Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read

"A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever." -Martin Tupper


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Week Seven Reflections


            The last week of September celebrates “Banned Book Week”.  Many librarians are discussing possible activities to do with students to celebrate the classics.  As a reading teacher, I feel it is important to show students and make them aware of the books that are challenged and the reasons for wanting a book banned.  I also want my students to know that they have a right to read what they want and that the library can offer them access to that freedom.  I think the library should help celebrate this week of September and encourage students to check out the books that cause lots of discussions.  This should definitely be cleared with the principal first and the books that are highlighted should be the classics that are challenged.

            Katie Farrington of New jersey, writes about books that would appeal to boys. I find boys to be more reluctant readers than girls on average.  They often struggle with identifying what kinds of subjects that they are interested in.  Helping them to get to that point is the first step, then the librarian needs to advertise titles that match up to their likes.  Pulling books from the shelves to advertise is a great way to help students search for books to read. She provided a list of all the hits she received and she had lots of great responses. Some of the best were:

1. Graphic novels

2. Gross history books

3. Anything to do with crime solving, forensic evidence gathering, ect.

4. Almanacs, trivia books

5. Mike Lupica, John Feinstein, Tim Green, Mal Peet, and Anthony Horowitz

6. Cirque Du Freak



            David Warlick wrote on his blog “2 Cents Worth” about “Reasoning Our Way” and how there is a difference between how youth of the more recent generations reason their way through problems differently than older generations.  He gave examples of technology and video games where kids figure out what they need to do.  I do agree that kids are great at this kind of stuff. They can get online or figure out how to do complicated but I rarely see students transferring their problem solving skills into practical uses.  If they could do this, then they could really make something of themselves.

            Doug Johnson on his blog, “Blue Skunk” wrote on September 27th about how teachers and coaches need to be “guides”.  He defined a “guide” as “Guide a : one that leads or directs another's way b : a person who exhibits and explains points of interest  ... e : a person who directs another's conduct or course of life. M-W.COM.”  He applied this idea of a guide to his experience of  hiking through the Grand Canyon.  Some of his thoughtful connections included: 1. A guide pushes us to do things we wouldn’t normally of done. 2. Models difficult things. 3. Shows us things we might not have found. 4. Demonstrate best practices and smoothes the way.  These are excellent examples of the day-to-day life of a teacher and how we interact with students. Pushing ourselves as educators to be these things for students is definitely best for students.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thoughts for Week Six


Cynthia Lutz from Byfield, MA writes to the LM_netters on September 18th about DVD/movie policies.  Having read the article this week about using instructional videos, this topic was on my mind as well.  She wanted to know what policies others had out there and whether or not anyone used Netflix as a part of their circulation. The article I read had many concerns with copyright issues and how important it is to know these laws. Being very unfamiliar with any of this, I am curious as to what the copyright laws are with movies and schools and what the best method is for obtaining and showing movies.  This topic comes up at my school a lot and I still don’t have a clear answer.

I always get a little downhearted when I hear about other schools and their amazing teacher’s union. From North Bergen, New Jersey Diana Lawsky writes on September 20th about how every teacher in her school is guaranteed a 40-minute prep and a 40-minute lunch, both without students. Sometimes there are special circumstances but this beats the 20-minute lunch I have WITH students.  I wonder what it would take to start a union in my school district.



            The Unquiet Librarian wrote on September 25th about his/her experience using Google tools with students. The class reflected on the experience and here are some of their comments:

·       Loved the ease and organizational features (as well as chat) of Gmail and Google Docs—many stated they liked it better than Word and loved how easy it was to use.  

·       Most also are feeling the love for Google Sites for hosting and creating professional looking work.

·       Most also love and are proud of the fact that they can blog!

·       Learning how social media can be used for research and educational uses, not just personal networking.

Every time I read about students getting to collaborate and use more tools available to them online I get excited about trying these things out with my own students.  It can be hard to change much because of the short-sighted focus on testing but I will still try to find ways to use technology to increase student learning.

            JHURL from the AASL’s blog posts information about teacher tools from Google on September 23rd. Apparently, teachers have access to something called search curricular which helps to search better searching on the web.  Teachers have access to lesson plans, PowerPoint’s, and a webinar to help explain.  The lessons are tied to ISTE technology standards and relate everything to Google. Though it is soley focused on Google, students will still be able to relate to this common search engine and find ways to make it work better for themselves.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week Five Reflections


Jaclyn Adler a teacher librarian in Salem school district wrote to the LM_netters this week asking for advise on how to make the library more instruction focused and also to turn it into a resource center. She was mostly just looking for anyone who had some background knowledge on this process.  This is a change I would like to see in my own library at my school I work at. Frequently I have students who need to get out of the classroom to work on something, not because they are in trouble, but because they can’t focus in the classroom.  Granted, the library would need more staff available to handle the extra students coming in.  I still think it would make my library more useful to the students.

So I have to comment on a post from Juliann T. Moskowitz, a teacher librarian at Seymour, CT. This is from last week, September 14th.  She writes to describe an incident that occurred in her library one day, when a sub was filling in for a teacher.  At her school, subs spend their plan time in the library helping to shelve books since they don’t have paras. When Juliann explained this to the sub, he claimed that men don’t shelve books and that women were librarians and that it was their job to take care of those things.  She of course was a little taken back by this comment but politely reminded him that there were plenty of make librarians out there doing the very same job she was doing.

I just can’t believe some times how ignorant people really are.  It’s hard to believe people think that way let alone actually speak to another professional that way. I doubt I would have been able to keep my cool in that situation. I probably would have told him to go do what men always do, sit on their lazy butts!



             The “Unquiet Librarian” wrote on September 12th about their “wish list”.  A list of what the library would be able to offer in a perfect world. Many of the items on list centered around being able to access more things for their students that current filters won’t allow.  It is so frustrating to know amazing technology or information is out there but not be able to access it due to filtering problems or outdated materials.  The wish list also included items that would make the library more web 2.0.  The “Unquiet Librarian” wishes to communicate with patrons through text messages and also be able to embed videos or even have access to UTube. These things may be unrealistic now but maybe in the future we can move forward in our schools and have more current offerings to our students.

            Doug Johnson on September 17th wrote in response to a post from Rod at Edging Ahead, which was about being crazy concerned about technology when there are so many other pressing issues to deal with in schools.  Johnson reflected that critical thinking skills would be the key. I have to say I couldn’t agree more.  Students who learn to think for themselves and who learn to problem solve are the ones who are going to be better equipped for the 21st century.  We can go crazy trying to learn every cool new piece of technology and trying to implement it into curriculum, but students will benefit more from becoming independent learners.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week Four Reflections


During our assignment this week, we looked at an archived discussion on LM_NET about electronic devices used in current libraries.  I was interested in learning more about the Playaways that many libraries seem to be using.  I would love for my students to be able to use a Playway.  I have several students who are not interested in reading but are more than willing to listen to a story.  If we had devices available for checkout we could solve this problem.

            Other discussions on LM_NET were about updating foreign language books.  Our library’s foreign language section is practically nonexistent. I think more students would be interested in learning a new language if there were more resources available to them to learn.  I would love to see different kinds of phrase books, picture books, and even audio resources available for checkout.



            The debate continues on printed text vs. online resources.  Donald Mills complains on his blog about how young people never crack a book.  It’s true.  Students now prefer to look up information online and most don’t even know how to use a reference resource.  One of my friends was giving a lecture for a pharmacy class and in her assignment she specifically had students use some printed resources to look up drug information.  In her opinion, she will continue to have the students learn how to use the actual books until the web resources offer the same quality information.  I feel this debate will continue for a long while.  Some people are not going to be convinced that the web resources are what’s best for research.

            Doug Johnson comments on his blog about the 6 phases of a group project.

The six phases are:

1.     Enthusiasm

2.     Disillusionment

3.     Panic

4.     Search for the guilty

5.     Punishment of the innocent

6.     Praise and honors for the nonparticipants

I’m in the same boat with my school here at the beginning of school and I smiled when I read this in Doug’s blog.  It couldn’t be more true of an example of the way more projects go. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week Three

Student databases:

Librarians on LM_NET have been discussing different student databases that would be available to them online.  I really like this idea, especially for researching. Every year at my school we struggle with how to handle our research unit.  Pulling books off the shelves and making them available is great but I would rather see them researching online using credible resources.  We use databases so much at the advanced level, why not encourage it when they are younger? 

References on shelf or online?

LM_NETers have also been discussing whether to take some books out of the library permanently. For example, some librarians are considering removing some of the resource materials like encyclopedias and instead offering these materials online.  I’m usually the cheerleader for keeping print copies of all things but on this issue I have to say I think digital is the way to go.  Students can’t use these nonfiction resources as well in print as they can online. I think it would be easier for them to navigate through the materials online.


The Unquiet Librarian

On this blog, I read about a teacher who has a class website.  They use it post upcoming events, the daily agenda, and sometimes assignments.  I would love to have enough computers in my room for my students to be able to have a web component to our class.  They are more engaged on the computer and I could individualize my curriculum more if it were online.

There has been uproar over the Obama speech this week that it is not surprising to find people posting their viewpoints online. The Unquiet Librarian had an interesting thought on the subject.  While he or she doesn’t agree with the president on most issues and didn’t even vote for him, the unquiet librarian whole-heartedly disagrees with this slam on intellectual freedom.  I couldn’t agree more.  It is unbelievable that we can’t allow our students the freedom to form their own opinions.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Week Two Part Two

On the AASL blog I found an interesting entry about removing all print materials from a library.  I feel like in the future many librarians are going to be faced with the idea that we may be removing what has always been a crucial element to our profession. I can't believe that after thousands of years we might be looking at removing books altogether. I know eBooks have a place in this world but so do print materials. Just taking into account different learning styles show us that we need to hold on to our physical materials. Students learn in all ways and the internet or electronic materials will not completely change that.
It seems like everyone is talking about the upcoming Obama speech. It started last Thursday at my school, it's been on the LM_NET, so of course I've seen it on blogs this week.  Thankfully, I have seen more outrage over schools not being allowed to watch it than those who agree.  First I didn't really understand why people were making such a big deal over the issue. Why can't we let our students watch the news during school? Is it not important to let them form their own opinions anymore? Our school has gone back and forth over the issue so many time that I doubt any teacher feels comfortable showing the speech now even though it would technically be allowed.  It just goes to show you how terribly alive censorship is and how little faith or trust we put in those who are meant to lead us.