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.