Showing posts from March, 2015

2015 Mock BOB: Winners of Round 1

For the 2015 Battle of the Books or Mock BOB, the students made their selections of their favorite books in Round 1 by completing a Google form that I created.  I was hoping to get more kids to participate this year by asking them to vote virtually rather than last year's battle when students made live presentations defending each of the titles. Only 45 students cast their vote in this first round, which is 10% of the school and about the same number as participated in each round in 2014. I sent the students a link to the form via email, put the link in the daily announcements that are sent to all students and teachers, and gave the students five days to make their selections.
The Google form was an easy way to set up the voting because I could insert a picture of the book covers with blurbs. I had students help me create the blurbs about each of the books. You can see two examples of the 8 battles below. 

I like using the School Library Journal brackets with 16 books for our bat…

Authors, J & P Voelkel Make a Third Visit to PFTSTA

On March 17th, the middle school students were treated to a performance by authors Jon and Pamela Voelkel that kept the kids enthralled from the moment it began to the action-packed conclusion. The Voelkels have become friends of mine as well as friends of our school. They were traveling because the last book in the Jaguar Stones series was published last month, but their publisher, Egmont, sent them to the West Coast, not New Orleans. Since both New Orleans and St. Louis are featured in the journey that Max and Lola take to save the world from Ah Pukuh in the book, The Lost City, the Voelkels decided to plan a trip to our area on their own. I am so glad that they did. 
Their visit began with dinner at Pascal Manale's. An uptown institution that specializes in delicious seafood. Not only did we have a great meal that night, but there was a celebrity sitting at a table next to ours. Singer, Harry Connick Jr., was enjoying a meal with his family. We really wanted to get a picture b…

Teen TECH Week 15 Was Huge Success

I think that this year's events for Teen TECH Week (TTW) were more successful than any other year. Not sure why, but I tried to simplify which made my life easier. Since the kids seemed to enjoy the daily activities, I am thinking that my plan worked. I designed one lunch time activity each day, and I sent out a research riddle by email each day.
One of our TTW traditions is to show the animated shorts that are nominated for an Academy Award. I started this a few years ago because TTW fell about the same time as the awards, so there is always some buzz in the media about the shorts. This is an easy activity to plan, and all I need is the movies and popcorn. I usually start the week off with the movie. 
On the second day of TTW, the students put on their engineering hats to design towers made from marshmallows and toothpicks. I was really hoping that the students would be inspired by the books that I had available, but none of the books enticed them. I am sorry about that because …

Author, Peter Lerangis Put on a One Man Show

On March 9th, not only did we kick off Teen TECH Week at PFTSTA, but we also hosted our first live out of town author visit of the year. Though there have been several skype author visits this year, and I invited two local authors who are friends of mine to visit, Peter Lerangis was the first official author who is touring the country to tout his newest book. 
I was not too familiar with his work before I found out that he was available to visit our school, so I was surprised when I heard that he had written over 150 books. Some of his work was done under a pseudonym, and of course, I wouldn't know about those books. It was the fourth book in the Seven Wonders series that brought him to town.

Peter's presentation kept the kids on the edge of their seats as they laughed with him and answered his questions. In another life, he was a professional actor, so he used lots of different voices as he told stories about himself to entertain the students. My favorite stories were the on…

Game of Phones

I have several posts to make about a recent author visit and all of our activities for Teen TECH Week 15 (TTW15) . Those posts will get written, but I really want to get the explanation of the activity that we did on Thursday for TTW15 posted first. This is the story of how it all started. 
Members of the National Honor Society (NHS) were going to help with the Key Club's family night. I am the faculty adviser for NHS, and the students and I were going to create a photo scavenger hunt using phones or another device with a camera. Initially, this group was going to run a game where players would be given a list of photos to take at the event. Once all the photos were taken, the players would come back and get a prize. In the end, it turned out that the Key Club was going to plan all the games and activities, and the members of NHS would help run those games. That was the end of the phone scavenger hunt for NHS.

When I was planning for TTW, I pulled out the idea of the phone scaven…

Getting Ready for Teen TECH Week 2015

Spring is upon us in southern Louisiana, and the azaleas are blooming. All this means that it must be time for YALSA's annual event to celebrate technology in the library. By this time in the school year, I am swamped in the library, and I look for ways to simplify my life. I still wanted to celebrate Teen TECH Week, so I needed to plan it all out in just a couple of days because I ran out of time (usually I plan weeks in advance) and I needed it to be easy to administer without a lot of help. We always do a set of research riddles sent via email that students must answer daily to receive a small prize, I used old questions from Google-a-day for the riddles. I found these questions in a lesson plan format from Google with hints which I am giving to the students because I think that many of them could use guidance on good search techniques. I devised one activity for each day that I could design and implement quickly. Putting on weekly events like this always take a lot of time pl…

Battle of the Kids Books is Returning and So Are We