Three For: School Library Sites

BSHS Library March Madness 2013

I thought I’d check to see what other schools are doing in conjunction with March Madness and came across some sites that are exceptional – each for different reasons.  Thought I’d share!

Lake Forest High School – I love the “Now Quoting” idea – what a great idea to generate interest in a book!  See their quotes for the book Unraveling.

Severn School – Book, Line, and Sinker – The Middle School Maker Fair seems to have been a successful venture.  Awesome idea to extend the library and our  image.

Pleasant Grove High School – I LOVE the monthly research challenge that this library sponsors! More info on just their monthly challenge can be found at https://pghs.schoolloop.com/promotions

 

What are your favorite school library websites?

 

 

 

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SCASL Conference Reflections: Day Three

The third day of conference is a half day.  There are three morning sessions and the grand finale of our conference is always the Author Celebration Luncheon.

“Meet the Author”  Chris Crutcher

I have long been a fan of Chris Crutcher and looked forward to his session.   His characters ring true with compelling, heartbreaking stories.  Chris shared some of his life experiences that have inspired his fictional characters and situations.  He had us alternately laughing and crying, but always wanting to read (or reread) the stories inspired by the children who had touched his heart.

“Unwritten Research Paper:  Projects for Busy Teachers and Bored Students”  Cathy Nelson

Cathy Nelson lives and breathes instructional technology!  Never one to be satisfied with the status quo, she is always in search of ways to enrich her students’ educational experiences – often with technology.

One of her pet peeves is the “KMN” PowerPoint presentation.  We have all suffered through them:  slides with too much text that the presenter just reads to his/her audience.  You know, those presentations where you think “Kill Me Now!” (KMN) rather than see another slide with several bullet points.

Her session offered suggestions on improving those PowerPoint presentations – information that MUST be shared with our teachers and students.  Then she shared her recent collaborative experiences where students were allowed to choose a means to share what they learned through their research (no three page papers here).

Cathy has shared both her PowerPoint on improving PowerPoints (!) and her ideas for the unwritten research paper on her wiki.

Side note:  This is NOT how Cathy appeared when she was presenting at the 2012 SCASL Conference.  But it is a favorite picture of mine that captures Cathy’s spontaneity and willingness to try new experiences.

“eEk and eCstacy:  Incorporating eReaders and eBooks into Your Curriculum”  Jen Chesney

This was the second session I attended focusing on eReaders.  Jen Chesney, media specialist at Powdersville High School, shared her experiences with eBooks and eReaders  as she opened a new library last year.

Her nonfiction eBooks haven’t been as successful as she would like.  Students want instant access;  having to visit different sites to reach the library’s Infobase and Marshall Cavendish eBooks is off-putting for them.  Publishers are still exploring the new frontier of eBooks.  Until there is a “one size fits all” solution,  nonfiction eBooks are not going to be our students’ first choice for information.

Jen chose to go with Nooks for her fiction eBook collection.  She purchased enough Nooks to take advantage of the Barnes and Noble management program and devised a way to keep track of titles on each device.  Because students check out the devices rather than the books, she has no way of tracking which titles are being read on each device other than to ask students when they return the Nook.

The Nooks have been extremely popular.  One of the “eCstasies” that Jen has discovered:  no more having to wait days or weeks after publication of the newest book in a series!  If you purchase these on eReaders, the books will be there the day they are released.

Although earlier in the school year I had decided to wait a bit longer until the dust settled (and prices on devices are bound to drop), Jen’s success has me wondering whether I should purchase a few Nooks and see how successful they would be in my library program.

Final Thoughts

In this and my past two posts, I have attempted to share some of what I learned at the 2012 SCASL Conference.  Our keynote speakers were topnotch this year and the talent of my fellow South Carolina school librarians never ceases to amaze me.

I am never able to attend all of the sessions I would like to; two or three will be going on simultaneously and I must make a choice.  However, thanks to the generosity of this year’s presenters, I can at least get a taste for sessions I was unable to experience in person.  Their presentations/handouts/materials can be found on the Conference page of scasl.net.

 

Teen Read Week 2011

Teen Read Week is historically observed the third week of October, but that week is also the time for our fall state testing.  The library is used for testing, eliminating the opportunity for us to sponsor events that week.  No problem!  Those of us in education understand the importance of flexibility.

This year, our Teen Read Week wasn’t celebrated until the week of Oct.31st – Nov. 4th. The theme of Picture It @your library offered many possibilities and we decided to experiment with all new (to us) ideas and activities.

Bookmark Yourself

To begin the week, we borrowed Cathy Nelson‘s “Bookmark Yourself” idea allowing students to personalize bookmarks (with or without their photos – it’s amazing the number of students who don’t want their picture taken).  The activity was popular and is one we will use again.

Pictionary with Book Titles

One morning before school, we played Pictionary with book titles.  Now, I can’t draw worth a lick, but I have enjoyed playing Pictionary before and hoped our students would, too.  Armed with a whiteboard stand, some Expo markers and an eraser, and 15 book titles written on folded slips of paper, I enticed students (some might say I pounced on them) as soon as they began entering the library at 7:30.  Students wander into and out of the library for the 35 minutes we are open before school and at one point we had fifteen students playing Pictionary.  They loved it! Again, this is an activity we will repeat.

Name that Book Contest and Luncheon

Our piece de resistance was the Name that Book Contest and Luncheon held on Friday. (I first wrote about the activity here but did alter my original plans to only use 2012 SCYABA nominees.)  Again, I bow to Cathy Nelson who got my mental wheels (they are quite rusty) moving when she shared her (brilliant! fantabulous!) Books 2 Pics idea with me this summer.  And I must thank my intern, Sheila Roberts, and my co-librarian, Jay Campbell, for their hard work.  Each created slides that rocked! for five books.

Because our school population has grown considerably but our cafeteria has not, we now have four twenty-five minute lunch periods.  Students signed up to participate and by Thursday afternoon, all slots were filled. (Valuable lesson learned last year during Teen Read Week – line up alternates for the game.)

Students quickly reported to the library when their lunch period began and helped themselves to pizza, soda, and cookies.  While they ate, I explained the rules of Name that Book.  The bidding war began when the first book’s clue was provided.  Only one of the four lunch groups completed the game by identifying (or trying to identify) all fifteen books.  All groups had a blast and said they’d love to play the game again.

Teen Read Week 2011 has come and gone, but the memories created will linger for quite some time.  The thrill of implementing new activities and have them succeed is deeply satisfying.  I love teens and their passion and enthusiasm!

Can YOU Name that Book?  The slide above represents one of the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominees for 2012.  Any idea which one?

All the News That’s Fit to Print

Ever pressed for time but want to keep up with the latest news being shared by your colleagues on Twitter and Facebook?  Then subscribe to the #TLChat Daily Paper.li.

Click on the image above to be taken to the #TLchat Daily Paper.li site.  On the right side click on the “subscribe” feed.  Enter your email address, and – viola – you’ll receive a daily email informing you when that day’s Paper.li has been published.

Joyce Valenza explained how Paper.li works in “Curating the #TLChat Daily.”

On days when I barely have time to check my email, I know that I can catch up on the latest and greatest links being shared by others with my same educational interests.  And if I don’t even have time to check my emails (you have days like that, too, I’m sure!), then I can check the archived news when I have time to catch my breath.

Maximum Marketing

While researching for my “Ramp up Reading with Technology” sessions at the 2011 Upstate Technology Conference (Greenville, South Carolina), I stumbled across two free iPhone apps for YA lit:  the Maximum Ride Fang and the Maximum Ride Angel apps.

I excitedly installed the Fang app on my phone (I am such a geek!), considering the marketing possibilities that mobile devices offer for publishing companies and authors.  With the Fang app, you can quiz yourself:  “Who’s Your Flock Mate?” and take a photo of yourself with Max and Fang.  (Tried the photo with Fang – not very good quality unfortunately.)

With the Angel app, you can quiz yourself:  “How Max Are You?” and read the first 21 chapters of the book.  You also get a sneak preview of the audiobook.

With the rise in popularity of mobile devices, I’m surprised that publishers haven’t put more focus into developing free apps for YA series.  Seems this would be a promising playground for book promotion.    

Inspire Your World!

“We must stop reacting to the world around us and start inspiring it!

For too long have we defined the core of our profession – service – as standing ready to serve. No one ever changed the world by standing ready. We do it through action. This is the time – this is the place – we are the people.” ~ Dave Lankes, “Libraries and Broadband:  Forging a New Social Compact”

Changing Nature of Libraries

In his recent presentation at the Delaware Library BTOP Launch, Dave Lankes, associate professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, challenged several long-held beliefs that we as librarians have used to guide our work. He then  focused on the changing nature of libraries:

  • [from]quiet buildings with loud rooms to loud buildings with quiet rooms
  • [from] places of knowledge access to places of knowledge creation
  • [from] territory of the librarian to territory of the community

However, these changes are nothing new to those of us in the school library field.  Joyce Valenza and Buffy Hamilton have long been promoting these changes.

What Else is Changing?

What else have we been doing because “that’s the way it’s always been done”?  When we hear that statement, we should automatically reexamine the issue at hand.  This is a new day.  This is a new time.  And I am excited to be part of it!

Image Attribution:  Stock photo: beach, playa 6  http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1270499

ALA’s “Our Authors, Our Advocates”

The American Library Association is sponsoring the “Our Authors, Our Advocates” program.  Library lovers are encouraged to share these Public Service Announcement (PSA) videos with not only our friends and families, but also with our communities.  You will find four PSAs, each featuring a different author:  Sharon Draper, Brad Meltzer, Sara Paretsky, and Scott Turow.

Why not embed one or more of these videos on your library’s website?

The videos are posted on YouTube, which is blocked by many school filters.  School librarians might find success in sharing these videos by using VodPod or SafeShare.tv.  Both services are free and easy to use.

Vodpod videos no longer available.