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Showing posts from February, 2014

Student Ready to Battle her Book

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Students are reading to prepare to defend their books selected for School Library Journal's annual Battle of the Kids Books. We are going to have a Mock BOB and tie it in with our Teen TECH Week festivities. Students were able to select a book that appealed to them, and they will prepare to battle their opponent during both lunches. One student is ready and came running into the library proclaiming love for her book, Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal. She is ready to to cross (s)words with the student defending Flora and Ulysses by DiCamillo!

Games as Part of the Library Collection

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In October, I opened my print copy of School Library Journal to read Christopher Harris' regular column. For this issue, he talked about how games can support the Common Core curriculum. He gives examples of board games to support the curriculum, but it was his list of non-learning games that could be added to the library collection that interested me. He believes these games,"can offer a mental refresh for students." I already had a deck of  cards, UNO and Go available for student use, but that was it.  I knew about Set, and I have given it as a gift to many kids in the family. I love playing it, but I just didn't think about having it in the library. With Chris' urging through his article, I added a bunch of games to a recent Amazon order. I purchased Set, Spot it!, Quiddler, Sumoko and Bananagrams. I thought that made a nice mix of logic, word games and number games. I just got the order this past week, so I haven't had a chance to promote the games.  I l…

Dark Days Tour in New Orleans is a Big Hit

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It all started when a librarian in my district contacted me when she heard the Dark Days Tour was going to visit New Orleans this year. Five authors would be speaking on the panel: Veronica RossiTahereh MafiSophie JordanKiersten White and Claudia Gray. The librarian was hoping that one of the authors might be making a school visit. The tour is a grueling week where the authors make appearances in four different cities. A school visit was not going to happen. (My colleague couldn't even attend the event herself because she was needed as a chaperone for her school's band that was marching in one of the first Mardi Gras parades of the season.) When I talked to Judith Lafitte at Octavia Books, where the event was to be held, she mentioned that she needed a moderator. I suggested one of my students (Paris Evans) could do it. She is the head of Bookmarked and is willing to jump into anything that sparks her interest. The idea of moderating definitely sparked her idea of fun. …

Preparing for the Mock BOB in the library

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Not long ago I got an email from Shelley Diaz, an editor at School Library Journal. She was preparing for SLJ's annual Battle of the Kids Books, and she wanted to know if we wanted to participate in a Mock BOB that could be highlighted in SLJ. I don't know how to say no, so I readily agreed. The BOB begins the same week as Teen Tech Week. So I have decided to combine them this year. I will have lots more to say about our Mock BOB as it gets closer to D-Day, March 10th. Just so you know, the gauntlet has been thrown, so. I created the video below to share with all of my students to get them armed and ready. 

Paris Weighs in on the Dark Days Tour

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We have been gearing up for the Dark Days Tour on February 21st at 6PM at Octavia Books.

Paris (president of high school book group, Bookmarked) wanted to share some of her thoughts on being asked to moderate the panel with visiting authors Veronica RossiTahereh MafiSophie JordanKiersten White and Claudia Gray.

First, I asked her why she thought that I picked her for this job. She says,  "I think that you think I am a people person and would not be intimidated by the audience and the responsibility. Moderating the tour means that I had to become acquainted with all the authors' works which meant I had a lot to read to prepare. Knowing me, I think that Ms. Kahn knew this was a challenge that I would happily accept and fulfill."

Then I asked her what she is looking forward to the most about this event. At first she had to stop and think, but then she said, "What I am looking forward to most is the fact that the audience will see that I'm a student that othe…

Bookmarked is Putting on Battle Armor for a Mock BOB

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Read about PFTSTA's participation in School Library Journal's annual Battle of the Books.
Open here to read the article.

Deb Caletti Charms the Members of Bookmarked

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In the summer of 2012, I went to the American Library Association conference in Anaheim, CA. I love ALA Annual because I am such an author groupie, and I get the opportunity to meet so many of the authors that I have been reading myself and sharing with my students. One of the authors I met that summer was Deb Caletti. I have not had a chance to read every book that she has written for young adults, but I have loved every one that I have read. We made a connection that summer, and when I asked Deb if she would talk to my high school book group, she readily agreed. She lives in Seattle, and we live in the New Orleans area so visiting by Skype was our visiting method of choice.

Deb began by telling us about herself and her journey to become a writer. She always has loved to read and has fond memories of having stories read to her when she was young. Her love of the written word fueled her dream of becoming a writer, but she never took any creative writing courses in school. Finally, sh…

Go on a Blind Date with a Book

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On Saturday, I trekked north across Lake Pontchartrain to visit a friend. As a fellow library lover and user, she wanted to show me the brand new library that recently opened in Madisonville, LA in St. Tammany Parish. The library is a stunner. She had an agenda for our visit, but I mostly wanted to check out the teen section. I found this sign on display and knew that I had to do the same thing in my library. This sign that you see above was posted on a rack with books wrapped in tissue and paper hearts encircling the display. Adorable.

I decided to bring paper with me to school today to wrap some novels that I love and see if anyone takes the bait. I used plain paper but covered each package with heart and cupid stamps. In each package I slipped a paper that asks you to Rate Your Date. I forgot to see what the public library form looked like so I created my own.

I wrote the barcode number on the outside of the wrapped book so I could check out the book before the kids could do the u…

Middle School Students Help Label Books

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During middle school lunch, there are always kids who visit and want to "help." I certainly have lots of jobs that they could do, but because it is so crazy during lunch, it is hard for me to oversee whatever job that I would give them. This past week, I decided to give in to them and get them to help me continue to fulfill my new year's resolution. You may remember that I began the task of labeling all the volumes in a series  with green stickers after we returned from break in January. I got through the authors whose last names begin with an A or B. Then I got kind of bored with the project and standing in the stacks with my stickers, labels and iPad. I realized that if I didn't get some help, I would never finish what I started.
I showed the kids what I was trying to do by labeling the series. I let them go to the stacks and choose a series that looked interesting to them. They brought the books to the circulation desk where they looked up the order of the books …

Teen Writes a Review for Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher Edge

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The following book review was written by a member of Bookmarked, the high school book group at PFTSTA. This book is geared to 8-12 year olds, but as you can see the reviewer Michaela, who is 14, is a big fan of the story.


Edge, Christopher. Twelve Minutes to Midnight. Albert Whitman. March 2014. tr. $16.99 ISBN 9780807581339 
The blood-curdling tales in the magazine, The Penny Dreadful, are taking London by storm. No one expects the author to be thirteen year old Penelope Tredwell, who writes under the pen name of Montgomery Flinch. She seems to have the city in the palm of her hand. One day, she gets a letter from the Bedlam psychiatric hospital asking for Montgomery Flinch's help in a mysterious case. Each night, at exactly twelve minutes to midnight, the patients rise from their beds in a trance like state. They maniacally write continuous ramblings of gibberish. However, Penelope soon discovers that these writings are much more than gibberish. They are predictions of the fut…

Student from PFTSTA Will Moderate the Dark Days Tour

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I learned a couple of months ago that a group of young adult authors was going to be on tour together and that New Orleans and Octavia Books was one of only four stops on the tour.The authors are Veronica Rossi, Tahereh Mafi, Sophie Jordan, Kiersten White and Claudia Gray. I was hoping that at least one of them would be making a school visit then. Sadly, that was not going to happen. However, one of the owners of Octavia Books, Judith Lafitte, and I cooked up something that I think is going to be equally as exhilirating. Judith was asked to be the moderated for the group, but that is not a role that she enjoys. Together, we thought it might be exciting to have one of my students lead the discussion. Paris Evans, who is the head of the high school library book group, was thrilled when I broached her with the idea. She has taken home copies of the authors' books and plans to read as much as she can before the event on February 21st. I have offered to take her and some of her friend…

Even in the 21st Century, Reading is Still Important

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Stephen Krashen has been conducting national studies for years that show the power of reading in improving children’s lives. He states that there is much evidence illustrating the value of free voluntary reading or recreational reading. Over the past 20 years, research has shown that students who read independently and freely perform better in school with reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary. No matter what path our students choose in life, be it science, technology, math, humanities or the arts, they will need to be able to read critically to succeed and perform at their job. Since the beginning of 2014, I have added many new books to the shelves of the PFTSTA Library. Some students have walked through the doors to find these books and check them out. Yet, even with the influx of new books, I am not seeing a rise in circulations. This concerns me, though, there may be several factors causing this. It could be because the students have an electronic device and are reading books on…