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Battle of the Books Champions!

posted Apr 17, 2018, 8:12 AM by Gabriel Grana   [ updated Apr 19, 2018, 9:59 AM ]

It is my honor to say that Smith Middle School has won our district-level Battle of the Books Competition! All praise goes to the hard-working students from all three grade-levels who put time into reading many books, sharing information about the books with each other, contextualizing potentially overlapping details within the books, and participating in a rigorous WIN class when they could have chosen something a bit lighter. 

In my first year, Smith came in 4th-place.
In my second year, we came in 3rd.
Last year, we came in 2nd.
It is absolutely no surprise to me that we won it all this year. 

At the end of last year, instead of just enjoying our celebration for a hard-fought second place, students immediately began to strategize. They knew in their hearts that Smith would win it all, and they knew it would take more than weekly practices. Instead, they suggested we utilize a Google classroom, document more about the potentially confusing similarities between books, really becoming experts on specific titles, and running the club through a WIN class. This victory is due to the hard work of these students and the 6th-graders who rose to the occasion and showed that this was not a one-off victory, but the beginning of a tradition. 

Extra special shout-outs are due to the 8th-graders, most of who have been with the BOB team since 6th-grade, and who dubbed me "The Granana". See my tie in the photos below for an explanation. 
  • Erin Mansfield
  • Calvin Hinkle
  • Eve Bryner
  • Eli Elk
  • Noah Siekirski
  • Owen Cole
  • Dennis Sun (joined in 7th-grade)
  • Benjamin McAvoy-Bickford (joined in 8th-grade)

April is Poetry Month

posted Apr 17, 2018, 6:53 AM by Gabriel Grana   [ updated Apr 19, 2018, 4:42 AM ]

April is all about poetry, and here in the library, we are continuing with a few yearly traditions, while also engaging in some exciting new ones! 

Poetry Contest 
Our annual poetry contest is in full swing! Submit unique poems for your chance to win a prize.
  • Submit up to 5 poems by sharing with Mr. Graña or Mrs. Rhodes via Google Docs 
  • Deadline: April 23rd
  • Original poems only
  • Poems will be posted without names, and voting will last until May 4th
Poetry Slam

Poetry Slam Poster

Poetry Displays

As always, come check out our poetry book displays!
Display of novels-in-verse, written by various authorsDisplay of novels-in-verse, written by Margarita Engle
Author Spotlight: Margarita Engle
Poetry collections

In addition to our usual book displays, we have a special bulletin board display to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day! April 24th is Poem in Your Pocket Day, but we decided to share poetry that you can carry around with you already. Located by the library's exit, you're sure to find something that will suit your mood. If you'd like to suggest poems, please share them with us!

Poem in your pocket bulletin board display.


Author Event

posted Apr 17, 2018, 6:07 AM by Gabriel Grana   [ updated Apr 18, 2018, 1:31 PM ]

Smith will have the pleasure of hosting author Stacy McAnulty on May 2nd. Her book, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, will be coming out on May 1st! To be one of the first to read it, and to ensure that you get your copy signed by the author, use this link to pre-order from Flyleaf by Monday, May 1st. Please see Mr. Graña or Mrs. Rhodes if you'd like to sign-up. 

Want to get a jump on the book? Come see Mr. Graña for an Advanced Reader's Copy. There are multiple copies available for a week-long checkout. 

March is...

posted Mar 6, 2018, 12:02 PM by Gabriel Grana

Women's History Month

Celebrate the pivotal role women have played in this country's history. 
Details coming soon.  

Music in Schools Month

Sign up in the library for performances on the following days:
Mondays March 5, 12, 19
Wednesday, March 7

Karaoke Madness - Thursday, March 22

We'll have a MIDI keyboard set up in the classroom area, as well as iPads with GarageBand on them. You can also check out Song Maker by borrowing a Chromebook during your recess period!

Crafts Month
We'll be hosting a 3D-design class, followed up by a 3D design challenge for the month of April. 
We've recently acquired a Cricut, too! Be on the lookout for a Cricut programming, too!

We'll have special book displays and a variety of activities to take part in!

Flyleaf Book Fair

posted Feb 8, 2018, 8:59 AM by Gabriel Grana   [ updated Feb 8, 2018, 10:56 AM ]

Four of the CHCCS libraries have partnered with Flyleaf to pilot a new type of Book Fair! Over the course of the weekend of February 16-18, a portion of the sales at Flyleaf Bookstore will come back to four of our schools, including Smith, Culbreth, Carrboro High, and East Chapel Hill High. There will be performances from each school over the course of the weekend, with Smith taking the stage on Saturday, February 17th, from 5-7pm. We'll feature student poets and singers, as well as published members of our own faculty, including Kim Lane and John Stevens. 

Check out the flyers below, and then keep reading to learn more about our featured performers!


Battle of the Books/WIN Session 2

posted Feb 5, 2018, 6:48 AM by Gabriel Grana

WIN session 1 is winding down, but selection for session 2 is underway! Please make sure that you select Battle of the Books if you'd like to guarantee a trip to the competition. 

Speaking of the competition, the date has been set: April 12, 2018.

Harry Potter Week Donations

posted Dec 1, 2017, 10:00 AM by Gabriel Grana

Help us create a memorable Harry Potter Week! This document will keep evolving, so check back regularly! 

Additionally, if you are interested in helping out in other ways, please email me: ggrana@chccs.k12.nc.us

Harry Potter Week Donations

Library Assistant Game

posted Sep 18, 2017, 9:23 AM by Gabriel Grana

If you are interested in being a library assistant, here is the link to the game: 

Take a screenshot:

Shortcuts for screenshots:
Chromebook: Hold down Control + Shift, click "Switch Window" button
Mac: Shift + Command, 4
PC: Alt + PrintScreen (and save as PDF or print)

Then share with me via email: ggrana@chccs.k12.nc.us 

Author Alan Gratz comes to Smith

posted Sep 2, 2017, 1:18 PM by Gabriel Grana   [ updated Sep 2, 2017, 1:29 PM ]

Alan Gratz is coming to Smith! For years students have loved books like Prisoner B-3087 and The Brooklyn Nine. Alan Gratz is back with Refugee, a novel about 3 immigrants set apart by time, but brought together by a common goal: the pursuit of freedom. Josef and his family flee from Nazi Germany in 1939 about the St. Louis headed to Cuba. A group of family and friends accompanies Isabel as she leaves Cuba aboard a rickety raft en route to a brighter future in Miami in 1994. Mahmoud and his family escape the devastating civil war in Syria in 2015, only to be met with resistance, greedy swindlers who take advantage of their need to travel, and inhospitable people. Their persistence unites them, and, as always, Alan Gratz writes a compelling narrative with believable, endearing characters who are forced to grow up far too quickly. As timely as it is memorable, Refugee is sure to be a mandatory part of all middle school reading experiences (and that's why I bought 6 copies for the library). 

Date: September 7th
Time: 8th period
How can I come? Get a pass from Mr. Graña, signed by parents and your 8th period teacher, to acknowledge that you'll make up the work ASAP. 
Who gets to go? The event has been publicized at school, and if you would like your son or daughter to attend, then please have them fill out an in-school field trip form (available in the library). Students will need to make up the work they miss. Students in Mr. Gilmer's creative writing class, Dr. Schieman and Mrs. Morales's fifth period, and last year's Battle of the Books students are already on the list. There are still PLENTY of spots available. Students need not attend to receive a signed copy if it is pre-purchased. 
How did you get this awesome opportunity? I work closely with Flyleaf Bookstore to purchase new materials for the library, and am constantly in contact with their Children's Manager in order to secure author visits. It costs nothing to the school, but pre-orders of the book do increase the likelihood of these opportunities becoming available.  
Why is this so last-minute? Mr. Gratz has been receiving a lot of well-deserved positive media attention and so his schedule is becoming increasingly crowded. Additionally, when authors visit they are in a touring cycle, and so accommodating school schedules (the odd timeframes of which do not facilitate easy planning) is difficult. However, I felt it important to pursue this visit because of the timelines of the novel and the popularity of the author.

Welcome Back

posted Aug 29, 2017, 5:24 AM by Gabriel Grana

It's the start of another exciting school year! Students and teachers have eager faces and the library is ready to welcome everyone! 

This year I'll be doing many cosmetic and and content updates to this website, so make sure you bookmark it to stay up to date on the latest information, including information about:
  • Battle of the Books
  • Makerspace
  • Makerspace Committee
  • Becoming a Library Assistant
  • The Library Advisory Committee
  • Special Events like themed days and author visits
  • Opportunities to help out!
I look forward to a year of sharing all of the joy the library brings to Smith!

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