Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Treasures Trove

Please check this out!
I follow a blog called iLearn Technology.  I have it linked at this blog rather than using RSS in Bloglines.  Yesterday Kelly Tenkely posted an additional creation of hers to help her teachers using the Treasures reading program.   I believe that this post  http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2973
would be absolutely wonderful for you to use once you get everything figured out.  You can also link to a previously created supplement that she designed for her staff.  It looks at first glance to have a whole lot of additinal fun choices for your students.  Is this cool or what?!
If we can make learning fun its just that much better for our students.  They will never want to stop learning.  And isn't that the point really?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Go Go Glogster

I finally got some time today to visit the web site called Glogster: Poster Yourself only to find out that they had an application specially designed for educators. Glogster EDU

I absolutely loved creating a poster about the two media centers that I plan on using on my Smartboard during parent open houses. New School Year In the Media Centers This application allows you to add text, images, video, sound, drawings and change walls(backgrounds).  It looked like you could also add data but it appeared that you had to pay for that feature.  Everything else about this web 2.0 application is free, free, free!  Also when you add anything you have the option to put frames around it.  When you sign up you are allowed to add up to 100 students who can also make fantastic posters using Glogster.  What a wonderful interactive way for students to create and share class assignments.  Have a wonderful week staff as we gather to get ready for our students.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Coming Up For Air

At the stroke of midnight on August 27, 2010 after 12 hours of nearly continuous reading I found myself leaving the dystopian world of Panem, being startled to find myself in the familiar setting of my living room with one word in my mind...WOW.  I had just picked up my copy of Mockingjay that morning when buying a couple of items at WalMart.  I know, I know you are probably thinking, what took her so long to get a copy?!
Well, I have a quirk, one of many actually.  When I read a superb book like Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games followed by the sequel the next year knowing that I will probably have to wait another year for the final book, I wait to read book two.  I had just started Catching Fire on Wednesday finishing it up on Thursday night.  It was so good that there was no way I was going to take a chance on whether the mail would deliver book three the following day.  Of course, now I have two copies but I know my students will be using them.
And how do I describe Mockingjay to you?  I will tell you that the quality of writing does not waver.  You just get sucked into this shell of the former United States like you did in the first two books from the very first sentence. The action, suspense, psychological ploys used by characters and plot twists were so intense that sometimes I had to remind myself to breathe. Characters you have come to love or hate were so finely drawn in subtle nuances that you are actually cheering out loud or softly crying.  Katniss Everdeen, so strong, a survivor in every way and yet so vulnerable has never come to life as she did in this final book.  Peeta, her partner in that Hunger Game that broke all the rules and sparked the rebellion, has become a deadly puppet. (Or has he?)  Gale, her hunting partner from District 12 who understands her better than any other, has begun to shift his alliances.  As the plot pulled me along I could not help but wonder who would be left?  Who would be with who?  You just never knew.

And that is the sheer beauty of good writing...when the days of the story become your days...when you look up from the pages of the book and expect to see the characters in front of you...when your surroundings fade away and you...are...there.

This trilogy of Suzanne Collins will find a place on my shelves right next to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series and J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books.  They are keepers.  They are books to be initially enhaled and later savored again and again.

And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, the buzz begins about casting for the movie. Of course as good as the movies may be, they are never really quite as good as the books.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hold the phone, stop the presses, put on the brakes...

The final book in the trilogy which began with The Hunger Games followed by Catching Fire is on its way to the shelves of Charlevoix Middle School.  Mockingjay was sent today.  Now I have a real dilemma.  I already have four books started and just received a call from the public library that another book I ordered has arrived.  What's a librarian to do?!  I'll probably drop everything to read Mockingjay because once it gets to school I won't have a chance until next summer.

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Booklist" Bonanza

With no pun intended in the title of this post that is just what the August issue of Booklist is...a spotlight on Westerns and a heads-up on loads of new good titles for students and adults. For those fans of adult chick lit, which includes some of my 8th grade students, Janet Evanovich has a new series starting with Wicked Appetite.  To followers of her books Diesel is back in all his glory.
Diana Galbaldon is entering the graphic novel format with The Exile.  This is a retelling of the original Outlander story from Jamie's viewpoint which promises to reveal new events and insights.
And Xena says that I have to let you know that Dean Koontz has a new book with a canine companion as a character.  This title is called What the night knows. 
This issue also promises that teen books with a paranormal slant will be plentiful--The Nightmarys, The house of dead maids and Nightshade.
It looks like My life as a book will be the perfect recommendation for those who love Diary of a wimpy kid and then some.  For our elementary students who can't get enough of pigs, puns and laughing out loud The adventures of Nanny Piggins and A pig parade is a terrible idea will fill the bill.
Yippee-ki-yay I can't wait for September.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Online Safety Tips for Kids Heading Back to School

It never hurts for we educators and parents to stay on top of what our children are doing online.

Tech Things To Try In The Classroom This Year

It will probably be next summer before any of you might try the equivalent of the online tutorial that I took this summer, (http://classroomlearning2.csla.net/), but check out this recent blog entry by Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers called 11 Techy Things for Teachers To Try This Year (http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/08/11-techy-things-for-teachers-to-try.html)

Any one would be great.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to School Books

Just ordered Pirate's guide to first grade by James Preller, One smart cookie: bite size lessons for the school years and beyond by Amy Rosenthal, Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer and The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane Auch and Herm Auch.  (Note to self:  Stay away from amazon.com for at least one week!)

Check out the back to school book list at Children's Book Review ( http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/weblog/2010/08/back-to-school-book-picks-2010-edition.html )

Let me know if you see anything that we have to have.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

School Library Learning 2.0 #23

By viewing the 2007 video by Larry Lessig, browsing around the Creative Commons web site ( http://creativecommons.org/about/ ) and watching the video Fair(y) Use Tale 
 , which I highly recommend my staff share with their students prior to beginning any project, our digitized society is evolving rapidly and "rules" need to evolve at the same pace.  Until that time though it is our task to educate our students.

This journey through the "23 Things" at School Library Learning 2.0 has in two words been educationally awesome.  This series of tutorials has definitely changed my knowledge of the availability of the huge variety of tools out in "Internetville" for all of us to use as educators and for our personal use.

School Library Learning 2.0 #22

I have been a book collector for years.  I fall in love with a particular author and I am compelled to have all their books "in the flesh" on my shelves even though I have already read them.  To hold a book, turn the pages, savor the illustrations or feast on the play of words is my idea of true pleasure.  But then what do you expect from a person who began their life-long work with kids and books in 1973.  Of course my love of books and reading began way before that time.  Growing up I read every book created for my age level as fast as it came out.  I can still remember waiting for the next Nancy Drew book to be written just as my students wait for the next Johnathan Rand, Rick Riordan, Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, David Klass or just about any book in a series by so many wonderful authors.  That is the beauty of 2010...the variety of authors for children and young adults.  It is a treasure chest that is bottomless unlike when I was growing up.  As I completed reading those books available for my age I started reading what my Dad was reading...historical fiction.  To this day it is one of my many favorite genres.  In fact there is not much that I don't like to read, which looking around the rooms in my house, is obvious.
I have been slow to make use of audio books unless traveling and with the advent of eBooks even slower.
But, I have to admit, when going to amazon.com recently I seriously thought about purchasing a Kindle.  I am not immune to the benefits of eBooks.  Visiting the recommended sites for those available free of charge online, World eBookFair, Best Place to Get Free Books and Read Print, found that Best Place to Get Free Books (  http://www.friedbeef.com/best-places-to-get-free-books-the-ultimate-guide/ ) and Read Print ( http://www.readprint.com/ ) to be my favorites.

School Library Learning 2.0 #21

Podcasting opens up a whole new way of connectivity.  I did find a great series of podcasts with two interviewers of children's books called Just One More Book!! which I added to my Bloglines account.  With all of the 2.0 applications that have been introduced to me over the course of these "23 Things" this will not be a top priority for me at this time.  But it is good to know that it is available as an option to use with my students and as a suggestion for staff.

School Library Learning 2.0 #20-Animato

I just finished a short video in Animato.  It was a snap to use.  I can see now how a class of 8th graders enjoyed using it last year in their English class.  There is another free picture/video tool that I am going to check out to see about producing book trailers for both of my media centers; Microsoft Windows Photo Story 3.
Hmmm...sure wish there was a 36 hour day.

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

School Library Learning 2.0 #20---Social Media Revolution 2

As I said in the previous post, this video vividly illustrates just how "linked" into the ever-changing technologies the majority of the population is. As educators it is imperative that we not ignore this and incorporate these advances into how we deliver our curriculum and how we prepare our students for being active, ethical and knowledgeable users of these various technologies and their applications.

School Library Learning 2.0 #20--Gotta' Keep Reading

I have been a fan of YouTube for several years personally and professionally.  Sometimes a video captures the essence of a thought, idea or lesson so much better than anything else especially for those visual learners; which as a storyteller I can't believe I am saying. 
I am going to attempt to embed one of my and my elementary students favorite YouTube videos last year.
If I succeed I am going to embed the most recent version of Social Media Revolution which was posted on
2CoolTools blog just days ago.  It reveals the lightning like speed of changes in technology.

School Library Learning 2.0 #19

Library Thing is definitely addictive to this librarian.  It is going to take me months to get all my books in this online catalog but it will be wonderful not only to have them all listed in one spot but to be able to connect with other bibliophiles with the same interests will be fun.  I am thinking that the best way will be to go room by room.
Whew! This is awesome.

School Library Learning 2.0 #18 part 2

While I completely enjoyed the ease of use of Zoho writer I was unable to post my document directly into my blog.  I need to do major searching on the Net to learn how to do that.  Even after entering in my blog username and password it kept asking that I log-in in https mode.  Of course an explanation of what that entails is not to be found at the ready.  Also when importing a document into a page in this blog the bold and italics need to be replaced as does the spacing.  There must be a better way.  The search for an answer has begun.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School Library Learning 2.0 #18

Created an account in Zoho application so I could use Zoho writer.  I am amazed at the free productivity tools available online.  It seems that after a first go through Zoho has more options/tools than Google Docs.  I found it very easy to use.  I have about half of my latest Top 20 list done.  I was able to export it to my computer just in case I did not save it correctly online. 
I did view the YouTube video about Google sites.  The ease of use would make this a great way to create a web site quickly. 
It's hard to not be overwhelmed by all the choices.  A user just needs to pick the one that will work best for the task at hand.
Once completed I will attempt to upload the Zoho document to my blog.  The huge advantage of using a 2.0 application like Zoho is that it can be accessed from any computer eliminating the need to saving a document on a flash drive.  I am loving this!

Monday, August 16, 2010

School Library Learning 2.0 #16 and #17

It was informative and motivational to view the suggested wikis.  I have previously created a wiki, Bookawiki, which for the most part has been idle for several years.  I can see from viewing the other wikis that I need to learn more about design and the use of http://www.wikispaces.com/.  Once again this would be a great tool for collaboration with my students and perhaps their parents about how we feel about those books that we are reading as requirements and for our own pleasure.

It seems that many teacher librarians have similar ideas about how to use their wikis.  It also seems probable that more than one wiki can be created to serve as sounding boards for different kinds of projects that students will do throughout the year.  It would be interesting to have older students design the wiki.  The wiki WebTools4U2Use in design has great appeal to students.  I went to http://www.glogster.com/ to view how that first page could have been created.  There are so many aspects of 2.0 applications that could be explored and utilized by myself and my students.

School Library Learning 2.0 #15

The Horizons Report and Horizons Report: K-12 Edition is, as they say, a must read for those of us in the field of education.  These reports are research based, highly informative and confirm what we are seeing on a daily basis in our schools.  They document what is imperative we do to prepare our student populations for being active, creative and contributing members of society.
All the other articles that speak to the trends in technology and 2.0 applications challenge librarians as educators to rethink how their physical space, "collections", and use of technology will be reflected in their lessons that are taught to their student populations, in collaboration with their staffs and in the planning and management of their facilities.  The best way to "teach" is by example.  That is my goal.

School Library Learning 2.0 #14

Surprisingly enough when I searched Technorati for School Library Learning 2.0 under posts and blogs there were no results.  When I searched Google Blogsearch and Bing I got more hits including my own blog.  Both of those searches lead me to very interesting articles about 2.0 tools and their applications for the school library media specialist and today's school libraries.  Tagging is a fantastic tool not unlike subject headings that we place in our OPACs.  It is important to consider your audience when placing your tags.

School Library Learning 2.0 #13

Del.icio.us is an excellent example of the connectivity that is available on the Internet.  It links you to those that have common interests professionally and personally.  In just the short time that I was browsing at the site I found two new web pages that will be great with my students.  I created an account for myself.  This will be a way to get my "huge" list of bookmarks organized not only for myself but my staffs and students.  It is going to take some time but will be well worth the effort.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

School Library Learning 2.0 #12

Having used Wordle with my students previously it was interesting to explore Rollyo to create a search tool with those sites that I use constantly.  And I can see a definite use for the ALA graphic generator option. (http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/publishing/graphics/READ_Mini_Posters.cfmving

The Traveler IQ Challenge is a great way to increase your geography savvy. (http://www.travelpod.com/traveler-iq)

School Library Learning-Web 2.0 awards #11

It's been quite some time since I have used the search capabilities of Ask.com.  Even though you might be searching for a link or an image all the results appear so you can see a variety of  options that are available.  Another good feature is the related searches and related questions to the right of your results.  This will get recommended to my middle school students along with Infotopia located at http://www.infotopia.info/.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Year, New Books

Tops of book shelves, computer tables and the display case up front are the home for many new books in our media center. 

School Library Learning 2.0 #10

As far as online image generators go I still like to use Big Huge Labs, home of fd's Flickr Toys (http://www.bighugelabs.com/).   It offers so many options and the ease of use is a big plus.  I did try Comic Strip Generator(http://www.comicstripgenerator.com/maker.asp) also as you can see.

School Library Learning 2.0 #9

I found that using the search tools for blogs/news feeds to be cumbersome.  For me the best thing to do is to go to my favorites and add those that are the most important to me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

School Library Learning 2.0 #8

Just set up my Bloglines newsreader account. It is amazing how far technology has advanced. When I think of all the time I have taken in the past to check out the latest changes on web sites this will be a huge timesaver. It will be just one more way I can be better at what I do for my staff and students.

School Library Learning 2.0 # 6 and #7

Who knew that you could make a magazine cover or a trading card using Flickr mashups? This is so much fun. The possibilities are endless when it comes to using this in projects and lesson stretchers. Here is my magazine cover and trading card. What a hoot!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Middle School Media Center Looking For Magazine Sponsors

This year the middle school media center is looking for sponsors for magazines that our students enjoy reading for information and fun.
The titles and their prices are:
BMX Plus 19.99
Cobblestone 33.95
Discovery Girls 23.00
Field and Stream 19.97
Food Network Magazine
Girls' Life 19.95
PC Gamer 14.95
Skateboarder 17.97
Snowboarding 18.95

Motocross is already being sponsered by the Dan Kiteley family.

If you have any other titles that you wish to suggest and/or sponsor just let Mrs. Culver know.
Thank you for your anticipated help.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back Again--School Library Learning 2.0--Flickr #5

As another school year quickly approaches I need to get a handle on learning the ins and outs of 2.0 applications so I can use them with my students in both the elementary and middle school library media centers this year.

I have uploaded a picture from Flickr of the new shelf and table arrangement in the elementary library media center to accomodate our larger class sizes for this new school year. Most of our tables are in the center now with the others off to the side. The computer tables have been moved to various spots around the room. With our new wireless netbooks coming all these spots to access the Internet around the room will be great for individual or small group work.

I can't wait to see how our students will like this arrangement. Let me know what you think.

I am going to try to add that photo to this post by using Blogger instead of Flickr. Wow it worked!

Charlevoix Elementary School Library Media Center

Just practicing uploading pictures from Flickr directly into the Blog rather than inserting them into a post.