Posts

Showing posts from 2012

Great Example of 21st Century Learning Part 2

Image
This all began a couple of weeks before the holidays, but I have not had time to get it written down. It is such a wonderful example of 21st century learning that I wanted to share. A number of teachers have talked about asking students to create infographics to illustrate data. I was even helping 6th grade math students find websites to help them create graphs for an infographic project. The teacher just hadn't decided yet what the theme of the infographic would be, so curating sites on Sqworl was as far as they had gotten. 
In the meantime, a class of juniors and seniors taking AP Environmental Science were using the start-up Infogr.am to create infographics illustrating various environmental land-use issues such as flooding, national parks, etc which they had previously researched. I heard that the students were not happy with the online software, so I visited the class to tweet out the students’ issues to the makers of Infogram. I was surprised at the speed within which I got…

Great Example of 21st Century Learning Part 1

Image
During the last couple of weeks before the holidays, I participated in and watched two student activities that were engaging and demonstrated the 21st century skills of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity at a level that made me proud to work at PFTSTA. I am going to tell the story of one of these examples in this post and save the other for another post. 

All the Knowledge You Need to Survive College by Allie and Tiffany
The top two students in the senior class were the only students taking Gifted Projects this past semester. In this course, they could design a project of interest to them that would carry them through the whole semester. Since they were both applying to a number of colleges, forefront in their minds was college and the process for taking the next step in their education. They seemed very confident about this process, but there was one aspect that both of them felt totally unprepared. They really thought their skills in cleaning and mending…

Students Write Impassioned Letters to Lawmakers

Image
I have mentioned in several earlier posts that in January the Louisiana state board of education (BESE) wants to amend Bulletin 741 that guides all school districts. My main concern with their changes to this document is the language about school libraries. In essence the document would no longer require schools to have a certified librarian on staff nor will schools and districts be required to provide a budget for library resources. It will now be only recommended, and districts would no longer need a waiver from the state to dismantle school libraries. I have written my own letter to all the BESE members, but I also asked the parents of my school to write to the BESE member who represents them. A parent sent me a copy of her letter, and I couldn't believe how supportive it was. An English teacher was so upset about these possible changes that she asked her 8th graders to use what they learned about writing a persuasive essay with logical and emotional appeals and write their ow…

Six Months of Teen Reviews

Image
The recent edition of SLJTeen on December 19th marks six months of reviews by the teens in Bookmarked. This is the halfway mark for Bookmarked's stint as the resident teen book reviewers for the online newsletter. It has been an interesting six months. The students' book reviews are outstanding. They really have some intriguing insights about the books that they are reading. On the other hand, every two weeks arrives quickly, and it can be like pulling teeth for them to submit the reviews to me. I know that many of them are inundated with English work that entails a lot of reading. Also, our editor wants the books to be pre-pub by at least one month. It seems the publishers are sending the advanced copies much closer to the pub dates, and often by the time that the teens read the books, the publication date has passed. However, we have been able to overcome all these trials and tribulations. I want to share with you a link that will allow you to read every review that was pub…

Help Save Louisiana School Libraries

BESE. in Louisiana, wants to amend its bulletin that guides all school districts. In so doing, BESE will allow districts to decide if a library should be staffed and if it should be staffed by a certified librarian. We need to take action and ask BESE to require a certified librarian in every school. Please read what the Louisiana Association of School Librarians (LASL) has suggested on how you can help. Click here to open the LASL plan of action.

Student Blogs for YALSA's The Hub

Image
A couple of months ago, one of the members of Bookmarked, the high school book group, asked me if there were some places besides SLJ Teen where she could submit book reviews. I thought about it and decided to contact the manager of The Hub. The Hub is one of YALSA's blogs and the focus of this blog is young adult literature. There are a number of librarians who blog regularly for The Hub, and I thought Kayla's writing would be a great addition. Gretchen Kolderup, the manager, agreed when she read a sample. Today Kayla's first post was published. Click here to read what Kayla had to say.

Glimpse of the New PFTSTA

The construction of the new Patrick Taylor Academy began in January 2012 and is slated to be complete in May 2013. I have been taking pictures of the changes in the exterior on a monthly basis. Other teachers have been too. I was also given some video by one of the students as she drove by the new school. I put all of this together in a video. The video below shows the progress of the exterior beginning in January and running through October. 
PFTSTA Construction Jan 2012 to Oct 2012 from PFTSTA on Vimeo
Though I have really enjoyed watching the changes as they take shape, it is the  recent interior shots that have me jumping up and down. I have never worked in a new school nor had a library space that will equal this one. The principal, Jaime Zapico, has had two hard hat tours of the interior of the new facility. Last week, she took some video just for me of the library space and the common area just outside of the library. Below is a video that I put together of those shots. 
Chec…

Policy Change for School Libraries in Louisiana

Image
Just last week I blogged about the importance of being an advocate for your school library and in so doing you will be an advocate for all school libraries. Little did I know that less than seven days after writing that post the need for advocacy would reach a critical point in Louisiana. The Board of Elementary and State Education (BESE), which is the Louisiana state board of elected and appointed officials, has decided that they can help reform the schools by amending Bulletin 741. This is the handbook that the administrators in all districts must use as the guidelines for managing all public schools. The title page and forward is pictured below.
Then the other day, a librarian in northern Louisiana sent out a link to Bulletin 741 with all the points in the document that BESE wants to cut. There are lines drawn through many of the resolutions, but it is Chapter 17, section 1705 that makes me sick. I have made a copy of this section for you to see below. You can click on the image to…

Librarian and Teens Review New Books

Image
This is a picture that was taken during the American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim in June of 2012. That's me on the right, standing with author, Ashley Edward Miller, who wrote the young adult book, Colin Fischer. I am posting this picture six months after it was taken because I wrote a review of his book that was published in the latest edition of SLJTeen. Click here to read that review and to read two other reviews by members of Bookmarked, the high school library book group at Patrick Taylor.

Voting Opened for Annual Edublog Awards

This blog, Tales from a Loud Librarian, was nominated again for the annual edublog awards, also known as the eddies. I love this award because there are so many categories of edtech nominated, and I always find some gems that I had never seen before. 
Anyway, you need to vote daily until December 9th. The awards will be announced on December 12th. Open here to find the link to vote. You can vote for this blog under the category, library/librarian blog. Check out all the other categories for some awesome resources.

Advocacy for Your School Library Helps All School Libraries

Image
One of my colleagues at school is a big proponent of teachers' rights and believes that the teachers' unions are crucial for good public schools. This is an idea that has gotten a lot of flak lately, but I agree with him. However, there is one point that we often discuss and always disagree. Advocacy. He is a classroom teacher and thinks that his good teaching stands on its own and that he doesn't need to prove how hard he works by talking about what goes on in his classroom. He doesn't know what I have gone through as a librarian over the last twenty years, and how important it has been to broadcast about what goes on in a school library. 
I explain to him that it is vital that librarians shout about all the wonderful activities happening in their library. I do just that with this blog, the library website, twitter, email blasts, discussions with my principal, notices in the daily memo and articles in the school monthly newsletter. Since I became a librarian, I have …

Voting Now Opened for the LA Teen Readers' Choice Awards

Image
In October, several students and I had the pleasure of attending the first ever Teen Readers' Choice Awards for Louisiana in Baton Rouge. You can read about it here. There have been readers' choice awards at the elementary and middle school level for a number of years, but a teen choice award was not added until 2012. 

The voting has opened for the 2013 award. You must read at least two of the books and be 12 to 18 years old to vote. Voting will end on February 1, 2013. Open here to cast your vote
Here is a list of the books that have been nominated: Lauren Oliver: Before I Fall Cassandra Clare: Clockwork Angel Drew Brees: Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity Ally Condie: Matched Paolo Bacigalupi: Ship Breaker Suzanne Supplee Somebody Everybody Listens To Matthew Quick: Sorta Like a Rock Star Swati Avasthi: Split Holly Black: White Cat: Curse Workers Book 1 G. Neri: Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty

Student Review of Book Set in New Orleans

Image
Bookmarked's bi-weekly reviews in the online newsletter, SLJ Teen, were published on November 21st. In this edition, one of the students reviewed Ruta Sepetys new book that takes place in New Orleans, where we live. Though the student loved the fact that the story was set in a place that she knew, she would have been a big fan even if that was not the case. Open here to see what she and the other reviewers had to say.

#Eddies12 Nominations

Image
It is nearing the end of another year, and so the time has arrived to make nominations for the annual Edublog Awards. I love these awards, not because I like getting nominated (who doesn't like to get recognized), but because I always find some new electronic tool or new person to follow. I guess that I like these awards because I can count on all the nominations to be quality sources, and I love enlarging my professional learning network.

Here are some of my favs of the moment:
EdTech Blog: I know that he will get lots of nominations, but my favorite go to EdTech site is Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teachers. I know that if I am looking for a tool for a particular purpose that Richard will have several for me to choose. I am a faithful reader of his column in School Library Journal.

Twitter Hashtag: I am a school librarian, and though I am interested in a lot of issues, my first interest is in what other librarians have to say. So I am nominating #tlchat for this awar…

Student Finds the Book he Wanted

Image
Here is a happy sixth grader who walked into the library and found just the book that he wanted, the new middle school book by James Patterson, Middle School Just Got Worse. Students are allowed to put books on hold. When the book is returned to the library, the student will be sent an email telling them the book that they wanted is available. Some of the titles with lots of holds at PFTSTA include, Mark of Athena, Rise of Nine, and the Harry Potter books.

Annual Library Fundraiser Begins

Image
Library Fundraiser from November 9th through November 27th
Help support library programs at PFTSTA like Teen READ Week and Teen TECH Week as well as help get the newest and hottest young adult literature on the shelves of the library by ordering with us. 
This is the third year that the PFTSTA Library is working with Great American Opportunities for the Order Now, Pay Later style of fundraiser. Students can ask parents, relatives, friends and parents' co-workers to order from the spring Family Values catalog. The orders will be placed at the end of November, and then the items while arrive at school around the end of January, in time for Valentine's Day. By participating in this sale, the library gets a bigger profit than a traditional sale. We have been able to raise about $600 each year with this type of fundraiser.
Now we understand that you may set aside money to spend for holiday gifts, and you don't want to wait until January to receive your items because you want t…

Annabeth Pays a Visit

Image
On the last day of spirit week, the students were asked to dress as a celebrity. There were some very clever costumes of living and dead celebrities. However, when Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series walked through the door of the library, I had to snap her picture. I love the homemade t-shirt for Camp Half-Blood with Pegasus.

Teens Write Reviews for New YA Titles

The teens in the high school book group, Bookmarked, have not let me down yet. On November 7th, another set of reviews was published in SLJ Teen. This project has been a big undertaking, but I think that it is totally worth it to have the kids thoughts about what they read get shared with librarians, publishers and authors around the country. As they continue to review books for SLJ Teen until May, Bookmarked was also selected to nominate books for YALSA's Teen's Top Ten program for another two years. The group had to submit an application for one of the five slots that were available for returning groups. Our group was the first ever selected from the Deep South, but this time another local school library was selected too. I know the librarians there and hope that our groups can meet through Skype or maybe even face to face.

Click here to read the latest reviews. Just scroll down and click on the box that says, November 7, 2012.

Taking Teens to the Louisiana Book Festival

Image
On Saturday morning, October 27th, eight members of the high school book group, Bookmarked, met at school to head off to Baton Rouge to attend the annual Louisiana Book Festival. This was the first year that the festival committee had invited three authors of young adult literature to present. I thought it would be a great opportunity for the teens to see the state library, the state capital and immerse themselves into all things literary.

The first event of the day was the award ceremony where author, Jennifer Brown, received the first ever Louisiana Teen Reader’s Choice Award for her book, Hate List. She made a delightful presentation and kept the audience laughing. Though she explained her inspiration for Hate List and that was not a light moment. She explained how she was mercilessly bullied for four years beginning when she entered middle school. She began writing in 2000, but her first book, Hate List, was not published until 2009. The therapist in the book is modeled after her…

Teen Read Week Big Success

Image
The library was a hub of activity all week long as the students celebrated Teen Read Week. It may not have always been about books, but it certainly put the library in the minds of all the students and teachers at PFTSTA. You can check out all the pics and activities of the week here on the PFTSTA Library website

Teen Read Week may be over, but there are two contests in which students can still participate. Entries in the annual bookmark contest are due October 29th. Open here for the entry form
This will be the first time that PFTSTA participates in YALSA's Wrestlemania Reading Challenge. Teens will need to write a letter to their fav WWE Superstar asking the Superstar to try a great read recommended by the teen. The letters must be submitted by November 9th. You can find out more about this challenge by watching the video below: (watch at home, video hosted on youtube)

Picture Yourself from another World for Teen Read Week

Image
On Wednesday, for Teen Read Week, the students visited the library to dress like they were from another world. There was a table full of assorted costumes for them to select as an outfit. Wigs, masks, scarves and other stuff were thrown everywhere as students crowded around to create their own masterpiece. Maybe no one looked like they stepped out of a book, but we did get some crazy photos. Check out more pics of the day on the library website here. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the pictures.)


Author and Student Picture in SLJ Teen

Image
It is that time again when members of Bookmarked have their book reviews published in the online newsletter SLJ Teen. In this edition, a PFTSTA student reviews a book by an author who visited the school, Gina Damico. We included a photo of him with the author to go along with his review of Scorch. He is a big fan of Damico and was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet her in person.  Open here to read the newest reviews. You can find a catalog of all the reviews here. Or maybe you want SLJ Teen in your in box every other week for free, then you can subscribe here.

Teen Read Week Begins with a Movie

Image
The theme for this year's Teen Read Week is, It Came from the Library. At PFTSTA, we interpreted that to be stories rooted in other worlds.



When we decided to start the week off with a movie, I thought that we might want to use a Twilight Zone episode. Each episode lasts about 30 minutes which is perfect for each lunch period. Also, the setting for many of the episodes was a world that is not ours. One of the members of Bookmarked suggested The Obsolete Man because it was her favorite. It was first shown on June 2, 1961, and it still seems relevant today. I loved the fact that Burgess Meredith, who is deemed obsolete, is a librarian. How fitting. In this world there are no more books, so there don't need to be any librarians. I invited students to bring their lunches with them, and I served popcorn. There were two showings, one for middle school and the other for high school.



YALSA Announces the Winners of Teen's Top Ten

The first day of Teen READ Week is always exciting because TRW has started and also because the top ten  teen-selected books are announced. This is one of the few book lists that is selected solely by kids. I made a sign that I am going to hang up in my library announcing the ten titles that won. Feel free to click the link below and download my sign from Scribd and hang in your library.
2012 Teens Top Ten Winners Sign

Join the Conversation and Tweet TRW12 on October 17th

Image
YALSA is encouraging librarians, teens and everyone who loves young adult literature to join the conversation about reading on Twitter on October 17th during Teen Read Week. Use the hashtag #TRW12 to join the fun.

Click here to read more about it.

JK Rowling Webcast Event

Image
I know that JK Rowling was speaking to hundreds of thousands of kids across the world, but it felt like she was talking just to us. The 6th graders joined together in Mrs. Bordelon's room to watch this epic event at 11AM on October 11th. (I wonder if Ms. Rowling chose 10-11-12 for her webcast on purpose)

Anyway, Ms. Rowling read from The Sorcerer's Stone. It was truly magical. She talked about some of her favorite parts in the series. Those included introducing the reader to Luna Lovegood, the graveyard scene in The Goblet of Fire and writing Peeves' jingles. 

She told us how there is a little bit if her in Harry, Ron and Hermione. Harry is quick to get upset and so is Ms. Rowling. Her humor is very similar to Ron's sense of what is fun. She is quite bookish just like Hermione, and said that as a teenager she would turn to books to find out answers. 

You can enter the world of Harry Potter and find out how magical you are, get sorted into a house and select a wand by …

Teen Read Week is Just Around the Corner

It is October and that means Teen Read Week is fast approaching. We always celebrate big in the PFTSTA Library. I use it to get kids into the library who don't usually visit unless required by a teacher. I like having my regulars too, of course. The members of the high school book group, Bookmarked, always help me plan and oversee the running of all the activities. It is the middle school kids who really get excited about the events. 
This year, we sort of streamlined things. I think that I am prone to over plan, and if there are too many activities, the students don't really know which ones to choose. I think that  this year is going to be a great one!
Check it out:

Teen Read Week @ PFTSTA LIbraryOctober 15th—19th

1.Annual Library Book Mark Contest: There will be one winner from middle school and one winner from high school. The winners will each receive a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card, and their bookmark reproduced on cardstock to give away to the PFTSTA community. You can p…

BRiMS Meets to Talk about The Maze Runner

Image
On Thursday, October 4th, the middle school book group sat down to talk about the first book in Dashner's trilogy, The Maze Runner. The students loved the fact that such a small group showed up for this event and asked if next time the number of students could be capped at eight. It won't. We had one small issue with our discussion this month. One of the students had loved the first one so much that they plowed through the whole set before we sat down for our discussion. We kept having to ask them to quiet down every time they tried to speak with the rest of the group saying loudly, " STOP is it a SPOILER???? " The next book we will read is a single, so we won't be facing that issue again. 

The book proved to be popular even among the students who are not fans of science fiction. Though one student said that she did not like any of the characters in the story. We tried to figure out what the Grievers really looked like by drawing our renditions of the creatures.…

Bookmarked Members Continue to Write Outstanding Book Reviews

Image
On Wednesday, October 3rd, four members of Bookmarked had their reviews published in SLJ Teen. This is the seventh edition of the online newsletter that has carried book reviews by the high school students. They continue to submit some stellar writing and show the world that the students at PFTSTA are on the ball.
Click here to open the section of the newsletter with their reviews. Also, I am saving the URLs for all the reviews in one place. Open here, and you can read all the reviews that they have written since June of 2012. This link will be updated with each addition, so feel free to save it and go back every other week to read the newly posted reviews.