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?

Watch More Videos       Uploaded by www.bebo.com/bibliofan

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., del.icio.us, 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 del.icio.us 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 del.icio.us account.