Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Skype an Author

A big thanks to Joyce Valenza for sharing a site called Skype an Author.

The concept is simple: a number of authors have signed up on this site and are willing to donate (free!) 15-20 minutes of an author visit via Skype. Being that we are in Thailand, this is a phenomenal way for our students to have contact with writers and get a taste of mingling with authors. I immediately sat down and scrolled through the list of authors to match books we have in our collection with available authors. One of our first mini author visits will be with Jessica Harper. I just read A Place Called Kindergarten this week, and the kinders loved it. Coupled with another of her books called Lizzy's Do's and Don'ts, which they also loved, we will now write a few questions to ask Ms. Harper when she meets with us on the computer.
I can't wait!

Monday, 14 September 2009


I heard about Glogster a while back, but I never seemed to find the time to sit down and experiment with it. For me, the playing around with themes and fonts and style is the fun part, and so I dove in feet first this past weekend. For my first attempt, I've gone quite simple, but you can add links and all sorts of goodies. My thought is to make a few glogs showcasing authors that are not the 'biggies' used for author studies. By adding these to my blogroll on the sidebar of Great Reads!, it becomes one more resource for teachers. And a pretty funky-looking one at that!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The ISB21 Team

I feel so fortunate to work with so many talented individuals in both the tech and library fields at ISB. A few years ago, the two areas joined forces and the ISB21 team was created. As a librarian who is keen on technology and relatively new to the library field, I am soaking up all the knowledge and experience I can from both sides. Check out where we house our all our team thinking.

Our team decided last year to do a group book club, and our choice was Disrupting Class by Clayton Christensen. Using the final word protocol was a great way to facilitate the discussion of the first chapter today. Only bummer for me is that I was home sick. In true ISB21 fashion, I sat in via Skype and was able to participate in the great discussion the team had. Looks like it was a great book choice.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Book Trailers

Lately, I've come across a number of great book trailers for kids, and they are such a creative way to grab someone's attention. Some of the best ones out there, in my opinion, are the ones that take a Presentation Zen approach to the trailer: few words and beautiful images that speak volumes. My goal as a librarian this year is to work with students to create some of their own book trailers for books found in our Learning Hub. I'm thinking a lunchtime group of interested 4th and 5th graders is the place to start.

Trailer from one of my favorite new character series for young readers, The Adventures of Max and Pinky

And talk about a book trailer that is simple yet powerful. All I want to do is run out and buy this book when I see the trailer...Greetings From Nowhere by Barbara O'Connor.

I'm finding that it's hit or miss when it comes to finding trailers for books at this point. Perhaps because it is a new medium? This site, Book Screening, has about 80 good trailers. Hopefully we'll be on our way to creating our own soon. Anyone doing this already who can share?

Sunday, 6 September 2009


Groovy way to get a message across, eh? You can make one of your own here.

I really did spend the entire weekend pouring through the archives of A Year of Reading. Franki and Mary Lee are have put an amazing amount of work and research and passion into their book blog, and I am beyond excited to order and read many of the titles they suggest. What I really want to do is get a huge latte and hang out with the two of them for about a week and talk nothing but books.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Online Catalog, 21st Century Style

I spent my first year (ok, first two years) using Destiny in a pretty basic way, but this year I'm determined to have the kids use it in a way that makes it authentic for them. So, we're diving into Destiny Quest, a very cool part of the catalog that gives it all a more current twist that appeals to students (and librarians). Here is a snapshot of my Destiny Quest page showing a fabulous book called Odd Velvet. Check out how many things I can learn about the book just from this page: the summary, a review, other books I might like, put it on hold, and the list goes on.

Cool features we are loving

*Ability to check your own account to see when things are due

*Checking out the lists I've created of book recommendations

*Changing the background theme to something groovy

*Putting their own books on hold

*And my personal favorite--the "You May Also Like..." feature, similar to what Amazon has. It's not on every book, but enough to make it very, very cool!

One question for the library world--how can I give kids access to make more than one resource list? It appears that they can only make a personal list, but they want to make more. One list for books they want to read later, one list for favorites, etc.