Friday, April 15, 2011

April is School Library Month!

During School Library Month, it's a great time to reflect on the various purposes of a school library.  So, what do you do at your school library? 

Find books for recreational or leisure reading.
Find books needed for research assignments.
Learn how to use online subscription resources, such as our databases - that are designed for students.
Learn how to access and use our e-book collection.
Read newspapers and magazines.
Consult the librarian, that would be me, about reading or school project matters - I'd be happy to help!


Collaborate with other students (or teachers with teachers) on school projects...and/or catch up with friends.
Discuss ideas and how to go about making them happen.
Research ideas and concepts by taking advantage of all of the resources the Library offers.
Try out some Web 2.0 apps.
Create new information using Web 2.0 technology.
Design alternative presentations for what you have learned.


Read blogposts, and add your comments.
Contribute information to a wiki.
Listen to a podcast, and/or create one yourself.
Use social bookmarking to record books you have read, write reviews, and share with others.
Network safely through appropriate social media.
Join BookChat!, our school book discussion group.

This is not a complete list at all.  How many of the items listed above have you participated in?  There are probably quite a few that would be new for you. 

Remember...our school library is here for you!  Plan on taking advantage of its many resources!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A New Look (Glogster is so cool)!

If you are reading this, you have already seen the new look for the high school library media center website.  So, what do you think of it???

There are many elements to click on --- my greeting, access to our print book/ebook collection, subscription database access, tutorial on using wikis, link to my Diigo page for links of interest, and more.  From time to time, I will add/delete/rearrange parts of the webpage.

After you check it out, please post a comment on this blog to let me know how you like it.  Suggestions are welcome too.

I can't wait to hear from you!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Resolution: Develop the Reading Habit

Now that January is almost over, have most of your New Year's resolutions fallen by the wayside?  

Whatever your answer to that question, it is not too late to resolve to read more during the year ahead.  That's a realistic resolution too -- one at which you can be successful!

Not sure what to read?  I hope you'll stop by our school library, and I will be happy to offer you some suggestions.  That's part of my job, and I always like to see someone walk away with a great book in hand.  

January is also the month when the American Library Association announces its annual award winners in various categories.  To view the entire list, go to  I will share some of the winners here for you to consider.  

Michael L. Printz Award - award for literary excellence in young adult literature

     2011 Winner: 
     Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
     2011 Honor Books:
     Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick*
     Stolen by Lucy Christopher*

The YALSA Teen's Top Ten Winners' List for 2010 includes:
*Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
*Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
*If I Stay by Gayle Forman
*Fire by Kristin Cashore
*Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Teens' Top Ten is a "teen choice" list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year!
 Our school library owns the starred titles.  Remember that you can easily take advantage of our interlibrary loan program to borrow titles from other school and public libraries.  We receive deliveries, at no charge to you, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  Please feel free to ask if you have questions about this program.

There are so many good book choices out there for you to read!  

Even if you start with just 15-30 minutes a day reading a book just for fun, you will be amazed at how quickly you will become a much better reader.  Not only will you become a better reader, but you will develop a new, healthy, lifelong habit!  Those 15-30 minutes will likely increase to a longer period without you even noticing.  That's what happens when you let a good book grab your attention.

So, don't wait any longer!  Get into the reading habit - you'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vacation time and reading (for fun) = good idea

The days are short, the weather is cold, and we're almost on vacation from school.  I hope you all have some wonderful plans of ways to fill your days and nights -- even if that includes catching up on some much-needed sleep!

I really hope that you will make some time during the vacation to catch up on some reading for fun -- that is, read whatever you like.  Read a book, read some poetry, read a magazine, read a newspaper.  Read a book that you hold in your hands, read online, or read with a Kindle or Nook.

There are so many choices of ways to read, and you can really have fun reading.  If you are shaking your head thinking that's not likely, I'm going to guess that it has been a long time since you actually found something of interest to you to read.  I strongly encourage you to try again.  Please stop by the Library at school, and I'll be happy to help you find something you'll like.

Please post a comment on my blog to let me know what you plan to read during the school break!  If you read something that we don't have at school that you would recommend, definitely let me know about it, ok?  I value your input!!

Have a great holiday season and a wonderful vacation!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

WooHoo! Cool Stuff at TSETC!!

It's Saturday, October 2nd, and I'm having a fabulous time at the Tri-State Education Technology Conference!  New Milford High School is the location for this conference that has close to 500 attendees and two dozen presenters. 

It is very exciting and motivating to listen to the presenters' topics and the buzz generated by them.  I'm sure that most of the teachers here will leave with a complete new bag of tools and ideas to use to motivate our students.  That's what it's all about -- engaging our students in learning by using tools and techniques that they can (and do) embrace.

Lisa Nielsen gave an enthusiastic presentation about the power of what is possible and getting around "the ban".  Adam Bellow offered a fast-paced session on ten very cool -- and free -- web tools that all of us can and should use!  Samantha Morra just gave a sensational presentation on digital storytelling, and she gave us many great ideas to incorporate.

Despite the challenges of hosting so many people/presenters, this conference is terrific!  I'm very glad that I am here to learn and participate!  I look forward to sharing some of the many resources with teachers and students!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


You may have heard the expression that "two heads are better than one".  When it comes to problem-solving of all kinds, that is often the truth.  Why?  It's all about perspective.  We each come to address questions from our own viewpoints.  To arrive at a well-considered answer, however, it is generally a good idea to reflect on the puzzle at hand from a variety of viewpoints.  

The world is getting smaller, and it is essential to apply a global perspective in our efforts to solve many of our current challenges.  Collaboration -- working with others -- allows us to see issues through multiple lenses.  This way of working may be new to you.  You can start in small, local ways and build up to true, global collaborations.

With the availability of so many Web 2.0 tools (and most of those are free), collaboration has never been easier!  I hope in this new school year that we can all try to use some of these resources in our effort to look at various issues in more global ways.  

I welcome discussing some of the options with you.  Please come to chat with me and/or respond to this post with one of your own.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Talk about an authentic learning experience!

Last Thursday, the NMHS BookChat! club skyped with young adult author, Sara Zarr.  What an outstanding experience!

Several months ago, one of our members asked about the possibility of bringing in an author to speak with our group.  Having conducted author visits in the past, I know both how valuable and how expensive that would be!  I also knew that Skype, the free software-for-online-communications service, would probably provide a workable solution. 

I browsed the list of writers who participate in  While most of them serve a younger crowd, there are some wonderful young adult authors too.  I researched the young adult authors' books to see if I could find several choices for BookChat! 

At our April BookChat! meeting, members chose one of the books I had proposed -- knowing there would be a skype possibility.   We selected Sweethearts by Sara Zarr.  I contacted the author's representative, agreed to the modest honorarium, had email discussions with a recent reference, and set up a date.  It was BookChat!'s good fortune that the NMHS Student Council agreed willingly to pay the author's fee.  We are very grateful for their generous action!

Sara was very easy for me to work with.  We sent several emails back and forth to settle various details.  Prior experience had taught her the wisdom of checking in advance that all the necessary tech elements would work well, and we did test them out  the week before the session.

In advance of our June 10th skype session, members read Sweethearts.   There was palpable excitement about the upcoming chance to see and hear a real, working author talk with our group. 

We had 13 members of BookChat! take part in our skype session, and it will remain a wonderful, memorable experience for all of us who were there.  Sara filled a full hour with discussion about Sweethearts,  her motivation for writing it, the craft of writing itself, and answers to direct questions from many of our club members.  She was very natural -- some club members were surprised at how down-to-earth a real author could be -- and, we found it very easy to chat with her.  Sara encouraged our club members to keep reading and writing, and to contact her if she could be of help. 
I enjoyed our skype session as much as the students did.  It was a bonus for me to see their enthusiasm and enjoyment.  This experience was a highlight of BookChat!'s year, and I'm so glad we were able to do it.  Talk about an authentic learning experience!!!