Showing posts from March, 2014

Ninth Ward Project 2014

The Ninth Ward Project for 7th graders ELA is in its third year. It began in 2011 with the teachers reading the book by Jewell Parker Rhodes out loud to the students and has grown each year. Lisa Valence and I had developed such a technology rich unit with this project that we were recognized for it with an award from ISTE in 2013. We now even have a class set of the books provided to us by the author herself. Though Lisa no longer teaches 7th grade ELA, we have two new teachers at PFTSTA teaching those classes, but Lisa does serve as our cheerleader.
This year, I added a new component to the project. The current class of 7th graders were in kindergarten when Hurricane Katrina hit our area in August of 2005. The teachers and I knew that the students didn't really have a concept of what happened around them during the actual event because most of what they remember is just evacuating. So I made a pathfinder that I wanted the students to complete on Hurricane Katrina, the Mississip…

Presentation at LLA Annual Conference 2014

I wasn't planning to present at LLA this year. After presenting at LACUE in December, I asked Kelly if she would make the same presentation with me for the school librarians at the LASL Mid-Winter one day conference to be held in Lafayette, LA on a Saturday in January. Kelly agreed, reluctantly, because she really didn't want to give up a Saturday, but I really did not have to twist her arm very hard. I picked her up on January 25th at 6AM. We took I-10 until we found it closed due to the thick fog. We didn't worry because we had wanted to take highway 90 anyway. When we reached Gray which is a very, very small town in the middle of southern Louisiana, we could not go any farther. The state police closed 90 because of the density of the fog. Now what? We went into the Waffle House to regroup. It was a bit surreal but, the waitresses and other diners tried to figure out a way for us to reach our destination. Until all the roads reopened, there really was no way to get ther…

Mock BOB Round 2 Results have been Tallied

School Library Journal has kept up a prolific online presence with the Battle of the Kids Books through blog posts, online articles, twitter, etc. Read this online article to see one of my student's picture prominently displayed and find out more about PFTSTA's participation in the Mock BOB
The students had about four days to ponder and decide how they would vote in Round 2 of our ongoing Mock BOB. The hardest battle was the choice between Eleanor and Park and Far Far Away. Open here to see what the SLJ author judge had to say about this battle.
I used Survey Monkey to collect the votes. The free version only allows one hundred respondents. I was hoping to have close to that. We only have 350 students in our school so that would have been a nice percentage of students. Unfortunately, I only had fifty-five voters, and that is only 16% of the school. Maybe I can figure out a way to drum up more votes in Round 3. We are going to do that one online too, but I am going to use a d…

Teen Reviews The Last Forever by Deb Caletti

Last month, Bookmarked got a chance to meet Deb Caletti, virtually via Skype. The ARC of her newest YA book, The Last Forever had arrived, andone of the students in the group (Destiny) was a big fan before the meeting with Deb and had read the book before knowing that we had a skype session planned with the author
My big mouth got me in trouble because I told Deb that I would post a review of the book by Destiny here on my blog without checking with Destiny first. I volunteered Destiny; she didn't volunteer to do it. Finally, Destiny told me the problem of why I couldn't have a review. She had her own blog and had already posted a review months before the skype session. Since she had published the review already, she didn't think it right to post it here, too. I was glad to hear that she wasn't ignoring my request. She just didn't know how to explain why to me. Luckily, I had an easy solution to this problem. I explained to Destiny that I would just put a link in …

Mock BOB Round 2 Begins Online

Today, I sent the students a link to the Survey Monkey with the pictures that you see below to help them in their quest for the best of the books in Round 2. The students who defended the books in Round 1 gave me the blurbs to add to the pictures below. Just click on each picture to enlarge it to read what the students had to say. I think the students did a phenomenal job. They gave just the right kind of info to try and sway their classmates to select their book as a winner. The poll will stay open until Monday the 24th. I will let you know the school's selections next week. I will also add the a link to the SLJ author judge decisions after they are posted next week. 

For Battle 1 of Round 2, our selections at PFTSTA did not match the selections of SLJ's author judges. Tonya Bolden was given the task by SLJ for picking the best of two non-fiction works: The Animal Book and Boxers and Saints. Though our student presenters of those books loved them, they could not convince eve…

Mock BOB Round 1 Ends with Battles 7 and 8

The week began with our final battles in Round 1. Since Monday is the day for the weekly scheduled meeting of the high school book group (Bookmarked), everyone was there for these battles. Up first, was one of my favorites of 2013, Rose Under Fire. I know that historical fiction is a hard sell to my students, but Alexandra and Kayla who read this work seemed to love it as much as I did. The strong female characters and the different picture that the book paints of the Holocaust resonated with them. Unfortunately, it could not manage to defeat The Thing about Luck. Darla stepped up with a script in hand so she wouldn't forget anything and described the story about a girl of Japanese descent working as a migrant farm worker with her family  That the protagonist feels good luck just seems to evade their family time and time again spoke to the students. I guess they could feel her pain. Twice as many students selected Kadohata's work over Wein's. Author judge, Malindo Lo, agr…

Featured Again in SLJ's Blog about BOB

Every week during the SLJ BOB, the Battle Commander gathers talk across the web. Open here to read how the PFTSTA Library was featured in last week's post.

Mock BOB Battles Round 1, 5 and 6

In the video above, you can hear a few seconds of the student defending, March Book One

Our Mock BOB continued on March 13th when students defended the books in Round 1 battles 5 and 6. The first book up was Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli. Tameka was slated for the defense and that was an issue as she couldn't attend the second lunch battle because she takes a college course off campus. A teacher had a great idea and suggested that I should make a video of Tameka on my iPad and play it back during the second lunch through my computer. Second lunch begins  immediately, so I didn't have time to do any editing, just play the video back. It was a great suggestion, but .... Isn't there always a but. We are in a brand new school. As you can see in the pictures below, we have a podium with permanent microphones. It worked great for the student when they got up to speak. We have two huge tv screens hanging in the common area, and some day I will be able to hook my computer up to t…

Research Riddle for Friday, March 14th


Research Riddle for Thursday, March 13th


Mock BOB Battles 3 and 4

On Tuesday, the students met in the commons area during lunch to participate in two more battles in our Mock BOB. The first book up was Doll Bones by Holly Black. I was concerned about this particular title because one student had started the book, but returned it with an explanation that she did not care for it so she could not finish it. Did the mean that Julian felt the same and would not be able to champion it? However, he wowed me when he arrived with his speech printed out and ready to go. He stepped up to the microphone and belted out his reasons for why his classmates should select his book as the best. One of the students who was to defend Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell pulled out, so I stepped up. The students have to present twice at high school lunch and middle school lunch, so that meant that I had to do the same. I was able to speak eloquently the first time around, but I sort of botched it the second time. Oh well, it isn't about me anyway, it is about the kids…