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