Thursday, December 16, 2010

Email to staff today...

So, I subscribe to a ton of listervs and I don't always get to read them when I want to. So my mission for today was to clean out my inbox and email teachers with all of the great info I have been meaning to send them. Most of this is from LM_NET. This is what I came up with:

Here is a running World Clock that has all sorts of updating statistics:

Funny plagiarism video. Will make kids laugh…but the point is valid when you are reminding them about plagiarism.

Using sign language in the classroom. Basically you teach kids to show you have a: question, comment or answer. They raise their hand with those signs and you (as a teacher) know what they need right away. Brilliant.

Mobile apps from

It's the Bio Optical Organized Knowledge device.

Many of you may have already seen this…but it’s up to 2 million hits…in case you haven’t. Don’t be the only one who hasn’t seen the medieval helpdesk video.

You know if you ever need to find a website that doesn’t exist anymore, you can probably find it on the Wayback Machine. Then you can save those pages if you still need the info.

For those interested in what congress does with all their time…

Remember the Assignment Calculator Scott found for us ages ago? I’m going to push it for EE again this year. But it works for lots of other subjects as well.

21st century learning/MYP technology/technology and the research process

Winter Break 2010 reads:

Elizabeth Street, by Lori Fabiano
Half-Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls
Naked—David Sedaris
The Art Of Running In The Rain by Garth Stein
The Help
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
The Stieg Larsson trilogy
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
and Annie Barrows
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Eat, Pray, Love
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
This is Where I leave You
The Book Whisperer
Hunger Games trilogy
The Red Thread by Ann Hood,
Such a Pretty Face- Cathy Lamb
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley
House Rules by Jodi Picoult.

Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians

I've been sharing Joyce Valenza's Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians with my school and district. I agree with what she writes...but, I also keep thinking that is quite the job description! I work on it and I try to make things happen in my library....

Definitely worth the read:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Shade book review

Author (Last name first): Smith-Ready, Jeri
Title of the Book: Shade
Publisher: Simon Pulse Date of Publication: May 2010 ISBN# 978-1-4169-9406-0
Price: $17.99 Grade Level: S VOYA Rating: 4Q4P


I was hooked after the first few paragraphs. We are introduced to Logan and Aura and their budding high school relationship. Logan is in a band, they have the performance of a lifetime while representatives from several record labels are watching. After the gig, the band members go to a party, Logan ends up overdosing on cocaine and alcohol and the rest of the story deals with the fallout of his death. The supernatural portion of this book deals with an event called the “shift”. Aura can see and talk to ghosts. She attributes her ability on the fact that she was the first baby born after the shift. Then Zachary walks into Aura’s life. He also just happens to be the last baby born just before the shift. Fate seems to have brought them together.

The author captures the tragic reality of a young and talented person losing their life to drugs. Apart from the supernatural elements woven throughout the story, the emotions of the characters at the funeral are written in a very realistic way.

I enjoyed the writer’s sense of detail to the music. References to Flogging Molly and the Pogues really brought a sense of the type of music the band played in the story. Celtic names like Siobhan, Eowyn and Connor tied together the Irish flavor of the setting. Aura has an interest in the stones of Newgrange because she feels there are some answers for her there. In pursuit of some of these answers, government agents begin to follow Aura and Zachary eventually leading to some courtroom drama. Fortunately, the bonds of friendship stay strong, relationship building and re-building keeps readers hooked.

The book contains some scenes of sexual experimentation and may not be suitable for younger teens. A trip to Victoria’s Secret for sexy lingerie, contraception and having sex for the first time were all discussed. I would recommend this book to more mature high school students. Teens who are into the vampire or other supernatural stories, will definitely be open to exploring the ghost aspect of this story. It also sends a pretty realistic message about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Overall, the book was hard to put down. It was an enjoyable read with likeable characters and a new twist to the supernatural.

I even found a book trailer for this one. It makes me want to read the book again ;) Oh, and the authors site is pretty good. The sequel to this book will be out May 2011.

Book Review

So, I started doing book reviews with a professional book review group. In return, my school library gets to keep the book (well, actually, I get to keep it...but I donate it to the school). Here is my first one. I can officially add "book reviewer" to my resume ;)

Johnson, Maureen
Scarlett Fever
Publisher: Point, and imprint of Scholastic 2010 ISBN#: 978-0-439-89928-4
Price: $16.99 Grade Level: S Number of Pages: 336


This book is a sequel to Suite Scarlett. I would recommend reading Suite Scarlett before Scarlett Fever as the story and characters continue from the first book. In this book, Scarlett finds herself working for Mrs. Amy Amberson, still working for her parents at their hotel, beginning her sophomore year at a rigorous New York high school, juggling her social life and dealing with her siblings. Scarlett is trying to get over her crush on Eric. She starts becoming friends with Max, who does noting but give her a hard time. As the relationships continue to develop throughout the story, Scarlett and her brother are determined to make the play Hamlet at the Hopewell Hotel a success. After the success of the play, her brother Spencer lands a role in a popular television show. Scarlett ends up helping him out of some sticky situations.

This book will appeal to teen girls as it paints a glamorous portrait of living and going to school in Manhattan. While the main character and her family struggle financially, they have rich friends, who provide Scarlett with some New York luxuries. Scarlett runs with the artsy types and the book is unique in that it focuses on the New York off-broadway/tv/actor community. Scarlett is a good, hard working student. She is also an independent, creative and bold female character. She makes the reader want to live and work in New York City. I think this book is appropriate for most teen girls. There is no sex, just hand holding and kissing. The romance in the book comes from Scarlett and Max and also her sister, Lola and her boyfriend, Chip. The romance is sweet and innocent, while capturing the feeling and excitement of a first high school relationship. There is humor throughout the book, the characters are likeable and overall it was an enjoyable read. This book would be a good purchase for a school library, would work well with a girl’s only book club, or would be appropriate for a teacher or librarian to recommend to teen girls. Fans of the Martin family will definitely be looking forward to a third book.

Couldn't find a video booktalk to this book...but I found one for the first book.

Ed Tech integration in the Science Classroom

I probably don't talk about it enough, but we have an AMAZING staff at my school. One of our science teachers is exploring collaborative software and applying it to her science classroom. In trying to create a collaborative environment in her classroom, she started using diigo. The kids got so into it and the teacher was so excited about it...a blog was born. Here it is:

She is sharing her actual classroom results and it think it's worth a visit to her blog. She inspired me to make a move in the IB Extended Essay world. I think I will abolish the required research notecards and just make the kids use diigo for their notetaking. Then they will be able to take that concept and bring it to college with them. Brilliant.

Access my Library: School Edition from Gale

One of my big pushes this year has been the AccessMyLibrary: School Edition app for iPhones. When I did my big database presentation at the beginning of the year, I showed all the kids how to use the app. I think it's pretty impressive that you can have ALL of our school research databases on a phone. I think kids are pretty impressed with it too...but Gale needs to develop some other apps and not just for the iPhone. Here is the video that I showed students:

It's been a while

It's been ages since I've done a work blog post. I'm going to try to focus on it again because there is so much going on around here in terms of educational technology. It's pretty overwhelming. But I will attempt the effort since people are still accessing this blog. I've gotten up to over 7,000 here we go...