Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Walker Books, 2013

Mallory knows the definition of isolation because she’s living it right now.  Her mother avoids her; Colleen, her best friend, is forbidden to see her; and Brian…..well, he’s dead.  

Mallory was the one that killed him, but she was never charged with murder.  Although she’s technically free, it doesn’t seem like it.  Brian’s mother is constantly parked in front of their house waiting and watching.  She can’t help but bump into Dylan, Brian’s younger brother and knowing he sees a murderer.  The whole town looks at her differently, whispering behind her back.  The best thing her parents can do is remove her from the situation.

On the day Mallory enters Monroe Prep, she knows her past has followed her, thanks to the dean’s son, Jason.  For her, it was dislike at first sight.  For him, it was a new target.  Then comes the dorm debacle, with her roommate moving out as soon as she hears about Mallory’s past.  No matter where she goes, the isolation follows.  Krista and Taryn, part of the Monroe student elite, snubs her and makes sure everyone else follow suit.  Herd mentality at its best.

But at night, Mallory knows she’s not alone.  Something or someone has followed her, getting into her room at night, whispering to her.  She sees a car near campus, waiting just outside the gates…too much like home.  So, she copes with all of this through sleeping meds, but she still hears the Boom Boom Boom of Brian’s heart, still hears his voice, and sees his searing handprint on her shoulder.  No one can help, not even Reid, the person Mallory allows closest into her private life.  

And then the unthinkable happens and Mallory is once again center stage….

Megan Miranda has written a provocative psychological mystery that interweaves stories both known and unknown.  In traditional format, the reader gets to see the viewpoints of all the major characters in the book, but it’s the main character and her battle with the trauma she went through that will carry the readers into wanting to know what will ultimately happen to her and who exactly is involved.  The reader will question which character they can trust, and which ones they find culpable.  The cover is equally dynamic, also hinting at the mystery hidden within the pages.  Is someone getting framed?  If so, who and why? 

Those looking for a thrilling read will be sure to enjoy this one. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ounce of Curation is Worth a Pound of Cure: Information about Digital Curation

I've been fascinated about digital curation and its uses in education.  So here, in note-taking format, are things I put down about digital curation after I proposed this to our tech department as a topic for a  tweetchat.  It's also sparked me to use this for a presentation proposal at a tech conference(crossing my fingers!)
Read on if you want to know a little more about digital curation :)

DC is the process of sorting through too much information and packaging it around a theme

it is NOT the same as social sharing or repost/retweet.  It's not about ME, but more about the INTENT

You can include social media for S (students) to access content and leave feedback as a source of evaluation

Scoop.it; Storify; Pinterest; Paper.li; digital bookmarks; trap.it (best testing); Flipboard

Impacts digital literacy, student engagment and creativity

Get S to curate for projects, research papers et al to collaboratively share information

T (teachers) can use across curriculums as well as enhance their own

DC MUST use Bloom's through forum and discussion.  Don't use curation tools to simply bookmark sites.  It MUST ENGAGE students!

DC should answer the why, who for, and the value of its whole for T and S together

DC isn't autonomous and helps create a broader PLN

When textbooks are no long used in a class, DC is an alternative to creating your own textbook

McGraw Hill Create excellent example of DC

Open Author another good example.  Also excellent OER

Knowmia over 10k video lessons for teachers, including creating/sharing lesson plans and vids


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Infographic: How to Create a Book Trailer

I looked at all of the presentations I've done or articles I've written, and condensed them into an easy to read infographic that tells it all simply and visually. This will also be in my presentation at Tech Day for the Southern California Inland Library System in May 2013. The static link is: https://magic.piktochart.com/output/9a1b311b-fc4a-4fca-aa6d-a61b4d7ad843

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Librarian Six Word Memoir Collaboration

From everywhere and from different backgrounds and knowledge, we all came together to create this site and I thank you so much!  Click on the image to get there and enjoy....

Friday, April 12, 2013

25 Book Campaign for high schools

This isn't going to be a typical blog, more like all the notes I made when talking to two outstanding junior high librarians who do this at their campuses.  There, of course will be some tweaking for high school, but I can see this happening :)  So in incomplete sentence and bulleted notes, here's what was said:
  • Prizes awarded at 5, 8, 12, 15,20, and 25 books.  Prizes are incremental, ie school bracelet, ice cream, coupon for Chick Filet, front of the line lunch pass or one-day delayed assignment, and a trip to Main Event.  Every five books after that going in a drawing for iTunes cards
  • ELA teachers are responsible for keeping track (one teacher does book conversations)
  • Students don't like to write down anything or keep logs
  • Librarian role is to help find books and keep interest high
  • Advisory time is DEAR time, once a week for 25-30 minutes
  • Do books by genre
Another junior high does this program:
  • Create a Moodle page for the 25 Book Campaign.
  • Embed a database into the Moodle page.  HTML will show up if it's copied and pasted
  • Iterate this is NOT an ELA thing.  It's a school thing
  • Dates are important to the database so only that month is checked
  • Students are allowed to keep adding into previous entries to create on book account
  • Teachers can export an .xls document and sort information
  • What has access to the database?  The librarian manages it and disseminates the info to teachers
High school adaptation and ideas of implementation:
  • get students involved in the process.  Call the President's Club (president's and one other rep from each club on campus) to be the voice of the students
  • Classroom competition for pizza parties?
  • Advisory-based bulletin boards throughout the school to promote readers
  • Teachers are expected to read 25 books as well.  They will get rewarded too.  Modeling is important
  • Must decide what a book is:  do magazine articles count?  How about reading news or articles online?  Classroom required reading can be used.  Page count is important.  ie 10 magazine or online articles represent 1 book
  • Librarian's role is to roam and do mini booktalks to classes.  Check out books on the spot using online catalog
  • Each advisory teacher will be responsible for their group.  These are typically smaller in size than regular classes and more equitable instead of doing this only in ELA classes.  EVERY teacher is involved, not just a department
  • Do a prize patrol to reward students - make it a big celebration, not just an announcement.  Principals will be in charge of this
  • Modify this program for SPED students so they can actively participate.
I don't know of many high schools that do this, so this is an exciting and curious journey we'll be undertaking next year.  When things get settled in, I'll be sure to add more information.

This was an email I received from a librarian today that I thought was an excellent idea I will also pitch to the committee:

In Pasadena, TX we have the Name That Book Challenge and each level has a list of 20 books to read and then culminates with a  competition team of 5-7 from each school.  Quotes are used at the competition to determine a winner of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place @ the Elementary level (3-4), Middle (5th & 6th) Intermediate (7 & 8) and HS.  Each level competes against the same level.  This is my first year but my students are really excited and are really working hard to get to the competition.  This is done district wide and is part of our Gotta Keep Reading Campaign.  It also gives students who love to read a competition to work for and medals to earn. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Some really great sites to create a stellar presentation et al!

So, I'm waiting for Animoto to finish my booktalk preview I show when the kids are all coming in.
As I'm doing that, I started thinking about all the sites and apps I use or think about using when I begin creating my booktalk.  So here are some you may find just as amazing to use as I do.

Online image editors:

Thanks to creative online genius,the perfect image editor was born! PicMonkey allows users to upload and modify images from cropping to color to frames and so much more!  I use it when creating my book trailers to add depth and complexity to just another flat image.  And the extras are awesome!  Create/add zombie, vampire, and ghost features as well as themed backgrounds and textures.  This is a go-to must have website.  Currently, it has no app, but some things are better to manipulate online.

Need to find something out of the ordinary to use for your blog, presentation or to share?  Imagechef  may be the answer to your needs.  Creates anything from personalized notes to word mosaics to so much more.  And it's all free!  And this site has a companion app, so either way you can create and share.

 Video creators, web-based and app-based:
  Gotta love Animoto!  If you haven't used it in awhile, you're in for a nice surprise.  The reconfiguration now includes different video styles, awesome CC music, and instant social media sharing.  As always, you can include video and text into this.  Worth the price (but you can get an educator discount!)  No wonder this is a cornerstone of technology for education!  Animoto has an app but search in the iPhone section.  Currently there isn't one for the iPad.

If you want to try something new without the headache of learning a difficult platform like Adobe or Sony, make your way over to ProShow WebTheir free account allows users to create a full-on video or trailer with a lot of the intuitive bells and whistles of other video programs.  The only caveat is the free version will only allow 15 photos, but text is unlimited.  I made a full trailer using Proshow with really excellent results! There's an app for that as well.

And the fun continues with those powerful little creatures called apps...
This is what I have in my photography folder on my iPad, and I use these for personal and educational use.  The sky's the limit on these!

Image Editing Tools
ColorBlast!Liteallows you to upload and create a beautifully modified picture that contains color within a black and white photo.  Post it on social media or email to yourself. It's addicting!

Instagram:  enough said.  Contains several filters to give your boring picture pizazz and pop!  When you create an account, you can also view it online but only if it's a public account.  Allows sharing and email.

Photofunia:  Take a pic and instantly make it into so many other items, including billboard signs, book pages, magazine covers, and so much more.  Also includes many filters you can use within categories. Save, email or share via social media.  This is SUPER fun!!  

Pho.to Lab:  does the same thing as Photofunia and is an excellent alternative.  Just have fun with this and the creativity and imagination will begin to flow.  

Snapseed:  The ultimate in photo editing on your iPad.  Contains many tools to edit and diversify your photo.  The best way to learn this is download and play with the image already provided.  You'll be hooked.  Hands down my favorite image editing app.

Pixlromatic: take an image, choose from the many options of filters, backgrounds and frames, and you've successfully modified it into something gorgeous!  

Video Apps
 Vine:  Got six seconds?  That's all you get with this nifty video app.  Video what's most important to you and Vine creates a collaged video worthy of sharing.  You can share or embed them as well as create your own account.  People are doing some pretty cool things with this app!

VidRhythm:  Okay, I don't use this when creating book trailers, but I had a blast creating one!  You pick the song and style, and follow the directions while recording.  The end result is, well...just see for yourself :)

Picture Collages 
Frametastic:  You decide what frames, theme and images to use, the app will put it together for you.  Simple as that.  

PicCollage: like frametastic, you can build a collage from your pics, Facebook, or camera.  Then put in some text, add stickers and your collage is done.  Even more than that, with creativity, you can make a quick infographic to send out and share.  


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Getting a little deeper with digital curation

Tonight I'll be co-hosting a Twitterchat about digital curation and its implications on education today with fellow librarian, Sue Fitzgerald.  Since first hearing about digital curation a couple of weeks ago, I started truly researching the subject.  It's about sharing, collaboration, discussion, and PLN.  If you want to join me, it'll be tonight at 8:30 pm CST.  The hashtag is #nisdnov8.
(if you've never done a tweetchat, just search for this hashtag and keep refreshing it every 30 seconds or so to read what people have contributed to the topic.  If you want to tweet something to share, just say what you want but use the hashtag before or after your twitter)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Simon & Schuster, 2012

Three weeks ago, on the day of her birthday, Taylor got the most horrible birthday present of all.  That was the day she found out her father had cancer.  Worse still, he had perhaps three months left.  So to make the most of it, the Edwards family will carve out their last summer together, not apart at different camps or working in the law firm.  This time, family comes first.

The last thing Taylor wanted was to pack up with her family and stay the summer in their lake house on the Poconos.  Her older brother Warren has only university classes on the brain, and her much younger sister Gelsey will be doing barre exercises and continuing to practice her ballet.  Besides not connecting with her siblings, there is something else that makes Taylor truly not want to go....something awful she did the last time she was there.

Summers at Lake Phoenix were not always so terrible.  Taylor remembers her best friend Lucy and all the conversations they shared, the sleepovers they had, and how she idolized her.  She also remembers Henry.  He was her first boyfriend, the guy she first held hands with, and the one who gave her that first kiss.  Now, she dreads facing them again and what will happen if they ever bump into each other. 

Once there, Taylor feels like she's stepped back in time.  The lake house was the same as it was five years ago - nothing has changed.  Even the town itself hasn't changed a lot.  The cafe is still there along with the PocoMart and the signs in front of everyone's home.  A few things have changed though, like new neighbors and the fact that Henry's house is now occupied by someone else.

As they get settled in to a new routine of summer living and her father's failing health, Taylor's memories flood back and soon she finds herself face-to-face with her first kiss and her used-to-be best friend.  And the summer begins of being lost then found...

Matson delivers again and an emotionally charged and beautifully written book.  She is able to combine the most basic emotions a person carries and interprets them through her characters, especially that of Taylor.  While other YA books may put parents in a secondary role, Matson brings them to the forefront as the catalyst in all of the character's lives.  Her allusions are striking as well and readers should be able to pick up on these while reading or through hindsight.  There is a word of caution with the book though.  Don't read this in public, at school, or near little children.  Why?  It's not because of content but....well, I dare anyone who hasn't read this not to cry when you do, and it won't be the quiet crying thing either.  It's the deep sobs and the tears that won't stop.  Really....And that is a sign of authentic writing by an author who can really touch a reader's hidden emotional side. Think Sparks' The Last Song or Green's Fault in Our Stars - Matson's book definitely has that pull.  Recommended (along with tissues and a caution to remove contact lenses!)