Monday, December 16, 2013

Weekend Reading

I just read and wrote up reviews for 3 more books!  I have to say that I loved them all!  I'm going to keep them on my desk to convince students to check them out :)
Taming of the Tights Review
Gorgeous Review
Undead Review

Friday, December 13, 2013

For Girls Who Love History

I've been sort of slacking on writing my reviews, but I'm trying to catch up on my giant pile of books to read and review.

Several months ago, I reviewed Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink and I have to admit I quite enjoyed it.  When the 2nd book arrived at Oakland Schools for our book review group - I totally snapped it up!

Here are the links to my two reviews:
Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink
Confederates Don't Wear Couture

Here are the pictures of the covers to entice you to read them.  I was going to post the actual books sitting on my desk at work, but I just convinced someone to check them out because I thought she would enjoy them.

If you like history, romance, mystery and comedy all wrapped up in a fast, fun read...these are the books for you.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

IB World Languages Book Club!

I came up with a brand new library program -- The World Languages Book Club! It's my effort to do a collaborative project with the World Language (Language B) teachers.  I think that reading ANY book will help to increase a students proficiency in vocabulary and grammar in the 2nd language they are learning. 

 The IA library has been stocking up on French, German and Spanish picture books, Young Adult, and elementary non-fiction. Books will be available that are appropriate for our 1st year language learners up to our HL IB Language B students-- even native French, German and Spanish speakers will be sure to find some popular YA fiction. 

 A special reading log is available in the IA library or from our World Language teachers. Participation in the World Languages Book Club can be used as an extra-curricular activity on a college application. All students will receive a certificate at the end of the year. I was hoping to recruit a group of parents willing to plan and host a book club library party (with food and prizes).... 

Here is the reading log:

Here is the inside of the log, in German:

These are the student directions that I came up with so far:

Reading is a great way to learn new vocabulary in your target language. The IA Library has a good selection of books in French, German and Spanish. Choose books and topics that interest you. This is your reading log that will be turned in at the end of 1st semester and the end of 2nd semester.

 Choose appropriate reading levels for where you are currently in your World Language class. For example, 9th graders or ab initio students should be looking at elementary level picture books. 11th and 12th graders may enjoy reading YA novels. You should write as much as you can in your target language.

For fiction books:

• Rate your book
• Write down the title and author
• Choose a character in the story and in 1 or 2 sentences write what IB Learner Profile trait that character exemplifies and why.
• Write down a list of new vocabulary words you learned

 For non-fiction books:

• Rate your book
• Write down the title and author
• Write 1 or 2 sentences about something new that you learned from the book.
• Write down a short list of new vocabulary words you learned that you will probably remember because of this book.

Some of our new books!

Friday, October 4, 2013

My Library Logo

I've been thinking about a logo to use for handouts, booklets and guides that I put together for students.  A small reminder that it's from the library and what they are doing is using a research skill.  I did a lot of Google image searching, but I do not want to steal anyone's I found some inspiration and made my own.  I purchased a royalty free stock image and did some Photoshop text adding.  This is what I have come up with.

I like the book, the idea of books being magical and opening up possibilities and of course, I have to put the words IA Library somewhere in there.  As a reminder.  I feel like I constantly have to market myself and my library so we don't lose importance.  I want students and parents to know how integral school libraries/research/information literacy are to a good education.  The image also seems positive to me.  In this climate of educator backlash, school librarians being viewed as a luxury instead of a necessity and school library closures, I wanted something uplifting.  My goal is to prepare them for research at the college level, critical thinking skills about finding the right information. And most importantly, instilling a love of reading!

All I can say is WOW!

My co-worker (teacher and friend) wrote this to her 12th grade classes.  I am amazed everyday by the people that I work with.

An Open Letter to the Class of 2014

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

From the Ashes is released!

In addition to all my library/teaching duties....I run the IA Literary Magazine called, From the Ashes. A labor of love ;) But the students do an amazing job and they should all be very proud of the work that they create. Here is a link to our newest issue of From the Ashes.

2012 - 2013 From the Ashes

Thursday, August 22, 2013

2013-2014 School Starts!

It's been a busy first week!  We've jumped right in and it's like we never left :)  Freshmen are adjusting to high school and I have started working with them.  I've got lesson plans for various elements of information literacy.  We start with website evaluation, using research databases and learn how to cite in MLA format.  It's a lot of information to absorb.

All 9th graders have taken a Information Literacy pre-test.  I use the TRAILS quiz because it is exactly the data that I need.  We'll follow with a post-test at the end of 9th grade year.  Students had the option to do it at home or in class.

We've had some bumps along the road in terms of just learning how to log on to our school computers, Moodle and MiStar.  But we are getting there!

I had am working on having differentiated activities for library lessons.  It's a bit of an experiment and students can choose to do activities at home and then they get to do something else during part of their time with me.  Today, some students created Book Spine Poems.  This was part of a library orientation that gave book lovers a chance to wander around the library while doing something creative.  I think it went well.  Here are some examples of poems students created:

The wings of the dove, whisper deadly magyk.

Holes criss-cross a beautiful mind. Breath, eyes, memory - stolen.

A Theft. The Lightning Thief, blank confessions.  The outlaw sea.

Skinny, Perception, Clarity.  Good as Gold.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Suburban Strange by Nathan Kotecki book review

Author (Last name first):  Kotecki, Nathan
Title of the Book:  The Suburban Strange
Publisher:    Houghton Mifflin             Date of Publication:  2012
ISBN#         978-0-547-72996-1
Price: $16.99        Grade Level:         J/S     Number of Pages: 349
VOYA Rating: 4Q 4P

Highly Recommended  

Celia Balaustine transferred to Suburban High at the start of her 10th grade year.  She wants to reinvent herself and not be the same person she was at her old school.  Celia is a highly talented artist, who catches the attention of a girl named Regine.  Regine introduces Celia to her tight knit group of friends who call themselves The Rosary.  Celia become part of this group and for the first time in her life, has a place to belong. The Rosary wants everyone in the group to do their homework, study, have an after school job, look sophisticate and expand their artistic horizons.  They hang out at a club on weekends to listen to music and dance.  Then weird things start to happen at school.  The story takes on a paranormal twist and every 16 year old girl is at risk of getting hurt at Suburban High.  The Rosary may have the answers to this school curse.

One of the first things to catch the readers’ attention in this series are the character names.  They are definitely unique.  The cover gives off a dark, eerie, gothic vibe and the reader can expect the same from the writing.  I think readers will be introduced to new music and artists that inspired parts of the writing.  The characters were really into discovering new music (being the perfect outlet for the author to share the music he likes).  I would like to know the reaction of today’s high school students to the music references.  Most of it seemed to be 80s-90s dark alternative music.  I enjoyed it because I was familiar with most of it…but I am not sure about the average 16 year old.  I love that some of the setting takes place in a used bookstore and the conversations about visual arts.  Unusual for a YA book.  I think this book can be classified as an urban fantasy.  There are elements of romance, mystery, intrigue and the paranormal.  I like how the story did not end with a huge cliffhanger, but hints at the future. I am looking forward to the second book.

I think this book is appropriate for a school library.  It will appeal to the visual arts/music students and those interested in the gothic or indie scene.  I would promote this book to both boys and girls. I don’t see it fitting into the curriculum directly, but it’s definitely a good pick for fun reading.  I think it’s the perfect book during a school break (I’ll put it on my Spring Break books display).  It would make for a good book club pick. The book made me want to go listen to the author’s playlist.  Overall, it was a unique and intriguing story.  I’m rather surprised that I was not able to find professional reviews of this book.