Monday, December 31, 2007

Book Trailer

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Fat Kid Rules the World by K. L. Going
Young Adult (13+) Mature themes & language.

As a formerly fat person, who continually fights the battle, I can relate to the despair felt by Troy Billings.

Fat, depressed, 296 pound Troy is contemplating a jump from a subway platform, when the junkie thin, truely homeless, punk rock, artist god, Curt MacCrae screams into his life.
With the statement, "You owe me lunch." Curt quickly turns Troy's life upside-down by insisting that Troy is the new drummer for their new Punk Rock band, Rage/Tectonic. Small problems, Troy's last drum lesson was in 7th grade, the band is booked in less than a month, and Troy's stern, Marine Corp dad, has never let him attend a concert.
Powerfully drawn characters, razor sharp dialog, and the gritty setting all make for a reading experience that will move you as easily as the opening rifs of the Ramones Blitzkreig Bop.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Futurism 2.0

This small video gave me chills and really made me think about the future. It absolutly showed me, once again, how provincial my thinking is. My students do not live in Aptos, they really are a part of a global community. How can I foster that?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry, Merry, Merry

Finally, the winter break has begun. I left my library on Friday afternoon, with a sense of accomplishment. My car was packed with the annual peppermint candles from students, and a bag of kid lit for winter reading. I could actually see the wood surface of my desk, though I never did find that scrap of paper with the phone numbers of library supporters. The books are all shelved in order & dusted, ready for the New Year. I have the well wishes of my staff and am now looking forward to some well deserved rest and relaxation....after I clean my house for Christmas, of course.

The first half of the year is history. As I reflect back, I realize I experienced some triumph. "Aldo" is reading! His fear of failure has been eased, and he is experiencing success.

My presentation at the CSLA conference on reading motivation was well received. The District actually reimbursed me for all my expenses. The check is in my purse, ready to be deposited into my bank account, so I can now pay off the credit card. Hurrah!

I have a terrific crew of library minions. Although one staff member, after checking out the regular morning crowd gathered outside the library door, suggested I be nominated for sainthood. I must say, I do have a couple of rather trying children that have decided to take me up on the library being a safe place. One can only be described as OCD on amphetamines, and another has the volume control on his voice continually set to maximum whine. That's the good thing about working at a two year school, a person can put up with just about anything for two years!

Then I had a former student visit, to wish me a happy holiday. He is a sophmore attending York Academy, a prestigious College Prep School in our area, who told me that I had three former students attending. He actually thanked me! Wow, what a year!

I am looking forward to some new challenges during the second half of the year. I am working with a local group hoping to set up a chapter of "Friends of School Libraries" in my district. I have been invited to write an article on the wikis in my life for the CSLA journal...dum de dum dum. I feel a bit like the old Leon Russell song "Tight Rope", flanked by life and the funeral pyre, the altitude seems to be getting to me. Well, we just have to continue on our merry, merry way, and see what life has to offer.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Christmas Tree by "Somerslea" on Flickr, used by Creative Commons Licence

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A New Beginning

How nice! School Library Learning 2.0 is beginning again. I hope all the new students will have as great a time doing the Winter 2.0 Fun course, as I did the Summer Fun. Believe it or not, I learned about tools that I actually use. I can't the count the classes I have taken that ended up in the, "Good in Theory, but Unpractical in Reality" pile of my life experience. From Blogs to Zoho the tools I learned this summer are being put to use in my library daily (or at least weekly).

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Mountaintop Letdown

It's interesting how quickly that mountaintop experience feeling fades. Monday evening I got to spread a little of the conference enthusiasm to my school's site council. I was invited to give a feedback report on CSLA Onterio. Everyone was very excited and happy for the good report. Then reality returns and it's back to the daily grind.
The bad news is, there really is no money at my school. They really aren't kidding! I got a chance to look at the books; direct donations are down, magazine sales are down, no-one bought tickets for the big car drawing, escript is a bust, they actually had to pay the fireworks people $8.00 for tickets that didn't get sold... all the fundraising efforts are doing very poorly this year. I felt positively embarrassed to ask for the money to cover the books I bought at the conference. So I am thankful the site council funded me at all; it looks like they gave me the lions that's a sad comment if ever there was one.
What makes it so difficult is the difference between last year and this, last year we were flush, this year we are busted. Oh how I long for the days of steady state funding.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Tuesday morning, and I have finally gathered together all my thoughts on the CSLA conference. First, I had a great time. There is much to be said for getting together with like minded people. Just walking the halls and watching the people checking their schedules was fun. Meeting the vendors, and getting to see the products in 3D, not just catalogs, was fantastic. Meeting the SL2.0 folks in person was warm and wonderful. Hey Janet, Rob, & Kathleen, you guys are the best!

Second, I learned a lot. The money magnet session was really practical advise on how to get funding for the library. The poster sessions were really interesting, there is a lot of great stuff going on in the school libraries of California. I LOVED Kathleen Baxter, it was great to get advise on what to look for in non-fiction books. I think its a good time to weed my states books. I most likely have the Minnisota book she slammed. I now have her e-mail and after the holiday I want to get in touch with her to get more practical advise on middle school titles.

The one thing that gave me pause for concern...No youth. Where were all the young librarians? I had this idea that SJSU and was turning out some of the younger set. I saw far too many orthopedic shoes and not enough high heels. We need to start recruiting in a big way. We need to turn our attention to bringing in the harvest.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Progress, we're making progress!

All things happen for a reason.

Last summer when I was at the dump, I picked up the historical German magazines, which I blogged about on July 11th. Then in September I blogged about my concerns for a young man. All this time I have been struggling to make a connection with this boy. About two weeks ago "Aldo" and I were talking, when I discovered his interest in World War II, Nazi's, and the Holocaust. I showed him the should have seen his eyes. He immediately understood their significance. When I had him put on the white gloves so he could turn the fragile pages, he was so respectful. I pulled out, Rose Blanche, Cats in Krasinski Square & Legend of the Yellow Star. He began to read. Connection established.

Then comes last Friday. "Aldo" comes into the library, where he is sitting drawing some stuff that could get him into trouble. I gently let him know that it's probably not a good idea to draw those particular patterns. He looks at me and says, "Can I talk to you? Can I talk to you in private?" So we step outside and "Aldo" proceedes to tell me he is having a really bad day. Some kids had been calling him names at lunch and throwing things at him. He tells me that, though he really wanted to fight, he turned and walked away. I told him that I was so proud of him. Then he says, "When those kids pulled your braids when you were little, didn't it make you want to fight?" Chills ran through me, as we talked about appropriate ways to deal with harrassment.

You just never know what kinds of things are going to affect your relationships with students. Who knew that Hitler, Carmen Deedy,and George & Dan from my youth, were all going to meet in 2007, and work to positivly influence this troubled young man!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


The bookfair opened and two girls were immediately suspended for theft. And so the the Sword of Damocles fell. What is it about the trinket trash that causes such a stir? Have these students never seen a pen before? Are glittery pens so amazing that one needs $50.00 worth of them?

The good that came out of this is that one student, faced with the moral dilemma of staying silent, and letting her friends get away with the theft, or telling, and facing the wrath of her group, chose honesty. That choice gives me hope! Integrity, ethics, and moral fortitude are alive and well in Aptos.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Book Fair Mania

Book Fairs, ya gotta love 'em. They certainly are a double edged sword. The students just love all the books & trinket trash, and I certainly love the funds they raise, but oh my gosh the stress! There's something about crowd control that drives me nuts! Being responsible for all that cash floating around is SCARY. Of course its during the bookfair that the teachers always want that special lit set that is stored out in the back of beyond. I am pretty good at multi-tasking but during the book fair I just shut down mentally.

On the positive side, this year my library club members have really taken on the fair. They made the cutest shirts to advertise the fair. The theme, "Welcome to Wondeland" supports the All School Read of Alice in Wonderland. My contest is to Make a Mad Hatter Hat. I am giving out gift certificates to the fair for the "Most Outrageous" and "Most Beautiful" hats made out of paper plates & bowls.

I hope its a success. I can sure use the money!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What we have here, is a failure to communicate!

I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about this kid. He is a twelve year old American of Mexican ancestry. He has been in this country since his birth, gone to my district's schools, and currently reads at a first grade level. He is proud, proud, proud, a leader, and cannot admit to himself that he has a reading problem. It is not cognitive ability either, he makes a concious choice to fail. What am I going to do with this boy? He is angry, (a bit of me says he has a right to be!)unresponsive and at a turning point. The adults on campus all know this boy and if something goes missing, his is the backpack they search first...
Every fiber of my being wants to reach out and help this kid, but HOW? Am I wasting my energy? Do I just stand by and allow him to fail, or do I keep banging my head against this wall of pride? I have no answers today.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Yet another cool image generator

I was tooling around the net and found this ab fab image generator that takes a photo and creates a sketch.
Fun with your photos

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bright, Shining, Faces

Good Morning to you,
We're all in our places.
With bright, shining, faces.
This is the way,
To start a new day!

My mother used to sing that song to me in the mornings to get me out of bed on school days. This past week, as I was going through my library orientation program with the 7th graders, I looked out across a sea of bright, shining faces, some eager to learn, some already totally jaded, and I remembered my mother.

You see, each year in my presentation I invoke the ghost of my mother. I open up and tell the kids the story of my childhood. How I was the funny looking kid in braids. How I was the kid with cooties, the awful nicknames I had, and about the physical torture I endured during my elementary school days. As I share these memories, I can tell the bullies from the victims by their reactions. I talk about the lessons I learned from my experiences, how I learned not to cry in front of bullies, and how I learned that my mother was a liar. "Stick and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me." Mom was full of aphorisms. Why do I do this in my orientation you may ask?

In my library I have no rules. I do have three standards of conduct. For while rules were made to be broken, standards can only be met. My standards of conduct are:

1. The library is a quiet place for reading and study.
2. The library is a safe place mentally, physically and verbally.
3. The library is a place to care for and respect books.

I tell of my childhood to illustrate being safe verbally. My library is a safe place for all the funny looking kids on campus. I assure all the students, that internally, there is not a student on campus that doesn't think that they are not funny looking. I let them know right up front, that while they may get away with calling names out on the grounds, because of my personal history, they will not get away with it around me. It always gets real quiet during this part of my schpiel. It touches them. It is the beginning of relationship.

Relationship is why libraries work. You have to be in relationship to advise students. You have to be in relationship to recommend books to students. You have to be in relationship to motivate students to read. So those of you who only use your orientation time to tell kids where the fiction section is, I would advise you to be vulnerable, and use the time to establish relationship.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Morning Breakthrough

Sunday mornings used to be a time spent sitting in bed with the Sunday newspaper scattered across the covers, my husband reading the hard news & the editorials, I had the Living section & the classifieds, and the kids read the comics. Those days are gone. Sad to say, I don't even take a paper anymore. Today I warm my thighs with my laptop, to catch up on the blogs from the bloglines account. The cozy togetherness is gone, but I guess the reading is the same. Although I do miss the writing skill. Typos abound on the blogs and poorly worded sentences are the accepted norm. Just goes to show the editors and proof readers really did do an important job back in the day when linotype was king.

One of the blogs I read regularly is Dave Warlick's. In his "More Ranting about Information" he commented and linked to a teacher's blog Unknow Future which makes the point that blogging is not just about the writing, but it is about the reading. This then inspired Dave to add the thought that it is about the conversation.

The conversation, AH HA, that in a nut shell is the essence of blogging. What I want my students who contribute to the blogs at school to experience is the "Wow" moment when someone responds to their writing. The whole point of blogging is not just the writing, not just the reading, but must include the responding. Otherwise we might as well just be diarists, writing privately. So you and I, as the reader, play the most important role in the blogging experience. We can't just sit on the side lines, we must respond. Get involved.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Small Victory

It was a good day today. Of course my library is still in opening mode, tail ends of textbooks litter the tables. Will I have enough textbooks for everyone? So far so good, but goodness me, I can see we are going to have to do emergency orders PDQ!

Today was my first day of training my library aides, I do not have enough students assigned yet, I have a couple of periods where there is only one aide, and when it gets hoppin' in the library, I need a minimum of two to keep the library going smoothly. I was going over the overview of the quarter, talking about censorship and the ALA Library Bill of Rights, the projects I expect them to do, and all things they will be learning. During one period, my aide and I got to talking about summer reading. We were exchanging our summer read lists, when she made the following comment. "You know I really can't believe it, usually during summer I don't do anything related to school, and this summer I read four books and I can't wait for to pick up the new Stephanie Meyers book!" This from a girl who I had to pull eye teeth to get to read at the beginning of last year. I tell you I was doing internal summersaults. She's READING FOR FUN!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Teaching Teachers

Tomorrow is the first day the teachers will be back on campus. This is where the rubber meets the road. All my plans, hopes, and ideas will either successfully cruise along or crash and burn. I want to set up a time on Tuesday to teach the teachers about RSS feeds and train them to use the wiki to schedule. I have shown several earlybird teachers and have gotten favorable comments from them.

I've been getting more questions about my plan to use a wiki to schedule time in my library. I find it interesting that I keep getting the comment, "You mean someone could just go in and delete someone else out of the library?". Now I have to admit, that thought never occurred to me. I guess in theory that could happen, but then we have always done the paper schedule in pencil, and the option to cross out or erase off the book has been available for years. I think that has happened once in 18 years, and that was a misunderstanding on my part!

On Friday, I spent a part of the afternoon scheduling classes for my Library Orientation. The process seems pretty smooth. You do need to know a time frame, but once you put one in, it gives you an autofill option, so once you get going it goes even quicker. I also like that if you are planning on coming in multiple days in a row you just need to enter once, and it will fill in all the days.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


Sometimes I really should be doing laundry, but I find myself having a too good a time being creative. Here's my latest book trailer. Feel free to link.

Photos used under a Creative Commons Licence

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to work I go.

Well, it's back to work in the morning. I am really excited to be returning. I have so many new ideas for this year. The beginning of a new school year is like a fresh piece of paper with nothing written upon it. It has the potential to be a masterpiece or just another crumpled wad in the waste can. I like new beginnings; there will be new teachers, new students, new stuff and so many opportunities for learning. It will be good to touch base with all my old favorites, see how the students have grown over the summer, find out what the staff did.

New School Year Resolutions:
This year I will not expect any "ease into the program". I will anticipate a full schedule from day one. I will make time for myself! I will ask for help. I will accept help graciously and not be overly critical. I will continue to blog.

I hope I get some sleep tonight!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

"I have always dependeded on the kindness of strangers." Blanche Dubois/Tennesee Williams, "A Streetcar Named Desire"

I am always amazed when I am confronted by the generousity of people. This year I will be opening my school using the theme "Welcome to Wonderland", and promoting an all school read of Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass. On the calib listserv I made a request that if anyone had an extra copy, to send it to me. When I got a response back from Scott Bloom,a sales rep for Greenwood publishing, he responded back, not as a sales rep, but as a man with an idea. He proceeded to tell me that in memory of a teacher, Neola Sommerville(1906-2001), who taught with his mother in the San Jose Unified School District, that he was donating 30 Copies of Alice for my program.

I am truly overwhelmed by this gesture. This is one of those PASS IT FORWARD moments.
So Neola Sommerville, I salute your memory!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Children's Book Author begins blogging

A new entry into the blogosphere is Dave Keane, author of the Joe Sherlock series. In his blog he is talking about the fact that children are not reading for fun these days. A sad state of affairs in my mind. He links to an interesting article from the SF Chronicle which talks about the Harry Potter effect, which made kids read for fun!

Having been around the libraries before good ole Harry, I can attest that JK did indeed have a positive effect on boys and reading. Prior to HP, I could not give away a book longer than 100 pages. I think the effect is starting to run its course though. I see fewer and fewer students reading long books. I am happy that Deathly Hallows is about to be released (I have to find out if Dumbledore comes back as a ghost.) Hopefully Potter mania will hit once again.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Video Book Teaser

If you were a junior high student would this make you want to read this book?

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Surprising History

Today I made a most surprising find. A piece of history, just sitting on a counter, at The Last Chance Mercantile. Last Chance is just that, a thrift store, at the dump. The last chance for broken chairs, strange electronics, lamps with just a tiny hairline fracture. You have to have an eye for recycle and reuse when you shop at the dump. Many of my yard decorations and quite a few of the treasure that are on display in my library are Last Chance finds.

Today my cart was filled with a broken bushnell telescope, a huge, green glass decorative jar, a spelter lamp which I think dates from the 30s, and then I came upon them. Twenty-five German magazines, published in Berlin titled "Die Woche" dated 1932-1936. There he is, the smiling Furher, getting ready for the 1936 Olympics. Happy blond children doing folk dances...along side maps carving up the world for a bright tomorrow for Germany. Amazing. I literally had chills run through me.

I have to go and get an archival box and magazine sleeves. This next year, when we are studying the Holocaust, what a piece of the past my students will be able to access. I think it will really bring it home to them. It certainly did me.

Monday, July 9, 2007

All good things must end Wk 9 #23

I truly want to thank the SLL 2.0 team for putting this course together. I have taken lots of classes, been to many conferences, and spent hours (years?) at SBC days in which I walked away thinking, "That was a waste of time! I could of been cataloging!". That has NOT been my experience here.

My one sentence description would be, "Undeniably, the most useful course I have ever taken."

When I began this, I remember thinking, OMG they want me to BLOG???!!! I don't have time for this. Over the past few weeks I have come to enjoy sharing this learning experience. You are going to have to remove me from your RSS feeds, because I can't envision myself stopping. Hopefully, this blog will add to the blogosphere in a positive manner, not disintegrate into a whine festival.

You have taught me about so many valuable tools. These are things I will actually implement at school. My friend, John the tech guy, and I have been trying for a long time to find that, "Killer School App", that would allow the teachers to save time and become more tech oriented. I think my library wiki may be the perfect next step, an easy way for the ludites on campus to see the value of technology. Even the things I already knew about, i.e.,, bloglines, & LibraryThing, I have come to view in a new manner and to see additional, better, applications.

I have made "friends" with people on the Ning networks. I anticipate their help in continuing my life long learning journey.

The only thing I would change about this course is the ability to converse with the other students & teachers. When people made comments on my posts, my immediate reaction was to talk back, but the blog format is not condusive to that. Perhaps a wiki, meebo, or private Ning network specifically for those taking the course?

Thanks to all who read and commented.

New Graphic Generator

I had fun making this cartoon. It's from ToonDoo It was easy and gives you lots of options. I don't know how to shrink it to fit this blog spot though. Maybe if I saved it to my pictures instead of trying to embed?


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Roller Coaster Moment

Maybe this is a common experience for some of you, but I assure you, it seldom happens to me.

I was reading the Duke Gifted Letter this morning, because of Debbie Ablilock's post to the Calib list serve and found, to my amazement, my reading program cited. What a roller coaster moment!

Aptos Junior High has a chapter of Jon Scieszka's Guys Read program. For my part, I created a Blog where boys, fathers, and the male teachers on campus, get together to share books. It has been fun. It was so popular that I had to create a Girls Read Blog as well. Gender in reading is a particular interest of mine.

I am feeling all floaty and happy. Now I have to go shampoo the carpet. Whistle while you work!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Do you see what I see? Wk 9 #22

I have always been a print kind of a gal. I love the feel of a paperback in my hands, me stretching out on the chaise lounge, eating chocolate, and reading. So, asking me to explore ebooks is asking a lot of me.

Off into foreign territory I go. Ah, Project Gutenberg...Hmm, they seem to have quite a bit available.... Hmmm, could this help with my summer research project, re: Charles L. Dodgson?...Inputting author.....WOW!!! What a lot of print material I haven't been able to find before; logic problems, poetry, foreign translations, including Esperanto......FREEEEEEE! This is good stuff! What about e-Audio books? Holy Dodo Bird, Batman! I don't have to reinvent the wheel, my book is already there on LibriVox!

After days of surfing through the e-sites, I have joined BookMooch,tagged a bunch of ebook sites on my account (to be add to my school's web page later), added sites to my research wiki, read poetry, looked at new SciFi/Fantasy author's works on Baen Library. I have spent so much time on the computer, my husband is beginning to believe I am having an online affair!
This has been eye-opening. While I still prefer print materials, you just can't float in a pool with a laptop, I have found a plethora of materials available that are pretty, darn, tough, to find elsewhere.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sunday Morning Peruse

Here I am in Beautiful So. Lake Tahoe, checking out the fire damage. I am glad to say that it didn't harm my vacation rental, but there sure are a whole lot of people hurting here. I made a donation to the Locals for Locals Angora Fire Fund. When we went through the '89 earthquake, there were lots of things needed that the major relief organizations just didn't cover. 100% of this money goes to the people of the community, $0.00 goes to administrative costs. If you would like to contribute, send checks to:

Locals For Locals Angora Fire Fund
U.S. Bank
Attn: Jenny Domingo
P.O. Box 17640
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96151

On to other stuff. I was reading my Bloglines favorites this morning and came across this terrific search site for science videos. ScienceHack searches YouTube, Google Videos and Metacafe. Each of the videos is screened by a scientist or engineer for accuracy and quality. I watched a cool video on volcanoes and another called "What is a vacuum?". I tagged ScienceHack in my account.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sidetracked Week 9 # 21 Podcast

Okay, so I haven't actually gotten around to podcasting yet. I bought my Audacity Kit and downloaded all the software & gear last year. I had an idea, I wanted students to read stories to their younger siblings at my feeder schools. Sounds good, but I wanted the impossible. I wanted students to get permission from the authors prior to doing a public performance. Since this was an afterschool project for my Library Club, which meets once a month, there was a lot of initial enthusiasm, but no follow through. So change of plan, do works in the public domain. Getting Junior High students to choose, rehearse and record a story just didn't work in the library club format. Next year it will happen using my faithful library minions, the library aides(maybe).

Anyway, what I learned today was how to convert .wma files to .wav files. Not all audio files are suitable for uploading. Who knew? Although the lesson plan provided says that Itunes has the ability to do this feat of magic, I did not have any success in figuring that out. Each time I tried to use the convert feature it would not allow me, even though I own the music legally. So I had to burn the CD into my computer, download Switch, convert the output file to .wav and voila a file that can be played on a blogspot. I first posted the audio file to my Library 2.0 Ningpage,(Won't you be my friend?) which then allowed me to copy the embed code, so I could post it on this blog.
I am using the work for educational purposes only! So no enjoying the music!

I AM the bad film maker Week 9 # 20 (2)

I couldn't resist, I became the bad filmmaker!
My Video Thank You to all the people who helped make R.O.A.R a success during 06/07.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Film is hard Week 9 #20

After watching YouTube filmlets for three days, trying to find something worthwhile to post to my blog, I have to say,I have a greater appreciation for film directors in general. It is an incredible ability to be able to tell a cogent story on film. Who knew there were so many bad film makers with a dire need to share their work? YouTube has given them voice.
I searched on APTOS to see what was being posted locally. On the up side, I found some very exciting videos of “my kids” skateboarding and dirt bike jumping at the local Polo Grounds and the Post Office. No wonder my skateboard and BMX books are so popular. Think I will have to add some more. On the downside, these videos all contain copyright problems so I decided not to copy them. Is permission being asked to use this music? I don’t think so. I need to do a better job there.
I watched some very funny Library videos. I laughed at the Conan the Librarian vid. Found the March of the Librarians worthy of a smile. I was inspired by the Library 2.0 Manifesto. I carefully avoided foot fetish and “naughty” librarian vids, ewww! I watched Carl Sagan’s tribute to my Greek hero, Eratosthenes. (Too bad he puts me to sleep!)
I finally settled on Parker Posey as a very angry librarian. "Take a break girl!" Enjoy.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

LibraryThing Week 8 #19

"Thing" was my favorite character on the Adams Family television program. The bodiless hand creeping out of the black box, "snap, snap". Curious, competent, but just a little odd. LibraryThing strikes me the same.

I've been playing with LibraryThing since July '06. I am not very faithful to it. Every once in a while, usually during my holidays, I will go in and add a few books. I use it as more of a reading list, than a true catalog. I never thought about using it at school. Thomas Kaun, the fabulous Library Media Teacher at Redwood High's Bessie Chin Library, has placed an LT widgit showing new books that have been added to his collection. Great idea!

I have one reservation about LibraryThing; the search database is not all that extensive. I know it seems like Amazon has everything in the world, but I have run into "no hits" on some of my less well known books. For example, Michael Chabonne's Yiddish Policeman's Union. I searched Amazon, and they came up with a double set of books, because they're trying to make a sale. I tried Library of Congress, but no record appeared. That always confuses me, I always thought the LC had EVERYTHING catalogged. LibraryThing is supposed to be a quick hit, and if I can't find it within two minutes, I won't put a whole lot of effort into it. So I settled for the Amazon find and edited.

LibraryThing was where I first tried to use Tags. It made me smile to see my early efforts at tagging, which, by the way, I have since edited. I have learned some things this past year after all!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Zoho Week 8 # 18

About a year ago, School Library Journal featured Zoho writer as a technology to watch. Since I am a prissy person, concerned about students sticking floppy disks or thumb drives into my computers at school, I immediately took to this technology. Over the past year I have helped a bunch of students create Zoho accounts. I have used my e-mail address at school, since it is amazing just how many junior high students do not have their own e-mail accounts.

I have had students use zoho writer, & zoho show. They work very well, students seem to be able to grasp the concepts and are really excited. I have even had student's do the unthinkable; say, "Thank you!". Adults, on the other hand, are not as quick to catch on. For some reason they seem to like to stay in the Known Zone.

This year I plan on creating a (Horrors) piece of paper listing important online tools, that parents can take when they come to the library to pick up textbooks. Zoho writer will have a place of pride on the list.

This is however the first time I have attempted to export a document created in Zoho, We shall see. Will the color export?

Woo woo wiki week 7 #16, 17

Flash update!
I have now figured out how to create a Wiki. I even have created a link on the Aptos Junior High Library web page. I plan to use the calendar as an interactive library scheduling tool so teachers can sign up for library from their classrooms. I have wanted to do that for quite some time, but all the other ways that I have tried, didn't work. If the district doesn't block PBwiki, and we are in negotiations as we speak, this will work like grease through a goose.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wicked Wiki's Week 7 #16 &17

Finding out about wiki's is the real reason I wanted to do this class. The whole idea of wiki's intrigues me. How to effectively use such a public devise in a school setting, particularly with junior high students, is an interesting predicament. I noticed that all the wikis that were highlighted were used by adult or high school audiences. I would like to think that eleven to thirteen-year-olds were mature enough to handle a wiki, but since Wikipedia won't allow my school site to edit, too much vandalism, I kind of doubt it.
I would love to create a CYRM wiki, where students could analyze the books. I would love to create a Parent wiki where parents could share ideas. Maybe a teacher Wiki, by department, so teachers could share best practices? I can see lots of applications for this technology, but so far I still have not learned how to create one.

I really loved being introduced to Dave Warlicks blog. New one for my Bloglines account.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My thoughts exactly!

This film maker has touched my heart!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Soma this scares me! Wk 6 #14,15

Onward, ever onward into a "Brave New World" where books are obsolete and all our friends are virtual.

Using Technoroti to look at the blogposts that are out there, makes me so sad. All these millions of young people looking for the meaning of life, posting their khaki lives of heartache. They seem so hopeless, it makes me ask; Has Social Networking become the Soma of the 21st century? Is the internet way of life good for mental health? Is there some sort of virtual psychiatrist out there looking for virtual patients? They could make a virtual fortune!

In looking over the Web 2.0 perspectives provided I was disconcerted. Rick Anderson's view that a hard print collection is an "Iceberg", makes me glad my principal doesn't get that newsletter. I am trying to get money to rebuild the existing collection into something useful. Junior High students need to connect with print materials, not just sit around with warm thighs from their laptop.
I like to think of the computer/internet/social network as a tool, not the end product, just one more avenue to personal knowledge. Michaels Stephens' view of the "Librarian is Human" presupposes that we never were. Yet I support his ideas on technolust, since so many of our dollars go toward technology for technologies sake. Ultimately, I liked Wendy Schultz's Library 4.0 philosophy the best, mocha, a book and a pleasant place to sit and muse.

When I was traveling through my own adolescent trials, I found comfort in sitting in the library, reading, listening to music, & hiding in the stacks. I found lifelong friends in the books I read. Lloyd Alexander, L. Frank Baum, and Joan Aiken offered escapist lit where I could lose myself, forget my mother, boyfriend or the latest clique slight I had suffered. (I think I must have been trying to read in alphabetical order.) I thank those nameless librarian women who worked with me, and aspire to be them. I sincerely hope that in the search for the perfect piece of information, or the perfect techy way to connect with patrons, we never forget that these students we work with are living, breathing, flesh and blood people who may be hurting and can be helped by just listening, by a touch on the shoulder, by leading them to the perfect book.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tag you're it! Week 6 #13

I love! I have been using since January and I really like the process. I learned from the podcast about making a shared reading list. I had tried to figure that one out on my own, without success, and here it was...just use a shared tag. DUH, why didn't I think of that. That's why we take classes.

So after listening to the podcast, I went out to see what other people had been tagging and found a name that was familiar, Richiespicks, which I look forward to on the Calib listserv. I always save his reviews, so I went to see what he tagged and found a really interesting site with information literacy games that I know I will be using. This is like sliding down a dry, grassy, hill on cardboard, SLICK.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Week 5 # 12 Rollyo

Now this is an interesting concept. Create your own search tool. I could see that this could be used instead of creating a webpage devoted to a subject, which is what I do now on my website. Rollyo limits you to 25 sites. I have over 70 links to Middle Ages information alone on my resources page. Then again how many of them are actually repeats of the same site ie. I am sure there is some duplication.

I tried making a search roll for Muslim information. 7th grade Social Studies and I worry about the students finding questionable information when they do a general Google search. Once I had entered in 3 urls I created it, but when I tried to do a search it sent me out to it is harder than it looks. That was a bit frustrating, because I don't know what I did wrong. Then when I tried to go back I got a Page expired message, so there wasn't a chance for a do over. Practice makes perfect.

I can envision the process, and I think students would find it helpful, they might be more inclined to use a search engine than preset links, I think they would find it familiar..or maybe students could set up their own Rollyo search rolls for their projects.

On a personal note, I wish that they hadn't used drug/tobacco references when they created this site. I get that it is "humor" and find it mildly amusing, but still "Roll your own" has connotations I would just as soon not promote. Then again, perhaps the current generation doesn't know what it means.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Week 5 # 11 Ning

So I joined a social network on NING. Oddly enough, I joined ReefSpace where I hope to meet new aquarium friends to share frags with. I am setting up a new 100 gal Reef Aquarium this summer and coral frags are EXPENSIVE to buy, but trading is a great way to get new and interesting coral pieces.
So thanks School Library Learning 2.0 team for helping me put together my two favorite pastimes, libraries and fish!

It was good to find the Web 2.0 award winners. I am always trying to find people who want to donate to my charity of choice Reading is Fundamental and so I explored the philanthropy section. But the award winners mostly had to do with being "Green". The "Donors Choose" looked promising, but not really what I am looking for. I will need to continue to look at these excellent pages as I can see this will take some additional time.

Scratch Me

Create your own Scratch Ticket

Week 5 # 10 Image Generators

My goodness, time passes so quickly. Just seems like yesterday I was posting, but life intervened and I haven't had a chance 'til now to play, learn and share.
I think the image generators are way interesting! I had fun playing with Aniboom. I am horrible at putting the shapes together and getting anything tangible out, but my better half, the scientist, was really excited and proceeded to create an animated neutron crashing into an element....bang!

I also created a magazine cover that was pretty funny. I could see using that at school. I will think about creating a fun lesson around that this summer.

I like the scratch ticket idea, but had some trouble figuring out how to post it. I finally had success. Now I know I have to think about the order in which I do things..I had wanted the scratcher to be a part of this post, but it created its own post.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Week 4 #9

Find a few library related Blogs and add them to Bloglines. So I went out on Technorati and just for ha ha's tried to find my school's blogs. Even though my library site wasn't listed, I was jazzed to find that the Asst Principal at my site is a blogger. Where HE finds the time is a good question. I feel so blessed to work with people like Brian, he's so supportive of the technology on campus. He was one of the first people to post to the blog I created after hearing about Jon Scieszka's Guys Read site.

The conundrum with blogging is this; if blogging is an anonymous way of getting your message out into the "blogosphere", how will you feel when your anonymity is blown? After all, there you are, sitting around at 1:30 AM in your PJs, writing about your day, trying your best to be philosophical, to really say something useful, hoping against hope, that someone out there is reading your blog. Then you find out that the person reading it is Jerry down the hall! Suddenly, you're second guessing yourself.
What I am trying to say is this; when we are blogging, we have to remember the lesson every sixteen-year-old girl learns, "Never write in your diary what you don't want your mom to know!" There can be no real expectation of privacy when you blog. Anyone can find it, your boss, your spouse, your best friend or worst enemy. It is best to remember this, and blog accordingly.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Week 4 RSS Feeds

Really Simple Syndication....Simple??? In theory perhaps, and I suppose compared to what syndication used to be, it must be.
I have been using bloglines news reader since last summer. I find I check in a few times a month, I am not that much of a newshound. I subscribe to more feeds than I check, too. I always check Shifted Librarian & LII for interesting web sites and techie stuff. I have to watch out though, I can spend 6 hours surfing in the blink of an eye (Einstein was right, time is relative!) and get myself in trouble because I didn't go shopping for dinner, another Saturday shot to *%&#.

For the project I added a bloglines box, but I don't think I did it right. It goes to Bloglines alright, but not to my feeds. Must have missed a step. Will play again later.

One of my ideas for RSS feeds was to create a page on the library's website where all new materials would be posted. Then when we got new books or videos people who subscribed would be notified by the RSS. I have the spot, but not the time while I am at work.
Another is since classes are now using the Guys Read and Girls Read student review pages, teachers could be notified when their student completed the posting.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Week 3 Technology

I was checking my feeds on blogline late last night. I just love the Shifted Librarian, Jenny always has really interesting things. Anyway, she was going on about twitter, so I checked that out, but I really don't need to know what that many people are thinking second by second. Then she was talking about Stickis, which looks like a winner to me. You can "paste" notes onto any webpage, and review the page or set reminders. It's searchable, with tagging features. It is a social network as well, you can enable a specific group to see your notes. So now next to my icon, I have a Stickis icon too. Very Cool.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Week 3 Technology check

Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead. -Henry V- Shakespeare

Sometimes you just have to face down the gremlins as they appear. I checked the settings, but I don't know, they looked right to me.

If the comments spot is missing on this post, will recheck.

Week 3 Technology

You know, a billion years ago, when I was hired on as a Library Media Tech, one of the interview questions was, "Do you know how to use technology?" At that point in time, existing technology in schools included such advances as overhead projectors, copy machines, & film projectors. Knowing full well that copy machines and I had a mixed relationship at best, I blithely lied, "Of course I do!". But I figured that I could learn, and I have.

I did, however, have a bit of a background with technology. During the early eighties my husband and I owned a business. We were one of the first to install one of those new fangled contraptions, a Personal Computer, into our office for billing and tracking purposes. It was beautiful; with its bright green screen, and techy square font, it was just like something out of Alien. I learned how to do "Data Entry" with a Unix system. Boy was it fast!!!! I'll never forget the scorn the trainer had for me when I asked if we could play games on it. "This is a business machine!"

Well, we have certainly come a long way since those days. My kids are a part of the "I" generation. My son brought his Wii over on Mother's day and we were talking. He mentioned that he has had a copy every Nintendo game system except the original "Gameboy".

At school, I "stole" the first computer to automate the library, and spent one whole summer using my early "data entry" skills uploading the collection. With money I received from winning the Governor's Reading Award 2 years running, the library purchased the server which the school is still using. I believe in technology. I am always fiddling about with fun stuff I find on the internet. Bloglines has been in my favorites since last summer along with LibraryThing. I added a icon to my toolbar back in January and don't know how I got along without it. My hubby says I am an "early adopter" on the Bell curve.

I am however wary of some things. I know, for instance, there is a movement in library land to hold meetings in "Second Life". But I also know that not all in Second Life is on the up and up. Suggestions of money laundering, & terrorism keep me away from joining. So while it is fun to create Avatars and Trading Cards on Flickr, you cannot leave your commen sense behind. If you love Second Life, remember, people may not be as they depict themselves.. I'll say that to adults as well as students. Be cautious.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Day 2

What does one do when one has no memory? The problem with being a woman of a certain age, is that the memory goes. I had a heck of a time remembering what username/password I used when I created this blog...I know in the back of my mind that it is not a good idea to store any password information on the computer, so I don't. That means that I must rely on my faulty memory, thus limiting my choices. When I created this blog, evidently, someone else has chosen my preferred nom de plume.....forcing me to figure out a new one. I am sure that, over time, this one will become concrete, but right now I am in the soft, mushy, stage.

I had a great time yesterday playing with the Avatar program. I do have a bit of trouble with the thought that people spend real money on virtual clothing. I am still trying to buy real clothes with real money.

All right, so we are talking about being a life long learner. Easiest of the 7 1/2 habits of life long learners for me is the tool box. I have lots of tools in my box; books, websites, notepads, pens, pencils. I like learning new things, from joining jazzercize a year ago , (Now that's creating a whole lot of new synapses!) to trying to get a podcast started (unsuccessfully so far). Hardest for me is to view problems as opportunities for learning. Somehow when I am in the midst of tribulation, I am not in the mood for learning.
The one thing I missed in the presentation, was the importance of questions and questioning. To be a lifelong learner I think you must have curiosity and a lust for life! That is what I ask of my students when they come to the library to meet their non-fiction reading requirement. What are you interested in? What makes you happy? What are you passionate about? What do you want to learn? Mostly, I get a the shrugged shoulder response. "I dunno, nothing." I always, always, always make them think for themselves.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

WeeK 1 & 2 Another new beginning

Just what I need, another blog. Seriously, I have been blogging for awhile. I have set one up, hoping to get the Media Techs in my district to post their concerns and questions, but it is hard being ahead of the curve. Plus I host two blogs on my website for my students to "talk" about the books they are reading. That was great, last year, but I had a hard time getting students interested this year.
Finally, at the end of the year, I've got two teachers interested in making posting to it a project for their kids, so maybe year three will be the hit. You have to understand that these things take time!
I've found, I myself, don't have a whole lot to say. Frankly, I'm a better listener than "speech-a-fyer". I prescribe to Abe Lincoln's school of thought, "Better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt."