Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Student Empowerment

We've been on a Skype frenzy this year. Between using the Skype an Author website to meet with John Himmelman and Jean Marzollo to booking a meeting with Avi as part of our 4th grade author study unit, our kids are making deep, meaningful connections to the books they are reading.

Lately, there has been a surge of empowerment among our older students. First, a group of 4th graders approached me about meeting with their author, Bruce Coville, from the author study unit. We sat down and crafted a persuasive email to him. And then a group of 5th grade boys wrote a persuasive letter to Kazu Kibuishi of Amulet fame, convincing him to skype with their class since the book love of Amulet has gone viral. They even included their "spread like wildfire" chart to show just how much they have made the book popular at ISB. I received an email from his agent that said they loved the persuasive writing and that Kazu would love to meet with us. Just imagine the excitement at seeing that response.

My hope is that we have lots more Skype calls in our future. And lots more of that authentic persuasive writing.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Cheesy Librarians & Big Huge Labs

We ISB librarians love a good photo shoot.* Feeling quite lucky as a local theatre is allowing us to rent the place for our middle school students and any teachers on the night before the US opening of the movie!

*We used the always awesome Big Huge Labs for our movie poster.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Follett Shelf for iPads

Coming back after a blogging hiatus is always a bit awkward, so I'll just dive right in and skip the excuses. Lots of good stuff going on!

After months and months of waiting (somewhat patiently on my part), Follett has released their iPad app for virtual checkout using Follett Shelf. We had a sneak peek at how it works with our Follett rep, and I'm pretty pleased with how smooth it is. There is a tiny lag in the page turning, but it is swipe technology, and that was the selling point for me. Today I received my order of a few trial books.

Next steps are practicing with our trial books and then launching into parent and student education. The only downside I see right now is that patrons cannot put books on hold. My fear is that our market for virtual checkout will fade if patrons have to go back again and again to see what is in. With Overdrive, I put lots of books on hold and then have that nice treat of receiving an email notification that my book is in. If not, I would forget to go back.

More soon! There has been lots of tech/library/classroom teacher collaborating in the last few months with digital book trailers and grade 5 students. I'd love to share all the steps of how we made it work.