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Tuesday Tech Tips July 22, 2014

Posted by Judy Deichman in Check this out!.
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I love tech tips that are easy to read and get right to the point.  Here is a link to 21 great tips on ways to use Google that you may have forgotten, didn’t know, or just may find interesting.  Share them with your co-workers and your students!


Here is the link:




What to Read Wednesday (Saturday Edition) – THE PURE TRILOGY by Julianna Baggott July 19, 2014

Posted by Karin Perry in Check this out!.
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Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 5.24.34 PM

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

I’m a big fan of post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories so it is no surprise that I loved this trilogy. But, I think this one deserves a look, even if you don’t normally read this type of book.  This one is very unique. The world Julianna Baggott created for this series includes survivors of a nuclear blast that are fused to the items they were close to at the time of the nuclear blast versus the people responsible for the blast and have been living safely in a dome ever since.

Pressia, one of the main characters, is fused to the baby doll she was holding when the bomb exploded. Her right hand is now a baby doll head. This isn’t the only thing that happened to people though. Some were fused together creating Groupies and even worse than that, some were fused to the ground around them to create Dusts.  If Groupies are dangerous the Dusts are deadly. Pressia’s world is a treacherous one. Her life has been hard since the detonation, but it becomes even more complicated once she meets Partridge – a boy from the dome.

I did a combination of audio and ebook for these books and I really enjoyed the audio!! Check out a sample below.


Friday Find: July 18, 2014

Posted by Susi Grissom in Check this out!.
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Today’s Friday Find is brought to you by guest blogger Paige Jaeger, a library administrator serving schools in upstate NY.  She writes frequently for various library journals,  hosts webinars  for AASL, and speaks at state conferences.  Her book RX for the Common Core is published by Libraries Unlimited.



If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out Pleasedontcheat.com, visit this anti-plagiarism site before school starts!

In 2012, a group of local librarians met at Panera Bread to drink coffee and discuss our plagiarism pandemic. Librarians know plagiarism can be avoided by a carefully crafted assignment, scaffolded with benchmarks steps and “tracking progress.” However, that isn’t always the research paradigm. We are caught up teaching the “instant” generation who wants things easy, fast, and fun, and hard work isn’t always fun.

This group of librarians contemplated what a plagiarism site for the 6-12 student would look like. We decided there was a real need to create a site that would be aimed at our 6-12 grade students and crafted a skeleton of content.

This think-tank was able to plan the sites’ content goals and a small New York State Department of Library Development grant arrived at just the right time.

As we planned this, we carefully considered the positive spin, which is missing. Plagiarism is typically approached from a viewpoint of “you better not, because….” Everything on the web that high school teachers and librarians were using, typically were resources from colleges and universities and include mostly directions on “citing sources.” We wanted to catch the younger students and convince them that research gives them the opportunity to be “heard” and writing their own reports empowers them.

In addition, we hosted a local professional development day with a copyright attorney, Paul Rapp. He surprisingly shared how the original intent of copyright laws were to protect the interests of the common man—not publishers or big corporations. With that premise, he encourages students to be creative when using other people’s material.

This site is set up so that teacher’s could even use this in a flipped classroom model, asking students to view videos at home and come in prepared for a discussion and debate around the essential questions built into the site’s navigation. EQ’s such as “Why should I care?” help students to understand the benefit of owning their own material.   Teachers can use the five essential questions as a framework for their lessons. Kids can create evidence based claims to answer them.

Years ago, I had an 8th grade student who was into “words.”   I asked him once to go into the Dictionary of Etymology and look up the roots for plague and plagiarism speculating that they would be similar, but they weren’t. When he told me that plagiarism can from the same root as “kidnap,” it stuck and we always used that analogy with the students. That same thread is prominently on the home page and hopefully is simple enough for today’s Millennials to understand.

Even the web-designer that we hired to code the site got into our mission. Rachel, at Micron492.com is a former Chemistry teacher who took a personal interest in ferreting out additional great resources we missed. As an educator, she too knew how much this was needed.

So whether you’re teaching in Maine, Argentina, or Arkansas, we are hoping you will spread the word that PleaseDontCheat.com is a new tool for your students!

Monday Means Advocacy: Advisory Committee July 13, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Advocacy.
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meetingDo you have an advisory committee for your library?  An advisory committee is a representative team of teachers, administrators, parents and students who review library policies and procedures, assist with library media initiatives, create  budgets, assist with library programming and events, and promote and advocate for the library program.

Your advisory committee should be made up of the following members:

  • school librarian
  • technology facilitator
  • administrator
  • teachers representing each grade level and core subject
  • teachers representing electives, specialists and administrative staff
  • parents
  • students

Your advisory committee should review and assist with the following policies, procedures, and initiatives:

  • collection development and collection policies
  • facilities management
  • budget and funding
  • literacy, media and instructional technology initiatives
  • challenges and materials reconsideration policies
  • mission, vision, and advocacy plan
  • program evaluation

How do you see an advisory committee making an impact on your work as a school librarian and your library program?

CLASS White Paper–Comments July 9, 2014

Posted by Jody Howard in Check this out!.
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In April, 2014, AASL, through an IMLS planning grant, sponsored a Research Forum, Causality: School Libraries and Student Success (CLASS). The Forum included a key note speaker, a panel of five researchers, and 50 researchers and practitioners in the field. From the input of the members of the Forum, a white paper was developed to establish a process showing causality in relationship to school librarians and student learning. The draft of the White Paper can be found at the following link:


Please read the White paper draft and send any comments or questions to Allison Cline at ACline@ala.org.  Your input is invaluable; this plan will provide the road map for looking at the concept of causality, school librarians and student learning.


What to Read Wednesday – PINOCCHIO VAMPIRE SLAYER by Van Jensen July 9, 2014

Posted by Karin Perry in Check this out!.
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pinocchio vampire slayer


This puppet may not be a real boy… but he just might be a real hero! When bloodthirsty monsters invade Pinocchio’s hometown and kill his father, Geppetto, Pinocchio discovers a new benefit to his magical nose: telling lies produces a never-ending supply of wooden stakes to combat the vampire hordes! Will Pinocchio be able to defeat these horrors, avenge his father, and save his friends? Now, for the first time, the complete trilogy is collected together in a single deluxe softcover edition. Jensen (Green Lantern Corps) and Higgins (Knights of the Living Dead) present a captivating blend of comedy, horror, romance, and adventure, rooted in the original Italian novel, but brought – as if by magic – to new life.

This graphic novel is wonderful. What a great way to mashup two totally different tales. Take a look at Pinocchio.

pinocchio_vampireslayer_killallvampiresHere are the basics:

1. Vampires kill Geppetto

2. Pinocchio vows to get revenge and kill all the vampires he can

3. He lies on purpose to get his nose to grow

4. He breaks off the nose to use as a stake

5. He stakes the vampire with his nose.

***The traditional story of Pinocchio is summarized at the beginning of the graphic novel as the back story for this book.

Has anyone read this one yet? If so, what did you think?

What to Read Wednesday – COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black July 2, 2014

Posted by Karin Perry in Check this out!.
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coldest girl

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.


I’ve read this book AND listened to the audio. I rarely read books twice, but this one definitely rated a reread. Check out the audio book sample to check it out yourself.

Read a 32 page preview of this awesome book.

View this document on Scribd

Tuesday Tech Tip July 1, 2014

Posted by Judy Deichman in Check this out!.
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Yesterday was Social Media Day! It has been an actual celebrated day since 2010.  It is a global event!  If you are not on social media, if you are not using social media to reach your community, if you are not using social media to promote your library, then you need to take time this summer to get on the ship before it leaves you at the dock.  Social media flows both ways.  You can learn so much and share so much through social media.  You can be on social media through Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, Blogs, Pinterest or LinkedIn.  Pick one and get started.

Social Media Day was created to celebrate the digital revolution and we need to be an active part of this revolution!

Donalyn Miller at President’s Program June 30, 2014

Posted by Audrey Church in AASL News, ALA Annual Conference.
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Kudos and sincere thanks to President Gail Dickinson for inviting Donalyn Miller to be the keynote speaker at the AASL President’s Program at Annual Conference in Las Vegas. As librarians we know Donalyn as the author of The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild. If you were fortunate enough to hear Donalyn speak at Caesar’s Palace on Saturday, June 28, you now know her as a teacher who believes that reading, in and of itself, should be a reward for reading and as a teacher who motivates students in her classroom to read 40 plus books a year.

During her inspiring presentation, Donalyn shared easy-to-implement, effective strategies for motivating children to read: student “shelfie” pictures (a selfie with a stack of books); student book commercials in class (which they voluntarily share whenever there are a free few minutes of time—no more dull book reports!); “what I want to read next” lists in their book journals (so that they go to the library with a plan!). Donalyn suggested that, yes, book choice involves reading level but that it also involves (a) background knowledge and (b) motivation. That child reading below grade level may very well be able to read a more difficult book if it’s on a topic of interest and should have the right to do so. Students in her classroom who zero in on one author or one genre become the expert, the go-to person, for other students.

One can only imagine being in this learning environment of authors, books, and reading!


AASL Awards Update! June 29, 2014

Posted by Susi Grissom in Check this out!.
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Guest blogger Val Edwards, AASL Division Councilor, sends this report on the AASL 2013-2014 Awards program, held this past Saturday at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

Yesterday I had a wonderful, inspiring experience.  I was in attendance at AASL’s  2013-2014 Awards program.  This year’s crop of winners are a particularly impressive bunch.

Winners include:

Dollar General Catastrophic Grant recipients Dr. Robinson and Dr. Knittle. Both winners are Superintendents in schools which were decimated by fire. They were models of reliance and champions of libraries.

Frances Henne award winner, Carolyn Stensel transformed her library from tired to dynamic during her two year tenure.  This award is sponsored by ABC-CLIO.

Janet Wells, representing the Kentucky Assn of School Librarians, accepted the ABC-CLIO Leadership Grant to support a training program for the next generation of leader librarians.

This year’s Distinguished School Administrator, sponsored by Proquest, is Arturo Cavazos, Superintendent of Schools in Harlingen, TX.  It was inspiring to hear of the impact that libraries have had on him and his siblings.  Superintendent Cavazos is a strong champion for school libraries.

Brenda Boyer and her teacher colleagues, Allison Kocis-Westgate and Josh Chambers, were awarded the Collaborative School Library Award, sponsored by Upstart.

The Innovative Reading Grant sponsored by Capstone was awarded to Christina Genay who developed a bike bookmobile which she uses to deliver books to her students in poverty.  Her energy and dedication set a high benchmark for us all.

Two Information Technology Pathfinder Awards were awarded this year by Follett.  Recipients were Louise Lankau of Houston, TX and Susan Nottoli form Elk Grove Village, IL.

Cathy Collins received the Intellectual Freedom Award sponsored by Proquest and Debra Kachel of Mansfield University received the Distinguished Service Award sponsored by Baker & Taylor.

Roald Dahl’s Miss Honey Social Justice Award went to Elizabeth Lobmeyer of Garden City, KS.  Elizabeth was an inspiration as she lead students in a high poverty school to process social justice themes in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and determine that they had a role in making the world a better place.  They successfully completed a service project which had them making fleece blankets to be sent to the babies of women in jail in Ecquador.  I was awed by the vision, caring and kindness this project brought out.  If this is representative of the caliber of the work we will learn of through this new award, we must all sit up and take notice and contemplate how we will do our part.

Finally, the National School Library Program of the Year sponsored by Follett was announced.  This year’s recipient, Eaglecrest High School of Centennial, CO has upheld the expectation that we will be made aware of exemplary programs in our field.  Having these programs in front of us as models is a great service to our membership.

All in all attending the award program was time well spent.  I left with many ideas for strengthening my own work to support student learning.  It doesn’t get much better than that!