Please Say You Have More Books Like This!!!

I frequently add to a running book order list I keep on Follett’s Titlewave.  Today as I was checking into a title that Pamela Hill recommended on her awesome blog, I discovered a new (at least to me) feature Follett has added.

Is this awesome, or what?  For those of us who are often too busy to read review journals or blogs to discover great books to add to our collections (that wouldn’t describe you, would it?), Follett has added a scrolling list of Read-Alikes above the reviews.  And taking it one step further, this feature tells me I may already own some of the recommended titles (in the screenshot above, my collection already includes 4 of the 5 titles).

Now when students run breathlessly up to the Circulation Desk and frantically say, “Please say you have more books like this!” not only can we check the title’s Destiny catalog record for recommendations, I can check the title record in Titlewave.  It offers more Read-Alike titles than Destiny and lets me discover titles I might want to add to our collection.

I am going to earn my Collection Development Black Belt much sooner than I expected!

Advocate! Advocate! School Libraries Rock!

Cue the music:  “Celebrate” by Three Dog Night

Replace the ending of the song  (“Celebrate! Celebrate!  Dance to the music”) with:

Advocate! Advocate! School libraries rock!

Advocate! Advocate! School libraries rock!

…and it goes on and on….just like our advocacy efforts should.

New Resource

Formal advocacy efforts often take a backseat to the hectic pace of our everyday routines.  The Colorado Association of School Libraries has created an inspiring site that provides resources to simplify your efforts to promote school libraries and your school library program.

Survive and Thrive!  An Advocacy Toolkit for School Librarians 

If you don’t have the time to peruse the entire site, these three pages provide excellent examples of why you should bookmark it:

  • Video Gallery  There are ten videos demonstrating the roles school librarians play.
  • Email templates  Those linked here will help you promote collaboration with your teachers.
  • Newsletter blurbs  Those linked here provide examples of how school librarians empower our students with 21st century skills.

And, yes, I was around when this song debuted.  Still love it!

Three for: Free Resources for You and Your Library

Free is always good!

  • The Libraries Agency offers free templates for posters, notices, announcements, and more.
  • Have Playaways or considering purchasing them?  Circulation Station provides both  Click & Ship and a Build & Print options.  Get free posters, stickers, info takeaways, and shelf tape through the Click & Ship option.  Customize posters, trifolds, and newslettters on the Build & Print page.
  • Love, love, love this downloadable pdf (see photo above) to display in your library!  Gale Cengage Learning offers this and more.  School librarians can find resources designed specifically for K-12 here.  Check out the Lesson Plan Library.

Resources for Teacher Librarians

Slidestaxx by Donna Baumbach (AuntyTech)

Teacher Librarians Rock!

I am always ___________ (fill in the blank:  in awe of, extremely grateful for, in debt to, inspired by) the people in my PLN (personal learning network).

When I sign into HootSuite to catch up on tweets, I often feel like a contestant on an old game show entering a glass enclosed booth filled with money being blown in the air. The contestant is given a limited amount of time (say thirty seconds) to grab as much of the money as possible.  Whatever he can grab becomes his.

Although the tweets flying around contain just as much wealth as that glass enclosed booth, there is a HUGE difference:  the buzzer never dings while I’m visiting with my PLN and the wealth they offer remains available even if I have to step away from the computer.

Take, for instance, what Donna Baumbach shared today on Twitter:  a Slidestaxx entitled “Lesson Plan Resources for Teacher Librarians.” (seen above)

Or, how about this:  Carolyn Starkey’s Livebinder entitled “School Librarians and the Common Core Standards:  Resources‘? (seen below)

Livebinder by Carolyn Starkey

Role Models for Sharing

Looking for ideas to promote reading through technology?  Colette Cassinelli created a Google Site to share the resources she was using in a presentation at ISTE this summer.  She has freely shared this on Twitter and it is a treasure chest of great ideas to help fire you up for the new school year. “Got Books?” is just one more example of a passionate teacher librarian sharing with others in her PLN.

Google Site by Colette CassinelliThis are just three resources I’ve recently added to my Diigo Library to refer to as I plan lessons and activities.  The teacher librarians and other educators in my PLN exemplify all that is right in education.

If finding awesome resources like this doesn’t convince you to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, I don’t know what will.

The resources shared here are just the tip of the iceburg!  What is your favorite Twitter find recently?

 

Dressing Up Destiny

This post is based on an article published in the South Carolina Association of School Librarians’ Media Center Messenger (Volume XLVIII, Issue 4).

My school district upgraded our library catalogs to Follett’s Destiny over the summer of 2010 and provided training to the school librarians in August.  I was disappointed that the training provided little  information on creating a Destiny home page.  As I usually do, if the professional development I need is not provided by my district, I went in search of information to meet my needs.

I began combing the Internet to find great examples of Destiny home pages, and serendipitously stumbled across Alicia Vandenbroek’s Destiny home page.  Not only was her home page not just a list of links, it was colorful and animated.  How did she do that?

Wix

The answer:  www.wix.com.  Alicia discovered this awesome free web site creator that allows web pages to be embedded into other sites – including Destiny!  Not only has she created an inviting home page for her school catalog, but she has also shared detailed directions that all school librarians can use to dress up their Destiny home page.

Using her directions, I created our Destiny home page as seen in the screenshot above.  Wix offers many options, but one that I love is the Mini Page option.  Using this option, you can create hyperlinked sections to be displayed on your home page. I created three:  Library Info, Recommended Reading, and Book Trailers.

In the screenshot below, you’ll see that the left column of our home page has changed to the Recommended Reading Mini Page where I have inserted hyperlinks and a book trailer. (Disappointing news at this point for my school district:  the embedded YouTube book trailers played perfectly for the first week or so, but the district once again blocked YouTube so I am currently looking for other options, including a Vimeo player that can be embedded into Wix.)

The third Mini Page I created is solely for book trailers:

Our new Destiny home page is colorful and informative.  At this point, Destiny is only on our district’s Intranet so we still use our library web page as our Internet home page on library computers, providing access to more research oriented links.  Although you cannot visit our page on the Internet, you can find Alicia Vandenbroek’s and her detailed directions for dressing up your own Destiny home page!

Shack Stacks, Shackelford Junior High’s Library Wiki:  http://shackstacks.wikispaces.com/Find+a+Book

“Wix and Destiny” found on the Librarian’s Lounge page of the above wiki:

http://shackstacks.wikispaces.com/Librarian%27s+Lounge

(The “Wix and Destiny” directions are the fifth embedded document on the page.)

Updated Advocacy Page

Over the holiday break, I found more resources to add to this blog’s Advocacy Page (you’ll see the link above).  Because the page is growing in length, it was getting quite cumbersome.  I thought it best to organize it.

You’ll now find resources in three categories:

  • ALA/ALA Affiliates’ Resources
  • State Organizations’ Resources
  • Other Resources

What other great advocacy resources do I need to add to this annotated list?

 


Image attribution:

“This is not a social media megaphone” by altemark    http://www.flickr.com/photos/24844537@N00/337248947

Edited through a Creative Commons license using Big Huge Labs Pop Art Poster utility

Free eBooks for Your Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, etc.

I finally did it; I gave in and  asked for a Kindle 3 for Christmas.  (Looks like I wasn’t the only one:  “Kindle 3 Is the  Best Selling Product in Amazon History.”)   Friends and family have had Kindles for quite some time and have all been pleased with them, but I was holding out for an eReader that met all of my requirements.

Did I find it in Kindle?  No.  But, after playing with several of these eReaders at my local Best Buy, I decided Kindle was the best fit for me.  (The one thing Kindle lacks as far as my definition of the “perfect” eReader is the ability to read EPub format so that I can borrow and read books from our public library on it.)

My good friend and gadget guru, Heather Loy, had shared a blog devoted to free and low cost eBooks with me months ago.  I had added it to my Google Reader and even downloaded some of the free books to read on my iPhone, iPod Touch, and Mac.

Since my Kindle arrived, I have discovered a couple of other worthy blogs devoted to free eBooks and thought I’d share them:

Books on the Knob

Free eBooks and Tips

Kindle Nation Daily

Happy reading!

Gearing Up for the New Year: Terrific Finds to Share with Teachers

Mining for Gold

Summer time….time to mine for those golden curriculum resources!  But, where to begin?

Of course, you can enter your own search terms and visit sites hoping to find a gem.

But why not use the collective brain of your PLN?  Each week, I get an email digest from several Diigo groups.  Members of these groups share links to resources  they found “bookmark worthy.”  To determine which resources will fit my needs and the needs of my school, I check many of these links.  The following  are a few I will share with our faculty:

Authentic Assessment Toolbox Jan Mueller shares the hows and whys of authentic assessment.  Follow the step-by-step process to ensure success in creating assessments based on standards.

The Learning Network The N.Y. Times‘ collection of links on often taught subjects.

DocsTeach Resources from The National Archives to bring history to life for students.  Create your own interactive learning activity.

EduHound Provides collections of topic- based links for education.  Some topics included in their sets:  Global Warming, Cyberbullying, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Research paper strategies, Measurement, Visual Arts, Oceanography, and Forsenic Science.

Villainy, Inc. Great interactive game for teaching middle school mathematics.  Dr. Eugene Wick and his sidekick Platypus have plans for taking over the world – but the plans just don’t add up.  Your students become Dr. Wick’s advisor in an effort to stop his evil plans.

Viper This free plagiarism checker is designed to assist students find possible problems in their papers.

Ready to Pick Up Your Mining Pan?

You, too, can be a miner of information resources!  Use the collective work of your fellow educators to uncover those information and curriculum treasures.

Two social bookmarking sites to try are Diigo and Delicious.  Not only is your life simplified by keeping your bookmarks in the cloud, but enriched if you join groups at these sites to help you uncover fantastic resources you may not have found on your own.

You’ll discover a plethora of groups on these sites to assist you.  I am a member of the following (among others):

http://groups.diigo.com/group/teacher_librarians (312 members as of this post’s writing)

http://groups.diigo.com/group/classroom20 (1340 members as of this post’s writing)

http://groups.diigo.com/group/diigoineducation (4668 members as of this post’s writing)

Taking It One Step Further

After you have created your own social bookmarking account, why not create one for your classroom or library?  Visit Creekview High School’s Delicious site to see how their media specialist, Buffy Hamilton harnesses the power of social bookmarking.

Readers, how do you use social bookmarking in your personal and/or professional lives?

Image Attribution:  This image is a work of the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

Meme: My Best Posts of the Past

I was tagged for this meme by my friend and mentor Cathy Jo Nelson.

Rant

Ranting:  School Internet Filtering posted on September 17, 2008

The choice for this category was obvious – it has been my only rant.  But I also remember the passion with which I wrote it last fall.  Students were working in the media center and could not access the school library web site; the district’s filtering software had blocked it.  I understand that those at the district level want to protect our students from material that is not suitable for their educational pursuits in our schools.  But as educators, we cannot teach students how to evaluate questionable material if we can’t even access it to demonstrate the process.

What would I change if I were to update this today?  I would stress that when an educator finds a site that he wished to use has been blocked by the school that he take immediate action.  Contact the district level personnel who can authorize the site’s unblocking.  I am pleased to say that out of the numerous times that I have requested a site be unblocked, only one was left blocked.

lightbulb

Revelation
The Wally Principle posted on January 11, 2009

As I was standing in one of those endless lines at Walmart watching the never ending parade of people walk by, I realized that Walmart and public education had much in common.

If I were updating this post today, I would do some further research concerning Walmart’s success. I’m sure that educators could learn much from studying Sam Walton’s empire.

organized caos photo

Resource

Scholastic Videos posted on December 21, 2008

It seems the majority of my posts focus on sharing resources, so this was not easy to choose!  This is not necessarily my favorite post, but the resource is one of my newer favorites.  Not only does Scholastic post author interview videos, but they also have booktalk videos and professional development videos.  PLUS the site offers much more than videos.

If I were updating this post today, I would point out some of the many other wonderful resources that Scholastic offers at their site including educational games, annotated booklists,  and the new Teacher Share site.

comtemplation


Reflection

Stumbling Blocks vs. Building Blocks posted on July 16, 2008

Reading the blogs of other educators often causes me to reflect on my own practices or experiences.  This post was composed after reading a wonderful post by Carolyn Foote.

If I were to update this post today, I would focus on my role this past year.  Was I a stumbling block or a building block?

Doing Some Reflecting of Your Own

Now, if you would like to take part in this meme, here’s the information you need:

Meme rules:

1. Scan your posts for your own personal favorites.
2. Choose one post in any/each of the four categories:

  • Rants
  • Resources
  • Reflections
  • Revelations

I leave it to you folks to define these terms, but my instinct is that we could treat these loosely. You are welcome to suggest new categories if these don’t fit.

3. In a blog post, list those posts and very briefly describe

  • why it was important,
  • why it had lasting value or impact,
  • how you would update it for today.

4. Select five (or so) other bloggers to tap with this meme.

5. Tag all of your post with #postsofthepast

(I am bending the rules this time by not “tagging” others, as in “tag, you’re it,” but rather listing the writers of several of my favorite blogs whom I would love to see take on this meme- if they so choose.  Most of these folks probably don’t even know who I am, much less that I read their blogs!)

Heather Wolpert- Gawron

Dana Huff

Sue Tapp

Carolyn Foote

Steve Dembo


Image attributions:

“I Hate Mornings”  http://www.flickr.com/photos/34671994@N00/2215915251

“LED + light bulb”  http://www.flickr.com/photos/80378665@N00/3486761520

“Organized caos”  http://www.flickr.com/photos/40145521@N00/460270581

“Omar contemplates”  http://www.flickr.com/photos/41894171098@N01/15161474

YouTube Alternatives (continued)

questions

A few days ago, I shared five educational video sites to try when YouTube is blocked at school. If I had been keeping up with my Google Reader, I would have read Joyce Valenza’s Dec. 19th post in which she shares several ways of using YouTube videos in school despite its being blocked.

Dean Mantz commented:

This is a good time to discuss the downloading of YouTube via third party applications. I agree with “Bob” about the YouTube agreement. Here is a portion of the Terms of Use: 4. General Use of Website-Permission and Restrictions C. You agree not to access User Submissions (defined below) or YouTube Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Website itself, the YouTube Embeddable Player, or other explicitly authorized means YouTube may designate. So, is the use of the sites above legal or not? I will leave that to you folks to decide.

Joyce replied to Dean:

Before I say “no” to this, I will try to contact the YouTube folks after the holiday. (No email, just phone number.) In another statement, they advise: “Our community guidelines and clear messaging on the site make it clear that users must own or have permission from copyright holders to *post* any videos. We take copyright issues very seriously. We prohibit users from *uploading* infringing material and we cooperate with copyright holders to identify and promptly remove infringing content.” (My asterisks) My question is, is it fair use if you don’t post and simply use the file temporarily in a classroom? Are we okay if we do contact the creator of the video?

As a LMS concerned with copyright issues, I had checked the YouTube user’s terms of agreement before suggesting using “back door” entry into YouTube. I will be interested to read what Joyce discovers.

Image attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42788859@N00/318947873