Sunday, October 3, 2010

Digital Citizenship prezi

This is a GREAT Digital Citizenship prezi!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A great google docs prezi

This is an excellent prezi by Cecelia Foster - and you get double the bang for it! Not only is the content exactly what you need - but the format really highlights the possiblities with prezi.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Leviathon by Scott Westerfield

This is a world war I story that is like none other. The world of Europe has been divided into two groups...the Darwinians and the clunkers. The Darwinians have figured out how to create an entirely new type of animal-created by melding the life threads of different animals. They have created incredible hydrogen filled whales that fly through the skies...
Then there are the clunkers who have created incredible eight legged walking war machines. In the middle of this altered world are two is Alek the son of the murdered archduke. All of the German army is looking for him. Then there is Deryck, a boy? Actually a young girl pretending to be a boy in order to join the English army and work aboard the whale ship Leviathan.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Finding Lubchenko and The Rise of Lubchenko by Michael Simmons

Start with a frustrated high school boy with a major attitude add a stingy, grouchy multi-millionaire father and you get a perfect excuse to steal technology tools from a medical business - the one your father owns. That is where Evan finds himself at the start of this story. Then things start to go wrong! A man is murdered at Evan's dad's work - and his dad is accused of the crime and sent to jail. That would be bad enough - but Evan just happened to steal the dead man's computer with his friend Ruben - and there is evidence on the computer to free his dad....

If he admits his crime his father will ground him forever and may even send him to jail. If he doesn't admit his crime his father may rot away in jail. Even though that is almost a pleasant thought for Evan, he does have a conscience.

Enter a mysterious email from Lubchenko asking the dead man to meet him at a cafe in Paris. Evan, Ruben and their friend Erika decide the only thing to do it take a trip to Paris - where they hope to find Lubchenko and get the information they need.

Oh did I forget to tell you that the company Evan's dad owns makes vaccines for different diseases...including small pox. And, there is the chance that the company is selling live small pox virus to a group of terrorists? That might be important.

Life for Evan is never what he thinks it is - but it is rather exciting - what with dead men, guns and evilterrorists...

The story continues in The Rise of Lubchenko. The Paris trip is over, even though horrible things (that I can't tell you about) have happened life seems to be returning to normal. Evan's dad is off on another trip leaving him at home, on the eve of a huge party Evan receives a phone call...a mysterious voice tells him that his dad's business partner, Mr. Richmond, is about to murder Evan's dad, Evan, Erika and Ruben.

The three decide the only way to stop Mr. Richmond is to find Lubchenko - again. So, off to Paris they go and then all over France, Switzerland and Belgium. And, I really can't tell you much more - because I don't want to give anything away. But let me tell you there is fear, gunfire, small pox virus and just have to read it!

These are exciting books - sort of Bourne Identity-ish. Read them and let me know what you think!

Find these books at the Middle School library.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Plagiarism Video

paulrobesonlibrary — November 13, 2007 — Developed by the Paul Robeson Library. This video is an educational parody of a typical classic 50's classroom environment. This is part 1 of 3 of the series. Contact for more information about this comical tutorial or educational content. This video was created at Rutgers University in Camden NJ.

Film credits

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade

Meet Modo a talented and misformed child being reformed by Mr. Socrates. Mr. Socrates, the rich Englishmen, rescued Modo from a carnival buggy when he was just a toddler. He was to be a prize possession and the future centerpiece for this gypsy carnival. But, for enough money - all sorts of deals can be made.

Modo is locked into a house with only a housekeeper and a Indian trainer for the next 13 years. He is not allowed to see his face or leave the premises. He is trained both mentally and physically - he can climb a rope, jump from place to place, converse on all types of subjects and discern the identity of a approaching stranger by the sounds of their footsteps.

Modo has been formed in the image of his master - but who is Modo. When he is finally shown his misshapen face, and acknowledges the horrible hump on his back he recedes into a deep depression. It is through the love of his housekeeper that he comes to accept both his limitations and his skills.

It is then that Mr. Socrates allows Modo outside... But, he takes him to London, dumps him off on a street corner and forces him to find his own way.

Now - all of that happens in the first couple of is then the assignments really begin. London is being harassed by an unseen force that steals children and returns them as hairy raving lunatics. It is also home to a mysterious scientist who has a skill with clockwork and potions that is completely unknown to others. Modo and his new friend Octavia join forces with Mr. Socrates to try to rid the world of this mad scientist, Dr. Hyde.

This is another in the clockwork genre. The first by Arther Slade, but not the last. If you liked this one - check out Leviathan.

New book at the Middle School

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Photo Story Demonstration

Photo Story 3 Example

Ruined: A Novel by Paula Morris

In this exciting ghost story set in New Orleans, Rebecca Brown is forced to move from her beloved New York to the odd little crooked house of a long lost relative. Her father needs to move to China for 6 months and without relatives, he has sent her to stay with a voodoo queen/fortune teller/tourist attraction 'aunt' named Claudia and her daughter Aurelia.

Rebecca starts school at a snooty academy and settles in to the routine of the wounded 10th grader. That is until she wakes up one evening and sees a group of kids going into the graveyard across the street. Rebecca is drawn to the graveyard where she meets another young girl, both seemingly hiding from the snooty kids drinking on the graves of their ancestors.

Rebecca is drawn to the graveyard and her new friend Lisette. Eventually, Rebecca realizes why Lisette is only seen in the graveyard - she is a ghost. Not only that, but Rebecca seems to be the only one who can see her.

Meanwhile, Rebecca is slowly falling for Anton - the rich young son of one of the prominent families - and a complete no-no. As Rebecca's friendship with both Anton and Lisette grow she finds out about a curse that has surrounded the Bowman family for generations. A curse that involves Lisette.

With a Mardi Gras parade twist, a graveyard fight and an incredible fire - all becomes known.

This is a book that keeps you reading. There are twists and turns - sort of like chasing a ghost through a dark, overgrown graveyard late at night!

Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn

Kayla Reed lives in a future world that is disintegrating. The government requires all adults to have a bar code tattooed on their forearm. That seemingly simple bar code is fracturing families, causing job loss and even death.

Kayla is convinced there is more to the tattoo than just the code...why would just a simple code make her father depressed enough to commit suicide? Or why would the code cause her best friends family to go from one of the wealthiest families to barely being able to survive. Suddenly the bank just cut off their money. And then she finds part of the secret. There is more to the tattoo, the government is making decisions about the futures of families based on...
I can't tell you. It would give too much away... I will tell you a little more about the story - because it doesn't end there.

Kayla joined a group of students against bar codes - these outcasts form a bond as they try to educate others. But then things fall apart. The government requires 17 year olds to get the tattoo..Kayla refuses - but with that refusal she also forfeits all access to money.

So, she is on the run. To a place she has only heard whispers about, a place where others are gathering to defy the government, to learn how to live.

Will she make it?

This is an exciting and unsettling look at a future that is not very rosy. It also makes you think about tattoos in a completely different way.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dairy Queen and Off Season and Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

DJ Schwenk is not your average high school sophomore. She lives on a dairy farm in Wisconsin that takes most of her free time. She is the third in a family of four - all the others are brothers. Her two older brothers just happen to play for BIG university football teams. And she is totally immersed in their football life. All that seems like it could happen.

BUT - DJ hates to talk. I said she wasn't average.

Each of these books follows DJ through several mini - problems and one or two really huge ones!

The first book: Dairy Queen finds DJ helping out a spoiled, rotten future quarterback (Brian) for the rival football team. He needs to learn some work ethic and the Schwenk farm is just the place for that. The more time they spend together - the deeper their friendship grows and shock of all shock - DJ starts to talk. And then she starts to think about a lot of things - like playing football. There is even an appearance in People magazine - which keeps appearing again and again.

The Off Season - picks up right where Dairy Queen ends. This is a different kind of book - rather tense. There is a football injury that has the potential to tear the family into little tiny pieces. I don't want to give anything away - but this book makes you stop and ponder. It's much moodier and heavier. Brian is back and even that friendship is dark and moody.

DJ is the center of everything in Front and Center. It's her time to play basketball and be able to shine in the sport she truly loves. But, she can't simply play, she needs to think about the future - even though she is just a junior. And the future includes offers from basketball coaches from all over the United States - some from huge schools like University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin and others from dinky little places like Ibsen college. DJ is faced with decisions that make her want to hurl - on a daily basis.

Reading these books made me glad to grow up in the midwest, glad to live in a rural area and REALLY glad not to milk cows!!

I think you will enjoy each of these - whether you are a jock, a farmer or just someone interested in a great story!

MS library - all three books HS library - 1st and 2nd books

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Year We Disappeared by John and Cylin Busby

If you are looking for a true story of police work, unsolved crimes and gruesome injuries, this is the book for you!

John Busby is a cop in a small New England town. On a routine drive into work he is shot through the window of his VW bug. He is hit in the jaw.

So begins the story of a life changed in an instant. This book is told by John and by his daughter Cylin who was 9 at the time. It is a raw and telling tale of the anger John feels knowing who was responsible for the shooting and watching his department simply ignore the evidence.

It is also the story of a little girl who admires her daddy's good looks and has a horrible time adjusting to the changes in their lives. Because when your daddy is a cop who has been shot, the bad guy just may come for you next.

This is told honestly and clearly taking us through that first year of adjustments and changes.

Find this in the High School Library
An Iowa Teen Award nominee for 2010

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

This fairy tale takes place in the mountains of Transylvania, and yes there are vampires. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This is the life of a family of sisters, told by Jena number two of four. Years ago they discovered a portal to the land of the fairies. Each full moon they open a secret staircase and descend to the edge of the lake to be shuttled across by their personal dwarf boatman to a land of unbelievable creatures and night of dancing.

This all begins to change when their father leaves for a winter buying trip. The merchant business is left in the hands of his brother and son. But, when Papa doesn't correspond they begin to think the worst has actually happened. Then uncle is killed in a freak hunting accident and the lives of the girls are taken over by their cousin Cezar who seems to think he owns the girls, their home and all the business.

As the full moon approaches he becomes obsessed with eliminating all of the fairy folk in the forest. The Night People (vampires)retaliate and Cezar really goes off the deep end.

One of the most important characters is a rather odd frog who is able to talk to Jena - but only Jena. He stays with her all the time, sitting on her shoulder or riding as a wet lump in her pocket. He is her confidante and her strength. He is also something quite different.

The story builds to a rather unexpected climax. One that reveals much of the character of Jena, Cezar and the frog Gogu. It's a story of forbidden love, magic, spells, and worlds unknown to most of us.

Find it at the High School Library.
An Iowa Teen Award nominee for 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Graphic Novels...

So, this is the beginning. Our middle school library has only a couple graphic novels - the Bone series. And these are the ones I chose to begin our collection. I'm not sure what I think or who I expect these to appeal to. I took them home last night and quickly devoured them.

They are very different.

Rapunzel's Revenge modernizes the Rapunzel story to create a sweet, innocent girl with amazing abilities to use her long red hair as a deadly whip thanks to four years trapped in a tree tower. She rescues herself and begins her trek to free her mother from the hands of "Mother Gothel" the evil woman how pretended to be Rapunzel's mother. She crosses paths with Jack the Giant Killer and they join together to cross a bleak western expanse of outlaws, starving citizens and Mother Gothel's reach. There is action, a little romance and twists of fairy tales woven into this comic format.

Storm in the Barnis another Jack story - but completely different than Rapunzel's fairy tale world. This is set in 1937 in the midst of the Kansas dust bowl. Jack's sister is slowly dying of Dust Pneumonia, his father is depressed and angry and Jack is picked on by the local town bullies. In his inability to stand-up to anyone or anything he escapes to a very mysterious barn. Periodically the barn flashes with lightning - the lightning that will not show itself across the prairie. Jack reaches a breaking point and stands up to the stranger in the barn, the stranger who holds the power to change the world. This is world illustrated by the grays and browns of the dust bowl - the comic book layout and sparse text add to this atmosphere.

Then there is David Almond's The Savage. This is a completely different story. Blue Baker is working through his father's death by writing a story about a savage who lives alone on the edges of the civilized world and is free to allow his emotions to rule him. As Blue creates the story he includes parts of his own world: Hopper, the bully who constantly taunts him, and his little sister, Jess. The Savage interacts withnthese characters as an observer - yet in the end it is the actual contact of the Savage that changes Blue and his family forever. David McKean's illustrations of dark ink against washes of blue and green bring a memorable savage to life. But, who really is the savage and how in the world does it....

I'm not going to tell you...just read it. And the others too. I'd love to hear what you think!

Monday, January 25, 2010

this is just a test

I’m trying out the new windows live writer to see how it works…so disregard!

Whoa – that was super slick…. may need to look into this a little deeper.

Personal interactive to do list

This is an absolutely brilliant idea! Simple and focused personal management would it work with kids???
I used something sort of like this when we were doing in class podcasts. We overtook the white board with our to-do lists and it worked amazingly well!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A great read!

This is the series I've been looking for. It was exciting. It was enticing. It was hard to put down. There was love, friendship, family issues, werewolves, vampires, mundanes (regular old humnas), demons and Shadowhunters (those who protect the world from the demons).


It is a three book series following Clary Fray from her life as a nondescript New Yorker to a new life as daughter of the most powerful and corrupt Shawdowhunter with abilities to tap unprecedented powers against her evil father.

Clary meets Jace in a bar and is drawn to his power and his presence. Through Jace and his adopted siblings Alex and Isabel she is introduced to a world that exists just under the radar of mundanes understandings. A world filled with all the creatures of nightmares and ancient stories. A world her mother escaped from and hid her from. A world that is poised to be overthrown by an incredibly twisted man who just happens to be Clary's father.

These books were sort of Twilight meets Star Wars with a bit of Lord of the Rings thrown in...

Clary is a much stronger heroine than Bella who just seems to stand and scream and brood. There is some of that - but Clary gets it and taps into her own abilities. I liked Clary much more than Bella. And thankfully Jace is NOT Edward - although he is a bit moody. But his personality doesn't dictate Clary's world. Together they forge a friendship that strengthens each of them and prepares them for the final battle in City of Glass.

AND...unlike Twilight...these are not as predictable.

I read the final book - all 541 pages in an evening...and a morning...
I finished about 2AM!! They were recommended to me from an 8th grade math teacher!
I would whole heartedly pass on the recommendation!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Another amazing tool from Joyce Valenza

To embed this use the code from Valenza's SLJ page

I had to change the width from 100 to 50 and reduce the height to 700 for it to fit on this page

On to the next semester...

All through our Christmas vacation I thought I would get back to reading blogs and blogging myself. But, it just didn't happen. I took a much needed break away from all things school.

I spent time reading books of my choosing. Adult books. Ones that I wouldn't necessarily recommend to YA readers. I spent a lot of time with my family - just chatting and shopping and enjoying my daughters.

It made me begin to realize what I've been missing as I've immersed myself in grad school and a new job and all the trappings that go along with it.

It also refreshed me and helped prepare me to come back and jump in to a full semester! It's hard to believe I am 1/2 way through my first year as a librarian.

It also gave me a moment to look ahead and cringe just a bit...

It's certainly a full spring!!!

>Site visit at Keota
>Middle School Book Fair
>Practicum in IC at SE Junior High
>Practicum at Keota Elem
>Research project/poster session
>A HUGE sigh of relief!!!

So - here we go!!!