Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Manga - Children of the Sea

I loved reading this manga and I found the first chapter for you online so you can try it at home (it even includes how to read manga - it can be confusing at first).

This is the story of Ruka, who vividly remembers seeing a strange sight at the Aquarium where her father works.  As the Aquarium workers research why fish are disappearing, Ruka meets two friends who are called to the sea, like her. She discovers that Umi and Sora were actually brought up in the sea, although they are human. What are these sights and sounds coming from the sea? What is happening to the sea creatures, and why is it so compelling for Ruka? Read this gorgeous first volume of Children of the Sea and be ready to be transported into the mysterious beauty of Ruka's world.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Successful Author Visits - Do You Have Them?

Lately I have been pondering author visits. We don't do a lot of author visits during the school day at my school, and I would like to start a couple of programs, one per division. I researched a bit (thanks AISL and ISS listservs) and decided that for the middle school a two day approach would work well, with an assembly and then in-class workshops. A teacher and I decided to write a proposal (which I have submitted) adapted from Dorcas Hand's master teacher program at Annunciation Orthodox School in Texas, which she wrote about in Knowledge Quest (Adolescent Literacies: Reading, Thinking, Writing, September/October 2006). Essentially, I proposed that the 7th graders read the author's book over the summer, then have a fall visit where the author helps teach a creative writing segment to get the students engaged in the creative writing process, hopefully making the author visit more meaningful for the students.

While I was thinking about the proposal, I was asked to speak on a panel to a local children's book writing group about author visits. As the school librarian on the panel, I talked about potentially integrating into the curriculum, but I also emphasized that author visits are really great when the speaker is authentic and real, and has something to say. I need it to be worth the valuable class time lost when the author visits. A local independent bookstore owner shared how she approaches finding venues for visiting authors, and I am happy to say, I "got on her list" so now maybe we can have more impromptu visits too.

Then, I was lucky enough to have Ned Vizzini visit my upper school, as a guest of my book club. Many students came to the special lunchtime event, and the kids and faculty loved him. He spoke of his YA novel, It's Kind of a Funny Story, but he also spoke with humor about how he began writing as a teenager, and his struggle with depression which is in his book. He tried to answer all the kids' questions, but sadly the lunch bell rang and the event was over. Although this visit wasn't connected to the curriculum, the students loved it and it did have meaning for them. He connected so well with the students in fact, that they want him to return for another presentation.

Most author visits have value to the students, but depending upon the author, the age of the student, and the goal of the visit, meaning for the students could vary. How to decide when to host an author and what to have them do (assembly or smaller gatherings) may depend on the popularity of the book and the context of the visit. Should you have any author just because he or she is in town? Probably not. Should you research these opportunities and carefully select ones your students and teachers would like? Probably. But how do you decide?

How do you decide what author visits to have? Does the age of your students impact your decision? And have you had any especially great author visits via Skype?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Evernote for our Seniors

Friday I will teach Evernote for the first time. My seniors will be doing a service learning project consisting of 20 hours of service and some research and reflection. Evernote should help them keep track of their experiences from now until May. I hope to write later in the year to update you on their progress!In the slide show, during the first few slides I will explain what can go into an Evernote notebook, and in the "show me" slide I will log into our sample account and show the students the ins and outs of this amazing organizational tool.  Evernote for students

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Internet@Schools West

I am excited to tell you that Buffy Hamilton, Michelle Simon Fromme, Andrew Shuping, and I will be presenting an interactive workshop called Crowdsourcing Your Library Challenges. Will you be there? I hope so! (Like the video? My husband, Jonathan, did the art, and Animoto did the rest!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Celebrate Banned Books Week

This fascinating site takes an issue or idea and presents it in graphical ways. Here are the top ten targeted books of 2009. These transparencies are actually just a small section of the Good Site - I got lost there for quite a while. I bet you will too.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Collecting, not Connecting?

Army of Barbies by Senor Codo, CC SA2.0
I had a great Skype session tonight with Buffy Hamilton and Michelle Simon Fromme, two of the 4 people with whom I am presenting at Internet Librarian next month in Monterey, California (we are actually in the Internet@Schools track). As we brainstormed about crowd-sourcing, we did some crowd-sourcing of our own. My fabulous colleagues helped me sort through my thoughts about connecting with people online, and although now I have more questions than answers, our conversation will guide me when I choose to friend or follow somebody new.

When strangers follow me on twitter, I don't think twice about it, but when people I have never met friend me on Facebook, I often debate whether to  confirm or ignore the request. A well-known librarian whom I had never met friended me recently and after some thought I confirmed his request. Soon after that I saw him at a conference and I introduced myself, he was indifferent. I told him that he had recently friended me, and still, he didn't seem to know who I was.

People are collecting "friends" or "followers," but are they really connecting? Do you ever engage with your FB friends who aren't really friends?  Do you really read the tweets of your hundreds or thousands of followers? Do you attempt to meet them in person at events? How can you truly connect with these people? Isn't social media about connecting? Or is it just collecting? Do you collect? or connect? or do you manage to do both?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Book!


Exciting! I co-authored chapter nine with Debbie Abilock, and I enjoyed reading the other essays when the book was released in June.  The book is packed with practical information and ideas - just take a look at the table of contents! I hope you like it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Simone Elkeles - a Great New Find for Me (and my students)!

Because my students recommended her books, I checked out three of Simone Elkeles' books from my library this summer. First I read Perfect Chemistry, and I discovered it is perfect. It is a wonderful love story. Maybe predictable, maybe familiar, but a perfect summer page-turner, guaranteed to please high school girls.
The video is a bit cheezy, but you get what the story is about (and the song is catchy, right?).

Next I started reading her trilogy which starts with How to Ruin a Summer Vacation. Now I believe I was in Israel in the 1980s with Ms. Elkeles. This novel about a sometimes spunky, sometimes annoying American teenager who visits an Israeli moshav with her Israeli father recalled some of my fond memories of living on a kibbutz every summer when I was a teen. I read the rest of the series, and although it isn't the most literary, it is certainly fun and many of my students will love it - especially my Jewish students, although kids who aren't Jewish will enjoy the stories of identity and romance as well.
Simone Elkeles has a great website with humorous video book trailers which capture the spirit of the characters of her novels. Take a look around - her site describes her books better than I can summarize them. I look forward to reading more of her books and to showing my students her engaging website.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Favorite Airlines

I am only halfway to the ALA convention in DC. I'm not driving (I live in Los Angeles!). I'm not between flights. Nope, not a train either. I am in the air using the internet on my lovely Mac. Virgin America is my new favorite airlines - I never had a favorite airlines before. I just accepted what I got. But let me tell you what I have enjoyed so far:

1. Inexpensive non-stop flights.
2. Easy check in. LAX felt almost pre-9/11 in that they actually took my luggage for me at check in. I didn't have to take it to another stop, like I had to last week on American Airlines, when I had much more luggage.
3. My own little TV screen on the seat in front of me for watching TV, movies, IMing with other passengers (ha - I should chat with other librarians), or playing games.
4. Internet access (yes, it was $10, but that is fine with me), and I think I can even charge my computer from my seat! I'll have to do that soon..
5. Nice flight attendants.
6. Clean, modern looking plane. I'm enjoying the subtle purple lights.

More on my great flight later - I haven't landed yet...
Do you have a favorite airline? Have you tried Virgin yet?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ALA and ISTE 2010

Unable to go to one or both conferences? Check out the Unquiet Librarian's Netvibes page to attend both virtually. Thanks, Buffy!