Art class

Found Object Art

Communication Man by David Boylan

Stages of Communication

World of Games by Christian Saponaro

Convencion Hispana 2010 Library 014

Wire Sculpture Art

Walking the Dog by Jacob Doerner

Convencion Hispana 2010 Library 019

Soccer by Nicholas Lattanzio

3D Art 2010 Library 003

Students were asked to create sculpture out of  “found objects or junk” or wire using the elements and principles of design:

  • color
  • line
  • form
  • contrast
  • emphasis
  • tension
  • movement

Next time you stop in, make sure you take a look at all of these amazing works of art.

Feedly – An Extremely Hungry Program


It does exactly what you think –

  • it grabs news stories, links, twitter feeds, and rss subscriptions

  • puts them together in an easy-to-read magazine-like home page

  • feeds the digest to your computer.

This cartoon from their blog post describes the process perfectly….


  • Feedly is an add-on through Firefox Mozilla.  It also works together with your Google Reader and Twitter Accounts.

  • Very easy to add rss feeds, categorize items, and add personalize touches to your page.

And… now that Bloglines is shutting down on November 1st, Feedly is a wonderful way to organize your favorite rss subscriptions, links, blogs, and sites.