jump to navigation

Tuesday Tech Tips July 22, 2014

Posted by Judy Deichman in Check this out!.
Tags: , ,
add a comment


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!.
add a comment

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!.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

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!

CLASS White Paper–Comments July 9, 2014

Posted by Jody Howard in Check this out!.
add a comment

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!.
add a comment

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!.
Tags: ,
add a comment

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!.
Tags: , ,
add a comment


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!

AASL Awards Update! June 29, 2014

Posted by Susi Grissom in Check this out!.
add a comment

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!

Friday Find — ALA Annual’s COGNOTES June 27, 2014

Posted by Susi Grissom in Check this out!.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

ALA annual


Not attending ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas this year, but still wanting to be in the communication loop?  Check out today’s Friday Find – the interactive version of COGNOTES, the official conference daily newspaper.  Attendees receive a print copy of the newspaper at the convention center every day, but anyone anywhere can keep up with the annual conference activities by accessing COGNOTES online.  Mobile, accessible, and PDF versions of the daily communication are also available.

Each issue of COGNOTES contains detailed articles about all featured speakers and most conference sessions for that day.  Extensive information about the Exhibit Hall spotlights special programs, author signings, Pavilion schedules, and vendor locations. Social opportunities such as receptions, award events, and all-conference celebrations also receive newspaper notice.  Late-breaking news about ALA and its divisions’ meetings gives non-attendees a sense of the business and decision-making that is an important part of annual conference. The interactive version of COGNOTES is particularly dynamic, giving the reader the opportunity to turn the page or to look at the newspaper’s content as a series of thumbnails from which to choose. The Help button details the tools the reader can use to read the interactive version, and links contained in articles and ads lead to additional information pertinent to the topic.

Librarians specifically interested in daily AASL  activity throughout the conference can search the interactive version of COGNOTES by clicking the “More Options” button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.  Using the search term “AASL” for the June preview issue leads the reader to an article about the AASL Awards Ceremony and its new non-ticketed format, open to all interested participants.  A second AASL feature describes a panel discussion in which members of the Project Connect team will share their vision for the future of school libraries, as well as the librarian’s role in supporting 21st century learning.  School librarians who can’t attend  ALA annual conference can still keep up with their national organization’s programs, activities, and decisions through COGNOTES articles each day. These readers might not be in Las Vegas, but they can experience a sense of connection through a version of the conference’s daily newspaper.

Readers can most easily find all versions of each COGNOTES issue as it is rolled out daily by accessing the “What’s Happening” tab at the top of the ALA 2014 Annual Conference homepage (http://ala14.ala.org).  Enjoy!

Let’s Get Together Thursday – Educational Collaboration with Cutting-Edge Industry June 26, 2014

Posted by Brooke Ahrens in Check this out!.
add a comment

Derek McCaw is an educator, writer, and actor in San Jose, committed to integrating technology into education while maintaining the integrity and importance of the human touch.  He hosts the Fanboy Planet podcast, available on iTunes, and will next be hosting the Pro-Fan Trivia Contest at Comic-Con.

Things are more like they are now than they have ever been.

Perhaps Dwight D. Eisenhower did say that, and maybe for his time he was right. After attending the Immersive Education Conference held in June at Loyola Marymount University, I can say that things are about to become something even more.

The Immersive Education Initiative was founded by Dr. Aaron E. Walsh, a professor at Boston College and the man who coined the phrase “Immersive Education.” It’s an approach in embracing technology as a chance to curate knowledge and help our students break free of the traditional classroom and move forward – as well as up, down and any direction they choose in pursuing their educational opportunities.

As Aaron himself puts it, the organization’s goal is “to change our lives by changing the way we learn.”

When he started the organization twenty years ago, concepts like Virtual Reality were slow-building and though possible, not yet practical. Yet within a year, practical VR is going to be a consumer reality, with Facebook (with the Oculus Rift) and Sony both racing to be first to the market.

That means that students will not just be interacting with a computer screen. It will be possible for them to wear a lightweight device and become part of the activity in the screen.

At the conference, Melissa Carillo of the Smithsonian Museum presented their virtual Dia de los Muertos exhibit, full of assets and videos exploring this part of Latino culture – it only exists online. Right now, there is still a certain distance, but we’re rapidly approaching a time students will be able to “walk” through this gallery at the Smithsonian while sitting in a classroom anywhere in the world.

Presenter Dr. Bryan Carter from the University of Arizona talked about his “Virtual Harlem,” creating an environment that reproduces the famed neighborhood during the time of the Harlem Renaissance, one of the most important artistic movements in U.S. history. Imagine walking around, absorbing the sights and sounds, then sitting next to a man who turns out to be W.E.B. DuBois, reciting his poetry.

Carter has managed to port the assets outside of Second Life, because one of the things IEI stresses is that we need to develop these educational opportunities on Open Source Platforms for wider access.

An artist facing that concern right now is Inarra Saarinen, the Artistic Director and Choreographer of Ballet Pixelle, which performs original works in Second Life every Wednesday and Sunday. Her troupe lives all over the world, but comes together in the virtual world to rehearse and perform ballet using avatars and macro programming.

Right now, the dancers watch their avatars execute their impossible moves, but soon, they can experience the dance from within the avatar.

Walsh offered up even more educational possibilities, demonstrating how schoolchildren have been able to use a project from NASA called “Rocket World,” where a scientist from NASA can meet up with classrooms across the country and walk them through simulations of current technology while answering any questions that come up.

Of course, this still has to be tied to the real world, so students would then work on projects involving real rocketry, designing and constructing small models on a computer, then using 3D printers to bring them to the physical world. Finally, the project ends with rocket launching. They’ve gone from bits to atoms to the sky.

Neil-Gaiman-derek It is clear that with immersive education, we will be reaching further than the sky, and educators need to start preparing. Ready or not, here the future comes!