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!!!