The Girl Who Read 300 Books

She starts January 1st deciding which book is going to be the one she will start the year off with. This will be the book that leads to hundreds of others that she will read throughout the year. Her name is Nevaeh Mosher and I had the pleasure of interviewing this remarkable young lady last week.

Nevaeh is a 6th grade student growing up in the South Bronx. She didn’t really enjoy reading early in school; in fact she thought it was a waste of time until she got into the fourth grade. At that point she had a teacher who felt that reading was important; saw that the students needed to be reading more and also needed to be reading better. With her fourth grade teacher pushing her to read more books Nevaeh grew to love reading. In the fourth grade she read 200 books and last year in the fifth grade she read over 300 books. This year her goal is to read over 325 books, beating last year’s number. In her school, Nevaeh has teachers and a librarian who support her. She also has Ben Fechter, a representative from the organization City-Year, an education focused, nonprofit group that unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service to keep students in school and on track to graduation (http://www.cityyear.org).
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What Will You Do to End the Silence?

This Friday, April 19th, is the GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Day of Silence. Students will participate in GLSEN’s 18th annual Day of Silence, which is a student-led day of action to raise awareness about anti-LGBT bullying, harassment, and discrimination. The student participants and their supporters believe that LGBT students deserve to go to school in a safe and respectful environment.

The GLSEN Day of Silence was founded in 1996, and has become the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. It started with the first Day of Silence at the University of Virginia in 1996, and moved to the organizing efforts of over 8,000 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities across the country.

The idea behind the Day of Silence is to be silent against bullying, harassment, and discrimination. As the GLSEN website informs us, “By taking a vow of silence, you’re making a powerful statement about the important issue of anti-LGBT bullying, and when you organize others to join you that message becomes stronger. “

Students have the right to be silent before and after school and between class breaks. They may have to break their silence during class time if called upon by a teacher to speak. It’s best for students to discuss the Day of Silence event with their instructors ahead of time that way teachers will be informed and students won’t have to break their silence.

The GLSEN website has all of the information on this incredibly important day including resources, activities, social media opportunities, postings, and more. Check out GLSEN’s Day of Silence website at http://www.dayofsilence.org/. Find out how to post Selfies (personal pictures of yourself stating your beliefs against discrimination), see how to register for the Day of Silence, read more about April 19th in general and much more.

Pew Report: Teens and Technology 2013

The most recent information for Teens and Technology from the Pew Research Center was released today.  (Yes you heard me, today!)  Between July 26th and September 30th of 2012 phone surveys were conducted with 802 parents and their 802 teens between the ages of 12-17. Interviews were taken in English and Spanish on land line and cell phones.

When it comes to our libraries and the teen patrons with whom we are working with there are many things we need to keep in mind. These young people are into their technology. The Pew Report shows that one in four teens are using their cell phones to access the internet. They go online using their phones, not their laptops, desktops, or tablets. See other interesting findings from the Pew Report below. Continue reading

Preparing for College at the Free Library of Philadelphia

The Free Library of Philadelphia is the 10th largest public library system in the United States. They are governed by their own city agency and have their own Board of Directors and a separate non-profit organization. They host a wide range of services for their patrons throughout the year and in 2009 began offering a college prep program.

The early college prep program was very flexible, Isamar Ramirez, Programming Specialist for the Free Library informs me during our interview, college students would come in on Saturdays to help high schools students with financial aid, the college admissions/application process,  and the library also offered three hour SAT workshops.
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Five Tech Trends for 2013 that Every School/YA Librarian Should Know About

So I am turning on my crystal ball and attempting to take a look into the future, 2013, to give you a heads up on some trends that I think are going to appear in the coming year. The list is below and they are in no particular order.

1. Augmented Reality: We have been scratching the surface with this but sites and apps like Marqueed, Thinglink, Aurasma, and Starchart are making the use and creation of augmented reality for our classrooms and libraries even easier. Augmented reality is simply taking computer graphics and placing them into our field of vision. For instance in Marqueed, users can take an image then embed information, links, videos, and more into that image while collaborating and sharing with others. Augmented reality is super cool, many of the sites and apps are free or cheap and the added layer of information and what it could lend to the field of education could be extraordinary.

2. MOOCs: Also known as Massive Open Online Courses. These are already becoming very popular and they will continue to be into 2013. There is, of course, a mixed reaction to classes that can have 100,000 students enrolled. But I added this to the trend list specifically for teachers, librarians, and our students at the high school level. These courses are an option for high school students looking to gain some experience before entering college and MOOCs can also aid teachers and librarians in professional development and also those looking for practice before starting a second masters or doctorate.
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Pew, Reading, and Technology

With the recent release of the Pew Internet and American Life Report covering the reading, library habits, and behaviors of 16 to 29 year old Americans, there has been a lot to discuss and think on delivered from the lines of the YALSA blog these last two weeks. If you haven’t had a chance to read Linda Braun’s Storify posts summarizing the Pew report over the past two weeks, please take the time, they are a wonderful read.

In response to the report I thought a post on useful sites/apps for e-reading could be useful.

If 47% percent of younger Americans are reading long form e-content such as magazines, news, and books.  Then we might want to interest them in some of these sites or apps:

Pulse: Read on a Kindle, iPhone, iPad or Droid device, Pulse feeds from multiple news, magazine, and industry feeds, giving readers up-to-date information in an easy to stream format. https://www.pulse.me/
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30 Days of Innovation #3: Arts 2.0: Arts & Libraries

My first school librarian position was in a library located in the very center of the school. It was literally in the middle, of the middle, of everything. So it is no wonder that I think of libraries being the center or the heart of a school. Libraries are a central place for learning, reading, technology, but they can also be the central location of arts and arts integration in a school as well.

There are so many ways that the school library can be used to showcase the arts. The libraries’ walls are perfect to feature student art, the shelves are fantastic to display student projects, sculptures, and other standing designs. If your library has open space, students have a location where they can perform music, theater, and dance. Along with all of the cool sites out there that can also be integrated, its pretty easy to bring the arts into your library. Below are a few examples of arts-based websites that you can use as well.

1. Odosketch: http://sketch.odopod.com/: Students can create gorgeous charcoal style drawings on this site. Feature student art on library computers.

2. Flockdraw: http://flockdraw.com/: This collaborative drawing tool lets students create art pieces together.

3. Storybird: http://storybird.com/: Combine storytelling and art with this site. Have students create stories and then share them with their peers.

4. Vokle: http://www.vokle.com/: Share live events with Vokle. Performances, concerts and more. (Know that this site is for older students. Broadcasters must be 13 years or older)

These are only a few sites that incorporate arts and technology. There are many more. They can be used as exciting new learning tools in your library. As a librarian who featured the arts in her library on a regular basis,  I can tell you that having art, theatre, poetry, and more in your library is wonderful. It’s another way to show the library as a central focus point of the school. It offers librarians another way to collaborate with their peer educators and the students love seeing their work featured where everyone can see.

Arts and Tech

Before I became a librarian I was a theater teacher. Even though I moved into a school librarian position I still taught theater for years. So it is no surprise that technology, arts, and libraries have all melded together. For this blog post I wanted to share some wonderful web tools that I have come across lately that might be useful in your libraries or that you might like to share with your teachers. They are great examples of where technology and the arts can come together for some good collaboration.

Visual Arts

Flockdraw: http://flockdraw.com/: Free online collaborative drawing tool. Whiteboard based painting and drawing tool that makes it easy for groups to draw together or for individuals to work on their own.

Odosketch: http://sketch.odopod.com/: Charcoal style online drawing tool. Create some fabulous art pieces with this site.

Creative writing

Springnote: http://www.springnote.com/en: Online notebook based on a wiki. Create pages and write alone or share with friends

One Word: http://oneword.com/: Students will see a word at the top of your screen and you have 60 seconds to write about it.

Photography

Thinglink: http://www.thinglink.com/:  Embed interactive links into any photograph.

All of these sites are free, some have a pro or premium level. They are fun to experiment with and students will enjoy trying them out. Choose one or two to try with your students if you have a lesson that they fit with.