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Showing posts from May, 2012

Last Day of School, Last Author Visit, Sort of

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Tuesday was the last day of school, and I scheduled a skype session with an author with the middle school book group, BRiMS, during their last lunch period for the school year. The timing was not very good, but I felt that I had no choice. The week before was BRiMS last meeting for the year, and the kids needed time to get Airborn read for that discussion. I wanted as many kids as possible to read Ice Island in anticipation of the skype with author, Sherry Shahan. So I needed to have some distance between the regular meeting and the skype session, to give the students an opportunity to read both books. Every day for a week I reminded the students of the skype in the daily school announcements. I emailed all the students several reminders. Then on Monday, all the students had to get their end of the year check off sheets signed. I made a point to tell each of the members of BRiMS individually that the skype event was for Tuesday at lunch, and they all assured me that they would be the…

Airborn was BRiMS Book for May

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On Wednesday, BRiMS, the middle school book group, enjoyed pizza while discussing Kenneth Oppel's book Airborn. I have been so busy reading books with deadlines for reviews that I did not finish the book until Tuesday night. If I had finished the book sooner, I would have known that serving mangoes would have been a more appropriate snack. However, none of the kids complained about the pizza.

We discussed what time period we thought the book came from. The students all felt there were elements of the past and the future. Someone mentioned that the book reminded them of steampunk, and I was surprised that the 6th graders knew that term. I agreed this book definitely has steampunk elements. They also felt that they would want to follow the captain's orders that were given to Matt, but Kate was very persuasive, and they probably would have succumbed to her determination to go back to the forest to find the strange winged mammal. All agreed it was a good story. 
The students did …

Wall of Shame

Every year around this time, I must call in all library book,s and all fines must be paid. I hate this time of year because I have to track down the kids and remind them numerous times that they owe a debt to the library. I know that many librarians have thrown out fines, but I don't think that the kids will return the books without the fines. I don't charge much, and when students owe a lot of money in fines, I often take off part of the fine if the student shows good faith and pays part of what they owe.

I started something a few years ago that I thought would help me get the students to clear their debts quickly. I make a list of students who owe something to the library without listing the actual fees or books that are due. I title the list, Wall of Shame. I send out an announcement of the list to all the teachers, and I post the list on the library door. Most kids want their name off the Wall of Shame, so they get the books they owe back quickly. A few kids think it is an…

Making Time to Read and Reading Takes Time

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I started a book on April 19th. I know this because I logged it in on Good Reads. I just finished it on Sunday. Whew! I was off for a week during that time. You would think that I could read a young adult book faster than that. I liked the book, but my life got in the way. I will spend lots of my free time reading, but when visitors come in to town, and the festival season starts in New Orleans; it is hard to curl up with a book. When I attended the AASL conference in October, a member of the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults committee told me that she reads a book a day. I love to read, but I want to savor a book, so racing through it in a day will not allow me to enjoy or internalize it at all. I can never remember character names now. If I read a book a day, then reading the book would be useless to me because I would not remember how the book made me feel or allowed the book to get under my skin and change how I think.

Right now I have some reading deadlines looming over me. I h…

Rick Riordan Webcast to launch The Serpent's Shadow

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On Tuesday, May 1st we joined tens of thousands of students around the world as Rick Riordan broadcast live from the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum to kick off the release of the latest in the Kane Chronicles, The Serpent's Shadow. All of the sixth and seventh graders sat in a classroom with their lunch to enjoy the show. You can see them below. 

As the program started, we had trouble with the sound. The volume would only go up so much and with a room of 80 kids, it was hard for them to concentrate on the show. However, the kids are big fans of Riordan's. About half had read the previous books in the Kane Chronicles series. Probably all of them have read one or more of the books in the Percy Jackson series and/or the Heroes of Olympus series. These books fly off the shelves, and there is always someone in the middle of all his works. I am a big fan of Greek and Roman Mythology, so I have read the Percy Jackson books and the Heroes of Olympus. I have not had time to read the Egyp…

@Mediajunkie Speaks about Working on the Web

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Monday was the first day back from a week long spring break. I know; it is late in the school year for spring break. This is especially true because school in Jefferson Parish ends on May 24th. Having a late break meant more teaching time before those pesky standardized tests. Having this late break also meant that I was off from school and could visit the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival guilt free last Friday.
The Jazz Fest is why I am posting today. My husband and I have friends who live in Palo Alto, CA and who have visited us for the past 20 years to attend Jazz Fest. This is the first time that I decided to ask Christian if he would mind talking to some of my students on his last day in the city. Christian Crumlish has worked in Silicon Valley for many years, and he has had to reinvent himself each time his career takes a different path. I thought that he would have a lot to say to the students at Patrick Taylor. I was right.


Christian had some statistics, like the fact th…