Tuesday, November 28, 2006

920.073 Most Influential Americans

Atlantic Monthly magazine released its list of the 100 most influential Americans last week as part of its 150 years in publication. Ten notable historians were asked for their lists and the information was compiled to to make the final list. President Abraham Lincoln was named the #1 most influential American.The choices included 17 presidents. The first seven on the list were named by all 10 panelists.
And over 30 were writers...let's hear it for the power of the written word (and a nod to the libraries that continue to "house" these valuables in whatever form is necessary or relevant!)
The authors ranged from Melville at spot 100 up to Mark Twain in the 16th spot. In between, you will see the likes of Hemingway, Rachel Carson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Thoreau, James Fenimore Cooper, Steinbeck and Faulkner. Almost one-third of this impressive list of writers influenced the growth and development of this fine place we call home. Now that is something to think about when you remember ALL of the other impressive contributions made in government, science, technology, and education!
Thirty-one of the elite group contributed their thoughts to the magazine throughout the years. Go here see who made literary contributions.
And of course, as any list of this type will do, let the debates begin on who else should have been here or should not have been, as well as the jockeying for position in the list. Is Abe your choice for #1? At this moment, I think I would have to say he is for me. But if you want to challenge the choices with ones of your own, you can submit your choices here.
I see lots of opportunities for writing prompts in class, exercises in pros and cons, and good conversations using supportive details!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

598.47 March of the Penguins

Part of any extended visit home by Younger Daughter is often used for a mini-marathon of movies and this Thanksgiving was no exception, thanks in part to the bargain DVD bins at Target and Wal-Mart on Black Friday. We got some great $3.00 deals.

The most delightful and heart-warming movie was The March of the Penguins, a National Geographic / Warner Independent Pictures c2005 presentation so beautifully narrated by Morgan Freeman. I am in love with emperor penguins and the stark beauty of Antarctica.
If you have not seen this movie, buy, rent, borrow, or even find it on cable TV (I think the Hallmark Channel is currently showing it.) Here is a sample of what you will see. And remember, it was humans who endured the harshness to capture this beautiful story. Here is the director's thoughts on the adventure.

I checked the district catalog and there are several books I will be borrowing for my winter break reading. I want to learn more about these amazing creatures.

If you are working a lesson around any of this, here are some support materials including some more video that you may find useful.

Yes...Happy Feet is on my radar screen for my next big screen experience!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

813.6 It's a Wonderful Life...The Book

There is a children's book based on the story found in the Frank Capra classic. It is titled It's a Wonderful Life for Kids, Too! and was written by one of the child cast members all grown up. Jimmy Hawkins played the youngest son Tommy in the movie and wrote this children's version of the story as a tribute to the movie in honor of its 60th anniversary.
I can't imagine this book replacing the warmth and comfort so many, including me, get annually from the holiday showing of the film. But if this book can give kids who may not be fans (yet!) of the movie some of the same positive feelings about family and community that the movie does, that is a good thing. Hey, it might inspire them to sit down with parents and grandparents and watch the black and white classic.
There are several online reviews and ordering information available.

621.388 To buy or not to buy a new TV

Although I'm not in the market for one at the moment, it became apparent that I really didn't understand all the whoopla about HDTV, digital signal, or even the difference between buying LCD vs. plasma when thinking new TV until this holiday.
My extended family got together mid-month to celebrate a sibling birthday and one of the group gifts was a new flat screen TV. That is what started the discussion about the impending February 2009 date about the TV signal switch from analog to digital. This will be the biggest change in the "science" of television broadcasting since the early 1950's.
No, you don't have to run out and purchase a new set. Those of us with our old trustworthy sets will still be able to tune in. If you use a cable service you should not even notice a change. If you don't, you will have to get a converter box to continue using your old set.
Even when purchasing a new set, read the details carefully. The larger, higher priced models come fully equipped. The smaller flat screen TVs, especially in the 15-30 inch range will need an adapter added later.
So, we have some time to make our decisions, do our reading, and save our pennies before throwing out the old clumsy square black boxes. Here are a couple of websites that will give you some basic information without too much "science" mixed in!
Digital Television Consumer Corner
DTV Transition Q&A
Compare LCD vs. Plasma here.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

371.33 Ready...Set..........Go!

This blog has been two years in the making...in the making of my mind that is! I have wanted to do this for a long time and just would not commit. I have been reading blogs of various kinds for over two years and knew this was something I should practice, not just preach and promote.
I think it more than appropriate that I choose to get this site up and running over the Thanksgiving break as I have been reflecting lately on how thankful I am that I am in a position to know and understand this type of technology and all the other 21st century communication tools I have available to me.
So what should you expect to see here?
1. All kinds of school library related information. My work responsibilities include (but definitely are not limited to) working with educational subscription online resources and promoting their use by k-12 students, teachers, and librarians, locating and sharing appropriate websites for and with that same learning community, keeping up with the latest trends and titles in reading materials for k-12 students, and assisting the district librarians in maintaining their collection records.
2. Almost anything of interest I see out and about the various electronic venues I explore regularly. I am generally interested in many things historical---particularly of the United States, more particularly the State of Texas, and of the Western portion of the country in general. Because I have been dabbling in family genealogy for about five years now, you might run into some interesting finds from those explorations of mine as well.
3. And anything else that just interests me so much I want to share it!