Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Field Trip to the Ninth Ward with 7th Grade

On November 18th, the seventh graders took the bus down to the Ninth Ward in New Orleans to explore Lanesha's world from the book, Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes. The students took pictures, video and audio of what they saw and did. They will be making movies after the holidays to share with an English class in Van Meter, IA. I took a lot of pictures, too. I wanted to remember the trip with a map so I used Tripline to document what I saw. You can view my tripline below as a slideshow just hit play and sit back and relax or you can click through each stop and open the pictures individually. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Time for the 2011 Edublog Award Nominations

I have to admit that I don't get to read as many blog posts that I would like. I am scattered as I follow people here and there to see what they are posting, and there just isn't enough time in the day. I might not read a blog on a consistent  basis, but I know when I am looking for a certain tool or reference or idea I know who might have the answer. The following are my nominations for the 2011 Edublog Awards.

Best individual tweeter: At BLC (Alan November's institute) that I attended this past summer, I met some super star librarians. Shannon Miller was one of those stars. She has accomplished so many connections using twitter. I am in awe of her use of the media: @shannonmmiller.
Best ed tech / resource sharing blog: I met Lisa Nielsen, The Innovative Educator, at BLC. She was a former librarian now in the educational technology department for NYC. She has some great ideas of how to utilize technology as a teaching tool and is all about sharing. Find her blog here:
Best twitter hashtag: I am a librarian, so #tlchat works best for me.
Best teacher blog: Tinashe Blanchet and I have been trading tech tools and tips for years now. She has been developing her blog over the years. It is awesome:
Best librarian / library blog: There are several that I like; I can't choose just one.
Best free web tool: I have become a real fan of this tool: I create shouts, and the students love being able to shout back at a teacher. They have told me some great things through this tool.
Best educational wiki: Gwyneth Jones is an amazing librarian who has created this wiki as a one stop shop for her library: I love all the illustrations.
Best open PD / unconference / webinar series: I have attended several webinars presented by Michelle Luhtala on I even got to meet her at two conferences that I attended. She hosts the series: Emerging Tech: Using Technology to Advance Your School Library Program. She has so many good ideas and is great at sharing.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jeff Kinney Webcast

On November 15th, the 6th graders all gathered in one room to see Jeff Kinney launch his newest book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever. He was at the Banks Street School In New York in front of an auditorium of 8 to12 year olds. There were over 800 schools around the county who joined the event via the computer like us. 

The video of him talking was shown in a small window on the screen that I could not enlarge. This frustrated the kids, but I had not control over it. He explained how he got started in the book biz and some of the motivation for his work. He also showed a lot of his illustrations. Luckily, the pictures were slides that we could enlarge for viewing. I especially like the "Reading is Fun" that you see on the right. 

 Half way through the presentation he introduced the two boys, Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron, who play the lead characters in the Wimpy Kid movies. The boys talked about their experiences in making the movie and fielded some questions from the audience.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Skyping in the Field

The A marks where we were standing during the Skype session

Today the 7th graders, two English teachers, the PE teacher who drove the bus and myself headed down to the Ninth Ward. The students had read Jewell Parker Rhodes' book, The Ninth Ward. The students have also teamed up with a 7th grade class in Van Meter, IA. They have been communicating with these students via Edmodo. Today on the field trip, we skyped using my iPhone with the students in Iowa. We asked six of our students to be the eyes and ears for the students in Iowa. We showed the Iowans some of the Make It Right Houses built from the foundation that Brad Pitt created. The kids in Iowa asked us some questions. Most of these questions centered on the students' personal experiences during Hurricane Katrina. It was a great experience. I have more pics to share in later posts. Below you can see us skyping with the phone. 

Yes, 3G works in the field. It is not an ideal way to Skype, but we got our point across and were able to share New Orleans with the students in Iowa. The Patrick Taylor students used iPads to film today's journey and will create movies to share with Van Meter. 

We had to huddle around the phone to hear the Iowa students'  questions

Thursday, November 10, 2011

If you could be any character in a book, what book and who would it be?

We need the students to read their email every day;  it is a part of the culture of the school. However, the students do not always comply and read their messages. Periodically, since school began, I have had an email contest to get the students to read their email. I send out a message to all the students after school hours. The email details the rules of the contest and how the students should respond.

After the AASL conference I came home with so many t-shirts that I decided that the shirts would make great prizes for a contest. I set up a google form for the students to use to respond. The students needed to tell me what book character they would be if they could choose anyone from a favorite book, and they also had to tell me why they selected that character. Twenty percent of the student body responded, and all of the answers were very thoughtful.  Below is a word cloud from Tagul (a new tool that I just found today) that I created as a visual representation of the students' answers.You can see some of the traits that they admired in the character, some of the names of the characters, and titles of some books that were listed multiple times.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This is Why I Love My Job

Below is a letter that I received from a student who moved away a couple of weeks ago. I knew that she enjoyed the library, but I did not realize that I had made such an impression on her. I love this letter.   It makes all that I do everyday worthwhile. By the way, I also love that I have a number one bookworm. To read the letter, you can click on it to view it in a larger size.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Finally, a Book Review

Though I have not been posting many book reviews, I have had lots to write over the last couple of months. You may think that I am not reading, but that is not the case. I have been reading some amazing books. It's just that I am doing so many other things that I want to blog that my book reviews never happen to find their way into print.

During AASL in Minneapolis, I was invited to an intimate luncheon courtesy of Little Brown. (Thanks, Victoria, lunch was delicious.) The luncheon was the debut of Kelly Barnhill, a Minnesotan author, and her first book, The Mostly True Story of Jack. This is the book that got me through my plane ride home. The story has a male protagonist and is geared for the middle school student. I love having a strong story about a boy for this age level.

Jack is dumped at his Aunt and Uncle's house in Iowa. His parents live in California and believe with their impending divorce that Jack is better off  in a small town for the summer. The minute he arrives, Jack realizes that Hazelwood and his aunt and uncle are a bit unusual. Jack was used to being invisible. Once he arrives in town, he is bullied, makes friends which he never had before and learns that fairy tales are real.

I am not sure if you would classify this story as magical realism or an out and out fantasy. At the beginning of the story, Jack does not accept any of the magical elements that begin to creep into his life. He ignores them and feels disgust for his aunt and uncle who try to explain. As he reads the book that his uncle has written about the history of the town and sees first hand the changes in the house, the school house and those weird eruption points, he finally becomes a believer. Jack who doesn't believe in magic and never dreamed that he could be a hero learns more about himself in the short time that he visits Hazelwood than all his life in California.

I recommend this book to all the dreamers out there.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

News is Posted on District Website, It Took Long Enough

We have been waiting and asking that the district add the news of the Gale Teams Award to the homepage of the website. Finally, they did. Here is a link to the article on the Jefferson Parish Schools website:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

AASL and the Gale TEAMS Award

So much has happened in the last week. I don't know where to start. Attending the AASL conference in Minneapolis was a great experience. I have lots of ideas running through my head. I hope to implement some of them over the next couple of months. I need to make some decisions in my library on how to spend money on electronic books. I have a collection of over 350 reference in electronic format, but I want to start purchasing non-fiction titles that the students would use as supplemental material to their textbooks. During the conference I talked to Rosen Publishing about their ePoint Books and Follett about their Follett Shelf, and of course I can always add to to our existing Gale Virtual Reference Library.

There are some super-star librarians out there who are doing amazing things. Listening to them talk about all that they do means that some of them must never sleep. I got to meet a few of them during the conference, and I was really inspired by the information that they presented. I attended a session on emerging leaders, and this is a picture of some of those women taken during that session.

Library Leaders from left: Gwyneth Jones, Shannon Miller, Wendy Stephens, Laura Warren-Gross and Margaux DelGuidice
Really the highlight of the whole conference was the award reception held on Friday night at Crave Minneapolis. Gale and Library Media Connection put together an event where we were the stars. Check out this video that I made with pictures from AASL: some were from the reception on Friday night and others from the Gale booth in the exhibit hall; as well as pictures from PFTSTA; and some screenshots of the electronic resources that we used in the project that garnered us the award. The audio portion of the video are the acceptance speeches first from myself and then from Lisa Valence the English teacher who collaborated with me.

We were on a high when we returned to the hotel after the Gale event. A librarian from Minnesota walked with us because she wanted to bend my ear. She works in an elementary school, and I really don't think that I had the answers that she needed about getting her students using the databases. The picture below was taken at the Hilton from left to right is Lisa Valence, myself, and Ruth Ann Nadeau from New Orleans who inspired me to be a librarian in the first place.

None of the pictures that we took at the reception were very good. The lighting was low, and even though we tried with several cameras all the pictures were dark with an orange cast. The next day we went to the Gale booth in the exhibit hall and got a picture taken there with the big check that was bright and clear. The screen behind us shows the first scene of the video that Gale showed in the booth throughout the conference as well as during the reception. Holding the check from left to right are Chris Posa from Gale, Lisa Valence and myself.


Enough already with the pictures of me. I think that I need to find some new subjects. Like maybe my students!


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