Showing posts from 2010

Quote that I Heard on TV Tonight

I was watching Human Comedy with Mickey Rooney on TCM tonight. He said the following to his teacher: "I never knew teachers are human beings like everybody else-- and better too!" — William Saroyan

Taylor Hosts Metairie Academy 4th Graders for Science Extravaganza

Yesterday, ninety fourth graders visited Taylor to see the seventh graders demonstrate experiments. I helped with the event by reading Bones and Actual Size both by author Steve Jenkins. The books are outstanding science non-fiction. Then several ninth graders and a senior presented a quiz with a flipchart on the Promethean Board using facts from the two books. The elementary students used the Promethean Activotes to give us their answers. It was a lot of fun for me to get back in my reading aloud mode. Love it!!! My helpers were awesome. The whole event was planned by science teacher Katie Higgins. Thanks Katie for letting me be a part of your event.  Did you know that the python has 200 sets of ribs!   My helpers ask a question about the number of bones in a human's hands. The answer is 27. 

The PFTSTA Library made it in the JPPSS Technology Newletter


Look What I Got in the Mail Today

As part of the YA Galley Program for Teen's Top Ten, I have been receiving many books from publishers for my library book group to read. When I picked up a box that was sized for just one or two paperback books, I thought it was the single title from TOR that I was waiting for. I was wrong. Last April, authors J & P Voekel visited Taylor to promote their action adventure romp through the land of the Mayas called, Middleworld . This book was the first in the Jaguar Stones series. Okay back to my package---when I opened the box, inside I found a signed copy of The End of the World Club , the second in the Jaguar Stones series. By the picture on the cover, I can tell that Max and Lola will be facing more adventures. That is not really the exciting part of the whole thing. The package was sent to me by the authors with an amazing note which you can read below. I was intriqued by the P. S., so I opened the book to the last page to find the acknowledgements.  If you look

Glad to Know Someone is Reading This Blog

I get so few comments on this blog that sometimes I think that no one is reading it. Actually, I am tracking visits through Google Analytics, so I know exactly how many people visit this site. Even with the stats I have no clue if anyone is really reading what I write. Yesterday a student, who rarely checks out books, told me that he totally agreed with my opinion on the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. He told me that he also got a bit confused with the voice of the story moving back and forth between characters. I had no clue that he was reading the series because he didn't check it out from the school library. Anyway, I asked him where he read my opinion of the book. He said that he read my blog. Yea!! Somebody is listening. Boy, that feels good. Thanks Brandon for making my day--I bet you didn't even know that you had.

Vacation Over, Back to Work

I took my vacation from school seriously and have not posted here in a week. However, I have been reading. Let me share some good reads with you. I started Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson before she visited us at Taylor. Unfortunately, I did not finish it until a few days after she left. I have read several of her other books, but I thought that it was very important for me to read this one because I had not read one of her historical fiction stories before. She was on the book tour to push the sequel to Chains called Forge, but I have not read that one yet. Laurie's story about slaves during the period of the American Revolution reminds me of Octavia Nothing by M. T. Anderson (no relation to Laurie). We don't usually think about slaves living in the colonies of New England, but they did. Both the Chains series and Octavia Nothing series offer a glimpse into that life. I had read some good reviews of Bruiser , and I am a fan of Neal Shusterman so I was excited to read t

Laurie Halse Anderson Visits Taylor 7th, 8th and 9th Graders

On Thursday, November 18th, the students were given a history lesson by fiction writer, Laurie Halse Anderson. Her Seeds of America series focuses on two slave teenagers in New York during the American Revolution. We foiund out that the third book in the series will be called Ashes and be from two characters point of view. Ms. Anderson gave the students background on the Revolution that she discovered in her research for the books. She told true stories that made the history come alive for the kids. The students loved her descriptions of how she actually cooked a rabbit over an open fire and walked in the snow covered woods in woolen socks, dressed in only the layers that the soldiers had at Valley Forge. She discovered it was not easy to have been a soldier during that period. The author with librarian, Elizabeth Kahn. You can see more pictures on the PFTSTA Library website.

Laurie Halse Anderson Visits Taylor

Found this pic tweeted from Laurie Halse Anderson after her visit at Taylor on Thursday. Click here to see Taylor students.

Nominations for Edublog Awards 2010

The Edublog Awards Nominating a website for an edublogs award is an opportunity for educators to nominate the outstanding work of colleagues. Here are the categories in which I would like to nominate the following individuals: Best Teacher Blog--blanchetBlog: an online classroom community by Tinashe Blanchet --> Best Resource Sharing Blog--Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne --> Best Library Blog--The Big House Library Blog by Anna Koval --> Best Group Blog--Yalsa Blog: the official blog of the Young Adult Library Services Association --> You can make your own nominations by visiting the homepage at EduBlog Awards .

Read my November Post for the YALSA Blog

If your gift list includes teenagers, I made some holiday shopping suggestions. Follow the link below to read the post that I added to the November blog for the Young Adult Library Services Association: .

One-upping the Web: Finding our place in Bloom's revised Taxonomy

I am always trying to keep up with changes in my field. I love what computers and technology can do in the classroom. It certainly makes teaching more fun for me, and around every corner there seems to be some new tool or resource that can help the students I teach. I probably learned about Bloom's Taxonomy from one of my very early education courses. I won't mention how long ago that was because I don't want to give away my age. I was fascinated by this article published in the November issue of School Library Journal . Bloom's can still be relevant today but in a modified state. I thought this article summarized it well. Please take a few minutes to read. One-upping the Web: Finding our place in Bloom's revised Taxonomy

Fundraiser Kick Off with a Power Point

I wish that I did not have to have fundraisers in the library however, it is a part of the territory. I need money for programing, and students are always asking for new books. I kicked off this year's event with a six minute powerpoint presentation that I narrated. Each Advisory teacher played the powerpoint during the Advisory period. I sat with two groups as they watched me talk about how the fundraiser will work. It is a little different this year because the students will take orders now, but no one pays until the items are delivered sometime in January. The kids seem excited about the prize package, and I hope that I can double what I raised last year selling just magazines. You can still renew your magazines by ordering online. Or visit the website to see what else we have for sale:  and enter the school code: 1479302 . If you want to read more about the fundraiser, visit the library website here: .

Finished Another Massive Read

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness is 600 pages long. It seems a trend in YA literature-longer and longer books and more and more series. I was anxiously awaiting this tome, as I was fascinated by the first two books in the Chaos Walking trilogy . Though the story has been extremely violent, the characters are wonderful examples of the foibles of men and humankind. In Monsters of Men, the story is told from the perspective of three voices. Sometimes I got confused who was talking because the change in voices was so quick sometimes every two pages or so. I wanted there to be peace, and I kept reading each suspenseful turn of events to find out if the story ends in a way that I hoped. I am not going to give any spoilers here, but this is a sci fi story that resonates with me long after I have finished reading it. If you are a fan of dystopian literature this may be a series for you.

I Love the New Book by Riordan

I often will read the first in a young adult series and end there. It gives me a sense of the author's style, and I can recommend the books to students based on the one that I have read. However, some series I get just as excited about the new volumes as the kids at school. Some of these books I won't let anyone check out until I have had a chance to read it. This would include books like the Harry Potter series, Hunger Games series, and the Walking Chaos series. It happened again when Rick Riordan's newest, The Lost Hero came out a couple of weeks ago. I know that I am a little selfish, but I just had to read it before anyone else. I had just started it when one of my students told me that his dad had bought it for him. He didn't get to read it yet because his dad was reading it first. His dad told him that it was better than the Percy Jackson books. Even though I had read a couple of chapters, I didn't think that was possible. Now that I finished it, I think th

A Week Full of Fun @ Patrick Taylor Library

Another Teen Read Week has come and gone. One of the highlights included the students creating a magazine with their face on the cover. In the picture below can you see a student who created his cover using . Below is the magazine that shows that he is a big fan of Disney. Members of the library book group, Bookmarked, assisted with the games and contests during lunch. The three students below are taking a break. They had great fun running the Labels are for Cans not People Game. Here are some students who particpated in the Labels are for Cans Game. Students could take one clue a day for the whole week. If they answered the clue correctly they would win a candy. The clues were all based on either classic literature or contemporary novels. The student reading the clue in the picture below is not too happy because he doesn't know the answer. 

Author Scott Westerfeld Talks about Behemoth

Scott Westerfeld talks about his newest book Today we kicked off Teen Read Week with a fantastic event. Scott Westerfeld talked to all of the freshman and sophomores about his new book Behemoth,  second in the Leviathan series. It is an alternate version of World War I told from two points of view: the first a girl disguised as a boy so she could be an airman on a British flying ship as well as an Austro-Hungarian prince whose parents have just been murdered. He explained to the students about the illustrations, and how in 1914 when the book takes place, all novels had illustrations. He had lots of visuals from the book. The students were mesmerized (me too); as you can see by the picture.  We invited Scott to stay for lunch. The library book group, Bookmarked, enjoyed an hour of visiting with him in the library while munching on shrimp poor boys. Below is a group of happily fed teenagers with one librarian and one author.  Zerhow Chan outdid himself with the welcome poster in red

Contests, Contests, and More Contests for TRW

Teen Read Week October 18 th --- 22 nd @ PFTSTA Library Books with Beat! Be Unique! Beat the Stereotype! Bookmarked, the library book group, and I have planned some really fabulous activities for this year's TRW. Today I spent the morning copying, putting up bulletin boards, and creating the emails that I am going to send out next week advertising each event. If you want to read all about it, open this link--> . The most exciting event is our visit with author Scott Westerfeld planned to kick off the week on Monday. Since he will be here at the beginning of the week, one of the prizes for our Guess the Number of Nerds contest will be a signed book. We will have four books signed, so we will have four winners. Every year for TRW, I hold a bookmark contest. For this one, the students will need to design their bookmark based on a book with a very quirky character, someone out of the norm, someone who beats all stereotypes. I also plan a contest that stu

Read My Blog Post on YALSA's Blog

As a requirement of the YALSA committee on which I serve, I have to post twice on the organization's blog. You can read that post by following the link below. Funny, I gave it the same name as my last blog post here, but I did not remember.

Teen Read Week is Right Around the Corner

Teen Read Week (TRW), sponsored by YALSA, will be here in two weeks. I am busy making plans with my library book group. The theme this year is Books with Beat. We have decided at Patrick Taylor to Beat the Stereotype. One of our activities is going to be a daily contest, called Labels are for Cans not People. I always have some question and answer contest where students can visit the library and get a piece of candy if they answer the question correctly. This year the questions are all about characters and the labels that describe them. Our biggest event this year for TRW will be a visit by author Scott Westerfeld. The ninth and tenth graders will get to see his presentation, but Bookmarked will get to have a catered lunch with him in the library. Today, Bookmarked, watched some book trailers of his books that I downloaded. There was a mad grab for the titles after I played the trailers. I need to do more of that with the other students. More later when I can outline all of our TRW

Jewell Parker Rhodes Visits Patrick Taylor Academy

Yesterday, the library sponsored its first author visit of the 2010-11 school year. We have three more authors coming before Thanksgiving! The sixth and seventh graders were in for a real treat when Ms. Rhodes began to read from her book, Ninth Ward . She had a wonderful energy that translated so well to middle school students. She explained how Mama Ya Ya was based on her own grandmother, but Lanesha was based on all the kids in New Orleans, like the students at Patrick Taylor, who had to suffer the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Ms. Kahn @ LaLAMP 2010

 Here I am at LAMP with author Dianne de Las Casas  Who knew that you could plan a conference for 120 people in less than a week. On Friday, September 10th I got a call asking if I would plan the afternoon sessions for the annual Louisiana Library and Media Professionals Annual Conference (LaLAMP) held in New Orleans on the 16th. The venue, exhibitors, and morning keynote speaker were all set . I had to plan the afternoon and put together the sign in sheets, evaluations, and certificates as well as get helpers to deal with all the paperwork. The Jefferson librarians really stepped up to the plate. Several of them put together one hour presentations, and those uncomfortable with presenting helped with the other tasks. My hats off to all the wonderful ladies and gentleman who helped get it together in record time.

Author Visit on Monday, the 27th

On Monday, Patrick Taylor, will host Jewell Parker Rhodes. Her first book for children has just been published. Ninth Ward is about a 12 year old girl who must prepare her home for Hurricane Katrina by herself as her aging grandmother is unable to do so. This book was selected for Al Roker's Kids Book Club. Click here to see her interview on the Today show .

First Library Event of the 2010-11 School Year

The story takes place behind the mirror Yesterday, the library sponsored its first event of the new school year. Author, Cornelia Funke , broadcasting from New York presented a live streaming webcast to kick off the release of her newest book, Reckless .  The event happened to be scheduled during our lunch period. So, thirty students in 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grade piled into the library to view the program. I ran to the weekly farmer's market ahead of time to purchase kettle corn for the students to munch. Everyone was invited to bring their lunch to this event, too. It started 20 minutes late, which caused some issues for 4th period, but the kids who participated really enjoyed it. Students are engrossed in the presentation We had some sound issues early on, so this 8th grader decided to get as close as possible to the speakers

YALSA chooses 2010-2012 Teens' Top Ten book groups | American Libraries Magazine

Here is the official notice of the program that Bookmarked was awarded for 2010-2012. Bookmarked is the official reading group of the Patrick Taylor Academy library. YALSA chooses 2010-2012 Teens' Top Ten book groups | American Libraries Magazine

What's Hot on the Shelves

Students have been back at school for four weeks. Books have been flying off and on the shelves. New books were put into the collection just as the students started back to school. Here are some titles that the kids are loving: The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is hot, hot, hot. Boys, girls, middle school, high school -- everyone is reading them. I have been pushing them like crazy. I am a big fan of dystopian literature, and these are some of the best around. Jennifer Brown's Hate List about a school shooting is another title that just won't sit. It's edgy and unpredictable. All of the Sarah Dessen books are favs of the high school girls, but this one, Along for the Ride seems to be one that never gets reshelved. You just can't knock a good romance story. All of Ellen Hopkins' titles have been scorching the hands of readers for the last couple of years, but Identical has had more check outs than her other titles. Her themes and fast pace storylines

Big News for Patrick Taylor Academy

Yesterday, we received word that Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy was named a Blue Ribbon School. Click here to read the article in the Times Picayune giving all the details.

Exciting News for the Library Book Group!

Here is a press release describing the wonderful program of which Bookmarked, the library book group, gets to join for the next two years: The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association, selected Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy in Jeffersopn, LA as one of the 16 public and school libraries from across the country to serve as official book groups for YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten. The Teens’ Top Ten is an ongoing project in which publishers of young adult books provide copies of their recent titles to teen book discussion groups in libraries, including the Bookmarked at Patrick Taylor Academy. In exchange, teen readers at Patrick Taylor will evaluate books from more than 30 participating publishers. Bookmarked will begin its term as a Teens’ Top Ten book group in November 2010 and will finish its duties in 2012. All teens across the US are able to vote for the Teen’s Top Ten favorite titles of the year. This year’s

Loved it!!!

I finished Mockingjay in two days. It was marvelous. I don't want to say too much here to spoil it for anyone. If you haven't read the Hunger Games trilogy, then you must. Suzanne Collins really rocks! I wonder what she will come up with next.
I can't believe it,and I am so excited. Today is the day. I have reserved my copy of Mockingjay at Octavia Books. I will leave school in just a few minutes to go pick it up. I will be set for an evening of reading. I might not make it to sleep tonight. Yesterday, I watched Suzanne Collins read the first chapter on youtube. Katniss had a southern accent. That was really disconcerting, and there is lots of talk on the net about readers who were really surprised and unhappy with the accent. Katniss is from Appalachia, so it is not a huge surprise. I think that I am as thrilled to be reading the end of the Hunger Games trilogy as I was with the Harry Potter series. Go to--> for all things Hunger Games. Read this interview that Suzanne Collins gave to School Library Journal-->  She talks about the connection between mockingjays and Katniss. Happy Reading!

Back to School

I started back to school on August 9th, and the students arrived on the 12th. Students wanted to check out books on the first day. I was pleased to see that they were excited that the library was open for business. However, I have been too busy to complete the processing for the 200 new books. Of course, those are the titles that are so enticing. I hope to get those done by the end of the day tomorrow. That's my intent anyway. Who would have thought that a book about bridge for teens would be interesting. I adored Louis Sacher's new book, The Cardturner . Alton is a character that you have to love. He just wants to have a summer of fun, but his parents think he should assist his rich uncle who wants to keep playing bridge even though he has lost his sight. It's Alton's job to tell his uncle what cards are in each hand. There is a little romance along the way, you learn something about bridge, and you get a real interesting story with great characters. I loved the way

My Summertime Reads

I have not been posting here this summer because I have been spending my vacation creating a blog that follows the remodeling of my kitchen. However, I thought that it was time for me to list some of the books that I have been reading during the summer break. Reading is always a big part of my summertime plans. For book group (comprised mostly of retired English teachers) I read Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. It was a detective novel that followed several cases that happened 10 to 20 years prior to the current time period of the book. I didn't like the first couple of chapters and would never have finished it, if it was not for book group. There are two more books with the same detective; I might even try to find those and read them as I enjoyed the book once I got into it. I read Little Bee by Chris Cleave as it was recommended by a friend. It had some disturbing imagery, but it was so well written. I really loved it. It is told from the point of view of two characters.

School's Out For Summer

Today was my last day. I realized when I got home that I forgot to take some books with me to read. I have some unfinished business, so I will be heading back to school next week. I have two books in the stack by my bed, so I do have reading material for a week or so. I have started Exodus by Julie Bertagna. I am enjoying the dystopian story with a strong female hero. The sequel is called Zenith .

Taylor Graduation 5.14.2010

Here are the valedictorian and salutatorian for the class of 2010 at Patrick Taylor Academy. The gold stole designates an honor graduate, the medallion with gold ribbon designates val or sal, the medallion with the blue ribbon designates National Honor Society, and the yellow and light blue cords designates Mu Alpha Theta, the math honor society. These girls have been busy the last four years. The graduates wait at the Alario Center for the appointed hour of the processional. Graduation was fantastic. No glitches. Mrs. Phyllis Taylor was the keynote speaker. She gave all the students a copy of the inspirational book,  The Last Lecture , by  Randy Pausch . In each copy was a two dollar bill a denomination which Patrick Taylor was famously known to give as gratuities. Mrs. Taylor wanted the students to be reminded of her husband. She also suggested that if they kept the bill as a keepsake, then they would never be broke. Also slipped in three of the books was something a little ex

2010 Val/Sal Luncheon

Yesterday, I was honored to be asked by Taylor's salutatorian to join her for the luncheon provided by the district. I was asked last year, too, but it was no less an honor to accompany Channel to the luncheon. Every student must talk about why they brought their teacher, and every teacher must talk about the student. Channel broke down as she was talking about me; I was truly touched. So when I had to get up, it was not an easy task. Channel has read more books than any student at Patrick Taylor Academy. She reads all types of genres and remembers plot and character too. I count on her to help recommend books to other students. I don't know what I will do without her next year. The picture on the left shows a very happy teacher getting ready to send one of her students out into the world. I know that she will shine. This shot shows our valedictorian, Ngoc, with Mrs. Blanchet on her left. Our principal, Jaime Zapico, is in the center. That is me and Channel on the right.