Archive for the ‘Library’ Category

By Gracie Lentz
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon Junior High held a coin drive with Scholastic to earn books and donate to a charity of their choice.
     The drive lasted two weeks in October. Scholastic matched the amount of money in books for the library and then donated an equal amount to a children’s charity. The coin drive made $82 and the two charities that were donated to are Toys for Tots and Kids in Distress.
     “Whatever money was donated during the Book Fair coin drive Scholastic matches that amount in books to the school and then donates an equal amount to a children’s charity in CCJH’s name,” says librarian Jennifer Cameron.
     The motivation to get the students to donate was the prize. The winning class received a pizza party. The class that raised the most money was seventh grade teacher Mrs. Fallon’s first hour.
     Some kids claim that the motivation of the pizza party did encourage them to donate to the coin drive. Even though only one class could win, everyone that donated still got to help the school and charities.
     “The fact that I could have a pizza party with my class sounded fun, so it encouraged me to donate,” says eighth grader Ashley Wood.
     The money not only helped the charities it was donated to, but helped the CCJH library get a bigger selection of books for the students. It could potentially get some more readers at CCJH and help the teachers by having their students always have a book.
     “I can’t wait until the new books come in as it will give me something better to do in class, because it feels like I have already read all the books in the library,” says Wood.



By Zoe Siegel
Cougar News Blog

     CCJH is opening a new chapter with a grant that was awarded to the library for non-fiction books.
     The Dollar General Literacy Foundation awarded librarian Jennifer Cameron with a $4,000 grant for more informational books in the library. Cameron requested the PTO apply for the grant last spring.
     “CCJH library’s non-fiction books indicated that our collection was seriously dated. In an effort to rectify this situation I reached out to CCJH’s PTO,” said Cameron.
     Last spring, Cameron heard about the grant and talked to the PTO about the grant. Not long after, they hired professional grant writer Eve Jacobs write a grant focused on technology and science.
     “They had hired a professional grant writer to do some work for them,” said Cameron. “I compiled a list of books for her focusing on science and technology and she put together the actual literacy grant.”
     The grant is affecting students in many ways. Students say when more books get updated, they will have more information that wasn’t in the old books.Kids can enjoy more books and make their reading experience more exciting and educational.
     “I think it will open up more options of what to read. I would like to say that this grant will most likely bring more readers to the library,” said eighth grader Robin Marshall.
     The grant helps out after-school clubs like Raging Readers. It can open up what they read and provide more text that they haven’t read before. The more books the library has, the more text the club can read.
     “Since I am in Raging Readers I do think it will provide more for us to read because the more books the more we can read,” said Marshall.

By Alaya Walton
Cougar News Blog

     There is an additional dimension beyond what is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as infinite as time. It lies between the boundaries of literature and comprehension, and plays as the summit of proper knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area called the Book Fair Zone.
     The second book fair of the year was held in the library May 4-8 and would not had been possible without proper materials and preparation. Many of Cactus Canyon’s students and staff had been working hard to make the book fair as great as it could be.
     “There are many little steps that are taken up to the time of the book fair, and Scholastic does an excellent job of outlining all the things that need to be accomplished in materials they provide,” says Jennifer Cameron, CCJH’s librarian.
     Cactus Canyon’s student council had also been a big part of the preparation for the book fair.
     “We make decorations for the book fair,” says Vice President Angel Meeks. “When she has a theme, we create decorations that correspond to the theme.”
     “After the decorations were made, we all at once went in the library to put them up,” says representative Marissa Gregory. “We also put the books on the bookshelf and set up the stands.”
     In addition to the focus on setting up, the book fair preparation seemed to be educational for many of StuCO.
     “It was a lot of collaborating with people,” said Meeks. “It’s nice helping out the librarian because she does a lot of work as it is.”
     “We mostly learned responsibility because if we were to not do it, the book fair wouldn’t be properly prepared,” said Gregory. “We also learned organization when we were responsible for everything being in its place.”

Author Marissa Meyer signs autographs during her visit to CCJH. (Photo by Rose Hansing)

Author Marissa Meyer signs autographs during her visit to CCJH. (Photo by Rose Hansing)

By Alaya Walton
Cougar News Blog

     Nothing is better than a good old-fashioned fairy tale once in a while, but what if you could read a new kind of fairy tale? Many students took advantage of a great opportunity when author Marissa Meyer, who writes futuristic versions of fairy tales, came to visit Cactus Canyon.
     Meyer, author of the Cinder series, came CCJH on Feb. 2 to give a presentation on her childhood and how she became a writer. Her presentation inspired some of the audience, like eighth grader Clarissa Wilson.
     “It was really interesting how she explained how she started writing in her childhood,” she said. “I was interested in her presentation because it sort of connected to me in a sense.”
     Because of Ms. Meyer’s visit, Wilson also has some great ideas for writing.
     “As a student, her presentation makes me want to become a writer because she has gone through the same as me,” she says. “For instance, I’ve been trying to write some of my own books but I don’t have something to connect together, but when she came she gave me a good idea of what to do.”
     Many of the students seemed to be interested in her and they were willing to give her their attention.
     “They were very attentive or engaged,” said librarian Jennifer Cameron. “They asked pertinent questions.”
     “She was talking about how she’s trying so many different things,” said seventh grader Elexis Toro. “It was really interesting to notice how hard it is to write the books.”
     The Cinder series is a science fiction retell of classic fairy tales. It is said to be a futuristic version of the Disney princesses.
     “The Cinder series is about young girls who are either too perfect or part robot,” said Wilson.
     Cameron hopes the visit will encourage CCJH students to read the Cinder series and similar books.
     “Hopefully, with the mix of old fairy tale and the use of new technology and ideology students will seek out similar books and expand the types of genres they are willing to read,” said Mrs. Cameron.

By Michele D.
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon is changing the way it raises money due to the new Smart Snacks law. This new law is intended to help students be healthier, but it will mean some changes for CCJH clubs. It took effect in July 2014 and is affecting schools all over America. Smart Snacks has been helping students make healthier choices for their school food, but it is changing things for the library, Student Council, and other organizations that raise money for Cactus Canyon.
This new law has been a big difference because those groups sold some snacks that weren’t meeting the standards of Smart Snacks, but the money from those snacks was used to help them stay on their feet financially.
“For Student Council, we are losing a lot of money,” said StuCo adviser Jason Davis. “We were always able to sell the snacks we had left over from dances after school and we made several hundred dollars that way over the course of the year.”
Under the law, snacks sold at school have to be 200 calories or less, while a la carte lunch item must be 350 calories or less and contain 35 percent sugar or less. There are also rules for saturated fat and sodium.
The drinks are limited to plain water, lowfat or nonfat milk or natural milk alternatives, and some fruit and vegetable juices.
The Smart Snacks rule doesn’t apply to foods or beverages from home, birthday parties, off-campus fundraisers, athletic events, school plays, or items sold after school hours (30 minutes after school).
Some students may be affected depending on if what they purchase at school. The new law is designed to help students with making smarter choices while being more active and energetic. However, not all students like it.
“Personally, I dislike the new rule. It may be healthier, but not all that tasty,” said Kylie Cann.
Student Council and Jennifer Cameron, the CCJH librarian, are searching for new ways to raise funds.
“I’m in Student Council, and it makes it a lot harder to raise money without junk food,” said eighth grader Erik Lundquest.
“In the past some snacks were sold as a fundraiser to purchase books for the library,” said Mrs. Cameron. “So far the additional snack that I have are Cranberry Almond Thins.”

By Kathy G.
Cougar News Blog

Jonathan Stroud, author of fantasy books, came to Cactus Canyon on April 3, and talked to 30 students about his books, career, and answered any questions the students had.
For students to be able to participate, there was a drawing for the aspiring readers in the millionaires and half-millionaires club. Students could also get invited by purchasing a signed copy of his most recent book.
One of the things the students enjoyed the most was the storyboard Stroud showed them. A storyboard is something an author usually makes to identify the main events that will happen in the story before he or she starts writing. It help the author keep track of ideas during writing process and why he or she chooses the characters to be the way they were and if the meaning of parts of the plot.
“He began by telling a little about himself and his history. As he began discussing his book he employed not only a slide show presentation, but with the audience’s participation and their suggestions he sketched out a visual storyboard,” librarian Jennifer Cameron said.
Stroud’s newest book is about three children that are part of a psychic agency that fights ghosts in London.
“He proceed with the help of a volunteer to demonstrate the equipment that ghost hunters would likely find necessary in pursuit of their quarry,” Cameron said. “He concluded his presentation with a question and answer session about not only his newest book ‘The Screaming Staircase’ but happily fielded questions about his many other books.”
Students thought his presentation was laid out very well and ended up loving it and learning a lot.
“The outcome was a good one, one I will probably never forget (since) he was the first author I ever met,” said eighth grader Kayla Mix. “I learned many things that I didn’t before and it was a great experience I was happy to be apart of.”

By Charli R.
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon Junior High recently enjoyed a visit from famous Scottish author Gillian Philip, also known as Erin Hunter.
Philip came to Cactus Canyon to talk about her new book, The Broken Path. It is book number four in the Survivors series. The visit took place in the library where students sat and listened to Philip talk about everything from accents to her pets, and the Survivors, Warriors, and Seekers series.
“Since I’ve been here at CCJH this is the first author that writes as though animals have human characteristics and are indeed the main characters,” said Cactus Canyon librarian Jennifer Cameron.
Students had to buy Philip’s book Broken Path before seeing getting to visit the author.
Philip has visited many other schools around Europe and America, but this was her first time in Arizona and Cactus Canyon students eagerly awaited her arrival. While at Cactus Canyon she talked about her experience as an author and answered students questions about writing the Survivors series with fellow authors in the Erin Hunter family.
“The most interesting thing (Philip) said was that she didn’t start writing until she was much older in her life, which really surprised me,” said eighth grader Allison Snowball.
“My favorite part was meeting the author in general,” said eighth-grader Madison Taylor. “She’s a big inspiration to me and to many of the people who attended.”
The Survivors series, however, is not only written by Philip, it’s actually authored by “Erin Hunter,” which is a pen name, or an assumed name used by a writer or writers instead of their real name or names. Philip is number five out of the six people that make up Erin Hunter.
“I love question time because I’m not just answering questions made for me, I’m answering questions for the whole Erin Hunter team,” said Philip.
Mrs. Cameron has already planned another visit from Jonathan Stroud to talk about his new book The Screaming Staircase on April 3.

Best-selling author visits CCJH

Posted: April 17, 2013 in Library


By Cambria Coughlin
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon students were very excited about about the visit of New York Times best-selling Brandon Mull March 22, as the best-selling author came to the school to talk about his latest book Chasing the Prophecy.
Selected seventh- and eighth-grade students were able to listen to Mull speak in the library during seventh hour. The author of the Fabelhaven series, Mull visited to promote the third book in his Beyonders series.
Mull said was always daydreaming or coming up with stories when he was a kid.
“I’ve always loved adventure stories,”said Mull. “Which led me to daydreaming my own adventure stories.”
Mull hopes that his books will take readers on a fun ride and also hopes that the reader meets characters that they care about and interest them.
The author talked about his books and what he hopes the future will be, not only for his books, but also future writers.
“I hope that future writers realize that if a goofy guy like me can become an author,” said Mull. “Maybe they could too.”
Fans can and will expect another book series starting in the fall of 2013. Students or parents can visit for more information about Mull or his books.

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By Malorie Eagar
Cougar News Blog

Each year, many students look forward to going to the book fair, especially right before Christmas. It’s a great way to get gifts for other people in their family or for their friends.
This year’s winter book fair will be Monday, Dec. 3 to Friday, Dec. 7 and students will be able to purchase books from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“The Scholastic Flyer (is) available…in the library or from students’ language teacher,” said librarian Jennifer Cameron, said. “Titles include: the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Third Wheel, Haddix’s Caught, The Ghost of Graylock, The Mark of Athena, I Am a Seal Team Six Warrior to name a few.”
Approximately 120-150 book titles will be sold, but parents and students can go online and look and purchase an even greater variety. The link can be found on the CCJH home page. Scholastic will ship those books right to the school with the student’s name listed and they don’t even have to pay shipping.
There’s a large range of prices with some as little as $5, though others can get up to $15, depending on the book size.
“I think I will buy some,” eighth grader Jared Wenzelburger said. “(The book fair) always has numerous books I like and have been wanting to read.”
During the fair, a donation box will be set up for spare change. Scholastic will match the money donated and supply CCJH with books worth the combined amount. In addition, the company will give an equal amount to the Kids in Distress and Kids in Need charities in Cactus Canyon’s name.

The lottery board in the library shows the names of students earning 100 percen on an AR quiz. When it’s full, one student is selected to receive a gift card. (Photo by Bobby Bauders)

By Bobby Bauders
Cougar News Blog

The return of the Accelerated Reader program this year has also meant the return of prizes in the library. Librarian Jennifer Cameron will hold a weekly drawing for prizes as a reward for good AR test scores.
The program will be in effect for the school year. If a student gets a 90 percent, his or her name is entered in the weekly drawing. Mrs. Cameron had the same program two years ago, but not last year because Cactus Canyon did not have AR.
“This will encourage students to do their best,” said Mrs. Cameron.
Mrs. Cameron has also set up a lottery board for anyone who gets a perfect AR score. The lottery board is like a grid. When is full, Mrs. Castelhano chooses a letter, and a number. The winner is the person in the corresponding square and receives a gift card.
“People are going to want to read more because they are going to want the prize,” said lottery board winner Megan Lay.
Most of the winners are people who read often. Weekly drawing winner Brayden Cobb spends a lot of his free time reading.
“Kids are all about games and stuff,” he said. “I just like to read.”
Teachers hope the contest will boost scores and make students stronger readers.
“The AR program makes the students stronger readers, especially if they’re challenging themselves,” said Mrs. Cameron.