Posts

Showing posts from March, 2013

Write BESE Now about Importance of School Libraries

I have written in this blog before about the changes that the board which governs education in Louisiana, BESE, wants to make. BESE is working on amending Bulletin 741, the Louisiana Handbook for School Administrators. Section 1705 refers to school librarians. BESE has altered the wording to make it easier for schools to eliminate or not create a librarian position. We need to tell our lawmakers that school libraries are not an option. 

In the March issue of School Library Journal, there is an article explaining how the research shows that school librarians directly impact student achievement. You can read that article here

The people who make decisions about our students need to hear from parents, students and constituents who care about school libraries. When I write a letter, it just looks like I am asking to keep my job. It is truly about the students not my job, but they don't see it that way. 

Below is a copy of an email that I received imploring everyone to write to BESE to …

One Student, Two YA Reviews

Image
In this week's edition of SLJTeen, one student is featured as book reviewer. Vy Mai writes reviews of Nobody's Secret by Michaela Maccoll and Bi-Normal by M. G. Higgins. Click here to read her take on these two books

Voting Ended March 18th at Midnight

Image
Last night the voting portion of the Follett Challenge ended. Whew! It could not come soon enough. When I left school yesterday, we were in the 6th spot, but only a handful of votes away from 5th. I kept thinking that I could get us more votes. So when I got home, I put on my exercise clothes, leashed up the dog and hit the streets of my neighborhood. I only encountered one person who was ugly to me. I talked to a lot of people that I know, but many that I did not know. Almost everyone was pleased that they could help a school library. I really have no clue how many votes my canvassing did, but I felt better about it. By the time that I went to sleep last night, we had moved back to the 5th spot with a little over 50 votes ahead of 6th. I was exhausted and could not stay up until midnight to see the end. Luckily. my husband woke up and checked the computer for me. Just before midnight, he saw that we had hold of the 5th spot with 66 votes ahead of 6th. Now we wait. There will be a li…

Successful TTW13 Ends Quietly

Image
On Friday, I pulled out the 6 iPod Touch devices and borrowed 6 iPads from a teacher all with the app called Instant Poetry. I decided that with this activity I could kill two birds with one stone. The students had a great time creating poems. To save the poems, all you have to do is take a picture of the poem within the app, and it is saved in your photos on the device. You can also save the poems within the app, and you can reopen them and continue to edit. When lunch was over, I just connected the devices to my computer, and I could drag the pictures into a folder on the computer. Very easy. You can see more poems on the library website here.

April is National Poetry Month. Two years ago, we had a fun activity that I called Hidden Poetry. Last year, I didn't do it because it took so much time to collect poems, and I just couldn't find the time. Now I have a start with the poems that the students created during TTW. 

The middle school students really got into the Research R…

Aimee Agresti's Awesome Presentation

Image
On Tuesday, March 12th, Aimee Agresti visited PFTSTA. She is the author of two novels in the Gilded Wings series. The first book in the series is Illuminate, and the second is Infatuate, which was published this month. I scheduled the 7th and 8th graders to attend her talk because the high school students had been treated to several authors early in February. 

I did not know much about Aimee or her books. I didn't even get one of the books into my hands until the day before her visit. Any worry that I may have had about her evaporated as soon as she started talking to the students. She was well prepared. She had a power point to illustrate everything that she talked about. The kids were mesmerized. Okay, maybe it was because she use to work for Us Magazine and had interviewed some pretty heavy hitters. One of her favorite interview subjects was George Clooney. Yet, she kept the students attention throughout and when it was all over, they gathered around her to talk and purchase b…

Hanging on to the 6th Spot in Follett Challenge

Image
Only two more days to vote for the Follett Challenge. PFTSTA is holding steady in the 6th spot. Here are pics showing our votes so far as of early Saturday evening.  Please keep voting to support PFTSTA and help us be one of the winners of the Follett Challenge! Click here to vote and show your support for innovation in education. As you can see below, we received over 600 votes in less than 24 hours. Whoo hoo!!!!! 

JPL Librarians Visit PFTSTA for TTW

Image
Today, I invited the teen librarians, Selena Muhoberac and Erin Korosi, from the Jefferson Public Library to teach my students how to download eBooks and audio books onto their electronic devices. Some of the students didn't understand at first that they could download these for free. Unfortunately, today is also March 14, which means that it is Pi Day. The Mu Alpha Theta members were selling pie and playing games for Pi Day. Downloading books was just not as appealing as pie. Only two high school students attended, but there were about a dozen middle school students. The best part was that I heard the presentation twice, so now I have a handle on how to download books and could easily help the students. The worst part is Jefferson is switching from Overdrive to 3M to supply the eBooks in late April. The librarians hadn't used 3M and didn't know if the same books would be available or if it would be a different collection. We will just have to wait and see, but they promi…

Follett Challenge is Almost Over

Image
We are almost done with the voting portion of the Follett Challenge. Once complete, we wait to hear if we win. The weekend could slow us down with students not voting. Please make sure you vote every day. On Monday, the whole school is going to vote at the same time for the last time. Remember, every vote counts: http://bit.ly/Ya3Pyv

Duct Tape Ruled During TTW 13

Image
We always do some kind of craft activity during Teen Tech Week. I try to combine crafts and technology in some way. This year, I decided to use duct tape. On Wednesday during lunch, students visited the library to watch this video about making a duct tape phone case. I can't remember where I found the link to the video. It was either on the TTW Ning or the YALSA-BK listserv. Either way, I have a fellow young adult librarian to thank for pointing the way for me. I love that librarians think sharing is cool. It is what makes it such a great profession. 

I digress. I went to Target and stocked up on rolls of fun colored duct tape. I think that I spent around $25 total because many of the rolls were on sale. Maybe those were discontinued colors. What I really liked about this project is that I didn't have to scramble for a lot of tools. Finding scissors and rulers was easy at school. Though I showed the students one technique via the video to make their case, they could make what…

Research Riddle for Thursday for TTW13

Image
R R 4 TTW 13 March 14th You can play Research Riddles every day. Visit the library with the correct answer, and you will win a prize. You will use a pre-printed form to write down your answer/s and the source/s where you got the information. I don’t need a citation, but you need to state if you found your answer on Gale or Britannica or World Book or the Web. If you used a website, then you need to give me the name of the website or its URL. Google would NOT be the name of a website.  Question of the day: How long was the 1908 Olympic Marathon race? (Hint: the answer is not 25 miles)
Try this site for your answer: www.wikipedia.org

Only Handful of Days Left to Vote for Follett Challenge

Image
I am ecstatic there are less than six days left to vote in the Follett Challenge. Six weeks of voting has been exhausting. I thought that we would lose momentum at the end, but today we gathered steam and moved into the 6th position. It is really true that every vote counts. Please keep supporting Patrick Taylor Academy and vote for us here: http://bit.ly/Ya3Pyv.
We can win this thing!!!!

Teen TECH Week (TTW) Begins

Image
As usual, I have overbooked myself, but it sure makes the library a busy and exciting part of the school. On Monday, we kicked off TTW 13 with movie day. I popped some popcorn and showed several Oscar nominated animated shorts at lunch. I think that the Paperman, which won the Oscar this year, was the students' favorite. 

Everyday during TTW, the students are emailed what I call a Research Riddle. I have been doing this for years. They must find the answer by conducting research electronically. For the last couple of years, I have used aGoogleaday to help me design the riddles. The students then fill out a form with the correct answer, bring it to me in the library, so that they can get a candy as a prize. Then every form is placed into a large jar, one for high school and one for middle school. At the end of the week there will be a grand prize winner for each level who will receive a $15 iTunes card for TTW. 
Today we had two events. One was an author visit with Aimee Agresti. …

Vote Today and for 6 More Days

Image
The end of voting for the Follett Challenge is coming soon. Six weeks of voting has been very challenging. I feel that I have been very pushy with people to remind them to vote. However, it is easy to get single votes, but much harder to get people to remember to vote daily. It is the daily votes that will keep us in the top ten. This morning we moved into the 7th position. I hope that we can keep up our numbers until Monday the 18th when voting is over. Please start voting for us or keep voting, the students at PFTSTA want the new library filled with books when we move next year. Vote here: http://bit.ly/Ya3Pyv.

Keep Voting Until March 18th

Image
The Follett Challenge continues, and you can vote daily until March 18th. Today we moved from 8th place to 7th, but as you can see below, early this evening we moved back to 8th. We are less than a hundred votes away from 7th place. PLEASE help us out and vote for Patrick Taylor in the Follett Challenge every day for the next week. Every vote counts! Click here to vote.

Teens Contribute Two Articles in SLJTeen

Image
In the March 6th edition of the online newsletter, SLJTeen, students made contributions to two articles. Lauren Tran wrote a nice piece on Ruta Sepetys' visit to PFTSTA in February. Students also wrote the usual reviews, this time for the books Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains).by Laurie Boyle Crompton.

It's the Last Week for Voting in the Follett Challenge

Image
We are counting down the last week of voting in the annual Follett Challenge. Follett, a leading educational company, has challenged schools and school libraries to illustrate how they are integrating 21st Century Skills into their programs. Patrick Taylor has applied to the Follett Challenge, a program run by Follett to recognize and reward schools for their work applying technology, content and creativity in ways that engage students, foster literacy and promote critical thinking.
To enter this challenge we had to write a very intense application of 5,500 words describing our program. Then a group of students created a 5 minute video showing how the library encourages collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking at our school. This is the last week of a 6 week run asking the community to vote for their favorite video. Six schools will win with one school winning upon receiving the most votes. The other 5 schools will be judged on a combination of the application an…

Ready for Teen TECH Week

Image
It has been a busy last few weeks in the PFTSTA Library. I have been having to do a lot of multi-tasking to get everything done, but Teen TECH Week begins on Monday in our library. I have simplified a bit from years past, but the students will have something new to do everyday at lunch. I wanted to share with you all the activities that we have planned. Open here to Check In @ Your Library.

Presenting at the Louisiana Library Association Annual Conference

Image
Yesterday, I presented at the annual Louisiana Library Association Conference in Baton Rouge.The title of my presentation was: "Become a 21st Century School Librarian: Learn How to Harness Digital Resources" I wanted the visuals that I used to look really spiffy, so I asked a student to help me. Mark Parfait, a ninth grader, created a wonderful Prezi out of the text and images that I gave him. Open here to see that Prezi. Since collaboration is a big part of 21st century skills, I was modeling true collaboration between a student and a teacher.

I know that I had over 48 attendees because that was the number of bookmarks that I created with a link to the handout for my presentation, and I ran out of them. I felt terrible about that because I always hate it when I don't get the resource packet that a presenter has created. I built a wiki for all of those  resources. Click below to open the wiki.


This was actually my first major presentation going solo. I like presenting w…

Do You Know Instagrok.com?

Image
Information Literacy | Learn about Information Literacy on instaGrok, the research engine
Whenever I start working with students on a research project or paper, I ask them if they have thought about the keywords that they are going to use to find information. After selecting a topic, I think finding quality and relevant keywords is one of the most important aspects of developing good research skills. This is important whether you are using print resources and need to use the index in a book or using a subscription database or even a general search engine. The problem with helping students find their keywords is that for large projects every student has a different topic. Working one on one is extremely time consuming. 
Last fall at an in-school staff development session, one of the teachers shared a resource called, Instagrok. It is a search engine, but it doesn't look anything like Google. It is very visual and uses concept maps to display results. The teachers in the room were…