Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bookmarked Talks to Susan Pfeffer via Skype

Yesterday, during our regular Monday lunch time meeting, Bookmarked met with the author of Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone. Susan Beth Pfeffer was sitting in her home office in New York while we were eating our lunches in the school library in Jefferson, Louisiana. We had a great time. The students loved her humor.

She told us how she only had the vocabulary of a 5th grader and that she also had a short attention span, so that is why she has chosen to write for teens and children. We talked some about the science in her stories; she did little scientific research for the books. As all of us have dealt with a huge natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina, we could empathize with the characters in her books. When one of the students asked Ms. Pfeffer if she could have survived a natural disaster of such magnitude found in her books, she explained that she didn't even have a working flashlight. She discovered this during a February snowstorm when the electricity was out for about five hours. We told her that in our area the electricity can go out with a bad thunderstorm, so living in southern Louisiana means you need to be prepared for the worst. Another student asked about the mother's profession in the book, a writer, and asked if that held any significance. Ms. Pfeffer explained that working at home gave the mother the opportunity to hit the grocery store to stock up on necessities when others were at work. Since authors often receive royalty checks in the month of May, that meant the mom had cash on hand and could purchase all the food that she could carry.

Some of the students have read both books, others only one, and some had not had a chance to read the books. The visit got them excited about the series, and I will be purchasing the newest one, This World We Live In, when it comes out tomorrow.
I wrote about this book in an earlier post--> http://www.talesfromaloudlibrarian.com/2010/02/ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.html.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Looking Forward to Another Week

This week will be a short one with half a day on Thursday and Friday off of school.
I am excited about tomorrow. We will have our first Skype session with an author. More on that after the event. Also, former student Chad Landrum, is visiting for the day. With his help, I plan to start inventory.

I also have two more upcoming author events. On April 20th the authors of The Jaguar Stones are going to do a presentation for the whole middle school at Taylor. They will be taking us on a virtual trip to Central America to learn about Mayan culture. This event is being sponsored by Octavia Books and their publisher, Egmont. I am very excited.
Then I have planned a Saturday field trip for the high school book group. We are going to meet and go see the author of Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater. She is going to be making an in store appearance at Octavia Books, and the students were fans of the book. She is young, and I think that the kids will be able to relate to her.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Heated _Hunger Games_ Discussion

On Friday, March 19th the library book group joined the students at St. Scholastica in Covington via Skype for a discussion of dystopian literature and the book Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The discussion focused on the romance between Katniss and Peeta, as well as Katniss and Gale. There were also some disagreements over the character motivation of Katniss. This was one of the few times that the book group singled out one book for discussion. I thought that it was very successful. However, one student thought it was chaotic because students from both schools sometimes talked at the same time. Also, she realized that she did not enjoy the book as much as the others.

I can't wait until next Monday when we Skype with the author, Susan Pfeffer.

Teen Tech Week, March 8-12

One of the highlights of TTW was the game that students could play daily. Everyday I would email a set of four related research questions. The students had to find the answers and give me the sources for those answers. Each day that they played, they received a small prize. At the end of the week, I pulled a name from the middle school jar and one from the high school jar. Those students each won a grand prize of an iTunes gift card for $15. More middle school students participated than high, but it was a lot of fun for the ones who got into it. I used the databases of Gale and Britannica to create my questions, so the students were not able to find every answer on Google.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

HTML Class during Teen Tech Week

One of the PFTSTA Library's activities during this year's Teen Tech Week was to offer a lunch time class in how to write HTML code to create a webpage. The class was taught by two seniors, and most of the class members were in 6th or 7th grade. Everyone had a good time, but we found that we ran out of time. We are going to continue the class next week. I am hoping that all the students will have some HTML code that I can post on the library's website. I will let you know.

The "teachers" showed examples at the board.
The students were great listeners.
This was a hands-on activity.
All the students were working on their laptops as the class was taught.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Teen Tech Week

Get ready to unleash your inner geek. Teen Tech Week begins at Taylor tomorrow. I have planned some fun techie related doings in the library. Some of the events are happening online, and you don't even need to walk into the library to participate. Visit the library website to read all about it: www.pftstalibrary.com. All are invited to join us for the web-based events.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Usually in high school, librarians don't celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday. At Patrick Taylor this year, we certainly did. Members of Bookmarked, the library book group, worked in groups to select their favorite Seuss. Hands down it was Green Eggs and Ham. Then each group spent 30 minutes skyping with either a 1st or 2nd grade class at an elementary school cross town. The high school students read the books and asked questions. The elementary students first at Gretna #2 and then at Pittman were great listeners. We had a glitch with the technology during our 2nd session, but we worked it out. It was a fun activity for all the participants. Here are some of the pictures we took at Taylor.

You can see by the picture of the screen that the elementary students were enthralled by the stories.
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