Thursday, 28 January 2010

Destiny, 2 Weeks Later

2 weeks into the introduction of Destiny's new social networking component, and I am giddy at how much the students love it. Every morning before school this week, this is what I saw in the Hub. That's a lot of time spent on books.
Here's why I think it is revolutionary for elementary students:

It has truly become a means of sharing books and recommending to a much wider audience. The visual aspect is powerful, and it's very easy for children to navigate.

On their own, students are discovering that when someone recommends a book, you can simply add the title to one of your shelves. My list of 'want to reads' is growing immensely, directly due to the kids' recommendations.

Most powerful for me is when I see someone write a recommendation and shortly thereafter there are a number of kids who move that recommended book to their list of 'want to read' books. A culture of sharing good titles is growing .

Admittedly, a big part of me was worried about someone being inappropriate. We had a few small incidents in the beginning, but it shows me how important it is to talk to kids about the importance of developing smart online habits. What you post is out for your peers (and your librarian) to see...

Best part of the whole thing--it's not just the voracious readers who are into this. The quieter ones are also finding their voices.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Reading Challenge for Kids

I'm loving the 100 book Reading Challenge and keeping track of my titles on the sidebar of my Great Reads! book blog. This first week back to school, I have invited ISB students to join me, and I am thrilled that many of them are giving it a try. Thrilled mainly because there is no prize whatsoever except for the personal challenge part. Of course, I did mention the cool points of having your picture up on the bulletin board outside, but means we've got some true readers on our hands.

To make the goal more attainable, students are starting with 20 books and then moving on to higher numbers once they reach that first goal.

Logistics-wise, I have provided those who want it a paper to record their titles or we are using the new features of Destiny Quest (HAVE READ bookshelf) or those students who already have blogs are also using their sidebars to track them.

My next step is to invite teachers. Some have already noticed on their own and joined. Even one parent has joined the challenge!

I love how this fabulous teacher already has her list outside her classroom door. Very motivating!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Hello Destiny 9.5!

You know you love being a librarian when you anxiously await the updates to the Destiny system. Over the December holiday, we updated to 9.5, and what I most wanted to explore was the social networking component. New to Destiny (thanks for listening, Follett!), it works much like Facebook and allows kids to talk about books, recommend books and also organize their book lists much like Shelfari.

Things I am loving already after only one day of classes

1. Kids having a place to record what they are reading and share that with their peers
2. The frenzy of friend adding and them feeling so excited
3. Watching them navigate a new site with little help from me--lots of opportunity to be intuitive
4. Going to Destiny right now to take a screenshot and seeing that kids were on it tonight adding to their book lists and recommending.

My favorite of the day came from one particulary dry-witted student who turned to me and said, "We should call it Bookface."

Get it? Facebook--Bookface.

And, lastly, the coolest library card generator ever! Put in whatever text you want and add the scribbles.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U song

Via @classicsixbooks on Twitter, I discovered an amazing site put out by the King County library of a gazillion fingerplays for little kids. Many of the fingerplays have videos attached, and I so appreciate that as a teacher. It got me thinking of a video I made a while back that I've been meaning to share. It's called the "Thank You" song, and I wish I could give credit where credit is due, but all I know is that Christine, the music teacher at my old school, used to sing this for our visiting authors. It's short and sweet, just the way I like 'em.

The kinders loved the song, as did their teachers. When the lovely kinders had a Skype author visit with Jessica Harper the other day, we ended our call with this song, and she loved it. Enjoy!