Monday, December 31, 2007

394.2 Happy New Year

Hope 2007 is ending on a postive note for you and that 2008 holds all kinds of interesting experiences, challenges, and adventures in your personal and professional life!


Enjoy each day!

794.82 Gaming Experiences: Opportunities Abound Visiting 20-Somethings

Spending the holidays with the young people in my life meant I got to "play" with a Wii and got to visit another virtual world known as WoW!


The Wii system is so cool...it could be very addicting if I allowed it into my life full-time! I spent most of my time with the bowling portion, but I had such fun. So much fun bowling...and NOT having to stick my feet into those shoes!


I got to see a real expert play tennis against the computer and if there had been more time, I would have wanted to attempt that and other stuff as well. There are practice sessions and lots of different ways you can "play" without actually doing a whole game. It is great! The Wii site has all kinds of information and videos to explain what is available and how to play!


And of course...the notorious controller accidents...none for us...we had the improved straps and cleared the decks before playing, but o, boy, I can see how it could happen!


Another fun gaming experience and virtual world episode was getting to see a little bit of World of Warcraft, affectionately known as WoW. It is so intense...so much always going on, but the graphics are SO fabulous and the fact that I got to experience it on a 20+ inch screen was awesome! I doubt this site will be viewable in district, hence the wikipedia choice above. If you are not too much into gaming as I am not, you really should take an opportunity to look this one over if you can...it is pretty impressive!

I can't wait for another opportunity to go north...hope I get a chance to "play" again!

005.2 Animoto Samples

I have gathered several examples of the kinds of things you can do with the free program Animoto and placed them in a link over on the blogroll. I will update as others share with me!

In the meantime, have fun yourself...all it takes is a group of visual files and a few minutes.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

006.7 Happy Birthday to "Weblog"

December 17, 2007
The term "weblog" is 10 years old today.

It's author Jorn Barger has written an article the Top 10 Tips for New Bloggers over at Wired as a celebration of the past 10 years...or at least I assume he thinks in terms of it being a celebration of sorts.

Check out his newer picture...some things don't change!


As for some of the pointers for new bloggers (or old ones too!)
2. ...reminds us that links are "essential"...makes a blog the unique communication tool it is rather than just someone's essay.
4. ...it's ok to include the quirky little items of interest to you...whew, makes me feel a little better!
9. ...importance of a feed reader...amen!

I have been indirectly (reader/lurker) and directly (writer) involved with this communication form for a little more than half its official life...that's exciting for this little pioneer heart of mine!


More about the event...
Happy Blogiversary - NY Times
Blog turns 10 - Who's the Father? - C/Net News ...a bit of debate?

759.54 Anyone Need a Christmas Present Idea?

Diamond ear buds

Designed by Mr. Thomas Heyerdahl / Heyerdahl Jewellery / Oslo / Norway. “iDiamond ear” is made of 18 karat massive gold, set with a total of 204 diamonds / 1.65 carats.

$6,400.00

Hurry...only 1000 pairs available!

Friday, December 14, 2007

155. 2 Another Personality Test: Equal Time for the 100 Acre Wood Bunch

I know these are silly, little "personality" tests, but they are fun, especially when tied to favorite stories...a chance to revisit special "friends"...this time, Pooh & Co.

Before I reveal my results, I have always considered myself an Eeyore clone...my children agreed SO much they even gifted me with one which sits proudly( in his typical dejected stance) on my desk at home. He makes me laugh!

Secretly, I think I want to be Tigger. Always the happy-go-lucky one in the crowd. A few years ago, there was that bouncy, somersault-turning Tigger and I wanted Santa Claus to bring me one SO badly, but instead I think he gave one to every little kid I knew, and I think one or two big kids, too!

I love the original stories and the beautiful soft colors of the drawings of how all the characters looked. They represent "sweet," nostalgic memories to me. But I AM a Disney-raised child too, and I love the all the "loud" musical craziness and bright, bold colors of the "newer" versions, too!" Say what you want, the Disney organization does have the "magic."

So who do I most closely resemble?



Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

Huh?
Never thought about Kanga much...didn't stand out in the crowd to me, but according to this description from Wikipedia

Kanga is a kind-hearted, motherly character. She takes great care of Roo, and is constantly concerned with his well-being....She is not without a sense of humor, however, as shown when she not only catches onto the joke that the others are trying to play on her by hiding Roo but then turns the joke back on Piglet by pretending she believes he is Roo.
Kanga also comes the nearest of all the Pooh characters to serving the role of a parent to the other characters. She will offer motherly advice - and food - to anyone who asks her.
Kanga likes to keep things clean, and when she feels especially motherly,she likes to count and organize things. She can sign her own name, as she does on the "rissolution" that the animals give to
Christopher Robin, but there is no other indication of whether she can read or write...

Does make one ponder?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

428.1 Vocabulary: Here a w00t, There a w00t, Everywhere a w00t, w00t

Merriam-Webster Dictionary announced today its word for 2007 ...w00t...an interjection originally created in gamers' language known as "l33t (elite) speak" that means "yay", or a sound that is made after a "win" in a game. Texas Aggies might consider it a cousin of their own "Whoop" (and if they don't, I'm sure I'll hear about it!)

Among the other Top Ten is another 2.0 contribution...facebook (as a verb!), condundrum, a condition I think I find myself in way too often, and blamestorming, another interesting action word.


As for what l33t speak is...it is a combination of letter and numbers (those are zeros in w00t, not ohs).
Earlier this year, I wrote about Blog Day and the symbol of the that event 3108...reflecting also why it is held on August 31. Can you see B-l-o-g? That's l33t speak!
x
From Wikipedia comes this explanation of another l33t... n00t and newb(ie) (something I know a lot about being these days, but now I'm afraid I might be a n00t and I'll have to work on that!)
Within Leet, the term noob, and derivations thereof, is used extensively. The word means, and derives from, newbie (as in new and inexperienced or uninformed),[12][15][20] and is used as a means of segregating the "elite" members of a group from outsiders. Though they are often used interchangeably, there is a widely accepted
separation of the definitions of newb and n00b: a newb is merely new to
something, which is forgivable, while a n00b continues to engage in "newb" behaviors long after they should know better
. It implies that the target is being ignorant of his or her own failures, blames others without reason, has
failed to learn, etc. The word noob is a very common insult in most online games.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

006.7 More Edublogs Awards (and Second Life) Reactions

The teacher winner of the Edublog Awards Betchablog has an entertaining description of the awards ceremony in Second Life. Enjoyable reading especially since he was a fairly new in-world visitor like me!
...What did intrigue me though was the notice I received to say that the awards ceremony would be held on Jokaydia Island. “Cool!” I thought, I get to fly off to some tropical resort on some exotic island somewhere to attend the ceremony. Well, it’s true, I did fly off, and it was an exotic island, but it existed only in the virtual world of Second Life. Yes, the Edublogs Award ceremony was to be held in a virtual 3D space - a space existing only as a collection of bits, bytes and packets inside my computer, arranged into an amazing 3D environment by the creativity of the people who build these virtual spaces...


He also has some more pictures that show some event highlights. And lots of other good stuff as well that I will be working my way thru!

Another view of the whole awards process including graphs (that I am not totally sure I understand) was put out by James Farmer, brains behind the Edublogs thing itself and a major player in the awards and its super ceremony, (and a right nice friendly, helpful guy when I was having fits at my Edublogs blog.)

...The process was split into three stages, nominations of blogs for the awards over a few weeks (we received over 500 via an email contact form...nice barrier!), voting over a couple of weeks and then the announcement of the winners...

I am so in awe of all these creative people that I get to learn from!

Monday, December 10, 2007

912 The "Worldliness" of the Edublog Awards

I have had some inquiries as to where are the winners from...as in how worldly is this thing?

So I did a map...please, it's not perfect...it is a generalization of where the winners are (some of them are multi-authors/hosts) and where the other great librarian finalists are from. And I know the other finalists in other categories would make the map even more colorful, but I just don't have the strength!

Locations...Spain, Hungary, Shanghai, Scotland, UK, Australia, Canada and the USA (CA, NC, GA, CO, MA, NJ, and Texas! How is that?!


I have been reading and learning from many of these people for quite some time. One of the best things about this whole experience is that I have now "found" other people to learn from. And I will be sharing some of those new learning experiences as time goes by, but in the meantime, you can watch for additions (some are already there!) to my blog rolls.

And you can learn from these folks on your own.

P.S. 195 votes, 34%, total cast 575

Other winning percentages for some categories

41% Is it Ok to be a technologically illiterate teacher? Karl Fisch
41% elearning Technology
46% Smartboard podcasts
41% Welkers Wikinomics
43% Suffern M.S. in 2nd Life (warning...an Animoto may play automatically...loud!)
52% 587 votes! just for this blog Classroom 2. 0 (they do have 4000+ members :-) )
61% 644 votes! just for this blog El tinglado (tech support)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

006.7 Edublogs Awards: A Surreal Adventure

The Edublog Award winners were announced Saturday at a multimedia, video streamed event held in Second Life (SL) and through other audio connections.


I created an Avatar and went to the ceremony on Jokaydia Island. It was fun and frustrating, interesting and intimidating, cool and confusing. Having only spent about five hours total in the virtual world of SL prior to the event, I was struggling to operate outside of my comfort zone and still take in all the excitement around me.
Click on the picture and you can see a few screen shots I took to give you an idea of everything that was going on. You can see other pictures as they are collected on Flickr.

JUST like at the Academy Awards, I really did not think my little blog entry would "win" against the heavy hitters that were in the category and so when the blog was called, I really had nothing prepared to say! It was ok tho' because others were waiting to speak at the end due to all the technical issues (yes...even in something this BIG!). I tried at the end to use my headset and my 15 minutes of knowledge of the set-up to try and say thanks...I "screeched" so badly that attendees begged to pull my plug so I did! Newbies with new toys should not try to "play" with the big boys and girls!

There were several people who were so kind to me as I tried learning how to maneuver around...walking, sitting...flying! I spent more time in the bushes and UNDER structures. And as far as the flying goes...well, those of you who have seen me operate in the real world...let's just say it wasn't a pretty picture. But Jokay, the island owner, spent precious time the day before helping me while she should have been tending to more important details, and Ruby Imako and Sandbox Builder Leah Planer gave me several pointers during the ceremony itself.

It was S-U-R-R-E-A-L!

And now I must try to adequately say thanks to everyone who was responsible for this nice thing happening to me.

I started this blog a little over a year ago to do something that looked like a fun way to share bits and pieces of information I find with people who might want to read what I had to offer. I have a great group of colleagues and friends who follow my ramblings fairly regularly and, on occasion, would share their thoughts with me and others about the topic. I also know I have a lot of them lurking...they will talk to me about the posts, but won't write. My goal this year...more commentors, less lurkers!!

No way did I think ANYTHING I wrote about would attract attention outside my little circle of influence. But the structure of blogging allows for others to find my words when they match up with their words! And that is just plain cool! to see something I thought about quoted in someone else's post...o wow!

I feel very honored to have been nominated and selected as a finalist because there are so many good things going on out there in the library blogging world. And to have had friends and colleagues put out the efforts needed for me to be the "winner"...I appreciate all their efforts and time...and more importantly, their confidence in and support of me.

I want this honor to reflect ALL the good things we have going on in our libraries, but especially with respect to the "new" ways of doings things. Many of us have been fighting an uphill battle for many years to prove our worthiness to others. It's a win for all of us.

I will work hard to earn the respect connected with "winning" something like this by continuing to have lots of fun learning and sharing...and I will do my best to pay it forward.

THANK YOU!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

155.2 Personality Traits: How Do You Match Up with HP Characters?

And you thought all the attention to HP was over. Nope!

Here is a fun little quiz to see how you stack up against the characters of the Harry Potter books. It is loosely based on the Myers-Briggs Personality test.

Now all I need is for someone who knows Dumbledore and the "real" me, to tell me if this a true match or not. (Remember, I didn't read them...TOO much fantasy!) [blocked in district--games!...it's worth a look elsewhere...fun!]

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

FROM THE WEBSITE:
Explanation of the Results:This type of personality test uses four indexes of personality and the combination of the four is your personality type. The first index relates to how you interact with other people and can be Extroverted(E), meaning you're more outgoing or Introverted (I), meaning you keep more to yourself. The second relates to how you make decisions; whether you're Intuitive(N), getting answers from within, or you rely on Sensing (S) information from your surroundings, using your five senses. The third relates to whether you're more emotional and Feeling (F) or rational and Thinking (T). The fourth relates to whether you prefer things to be organized, meaning you're Judging (J), or you prefer things to be more unbound, meaning you're Perceiving (P).
For more information about real, scientific personality typing, visit the Kiersey Temperament and Character Website.

Thanks to Gargoyles Loose in the Library for sharing the fun!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

028.1 Books: Stack 'Em Up!

Cute little program...amaztype...creates words out of books from the amazon.com collection.


Not sure what purpose it serves but it is fun...and it does make interesting artwork for signs...you know those guideposts to help readers find what they want?

My sample...all the books used are "frog" books of some kind. When you are actually in the program as it builds the word (and by the way, just keeps building and building), you can click on the book to see the cover up close and have all the pertinent info about the book (author, price, etc.)










Vocabulary practice? Header on blog, webpage, newsletter?
Any other thoughts on how to use?

[I screen shot the action and then saved each on a PowerPoint slide and cut away the access and save each as a jpeg.]

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

468.8 Spanish Language Reading Materials for Kids

I have been following La Bloga for some time now...covers all kinds of books by, for, and about Hispanics for all age levels.


Now they are supporting and promoting a Spanish language blog for young readers...includes stories, poetry, books...and more.
It will be a challenge for me and my basic skills in reading Spanish to follow everthing that is included, but I look forward to the challenge because it looks fun!

785.06 Vegetable Orchestra: A Salad Bowl of Sound

I love the Web. I love all of the creative people and things I get to see because some creative person put something together and then some other creative person made a video of it and handed it over to another creative person to put it up on the Web so I could see.

Just wish all the students and teachers in my sphere of influence could see everything I see.

But for the ones who can away from school, I present the Vegetable Orchestra



I know there is science involved in the creation of the instruments...even a vocabulary review of the vegetables...how about a compare and contrast of these instruments with the real ones.

What about pairing it up with Orchestranimals by Van Kampen or Scott Gustafson's Animal Orchestra or Young Person's Guide to Music (with accompanying CD)

Maybe graphing (spreadsheet?) how many different instruments are made from carrots, gourds, squash...

The video is a tad long, but PLEASE hang on till the end ...the bell pepper horn up close is worth the wait!

I bet kids would remember more general information about the orchestra after viewing this!

P.S. Not sure creation of these instruments by young children would be possible...the tools are pretty wicked!

PPS. ok , did a little research to see if there were other versions that might come thru at school...
same group, but is narrated by a member (3+ minutes) maybe it will show? AVAILABLE in District!...just checked.
but no listings for TeacherTube or Google videos. Rats!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

306.8 Reflections on Mothers

During a long solitary drive home the other day, I was flipping thru my mental file cabinet and remembered some of my favorite "mother" books...used both in my professional and personal life. They are "old," but still get a lot of use and probably represent some the love-worn volumes in your collection?
Are You My Mother? P.D. Eastman...a simple classic
Is Your Mama a Llama? (author's name escapes me)...drove by a pasture of llamas and was thinking about the eyes on the character in this book...they have always amused me!
A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams...a sweet story of saving
Just Me & My Mom...the Little Critter books...I had tapes for my girls and loved the character's voice....all the stories were/are so cute!
O My Baby Little One...a "new" book so to speak, but I fell in love with it when I discovered it at a book exhibit or a meeting with the author Kathi Appelt, I forget which. tender descriptions
Guess How Much I Love You...sweet story with little bunny characters.

Ok, there 's one more and I have racked my brain...someone please help me! It made the rounds of our book exhibit/fairs a few years ago...it's a little paperback volume...blue patterned cover with picture of small child...at the end of the story, the parent ends up sitting in the lap of the grown child. We had to keep the kleenex close by! The title just totally eludes me at this time.

and there is the passage from Little Women where Marmee describes what she hopes for her girls...it is "dated" by 21st century standards, but none the less, a sweet passage of mother/daughter relationships...

What about you own thoughts? Other titles...

641.8 Cookies: 'Tis the Season!

So many choices! So little time! I see math problems, maybe? Tie in with When the Doorbell Rang?

P.S. There are lots more seasonal activities that can be used for a variety of reasons.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

633.5 A "C" of Texas Snow

First day of December, winter in Texas...you have to agree it DOES look like snow!
My kind of snow...no melting, muddy mess and no shoveling required.
A week ago there had been "real" snow throughout the area...I missed it (and all the problems associated with it) but did see a few snowmen "puddles" in several yards!

333. 9 Wind Farm: Update

Can't help it...this wind farm project fascinates me and I counted a few hundred turbines up and going this trip throughout the area. The last time I saw a couple of dozen...look at the new pictures and you can see the developers have been very busy the last couple of months.

Coming southeast towards Sterling City, you can now see some from the opposite end of town that you couldn't earlier in the year...in fact one lines up with the yellow strip on the hiway that goes straight through town and looks like a beacon! [O, by the way, DN, it goes way up China Valley as well as up hiway 87 ]


View Larger Map
I have "doctored" a couple of pictures so the turbines show up better...as you can see it was very overcast and the wind was blowing up a gale and making the camera bounce around as I tried to snap the pictures and not get blown away or run over!! ( Promise there IS a turbine right in the center of this picture...you can see two on the left side!)
China Valley

Monday, November 26, 2007

006.7 Blogging: A Vote for Social Networking & Collaboration

So many kind remarks regarding the nomination of this blog for an Edublog award. They are all appreciated. I think I floated most of the day from just the shock of the nomination. I do appreciate any and all efforts that went into this action from any and all who prefer to remain "anonymous."

So many more questions about the voting. Currently the voting box is "missing" inside the district because it is blocked. A request has been made to get it open, but no one knows when. So for the time being, voting, if you choose to do so, must take place away from the district.

AND the award managers put out some voting guidelines late today :
Please note that we’ve set the maximum as 50 votes from the one location (as long as it’s an institution - home internet accounts submitting that many votes are being dodgy) as that would seem a reasonable amount of support to garner from your students and peers, and also be in the spirit of things (voting being decided by quality, not quantity).
So… if there are more than 50 votes from one location they all get removed.

...please take a look before enthusiastically jumping into voting mode. One very enthusiastic science teacher about 1/2 a day's drive away who is near & dear to my heart added about 70 votes after school and they were removed before she got home (and she lives across the street from her school!)...she didn't see the informative email before starting!

So, if you are inclined, I appreciate your vote of confidence...I look at your support as support for the things that, as a group, we are all trying to achieve...for the benfit of our most precious resource...our students, our children.

Thank you all.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

O MY GOSH...What's the DDC for SURPRISE

I am officially blown away!
I had no idea...I was headed to bed and remembered I needed to check on something...and found this!!!

I don't even know who to thank......

WOW! WOW! WOW!

371.33 Blog Anniversary...One Year & Counting

Last Thanksgiving break, I started this blog. 367 days and 130 posts later here I am. I can't believe it's been a year. The old cliche is true in this case...time flies when you are having fun!

It has been fun...it has been a labor of love...it has been labor...it has been frustrating...it has been uplifting...it has been learning at its best...it has been new opportunities...it has been exciting...but most of all, and yes, I'm repeating myself...it has been F-U-N!


It's my blog, but did I set out to write about many things professional and share them with anyone in my sphere of influence who would read it. I have included some purely personal posts, but not too personal.


I personally know four people who have taken up the sport, the craft, the fun, since I started. I don't take all the credit...I think I just nudged them in the direction...I think they would have gotten there anyway. But just like the little girl in the old, old chicken commercial... "I helped."

I owe some others for inspiring me, making it look easy and fun, and I hope I have paid it forward by showing groups of librarians, teachers, parents, and any one in my friendship or family circles who would stop long enough for me to talk about blogging! I have really enjoyed speaking with others about blogging and hearing their adventures.

I truly hope I have proven to some doubting Thomases and some very uninformed persons that many, many, many blogs, bloggers, and the act of blogging are NOT bad things and deserve to be recognized for their postive contributions to information-sharing and learning.

I have had fun blogging from a couple of conferences and sharing the information as it was happening. It really showed me the power of the activity. Plus I know have record of what I experienced or learned all neatly put in one place. No more worries about all those loose pieces of paper with the scribbled notes!


I have enjoyed getting comments from friends and colleagues, but it has really been fun to have one pop up from someone half way around the world or from someone who is a "star" blogger!

To think I wrote something that someone thought was good enough or important enough for someone to comment on is pretty cool! and by the way....bloggers LOVE comments..have I told you that?


My best discovery....Animoto...I just love that little powerful, cute program!

My 2nd best discovery...free music...with no copyright issues!

My "fun-est" discovery...Statetris...despite being total fumble fingers with it

My best soap box post....my reaction to all those who want to do away with Dewey.

My 2nd favorite soap box post...reacting to the idea that books are not important after attending a campus library fair night.

My favorite blog find (not related to libraries or technology)...American Presidents...it is almost addicting!


It really is hard to just mention a few because I pretty much like all of my posts or I would not have written them! That is the best part of this whole thing...I can choose to write or not...although in my quieter times, I have been told on more than one occasion that I have been missed. I even was told the other day that I write well...both of those acknowledgements are special because I have NEVER liked my writing and torn up pen & ink "diaries, etc. because I could not stand to read them...I think I have been able to create a year's worth of blog posts because I have had "purpose" behind most of my posts and I left out the personal, "hoaky" stuff...ok, most of it!


What do I hope for in the next year?

1. That ANYTHING that I choose to blog about is available to anyone who reads this blog from any location.

2. That I learn more from the readers and the other bloggers I read...o, yes I forgot...thank goodness for Google reader...I could not have kept up!

3. That I figure out why sometimes my pictures won't behave and go where I want them to or why I can not make an empy space stay in place!

4. That readers will please (pretty please with sugar on top and some chocolate thrown in) comment ON THE BLOG so that we can have some good conversations online and not just in passing.

5. That I continue to have fun...and a few laughs!


and...

6. That I make a difference somewhere for someone for a minute or two about something.

028.6 Cybils Nominations for 2007 Are Up

Thought you might want to see the various titles in each catagory...may be useful for collection development ideas?










The winners will be picked by a group of blogger judges and annouced after the first of the year.
hope some of your new favorites are there!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

002.068 Kindle: An Example of Passion?

Last Monday was the latest BIG day in the personal technology world...the unveiling of amazon.com's (but probably more important,Jeff Bezo's) electronic book reader Kindle. The bloggers were "up" early in that I was reading info and opinions early that morning. Demonstration video
But the "special" part of the day occurred for me totally by accident. Later that night, way later that night in fact, I was channel surfing to find something that would lull me to sleep when I stumbled across Charlie Rose interviewing Jeff Bezo about his Kindle. Well, sleep eluded me for about 45 minutes longer + some thinking time because I was fascinated by what I saw...yes, the device was interesting, but that was not what was keeping me awake...it was the way Bezo was bubbling over and bursting with pride over his latest toy! I was watching someone talk passionately about something that meant a great deal to him on many levels and that had consumed many hours of thought and labor for several years, and yet, he was almost overcome with excitement as if it were the first day. For me, that was exciting. I loved watching his giddiness!
Points he made that stood out for me...
"we are not trying to out-book the book."
"there will be no out-of-print books."
And the most important thing for the archivist part of my"Five Little Peppers and How They Grew book-loving heart...any book, no matter how old or worn out will ALWAYS be around!

No, he did not accomplish the feat by himself and he knows it. It takes a team. The jury is still out as to whether the device itself is a real winner and judging by some of the reviews, some people aren't impressed with the device nor even the effort itself. But then some people just don't get the 2.0 world and the future of books, reading, learning, etc. And to the ones who think books are dead...wrong, only the format has adapted once again for a group of readers needing (or wanting) it!

I prefer to think of it as one man's treasure to be discovered by masses as they find need for it. I, not being the best adapter at all things technological, can see even me using this device...1. because it does appear to a light-weight 2. it doesn't take a computer to make it work 3. it is visual reading (I'm just not into "audio reading," but want all the proper devices available for those who are!) If it is not perfection, then someone will go back to the drawing board until there is the perfect device. How many time did Edison try elements for his perfect light bulb? Aren't we glad others improved upon the "horseless carriage" or I would have gotten really wet on my rainy drive back home today and would not have had my posse (of singers on CD) riding with me.

Bezos said that color was being worked on as he spoke...I hope that means that pictures (covers and other artwork) won't too long in comg?

Here are some releases, reviews, and blog posts regarding the Kindle. Take a look and see for yourself whether this is a good thing...or not. The specs are below.

Blue Skunk Blog 1
Blue Skunk Blog 2
What I Learned Today --go down into the post to "Next, as I mentioned yesterday..."
The Library Stream
ALA Tech Source
Hey Jude
Weblogg-ed
Newsweek release (cover article will be out on the 27th)
if:book discusses the Newsweek article...the future of reading
if:book some thoughts on the pricing (yes, it is outta my league, but most of technology is outta my league price-wise...you outta see just how old my cell phone is..my kids call it the brick!) they still sold out in hours and with no opportunity to "kick the tires!"
engadget
NYTimes old article but does comparison with other devices

If nothing else, please watch at least some the interview...it is a 57-minute feast of enthusiasm.
You might catch some of the fever!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

428.1 FreeRice: Practice Vocabulary & Contribute...Multitasking At Its Best

At FreeRice, practice (and at the same time, learn) vocabulary and, as a big bonus, contribute to funds to help with world hunger issues.
x
For every correct answer, ten grains of rice are donated to United Nations efforts to end world hunger. Needless to say, you won't be able to stop after just 10 grains. As you make correct word choices, the bowl fills up to make bundles of 100 grains.
x
Your vocabulary level is measured by your right and wrong answers. The number of people who miss the same words also affects the leveling. Good language arts activity.
x
Contributing...good community member.
x
What else?
Math...use the statistics available to do some "real-world" math.
Geography...use the maps and information about the countries involved.
Social Studies...ALL the information about the social issues, history, etc. about the problem of world hunger and poverty.
Even Science...health issues, food production
x
More information. Short video about the program from the director of the UN food program.
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Now I just hope it opens in the district!

428.4 Readability "Test": A Fun Surprise?

cash advance Who knew? !

Put in the URL of your blog, your website, your "whatever you use or read" and find out the reading level. No explanation as to what is measured, etc. But hey, this is just for fun, remember!

Now I have to assess...did I intend to be so "scholarly"?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

741.6 TypoGenerator: Making Graphics the Fun Way










Created these jpeg files with a simple little program called TypoGenerator. Uses are only limited by your imagination and how much patience you might have to keep re-submitting your words to have them re-mixed.


There is a larger file choice available also. Will be helpful in printing the objects, I imagine. I haven't tried printing yet...been too busy just trying different combinations of text, color, and background. You can find something that suits your taste or your needs!
I see using them in blogs and wikis and other webpages as titles, banners, place markers, or simply artwork "decorating" the space with words. I see making a special one and turning it into a button pin or even a magnet...maybe a "brand" to be shared and displayed.
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What about creating one or two files as verbal cues to be included in Animoto videos that introduce concepts or celebrate students and their successes?
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And how about printing some out and using them as signs pointing to books and other materials? Use keywords to point out popular types of books. Depending on how you style them, I bet the kids will follow them better than breadcrumbs to things they want!
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Thanks BB for sharing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

020.92 The Missing Parts of Library School: They Add up to the Payoff

Library Stuff led me to this article on what Library School doesn't teach you. Yes, it started off making me laugh and then it got serious as life often does...

I know every librarian, every teacher, every person has these same life lessons that ultimately come together to give us the reason we do what we do...and why the minutia that seems to overwhelm us almost to the breaking point truly D-O-E-S-N-O-T matter in the long run.

For me (on the short list)...
...the kid who came regularly to get book tape to hold his shoes together (and I will have to live with the fact that I did not put him in the car and take him some place to get new ones),

...the tall lanky AV (pre-PC days--yes, some of us worked in the Dark Ages) whiz kid who could fix anything for me as long as I had a hammer who first brought me his baby sister to meet and, later, his own child,

...the day the ESL kids and I bonded over The Polar Express and the chocolate bells that we all could hearing ringing...we could! Just ask them!

...the group of girls I convinced to read This Place Has No Atmosphere for their science fiction assignment by saying if I liked it, they would, and they did! and a special thanks to Paula Danzinger for writing it so all of us non-sci-fi readers could have a fun experience while completing our assignment. And to all the sci-fi followers who shared all their favorites with me so I could pass them on to others. You filled the empty spot in my genre wheel!

...the student assistant who had such art talent and made me the circus train for my desk out of construction paper that I kept until it crumbled because she had no money for Christmas presents and we had had such a wonderful time over some book about circus trains...I can't remember the book or much of the incident itself, but I remember the train...and I remember her.

...the all-too quiet student assistant that all of us should have paid more attention to remembering the old saying that still waters run deep, sometimes very, very darkly deep...there were no signs then and when there were, it was too late.

...and my students-- my assistants and my readers/researchers who are now my colleagues...I have been to their weddings, held their children, and one in particular spent many wonderful hours with her and HER students. They all taught me well.

...and who would have thought some of the surprises of this job have to do with my adult "students"...the people who for a variety of reasons allow me to share a bit of knowledge with them and together we take each other to a new place, a new adventure, a new...

...and ALL the kids who told me time and time again "that was the BEST book I ever read, give me another one!" It was magic, that's what it was, that is what it is...the right book at the right time for the right kid for the right reason that makes it all work...no formula, just magic.

gosh, I looked back once more at the original article and I'm not sure I followed it's list exactly...but for me, these are the things, no, the people that they did not teach me about in library school, but boy, o, boy am I glad I learned from them.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

011.625 Children's Book Week: Have Some Fun

November 12-18, 2007 is National Children's Book Week which is sponsored by the Children's Book Council. This event has been celebrated during the week prior to Thanksgiving since 1919, but starting in May 2008, it will become a Spring event.


In reading about this event, I found an interesting tidbit about the poster that was issued in the early 1920s. A librarian was known to cut off the bottom of the poster because the books were scattered all over the floor and she felt that was a bad message to be sending her young patrons!




Although some folks in my sphere of influence don't believe it, I do enjoy children's books...especially ones with colorful illustrations and clever, humorous text. Every year our district holds a book exhibit of publishers' review books so that librarians and others can make selections to add to the campus library collections. There is always a title or two that jumps out and catches everyone's attention. We have a great time laughing over the book and sharing it with each other.




The book that seem to catch everyone's eye in 2006 was How to be a Pirate by Melinda Long. David Shannon's artwork reminded me so much of one my favorite nonsense songs, Ray Steven's The Pirate Song, that I enjoyed the book even more.




Then while working with some teachers recently, I realized this delightful book AND a companion title Pirates Don't Change Diapers are also available as e-books through TumbleBooks. If you are lucky enough to have this database, you can enjoy these two stories read aloud with fun music thrown in! There is even a little game available through TumbleBooks that comes from the original title.



Wouldn't it be a great lead-in to a "how-to" essays or even "how-to" speeches in high school? !!




This year's choice for group funny book was 17 Things I'm Not Allowed To Do Anymore written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. I think the group consensus was that the funniest illustration was where the mischievous little girl stapled her brothers hair to the pillowcase. I do have to admit that a close second for me was the fly in the ice cube although that would be pretty gross if it were played on me!


And yes, I see writing prompt ideas with this one, too. don't you?



Another way I get to run into great books is through the librarians around me who are always sharing great titles. When a colleague put out a call for some book ideas for a presentation, she shared one that just hit my funnybone so much, it made me howl with laughter! Chicks and Salsa! Is that not just the greatest title? Written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Paulette bogan, it is about the farm animals and a fiesta of good eats. It is so clever and the play-on-word features make it extra special. I loved it at first sight and managed to work it into MY presentation as well! Thanks TH & LP for sharing.

Am I easily entertained? Yup, you bet!

I hope you have a great Children's Book Week and have selected some winners for your kids. Comment and share you ideas!

Need some ideas:
Grade level choices
2X2
Texas Bluebonnets
Book Buds
A Chair, a Fireplace, a Tea Cozy
Chicken Spaghetti
ALA ALSC Choices

959.704 Vietnam Veterans Memorial: 25 Years Old

This is Veteran's Day...a time to honor all those who have served the country...and for the rest of us to reflect on what that service has meant to us. Included on several blogs, I came across:
“A veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The 'United States of America', for an amount of 'up to and including my
life.'” (Author unknown)
Veteran's Day books can be found at 394.26 in any library that uses Dewey.


This particular holiday is a tad more historical in that is the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I remember all of the controversy that surrounding the idea and plans of the Memorial, but also remember the immediate acceptance of the site as a very special place. Although I have never had opportunity to visit, I can not look at pictures of or read accounts of the meetings at the Wall without feeling the emotion of the place.


Here is one of the many stories surrounding this anniversary including video of a vist to the Memorial. In the audio background of the video, you can hear the reading of the 58,000+ names listed on the Wall...a part of this anniversary ceremony. It takes 60 hours or so to read all of the names. Did you know that in the 25 years of its presence, over 100, 000 objects have been left by visitors and have carefully been collected by Park Service personnel and are in storage for a future museum.
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Always to Remember: The Story of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial by Brent Ashabranner
Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam collected by the NY Memorial Commission
Their Names to Live also by Ashabranner
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial...several books by different authors with copyrights of 2000+
The Wall: Images and Offerings from the Vietnam Memorial
The War and the Wall: Service, Sacrifice and Honor
and the very sweet and moving The Wall by Eve Bunting
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There are several videos available at YouTube that will give you some information. You can find them by putting "Vietnam Veterans Memorial Washington, DC " in the search box. You'll have to watch at home! ...and kleenex close by for some.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

428.007 Using Technology with ESL Students: It Can Be Fun

I worked with some teachers of ESL and LEP students after school today. I had been invited to show them how to use some of our online resources and some technology to aid in improving the students' English. We looked at things across the curriculum---lots for reading and things like vocabulary-building, but we also looked at several things helpful for social studies, science and math.

We took content samples from our subscription databases including Facts on File, Teaching Books, Tumblebooks, Discovery Education videostreaming and worked in PowerPoint. Not that we produced slideshows, but we looked at how users can use visuals...be they clipart, photos, maps, etc. and manipulate them for use in PPTs and other things. The participants also found out how easy it is to download and use pieces of videostreaming.

One of the things I also emphasize in this type of staff development is to look "outside the box"... think about how a historical photo can be used to teach word meanings or use a science video to explain a particular idiom. And my favorite part...using picture books to introduce a concept or ideas for end products the students can create themselves!


Another idea that came out was that by including lots of visuals and silly bits of video, a teacher will have captured the attention of his or her students so that even MORE learning can take place. Our kids are visual learners these days and it is a shame not use as much "stuff" as possible.

And yes, we had an oops moment...something to always expect when working with technology. You gotta learn to roll with the punches. What was our oops?...the screen shot I made would NOT paste to the PPT so we could manipulate it. That was a first for me! But that's ok..we still practiced with the crop tool and the grouping technique and turned our "pretend" screen shots into the weirdest new bird---a wingless chicken with a Sphinx head! Names anyone?

One other thing I did...I challenged the group to "play" 15 minutes a day...mess around in an online resource, play with PPT tools, READ blogs (yep---showed them the blogroll!), but do SOMETHING with technology or explore an online resource EVERY day. Sounds simple enough, but I know...even 15 minutes will be hard to squeeze out of the days of most of these people...their plates are very full...but it WILL be worth it...they will benefit...and more importantly, so will their students!

How did we end this action-packed day? Animoto of course!
Sample: http://animoto.com/play/a6df2b2069bf9260b24c6c822387db3a
(I can't get it to embed!!)

I hope some of the participants will share their classroom ideas here in the comments...

...and you know what else...these things will work with ALL students!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

371.33 Blogging Class: Good Discussion and Some Fun Too!

We had another after school session on blogging today! Several teachers who have previously attended some other professional development opportunities joined a librarian and a "friend of the libraries" support employee.

The participants were excited about blogging. Great questions about the format of a blog and how to find them. Their comments included:
"We are being brought into the 21st century."
"It is an exciting way for knowledge to be disseminated."
"Can't wait to design our own blogs!"

We also talked about Google Reader as a way to monitor blogs and other web pages without having to check each site individually...or to use to introduce one's self to new ideas easily...by monitoring someone else's Google Reader.

Unfortunately, they did experience some of the downside of Web 2.0 technology...a few sites were blocked and TeacherTube videos were buffering...both effects of things going on inside our district. But these little bumps did not seem to dampen their overall enthusiasm for the activity.

FYI: Other blogging class posts 1 2 3

P.S. Can someone please explain to me why all of my photos that I post appear so dark on district computers, but just fine at home or other out-the-district locations?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

028.5 Author Visit: Bringing a Bluebonnet to Life


Several schools in my sphere of influence enjoyed a visit from Obert Skye, author of one of this year's Bluebonnet nominees, Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo.



The book is a fantasy of the adventures of an Oklahoma kid named Leven and a neglected girl known as Winter Frore as they travel to the magical land of Foo.
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Part of the author's message included what he called secrets... Have Courage - Think Big - Be Great.
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He talked a lot about the writing process and especially the concept of brainstorming that one librarian reported was so important to the teachers present...they had been working on that very thing in class and how great to have it emphasized by the popular author. He also talked to the students about writing a draft and then improving on it.
Not even surprise visitors (plastic cockroaches!) could take the students attention away!

There was plenty of other fun, too...Skye held a game show and the students enthusiastically answered all of the questions correctly...they new the details of the story!...and won coveted T-shirts, etc. He signed books...personal copies and library copies, too. Some students enjoyed themselves so much, they wre making plans to visit the bookstore where he was appearing Friday night!

743.42 Ultimate Flash Face: A Cross Between Police Sketch Artist & Etch-A-Sketch Fun


This is just too much fun...and your creations can be saved, printed, emailed...

I sure hope it opens in the district!

And if you want to try your hand at the online version of the traditional Etch-A-Sketch, draw away! (arrow keys make the difference)

363.7 Environment Resources: Blog Action Day Follow-up

Bunches and bunches more resources about environmental issues that were promoted last Monday on Blog Action Day including The Nature Writers of Texas, a blog of " best nature writing from the newspaper, magazine, blog and book authors of the Lone Star State . . ." Not a visually-rich blog but lots of info about songbirds, horny toads, egrets, bats, woodpeckers, frogs, skunks, butterflies...the list goes on and on!

If you want even more environmental resources blogs, check out this list of about 13,000 results of a blog search of "Blog Action Day!" And some people question the power of the blogging world...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

004.67 Student Participation on the Web

Please note that I did a little rearranging of the links on my blogroll. I have now pulled the samples of student responses together under the heading "Student Participation."

I currently do not have wiki examples, but will!

I welcome any additions that show the kinds of things students are doing out there. I know there so many more great examples that are behind the walls we collectively find necessary to use in order to get the privilege of having students participate...some day, those efforts will be available freely. I have faith!

004.67 More Evidence of the Power of Web 2.0 and the Students Who "Live" It

Bringing you a couple more YouTube videos from the same director ( Michael Wesch) and his students who brought the immensely popular The Machine Is Us/ing Us awhile back.

A Vision of Students Today has been making the rounds of some of the blogs I follow...a series of statements from a college class put together to give you a picture of the "average" college student. The statement that jumped out at me..."I will read 8 books this year" followed by "I will read 2300 web pages" and "128 Facebook profiles." Some commentors at the site find the statistics depressing (or worse, stupid)...I find them intriguing and perfect evidence in understanding why the way we teach,and present info to assist students in learning MUST change!
Yes, I know the video is unavailable at school, but do yourself a favor and check it out away from school or let me give you the downloaded file! Read about the statistic details and background.



Another Michael Wesch video that I came across while looking at the one above is Information Revolution...another presentation on how information storage and retrieval has changed. Makes the "cataloger" side of my brain a tad nervous in some respects, because I don't totally agree with the theme that information no longer needs to "organized"! I simply think the organization format has changed!
Anyway, it is worth a look if you are still struggling with understanding the Web 2.0 changes or are having trouble convincing others of the value of the changes.
[Personal note: I loved the cataloged card marked up with black marker! Brought back wonderful memories! :-)--ha, bet I have hooked a couple of you into looking for this little detail.]


In doing my blog reading this week, one of best statements I have come across since I started this adventure was featured by David Warlick at 2¢ Worth...he got it from one of the participants at the K-12 Online Conference.

A kid the other day said to me that he hates the term Web 2.0…makes sense, it’s
1.0 to him!
It makes sense that our students don't understand the hubbub about of the technology and 2.0 stuff..they don't know anything else! We tend to show our age the more concerned we are about it all...the kids don't. It's life as they know it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

006.7 Blogging: Things to Think About (and Not Necessarily Just About Blogging)

Michael Stephen at Tame the Web pointed to this:
The 4 Cs of Blogging, prepared byDavid Armano over at Logic + Emotion, a good post for analyzing what it takes to make a good blog.

The 4 Cs are Community, Content, Clarity, and Consistency...Armano has expanded a previous post about these tenets.

After reviewing the points, I realized they would work for any type of communication...good things to think about, but especially about making blogging efforts succesful.

Monday, October 15, 2007

363.7 Blog Action Day: Resources About the Environment

Today is Blog Action Day




(nope...you can't see the video inside the school district!)

I am doing my part by sharing some resources that can be used by students and teachers to learn more about the physical world in which we all live.

Environmental Kids Club
Kids F.A.C.E. (Kids For A Clean Environment)
PBSKids Zoom Help the Environment
EEK! (Environmental Education for Kids)
Project Environment: Kids in Action
Kids Earth 911


Coloring pages for very young children...alphabet lessons!

Booklists...many of these titles will be in our district collection.
BPL Nonfiction titles celebrating the Earth
BPL Picture Books

The Living Earth click on "Children's Environmental Books" and use the menu on the left

in the library catalog..use environment, energy sources, conservation, ecology...



And if I could make this a perfect environmental experience for me...I'd be in a little mountain village in a certain corner of the world looking down on one of the most beautiful desert vistas I know!