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; photo found at

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 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.