Monday, 22 November 2010

Wallwisher & New Title Browsings

It's been a while since I've used Wallwisher, and I wanted to introduce a new 4th grade teacher and her class to the tool since it is fairly simply to navigate and has tons of uses in the classroom. We started our lesson with a quick title recommendation, and then we moved on to the Solon Community School District website hosting tons of wallwishers and video reviews created by the students. Many of our students went straight to the video reviews and they loved them. The room was buzzing with kids checking Destiny to see if we had the title, and then coming right to me if we didn't to ensure I put it on the order. I added quite a few to our list of new books to buy.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

QR Codes in the Library

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I've been hearing rumblings of something called QR codes, but I had no idea what they were until Kim posted this video on Twitter the other day. After watching, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Jeff is calling 2011 "The Year of the Code," and I think he's on to something.

QR codes are perfect for the library--just perfect. The condensed version of QR codes are that they are barcodes that hold a lot of data and can be scanned using a mobile device or laptop. You decide what information you want on the barcode: it can be a URL or a written message. When you create a QR code (I've been using Kaywa to make mine), you print it out and tape it to any surface to be read by a QR scanner. Below is the QR code for my book recommendation blog.

To get a QR reader for your laptop or mobile device, there seem to be many choices of apps. Here's one to try.

Ideas swimming in my library brain:

1. Messages on QR codes about why kids like certain books. I print and tape onto the book cover.
2. QR codes linking to various book trailers.
3. Communicating better with parents about book recommendations via QR codes outside the Hub

Exciting times for libraries and librarians...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Hunger Games Book Club

On the heels of our recent Mimosas and Mentor Texts came our second book club for Hunger Games. This time, our gathering consisted of teachers from high school, middle school, elementary, administration, and even our director's wife who is a huge YA fan. I believe the conversation was richer and deeper because we had people with such diverse experiences. Here's what I took with me from that night:

*The realization that we bring our own adult expecations to the books we read. Some of us wanted Katniss to develop as a character throughout the book, but she simply did not. Others felt this was the point of the book, and we had a great conversation about it.

*In big schools, we become so focused on our own divisions that sometimes we miss out on meeting people. It was wonderful to spend some quality time with different folks and to hear different opinions about the same book.

*I had little knowledge of the YA genre, but the evening finished with a sharing of recommended titles and a desire to continue this book club with another choice soon.
*Having cheesecake at a gathering always makes it better. My fabulous husband sent a parachute down from the 2nd floor to announce the arrival of the "gift," much like Haymitch in the book. It added some yumminess and some humor to the night.

Overall, I'm finding that these teacher book clubs are pretty casual on the organizing front but pack a real punch for deepening understanding and building community. Love them!

Image Attribution: Jokin BCN

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A Little of This & A Little of That

One thing I absolutely love about Twitter and blogging is how many amazing ideas are out there being shared. And copying is ok, even encouraged! Today's lesson with 5th graders was a little bit Becky and a little bit Mary Lee & Franki--Becky posted about Big Huge Labs trading cards and Mary Lee & Franki blogged about themselves as readers. I combined the two and had the students brainstorm 5 things about themselves as readers and put them on the trading cards. They not only dug deep about their own selves but they learned some very useful tech skills:

1. How to use Photobooth
2. How to take a screenshot
3. How to upload a photo

My next step is to get their trading cards on a slideshow and have it running on our small digital screen in the Hub for all to see.

Here's my wondering-- is it ok for me to share the slideshow on my blog if the students only have their first name listed? I prefer to share their work rather than my example, but I am unsure. Advice welcome!