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Tuesday Tech Tips July 29, 2014

Posted by Judy Deichman in Check this out!.
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This week’s Tuesday Tech Tip is dedicated to a way for all of the school librarians to save money and use technology.  Walmart is offering a 10% rebate on purchased school supplies to all teachers in the United States and we are teachers!  You must act QUICKLY, though.  Purchases must be made in the store, not online, by July 31st.  Then go online by August 15, 2014 to register your receipt for a 10% egiftcard. The website states you will receive your egiftcard within two weeks.  Walmart knows that teachers purchase many of their supplies with their own money and they are trying to help us out this year.   Read the website for all details.  Rebate is valid only on school supplies and does not include anything in the electronics department.

So, take advantage of this offer and get shopping!



Monday Means Advocacy: Partnerships July 28, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Advocacy, Check this out!.
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A partnership is an arrangement in which parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. (Wikipedia)

Public library partnership – In a research study on the public library-school library connection, the successful relationship between the two partners shows the positive impact to education reform and student achievement.  Working together, the public and school libraries can form networks for resource sharing, develop complementary collections, provide information services and instruction, and encourage reading and literacy.

Civic organization partnerships – Partnerships between school libraries and civic organizations benefit students, teachers, and parents.  Many civic organizations support literacy programs with funding and through mentoring and tutoring.  Civic organizations can assist with speakers and training to support teachers and parents.

Business partnerships – Depending on the particular needs or theme (arts, STEM, technology, etc.) of your school, community business partnerships can enhance your school library program and the entire school.  For example, school libraries in STEM schools can partner with businesses such as SAS, BASF and Red Hat to provide insight into science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, supporting the school’s STEM initiatives through funding, resources, speakers, mentoring, instruction and presentations.

What partnerships have you created between your school library and businesses or community organizations?  How will forming partnerships with these groups benefit your school library?

Friday Find: Building a Culture of Collaboration blog July 25, 2014

Posted by Susi Grissom in Check this out!.
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This Friday Find’s guest blogger is Judi Moreillon, assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University. She provided this post on behalf of the collaborating bloggers at Building a Culture of Collaboration.

Culture of Collaboration blog

We launched the Building a Culture of Collaboration blog (link to http://cultureofcollaboration.edublogs.org/) on Edublogs in August 2012. The purpose of the blog is to share research and musings, news and views, and prompt lively conversations regarding collaboration between school librarians, classroom teachers, specialists, school administrators, and others involved in improving 21st-century literacy learning for youth. As it should be, the blog is a collaborative activity; it is hosted by four school librarian educators who post to the blog one week per month on a rotating basis.

We, the bloggers, believe that the Common Core State Standards, various state- and national-level literacy initiatives, and research in the fields of education and library science increasingly point to the efficacy of forming teaching teams and partnerships in order to positively impact student learning outcomes. Since its inception, the greatest number of posts has been categorized in one of three categories: collaborative cultures, leadership, and professional development. While the blog has a school librarian perspective, we hope that more classroom teachers, specials, principals, and school decision-makers will also read and respond to our posts.

All four bloggers have served as school librarians. To get the blog started, I invited three colleagues to join me in co-developing this resource and forum. Melissa P. Johnston is an assistant professor at The University of Alabama in the School of Library and Information Studies. Judy Kaplan is the Coordinator of the School Library Media Studies Sequence, a concentration strand within the University of Vermont M.Ed. Curriculum & Instruction Program. Sue Kimmel is an assistant professor at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia where she teaches in the school library program and in curriculum and instruction.

We invite all readers to comment on our posts and wish that more readers would do so. Culture of Collaboration blog readers can follow the blog by having an email announcement pushed to their mailboxes when a new entry is posted. Check it out!


The Giver Film Preview July 24, 2014

Posted by Frances Reeve in Check this out!.
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Guest blogger Susan Ballard, recent AASL President, previews the film version of The Giver.

The Giver

The Giver  – it’s coming soon to a theater near you, but I had the good fortune to have just seen it at special pre-screening event and already, I can’t wait to see it again!  To do that, like you, I will now have to bide my time and wait for the formal release of the much-anticipated film in mid-August, but in the interim, while I can’t share details about any specifics related its performance or production values, I can say that for me, it struck all the chords that still resonate within since my first reading of Lowry’s brilliant book.  And as I continue to reflect on the experience, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a young man on my flight back to NH after attending ALA/Las Vegas.  It was while at ALA/Las Vegas that I received an email invitation to the pre-screening from a good friend and colleague, Gerri Fegan.  Many of you know Gerri as a former president of both the Massachusetts and New England affiliates of AASL as well as a past-chair of the Affiliate Assembly.  Through her connections with the good folk at Walden Media in Burlington, MA, Gerri was instrumental in assisting them to bring together a small cadre of school librarians and educators to see the film.  What luck, eh?

Anyway, needing a book to read on the plane, while browsing the selection in the ubiquitous airport news store, I spied The Giver.  At first I was surprised to see it, then chided myself because of course it would be re-released in advance of the movie and all the related buzz.  After all, one of the highlights at ALA had been a session featuring Jeff Bridges and Lois Lowry.  So, not knowing where my copy of the book might be (and did I indeed own it, or did I read a school library copy?) I scooped it up and once seated on the “this flight is completely full” airplane, I settled in to enjoy it, again.  I had a window seat and another woman of about my age was on the aisle when a group of young men boarded and had to split up and take whatever seats remained, so as it turned out, the middle seat was occupied by one of them.  And, he was the chatty sort!  Seeing me engaged  with my book, he turned to the lady on the aisle, yet  I could not help but  glean snatches of the conversation so I discovered  that:  ordinarily he would have been working on his laptop (he works in Chicago for a major communications  corporation familiar to all of us) but he had been participating in a hockey tournament and so had not brought it;  he, and his buddies, were part of a league and while not pro material (and he looked small to me for a hockey  player) they had played  in high school and college and still loved the sport and the competitions;  apparently their team was pretty darn good and they won the tournament.  He also recommended some restaurants and things to do to our aisle-bound seat mate.  At some point in the flight I slipped a book mark into The Giver and rested my eyes for a bit.  When I took it up again, I noticed he was anxious to say something to me.

Young man:  “I know that book.  I read it in Junior High.  I loved it!”

Me:  “Really?  It is a classic.  I‘m enjoying reading it again.”

Young man:  “Me too – I mean, it is one of the few books I read again.”

Me:  “Did you know that a movie version is coming out in August?”

Young man:  “You’re kidding!  I will definitely have to see that!”

Me: “Believe it or not, I have been invited to a special pre-screening in Boston*.  I can’t wait – the movie has two of my favorites, Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep and Katie Holms and Taylor Swift are also in the cast.

Young man:  “Talylor Swift?  I am there for sure. What part does she play?”

Me:  “I am not sure, and as I reread this, I am trying to figure that out.”

Young man:  “Yeah, I wonder too.  One thing about that book…it stays with you.”

I’ll end this post on that note and with this observation – and I think my young friend will agree when he has seen the movie, too – one thing about the film, it stays with you in the very best kind of way as it tugs at your conscience and leverages the power of story to connect us.  I wouldn’t miss it!

*For the record, I and most other New Englanders I know, always say Boston for anything remotely nearby as it is too complicated to explain where someplace like Burlington is located!

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!

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