Sunday, August 28, 2011

Frustrated with Tech Tools

I know what I want to do. I want to make short videos book talking good reads for teens. I have made four of them using Moviemaker and Photostory. You will find Get Reading here. I haven't been thrilled with the results. I don't think the videos are dynamic enough visually. I want the video to include me talking about the books as well as pictures of the book covers and pictures that evoke a sense of the story. So this weekend I spent some quality time with Animoto thinking that would help and be my solution. I made an Animoto story with pictures, but the narration was the issue. I tried several ways to narrate and add to Animoto, but nothing worked right. I added music in the background, but it doesn't work without my explanation. I need the narration so I can really talk about the book. However, I loved the way there was so much movement in Animoto and the software did it automatically. I didn't have to learn it. It really is easy to use.

I want each video to highlight two books that I recommend for teens and be less than 5 minutes. Eventually, I will figure it out or I will find someone using the tool that I need that will spark me to try it myself.

Anybody, have an suggestions?

Monday, August 22, 2011

AASL Here I Come

I will miss the kids, but I am thrilled about having the opportunity to attend the only national conference dedicated to school librarians. Whoo! Whoo!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Wow! We Won Something Special

In May, one of our English teachers asked if I would work on a grant with her. She was looking to fund sets of books to use for teaching her 7th graders. The grant was sponsored by Gale and Library Media Connection. It was not a whole lot of money, but we thought that it was real doable. For the Gale Teams Award we had to highlight a collaborative project that was designed to address a problem or need, explain our goals and strategies and how we met these objectives. During the 2010-11 school year, Lisa Valence and I worked together to help the students write the research paper for the annual social studies fair. We broke down the research process in small bites for the students, and we felt that we had succeeded in achieving our goals. This was the program that we highlighted in the grant.

Today we received the following email:
(Click on the image to enlarge it)

There were a total of 3 winners in the whole country, and we won the middle school division!!!! Gale is sending us to the American Association of School Librarians' Conference in Minneapolis at the end of October where we will be honored at a reception. I can't believe it. I am so thrilled with this honor.

Sixth Graders Visit for Orientaion

Here are some of our new students. I broke a record I think. On the fourth day of school they were in the library for orientation. After orientation, the doors to the library are open for the school year.

It was a stampede. The kids were begging me to open. I could not say no.

Food in the library. That is an issue that remains a problem. I really don't want the food, but on the other hand I know that they students want somewhere other than the cafeteria to eat. I make sure that they throw away all trash, but they still manage to drop bits and pieces on the tables and the floor.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just Finished First Day

The halls are now quiet. It was an extremely busy day. I processed some new books, printed signs with passwords for each classroom, laminated for myself and other teachers, helped with lunch duty, read email, registered for a conference, had computer issues which had to be fixed, and so much more.

The library still seems to be disorganized. I have stacks of ARCs sitting on tables waiting for students. My library book group, Bookmarked, lost many students at the end of the last school year. I have to rebuild the club quickly so students can start reviewing books for the YALSA's YA Galley program. Last year's club president is attending college locally, so she promised to be here for the first meeting. We have got to step up our game quickly.

It is always good to get the first day out of the way.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Episode of Get Reading Uploaded


While I have time, I am trying to create as many episodes of my digital booktalks, Get Reading, as possible. I know that at some point in the school year, I will just get too busy to be making movies. For now, I am having a lot of fun putting these together. Using a webcam, photos, Photostory and Moviemaker, I am able to quickly put together a short video. Statisitcs have shown me that there have not been too many views yet, but I have not had an opportunity to share these videos with my students.

If you would like to see the third episode of Get Reading, open this link: http://vimeo.com/27692712.
The books highlighted in this epidsode are: The Cardturner by Louis Sacher and Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt.

UPDATE on February 12, 2013:
Gary Schmidt's Okay for Now was selected for NPR's Backseat Book Club On All Things Considered. Gary Schmidt will be answering your questions during his interview on NPR at the end of February. Open here to submit your question for Gary


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Teachers are Back in School

This is the day. I am sitting in a faculty meeting right now preparing for school to open. I cannot wait to jump in to this new school year. I am truly energized to create a better library program than I had last year.

My motto for this year: Keep your mind open : Learn new things. This is for me as a teacher as well as for the students.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Get Reading Can Now be Found on Vimeo

Today I spent some time making another digital book talk for my series called, Get Reading. I have posted this new one on the library website, but I also wanted a place to host these videos that would give each video an individual URL. That way I could share them easily on this blog, twitter, or by email . I selected Vimeo as the host site because it is not blocked at school. I created a channel where you will find all future videos here: www.vimeo.com/pftstalibrary.

On the episode of Get Reading 2, you will find the following recommended titles: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, Matched by Allie Condy and Where Things Come Back by J. Corey Whaley.



Get Reading 2 from Elizabeth Kahn on Vimeo
. Digital book talks for teens who love to read!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My First Digital Book Talk

I was walking the dog with my husband the other night and thinking. Usually, we use this time for conversation and talking about each other's day. On this particular night, I was lost in thought. It occurred to me that I should begin creating digital book talks, and I was going to entitle them: Get Reading.

So over the last couple of days, I selected three titles that I read this summer, wrote the script, set up the webcam and made some short movies. Using Movie Maker, I put together the videos, added pics of the book covers as well as some music over the title and credits. I am pleased with the results of Get Reading 1, though I have some ideas on how to make some improvements for the next edition.





On this episode you will hear about the following titles:
False Princess by Eilis O'Neal, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.
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