Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Time

I am off for two weeks. Usually, during this time I read up a storm. However, I have been doing more socializing than reading these days. It is something that I feel is important to my psyche. I brought home a huge stack of books from school. I figured that I would only read what really catches my interest. So if I start something and don't like it, then I have another to take its place.

I read another Kathe Koja novel, Kissing the Bee. Love her work. Her books are short, but they pack a punch. I wish I could write so well.

I am plowing my way through a fantasy called Flora Segunda by Ysabeau Wilce. It came out about two years ago to rave reviews. Not too many of my students were interested, so I started reading it to see if it was a book that I could push. I just looked for the author's name on line and found out that there are two sequels! Anyway, the author uses a lot of made up words that stem from Spanish and English. at least I think that they do. I am feeling sort of dumb because maybe the words are Spanish words that I don't know. I like the story and think that it would make a great middle school read. I have to figure out a hook to push it, then purchase the second and third volumes.

For my adult book group next month we have to read an author who we have already read. The idea is to bring the book and share with book group. We keep trading around the books until no one is interested in reading the offered titles. I ordered the new Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna. It got great reviews, so I can't wait until it arrives.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Video Conferencing

First we skyped in the library, then we used the brand new PolyCom system for a video conference and skyped all in the same session. Today four schools: Riverdale, Bonnabel, Grace King, and Patrick Taylor all participated in a video conference. The presenters were Scott Walker from WDSU television and Bill Symonds from Harvard University, formerly of Business Week magazine. Scott Walker was live at Riverdale. He spoke to the students about life as a broadcast journalist. Then Bill Symonds spoke about being a print journalist via a skype feed set up at Riverdale. After that the students from each school were allowed to ask questions. My students liked the Q and A best.

The picture below gives the view that the students and presenters saw of Patrick Taylor via the Polycom system. That's me standing up and looking kind of goofy.


Here is a shot of Scott Walker live at Riverdale and Bill Symonds on Skype.


On Monday, my library book group used the new PolyCom system to talk with the book group at Higgins High School. The strange thing about the PolyCom system is that we could only view Higgins. We were not able to see ourselves, so we did not know what they saw of us. When someone was talking at Taylor, I did not know if the Higgins group could see the speaker. I can move the camera, but I don't know what the camera is "seeing."

Here is a photo of what we saw when we met with Higgins. They view the feed on a television, so that is why they are squeezed together on the sofa. You can see the PolyCom system  in front of the projection board.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I've Been Busy

It has been two weeks since my last post. I apologize. I try to post at a minimum weekly.

Let's see, first I had a birthday on the 2nd. It wasn't a milestone, so I won't mention any numbers here. Then I went to Baton Rouge for two days for LACUE (Louisiana Computer Using Educators) conference. I was disappointed with most of the sessions that I attended. I am so much more technologically advanced than what I was receiving at the sessions. I am not bragging, just stating the truth. Then I spent three days in bed with a fever. This past Saturday there was a flooding rain, and there you have the last couple of weeks.


Along the way I finished Hate List by Jennifer Brown. I really liked the premise. The book opens explaining the May 2nd school shooting by Valerie's boyfriend, Nick. Did Valerie know about the plan or was she just along for the ride? We learn a lot about Valerie by the end of the book, as it is told in her voice. The novel alternates chapters from the time of the shooting with the present when Valerie returns to school to face all the students that she had put on the hate list.

Forgiveness and redemption are part of the themes. The violence is only a means to discuss the themes. I recommend this as a high school read.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Back to Work Tomorrow

I finished three books during my week off from school. I am glad to be back in the reading groove. The library book group meets weekly on Mondays. I always like to start off the meeting with some new book suggestions. I will be sharing the titles that I just finished with the group tomorrow.

I try to have some question to pose to the book group every week. This week I thought I would ask them what books were required for a class, but they would have enjoyed reading even if the book had not been assigned by a teacher. I hope that I get some answers.

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the movie based on the The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Percy Jackson and the Olympians will be out on February 12th.
View two trailers here--> http://www.percyjacksonthemovie.com/

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Teenagers, Food, and Romance


Are you addicted to the food channel? Do you think of yourself as a foodie? Then this book might be for you.

This is a "sweet" young adult novel for all the teenage foodies out there. Stella's father is a famous French chef with his own restaurant. Her mother owns the Open Kitchen which has a demonstration kitchen where chefs cook for an audience then serves them dinner. Stella has just finished her sophomore year and plans to spend the summer working for her mother and hanging out with her boyfriend and gal pals.

Plans often go awry and do so in this story. Stella is smitten by her mother's new intern, and seems to forget Max her dedicated boyfriend. Then she receives a call from the newspaper with an offer of an internship. The thought of a paycheck entices her to take the job. When her boss asks her to write restaurant reviews for the paper, she thinks that she has been hired because of her family connections, not her talent.

The book is definitely mind candy, but if you are looking for a quick, fun read try, "The Sweet Life of Stella Madison."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Any Book

Any book worth banning
Is a book worth reading. 

Bumper sticker I saw on the back of a car in New Orleans at 4:00PM today.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Interactive Bulletin Board

Have you ever played with www.wordle.net?  I had an idea the other day to create some wordles for a display outside the library. I searched the net for the first chapters of popular young adult fiction. I copied and pasted the texts of one chapter to create a wordle. Then I put the wordles up on the board with pictures of the book covers. I have been watching the students stop and study the board trying to figure out which title goes with which wordle. It is easier to show than explain, so I will give you some examples here.

Wordle 1:


Wordle 2:

Wordle 3:



These first chapter wordles can be found in one of these books. Can you guess which go together?:




Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weekend of Reading


Last weekend we went to Florida to visit my father in law. He is 95 years young and wanted to go on a vacation. We found a hotel on the beach in Fort Lauderdale about 45 minutes from where he lives. Our rooms overlooked the ocean, and with the balcony door open we felt as if we were in the ocean. My father in law does not get around as easily as he once did, so a lot of our time was spent hanging out in the room.

I don't hang out so well without something to do. I came prepared with books in hand. I finally finished Catching Fire which I enjoyed, but it was not as awesome as Graceling which was one of my top reads for last year.

I was anxious to begin The Ask and the Answer because the first in the Chaos Walking series, Knife of Never Letting Go, left the reader with a total cliff hanger. In this second installment Todd and Viola are rarely in each other's company. There are a lots of situations of who is on who's side and also questions about who really is the evil force in town. There are many chase scenes, too. Generally, this is the type of book that I dislike, but the characters are compelling. The idea of this future that is part primitive, part advanced with medical treatments that are beyond our imaginations pulls me into a story that I would normally avoid. Todd and Viola are very likeable characters. Though I hope the third in the series will explain some of the characters' motivations for choosing sides. I think that I have a year to wait to find out all the answers.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trying to Focus

I love researching. Right now I am focusing on a new kitchen for my house. I have been reading all the magazines and scouring the web for tips and ideas, so that leaves me little time to put my nose in a book. However, there are a stack of new books in the library that I really, really want to read. I am in the middle of two books right now.




One I mentioned ages ago that I haven't finished, but I want to tell you about a companion to one of my favorite reads of last year. I am in the middle of Fire by Cashore. Last year's Graceling was Cashore's first published novel. I loved it. This one tells the story of some totally new characters who live in the same realm as those in Graceling, but I think it is an earlier time period. Anyway, Fire is a monster girl. She has flaming hair, hence her name. She has the ability to read minds and alter minds. The king wants her help to avert a war, but she is reluctant to use her skills as she is worried about the repercussions.

I am not as enamored with this book as I was with Graceling. Now that I am halfway through I am starting to get it. I will certainly recommend it to the fantasy readers who love a strong female protagonist.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Teen Read Week was a Big Success

Last week was exhausting. Every day there were more activities to celebrate Teen Read Week.

Here are some photos:


These 6th graders are visiting the library at lunch to play Believe It or Not. Every winner got a sweet treat.


Two seniors dressed as characters from two sci fi movies to participate in photo ops with the middle schoolers.


One of the most successful activities was the ALIEN -ate Yourself Wall.
We took digital photos of the students, and they manipulated the images at picnik.com to create an alien version of themselves.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Teen READ Week!!!

Lunch in the library this week is a mob scene. The line to play Believe it or Not snakes around the circulation desk. The kids are enjoying it, so I think that I succeeded.

Today I put a powerpoint of the winning books of Teen's Top Ten on a loop and played it throughout lunch. It was a success because several kids asked if they could check out one of the winners. I made the powerpoint last night. When I showed it to one of the seniors early in the day, she said it was boring. So she spent about 20 minutes and jazzed it up.

Tomorrow we have special guests at lunch. I will post pics.

Friday, October 16, 2009

First Skype Session with Another School

Tracey Couret is the technology coordinator at St. Scholastica in Covington, LA, and she is in the process of getting her Master's in library science. She did a practicum with me a couple of years ago. We both attended a workshop a few weeks ago on using Skype in the library for virtual author visits. We decided it would be fun to get our book groups talking together over Skype.

Today the library book group at Taylor spent 25 minutes talking with the book group from St. Scholastica. It was a lot of fun. The girls from each school took turns sharing books that they enjoyed reading. There were a number of books that the members from both schools liked. I wrote down some titles that they suggested that are not on the shelves at Taylor. Shiver was a real hit with them-a love story with werewolves--finally no vampires. I am definitely going to get that one for our school.

When I went to tell the principal, Jaime Zapico, about how much fun we had, she said that two of the students just stopped to tell her all about it. It must have been a success.

Here are some pictures. The first one is my book group, and the second one shows the screen with Tracey's book group.





Teen Read Week Begins Next

I am almost ready to begin Teen Read Week. I have lots of fun activities planned in the library. Most of them will occur during the lunch period. Check it all out here at the new library website--> http://pftstalibrary.weebly.com/. Let me know what you think of the new site. I hope that it will be a one stop shop for all things PFTSTA library related.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reading for Adult Book Group


I am thoroughly enjoying the Gumbo Tales. Sara Roahen is a beautiful writer. I had to take a step away from Roahen before finishing it because my adult book group meets next week. I suggested the book, Olive Kitteridge, so I think that I really need to read it. It is a novel told in short stories from different character's perspectives. Olive is a middle school teacher in Maine, and her husband is a pharmacist. She is not the nicest of human beings, but I have only read one of the stories that focused more on her husband than on her. I downloaded this one on the Kindle. I plan to get it read by Saturday. I think it is doable.

My school book group, Bookmarked, was charged with the task of reading a romance in any genre. We are to discuss the books tomorrow. I have to dig into my summer reading to see if I have one to share. I am sure that I can find a title that I can sell to the group. This group meets weekly, so I have to work hard to have something to discuss every week. We usually do not read the same books, as the kids' likes and dislikes in literature are all over the map. Somehow I manage to find a topic that keeps them coming back week after week.

On Friday I have my first official school Skype session planned. The book group is going to talk to a book group at St. Scholastica High School in Covington. I have no clue how it will go, but I am excited to try.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Using Web 2.0 Tools


I have been using web 2.0 tools for awhile but most of what I did was just for fun for me like librarything.com, facebook, and delicious.com. I have been to so many conferences with sessions on using the tools in the classroom, that I finally decided that it was time to climb on board. It has been a lot of fun.

I gave a seminar last week to teachers and another to the seniors on how to use delicious. I have been using it for years but never shared. It is a social bookmarking site, and it makes it super easy to organize and manage all the websites that one saves and stores but can never find later. If you want to learn about delicious, watch this video-->
http://www.commoncraft.com/bookmarking-plain-english.

I finally made my first screencast using jing. A screencast is a video where the picture is the computer screen and the audio is a recording of your voice describing what is happening on the computer screen. I now have made several of them. Today I worked on one that explains how to use the computerized library catalog that will go on my website.

I have wanted to create a library website for years, way before I ever worked at Patrick Taylor. I have even started building several of them. The sites never got farther than the drawing board and a few words in a program. The other day I signed onto weebly.com and started to create a site for the Taylor library. It is still in rough draft mode, but it is looking good. I will post the link as soon as it has more working links and pages. That should be very soon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Finished Another Book

Sometimes I read like a fanatic one or two books a week. Other times it takes me several weeks to get through one book. It is lack of time during those periods, but also lack of interest. I start reading magazines, journals or the Internet and lose my interest in reading a book. There are so many books out there that when I start one that is bores me, then I get bogged down and can't read any book.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day finishing the People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. It tells the story of the 500 year old Sarajevo Haggadah. Most of the work is fiction and goes from the present to the past in alternating chapters detailing the journey of the Haggadah from its origins until today. There really is a Sarajevo Haggadah, but the characters in the story are fictional, and Ms. Brooks fabricates the origin of the Hebrew codex. It makes for a fascinating "what if" story. I really like the way the Christians, Jews, and Muslims aid each other through the time periods that the author describes. She also describes the hateful actions that the different religious groups inflicting on each other. So you get an interesting picture presented.

Next on my to read list is Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table by Sara Roahen. The author is a transplant from the midwest, and she came to New Orleans to write about food. I used to read her weekly column in Gambit. Her take on the local cuisine is from the outside in, as a native I am anxious to read her viewpoint on New Orleans' indigenous food. This book was selected as the 2009 One Book One new Orleans selection. To find out more about this program go here--> http://www.onebookoneneworleans.com/?page_id=21/

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Lunch Time in the Library


Lunch time Readers


6th graders visit the library at lunch to find some peace and quiet.



Students now have a 55 minute lunch period.
Lots of time to hang out with friends and find a good book.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reading an Adult Book

Every now and then, I have to stop and read a book that other adults are reading. My husband, Steve had read The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks on a vacation. He liked it, and I have heard good things from others as well. I have barely gotten into it, but it is very readable. I look forward to having time to immerse myself in the story.

Today was the second meeting of the year for Bookmarked. That is my high school library book group. We meet weekly during lunch. Today we tried to decide on a book, author, or genre that everyone will read. That was difficult since the students all have different interests. Some like fantasy, others realistic fiction, etc. We decided that everyone would read a romance. It can be in any genre. On October 12th we will present the books to the group. The idea is to convince others to read a book outside their comfort zone. This has worked in the past, so I am optimistic.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Love it, Love it, Love it!

I didn't get up on Saturday morning until I finished Catching Fire. This is the sequel to Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The King Arthur archetype story with a boy who unwittingly comes of age to be a leader is turned upside down with the creation of Katniss. She is desperate to save those she loves, but discovers in this sequel that she has become a symbol as a savior for the oppressed in the Districts surrounding the Capitol. No longer do her actions affect just those she loves, they affect all the peoples in her world. This is a heavy burden that she must carry. I will be anxiously awaiting the next installment to find resolution.

My new favorite series.
 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Should Have Happened Sooner

Some of you have heard this story, I apologize for repeating it. Anyway, I was working on finalizing a grant yesterday and couldn't decide whether to include any quotes about the library from the students. I chose not to add any and submitted the grant. About 20 minutes later during lunch, I heard something that would have been perfect to add to the grant.

One of our new sixth graders was looking for books on dragons. He knew just what he wanted but couldn't find the books on the shelf. I couldn't help him because I was too busy checking out books for the other students. When it was time for him to return to class, I asked him to wait so I could find the books that he wanted. The three books were available. As he walked out the door with his treasures in hand he said, "boy, I love this school." That made my day!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lunch Time Readers

The lunch period is always an active one in the Patrick Taylor Library. Here are some candid shots of students who enjoy finding graphic novels on the library shelves.

Stayed Up to Finish _Knife of Never Letting Go_

This was a gripping story. The premise was spectacular, in my mind anyway. However, the violence was front and center. Todd was faced with choices that would mean life and death for him and his traveling companion, Viola. Some of the events were so gruesome that it was difficult to keep reading. Then at the end the author leaves you hanging from your fingertips. Lucky for me, the sequel is due out next week.

As soon as I finished this book, I began to search the web to read what others were saying about it. This book is not for everyone, but most reviewers seemed to rate it quite favorably. Some even suggested to wait until the sequel was out before reading this one because of the cliffhanger ending.  I may have to visit a local bookstore to purchase The Ask and the Answer as soon as it becomes available.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Reading on the Web

I thought about going to the public library today to check out a book by Eudora Welty. Book group is next week, so I thought that I should read something by Welty so that I could contribute to the discussion. I never made it to the library, but I have found some of her short stories on Google Books. So far I have read three stories online.

I don't think that I would want to read a whole novel with a computer sitting on my lap, but reading the short stories on the laptop is pretty easy. By using the Web as my source for text, I found out some interesting info. I did not know that the early email program, Eudora was named after Eudora Welty. The author of the program read Welty's short story called, Why I live at the P.O. It tells the story of a woman who got so mad with her family that she decided to move into the post office where she worked. When it was time to give a name to his computer program the author remembered the story and chose Eudora and gave it the following motto: Bringing the P.O. to where you live. I would never have known that if I had not read it online.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Author Suzanne Collins Talks About Her New Book

One of my favorite titles of last year was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Catching Fire, the sequel is on its way to school as I write this. I have already had students ask to be put on hold for the sequel.

Anyway, there have been reviews in Time and EW of both books. Both publications seem to focus on the violence to children. This is a story about characters, and the violence is to give the characters rationale for their actions.

Click below to listen to the author talk about the series.
Suzanne Collins | Borders Media

Shared via AddThis

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I Succumbed to the Pages of a Brand New Book

I need to be reading a book for my adult book group. We are suppose to read anything by Eudora Welty. That is all well and good. I liked Eudora Welty when I read her 35 years ago. It is just that there are too many new books to read.

I just started Patrick Ness' book, The Knife of Never Letting Go. One of my big readers at school said that she could not get into it because the protagonist speaks in a dialect. It had gotten rave reviews, so I decided that I had to see what all the fuss was about. I am sucked in. It reminds me of one of my last year's favorites, Unwind by Neal Shusterman. I am not a big sci fi reader, but I like the characters of Todd and the girl (no name yet). I imagine that when I finish it I will be anxiously awaiting the sequel.

Just to give you a bit of info on the story. Todd lives in a small town where all the females have died off. He lives with two men who raised him after his parents die. Everyone in town can hear everyone else's thoughts. It is called noise. I loved the story about school. Todd says that school was offered for only a very short time. Since everyone could hear everyone else, all the students cheated because they could hear how their classmates answered the questions on the test.

More later as I get into the book.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Finished My Book

It is Sunday, a good day to spend some time reading. I finished my book today. I wonder what I will read next?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Currently Reading

I wanted to start this blog for several reasons, one of which was to share the books that I am reading. In May I grabbed about 30 books off the shelves of the school library to read. I read a total of 15 books over my summer vacation, but a couple of them were adult titles.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly was among those I selected. I didn't really think that I would enjoy it, but I wanted to see what it was about. The author, who is known for his thrillers, wrote this for an adult audience. However, the protagonist is 12 years old and must follow a quest where he meets many characters from familiar folk tales and legends. Though there are some gruesome events that occur, this book is appropriate for teenage fantasy lovers.

David has lost his mother to death, and his father remarries and has a child. It is World War II in London, and most of David's friends have been shipped to the countryside until the end of the war. David is lonely and unhappy and finds solace in books. In his new home at his stepmother's he goes through a portal to another world. I am enjoying the author's style, and David's adventures move at a fast pace. I am about halfway through the story. David is making his way to see the king; along the way he has met a woodsmen, wolves, harpies, dwarves, and a soldier. The soldier has promised to take David to the king.

I imagine that David will make it back home, but I have a little over 100 pages before that is going to happen

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Whew!

The library's official opening was yesterday. Kids were mobbing me as they checked out books. It was quite the event. Today I gave an orientation of the library to all of our 6th graders. They seemed thrilled to have an opportunity to get at the books.

Now that I am open, I spend so much of the day multi-tasking between library management and helping students. It can get crazy, but I think that is is worth it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The First of Many

I have been writing a blog about my experiences as I underwent treatment for breast cancer. My treatment is over, and it is time to move to a subject more uplifting. I love my job as a school librarian. I have about 320 students in grades 6th through 12th. With such a small school I can get to know the kids, and really get to know their reading likes and dislikes. I spent a good part of my summer reading. I read 15 young adult and adult books over the summer.

The 2009-2010 school year started on August 17th, and I will open the library to patrons next week, probably on Wednesday. I am excited to be healthy enough to start a new year. I can't wait to share the goings on in my library and the books that I am reading with you.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...