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......


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 has been a labor of has been has been has been has been learning at its has been new has been exciting...but most of all, and yes, I'm repeating 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 music...with no copyright issues!

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

My best soap box 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 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!


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'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 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
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 outta see just how old my cell phone kids call it the brick!) they still sold out in hours and with no opportunity to "kick the tires!"
NYTimes old article but does comparison with other devices

If nothing else, please watch at least some the 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.
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.
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.
Contributing...good community member.
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 issues, food production
More information. Short video about the program from the director of the UN food program.
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.
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?
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!
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 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
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.
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
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 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!
(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!