Friday, December 19, 2014

I am a Rocking Librarian

Click the image above to enlarge and read
Today I received one of the best presents that a teacher could receive. A sixth grader gave me a note expressing her love for books, and the things that I do for her and all the students in the library. She calls me "hands-on," and I agree. I work very hard to be hands-on---how did she know that? However, I believe that I do what I do because it is my job; it is not special to me, but I am sure glad that Julia thinks so. 

This is what I do to create a quality library program in my school for Julia and the other 449 students at Patrick Taylor. I want to figure out ways to get my students to love books and reading as much as I do. That is hard to do with 11-18 year olds who would prefer interacting with their many electronics and gadgets rather than books. I understand; I like tech, too. I want the kids to be successful when they begin a research project. I want kids to use information in an ethical manner. I want kids to visit the library by choice because it is an active and fun place to hang out. I want the library to be a safe place where students treat each other with respect. I want to have a library stocked with all the resources a student needs to complete an assignment. I want to be a collaborator who the teachers can count on to help support the curriculum. I could continue, but I don't think that I need to because I think that you get the idea. 

Running a library means lots of multi-tasking. I love that about my job. I am looking forward to the winter break that begins in a couple of hours when I can sleep past 5:30AM and read for hours every day. Have a great holiday, and I hope that you are a rocking librarian too or at least someone who knows a rocking librarian they can count on when needed. 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Senior Project with a Focus on YA Authors

Senior, Destiny Burnett and her mentor, Susan Larson
I am writing this post to brag about the president of Bookmarked and share some links showcasing her wonderful writing skills and ability to offer insightful reviews for the books she reads. Destiny has been in the high school book group since she was a freshman, and she is an avid reader and reviewer. Bookmarked members have been writing reviews and nominating books for YALSA's Teen's Top Ten since 2010. The group also reviewed books over an 18 month period for SLJTeen. During that time Destiny had six book reviews published as well as an author interview which you can read here

When I heard that Destiny was looking for a mentor for senior project, I knew just the person, but there was a problem. Destiny wanted an internship with an anthropologist. Lucky for her we couldn't find someone like that to mentor her. I have known Susan Larson a long time, and I knew that the two of them would make a connection. Susan was the long time book editor for the local paper and currently has a radio show about books on a local station. Susan is the most well-read person I know and has interviewed more authors than anyone that I know. As I predicated they hit it off spectacularly, and I think that both of them would agree.

For her senior project, Destiny made an exploration of several YA authors to find out what influenced them the most in their writing. Her mentor made some book recommendations, and then the two of them made a decision on which authors would be best to interview. After each interview Destiny posted what she learned on her blog. 
Follow these links to read her wonderful posts: 
1. Interview with John Ed Bradley author of Call Me by My Name
2. Interview with mystery writer Julie Smith who's YA novel is Curse Busters
3. Interview with Adi Alsaid who's debut novel is Let's Get Lost. Review of Alsaid's book.
4. Interview with Greg Herren author of the YA novel, Dark Tide 
5. Interview with M. H. Herlong who wrote the middle grade novel, Buddy

If you enjoy reading Destiny's interviews, please post a comment on her blog. I think that Destiny would love knowing that her writing had an impact on you. (By the way Destiny did an awesome job on her senior project presentation last week. She really nailed it.)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Making a Livebinder Interactive

I have designed several tools for students in Mrs. Higgins' science classes to use for a specific project. When Mrs. Higgins and I sat down to talk about the balloon car project for her 9th grade physical science class, I knew that a Livebinder would be the best way to collate the tools for the students. Usually, there is a link to the library OPAC as the first tab in any tool used for research. This time I decided to create a bibliography of all the print material and just insert the bibliography in a tab. I also pulled the books and had them ready for the students on a cart, but with the bibliography I really didn't need to do that. I always thought of Livebinders as a take only resource, not a give and take. I happened upon a blog post from Livebinders with a link showing how to create interactive tab/s. I loved the idea of adding a padlet inside my binder. It is super easy to use an embed code in one of your tabs. 





For the balloon car project, the students had to conduct research and then design their car. The cars had to run at least five meters. We asked the students to use the padlet tab to list what materials they planned to use to create their car. Since each student would get points for posting, we made a padlet for each period to make it easier for the teacher to grade. Find the Livebinder here for the balloon car project

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