Friday, December 19, 2008

Wishes

As I sit here on the last day of school for the year, 6 days before Christmas and... it is 70 degrees out - ugh!

I want snow, I want ice, I want to sit by a crackling fire.

Those of you awaiting the snow storm in the Northeast are cursing me now, but cold and snow is how December should be.

I just wanted to take this time to wish EVERYONE a very Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah (or both) and a cheers to a good, healthy, prosperous New Year filled with lots of books and stories.

Well, I am off to stuff myself with some more food - a school the week before the holidays is one huge food fest - and this year I have been bad bad bad... but the healthy eating starts in January, I still have latkes to eat and Christmas Eve lasagna and of course more cookies!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Books & Movies

Last night I was watching one of my favorite tv shows - Jon & Kate plus 8 - the show makes me feel thankful that I 1. don't have preschoolers anymore and 2. don't have 8 kids - LOL!

But something on there REALLY bugged me last night - they were doing a show at St Jude's hospital - good thing - BUT in the middle of the show it shows Kate reading the book Tale of Despereaux to her kids then showing the kids all with their own stuffed Despereaux.

What bugged me the most was the shameful plug that the movie company OBVIOUSLY paid the show/Kate to read the book and show off the toys. Of course there were commercials for the movie during the hour long show also. I think I was bugged by the fact that I don't think that I have ever seen Kate or Jon make such a big deal about a book before, and now here they are doing it because the book is now a movie.

Now, while I do LOVE Despereaux and have since the book came out, I hate when people get on the bandwagon of a book just because of the movie. I see it happen EVERYDAY (and I am not exaggerating) at school and maybe I should just be glad that they are reading, but it still bugs me. In fact this week, I am reading The Polar Express - one of my favorite books of all time and you cannot BELIEVE how many kids had never heard of the book, but had seen the movie.

I wish we could do prime time tv commercials for books like they do for movies - or better yet, have Jon & Kate plus 8 read a book and make a big deal about it BEFORE it becomes a movie (or before the THOUGHT of it becoming a movie happens!!) I even offer to be their BOOK consultant, think TLC is reading????

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Best Lists

I love getting the end of year "Best Of" lists, mainly so I can see which books, movies and place I have totally missed in 2008!

Here is the NY Times Notable Children's books of 2008 - I have only read one of them - Frankie Landau Banks  - which I LOVED  - but at least I have HEARD of a few more of them, does that count??

In the Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2008, I ordered 2 of them for the media center (Black Book of Colors and We Are The Ship) but have not heard of ANY of the others.

SLJ has a larger Best of 2008 lists, which thankfully I recognize a few more titles on that list, but there are still some head scratchers for me - and I READ the print SLJ every month!

Susan at Chicken Spaghetti has a list of many more Best of 2008 lists - I am a little scared to  take a look at some of them, if I start NOT recognizing too many of the book I might have to rethink my career - LOL!

These lists are beginning to make me wonder what review sources I am NOT reading.....

No I just have to wait until Christmas morning when I get my annual People Best of 2008 issue in my stocking to pour over more things I missed in 2008!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Mo


Mo Willems has a funny piece up on NPR - radio cartooning. My favorite caption is the one about killing Rudolph! Make sure to not only listen to the piece, but take a look on the website to see more captions to his cartoon!


Can I just say again how much I love this man!!!


What do you think it would take to get him to come to my school....... how AWESOME would that be! That is what I am asking Santa for this Christmas!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Awesome Laurel

OK, so I know I blogged about Laurel coming to visit, promised pictures then.. well... I got sick, then had Thanksgiving to think about and well... no excuses...

Laurel's visit was FABULOUS - the kids loved her, Laurel enjoyed talking with my students and I think a good time was had by all.  There was even a castle cake (made by my awesome partner in crime, Mrs. H - 4th grade teacher)

I think the kids loved that Laurel was a real, cool person. She answered their questions, laughed at their play and told them that she started writing when she was THEIR AGE - WOW. I think more than a few of the kids went home that night and started writing their own book.  

Here are a few pictures from the day...



Group hug!




Laurel and I 


Laurel - in the background is a picture some of the kids drew for their "play" that they performed for Laurel.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm EXCITED!

Tomorrow author Laurel Snyder is coming to my school for a visit - and all because of the kidlitosphere!

Laurel got my e-mail from Jen Robinson, I guess Laurel was looking for some kidlit lovers in GA and Jen knew I lived in GA and passed on my info to Laurel who e-mailed me.  My life was CRAZY at the time, but I followed Laurels Blog and became a Facebook friend and was so excited when she had her first book, Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains published.  I met her at the Decatur Book Festival, where my daughter was Laurels first official book signing - how cool is that.

Well, around that time a 4th grade teacher was looking for some ideas for her gifted kids to do a book study and I recommended Laurel's book and I asked Laurel if she would like to do an author visit with the 14 kids...

and so now tomorrow she is COMING to visit us.  The kids are SOO excited - they are going to eat lunch with her and then they have a super secret thing planned for her!

This is the part of being a media specialist I love the most - connecting kids with reading in ways that they might not get a chance to otherwise.

I will have pictures and stories tomorrow!!

All about Nerds..

nerdfighters that is!

There is an awesome interview with the king of the nerdfighters - John Green up at Writing & Ruminating today.

Also, I just finished his newest book, Paper Towns the other night - another great book - what amazes me with John's writing is, I know he is writing about a modern day group of teens, but so many things in the book I can relate to from MY high school days 20 year ago. Margo could just as easily been a girl I hung out with in high school.

The only thing that would lure me into being a high school media specialist would be the ability to purchase books like this for my media center and get to recommend them and discuss them with high schoolers - boy I would love that - but I think I would miss my picture books and story time too much (and since I will soon have high school age children of my own, do I REALLY want to be around all that HS DRAMA at home and at school - although it might be a good way to keep up with my own kids - ha ha!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving and Sharing Stories

This week I am reading the new book by Diane Z. Shore (a local Atlanta author) titled This is the Feast. It is a book in rhyme, about the Pilgrims journey to America and the tough road to their first Thanksgiving.

I started reading it today and I guess growing up in Massachusetts and driving through Plymouth quite often on our way to Cape Cod, I somehow always knew the story of the Pilgrims, the first Thanksgiving and how to say all those crazy Indian names. Oh and lets not forget the trips to Plimouth Plantation during the summers when I was a kid and then there was an ill fated trip in college to see Plymouth Rock at about 2am.. but that's for another blog...

I also knew what clams were and lobster and what a cranberry bog looks like in the fall at harvest time. I forget that many of the students I teach here in the South don't have those same experiences. So when I shared this book, many of the children today asked "what is a lobster?" when it is mentioned in the book. I pointed out the clams and oysters on the Thanksgiving table and many of them looked at me like I was crazy - they ate shells??

This is why I am so glad that I can share storytime with so many of my students (and wish that some of the older grades would take me up on it!) Storytime is not just about reading a book, it is also about sharing experiences with your students. I am right now searching through some pictures from my sisters wedding two years ago on Cape Cod for the picture of the cranberry bog in full harvest mode to show my students (but of course, I can't find it!) I also see a trip to Plimouth Plantation this summer and some virtual field trip video being filmed.

I think as teachers and media specialists (and even parents) we all bring different experiences to the table and although the curriculum is important to teach, it is also important to bring those experiences into our teaching to help these kids learn about the world around them.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What took me SO long??

to finally read Twilight?  I don't know, maybe the vampire theme (I am not a big fantasy person), maybe the size (I don't read BIG, involved books during the school year very much because I don't have time) or well, I have run out of excuses.  So after hearing just about every girl age 11 and up mentioning the book, my dance teacher telling me how great they were, and some of the women in my neighborhood not believing that I hadn't read them yet (after all I am a children's librarian, shouldn't I be ahead of the curve on this one!) I picked up the first one two week ago - WOW.  What a great book, and really, if you discount the fact that the main character is a vampire, really not too much of a fantasy book either!  I zipped through Twilight in a weekend (and now my 11 year old is reading it too) and zipped through New Moon last weekend and am off today to purchase the next two in the series (especially after a friend at dinner last night told a little spoiler about the 4th book - OOH I can't wait to read it).

Of course I wish I had read them sooner, but at least I got into them before the movie comes out next week - so me and half the country can jam into movie theaters next weekend!

I seem to have this habit of coming late to the book party when it comes to blockbuster series - I did the same with Harry Potter, and what got me to start reading that series was grad school - I figured if I was going to be a children's librarian, I better read the hottest book out there for kids (for the record, I liked HP better than I thought I would, but I wouldn't say it was my favorite).




Saturday, November 8, 2008

Book Gifts

I have been thinking about a post on this subject all week, and then of course Jen came up with a perfect post about the gift of reading. 

My thoughts were tied to the book fair I am running this week.  This is a fundraiser for the media center and while I do promote it with the premise of getting books into kids hands, the real reason why I do it is MONEY - yes MONEY.  The book fair is every school librarians nightmare, dealing with parents, dealing with crying kids who break your heart, dealing with money (I had a kid today purchase $56 worth of books, only 45 in ones and the rest was in pennies, dimes and nickles!) but the money is our motivating factor.  With school budgets getting tighter every year I fear that I will have no money to spend on library books and other materials in the coming years, the money I make from book fair will help me out.  This year the money I make will go toward three author visits that I have scheduled - and I am SO excited to be able to offer my students this - I STILL have kids who ask me about our author visits from last year (and even yesterday I had to explain to a 2nd grader why Coleen Salley would not be coming back to our school this year).

So with that in mind, I have started targeting the parents in my school (I am in a fairly middle class school, we do have a reduced/free lunch population that is growing, but for the most part we are in a pretty middle class area) to use the book fair to purchase gifts for the holidays.

But the question I get asked the most is "What do you think Johnny would like, he's in second grade and is an ADVANCED reader?" (ah, aren't they all advanced readers!)

I have learned through the years, not so much from my job, but from my own children that reading material is such a subjective thing and even if Johnny loves to play baseball, baseball fiction books might not get him excited about reading. I find that younger children are easier to buy for than older children.   I do ask if they know the last book the child they are buying for read and then I might find similar books.  I might ask what the child  is interested in and find a non-fiction book about that subject.  Very often, I suggest giving a child a favorite book from their childhood.  While the recipient might not find it THEIR favorite book, kids to do get a kick out of reading books that their parents or relatives or even teachers enjoyed when we were their age. 

 I love to tell people to start a book giving tradition.  I know some families that have a night of Hanukkah be book night, or they give a new Christmas themed book to a family/child every Christmas (I do this).  I am lucky enough to get to meet many authors throughout the year and I always buy a signed book for my nieces, sometimes even including a picture of the author and myself along with the book (I do this for my own children too, but many times at least one of my kids is with me when I meet authors).

Like Jen says in her post, more important that GIVING a child a book is to READ the book to them/with them, even older kids enjoy being read to.  So while the hectic pace of the holidays starts to take hold, take a night to read a book with your kids (or a child in your life), that is the real gift of the season.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

VOTE

Today is election day - and as an extra bonus for me, I have the day off from school (many of the polling places in our county are schools).

Many of the members of the kidlitosphere are getting the vote out here, here and here.

I love this idea from Chicken Spaghetti from the NY times and I will be bringing a camera with me when I go vote in about an hour. (note, the NY Times website was REALLY slow to open, I think it might be a bit busy today!)

Laurel had some great ideas about getting kids involved.  At my school we did the National Student/Parent Mock election last week.  The kids were SO excited to vote and I was shocked to learn yesterday that in our VERY Republican area that the vote was very close and Obama WON (by 4 votes). Of course I had to rub it into the teacher that teased me for having an Obama sticker on my car!

I am not taking my kids to vote, well because I am selfish and if I have to wait around for a few hours, I want to read my book (finally getting to read Twilight!) without hearing the whines from my kids, BUT they are all aware of what is going  on in the country and will be watching with me tonight when the results start coming in.

I am hoping it is not a long night - my book fair starts tomorrow!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Boo Bubbles

It is Halloween in the media center this week and thanks to Steve Spangler (I just love this guy!) we are making BOO Bubbles!




First I am reading a Halloween book - Halloween Night by Majorie Dennis Murray then I get into my "mad" scientists role and we make Boo Bubbles.




I bought this kit at Steve Spangler.com - watch the video and it will get you pumped to do this too.

I pour water into the Jar and ask the kids what it is (I am looking for a liquid as the answer).



Then I put on my gloves and grab a piece of dry ice and ask the kids what is it (I am looking for dry ice and a solid).




Now the fun begins - I drop it into the water and POOF - fog rolls out of the jar....oooh...ahhh






So I talk about the smoke being a gas and being carbon dioxide - then I make the bubbles, dipping the end of the plastic tube into dish detergent and then capping the top of the jar so that the gas fills the bubbles.




The BOO part of this is that with the bubbles filled with gas, they look like ghosts. The science part of this is talking about states of matter (Solid, gas, liquid).


And who doesn't like a little dry ice fun this time of year!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Conference day

Today and tomorrow I am attending the GA Como conference (GA Council of Media Organizations) with many of my fellow media specialists in the area.

This is a conference that my district pays for me to attend, and to be honest, today's conference was not inspiring or interesting or career changing ( as other conferences I have attended have been) no, for the most part, it was boring!

There were a few bright moments, talking and connecting with colleagues. Getting to connect with some TIE network friends and the only presentation (except for the TIE session) that was even remotely interesting was the presentation by the 2008 GA Media Specialists of the year.

I love connecting with other people in my field and meeting authors and hearing ideas from others in my field, which is usually what happens at a conference, but not today.

I have to go back tomorrow, the bright spot is I will listen to a colleague present a session about book challenges (she survived NINE in one year!) and author/storyteller Carmen Deedy is doing the last keynote - and she is always fun to listen to.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Election Webquest

I have already mentioned some great election websites and lessons plans for the upcoming election, but I have a webquest that I created I wanted to share.

I created this webquest to work with the electronic databases that my school district subscribes to, so while the actual website I created will not work for you and your students, you can easily create a webquest to work within your school and the resources your school has.

I start the lesson with the kids by showing them the first segment of this episode of CNN student news on the Presidential debate on Oct 7th.



Then I direct them to this website I created on googlepages (have you created a webpage yet using this, what a GREAT thing for educators to use!!). I also give the kids a handout of the webpage so they can write the answers to the questions on the page and they don't have to toggle back and forth to the webpage.

I used this with 5th grade students, but you could adapt it to lower or upper grades also. I love that this lesson plan incorporates a lesson on the election issues and current events and also a lesson on using the databases for research, my teachers also love when I give a two-fer in learning!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pumpkin Math


This year our school goals are heavy on the math - which is a little challenging for someone in my position. BUT I am finding lots to do with math, even if it is a subject that STILL makes me have nightmares!

This week I am reading the book How Many Seeds in A Pumpkin by Margaret Mcnamara and illustrated by Brian Karas.

The book is a about a class whose teacher gives them a lesson on how many seeds are in a pumpkin. They have three pumpkins of different sizes, they cut open the pumpkins and count out the seeds , they find that the pumpkin they THOUGHT would have the most seeds does not.

This is one of those books that, while might not end up someones favorite of all time, teachers love because we can do so much with it.
Since I only have a class for about 40 minutes, I decided NOT to carve a pumpkin during class, but instead I took a video of me carving two different sized pumpkins at my house. I pulled out the seeds, dried them out and put them in two paper bags - one marked LARGE and one marked MEDIUM.

After the kids watch the video I split them into two groups, one counts the seeds in the large pumpkin and one counts the seeds in the medium pumpkin. Just like in the book, one group counts by 5's and one group counts by 10's. As luck would have it (and NO I did not plan this) the medium pumpkin does indeed have more seeds than the large pumpkin - and the kids LOVE that.

Some of the teachers have taken this lesson back to the classroom and had the kids do a writing exercise on WHY they thought the results came out the way they did.
Plus, this lesson gets me in a Halloween kinda mood!














Monday, October 6, 2008

More on Nick & Norah

A great interview with David Levithan and Rachel Cohn at NPR

A fairly good review of the movie, also on NPR, although I have also heard some not so great reviews of the film too. If my life would just slow down a bit, I would love to see the movie - maybe it will still be in theatres AFTER youth football season, which *hopefully* ends in 2 weeks (if my younger son's team makes the play-offs it will continue, luckily, my older son is on a losing team, so there will be no play-offs for them!)

Also, Rachel is a featured author on this month's ReaderGirlz website and she has a chat scheduled on the site on October 23rd at 6pm

Friday, October 3, 2008

Banned Book Week (a little late)

Ok, so I am coming into this at the end, but this past week has been Banned Book Week as designated by ALA.

I don't do too much in elementary school to celebrate - sometimes I read a picture book to my students that was once banned (Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was one I have read before), but this year, with so much of my reading having to relate to the curriculum, I have not had time to do things like this.

Sondra, at the Kane/Miller blog has a post up about the week and usually I do what she does, read a banned book, but this year I never got around to it, maybe this weekend I will re-read me some Judy Blume!

The best example of a banned book week "stunt" came from Walter Mayes. I know I will get some of the facts wrong, but he told a story last year at a meeting I was at about how he told the girls at his private, all-girl middle school that they were banning fantasy books from the media center. The girls ended up staging a protest and I believe that the media was called in before the girls were told it was a joke (Oh wait, maybe this was an April fools thing) well anyway, the point was how passionate KIDS can be when we tell them we are going to ban them from books.

I have been VERY lucky and have not had one formal challenge in the six years I have been a media specialist, but there have been many media specialists in my county that have not been so lucky.

I for one, cannot imagine my life without having read Judy Blume when I was ten or reading Catcher in the Rye when I was sixteen - both banned authors/books.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another reason to LOVE October

The Cybils Nominating process starts October 1st - which is TOMORROW!

What, you don't know what the Cybils are - well check out Jen Robinson's post here and then head over to the official Cybils blog here.

One of these days when my kids and my job and my husband don't demand as much of my time as they do now I can't wait to be a part of the process, for now I will just nominate!


Monday, September 29, 2008

This & That

I have had a post that I started and stopped about 10 times since last week on technology's role in the media center, and I promise, I will get it out soon.

But in the meantime a few things...

There was a jazz funeral for Coleen Salley in her hometown of New Orleans this weekend, Deborah Wiles has a great description of the event and pictures - I wish I could have been there, I think it was just as Ms. Salley would have wanted it to be.

If you are looking for some ideas of what to do in the media center in October, check out Susan Gringsby's blog with a listing of holidays, birthdays and other fun stuff that happens in October (my birthday isn't on there...hmmm)

and just in case you haven't heard, the Red Sox are in the post season, game on Wed vs the Angels - I think this year might be tougher than last, but hey, we made the post season and the Yankee's did not that always makes me smile!

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Newest Obsession

On SLJ's Bowllan's Blog today, Amy Bowllan has a link to Dan Blank's blog about how Facebook changed his life (and she also has a profile on Bonnie Bracey Sutton, whom she connected with via Facebook) Go read....I'll wait....

Ok, Good, you're back. I have just recently gotten obsessed with Facebook (like I have time for another online activity), doing the things that Dan mentions, getting hooked up with old high school and college friends, keeping up with real life friends and now I have just started merging some of my professional life by "friending" colleagues, authors and other bloggers. I really like Dan's suggestion of having groups on Facebook to connect with others. As gas prices and well, everything, gets more expensive, going to conferences is going to be a thing of the past, at least for me, so maybe groups set up on Facebook could be an alternative to connecting to people I might have connected with at a conference or workshop. I also have a library shelf application ( I forget what it is called) where I can list the books I am reading, I can post a review and I can also see what my friends are reading too.

I think educators do have to be careful in how they use Facebook. While I have a few "friends" who are high school age kids (daughters of friends of mine) I try and keep it adults only, and I would never friend a student at my school. This might get harder as my kids get older and are on sites like this, but, it could be a good way to stay in tune with what is going on with my kids and their friends.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Coleen Salley

As most of you know by now, author Coleen Salley passed away this week. I had the pleasure of being her very last school visit - and let me tell you, how lucky I was.

Many people who knew her better than I have posted tributes, here, here and here but I just wanted to reiterate the importance of author visits to schools.

When I announced to the staff about Coleen's passing so many people told me how touched they were by her visit her and how touched their students or their own children were. You can read about my adventure with Coleen here, and I will repeat, she is one person who made such an impression on me that I will remember our time together the rest of my life.

Coleen, I know you are up there in heaven having a drink and telling stories - thank you for making an impression on so many people!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

WHY???

I found this story in my People Magazine news page today:

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20224871,00.html?xid=rss-topheadlines

Headline is "Lauren Conrad Inks a Three Book Deal"

To quote from the article:
"Conrad, 22, has signed on to write a three-book series of young adult fiction for HarperCollins, the publisher tells PEOPLE. The books – the first of which is scheduled to hit shelves in the summer of 2009 – will be loosely inspired by Conrad's own experience going from an ordinary teen to a reality TV star. "

UGH is all I have to say about that.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

October is the BEST month

Ok, I must admit that I am a little bias - I have a birthday in October (and gave birth to one child in October) and I still contend that all the "cool" people have birthdays in October - BUT it is shaping up to be a COOl YA celebration in October - I already mentioned that Nick & Norah's Infinite playlist is scheduled to make the big screen in October, but now I find out that John Green's newest book, Paper Towns is scheduled to come out in October also.  Jen Robinson has a review here - and if any of my family is reading this - that would make an EXCELLENT birthday present (along with a new iPod Touch and a gift card to Ann Taylor Loft would just be FABULOUS!).

Am I the only one who misses Brotherhood 2.0 - I do check out John's blog, but I miss the everyday banter between John and Hank!

Maybe they will bring it back for 2009???


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nick & Norah - the movie

HOW did I miss this??

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist is going to be a movie, coming out October 3rd.

This made a boring night of editing Teacher of the Year video for school SO much better!

I can't WAIT to go see it!!




Election Resources

I wanted to share with you something I gave out to my teachers - the books mentioned are books I have in my collection, there are a few other election books out there that I do not have that might also be good - The Kid who Ran President by Dan Gutman is one that comes to mind.

On a somewhat related topic, since I am also a Mom, I find the talk since Sarah Palin was named VP nominee about Moms trying to do it all very interesting. Here is an article from the Boston Globe on the subject. I for one, only have three kids and am not running for Vice President and I KNOW most days I can't do it all, more power to her!

Election 2008

I have put together some resources for you to use for the upcoming Presidential Elections.

Websites:

PBS Teacher Line: http://www.pbs.org/teachers/vote2008/
Videos, lesson plans and other activities

Scholastic news: http://teacher.scholastic.com/scholasticnews/indepth/election2008.htm
Lesson plans (I am using some of these with 5th grade already), video clips of student reporters on the campaign trail and blogs from student reporters. Also election games and student centered articles about each candidate.

Weekly Reader Election Coverage http://www.weeklyreader.com/election/
Blogs by students on the election, games and fun activities for students.

Nickelodeon Kids Pick the President: http://www.nick.com/kpp/
Very graphic site about the election, videos, kid polls and articles about how we pick a president


Video:
Election day
[ Video ] AV 324.973 ELE Schlessinger Video Productions ; [produced and directed by Fabian-Baber Communication].
Published 1996

Videos from United Streaming

Hail to the Chief: presidential Election
Presidential elections brings the electoral process to life. Students will learn about political platforms, party tickets, and facts about former Presidents. Included are the qualifications of a presidential candidate, the rise of political parties, how presidential caucuses and primaries work, the role of national conventions, the voting process and the role of the electoral college..
22 minutes
Copyright: 2000Grades: Gr. 3 - Gr. 8

So you Want to be President
In the time-honored tradition of political commentary, author Judith St. George and Caldecott Medal winner/illustrator David Small celebrate the public and private lives of forty-two Presidents with humor and flair. Imparting much information and many laughs, this rip-roaring look at the men who have all wanted to be President deserves a place on every library and classroom shelf. Narrated with wit and wisdom by Stockard Channing. Based on the book by Judith St. George and illustrator David Small. Part of the Weston Woods Series.
28 minutes
Copyright: 2002Grades: Gr. 3 - Gr. 5


Understanding the Constitution: The Executive Branch
This series takes a close look at the United States Constitution and how it works.
Learn how the President leads the country. This program clearly explains how the President recommends new legislation to the Congress, exercises veto power, the role of his Cabinet, and the President's responsibilities as Commander in Chief of the military.
22 minutes
Copyright: 2001Grades: Gr. 3 - Gr. 8




Books in our Media Center:

D is for democracy : a citizen's alphabet
[ Book ] 320.973 GRO Grodin, Elissa, 1954-
Published 2004

Voting in an election
[ Book ] 324.6 HAM Hamilton, John.
Published 2005

Presidential elections
[ Book ] 324.6 HAR Harvey, Miles.
Published 1995

Elections in the United States
[ Book ] 324.6 Hea Heath, David, 1948-
Published 1999



Running for office
[ Book ] 324.7 HAM Hamilton, John, 1959-
Published 2005


If I were president
[ Book ] 352.23 Sti Stier, Catherine.
Published 1999

So you want to be president?
[ Book ] 973 St St. George, Judith, 1931-
Published 2000


Pete for president!
[ Book ] E ALB Alberto, Daisy.
Published 2006

Duck for president
[ Book ] E CRO Cronin, Doreen.
Published 2004

My teacher for President
[ Book ] E WIN Winters, Kay.
Published 2004

The class election from the Black Lagoon
[ Book ] FIC Tha Thaler, Mike, 1936-
Published 2003

Monday, September 1, 2008

Scarecrows Everywhere

The kids and I took a little road trip today a few miles up the road  to Hoschton,GA where they are trying to break the World Record for most scarecrows - which would mean they would have to have 4000 of the SCARY things around town. Read about the town's quest in this article on the AJC. I am thinking I might have to get in on the action at school and do a scarecrow story with my Kindergartners.

Here are a few pictures from our trip today - notice that my son seems to want to be a Scarecrow too!











Decatur Book Festival

My daughter Hannah and I made our 3rd annual trek to the Decatur Book festival yesterday - what a great time, I just wish I could have gone on Saturday!

We first saw Doreen Cronin, author of Click Clack Moo and others - and we got to buy her newest book  Thump Quack Moo (which officially comes out on Tuesday)- Farmer Brown is back and he is busy getting ready for the Corn Maze and of course Duck has his hand in it too. She was very fun to hear and she has two adorable little girls that at one point wanted to join her on stage!

Then we watched fellow Atlanta blogger and now children's book author Laurel Snyder on a fantasy panel. We bought a copy of her new book Up and Down the Scratchy Mountain and she told my daughter that she was the first person that she signed this book for- pretty cool!

The last person we saw was another Atlanta author/blogger,  Deborah Wiles.  She is going to be a guest author at my school this year - and after seeing her, well, I am just SO excited!  She talked about her books, but she also talked about writing - something that I KNOW is going to get my students excited.  Her talk made me want to go right out and get myself a writers notebook and start writing my story.  I have a sign in my kitchen that says "Home is where Your Story Begins" and that could have been the title to her talk.



We left the festival hot and sweaty, full of YUMMY cinnamon kettle popcorn, but with lots of new books and for me lots of ideas to share with my students and teachers.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How to Find a Good Book

I am cross posting something here that I posted to my media center blog (it started out as a summer reading blog and now I am going to use it this year as a resource for parents and teachers of my school).

I struggle to have parents understand that there is no magic book list for their child. To me, I love having lists of books by subject or genre, but to have a book list on grade level is hard - because in our schools today there is such a wide expanse in the reading level on any one grade level. SO here is my blog post aimed at my parents, you can see the original here.

Well we are back in the swing of things at the Rock Springs Media Center and after curriculum night last night I had many questions about "How do I find a good book for my child on a 1st, 2nd etc.. grade level"
Well my first answer is, don't find a 2nd grade book, find a book that is just right for your child - something they can read without getting frustrated and on a subject they are interested in and will enjoy. Students are more likely to enjoy reading when they are reading about something that interests them.The best thing in choosing books for you students is to have them be part of the process, take them to the bookstore or library and have them tell you what they are interested in reading. For the older grades we use a five finger rule - if they pick up a book and they read a page in the book and there are more than five words they don't know, then the book MAY be too hard for them. Also, remember that even if your child CAN read a certain book, you should always consider the subject matter of a book and make sure it is appropriate for your child.

There are many websites that have great reading tips and tricks and great book suggestions, here are a few to check out:

Reading Rockets: This website has article on how to choose books for your child, how to help struggling readers and great blogs and podcasts about books and reading.

PBS Bookfinder: Has links to article on reading and also has a great book finder for grades Preschool - 3rd grade

Kids Read: A great website for kids and their parents to use. Includes book reviews and book lists for readers from birth to age 12.

Also, check out the suggested reading sites on the sidebar of this blog, but be aware that many book lists by grade include both books your child can read and books that you can read to them. One of the greatest things you can do to help your child develop a love of reading is to read to them, believe it or not, even older kids love to be read to!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Posibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas


I saw the review of this book in this month's School Library Journal (starred) and knew I had to read it.


This is the story of Antonia Lucia Labella, a fifteen year old Italian Catholic from Providence, RI who has never been kissed...and desperatly wants to be. Antonia, though, is not leaving this kissing thing to chance, she is summoning the help of the Saints. Antonia has a relationship with the Saints that most fifteen year olds don't have (especially in this day and age) and she not only prays to them for everything, she wants to be one, the first living Saint, to be exact. As she petitions the Vatican for Sainthood, she also discovers things about people and herself along the way.


Being a nice Irish Catholic girl from a Northeast area, I really related to this story in a lot of ways (although I never once thought of myself as a Saint!) but I think that Antonia's struggle to find out who she is, is the real story here.


Don't read this book if you are hungry, you are likly to head straight to your favorite Italian restaurant - Antonia's family runs an Italian market and talk of homemade pasta and italian spinich pies made my mouth water through out the book - and I actually made lasagna for dinner last night!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

News on One of my favorite Authors..

Coleen Salley.
You might remember my post from May when I had the pleasure of hosting her for an author visit at my school and then joining her for a dinner filled with good food (good wine) and some great stories - most told by Ms. Salley.

Another author and friend of hers, Deborah Wiles (and soon to be guest author at my school this year) had a wonderful blog post about Coleen and her failing health.  She gives an address where you can send Coleen a greeting, I know that I will be sending her a little something to cheer her up!


Monday, August 11, 2008

1st Day of School

Well 1 day down, 179 to go!

Was a much better 1st day this year than last when I was the new kid on the block.

I finished my new intro and pledge of allegiance videos to show on the morning news show at about 10pm last night (nothing like waiting until the last minute!) but they worked and other than the office buzzing into the studio during the LIVE broadcast, it all went well.

My new thing this year is that I am on the special rotation for Kindergarten.  I was a little worried about how that would go, but it went fine, no one fell asleep and other than having all 16 of them wanting to tell me about their older sister, younger sister, cat, dog etc.. it was fun.  I am reading my favorite library orientation book to them this week - The Library Dragon by Carmen Deedy and then we are talking a little bit about
 what a library is and how we treat library books.  I did NOT let them check out this week, and I may not until AFTER labor day - we'll see how things go.

As promised, here are some pictures of my prizes for the summer reading challenge I held 

a cup
>
filled with some goodies:


You can't see it here, but the pencil says Rock Springs Rockin' Reader - you gotta love Oriental Trading Company - $14 for 72 custom lettered pencils!

And finally, my own kids started school today also. I have a 7th grader, a 5th grader and a 2nd grader. It is fun to see them grow, but it scares the stuffing out of me to think that in only 5 years we will be celebrating my oldest son's LAST 1st day of school.

Here is our traditional 1st day of school picture - note that the oldest is not happy, having just gotten out of the shower.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Well I am getting back into the swing of things - open house is today - (where the students come in and meet their teachers) so not only do I have to work at my school today, I have to sprint all over town to go to my daughter's open house (she goes to our neighborhood elementary school) and my son's (he is in middle school).  I have to somehow get my youngest son to our school so he can meet his teacher (and then leave) and of course in the middle of all this there are two football practices to attend - I'm tired already!

I have been somewhat productive this week, I have painted my TV studio (now I just have to re-arrange it!), I have written a rough draft of a new media center handbook, sent countless e-mails to teachers, I am sending out my Media Odds & Ends newsletter today and the media center seems somewhat put back together.  I still feel a little un-organized, both at school and in my personal life, so I need to take this weekend to try and organize a little bit, or at least *think* I have organized things a little bit.

I will post a picture of my summer reading "prize" that I came up with and the bulletin board that I created to celebrate the kids that participated later today (IF I can remember my camera!)


Sunday, August 3, 2008

This is it..

the end of the summer for me.  Tomorrow I go back to the grind - getting up at 5:45, getting to school by 7:30 (well, next week with out kids will be a LITTLE easier) and gearing up for 190 days of FUN!

it is SO hard to type that summer is over when it is 90 degrees outside! Although after sitting at sweltering hot football practices for my two boys this week I can't WAIT until the first crisp air of fall arrives (here in Atlanta, some time in late October - ugh!)

So, what did I do this summer?

I watched a LOT of my son's baseball games.
I read (although not as much as I wanted to)
I went to the neighborhood pool
I painted my daughters bedroom
I went to the beach in Massachusetts
I hung out with my family in Massachusetts
I took some technology classes
I finished my short movie field trip about the USS constitution
I walked SOME
and I ate some good food (some of which I cooked, some of which I let other people cook for me!)

What I DIDN'T do :
work on lesson plans
work on a virtual field trip to Lexington and Concord
paint my son's room
blog a lot
exercise a lot (although I did exercise some, just not everyday as I wanted it to be)

So now I have to think of some goals for the school year. Now if I had done some lesson plans during the summer I might have a better road map for this year, but hey, I work well under pressure!

Today I am going to go to the pool with my kids and some friends and then I'll think about my goals for the upcoming year tomorrow!




Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm not the only one...

Walter at The Monkey Speaks is also making a case for those things that are dying in our society - he is talking about the cassette tape!

I do love his quote:  "Libraries accept and give up technology reluctantly" - that is certainly the case in school libraries.  In my current situation, the school is only ten years old, so I didn't have too many obsolete items to go through (but we do have a HUGE number of cassette players), but in my last library, we had things I couldn't believe we had - film strip players, RECORD players - actually quite a few record players - and even an 8-track player!

I will say this, many times in the school library setting (and I am sure this goes for public libraries too) it is our Patrons (in my case, the teachers) who are more reluctant to give up the old "technology" and so we keep it to keep them happy.  You should hear my teachers when I tell them I am only purchasing DVD's instead of videos!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More Newspapers

So the other day I went into school to go through my mail and do a few things and I get a package from the local newspaper (The Atlanta Journal Constitution - the AJC) about their news for kids program.  I have a few teachers that use this program with their classes, they (used to) get a class set of newspapers delivered on Monday and the teachers would use them in different ways. One 2nd grade teacher has a cocoa and news time once a week where she makes hot cocoa and the class reads the paper together and then they talk about it - cool idea.

WELL, she will have to change her plans this year because the AJC is no longer sending paper editions to schools for their news for kids program - this year it is all electronic!

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

As I said before, although I LOVE technology and the web, I LOVE me some newspaper - the kind that you sit with on a Sunday morning with your coffee on the back deck. The kind that gets your fingers black.  The kind you can cut things out of for future use (I still have the clippings of my letter to the editor of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, circa 1985, it was criticizing a review of the Ratt/Bon Jovi concert -  tangible evidence that I have loved Jon Bon Jovi since 1985 - scary, I know!)

I know that the paper newspaper is going the way of cassette tape players and vcr's - they are still around, but on their last hurrah - this makes me sad. The other challenge is, most schools do not have a classroom set of computers in their classroom. So, doing a "newspaper" lesson will require time in the computer lab OR having the teacher project the electronic version using a projector (which in my school we will be getting in each classroom by the end December).

As far as I know, we will still be getting a daily copy of the newspaper for the media center, but there isn't much you can do with a whole class and one copy of the paper.

If newspapers are an endangered species, what is next, magazines?  Books?

In related news in the demise of the printed word, Monica at Educating Alice has a link to a debate on whether the Internet is helping literacy or hurting it - a very interesting debate!


Friday, July 18, 2008

Irlen Syndrome- and an ode to Newspapers

This was an interesting article in the Cape Cod Times this week on a rare reading disorder called Irlen syndrome.

Seems like this syndrome causes problems with the nervous systems ability to understand and process visual information, such as printing. Like with many rare disorders, it seems like many teachers/doctors/parents know little about this disorder and it goes undiagnosed. I had never heard of it until I read this article.

I plan to share the article with my teachers this year, one of those things that you never know who it might help.

On a seperate note, I love reading the newspaper - but in Atlanta there is one game in town - The AJC, but in Massachusetts, there is the Boston Globe, the "rag" the Herald (which is my personal favorite) and then area papers, such as The Cape Cod Times. When I am on the Cape I buy 3 newspapers a day - the Globe, the CCTimes and the Herald (the latter is a tabloid, the best to read on the beach!) and I am going home on Sunday with a bag full of articles I have clipped from all 3 papers over the past 3 weeks. I think that I need to start doing something in school so that kids can appreciate the newspaper, you never know what kind of information you might find in there! And while being able to access my hometown papers online is great, there is NOTHING like the feeling of a newspaper in your hands and newsprint on your fingers.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Technology Vacation

I am on vacation, I am at my parents house on Cape Cod - my favorite place to be - except for the fact that the house does not have internet access!! My dad has a card that lets him connect to the internet anywhere - but I do not (I am lucky I have a laptop!) so here I sit at the Dennis, MA public library porch using their wifi - while nice, I still wish I could connect from the house! It does amaze me how much I rely on cetain things - like wifi access and caller id - they don't have that at the house either (the main occupant of the house is my 87 year old grandfather, who is legally blind, so really, no need for caller id or wifi). They do have cable and a tv, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much, the cottage here that I grew up with didn't even have a phone - we had to use the pay phone up the street!

In other news we are having a fabulous time, eating lots of ice cream, playing mini golf, going to lots of Cape Cod Baseball league games and getting in some nice beach time. I also love to visit the many independent book stores that are here on the Cape - and as it happens EVERY year (or so it seems) Tomie DePaola will be visiting the Brewster Bookstore a few days after we leave the Cape - one of these days I will get to meet him!

Hard to believe that school starts for me in just a few weeks - I will be going back in the week of the 28th to do a little work and then "official" teacher work days start August 3rd - where did the summer go???

and no Massachusetts vacation would be complete without a Red Sox game - we almost didn't get to go, but my brother in law came through and we'll be sitting a few rows behind home plate on Saturday night - hopefully we can break the curse we had in April!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vote for Books!

As I was looking around today for some supplies for the Media Center for next year, I came across Highsmith's Vote For Books contest.

The nominee's have been announced and now is the time for you to read some of the nominees. The voting begins on September 1st.

I have read almost all of the selections, but what a cool idea - voting for books.  I am in the middle of trying to figure out some kind of lesson/activity to do for the upcoming election and I really like this idea - who cares about Obama vs McCain - the real contest will be Knuffle Bunny vs Max from Where the Wild Things Are!




Sunday, June 22, 2008

Keeping Score

Yes, it is another review of a baseball book - but this time the book is a little different than ones I have read recently - the main character of the story is a GIRL!

Keeping Score (grade 4 and up) by Linda Sue Park is the story of Maggie-O (as in DiMaggio) a girl growing up in Brooklyn, NY in the early 1950's. She loves the Brooklyn Dodgers and loves to listen to them on the radio at the local firehouse where her Dad used to work (he was reassigned to a desk job after an accident). One day while listening to the game she meets the newest member of the firehouse, a guy named Jim, who is a Giants fan! Although they cheer for rival teams, they develop a friendship based on baseball. He is drafted into the Army, and is shortly shipped off to the Korean War. Maggie becomes a pen pal to him and through a three year period Maggie learns about disappointment and life lessons through her friendship with Jim and through baseball. The story also weaves Maggie's Catholic religion throughout the book and her heritage of being born to an Irish mother and Italian father . I love how Ms. Park (who was born to Korean immigrants) has Maggie describe her heritage - "Monday, Wednesday and Friday were macaroni nights. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday meant potatoes. Sundays alternated."

Although this book is set in the 1950's during the Korean war, I can see how kids today can relate to it and how they might be asking the same kind of questions about the Iraq war today that Maggie has about the Korean war.

This books also is one of those rare books that could appeal to both boys and girls.

the Washington Post has a review of the book here (and 2 other baseball books)
a review by a tweleve year old reader is at Flamingnet book review
SLJ gave it a good review also

In other baseball news, the Red Sox are in 1st (although only by 1.5 games) and next weekend my 7 year old's all-star team will be playing in the GA State pee-wee championship tournament - Go CH EAGLES!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Technology

Being a school media specialist, my job is many things - books (obviously), teaching and technology are the big three. This past week I am doing some training on the last one - technology and actually I am attending these training sessions with the hope that maybe they will have some good tips/tricks/handouts so when I have to do some staff development on these subjects to my teachers I can borrow from them.

The first class I took this week was about using digital cameras in the classroom. We looked at Picasa (a free download, part of the Google family) which I had used one time before, but realized through the class that it has a lot of cool features, especially for photo editing and Photo story 3 (a free download software)- which again, I have used before and I think is great for teachers and students to create simple photo "stories", but for me, I would still rather use iMovie on my Mac or Windows Movie Maker on the PC. There were also some great ideas shared, I loved the idea of having the kids take photos with a digital camera around the school and writing a story to go with the photos and turning it into a little movie using Photostory. I am trying to secure some funding to purchase a class set (well, 1/2 a class set) of digital cameras so teachers can check them out and use them with their students.

The second class I took was Windows Movie maker, a program I have used a lot, but I did find out some tips and tricks with the program. The teachers also shared some movies that have been made by teachers and students, they had a great one that had students going around the school and taking pictures of fractions, putting them in a movie and narrating it - it really helped them to understand the concept of fractions in a "real world" kind of way.

I am lucky, my school (and school district) has a lot of technology available to students, the problem I have found, though, is that teachers are so busy they do not have the time to learn the technology or the time to integrate the technology into their lessons.

I am hoping to offer some technology classes after school this year, short, 1 hour classes that will just let teachers know what we have available and how they can use these in the classroom, but of course my problem is, getting the teachers to come to the classes in addition to everything else they have to do after school.

I have one more class this week on Google and using Goole products in the classroom - this should be a good one.

if you are in Georgia, check out the ETTC ( educational technology training center) in your area. they offer classes in all kinds of technology for teachers in the state and in some cases, can even offer courses to be taught at your school.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lilly


This is very off topic, but I am just so excited to introduce my newest "reader" my niece Lilly, born yesterday on Friday the 13th- I hope it turns out to be very lucky for her (and YES, I have already given her the complete set of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse books - the red boots, purple purse and movie star sunglasses will come for her 1st birthday!)  And of course, I have already started her library out with 3 signed books (by Mo Willems, Melinda Long and Coleen Salley) - maybe I see a future librarian......




Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Meme and a Baseball Book

Jen tagged me for a summer goals meme, and even thought my "summer" (which to me goes from the last day of school to the first day of school) is well under way, I will play!

My top 4 goals for the summer:

1. Exercise - I had been a MAJOR slacker this school year so I am back - so far in the past 2 weeks I have walked 5 out of 7 days and due to my dance recital this weekend, I have been tapping away at least 2-3 times a week (YES, I am in a dance recital, I take "advanced adult tap" and it is SO much FUN!)

2. Catch up on reading - I have done pretty good on this goal, see the list of books I have already knocked out on the right.

3. Work - yes, teachers/media specialist do still try and WORK during the summer.  I have 3 classed that I am taking next week (all technology related) but I have been a slacker about getting some lessons planned and getting to work on my Revolutionary War virtual field trip (the freedom trail in Boston) - I really need to get going on this stuff!

4. Cook - this has been hard so far since one son is still in baseball and my daughter and I still have dance, but I am doing better than I was during the school year - although I made a FABULOUS blueberry barbecue sauce, which I grilled pork tenderloins with and grilled corn on Sunday night and only my oldest son ate it (the other 2 kids ended up eating at friends and the husband was sleeping - he works nights) sigh.

5. Visit my family - I have a new niece who should be arriving in this world any day now and I have 2 more adorable nieces up in Massachusetts that hopefully we will get to play with soon (plus enjoy a Red Sox game or two, some fried clams and the BEACH on Cape Cod!

oops - that is 5 isn't it, oh well, I like numbers in multiples of 5! I won't tag anyone specifically, but feel free to join the fun!

Last night I finished the new Mike Lupica book The Big Field.  I am a sucker for a good baseball book, and this is no exception.  This is the story of Hutch, a 14 year old from Florida playing in an American Legion summer league (I remember going to Legion baseball games when I was in high school!)  Hutch loves baseball, not just playing, but the game itself.  But he encounters some stumbling blocks this summer, namely his father (and ex-minor league baseball player) and the new kid on the team, a superstar named Darryl.

There is of course a few "big games" and even a reference to the Bill Buckner (Red Sox) through the legs error in the 1986 World Series against the Mets.  

This would be a great book to put in the hands of a middle grades (4th and up) boy this summer, especially if he is a baseball player or fan - I know I am hoping to get my 12 year old reading it this summer!

Well, off to the library to pick up some books on hold and to mail some Father's Day cards!
If you live on the East Coast - stay COOL!






Friday, June 6, 2008

Book Challenge

Mother Reader sponsors the 48 hour book challenge every year - and every year I say "Oh I can't wait to do that" and every year those darn kids of mine have something more pressing that they want/need me to do than spend the weekend reading.

Instead of reading this weekend I will be spending it with my youngest son sweating in 90 degree heat watching his baseball all star team play 3 games. I guess I could bring a book along and read between games, but my fantasy of the 48 hour book challenge is locking myself away in a cabin in the mountains, with a stack of books, some good munchies and some good red wine. Now of course, I do not own said cabin in the mountains, so for next year if anyone has one they would like to let me borrow, please let me know!

I have managed to read 2 books this week (while watching my kids/burning myself at the pool) this week:

The Willoughby's by Lois Lowry - a very funny farce about a family of children who look at themselves as "old fashioned" children and look to have themselves orphaned - because all old fashioned children in old fashioned books are orphans, you know. This book was laugh out loud funny, but I wonder if the intended audience of middle grades would "get" as much humour out of the book. I am having my 10 year old read it this week, so we shall see if she gets the humor of it all!

Then I re-read Deborah Wiles book Each Little Bird That Sings. I am talking with Ms. Wiles to have her visit my school next year and as it happens, this books is part of our Readers Rally book choices for 2008-09 (book competition for grades 4 & 5) and I remember how much I loved this book.

This week I am going to work on reading some more readers rally books and also try and fit in an adult books or two in!

If you are participating in the 48 hour book challenge - happy reading!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

My summer reading: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks


This is why I LOVE summer - I read outside on my deck for a few hours last night while the kids were out at baseball practice and hanging with their friends (love/hate that I have a child old enough to roam the neighborhood by himself, but at least I can track him down because of the new cell phone we bought him!)


Last night my book of choice was the newest by E. Lockhart (author of one of my fave's Dramarama), The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks


This is the story of Frankie, geek, debate club member one year, babe the next. Frankie Landau-Banks is a girl in transition. When she goes a back to her elite Massachusetts boarding school for her sophomore year, she comes back as a babe - and gets noticed by a SENIOR! As she struggles to combine who she is with what she looks like, she falls in love and in the process realizes who she truly is. After realizing that she is being excluded from her boyfriends "secret society" she sets out to topple the "boys club" and she does so without thinking about the consequences, not only with school but also with what might happen if she is caught by her boyfriend.

I love the dialogue that Lockhart writes and I also love how she makes the characters a little quirky (like Matthew's obsession with correcting grammar). The secret society she writes about reminds me of a Gilmore Girls episode when Rory sets out to write a story about (future) boyfriend Logan's association with the Life and Death brigade at Yale. This would have been a book I would have "eaten up" as a teenager - in my early teens I had wanted to live the "preppy" life and go to a boarding school - the closest I got was Catholic school- but I also remember trying to balance who I was with wanting to make an impression on guys - and as my daughter gets older (she is 10) I am starting to think about how I can help her go through these transitions too.
This was a great summer read and a book I know that a lot of teenage girls will relate to.

other reviews:


check out an interview with E. Lockhart at YaYa's

and also E. Lockhart's blog

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Olivia hits the small screen

One of my favorite pig characters is about to hit the small screen, Ian Falconer's Olivia will be made into an animated TV series on Nickelodeon for the fall of 2009. I have a love hate relationship with kids TV - I love when a book character becomes a TV show but I hate when a TV show becomes a book (you will never see me buying Sponge Bob books for my media center, no matter how popular they are with the kids!)

I hope they incorporate the things that I love about Olivia - her appreciation for art (painting a Jackson Pollack), her panache for history (having a poster of Eleanor Roosevelt in her bedroom) and just being a creative little pig. I hope they choose someone FABULOUS to voice her!

I can't help but think - could a Pigeon show be far behind???

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Summer Vacation!

Although I do hate it when people tell me how nice it must be to be in teaching, the hours , the vacations, how EASY it must be just to read books all day (ha!) and while I usually have a snide comment to make to any of those things - summer vacation is a VERY nice perk of the job! I just hope that our school district doesn't see this article, about a think tank in the UK who are proposing only a 2 week summer vacation, although I would hate to see out summer vacation be only 2 weeks, they do have a point about kids losing skills over the summer. (thanks to Jen for the link)

Now, I am doing some work this summer, taking a few technology classes, catching up on reading so I can do some great book talks come fall, getting together some orders so when I find out how much budget I have this year I can either order them or start cutting things out and also working on a virtual field trip movie/webquest on the Revolutionary War, specifically the Boston/Massachusetts connection.

First up is a trip to the library with my kids to get them signed up for the summer reading program and to check out some books - getting my 12 year old to read this summer is going to be tough, it is tough enough during the school year, but I am hoping one of these days I will get him into a book that connects to him and makes him WANT to read!