Another “e”-vent!

Where are you in the transition from building a collection with mostly print materials to one with more “e” materials?  If you need help and are interested in what others in the field are saying and recommending about this shift, check here for a day-long “e” conference coming in October.  This is the third annual E-books and Beyond conference sponsored by MediaSource (the folks who bring us Junior Library Guild, SLJ, Library Journal, and the Horn Book) and offered at a low-cost for your professional development.  Team up with some of your librarian buddies, go off-site for a day and learn together!  Site licenses are available, as well as early bird discounted registration.  (Do it soon, though.  You only have ’til the end of August.)

More information about specific speakers and sessions is available here.

Image : ‘Show Me Your Library Card – downloadable+audiobooks+and+eBooks

flickr.com/photos/42437434@N00/5014437293

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Working with Student Writers

 

Last week I had the honor and privilege to serve as a judge of student writing at our local PBS affiliate.  Each year PBS sponsors a contest for writers in grades K-3.  (It used to be the Reading Rainbow Writing contest.)  Kids create illustrated stories either at school or at home and a winner and runners-up are chosen for each grade level.  Every other year there is a national contest and local winners are sent to the national competition.

I was part of the team that judged the second grade entries.  We were the busiest by far, with probably close to 100 submissions.  I worked with a couple of veteran judges and thoroughly enjoyed the process.  It made me realize how much I miss working with student writers on a consistent basis.

Add to that experience a website someone shared with me a few days ago and my wheels are turning for next year. Studentpublishing.com allows teachers to manage and monitor student writing projects which eventually get published and bound (softcover) for free.  (You must agree to send home order forms for parents who might want to purchase an additional copy, but there is no obligation.)

Here’s a blurb from their site:

Make every student feel like a published author with FREE books! Each student will receive a free paperback of their own story and illustrations. Books include 12, 16, 24 or 32 story pages, plus title, dedication and “About the Author” biography pages featuring the author’s photo.

Use StudentPublishing®.com’s fun and easy web based book-making tool which is specially designed for schools (No software download or installation required) or use our new PDF upload tool to easily import work students may have already completed. The advanced administrative features generate unique usernames and passwords for each one of your students who log-in directly to their stories while you can edit and monitor progress from your Teacher account. The online illustration tool includes hundreds of paintable backgrounds and stickers which can be used with free-hand drawing tools, or uploaded photographs and scanned in hand drawings. If your students already have written work, use our new “PDF Upload” function to bring their text directly into his or her book.

A testimonial by the colleague who shared it with me convinced me to take a look.  I’m sold on giving it a go with some students– maybe in a recess writing club?

Another thing…turns out this site is a sponsor of the PBS writing contest.  Proceeds from books that do get purchased help support that program.  Serendipity at work!

If you have used this site with kids, please share your experience in the comments!

Nuts about a Sqworl

Today I thought I’d share a bit about a web 2.0 tool I’ve been using lately that’s been quite useful.  It’s called sqworl and it allows you to organize multiple webpage URL’s on  a topic in one handy place.

It’s quick and easy to create a free account, name your “group” and then cut and paste the urls you want to feature.  Sqworl displays a thumbnail view of all of your selected pages with any note or description you might have added.

The site saves each group (or sqworl) that  you create and you can go back and edit at any time.  One link is created for your entire group which you can then share with others.

How have I been using this?  In just the past two weeks I’ve created sqworls for my first grade teachers for animal research, for my third graders on mythology, for a presentation I’m preparing for a conference, and for a Mem Fox author study.  When students come into the library, I have the sqworl already loaded on computers for their use.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think or how you’re using it.

Getting more out of Google

Kristin Fontichiaro shared these excellent Google Tips and Tricks for online research over at the School Library Monthly blog.  Share with your faculty and especially your upper elementary, middle, and high school students.

A Dickens of a List

Another recent acquisition from Junior Library Guild, and the timing is perfect.  This is the time of year that I love to share biographies (and other books that feature famous people) with students.  Things get rolling with Martin Luther King Day, and by February we’re highlighting presidents and famous black Americans and then it’s on to the women in March!   Here’s a list (in no particular order) of twenty-one of my favorite biographies and not-exactly-biographies about people of note.  Click here for more suggestions and activities in my article at TeachersFirst.

Gerstein, Sparrow Jack

Klise,  Stand Straight, Ella Kate

Adler, Wilma Unlimited, Lou Gehrig: the Luckiest Man, America’s Champion Swimmer

Hopkinson, Fanny in the Kitchen, Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, A Boy Called Dickens

Winter, Biblioburro, The Watcher:  Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps

Burleigh, Tiger of the Snows  (Tenzing Norgay)

Lindbergh, Nobody Owns the Sky (Bessie Coleman)

Stauffacher, Tillie the Terrible Swede

Ryan, When Marian Sang

Brown, Uncommon Traveler, Dolley Madison Saves George Washington

Martin,  Snowflake Bentley

McCarthy,   Strong Man: the story of Charles Atlas

Chandra,  George Washington’s Teeth

Winters,  Abe Lincoln:  the boy who Loved Books

Yolen,  All Star:  Honus Wagner and the most Famous Baseball Card Ever

I’d love to hear about some of your favorites for elementary readers.  Please leave a comment!



Latest report from Keith Curry Lance

I’m putting on my advocacy hat today.

Click here for an analysis of the latest data collected by Keith Curry Lance regarding library staffing and how it affects students’ reading scores.

Thanks to Alice Yucht for the link!

Great tutorial site!

I don’t know about you, but (especially) when it comes to technology, I learn best by watching someone else use a tool, and then trying it myself.  I have learned a lot from UK tech and ELL guru Russell Stannard at his site.  Full of teacher-training videos done as screencasts using Camtasia software, Russell walks you through a web tool and shares how you might use it with students.

I’ve learned the ins and outs of Glogster, Voki, Twitter, and mybrainshark from Russell’s videos, to name a few.  It’s easy to search his site, and once you’re “in” one of his trainings it’s easy to go back and see/hear one part again by clicking on the slides in the sidebar.

What’s your favorite way to explore a new tool?  What’s your favorite new tool?  Please share!

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