Monday, September 18, 2017

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

2017, Crown Books for Young Readers

The Tower of Babel was created to reach the sky and it could only do something like this because mankind spoke the same language....

In the world of tomorrow, a new world, Genesis 11, has been found that is compatible to earth.  But what used to take years to get there, it only takes months now, thanks to the Babel Corporation.  And Babel has also found a highly lucrative mineral with endless possibilities.  Nyxia, a black substance, is an object that can be manipulated by your mind to create whatever you'd like, from a translator to a bullet-proof wall.

Emmett Atwater can't believe he was chosen.  Not only will he get to go to a new planet, Emmett also has added benefits, including his family and himself being taken care of for life. Coming from a struggling family and a mother who is slowly dying, Emmett does it out of love.  And he boards the ship.

When he boards the ship created and equipped with highly trained Babel Corporation staff, he finds out he's not the only one who has been selected.  There are nine others including Longwei, a highly competitive person; Jazzy, a girl from Georgia; and Azima, a strong girl from Africa and one of the last of her nomadic tribe.  They will be trained to work and survive on Genesis 11 as they mine nyxia during the duration of the space travel.  All ten are put through rigourous tests, including mind and body.  And they are also vying for position...only a few will make it to the finals.  The rest who don't will have most benefits taken away and sent back to earth.

For Emmett, this isn't an option.  He knows he has to make it or his mother will die.  But each member of the group of ten have their own personal reasons to make it as well.  But not all of them will, and some won't even survive the trip....

Another thing they don't know are the secrets the Babel Corporation is hiding from them.  There is a problem with nyxia, one with deadly outcomes.  On top of that are the inhabitants of the planet aren't friendly to outsiders.  But Babel has plans....

And like the story, the tower will topple and create chaos...

This novel is PACKED with action, suspense, and mystery to compel readers to find out what will happen next.  The reader is fortunate to become an outside observer of all the difficult training happening, as well as the mindsets and secret partnerships that are happening behind each other's backs.  The characters have very different personalities, leaving the reader wondering if what they're seeing is the truth or a cover.  Reading this is like taking a roller coaster ride where you never know if the seat belt is secure or not.  AMAZING science fiction read for all secondary JH/HS.  Highly recommended!  A plus?  It's a series!!!  

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Five Ways to Step Up your Advocacy Game


I added the hyperlink where you can buy this...
I do NOT profit from it at all...just thought I'd share it :)

As librarians, we know the importance and impact the library and librarian make to our campuses and districts.  Librarians have always made headway into innovation and we need to make sure this also includes how we share what the library does through advocacy efforts aimed at decision-makers for our campuses and districts.  Here are five small ways we can show librarians and libraries do have an impact.  Best of all, it won't cost you anything but a little time and effort:

1. Change the library environment:  This won't cost any money whatsoever.  Librarians new to their positions or in a new library usually do this, but you shouldn't over look the library you may have been serving.  It's a simple context with a lot of sweat equity.  Sometimes we have so much to do we often overlook how the library design can be REIMAGINED simply by moving things around and creating new spaces.  What better way to capture your campus's attention than to rearrange furniture into different learning commons?  If you have the money, add elements like large screen collaboration stations, a Lego wall etc...Freshen it up, add some dimension, watch what happens next

2. Harness the power of social media:  I love my library PLNs...they show, teach and amaze me everyday.  But I have also noticed that the PLNs I am a part of can be insular.  We need to get outside of our online comfort zones to make a larger impact.  Use your social media to make sure your voice, ideas, impact can be showcased to those decision-makers.  Use hashtags that administrators on Twitter use and become part of the conversation that way.  Create a campus-based social media account such as Instagram so not only students and teachers can see what you're snapping photos of, but admin can too.  Be engaged in district-wide Twitter chats and let the library's voice be heard virtually.

3. Send out monthly newsletter to your campus touting the amazing things the library does and can do to your campus.  Focus your information on highlighting to important parts of the library and use your stats to help.  Include images from your social media accounts (and hyperlink them).  Showcase students interacting in the library with each other, their classes or alone.  Already do this?  How about taking it up a notch and sending this monthly to your district superintendent, curriculum coordinators, technology director or curriculum and instruction director? Don't keep it contained....let this information loose every single time you share it with your campus.  It may not be read, that's true.  What's even more true is that is just might....

4. Harness new and interesting ways to share the successes you and the library have had with (mostly) free webtools.  Turn that paper state of the library report into an infographic.  Then step up that infographic into a video using tools like Biteable.  Use Flipgrid to capture students, teachers and administrators giving video testimonies on how the library has helped them and share this with other librarians and decision-makers.  Nothing speaks louder than a student's voice, and this webtool can definitely help.  Kick it up by doing this monthly from different angles (a teacher's Flipgrid, your book club, a classroom etc).  How about creating a monthly Quizzizz for fun to engage your email recipients with what the library does?  Sharing can be as fun as you'd like, so try out new approaches.

5. Nothing is more loud and clear than your approach.  Be available, be approachable, leave your door open, show people you want to create a relationship with them.  Too often, our administrators see us as checking in and out books...MOVE to another area, DO something different, and SPEAK with your words and actions to prove that isn't the case.  It's easy to get caught in the trap of our office or circulation desk.  The hardest thing you could do is unglue yourself from the areas your feel most comfortable in (even if it's for an hour a day) to be seen differently.  They say it takes 30 days to create a new habit....test out this theory and see if it makes a difference.  It won't cost a thing....

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Sourcebooks Fire, August 2017

Sal's life is one of stealth and swiftness.  After a war that ruined the lands and completely annihilated Nacea and its people...his people, he had to resort to thievery in order to survive.  But one fateful encounter with a lady will change his path from one of stealing goods to one of stealing lives for revenge....

The queen now rules over the lands and has put an end to dark runes and magic.  But her reign is in  time of shifting and danger, where she must be protected at all costs.  To ensure the safety of the queen four Hands, or assassins are assigned to her:  Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal.  But when one of the hands die, an audition opens to replace this position.  Twenty-three people come forward to audition, from noblemen to thieves, including Sal and his thirst for vengeance of those nobles who killed his people.

But realization begins to dawn when the rules of the audition are explained.  Only one will survive and that person will become Opal.  Everyone who auditions will have the opportunity to kill or be killed.  It's a fight to the death and one Sal intends to win.

As the deadly audition begins, trickery and conniving create a cat and mouse game that slowly decimates the twenty-three to three...but who will win and become the new Hand?  And are the liaisons people they can trust or not?

Miller weaves a tale that will enthrall fantasy readers.  Although the book does contain violent episodes, it also contains elements of castles, magic, truth and romance.  Miller adeptly creates a world where even those you think are safe aren't, and those that are evil don't succumb to good. In the events that surround Sal and those he must fight against, lies a small but very unique part of the main character's life.  She introduces the reader to a gender fluid character, but like those assassins and auditioners in this book, she introduces him subtly and without fanfare, making this topic understated instead of in your face. For the more mature fantasy reader, the novel has hints of GoT readers will find and the story will have them begging for the next installment.  Highly recommended.  HS

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Copyright and the Classroom

This was a presentation I created for professional development for teachers.  It's something they really need to understand before school starts, so feel free to use it to teach the importance of copyright, fair use and Creative Commons.  This was created after reading Renee Hobbs's book, Copyright Clarity, a MUST READ for all educators, administrators and librarians!! Click below to get to the PDF of this presentation



Saturday, August 12, 2017

Young Adult Literature Resources and Booklist



Had an amazing day with librarians throughout the Dallas area!!  Here is the presentation I did for the Summit :)
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-wHb5Nsjhy0cm9hQlNSSlJFWjQ/view?usp=sharing

Enjoy and start reading some great books TODAY!! :)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Smashing Research: Engaging Students and the Research Project


I and my friend, Sue Fitzgerald, had the honor of being chosen to present at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago this year.  When she and I talked about our topic, we thought it would be relevant to not only talk about the importance of research, but also how to make it more engaging and student-owned.  Here is the presentation (which I can't believe I forgot to add!!)
It contains ideas for:
Project-based learning
Smashing apps to create a digital research project
TON of websites
Unique ways to combine sites for projects
Examples of excellent student proejcts

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Five Important Things For the New School Year

Happy new school year!!  The gears are starting to turn and school openings are around the corner.  School campuses are caught up in a whirlwind of professional development, campus training, and many other things that will pull them from what they want to be doing - working in the library.  If you only get one day to do this, here are some things to keep in mind and keep your mind from whirling.

1 Everyone has that to-do list for the beginning of the school year.  There are some pretty important things on that list, but take a second look.  What are some of those things you can wait on?  Sometimes lists can be an overload and focusing on completing all of them isn't productive.  Instead of the frenzy of getting things done, look over and think what should come first


via GIPHY


2. You can't do it all yourself (although we try!).  Being a librarian is being part of a collaborative environment.  Asking others for help and asking others to help are two very different but important activities we should do on a daily basis.  Be it your admin team, campus departments or even people outside your library walls (other librarians, consultants, virtual PLN) make a call or write an email. It will make a difference.


via GIPHY


3. Learn a new tool this year.  Try something you've never tried before and work it into your presentations and curriculum with students.  There are a ton of great new tools out there from collaborative videos (Flipgrid) to curation (Follett Destiny Collections) to new Google tools (try Blocks) and so many more.  Look at ways you can use them, but more importantly, how your campus can use them.


via GIPHY


4. The best libraries are one that are open and ready for anyone.  Look at your spaces and start defining them.  Creating a successful learning commons takes time, but with a little ingenuity, you can create one area that is different from what was there last year.  A table, some interesting bins of low tech makerspace, a 3-D printer, whiteboard paint, signage can all help create a feeling that there's something new and different.


via GIPHY


5. Read.  That's pretty simple, right?  Well....in the world of librarianism, it's easier said than done.
 Prfoessional needs of your own and others will play right into reading time.  Educators and librarians know reading makes an impact (It's the "R" in STREAM) so make sure you have time to read and share that love and excitement.  There's nothing like the feeling of changing even one student from a non-reader to a reader.


via GIPHY




Friday, July 28, 2017

#NTXLibCamp Resources

Three years ago, a group of librarians in North Texas decided to create the first ever libcamp in our area.  From the beginning it has grown every year and this was no exception.  There were librarians from the area, but also librarians from Austin, Houston and El Paso who attended.  PLUS teachers were encouraged to come and we have several in the crowd as well.

But the most important takeaway from LibCamp was the mass of information wealth librarians across all grade levels, expertise, years of service and awesomeness contributed toward to make this such a great professional development experience!  

And if you have something that amazing, it needs to be shared.  A google doc of the event was archived for anyone who came to have access to, but I thought it was valuable enough to share it with everyone.  Please use/read/glean from it what you can to use at your school or share with your own personal PLN.  That's the beauty of sharing....it's an amazing thing!  

Here's the link to the Google Doc from NTXLibcamp 17

Also, if you'd like to see them in Twitter format, search the #ntxlibcamp hashtag to catch a quick glimpse of the highlights :)

SUPER great before school starts!! :)  Have a Happy New (School) Year 2017-18!!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Flatiron Books, 2017

Scarlett Dragna has been wanting to go to Caraval since she was ten.  Every year, she wrote a letter begging them to come to her tiny island so she and her sister can be enveloped in the mystery and magic that Caraval holds.  But there is no response....
And life goes on.  Scarlett and Tella have grown into young ladies under the cruel and watchful eyes of their governor father, who is heavy with his hand and empty with his heart.  Escape is something both girls want, but there is no way out.  Their father will hunt them down and the repercussions will be swift and hard.
But one day changes that...

Scarlett finally receives an invitation from Legend, the man who created Caraval.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience but it couldn't come at a worse time.  Scarlett is set to make a Duke (even though they haven't met) and will leave the island and be able to shelter her sister from the horrors of their daily life.  Go or stay?

On the day she receives her invitation, circumstances force to her to go to Caraval before time runs out.  Tella and Julian, both accomplices in abducting the staid Scarlett, go to the island where the sisters are separated.  All three make it to Caraval in time, and it's as magical as Scarlett thinks...but also more dangerous than she does. When she enters into Caraval, little does she know what she is getting into.  Thoughtful, staid, practical Scarlett quickly finds herself in conflict with not only her surroundings, but also the relationships she has with both her sister and the enigmatic Julian.
People aren't what they seem....don't always believe what you see...Caraval is as beautiful as it is dark.

Garber writes magic into this book not only through the plot but also with the beauty of her writing and words she chooses.  This book paints a vivid picture not only of the characters' real lives, but also the fantasy world people wish to get lost in.  Scarlett is a sharp contrast to the other characters, which adds to the depth of the relationships found in this novel and it reads quickly.  The story behind Caraval is enchanting and Garber instantly grabs the readers attention with her unique use of letters at the beginning of this novel.  Readers will be as captivated with Caraval as the characters.  This is the type of fantasy book I've been waiting for!!  Recommended for upper junior high and high school

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Growing Strong Librarians

I was asked to present a short presentation for new library directors on what librarians want from there perspective. I thought about the library directors/leaders I admire and why it was I did admire them so much. These are the attributes I came up with that I could find in all of those library leaders I look up to.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

State of the Library Report....Trying Something Different

I've done the traditional.  I've created infographics.  This year, I wanted to try my hand at a video report.  Well, it was a toss-up between that and a Buzzfeed-style report, but I'm intrigued with the animated typographic videos that are coming out.  This is ONLY a prelim (I was playing around with it today) but thought I'd post it as Biteable is an amazing site to create this kind of video!

Library Report 2017 on Biteable.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Going Beyond the Normal: Creating Unique Book Trailers

This is a presentation I did for TxLA this year about book trailers.  We seem to always use the same tools to create book trailers, so I decided to try my hand at using tools you may not have thought about or knew could be mashed!



My Adventures in Breakout EDU



When I first heard about these kits, I was very very curious.  It wasn't until I went to a conference and really learned about them that I got excited about doing this!  My excitement escalated when I got my precious two boxes of breakout edu.  Time to get started!  Well.... there were some glitches along the way, so hopefully this post may help.

First of all you get a white paper in the box that has a website and password.  I took this and went directly into the site where I found how the locks worked, how to set up a game, examples of  games- the whole shebang.  I was feeling really euphoric!

Then I started playing with the locks.  Yep....those can be a little tricky.  Some of them (READ THE DIRECTIONS!) were easy peasy, but others?  I had to play with them for quite awhile to get them to work.  It takes finesse, understanding the directions, and gnashing of teeth to have them all up and working.  So what I thought would be super easy actually took me quite awhile to set all the locks for four boxes.  WARNING:  you can't do this 30 minutes before you use them.  Give yourself at least a day so you can walk away if need be or get someone to help.

Then came the creativity.  I feel I'm a pretty creative person.  This portion, the making of the game, can't be taught to you.  It has to come from within....sometimes deep within.  I was using the these boxes as a demo and again, it took a lot of thought and practice to get a semblance of something cool.  First, you have to start out with a story ie you have to write a story.  Okay, got it. That was the easiest part of writing a breakout edu game.

THEN....you have to come up with clues for each lock.  You need to give yourself time to do this, so take time to think of these clues, as they can't be straight up answers.  This took me more time than I thought as I made FOUR DIFFERENT GAMES because of course...I didn't read the directions.  Usually you create one game and put the clues for different boxes on different colored sheets (which I read after I had completed all four games!) DUH....but something great came out of this.  After the second game, I was able to whip them out with no problem.

Next, make sure you demo this game before you actually play it.  Did I mention you need to demo this game before you actually play it?   Yes, I did with my library aides and boy, did I find where I needed more help and clues that needed to be less obtuse.  I told the students I would re-do them and they could come back tomorrow and play, which they did and they worked!!  Angels sang, the lights shone brighter...it was a miracle!

Needless to say, Breakout EDU will take you for a loop the first time.  And yes, maybe the second or third.  I was frustrated through some of the process, but you know what?  When I heard the kids telling me they were thinking about replaying the game all day before they came to the library, that was all I needed to make it worth my time.  They couldn't wait to try the next one!

Bottom line?  Buy a kit.  If you can't afford it, piecemeal one through Amazon.  And start looking at lessons and see how they are using them.  I'm attaching mine here with some words of advice you can take or leave.  Now, today is the day librarians get hands on experience with it....wish me luck!!

Here is a link to the clues and story.  Remember, there are four different lessons, so one clue from each section will complete the kit

To start the game, I made a simple coded message using the wingding or webding font on MS Word.
There are LOTS of different ways to create a coded message, but this was by far the easiest.

You also have to have a directional map.  You can make one in MS Excel, and here is one I made.  I would suggest downloading it and editing it to fit your needs.

Have fun, and if you have any great tips, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Teaching and Researching like a ...SHINOBI!

(And there are 65 more synonyms for "ninja" so I'm not done with these yet!)

I had a request from a biology teacher to collaborate with her on a biomes project.  She provided her lesson plans and assessments for the project and asked how could I incorporate databases and Adobe Spark into it.  I have two days, so one will be for information, the other for creation.  Here's the research project done with Adobe Spark Page.  I also have a link with two sets of database questions from Facts on File linked, if you'd like to use this lesson.

The beautiful thing about this is that is can definitely become a template for other research projects.  If realized I can switch up the activities but keep the same framework, thus making a library of these projects that can be edited with new information or products that become available. 
Biomes

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

Fiewel and Friends, 2017

 Gwendolyn Bloom isn't enjoying school today.  Being pointed out by "that girl" and her friends while everyone else laughs at you isn't what she planned or wanted.  But this is just another stop along the string of schools she has attended, which may or may not last long.  It's on days like this she wishes her mother was there, but she can't be.  When Gwendolyn was ten years old, her mother passed away. The memories she has of that day, filled with terror and confusion, won't stop.

Her father, who is a foreign diplomat, has taken Gwendolyn around the world.  New York is the current place they call home.  Without a mother, her father is the only parent she has and she treasures that.  But one evening, after coming home, her father isn't there....nor the next night...and Gwendolyn keeps waiting. Eventually she is taken in by the older Jewish couple in loco parentis until her father shows up. And things take a turn....

One day, while Gwendolyn is alone in her apartment, a knock is heard.  Behind it are men in black searching for her father, but also through his papers and computers, asking her what he's told her about his job.  They're from the US government and for the first time, Gwendolyn is realizes what her father does.  The men looking for him are wondering is he still a spy for them or has he defected? The last known place in Europe he was detected was recorded before he went off the grid.

With only a scrap of information Gwendolyn stops at nothing to find her father.  With some help, she begins training in krav maga with a Mossad agent before getting entangled in the dark and dirty world of racketeers, arms smuggling and human trafficking.  One clue leads to another. Gwendolyn knows she's running out of time...unless it's already too late.

This book goes from zero to 100+ quickly.  The reader's emotions for the main character jumps for empathy to encouragement to excitement as they see her morph and change into someone who will pull out all the stops.  The dark world of criminals makes a large nod in this novel including introducing minor characters, all victims of human trafficking.  It's not sugar coated, but it isn't gratuitously graphic is nature either.  Teens reading this book may begin to connect with what's happening in the real world and see a larger picture.  Although others may see the rising action as a tad unbelievable, I enjoyed every page.  It reads like a Jason Bourne novel, only with a kick a** female character.  Recommended for upper JH/HS


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Coloring in the Lines: Searching for Copyright Friendly on the Web

Here's a presentation I'll be doing at a pre-conference for copyright at TxLA 2017.
The slides all have a link on them so you can click on a slide to see more.  I'm working with some stellar people, including Kevin Smith, Gretchen McCord, Stephanie Towery and Deidre McDonald.  If you can't make it, I can share my portion of it :)  Happy conferencing!!
Here's the link to open it in Google Slides



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Conference Season Is HERE!

April is the month when librarians, educators, administrators, and many many more amazing people convene for the annual Texas Library Association annual conference April 19-22.  The size of the conference is amazing, with thousands of professionals, authors, speakers, publishers, techies (and some that are all of these!) and more learn, network and present for five days of library nirvana......I can't wait!!  This year, it is in San Antonio, Texas, so here are some tips before starting off conference that'll make it even more amazing.

This year's theme is "Own Your Profession" and these next few tips will help you own it like an expert conference attendee!

1. Make your schedule now.  Don't wait until you get there and are handed a conference scheduler.  Do it now so you can really see what you'd like without having to flip pages in your hotel room.  The conference schedule is online (and yes, it includes pictures of speakers) and shows everything that is being presented.  Best of all?  Use the control+F function to search key words, speakers, events, and more to really target your learning experience.  Here's the link to the schedule

2. There always seems to be a race to the exhibit halls when they open, so be prepared ahead of time.  You usually receive a paper copy that includes coupons, but this year, you can actually download the guide with coupons to fill out early!  All you have to do is go to this link and request the PDF and you're on your way to preparedness on the exhibit floor.  (there's a tiny link below the major one...click on that.  The big one is ALA.  Keep looking below that link :)

3. The San Antonio Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center has been updated, and you may want to see the meeting rooms and ballrooms layout to help you map out for an ultimateTxLA Conference experience. Here's the link to the convention center with tons of information, including getting there and parking. It's always good to know before you go!

What's a little professional development without some fun?  Try these out!

1. The Riverwalk is considered one of the top tourist destinations in the nation!  Don't know much about it?  Not to worry!  If you find a street near the Alamo with stairs leading downwards, more than likely it's to the Riverwalk.  Lots of amazing restaurants, full of culturas, you need to go, if only to walk around.  PLUS....the conference precedes Fiesta, so there are sure to be cool vendors selling fiesta items!!  Here's a link to the Riverwalk and everything that goes along with it



2. Back in the day, my husband and I, along with friends, would cross the border for a weekend out.  We'd go shopping, eat some amazing food, and get to experience hanging out in another country (which always sounded pretty cool!)  Alas, those days aren't quite as carefree, but since you're in San Antonio, you CAN experience Mexico in the city.  El Mercado (Market Square) reminds me of those days.  Lots of stalls where authentic Mexican wares are sold line up next to each other along with some tasty eateries.  They also have a cool indoor shopping area featuring Mexican wares, jewelry, art and eveything in between you should visit too.  It's a little ways from the Riverwalk, but worth the walk (or Uber or car drive or bus etc).  Here's the link to El Mercado


3. I didn't know about this until I stumbled onto an article about it and this year I'm going! There's a beautiful church called the San Fernando Cathedral and every week there is a light show about the history of San Antonio that happens on the building. It's about beauty, history, culture...and not to be missed!  Thank goodness none of the dates are cancelled during the TXLA conference.  This is a MUST SEE!  Here's the link to the San Antonio Plaza (not too far away from the Riverwalk at all!)

I'll see you there!!!

IMAGES:
Riverwalk: https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7669/16936302228_2482c39d53_b.jpg
El Mercado: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4135/4917927146_822165ea83_b.jpg
San Fernando Cathedral: By Nan Palmero from San Antonio, TX, USA [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons






Friday, March 24, 2017

Diversity in YA literature Poster

Excellent books that feature diversity from various genres that feature different diversity in today's society.  Here is the link to download the pdf


Friday, March 10, 2017

Interactive Research Activity!

I went through this EXTREMELY interesting workshop on interactive presentations and why they are important to learners.  We were tasked with doing this with a class, and this is actually the second one I'm doing (first one worked out SUPER well!)

If you've never heard of chunk and chew, it's a simple concept.  When you chunk information together, it shouldn't be handed over to the students without the opportunity to allow them to chew on it.  If they don't, the learning diminishes.  Kind of like eating your favorite meal.  Now, multiply that by 10 and see how enjoyable it would be to eat the entire thing.

Below is the Adobe Spark webpage I made for this project.  After reading the article, kids in groups will move to different posters that has each letter of the alphabet in a table.  They have a certain amount of time to write something in it that begins with that letter.  Then they rotate until the rotations are done.  When they come back to their chart, they can read what else people put down and share out the most interesting fact about the article.

The second activity involves the questions on the webpage.  It's like 4 Corners.  Students stand underneath the word that fits them best (holidays, food, movies, colors, clothing etc).  With each word is a question in an envelope they need to answer with their devices (we are 1:1).  Then they rotate to the next question until the rotations are done.

Their exit ticket is the emoji PDF before they leave, giving me feedback on if I hit the target or not.

 I'm sharing the webpage so if anyone would like to use it, they absolutely can :) Research Like a Ninja!

Friday, February 24, 2017

House Arrest by K.A. Holt

2015, Chronicle Books

12 year-old Timonthy is writing in his journal.  He doesn't want to do it, but his probation officer and psychologist told him he had to in order to ensure the judge his actions wouldn't be repeated.

What he did wasn't felonious, according to him.  All he did was swipe someone's credit card and make a $1000.00 purchase on it.  But it wasn't for him, it was for his sick baby brother Levi. And well, for his mom too, who is working two jobs on her own to make ends meet.

They still don't have enough food.  Timothy is still in need of clothes that fit him.

Timothy remembers one of the last best moment of his life.  It was the day Levi was born.  His dad was so excited and proud to become a father again.  But life changed.  Levi was born with only a small hole in his trachea.  Because of this he has to have constant care and attention.

His dad couldn't handle it, so he left....

Now, Timothy and his mother are doing all they can to make sure Levi stays alive and breathing, including doing all of the nasty stuff, including suctioning mucus, cleaning up constant throw-up, and listening to the sound of the breathing machine.

Now, he's under house arrest, but couldn't love his baby brother more.  His love is very protective too, including when a nurse comes in and Timothy knows she's not doing her job.  He also protects himself from letting people, including Mrs. B and Officer James, know too much.  They don't need help, or do they? His best friend Jose, and his family, help out. And then there's the mysterious benefactor leaving amazing stuff on their front door. And slowly but surely, Timothy is cracking, and his journal reveals to those who are helping in just how much he truly needs, both physically and emotionally.

But his baby brother is still getting very ill, making ICU visits a regular thing.  How long before his mother implodes?  What can a 12 year old kid do?

This quick novel in verse will take your through a one year journey of brotherly love and sacrifice.  It will also take you on the journey of one young man's self-awareness and the grit and determination he has to make sure family stays together.  You hear his joy, but you will also hear his pain, anger, and desperation.  Be ready....this may make you cry, a definite sign of an excellent book. Highly recommended addition to any junior high or high school collection.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

15 Science Fiction Reads for Young Adults

A list of great sci-fi for teens, including sequels and link to pdf 

Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh.  2016, Delacorte Press

Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.  2015, Alfred A. Knopf. Sequel Gemina, 2016 

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid.  2016, Simon & Schuster

The Fever Code by James Dashner.  2016, Delacorte Press

Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig.  2015, Gallery Books.  Sequel The Map of Bones 2016

Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse.  2016, Kathy Dawson Books.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman.  2016, Simon & Schuster

Replica by Lauren Oliver.  2016, Harper Collins
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer.  2016, Feiwel and Friends

Mr. Fahrenheit by T. Michael Martin.  2016, Balzer + Bray

Alive by Scott Sigler.  2015, Del Rey.  Sequel Alight 2016

Dark Energy by Robison Wells.  2016, HarperCollins

Legend: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu.  2015, G.P. Putnam's Sons

Flawed by Cecilia Ahern.  2016, Feiwel and Friends.

The Taking by Kimberly Derting  2014, Harper Collins.  Sequels: Replaced, 2016; The Countdown, 2016.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

15 Ways to Use Snapchat and the Library

So, yesterday a colleague and friend of mine, Sarah Thomasson, sent out an email that started me down the path of using Snapchat.  I can be like one of those kids in left field that sees a butterfly...and I'm off doing something else.  Well, Sarah sent me a big butterfly and shared the fact that Snapchat can be used as a QR code reader!

You know what that means?

Students will be more likely to scan QR codes using their favorite social media site  than having to download a site that are favorited by educators.  And off I went down this path of resistance to blow it wide open.

I confess, I was one of those people who wasn't going to Snapchat....at all.  Why?  Because it was for "another generation" beyond me, I didn't want to learn something else, I was fine with what I already have.  But then Sarah's butterfly kicked my butt!  That is NOT the right attitude to have!  If social media is going beyond the standard, then I should hold myself up to that standard too!

So....ideas just started FLYING!  I'm going to write them down really quick so I won't forget them either!

1. Of course, QR codes....

2. learning from my followers!!!  Ideas come from all over!!

3. Highlight the great things happening in the library with a story so people can see the importance of school libraries.

4. doing quick booktalks

5. sharing book covers from a certain genre or collection

6. A quick reminder to students about what's happening

7. before and after pics or videos

8. Using those silly filters on books with faces (a librarian shared hardcopy of these...I want to try digital now!)

9. monthly library "story" update

10. Snapchat school events I attend (to show librarians DO things other than "librarian-ish" things)

11. Quick preview of new library resources

12. testimonials on the importance of libraries from teachers, admin, students

13. take a pic of a tweet you're going to send to "smash" two social media apps together instead of typing it all over again

14. do a library mystery theater or "escape room" type of program

15. answering the age-old question, "What do librarians do all day??"

This was a QUICK overview of my enthusiasm spilling over today but I hope you can use these ideas as well as SHARE great ideas via comments with everyone.  And if you want to follow me, I'm at nhstexlibrary

Have fun, and start Snapchatting!

See you on the filtered side!!








Saturday, February 4, 2017

Blood, Bullets, Bones: the story of forensic science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA

2016, Balzer & Bray.  Written by Bridget Heos

Turn on any television network, and you'll find programming about murder, mystery, and a savvy team of solvers.  It seems there is an interest in forensic science, but it's also a science that is very broad.  And that's where this amazing YA book comes in.  It captures the history, as well as the interest found today in our modern society.

Not only is this a book about forensic science, but it's also about the history of forensic science.  How long has this practice been instituted (far longer than the FBI and CSI)?  How has forensic science changed over the centuries?  These are just a few questions this book will answer.  It also includes some interesting facts including:

The word "coroner" derived from the English word "crowner," (SUPER interesting how this came about!)

The very first FBI group, which happened in Europe, not the States

The trend of murder in the 1800s - early 1900's (not, it's not guns either)

How forensic science investigation has changed from the macabre to the technological.

The best part of this is that there are numerous different cases Bridget Heos inserts that gives the readers as sense of where this science was during that particular time. Readers will have insight into the science AND the judicial side as well and how that has morphed into what it is today.

 This isn't a book filled with scientific vocabulary. From testimony to "expert" witnesses, admissible information to complete accidental findings, Heos takes the reader on a scientific journey that will pique curiosity, perhaps make you cringe a little, and explains this exacting science in a narrative format that young adults will be drawn to.  Heos  inserts cases into the narrative, but also historic and current images that solidifies what forensic science looks like.

Highly recommended for upper JH to HS and beyond.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Library Valentine's Day Toolkit

I'm gearing up for that time of year when pink and red make their once a year debut and the smell of roses and candy permeate the air.  Yep....it's time to decorate for Valentine's Day!!  

I thought of a few things I could do and started searching for library pick-up lines.  Some were great, some were not so great for public schools.  But I wanted something new, different, updated!  So taking some time to brainstorm, here are the library pick-up lines I came up with (snigger away because they ARE cheesy!) Most of the them are from my addled brain and the last few are commons ones found online.  

Makerspace so I can sit by  this beautiful angel

I can predict future library trends with you and me in it!

Reader’s Advisory Warning: You’re about to meet your soulmate!

I’m looking for true love and covering all my (data)bases to make it happen!

It’s Destiny that I’m going to Discover true love!

You make my heart go into Overdrive!

I’m looking lips(Mackin) good to capture your attention!

I’d like to (C)engage in some conversation with you

But wait!  There's MORE!  You can find even more cheesy goodness in this secondary toolkit I created, complete with two YA books posters, and all the pick up lines ready to print and use.  

I plan on using mine on the bulletin boards, to tape around the library, and even stick on cardstock sized bookmarks to put in the books ♥ ♥ ♥

Here's the link to the folder with everything in it.  And yes, please use this however you'd like ☺

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sketch noting and the library

Technology....it has been mainstreamed into education and can manipulated in ways to accommodate any students needs and the projects they are working on.  It is the apogee of innovation of the 20th and 21st century. 

One very interesting partnership that combines manual creativity with technology is the art of sketchnoting.  What is that, you say?  Sketchnoting if a form of notetaking where students are asked to use sketches and creative elements to "write" information.    When once there was a time where doodling was considered wasteful, now these doodles and sketches, if directed on the correct path, can lead to better retention of information.
sketchnotes from booktalk
Think about it...when students take notes, they're copying the exact words right off the screen onto a sheet of paper or digitally.  It's rote work (remember these iconic words? "Buehler...Buehler...")

But with sketchnoting, a notetaker has to not only listen attentively to what is being said, but also translate that into images and words that reflect the information given.  Students are using multiple brain functions to capture information.  

So why aren't educators doing this more often?  I think there are two simple reasons:
1. No one is teaching them (it's still relatively new)
2. Students WILL push back on the idea (because they don't want to give up Easy Street notetaking)

https://www.slideshare.net/secret/DFr4kVPGi300JR
But with persistence it CAN happen and work well!  This summer, I put my skills to the test and brought a one hour sketchnoting presentation to a conference.  This was attended not only by teachers, but administrators and students too.  It was well-received, and I was equally gratified to know the students sitting in this presentation enjoyed learning the process as well.  

In a time when classes are now custom-designed with a rubric of information being taught at specific intervals and modules, sometimes, it's nice to break out and teach something totally new to students. It may not be in the curriculum, but the value of what sketchnoting can do is innumerable.  

Here is the presentation I created.  It isn't bulky, because it's such a hands-on experience, but look through it and challenge yourself to sketch the examples.  Then take it to the classroom!  

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year, New Reading Challenge! Are you Up for It?

There are a ton of reading challenges out there, but I decided to create one with tweens and teens in mind, as well as making the library and librarian, library associations, and people in their lives an integral part of it.  Here's the infographic I made (with links) AND as a bonus, a link to a Google Doc, which you can print out and share :)  And if you can't see the infographic on the blog, here's the link online
Happy New Year, Happy New Year's Reading!!!