Friday, September 30, 2011

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is Open for Submissions

I was asked to pass this along: 

"We are excited to announce the Southeast Louisiana Writing Region affiliate of the Alliance of Young Artists & Writers will host the second annual Scholastic Writing Awards of Southeast Louisiana. The non-profit organization, sponsored by the Greater New Orleans Writing Project, will administer the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards to outstanding young writers across Louisiana. Through the success of last year’s competition, we were able to fund scholarships for students to attend summer writing programs and issue the top winners more than $6,000 in cash awards. For almost 90 years, the Awards have helped identify, motivate and validate talented 7th-12th graders across the United States. It is our job as your regional affiliate to facilitate the regional competition and awards ceremony and help our young writers, along with their teachers and parents, through the process.
Teachers and counselors: please keep this opportunity in mind! You need not respond to this mailing for your students to be eligible. ALL students are eligible, and this year, our affiliate will cover all submission fees. So, there’s no cost to enter! Go to for more information..."

Brad Richard and  Catherine Tanguis
Co-Directors, The Scholastic Writing Awards of Southeast Louisiana

Students can begin to submit work for the contest now.
Register here:
Here are the deadlines:
ART DEADLINE: 1/06/2012

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Heather Brewer Rocked at PFTSTA!!!

The 8th and 9th graders were blown away when Heather Brewer began talking at 9:30AM, Wednesday the 28th. She called all the teens in the room her minions. She believes in "world domination." With world domination, she and her minions could change the world to be a more accepting place. A place where there would be no bullies and everyone is accepted for who they are whatever that may be. Heather Brewer knows bullies, as she was not treated well by her peers in school.

One of the students said it was the best author visit ever, and two teachers said the talk was awesome because Heather was so real. She spoke with honesty from the heart, and the students could relate. There were many hugs when she arrived and even during her talk. One student couldn't contain herself when she found out that Green Day was one of Auntie Heather's fav bands. She ran up for some love, and Heather was extremely accommodating.

The main character in the Vladimir Tod Chronicles is a vampire. No, she did not begin writing this series to ride the tide of the Twilight phenomenon. She has been a big fan of horror ever since her teen years when she did a lot of reading in the genre. She loved Bram Stoker's Dracula. When one of the students asked if Heather liked Twilight, Auntie Heather had a lot to say. She thinks that the values for girls portrayed in the series is not what she would want for her daughter. It is not okay for some guy to stalk you or hang out in your bedroom and watch you sleep. No girl needs an Edward to protect her because with "girl power" any girl can do whatever they set their mind to do. 

After the presentation, she sat down for a book signing. A handful of students would not leave the cafeteria. They hung out and chatted for as long as I would let them. They were thrilled to be basking in Auntie Heather's energy. I couldn't believe it. We had a record five authors visit us at PFTSTA last year. I saw nothing like the love that  the students gave to Heather yesterday. Heather, you really do rock.

The visit ended with a taped interview. The president of Bookmarked, the high school book group, sat down with Heather to film some Q and A. I am going to use it in my next episode of Get Reading, digital book talks for teens who love to read. Be on the look out soon for a link to this episode. If you are a Heather Brewer fan, you will want to see it.

(By the way, the cool dress that she is wearing comes from Japan.)
Thanks Penguin Teen and Octavia Books for this amazing event!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Heather Brewer Visits PFTSTA

This is just a quickie because I don't have much time, but I wanted to share some pics of the day. I will say this, Heather Brewer was AWESOME!!! The kids loved her talk, and she was so inspirational. 

The librarian stops for a second to get a photo with the author. 

Signing the books and having some one on one with Auntie Heather was a highlight for many students. 

 Hey, I don't need to get a book signed, she can sign my arm!!!! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Whitney Stewart is the First Visiting Author of the Year

On Thursday, September 22nd, the seventh graders were treated to a visit by local author, Whitney Stewart. The students have begun the research process for their social studies fair papers in English class. I asked Whitney if she would visit PFTSTA to talk to the students about how she goes about researching when she begins a new non-fiction book.

She has been very fortunate to actually meet the subjects of some of her biographies including Sir Edmund Hillary, the 14th Dalai Lama, and Aung San Suu Kyi. To meet these remarkable people she has traveled extensively throughout Asia. The students were blown away by this. She even made suggestions to the students on how they could contact people that might give them first hand information on the topics that they selected for the social studies fair. She had some wonderful insights for the students that neither the teacher nor I had thought about.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fun Photo Generator: We'll Use for Teen Read Week

On Monday, my book group and I were brainstorming ideas for October's TRW. Teen Read Week is always a big event at PFTSTA. Every year, I try to design a fun photo activity that the kids can do in the library during lunch for TRW. We don't have a lot of time, so it has to be something that we can do quickly. We print out all the fun photos and post on a bulletin board outside the library. It always generates a good buzz from visitors to our building.

I am going to choose a generator with a number of options, so everyone can choose their own place to "hang out." We are going to call it, Pic-Ception: Where will we find you next?

Look what I made by using Dumpr:

I also tried Photofunia  and put myself on the front page of a newspaper and Photo 505 where you see me pixelated on a billboard:

I am going to choose a generator with a number of options, so everyone can choose their own place to "hang out." We are going to call it, Pic-Ception: Where will we find you next?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Get Reading 7

In this episode of my digital book talks, Get Reading, I review Where She Went by Gayle Forman and the Sweet Hereafter by Angela Johnson. I talk about companion books which share characters or setting.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Yes, It Seems That We Will Get a New School

Read this article that was posted in the Times Picayune on Saturday. A construction company has been selected, and the new facility should be completed in the fall of 2013.

Click here to open the article.

PFTSTA Library Starts Planning for Teen Read Week

YALSA posted a map highlighting activities for Teen Read Week all over the US. Of course, we will be there October 17th-21st. The PFTSTA Library always has a whirlwind week of activities planned for TRW to entice teens into the library with activities, contests and prizes. 

(click the map below to see it in a larger size)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gale TEAMS Award Winners Announced

Gale and Library Media Connection Announce Winners of the 2011 TEAMS Award
Click the link above to read all about it. Of course, I want you to read it because I am one of the winners.
Lisa Valence, an English teacher, and I wrote the application for the award. We are so excited about it. The press release explains it all.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Get Reading 6 is Available

I am having the best time writing and creating Get Reading: digital book talks for teens who love to read. I still want to figure out a way to use something other than Photostory and Moviemaker for these creations. Right now these tools do what I want with the audio and video. If I did not want a narration track without music, then I could use other tools that are available. I played around with Stupeflix this afternoon, and I loved what it did with the photos. I could add narration, but then it talked over the video piece. I needed the sounds to be separate. It is not possible with this tool.

This week's episode focuses on two stories set during the winter holidays, one is in New York: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan; and the other in Paris: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Every book that I talk up on Get Reading is one that I recommend.
Here is a link to Get Reading 6: Check it out!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Flipping Instruction

One of my goals for this school year is to create 2-3 minute mini-lessons that teach students how to use the library databases and create citations for their research. This is the current trend called a flipped classroom or blended classroom. If students can get to the how-tos at home, then at school I can spend time hands on with helping them in their research. I have created a few videos, but it is slow going. To speed up the process, I have enlisted some student helpers. The students chose what they wanted to teach and used Screencast-o-matic to create their tutorials. When I make the videos, I use my laptop and a microphone. The students decided it would be easier for them to create them by using the interactive white board. The pictures below show two students as they create their screencast. All instructional videos can be found on the PFTSTA Channel in Vimeo.  

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