Tuesday, December 11, 2007


CWILL BC has come up with a list of holiday book pairings. What a great idea!

Another site which might inspire you to read or just be plain old good fun is
The Book Quiz. Answer a few simple questions and find the right book for you or someone you know well.

Friday, November 30, 2007

No Time to Blog

I haven't had much time to blog lately. We're on the mad dash up to winter break. I have been working with many classes to get students using Google Docs and Notebook and for the most part they seem to love them. They love:

- the collaborative features
- the ease of access, no more attaching files to email or server storage issues
- the user-friendly format

We discussed yesterday how information becomes more or less indelible once it hits the Internet. Students who wrote social comments in Google Docs on the first day learned that those comments stay online in the revisions section even if they were deleted from the document at a later date. So the message here is stay on task and school appropriate especially if you are inviting a teacher to collaborate on or view your work.

* * * * * * * *

Where have you been? By using the Visited Countries site I see that I have been to 8% of the world's countries.

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Lost Art?

I am trying out Diigo because I liked the idea that you can post directly to your blog from another web page. You can also highlight text, add a sticky note or comment. It took a couple of tries but the blog posting feature worked. It seems it didn't like it when I tried to change the font size. See the link to Nick Senger's post below along with my comment.

It tied right into what I was doing yesterday when I spent a couple of hours cleaning out old files at home. That is, the paper files I have kept in my filing cabinet over the years. I found cards and letters going back to 1961. What a kick! There were ones from people I no longer remember which I put in the recycling bin. Who was Doris anyway? I kept the ones from relatives and friends. The thing that really struck me was how much emotion was attached to just seeing the handwriting let alone reading the letters. I began to wonder what my own child will have to look back on. Most of her correspondence is kept in the cyber world. Somehow reading old emails, if I have even kept them in the first place, doesn't pack the same emotional punch. Note to self: write daughter a letter, put it in an envelope and mail it to her.

I wouldn't give up my online connections for the world but I still value those personal communications that come through the letterbox!

A Thanksgiving Lesson for Teens  Annotated

  • Is writing thank you notes also fast becoming a lost art? - post by bookminder

It’s almost Thanksgiving here in the U.S., so why not use this time to teach your students the ancient art of writing thank-you notes?  Show the world that teenagers can be gracious and appreciative too, if they’re given the right skills. With the following six simple steps, your students can be the most courteous class in the school.

Photo Credit: Wim Mulder

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm a Genius

Well, maybe not but apparently my blog reading level is. Must be all those big words. So, if YOU are reading this, consider yourself a genius!
cash advance

Thanks to Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk Blog for this link.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Using a Blog for Assignment Links

Further to my last post, depending on the assignment that students are completing and the information literacy skills focus for that assignment I sometimes provide students with a page of suggested sources. I have a blog, which I link to off the school library's website, to quickly create Assignment Links.

If you take a look you'll see two entries. I usually give the kids some tips for searching before listing the sites I recommend. For the countries assignment which a Gr. 8 class was doing I also created a Google custom search engine which would send them to the sites we wanted them to use.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Student Pathfinders

I have noticed several threads this week about how much we may be spoonfeeding students by finding resources for them. It seems so much easier at times to just post of list of sites for them to use.
However, I try to work with students whenever possible to help them refine their own searching skills.
We start by developing a list of keywords. This is sometimes done in the classroom with the teacher first. I have come up with a search plan that I often walk students through or select specific parts of to focus on at the beginning of each research class. Here's a brief description of what we focus on. I have a more formalized version which I hand out to students. Some teachers ask their students to compile an annotated list of resources (pathfinder) justifying their choices at the end of their searching.

* * * * * *
Student Pathfinders

Project: Write a sentence describing your project.

Keywords – Remember to consider both subject (Amazon River) and type of information ( diagram, graphics, chart, FAQs, glossary, maps, history, etc.) As long as you need to find more information you should continue to build your keywords.

Start with print! This is a great way to begin your list of keywords. Is there information in the textbook? The encyclopedias or other reference books in the library?

When you have a little basic information and some good keywords begin searching online. Try a variety of search engines: AskX, Quintura, Vivisimo. Try a directory: Librarian's Internet Index (lii.org), dmoz, or the Internet Public Library (ipl.org). They might also try Google Directory.

TIP: If you don’t find something useful in the first ten hits revise your search.

Which online databases from the school or public library might be useful? This includes encyclopedias and periodicals.

Are there any blogs or wikis which would be useful?

By the end of the first session in the library you should have at least three worthwhile sources.

* * * * * *

I find that when students are given the skills and a method of attack they become much more focussed. Before I started doing this we used to call the first research period "Madly Off in all Directions" after a popular radio program. Now the kids come in ready to work. They ask far more questions about the validity of sites and how to cite their selections. If their topic is a controversial one we talk about bias and how to find the author of a site.

It's still very much a work in progress but the results so far are gratifying.

Math/Tech blog

It's always a pleasure to come across a fresh new blog. This one offers a blend of math and information literacy at the k-8 level.
NJ Tech Teacher Musings

Friday, November 9, 2007

100th Post

A colleague put a newspaper clipping in my mailbox a few weeks back.
It was an article by a well-known columnist in a national newspaper. The gist of it was the utter futility of blogging. I was taken aback. Here was a presumably well educated, articulate journalist unable to see any upside to either writing or reading a blog. I scanned the article for hints of satire but could find none. What a shame I thought, to miss out on all the benefits of the blogging world.
This is my 100th blog post. To say that blogging has enriched my professional life would a gross understatement. The new ideas that have come my way have spread out into my practice. I now introduce students to an array of online applications which make their learning more creative, collaborative and productive. I have offered advise to colleagues I will never meet and benefited from their wisdom. I have read books and visited sites I may never have come across without the input of other bloggers.
I have a truer sense of how our world is shrinking and the potential for building global communities.
Thanks to all the people who have encouraged me along the way. Thanks to those who made me laugh, filled my day with wonder or struck a chord as they shared their teaching and learning experiences. I am glad I am part of your world.

Photo by cybertoad

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Funny Librarians?

It's nice to know that someone recognizes how truly witty librarian's can be. From Australia's news.com comes the article Comedy's New Chapter: The Librarians a six-part TV series. Episodes can be watched online at ABC. Apparently librarians can also be racey as the series comes with an "M" rating for mature.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Few of my Favourite Blogs

What makes a great blog? For me it is one which offers some practical tips, things I can put into use right away or provides some food for thought. Here are a few I make time to read whenever they pop up in my Google Reader:

Cathy Nelson's TechnoTuesday
Cathy's enthusiasm if infectious and she always pushes the boundaries.

Joyce Valenza's NeverEndingSearch
on the School Library Journal site
Joyce shares her successes and ideas as she explores new Web 2.0 tools

Will Richardson's Weblogg-ed
Another spot for great ideas.

Nick Senger's Teen Literacy Tips
My English teachers love his ideas and so do I.

Jen Hubert's Reading Rants
For edgey teen reads this is the place for inspiration.

Jeri Hurd's Bib 2.0
Jeri shares great ideas and chronicles her life as a librarian.

Improve your practice, make your day, read a blog!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Two Gems

I'm always on the lookout for web 2.0 applications which are easy to use and too good to resist. Here are a couple I came across recently which I know will be easy to hook both staff and students on. The first is Exploratree a site of interactive thinking guides. Think graphic organizers but with the ability to create, collaborate, save and share online. This application is in the testing stage which is good because it means you can easily contact the creators with suggestions or questions.

The next one is Class Tools free flash games for educators. Choose from 15 different templates to customize your own learning tools. There are examples from a variety of subject areas included which have great ideas to get you started.

AltSearchEngines have just posted their top 100 alternative search engines list for November 2007.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Math in the Library

Today I'm planning a display of Math books in the library. It may not be the most interesting topic for high school kids so I am trying to offer them more: a little humour in the form of some quotes and math jokes (The lottery is a tax on people who flunked math.) a bookmark with some math Homework Help links like Math Central and books like Calculus for the Utterly Confused.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Reading Lists

A favorite resource of mine has a new look. The ATN (All Together Now) Reading Lists site has been moved into a wiki format. This change allows librarians all over the world to update, expand or create reading lists. It was interesting to read about the history of the site on the home page and to see how the original vision of the creators has been realized. I often turn to these pages when I get requests from students for book recommendations. There are over 1400 lists organized into categories such as author, genre, read alikes, read alouds, themes and more. You can subscribe to the RSS feed or receive email updates.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

International School Library Day

This would be a great time to thank all those generous school librarians around the globe who take the time to share ideas and resources. My practice is enriched daily by their blogs, wikis and contributions to nings. Have you joined the TeacherLibrarian Ning yet? When I signed up last spring there were perhaps 40 people; that number has now swelled to 924 members and growing. What a powerful resource!
Thanks to Joyce Valenza for creating TL Ning.

I have learned so much from all of you. My days now begin with a quick look at Google Reader to check my RSS feeds. I didn't even know what an RSS feed was last May.

Thanks to those of you who read this blog and take the time to comment or ask a question. I value your input.

Enjoy ISL Day. The distances continue to shrink through the connections we make online as our worlds expand through the experiences we share.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Here's another neat little application called VoiceThread and has some great classroom applications. You can upload an image and add comments, spoken or written. You can invite other people to add their comments. It's a good way to start discussions, reflect on a shared experience or explore a new concept.

If you click on the image you can zoom in and move around. I've created a very simple one with only one page but you can put a series of photos into one presentation. I used both the text and voice features.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Congrats to Canadian author Susan Juby whose latest book "Another Kind of Cowboy" has been given the thumbs up on Reading Rants. I had the pleasure of hearing Susan talk about the book this past spring and it promises to be a treasure. CM Magazine has a wonderful profile of Susan.

GG's Short List

The Canada Council for the Arts has announced the names of the finalists for the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Awards. Categories include fiction, non fiction, poetry, drama, translation, and children’s literature for both text and pictures. The winners will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

Downloadable images of the shortlisted books, together with additional information about the 2007 GGs are available on the Canada Council web site.

Monday, October 15, 2007

K12 Online

I started listening to my first presentation on the K12 Conference Online. I didn’t get very far into it before I had to hit pause and play with one of the ideas I picked up.

The presentation was "More Than Cool Tools" by Alan Levine, Brian Lamb and D'arcy Norman. Alan Levine was talking about his wiki post The Fifty Tools where he presents 50 web tools you can use to create a story. The wheels started buzzing around at light speed and I had to try out Slideshare using a PowerPoint presentation I had created to give students some tips on searching. I have posted it below and will also post it to the school library web page. The really fantastic part was that I could post the presentation directly into this blog from Slideshare.

They just make it so darn easy these days to be creative and then share! Now back to listen to some more of the presentation.

Search Tips


From: bookminder, 6 minutes ago

Search tips

SlideShare Link

Saturday, October 13, 2007

If you haven't read Marylaine Block's Ex Libris article Party People you should. She offers her observations on the wild and wacky things librarians will do to promote their libraries. In closing she offers the following quote:

You see, I don't believe that libraries should be drab places where people sit in silence, and that's been the main reason for our policy of employing wild animals as librarians.

From the sketch "Gorilla Librarian" from Monty Python's Flying Circus

Marylaine also serves up a smorgasbord of useful links each week called New Neat Stuff on the Net. View her New Neat web page to see archived links or sign up for a subscription to her weekly emails.

And if you come up with a fabulous idea for bringing your library to life share it with us by posting a comment here!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Safe Surfing

With news reports daily about online identity theft, accounts of people whose online profiles in social networks have kept their job applications from being considered and other Internet safety issues it behooves us to teach kids some strategies for staying safe online. Here are a few of the resources I use:

* Ewan MacIntosh's great article "We Can’t Teach the New Literacies Soon Enough"

CyberWise a site from the Government of Canada

* Internet 101

* LiveWires

* Be Web Aware

* Media Awareness Network This site is a gold mine of ideas for teaching all aspects of media awareness including topics such as bias.

* Surf Swell Island A Disney site for younger students.

Photo credits: Used under the Creative Commons licence granted by bionicteaching http://www.flickr.com/photos/bionicteaching/; photo found at http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=1291097530&size=m

Welcoming the Next Generation

We have 5 student teachers beginning practicums with us this week. I took the opportunity to invite them into the library during the lunch break for a brief orientation. They were amazed at how many students were using the library. They were amazed that the kids were allowed to eat while they worked.

I gave them a few starting points for using the library. I explained how kids are more successful when they start with print materials before going to the computers. I told them about some of the many information literacy strategies we teach: how to develop good keywords before you start searching, evaluating resources, developing different note-taking techniques, using information ethically, developing projects that give kids practice in being problem solvers, using online applications like Google Docs and Notebook.

One of them asked about the library budget and they were all astounded to learn that it is less than $9.00 per student.

I am looking forward to working with them. Hopefully when they have classrooms of their own they will use their school libraries and work in partnership with their librarians. And if they don't have well-stocked school libraries with trained librarians they will advocate for them.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

October Sites

Be sure to check out YALSA's Popular Paperbacks lists for 2007. They include recommendations under the headings of Get Creative, I'm Not Making This Up: Addictive Nonfiction, and What's So Funny.

Get a global perspective from Ask500People. Login and then pose your question to people from around the globe. While most answers will come from Europe and the U.S. there are some people responding in India and South America. Hopefully the coverage will expand as the site catches on.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Road Trip

This past week I was in lovely Invermere presenting a workshop on using the web in the classroom. We flew in on a 30-seater puddle-jumper which was thrilling, to say the least. Gotta love those air pockets. During the presentation we took photos of the workshop in progress and then at the break loaded them into animoto. As the day wrapped up we showed the 30-second video to the group and they were amazed. I've been thinking about using animoto to make a point in other areas so when I got back to my school I took snaps at lunch hour when the library is standing-room-only. I forwarded the video on to my staff and administration. What a powerful way to give a quick snapshot of life in the library. The program has wonderful music clips, I chose "Let's Go Crazy", or you can import your own music.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


A new way to work with photos is Splashr.com. Here's a sample I created using the tags library, books and read. Splashr searches tags in flickr to find images matching your tag choices and then offers you a variety of presentation options. It's free and you don't need to create an account to use it. I believe you can send it to a file you have created on flickr and use own your photos. You can create slideshows or flash presentations of photos.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Attribution Update

A more recent post in Flickr in the discussion on how to properly attribute creative commons photos offers the following advice:

First, look in the description of the photo to see if the photographer has mentioned anything there. Then look at the profile page for the photographer and see if anything is mentioned there.

If no mention of attribution, then it seems to be commonly accepted that the attribution would be a link back to the photo page on Flickr with a credit to the person's Flickr name.

And the people at Behold have been working to fix the problem of the changing CC status of some photos. Life is good.

Presentation Play

Lisa's Report Just a quick post created to show a visitor the wonders of Google Presentations.

Clear as Mud

I notice that students have trouble figuring out how to correctly attribute photos they find on sites like flickr which have Creative Commons licenses. Are there any clear standards? I posted a question in the flickr forum and got some very interesting replies including one from a person who works on developing the flickr search tool Behold. This is a copy of the conversation in that forum over the past few hours:

Attribution for kids

bookminder (That's me) says:

I work with high school students and find that they are very confused about how to attribute correctly. Have the people at flickr ever considered posting a simple page with specific examples so that kids can easily tell how they should attribute photos they use?

Posted at 3:56PM, 26 September 2007 PDT ( permalink | edit )

Reply #1:

Erm, if people are using photos from flickr, they need to contact the respective photo-owners to find out how they want to be attributed.
Posted 17 hours ago. ( permalink )

Reply #2:

This is not a simple task, since attribution depends on the kind of copyright or creative commons license and the use of the image (is it journalistic fair use for example).
Posted 17 hours ago. ( permalink )

Reply #3:

There isn't a standard way. Each photographer may have there own requirements. For myself one can simply use my user name on flickr as that is the name that they are posted under. Others may want to be attributed by their real name. In the case of CC images you can look here for some guidance.

NOTE the CC clause of making clear the terms of the license.
Posted 17 hours ago. ( permalink )

Reply #4:

If it's a CC-license, there's no need to directly contact a photographer (That's the point of the CC license). However if the photographer leaves no specific instructions for how they wish to be attributed, then the CC license terms require simply doing the best you can. Flickr handle, name if it's available, etc.

It's the photographer's responsibility to spell that out if they choose such a license,
Posted 14 hours ago. ( permalink )

Reply #5:

In case you want to know how to contact Flickr still, there's a "Help by email" link in the foot of every page of the site.

But Flickr will tell you the same that all these people above :-)
Posted 13 hours ago. ( permalink )

Reply #6:

Have the people at flickr ever considered posting a simple page with specific examples so that kids can easily tell how they should attribute photos they use?

I like the way Scott Beale handles it at Laughing Squid:
Posted 12 hours ago. ( permalink )

bookminder says:

Thanks for all the great replies. This gives me a much better idea of how to advise students. They will, of course, only be using Creative Commons works. I am showing them how to use the new photo search Behold and click on the "and are free to use box".
Posted 10 hours ago. ( permalink | edit )

Reply #7:

Well I just did a search on Behold for all pictures tagged Glasgow, and found All Rights Reserved photographs. Even when I click the "commercially" button. That doesn't seem right to me.
Posted 9 hours ago. ( permalink )


Hi, bookminder and werewegian, thanks for the feedback on Behold. I work on this search engine. werewegian, i checked the photographs you mention against my index, it appears that quite a few people have changed from creative commons back to all rights reserved. Behold updates its index every so often and these changes have not all been reflected. Thanks for pointing this out! I will fix this with more frequent updates shortly.

P.S. I do wonder what the implications are of releasing something as creative commons and then re-licensing it as all rights reserved.
Posted 7 hours ago. ( permalink )

Reply #9:

If a photo is Creative Commons, and someone then uses it under that license, then the license cannot be revoked for that usage. But future uses are no longer covered by the license.
Posted 7 hours ago. ( permalink )

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Adding to the Trap Lines

Here's an interesting blog by a Canadian called The Teacher List. Author Pete MacKay publishes a link every week day for teachers interested in technology education.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Education Journals

AERA SIG has published a page of links to Open Access Journals in the Field of Education. They have sourced out journals from all over the world and the list includes "only links to electronic journals that are scholarly, peer-reviewed, full text and accessible without cost."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Better Searching

In his Bookmark Meme post Patrick Higgins pointed out Behold a search engine that searches Flickr. One of the things I like about Behold is that you can ask it to give you only images that are free to use. It also allows you to search for images tagged with (your choice) that Look Like some specific thing.

Another of Patick's choices led me to Kristen Hokanson's Connected Classroom wiki where she lists some great tips for searching the deep web.

Image: (michelle)'s photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyefruit/

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Value Added

Today I was asked what online dictionaries I might recommend for a class using the library. This reminded of how I approach all requests for materials. The over-riding question for me is always what can I teach the students about using the Internet/library that they might not already know.
So here's what I recommended:

* have a look at the Internet Public Library site. On the left hand side-bar there is a heading titled "Ready Reference" and a sub-heading "Dictionaries". The dictionaries page offers a smorgasbord of choices with annotated links to sites with various thesauri, rhyming dictionaries, phrase finder and other more conventional dictionaries. I like Merriam Webster online as it gives auditory pronunciations for each entry as well the etymology.

* teach students about Google's definition search. Enter "define:cantaloupe" or whatever your word is.

* Visit the Librarian's Internet Index. This will give students experience in using a directory. lii showcases the wonderful variety of dictionaries available in many fields.

* If you subscribe to World Book Online it has a very easy to use dictionary.

* Can't remember a word but have the meaning? Try OneLook Reverse Dictionary. It also generates lists of related concepts or terms, finds crossword puzzle answers and answers basic identification questions such as "What is the capital of Canada?"

When I received the question I immediately emailed my group of fellow teacher librarians to see what ideas they had. So my clients have the benefit of several brains working on their query in addition to whatever lessons I can build in around the resources available.


Last night I spent some time reading back over my blog posts since I began this journey in March. It became clear that my focus has shifted over time. What I originally intended as a blog which students would read has become more of a resource for educators. I have used the blog to:

* showcase and think about new Web 2.0 applications
* ponder trends in technology and education
* write about projects I have been working on
* learn about myself and my teaching style
* pass on ideas
* keep a record of what I am reading
* house links I use often

I have progressed beyond wondering if anyone else would read this blog to installing a tracking application. I see that about 1/3 of people who view the blog return for another look.

I have been pleased and surprised when other blog writers quote me or refer to this blog.

It's been an interesting trip.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Good enough?

David Warlick posed an interesting question in his 2 cents worth blog A Conversation about Wikipedia "What happens if it’s wrong?" He was considering the validity of using Wikipedia as a source.

When a class comes in to the library to do research I always spend time at the beginning reviewing resources with them. Yesterday with a Gr. 11 class I looked at a Google search for material on the Great Depression. The first hit was Wikipedia. When I asked the students what they thought about this source a torrent of opinions came flooding out. There were two valid comments:
- anyone can edit it
- it’s good for keywords

After some discussion they concluded that the Wikipedia article would be good to use as a starting point as long as it wasn’t their only source.

We went on to look at the rest of the Google hits and discussed which ones might be worth a closer look based on their URLs. AND we looked at the print resources the library had to offer.

Kids don’t want to fail. When they are given choice and an opportunity to learn why certain sources are better than others they listen. They start to become more discerning users of information.

In my job as a teacher librarian I ask myself the “Is this information good enough?” question all the time. Is the activity, or skill the student is practicing more important than the validity of the actual data they are using? When I think about it we are always dealing with misinformation. One only has to look at the number of times studies in the health field contradict each other. Coffee is bad for us. Coffee is good for us.

In addition, everything we read has come through two or more filters. First the writer gives us his or her perception of events. Then, as readers, we bring our own interpretations to what we read.

The real question should be "Are we giving our students the skills to become discerning, ethical users of information?" Is what we are teaching them good enough?

Friday, September 7, 2007

My Wired World

Yesterday my library joined the 21t century. No longer will we bear the scorn of our colleagues in the wired world. The hardware to complete our conversion to an automated system has been installed and it's all systems go. Well almost. We cannot sign books out to students as central office has not loaded their accounts into the system. We can sign materials out to staff who were here last year but not to new staff. As with many things technology related it seems to be two steps forward and one step back. We now have an online catalogue which works, most of the time.
Fortunately most of our books still have cards and pockets so we are able to use old technology until the new system works.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Reading Rants Improved

Jennifer Hubert's popular teen book review site Reading Rants has been transformed into an interactive blog. Teens can respond to Jen's reviews or write their own. There is an extensive list of Book Review websites and blogs for teens as well as kid and teen lit. blogs for grown-ups. Expect the extraordinary!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Passing on the Good Stuff

Thanks to Carolyn Foote for the two lovely Math Blogs she sent in her comment. I have been thinking about how to convince my staff to read the blogs I pass on to them. Here's what I have so far:

You read a blog because
* You discover great ideas to enhance your practice
* You find like-minded teachers to empathize with
* You uncover unique solutions to common problems
* You laugh
* You might just be inspired to start a blog of your own

I'm hoping at least some of them will give it a try.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

On the Eve of Instruction

With school opening on Tuesday I came to the sad realization that I will be losing the luxury of spending an hour each morning reading my RSS feeds and gleaning wonderful, insightful new ideas.
This morning one of those gems came from Carolyn Foote in her Not So Distant Future blog. She writes about Collaborative Research: Rethinking the Model and includes some practical ideas for encouraging student networking in school.
One of my hopes for this year is to get each of my staff reading at least one curriculum specific blog. I will be recommending Nick Senger's Teen Literacy Tips to the English teachers but am still on the lookout for similar blogs science, math, socials and French. Any ideas?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back into Reading

My focus this summer has certainly been the wonderful myriad of new tools available on the 2.0 web. But as I enter my final week before school resumes my thoughts turn to ways of inspiring kids to read.

One of the biggest challenges with high school kids is to get them to look beyond the cover. I always cringe when I see a student drop a book like a hot coal when one of their classmates gives them THE LOOK. You know, the one that says, "I wouldn't be caught dead reading that and you are such an idiot for even picking it up." A colleague passed on a great activity, a Book Pass, for helping students move beyond that. It's most effective with Gr.8/9s. Before the kids arrive in the library I set out a good variety of titles in groups of four on tables. The kids sit four per table and then are given 4-5 minutes to look at each of the books, passing the books around the table after each reading. They must try to learn as much about each book as they can in that time. At the end of the time they discuss which books interested them and vote on which one they would recommend to the rest of the class. This forces them beyond the cover and into the text where the really good decisions can be made.

Another favourite activity I play with them is good cover, bad cover. This works well when you have a title like Ender's Game which was re-issued with a cover more appealing to 10-year-olds than high school kids. I hold up the books and get them to vote on which book is more appealing. The re-issue always gets fewer votes. Then I tell them it's the same book and also one of my favourites of all time.

I challenge students to stand up for their reading rights and not let others make decisions for them.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Take a Note

I had some time this morning to play with Google's Notebook (works with Firefox) and was impressed with its ease of use. Notebook sits quietly at the bottom of the screen and with a click you can open it up, type in a note or take a clip from any web page you are on. With the clip you automatically get the URL reference in your quote. Notebook is a collaborative tool which you can make private or public and invite others to add notes or edit yours. Changing the background colour of notes might be a handy way to identify notes related to subtopics.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A few Drafts - Revitalized

I just noticed that I had several drafts sitting idle and so have decided to put the pertinent bits into one post.

What is Web 2.0 and how do you use it? In my readings lately I have come across a number of viewpoints describing in some detail what 'proper use' of Web 2.0 applications would consist of. I see things differently. The question that comes to my mind is: How can I use this technology in a meaningful way (for me or my students) and what is it's potential. I love to learn about all the wonderful things a new application can do for me but that doesn't mean I will use all those features. For instance, I use a wiki for the workshops I give. It's not a collaborative effort, just me posting useful videos, links and lesson ideas. I will be showing a teacher in my school how to use a wiki with her students next week. For her, the collaborative model will work well.

Be sure to check out:
The NY Times has published its
100 Notable Books of 2008 list.

Yalsa's Popular Paperbacks Lists for 2008 and 2007YALSA's Popular Paperbacks lists for 2007. They make great starting points for quick brochures or web lists.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Straight Up

Life's a learning curve and mine's been steep of late. I've been playing with Google's MyMaps and created a simple map of a kayak trip I took. It was easy to add markers (you can change these to a variety of different symbols) show the route, and add commentary. The part that eluded me was how to add a photo from Flickr's Creative Commons. I settled for adding a link to the Flickr page. Not as impressive but it will have to do for now. To see the map click here.


As I read other people's postings I find myself in a perpetual state of thankfulness. Today's big thank you goes to Josh Catone on Read/Write WEb who posted about Google's MyMaps. His thoughtful post gives a very clear description of how to use MyMaps and I immediately thought of several projects at school that would be a perfect fit. I increasingly see the potential of Web 2.0 apps for helping less able students to express themselves in exciting ways. Some of these might include:
* Mapping the setting of a novel (real or imagined) and illustrating it with images from the Creative Commons.
* Planning outdoor education trips - the kids could suggest activities and promote their ideas with images.
* Create a treasure hunt associated with a novel, theme or historical concept. (For example: explain why each marked location is significant/ if x had gone to point A instead of point B how would that have impacted them?/explain how the three marked points on the map have a connection etc.)
* Present a walking tour of any significant location complete with images and annotations.

I like the fact that students can choose to make their map creations public or private. Can't wait to show this to my staff next month. Thanks Josh!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Summer Reading


I started this summer feeling lost. My library is being automated and the presence of cataloguers had precluded my usual plan to lug home bags of books to read over the summer. However, it didn't take long to fill the coffee table with alternatives. Some came from a visit to my local discount bookstore, others from the recommendations of people in the Web 2.0 community and a few from friends. It's been a great summer for reading due to the unusual number of rainy days; we broke several longstanding records. Now with another full month of holiday ahead I think it's time for a visit to the local public library. Read any good books lately?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

It's Elementary

In his post today, Rethinking 'Crossing the Chasm' Alex Iskold writes about the challenges facing those who market new technologies. I see a strong correlation with librarians who are trying to promote web 2.0 tools with their staffs. A common theme this summer in the Teacher-Librarian blogs I have been reading is "How do I get my staff enthused enough to get them to use these neat tools with their students?" When I saw the graph Technology Adoption Life Cycle I immediately saw my staff falling into the same categories. One tip that made sense to me was to use those 'early adaptors' as allies and co-trainers when it comes to staff ProD.
And thanks to Dave Warlick's Guilt 2.0 post for his suggestion to have local tech staff on board when presenting.
And thanks in general to all those tech gurus out there who take the big concepts and present them in small easy to chew bits for those of us who are just beginning to dip our toes in the waters of web 2.0!

Monday, August 6, 2007

I've Been Tagged

My cyber friend Jeri Hurd over at Bib 2.0 has tagged me for the 8 Random Facts Meme.
The Rules:

* Post these rules before you give your facts
* List 8 random facts about yourself
* At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
* Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged

I'm feeling more than a little pressure after reading her own highly interesting random facts but I'm game to give it a try:

1) I love to kayak.
2) I once proposed to a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman. (Mostly because he asked to speak to the man of the house rather than talk to me and I said that the position was vacant and would he care to apply? He didn't.)
3) Guilty secret: I often read the end of books before the beginning.
4) I am extremely flattered that Jeri listed me amongst her 8 great bloggers.
5) I'm a terrible photographer but love to keep trying.
6) I play a mean game of Mexican Train Dominoes.
7) I'm a confirmed techie but still love getting snail mail.
8) One of my dreams is to visit Peru.

Now, about the tagging, like Jeri I don't know many other people who blog, well, none really, except for the exalted gurus she mentioned, so I hope that anyone reading this posting might leave a comment and a link to their own blog.
The 2008 Yalsa Popular Paperback Nominations lists are now available online @ YALSA This year's topics include Sex is a Touchy Subject, Magic in the Real World, Get Your Game On and What Makes a Family.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Challenge Ahead - Week 3 - Thing 7

It's been exhilerating discovering neat 2.0 toys. If you've been following this blog you'll have noticed that I got seriously side-tracked as I set up RSS feeds and began reading all the wonderful things that various people have posted. Playing with MindMeister brought home the need for me to organize my thoughts and decide what and how I will present ideas to staff in September. Last year I tried to interest them in trying out a blog but there were no takers. I settled for offering a workshop on how to use Inspiration. This year I will have a much clearer understanding of how 2.0 tools can be used and can provide some good examples to draw staff in. And I'll work with kids in the library showing them how to enhance their research, sharing and information gathering by using some great tools. Then teachers will have some student experts in their classes to make the journey easier.

Motivator from Flickr Toys

Week 3 Thing 6

Playing with Flickr toys has given me lots of ideas for enhancing the school library web pages and promoting library services. Today I played with Motivator and created a simple poster using a photo taken of a group of us out workshopping around the province. Flickr has lots of other toys, some of which I have used and posted here (fortune cookie and badge) previously. I think these 'toys' also provide great opportunities for kids to express themselves creatively to make a point, summarize, demonstrate knowledge or pose questions.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


Here's a great collaborative mind mapping tool. MindMeister allows you to quickly create a mind map online. You can share it publicly or selectively invite others to view and collaborate. The history allows you to see when changes have been made. It comes with a quick tutorial. This app seems like another great way to have students who are unable to meet in real time find a way to collaborate.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sorry Harry, You've Been Upstaged

I've spent these past few days immersed in a fabulous book. What could be keeping me up leafing through the pages, filling my brain with a smorgasbord of ideas? In one of her postings on TeacherlibrarianNing Jeri Hurd recommended Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson. This book is more than living up to her endorsement and my copy is bristling with stickies and notes as I plan for September. My wish list includes starting some wiki pathfinders with staff and colleagues in other schools. (Thanks for this idea, Joyce!) Showing staff and students how to use social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us and furl. Finding more ways to incorporate flickr creative commons images into assignments.
For example:
*What would any given character's flickr album look like? Would their collection of images look different at the beginning of the story and at the end?
*If you wanted to send a powerful message to the world on a specific topic what images would you use? Compile those images in a flickr badge. Can others discern what your message is from viewing your badge?
*select an image representative of a theme. Then select areas of that image to annotate with your own commentary or questions.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

Image is everything, or so they say. These are some of my great finds of resources for digital images that can be used freely or with some restrictions (use the phrase creative commons when searching):
TASI or Technical Advisory Service for Images is a great site which focusses on finding and using digital images.
Other sites to check out are:
And of course flickr

There are many government agency sites with free images and I hope to develop a list of Canadian sources over time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More on blogs

I recently signed up for an iGoogle account which I use solely for the purpose of keeping track of the blogs I like to read as they are updated. This saves me having to check each one individually and lets me pick and choose which ones I wish to read.
This morning brought me a lovely overview of recently posted ideas on how to improve presentations from Joyce Valenza's NeverEndingSearch on the School Library Journal site. If your students need a PowerPoint tune-up this would be a great place to start. I plan to share these ideas with my staff come September as well as incorporating them into my own work.

BCTLA blog

Thanks to Val Hamilton for creating a blog for BCTLA news posts.
BCTLA blog
This is a great way to keep up with the latest news and add comments.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Ready for more?

You might want to check out Joyce Valenza's blog post on SLJ for July 8: The NeverEnding Search. She presents a truly dazzling smorgasbord of Web 2.0 tools to explore; and here was me thinking I'd have an early night! And if you still haven't heard of TeacherLibrarianNing you really should take a look or better still join. It's an online meeting place for a wonderfully supportive, creative group of librarians and the perfect place to pick up new ideas, ask questions and meet with like-minded people from around the world.

Friday, July 6, 2007


The idea to create this came after two long and intense days of learning the automated system the library will have come September. I can see using a tool like Toondo to bring some interest and humour to the library website. It didn't take long, the program is very intuitive and it was easy to load into this blog.

Update, I notice that Toondo has become Toondoo. Feb. 2010.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

School Library 2.0 Week 3 Thing 6

The toys in Flickr provide lots of fun and some possible educational uses. Earlier I created a Flickr Badge and have been thinking of ways to use this with a class. How about having students find photos to support a theme, choose photos that a character in literature might have in an album or which represent significant aspects of their character (What would Lady Macbeth's Flickr Badge look like?), plan an imaginary trip, choose photos that would provoke discussion around an issue or community event. Or they could choose photos which represent novels they have read over a given time period.
You could use the Create a Personalized CD/DVD Cover tool to make a cover for a compilation CD of the protagonists favourite music/music to enhance the theme of the story. Have students use the magazine cover maker for an event in history or a biography of a particular person or character.
The possibilities are endless. It would be interesting to give a class an assignment to meet specific curriculum related objectives while making the best use of a flickr tool and see what they come up with.

Friday, June 29, 2007

"Mental Inbreeding"

Banning Bad Books is Not the Answer. Reading this article by Rachel Kramer Bussel brought home to me the importance of teaching students to think for themselves in a world where social networks proliferate. When sites like Facebook are used to persuade high school kids that a creative prank would be a great idea on the final day of classes, kids need to be able to make the right choices for themselves. Making the right choice starts with being allowed to make choices in the first place, take the consequences for your actions and learn from your mistakes. This should be happening when kids are young and a bad decision has minimal consequences, "Gee, I wish I'd chosen the strawberry flavoured icecream instead of the lime." Let's not ban books but rather teach kids what to do when they come across reading material that is offensive to them personally: put the material down, skip the passage and go on reading or find someone to discuss the passage with.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

23 Things

Today I officially start School Library Learning 2.0 and begin working my way through the 23 Things. Well, strictly speaking I have already played around with some of them such as flickr and starting this blog. So for the record I have completed:
Week 1 Thing 1
I read about the program and am excited about learning new ways to apply Web 2.0 tools to school uses.
Week 1 Thing 2
As an educator I comfortably use most of the 7 & 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners. Habit 1 - Begin with the end in mind - something I usually do but at times it's interesting to explore and see where things take you. Perhaps the one I have to remind myself of most is Habit 4 - Have confidence in yourself as a competent effective learner - this is difficult on days when taking the next step with technology is a little like learning to speak a foreign langauge on your own.

Week 2 - Thing 3 - Creating a blog was one task I had in hand! Setting up the blog was easy but I have found that a prior knowledge of a little HTML has been most helpful and lets me do some little extras like bolding words or adding a little colour. I plan to spend time compiling a list of really great educational blogs and blog use ideas. Part of this Thing was to create an avatar; see The Virtual Me. This was fun but not something I wanted to spend a lot of time on.

Week 2 - Thing 4 - Register your blog. As I am not a CSLA member I won't be registering my blog but hope to share what I learn with colleagues in my own school district, or you, if you've stumbled across this blog and decide to return to read further!

Week 3 - Thing 5 - Flickr - Now this was a great find. I have used it to share photos both professionally and with friends and family. It's a fast way to share photos and also a great way to store them online for future use. More to come!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Flickr Badges

Tomorrow The Automators arrive. The library has been weeded and reweeded, tweaked, buffed and polished. With their permission I hope to take a series of photos to make up a Flickr badge similar to the one I created today using other people's public domain photos. I love the way one photo at a time is featured. If it works I plan to make one of the library when it's full of kids to post on the new school website.

Friday, June 22, 2007

What I learned today.

I just read an article in the Globe and Mail about how kids are turning to social networks like Facebook to get information on using drugs. A poll company, Neilsen Buzz Metrics, recently analyzed 160,000 messages to find out what teens are talking about. The article goes on to point out that parents should be concerned about the types of misinformation their teens are getting through these chat sites.

"So where do you go to find a researcher who is intelligent, imaginative, skilled in the use of computers, devoted to discovering the truth, and knowledgeable about science, technology, history, and literature and who usually works for dirt and gets credit for nothing? After lunch I drove to the city library on Main and asked the reference librarian to find what she could on ... "
- James Lee Burke. Last Car to Elysian Fields. Simon & Schuster, 2003.

Thanks to Marylaine Block for finding that great tribute to librarians. She usually adds a quote to her weekly New Neat list of hot links and they are always enlightening or entertaining.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tag, you're it!

Always looking for new ways to pass on interesting and useful sites to staff, I have decided to make better use of del.icio.us. In the past I have set up email lists for each department and regularly pass on great sites. If I make better use of tags in del.icio.us I can add to lists for each subject area, give the URLs for those lists to staff and from time to time remind them to check the lists. My biggest challenge is going to be using tags effectively and in fact remembering to use them at all. I notice they are sadly lacking from a number of posts in this blog! Hmm, I wonder if del.icio.us could be used by a group? Why not share the log-in and password and have several individuals adding their great finds? Sounds like a great proposal for the secondary librarians group I belong to.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

School Library Web Sites

Revamping or starting a web page for your school library? Check out Joyce Valenza's WebQuest About School Library Websites. She presents information in the traditional webquest format with exemplars from all levels of school library sites. Great to see some B.C. school libraries made her lists!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Summer Daze

If you enjoy reading blogs, combing them for ideas or simply entertainment then you'll love the Best of the Web Blog Directory.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


As the year draws to a close I seem to be consumed with administrivia. I've unearthed my "June To Do" file and started my "September To Do" file. The walls are getting barer each day and I have begun the annual weeding and resorting of files. The computer files are always the last to be done and I truly despair of ever getting them into optimum shape. I still have 84 overdue books to track down and must finalize my periodical order for next year. The kids seem to read them less and less and so the collection shrinks each year which may just perpetuate the problem.
As the collection is being catalogued in preparation for automation in late June I won't be able to have my pick of the shelves for summer reading. This seems seriously unfair! I suppose the public library will benefit but I never seem to be able to return those books on time and loath the resulting fines.
I am looking forward to starting the librarian's 2.0 things and will track my progress here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

InfoLit Skills

Here is a link to the Shambles list of sites dealing with all aspects of information literacy. A wonderful place to go for inspiration.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Here's a link to my del.icio.us page for great WIKI information. It includes tips on developing wikis, examples of wikis being used in schools and lots of interesting ideas for wiki projects.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Library Videos

Ya gotta love 'em!
Library Dominoes
Ray of Light
Betty Glover Library Workout Tape

Exploring Flickr

My next project is to get a handle on Flickr and so today I took a picture of some new books in the library, saved it to Flickr and then pasted it in here. I hope to take a number of pictures this summer to use in presentations and web applications. Flickr was very easy to use. I liked the feature it has for changing the size of the picture once you've uploaded it.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Wikis and Podcasts

I have been lured away this week to play with wikis and podcasts. The mike for my computer arrived and I tracked down the perfect student to help with GarageBand, the one who will make a great teacher someday: patient and knows how to dole out information in small doses. I made my first sample book review podcast. When it's refined I will take the next step and learn how to export and publish it before I set out in search of a teacher who is willing to lend me some students to give it a try. I also started a wiki with some colleagues. I'm finding it a much steeper learning curve than getting a blog started and it really helps to know a little HTML. But, I can see the advantages a wiki has over a blog for doing some effective online collaboration. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Digital Booktalks

I'm hoping to get an iPod with a microphone soon so I can start doing some podcasts of booktalks with students.
Visit my del.icio.us page for some links to great sites with digital storytelling, booktalk how-tos and some great examples.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

How I Spent My Summer Holidays

Take a look at School Library Learning 2.0. It's a great way to log some ProD. hours and give you lots of ideas to incorporate into your practice. It was set up by California's School Library association but they welcome anyone to join.

"It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end." - Ursula K. LeGuin

I've been travelling for work lately, which I love, although it imposes time strictures on the other parts of my life. As the year draws to a close there is always so much more I want to do but know I won't have the time for. I hope that the really great ideas will still appeal to me come September. The library is about to be taken over by cataloguers who will transport it from the days of cards and pockets into the 21st century. As with all changes it will bring a sense of progress and empowerment not without its own challenges. The weeding is finished, a task both rewarding and heartbreaking. Plans are in place to replenish the shelves, always a challenge with limited funds. The timing is perfect with minimal impact on classes and students. A new set of skills and vocabulary present themselves. So here's to next year's new system, in a freshly painted space with a new administrator in the school.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Free Comic Book Day

May 5 is Free Comic Book Day. To find a store near you go to Free Comic's click on Where to Get Free Comics and enter your postal code. There's one right here on the North Shore and many others in the Lower Mainland area.

We Live in Interesting Times

The next two months promise to be lively around here. I am in the final stages of weeding to prepare for the arrival of the automation team in July. Hopefully I will be out in a kayak somewhere at that time. The library is also undergoing a facelift which involves painting, replacing the circulation desk, buying new furnishings and equipment. I've lost count of the many meetings to choose colours, design the new desk area, decide on soft furnishings, and arrange for the removal of old furnishings. In addition our school website is switching to a new service so that means trainings and restructuring. Out with the old in with the new. Then we have the usual end of year things: book returns/overdues, inventory, writing the year-end report, tidying up budgets/orders, preparing calendars, handouts and displays for September. They say what doesn't kill you makes you strong!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Streaming video

Visit my del.icio.us post for some bookmarked links to great free online video resources. There's some fabulous stuff out there good for all areas of the curriculum.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Gadgets Galore

A gold mine of gadgets for your web page or blog can be found on the Google Gadgets page. I looked through six pages of everything from calendars to games, clocks, weather forecasts and more and still didn't come to the end of all Google has to offer.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Frozen North

At the risk of perpetuating the myth (for those of you who might be reading this south of the 49th) I have awakened to see frost on the windows of the cars outside. I travelled north to Prince George last night with 3 colleagues to present a workshop on using the Internet in the classroom. The plane was small, just 50 seats, and the descent to the tarmac would have rivalled any Disney attraction.

Friday, April 27, 2007

New Toys

My time spent on TeacherLibrarianNing has been very rewarding. Today I explored the possibilities of del.icio.us and created a list of bookmarks. The librarian in me was not satisfied with one long list so I learned how to make bundles (categories) to better organize my list. I also explored the lists of other people who had similar interests and found very useful sites such as libSite.org which is a recommendation service for library-related websites. One thing leads to another...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ha Ha Very Funny

I learned from the "New This Week" bulletin at lii.org this morning that the first Sunday in May is World Laughter Day. Seems like a great idea to me. I've added a link to some great humour under Mystery Spoots (This is not a typo, see my earlier posting "R is for Resources" for an explanation.) I was reminded of a great April Fool's joke I pulled on the kids a few years ago. I announced on the PA that library fines would be levied on all overdue books at the rate of $1.00 per day per book. The kids came flying in the door waving their books! Check out the link to Laughter Foundation. I notice there are no events listed for Canada, have we no sense of humour?
I've also added some links such as DwarfUrl (a service for supplying short URLs similar to TinyURL) and Book Review Finder. Thanks to the wonderful teacher librarians at TeacherLibrarianNing who are such an amazing wealth of information. You really should check it out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What's the Word?

I have too many passwords. As the summer holidays approach I always promise myself I'm going to write down all my log-ins and passwords but somehow I never manage to do that. Come September I will be fuming and wracking my brain as I try to log into Blogspot, or file a work order for computer repairs. Be creative they tell you. Choose an original password, one that no one, not even you, will be able to remember in ten days time let alone over the summer break. I have abandoned memberships all over the place because I can't remember the password. I know, I should establish one email account that I use solely for memberships, but then it would require a new log-in name and password wouldn't it?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A New Community

Finding time to explore all the wonderful things Web 2.0 has to offer is a challenge but well worth it. This week I discovered a great new teacher librarian ning. (Don't ask me what a ning is, haven't figured that one out yet.) I joined TeacherLibrarianNing as it seems a great place to learn with like-minded people. Signing up was simple and I have even managed to join in a few discussions. Once you are logged in you can post comments, ask questions or generally exchange information with teacher librarians from all over the U.S. and a few from Australia and Canada. The best thing I have learned there so far is that if you want your community (staff/school) to embrace new technology you have to use it yourself and provide them with great examples. Sort of like dangling the old carrot in front of their noses. Take a look at TeacherLibrarianNing, you can read all the posts without signing up, but what why not join?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day. I've been walking to work this past month, a given when gas prices jump close to 25 cents a litre. It's a good time to set the day in order before I walk through the door. And it seems to impress the kids. Next year we're focussing on some grassroots greening projects, making it a school-wide focus.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

It's Always Pro. D.

The name of this blog has changed to better reflect what it is I do in my professional world. During the past 3 weeks I have immersed myself in the world of blogs and learned so much my brain is bulging. There's a fine line between taking in useful information and total overload. I wish I had a mentor sitting with me to explain all that new terminology. But I haven't done too badly. It's good to feel the utter frustration I felt yesterday when trying to add a video clip to this blog. The template was there, the video loaded but with it came three other clips I did not want. The upside is that now I have a focus and a plan for implementing some meaningful Pro. D. Next year I'll be responsible for logging 15 hours of Pro. D. time independently. My plan is to use sites like PLCMC's Learning 2.0 - 23 Things to tap into some of the powerful teaching resources out there.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Trying Something New

A friend sent a little humour my way today in the form of a rap version of Wordsworth's I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud". Now for the 'new' part. I'm going to try loading it on to my blog.
Off to find some help. When I loaded it on to my site I got the video I wanted plus 3 others I didn't in a 'filmstrip'. Hmmm, any fellow bloggers out there able to help?
I'm removing the video until I can figure this out. In the meantime go to Wordsworth Rap

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Just discovered this great site thanks to Marylaine Block. LibriVox states that "volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and publish the audio files on the Internet." You can listen or read selections and search or browse the collection. A sampling of selections includes "A Little Princess", "Twas the Night Before Christmas", "Frankenstein", "Aesop's Fables", O. Henry short stories, Shakespeare and much, much more.
They are also looking for volunteers to help with this wonderful project.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hats Off!

Hats off to the wonderful teacher-librarians in Coquitlam School District for their site supporting the new science curriculum. Check out the Science 9 page for links for both students and teachers.

Friday, April 6, 2007

And another one, and another one

I've just added my two favourite links for books in a series to the side bar under Links to Great Reading. The first is from Mid-Continent Public Library and the second comes from Bettendorf Public Library. Now back to "The second life of Linus Hoppe" companion to "The Destiny of Linus Hoppe" which I am enjoying every bit as much as the first book. Both are set in a dystopic future.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Good stuff on the Web

I was inspired today by the cool-reads website in the UK. (See side bar for link.) This amazing site was started six years ago by two kids when they were 11 and 13 years old. It has reviews "for 10-15 year old readers by 10-15 year old reviewers". Quite an accomplishment. Who could resist their lead-in for fantasy titles: "Huge battles, wily witchcraft and mysterious magic. Not to mention vast moving cities." They have a large selection of other booklists all with brief descriptions to get you hooked as well as links to reviews. Watch for a display of their fantasy suggestions in the library soon.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

What to Read Next?

Not sure what book to pick up next? Drop by the library for some good recommendations or check out the different genre areas in the library such as science fiction, mystery, fantasy, historical fiction, books for guys or short stories. Look for our brochures on themes like "That Crazy Little Thing Called Love" or "Wanted: Criminal Elements". Use NoveList which can be found through the North Vancouver District Public Library link under Reference Links in this blog. Check out the "Links to Great Reading" on this blog page.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

North Shore Bear Festival

April 23-29, 2007
Learn to co-exist! See a bear? Stay calm. Stand still. Speak softly. Slowly back up. Celebrate our bears. To find out more go to northshorebearfest.com.

Where Is That Book?

Visit WorldCat to find books in libraries near you. Simply enter the title of any book, CD, movie or article you want to find and your postal code. WorldCat will tell you which libraries in your area carry that title. You can click on the library link to access that library's online catalogue. I tried a few samples and got results back from the Vancouver Public Library as well as local university libraries. An added bonus is the "Cite This Source" feature which gives you the citation in five different styles.

Monday, April 2, 2007


So how many of you were taken in on April Fool's Day? One way to check out those warnings and web hoaxes you get from well-meaning friends is to go to Snopes.com.

Posting a comment

If you have visited this blog and would like to post a comment please consider the following:
What information would you like to see posted on this blog?
Read a good book lately? Tell us about it.
What parts of this blog have you found useful?

Search Tips

If you are a dedicated Google user you might want to try using their Cheat Sheet (see Reference Links in the side bar). It has lots of great ideas for making your searches more effective. I recommend branching out and trying a few new search engines as well. Have a look at Quintura or try a directory such as Internet Public Library.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Travel Time

I spent the past week escorting 43 teenagers on a trip to Italy and Greece. I was able to re-experience some previously visited sites and see them through fresh young eyes. The kids were amazed and so eager to soak up new cultures. It was worth every minute of the 28 hour journey home and not even lost luggage could put a damper on the trip.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Case of the Missing Files

I went to one of my favourite sites today and it was missing in action. Reading Rants has lots of edgey teen fiction and I go there often to look for ideas. What can you do when your favourite site is missing? I have a couple of suggestions. One way is to Google the name of the page and then click on "cached". Or, if you know the missing site's URL try using the Wayback Machine found on the Internet Archive site. These will give you versions of the page as it looked in the past. And if anyone out there knows what has happened to Reading Rants please let me know!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Just Hanging Out

Now hanging out with a good book is even more comfortable. Come in and try out the new bean bag chairs!

Which comes first, the book or the web site?

If you checked out Library Ninja in the Mystery Spoot list you'll see an illustration of one of my pet peeves. My library aid and I often have similar races to find the answer to a question and guess what? The one who searches print resources often wins over the one who does the Internet search. Why do kids go to the web first or rely solely on the Internet to provide information?
Come into the library and check out some of our fabulous hardcover reference resources. You'll save yourself time!

R is for Resources

Check out the links to the right for some really great resources. Look for more to come in the future that will lead you to great books, online reference sites and spots of interest. When I was growing up we used to drive past a sign that said "Mystery Spot". There was a round 'spot' drawn on the sign which made it read "Mystery Spoot" and sent us into gales of laughter. I will be posting a few
"Mystery Spoots" of my own.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Into the deep end

What's new this week? Well, this blog for one. This will be a place for me to recommend what's new and interesting in the library or talk about something great I've just read. My most recent read was Dead Connection by Charles Price. If you like a mystery with lots of tension that keeps you guessing until the end.