Amazing! My first year at the high school is almost finished. I want to thank you all for welcoming me and being patient as I learn the ropes. And I am still learning. I have to say that I love it here.
This is the last newsletter of the 2008/2009 school year. Hopefully, I haven’t annoyed you too much and you have found interesting resources in the newsletters.
The usual disclaimer is in effect. I have checked all the featured links and they work! That does not mean that all the links will work when you read the newsletter. It all depends on the capriciousness of the blocking program.
The new library software is installed and we are happy campers. We still have things to learn and settings to tweak but the switch was fairly uneventful. This is a very big deal in library land and this will take our service to a new level. We tend to think of the library as this very nice room full of books and that our service is limited to this room. We need to change our thinking. The library is more than just a room, it is a resource and service that extends beyond the walls. The library is now online. It can be accessed 24/7. We have electronic books that can also be accessed 24/7 and we will be purchasing more electronic books.
I have created a short slide show to introduce you to our Destiny catalog. If you have a free moment, you could present the slide show to your classes.
Frontline: Did you know that you can watch 82 Frontline programs online? If you are not familiar with Frontline, it is a PBS series of broadcast documentaries on public affairs/ controversial issues. The programs run the gamut from biograpies (Jesus, Karl Rove….) to Business (Secret History of the credit card…), to Health, Science, Technology and Social Issues and History. Very cool.
Do you know about Teachers’ Domain: Digital Media for Education? “Teachers’ Domain is an online library of more than 1,000 free media resources from the best in public television. ‘“ Very rich site. You may want to check out Inspiring Middle School Literacy : Reading and Writing in Science and History. (I know it says Middle School…just check it out). You don’t have to register for a limited preview. Unlimited free access is available after registration.
Ah, yes. YouTube. One of the perennial problems is YouTube. YouTube has incredible, appropriate resources but they are blocked. I have suggested several solutions but thought you might be interested in a blog article by Joyce Valenza, “When YouTube is blocked (eight ways around”
So why do you care about YouTube? Isn’t it just crazy videos posted by crazy people? Not anymore. It has gone mainstream. For example the Library of Congress (LOC) announced on April 7, their own YouTube Channel. LOC has the world’s largest collection of audiovisual materials and they are beginning to put them online. This is fantastic stuff. The LOC YouTube project is in addition to their Flickr Photostream. LOC is also sponsoring Chronicling America. Chronicling America provides users with the ability to search and view newspaper pages from 1880 to 1910 and information about US newspapers published between 1690 til the present. LOC has also just launched the World Digital Library, which features unique cultural materials from around the world. What is so fabulous is that these collections are dynamic. LOC will continue to digitize and add to the collections. Primary sources! You can’t get much more mainstream than the LOC.
Primary documents are also available from the History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web.
Podcasts are to radio what blogs are to newspapers. Broadcasting no longer requires massive equipment, it can be done over the internet. Educational podcasts are done by teachers, students and for professional development. There are podcasts on just about every topic. If you are unfamiliar with podcasts, you might want to check these out.
Podcasts can be added to a RSS feed , just like a blog, so you don’t have to remember check each site for a new cast.
Mrs Joan Eastley, 79, of Big Rapids passed away on Thursday, March 5, 2009. Mrs. Eastley was a librarian at Grandville High School in the late 1960′s and early 1970′s. Her children (Robert 1970 and Mark 1973) and grandchildren attended Grandville High School. In her memory, the Class of 1970 Reunion Committee sent a donation of $50.00. The donation was used to purchase books in her memory. Book plates were placed in each book for a lasting memorial.
When I started this post, the sky was bright blue and it was 50+ degrees outside. It gave hope that winter was almost over. Now the temperature is about 18. What a difference a few days can make. Sigh.
Just a note: I checked all the links. They worked as of Friday, Feb. 20, 2009. On Monday a few of the sites are blocked. Hmmmm, somewhat frustrating. I left the links, with a note, so that if you are interested, you may access at home. And who knows, by the time you read this, they may be unblocked.
Don’t you feel that there should be a drum roll or at least a Charlton Heston-like voice saying: DEEEESTINY. It’s sort of a pretentious name. Destiny is the new, updated library management software program that we will be adopting this spring. What it means is that our library will have a new look and increased functionality. It will be online and available 24/7. So why change now? The K-12 librarians have been researching new library programs for several years. Money has been an issue. It is still an issue. We have not suddenly become rich, quite the opposite. What has changed is Destiny’s price. REMC 8 has developed a consortium to purchase Destiny. They will house the program on their fileservers. Their techies will do the upgrades. Everything has come together to make it possible to do this much needed upgrade. This is a pretty big deal in library land but it should be a smooth transition.
THE AIR THAT THEY BREATHE
Linda W. Braun has written a very interesting article in e-Voya on young people and technology. The article is targeted to teen library service but it is very easily translated to education in general. In the article, the author reflects on Don Tapscott’s book Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World. Love this quote:
No longer can teen librarians live in a world in which using technology for library programs and services is an add-on as opposed to a core feature.
Just substitute teachers for teen librarians and education for library programs and services.
Another great quote:
It’s time to move beyond the ‘Oh my gosh, what am I going to do about teens and technology’ attitude and begin thinking, ‘Let’s use technology as much as we can to reach teens in their digital world.’
Read the entire article at (blocked): http://pdfs.voya.com/VO/YA2/VOYA200902TagTeamTech.pdf
With that plug for the importance of technology, let’s move on to some really cool websites:
shmoop.com: If you don’t visit any other site in this newsletter, visit shmoop. It is aimed at secondary teachers and students of English and US history…which covers just about everyone. It is a must have resource and it is free, readable, organized and very, very interesting. Shmoop has three sections: Literature, US History and Poetry. The literature section has an intro, summary, themes, quotes, study questions etc and a large selection of classic literature. The US History section is amazing. So, who writes shmoop? It is written by Ph.D. and Masters students from some of the top universities. The writing is very conversational. It’s free. You don’t have to login to use – although some of the more advanced features do require a login.
LearningExpressLibrary: LearningExpress is a MEL (Michigan Electronic Library) resource and is free to any Michigan resident. Go to mel.org and click on Tests and Tutorials. Learning Express has practice tests, exercises, skill-building courses, e-books….basically an incredible amount of information. ACT prep, Algebra and Geometry courses, reading comprehension skills, etc. etc. It also has a brand new interface as of February 9.
Facebook : (Blocked ) And why would I be recommending Facebook? For a couple of reasons. It is a major way people stay connected and organizations and interest groups are creating Facebook pages. Did you know that the MEA has a Facebook page? It has the lastest news on the retirement proposal and cuts in education. MACUL has a Facebook page. Facebook is also becoming a factor in social and political movements. NPR just had a segment on women in India fighting for their rights on Facebook. Need more? Read this article from Time: Why Facebook is for Old Fogies.
Animoto: Powerpoint….. so 20th century. Animoto is an automated presentation generator. Images and music are used to create a message. There is a education version where you can register yourself and your students. Click on the “learn more” button to learn more. Easy, easy, easy. Another digital storytelling tool.
Create-A-graph: I suggested two graphing sites in the last newsletter…..perhaps they were too much fun because there was a problem with blocking. So here is another website and it won’t be blocked cause it’s from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
Glogster: Think of Glogster as an interactive poster. Sort of like a web page with embedded media links, sound, and video capabilities. Students can work individually or as a group. Scroll down on the page and look at the examples.
FreshBrain: “FreshBrain is an open and free web site…. that provides teens with the opportunity to explore, engage, and create through activities and projects. FreshBrain takes advantage of the latest technologies, such as web conferencing and social networking, to provide a very progressive environment where teens can complete activities and work together on projects.”
BigHugeLabs! Deceptively simple. BigHugeLabs helps “you do cool stuff with your digital photos”. Create jigsaw puzzles, magazine covers, posters, mosaics, trading cards etc. etc.
And remember, all these resources are FREE.
23 THINGS: Educators Exporing the World of Web 2.0
Want/need to learn more about Web 2.0? Sign up for 23 Things: Educators Exploring the World of Web 2.0. It is an online course facilitated by Ron Houtman at the KISD. You will learn about blogs, wikis, podcasts, social bookmarking, online photo sharing and editing and more. “You have 10 weeks to complete 23 ‘things’ at your own pace, on your own time, from the comfort of your own home”. This is not a class for beginning computer users. And it’s free! It runs from March 9, 2009 to May 11, 2009. If you would like more info, email me. Register at http://kentisd.org/teachers/Professional_Development/. Click on Browse Courses. Search by course number: #09RH0309. And it’s free.
Want to get a good discussion going? Have I got a couple articles for you!. Have fun reading and thinking.
- Cellphones in the classroom: Here’s an idea for you…. every student should have a cellphone and use it in the classroom. “The only difference now between smartphones and laptops, they say, is that cellphones are smaller, cheaper and more coveted by students.” Why buy an expensive laptop when a cell phone can do it cheaper and better? (Reg. may be required)
- Violence in media: Conventional wisdom says that violent media is bad and fosters violence. What if that’s not true? What if fantasy violence is actually good for kids, especially boys? What if young boys need more exposure to media violence to do better in school? I can see heads revolving now…just read….it’s interesting. The article is based on a book by Peg Tyre: The Trouble with Boys.
The Cybil Awards were just announced! What in heck are the Cybils? (Blocked) Cybils are the children’s and young adult bloggers’ literary awards. The purpose of the Cybil Award is to “reward the children’s and young adult authors (and illustrators) whose books combine the highest literary merit and kid appeal.” That means the books are not just well written but popular. So with that build up……the winners for 2008-9 are:
- Fantasy and Science Fiction: Young Adult
The Hunger Games written by Suzanne Collins
- Graphic Novels: Young Adult
Emiko Superstar written by Mariko Tamaki; illustrated by Steve Rolston
- Non-Fiction MG/YA
The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir written by Cylin Busby & John Busby
- Young Adult Fiction
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks written by E. Lockhart
Check out all the winners at: The 2008-9 Cybils Winners.
Do you know what are some of the most popular books in the library? Graphic Novels. I can hear the sighs and see the shaking heads. What has become of reading when kids are looking at comic books in school? Get over it! Graphic novels are a legitimate format for literature and can help kids learn to read and learn to enjoy reading. Here are a few reasons for reading graphic novels from Get Graphic: The world in Words and Pictures (Buffalo and Erie County Library).
- Increases reading comprehension and vocabulary.
- Provides an approach to reading that embraces the multimedia nature of today’s culture, as 2/3 of a story is conveyed visually.
- Provides scaffolding for struggling readers.
- Offers another avenue through which students can experience art.
Read more about graphic novels at the Get Graphic website.
Hot Chalk just got a whole lot better. The social studies department and the library purchased two more segments of the Hot Chalk Library. In addition to the NBC news clips we now have videos from the History Channel, National Geographic and PBS. These are full length videos not video clips! To access these great resources just login at http://www.hotchalk.com/ and go to MyLibrary.
Free Web 2.0 Stuff
Oh please, please somebody try this website out and see if it works (then tell me)!! It sounds so cool. It’s dabbleBoard. The online blurb says “Dabbleboard is a powerful online whiteboard that’s actually easy and fun to use. With a revolutionary new interface, Dabbleboard gets out of your way and just lets you draw.” Whiteboard without buying anything, except a computer and data projector. But still – how cool is that?
I just read about two online graphing sites – Crappy Graphs (unfortunate title) and Graphjam. Who knew graphs and charts could be fun……and part of pop culture? You can not only look at graphs (some are quite humorous and humor/graph is something you don’t often see in the same sentence) or you can create your own pie charts, venn diagrams, line graphs, bar graphs and equation editor. You may want to preview the graphs before you show to students because they are graphing pop culture. (May be blocked at school. They were not blocked last week but they seem to be blocked now.)
For you 10th grade English teachers with the technology term papers…….I have a website that might help. Inhabitat is a “weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.” It has a sections on fashion and transportation. I loved the world’s first energy generating revolving door…what a great idea.
Do you read about all this cool tech stuff but don’t have a clue what it is or how to use it? You might want to check out the Teacher Training Videos created by Russell Tannard. Many topics including: Easy Podcasting, Using Audacity, and All about RSS feeds. All for free.
If you haven’t visited the Grandville HS Library website, you might like to see what has been added. Direct links to the eBooks have been added. The ebooks that we own are electronic editions of reference books. Students have access to these books 24/7.
For those of you who are using TumbleBooks and Lookybook I have another children’s literature website for you to explore – International Children’s Digital Library: A library for the World’s Children. ICDL has books from many different countries and in many different languages. You can search for books from a particular country or in a specific language.
You also might like to check out Big Universe: A world of online children’s books. Big Universe has over 800 books but the unique feature is that you can create your own books. So, even though it doesn’t look like there are any foreign language books…. you could create your own.
The 2008 National Book Award
‘Tis the season. No, not for Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. It’s the book award season and one of the first awards announced are the National Book Awards. The National Book Award finalists were announced and the winners chosen on November 19, 2008. The National Book Award is an award given to writers by writers and recognizes the best of American Literature.
The finalists in Young People’s Literature were:
Laurie Halse Anderson, Chains (Simon & Schuster)
Kathi Appelt, The Underneath (Atheneum)
Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic)
E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Hyperion)
Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now (Alfred A. Knopf)
And the winner is: Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied. The books are available in the library.
SLJ Best Books 2008
Looking for a gift? Something that doesn’t require batteries, need assembly or cost a small fortune? Check out the School Library’s Best Books 2008. That list too long? SLJ has narrowed it down 21 books in their Holiday Gift Guide.
We have a new shipment of books that just arrived and there are some titles that you may want to check out for your vacation reading pleasure.
These sites may not have educational worth but they sure are useful.
- geni.com : Anyone do geneology? Check out geni.com. You can build your family tree and share family photos. Coolest of all, you can work collaboratively with other members of your family to build your family tree.
- scrapblog.com : Do you like scrapbooking? Piles of cool paper, stickers etc. etc. etc. Getting a little tired of all that stuff piling up but still want to save your memories? Try scrapblog. Create scrapbooks, share them online and print them out. No more paper to buy!
- dailylit.com: Ok, I’m a geeky librarian type but I think this is intersting. DailyLit sends books in readable sections. You sign up, find a book, and DailyLit sends it by email or RSS. Some books are free, for others you pay. You can get at least the first 3 chapters for free and then decide to purchase. Interesting concept.
- hulu.com: Don’t try this one at school – it seems to be blocked today. Do you wish to put another nail in the coffin of conventional TV viewing? Visit Hulu . “Hulu is an online video service that offers hit TV shows, movies and clips…….all for free.” More than 100 content providers. Users can choose from over 900 current primetime TV hits the morning after they air. So if you missed The Daily Show with Jon Stewart just go to hulu.com and you can watch it online. It also has classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Have a great holiday vacation.
Thank you for taking a few minutes to read the Library/Media Newsletter. I will try not to be too boring and provide you with worthwhile information. I won’t be bugging you very often but I will publish a Library newsletter 3 or 4 times a year….although I will do regular posts on this blog.
As with many other department budgets, the HS library/media center budget has been cut – by $10,000. This cut will obviously make a large impact on the resources that can be purchased. The cut will be most evident in three main line items:
1. Books: This is the largest segment of the budget so has the largest cut.
2. Media (DVDs): There will be limited purchases of DVDs. We will have to rely on KISD Film Library, United Streaming, HotChalk and our existing collection.
3. Online Databases: We will review the cost benefit of each database as it comes up for renewal. Proquest Learning: Literature has already been cut. The English Department was very gracious in advising me in this decision. We will depend on the excellent databases available from MeL and KDL.
All of our purchases will be examined and prioritized. I may be asking for your input in making some of these decisions.
If you gave Edublogs a try, you may now be at the point where you are saying “where is the @#!#$ manual”. Sometimes online help just isn’t enough. (Of course, this may be my geeky, linear librarian bias.). If you would like a manual, here is a link to one that may answer all your questions … even a few you didn’t know you had. Blogging with Edublogs (49 pages) produced by Janetta Garton, Technology Curriculum Director for the Willard R-11 School District in Willard, Missouri.
Cast your mind back a few weeks….to the pd days….it seems so long ago. Remember when I discussed translating YouTube videos for use in the classroom? I now have a cooler, easier, and more elegant solution for you: Edublogs.tv. Edublogs recently released Edublogs.tv.
The blurb on the website states: “Upload your own videos or simply grab them from YouTube (it only takes a few clicks!) to avoid school filters.” It does not have a huge library or many members but it works nicely and takes care of a couple of problems with the other solutions. 1. Easy to use. 2. Uploads YouTube or TeacherTube videos that you can then use directly or in your blog.
And why, you say, would you need to upload TeacherTube videos? Because there has been some problems with the TeacherTube code for embedding into Edublogs.
To show you how slick it works. I uploaded a couple of videos from YouTube to Edublogs.tv – at home, of course. Then I just linked to the videos.
This is also my subtle way of reminding you about Google Docs. I have been helping students with various problems that Google Docs may solve. Watch the two short videos on Google Docs.
Three cautions: 1. You need the newest Adobe Flash Player for Edublogs.tv. 2. There is a problem embedding more than one video in an edublog. Not linking but embedding…which is different. 3. I’m not sure what the school district is blocking and how this will effect Google Docs. I know we are experiencing a problem with gmail that Amanda is working on fixing.
We have recently purchased two Flip Cameras for the High School. Teachers who checked them out are very enthusiastic. The only problem I have encountered is that a few computers (that would be my laptop) don’t seem to have some of the extensions needed to run the camera. If you check out the camera and have that problem, don’t get frustrated (like I did) just go to a different computer and it works like a dream. Just as an aside, I also noticed that Costco is now selling the Flip Camera.
Hotchalk is a new resource for GHS. I haven’t explored it completely but has great resources for every curriculum. The NBC news clips provide a wide range of video that are especially interesting. And the clips can be linked to in a blog.
- Go to the REMC8 Moodle homepage: http://moodle.remc8.k12.mi.us/login/index.php
- Click on the “Create new account” button
- Fill out the requested information.
- Send me an email and I will contact REMC8 and they will activate your account.
- When the REMC is done with their part, I will let you know and you can begin setting up your courses.
This seems to have been a very “teckie” newsletter. So, I will end on a “bookie” note.
It’s finally here! All spring I have been working on converting our elementary libraries from a desktop version of Library World to the online version. The conversion consumed my life for the last few month of school. All the libraries were converted and cleaned up by the end of school. But there was one more step….a planned upgrade to LW 2.0. Last night, LW completed the upgrade and our libraries look beautiful…..well almost beautiful….. I still have a tad bit of work to do. If you would like to check out the online libraries, log on at www.libraryworld.com/opac. There is no password so all you need to do is type in the name of the library for the login. Check out our new libraries
Library names: GV Central, Century Park, Cummings, GV East, Grand View, Riverbend, GV South, GV West
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LookyBook is a new company that you might want to explore. It is an interactive book community that allows people to explore hundreds of picture books…..the whole book!! I can hear you now – what about copyright? The two founders of LookyBook, Craig Fraizer and Craig Virden, have permission from the rights holders to publish the books on the web. So, what’s the catch? No, catch. It’s free. The idea is that people like to see what they are going to buy. If they like the book they will purchase through the provided online links.
LookyBook plans on having over 1,000 books by the end of the summer. Every Wednesday will be “New Book Wednesday” with a minimum of 10 new books on the web site.
This is not meant to replace “real” books. It’s a new technology with a new idea. It will be interesting to watch how this develops.
Click on the “eyeballs” to view the larger version on Lookybook.