Thursday, May 31, 2012

SC Junior Book Award Slides

After seeing Cathy Nelson's super cute pics made with images and word clouds, I decided I wanted to make one for each of the SC Junior Book Award nominees. I enlisted the help of my other two "librarians in the middle", Kristen Hearne and Monique German. I'll be sharing these on one of our digital frames and I hope that we can have some student made versions to add next year.
Here they are. Feel free to use if you like.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

YA Forever Faculty Book Club

It seems so obvious now, but I had not really considered having a faculty book club. I have two book clubs for students yet did not consider a faculty version until this Spring. I've read research that teachers are notorious for not reading. Jim Trelease quotes a study that found 75% of teachers read only one or two books a year! To combat this I invite our staff to participate in reading programs like our summer reading challenge, I led a summer read of a professional book with the ELA staff last year and I send suggested reading lists all year. Now I can add our faculty book club to my outreach for staff.
One day while chatting about books with fellow obsessive reader and PMD special education teacher, Candace, we talked about our desire to be in a YA book club for adults. We both read lots of teen/tween books and had no interest in "adult" book clubs. So we decided to create a YA book club ourselves.
I sent out an email invite to the entire faculty and staff. I had 15 interested. I requested ideas for a book club name and suggested titles, compiled the suggestions onto a Survey Monkey survey and sent it out. There were lots of cute name suggestions including No Page Left Unturned, Forever Young and Book Bunch. The winning name (by one vote) was YA Forever.
The suggested titles were Leverage by Joshua Cohen, Fame Game by Lauren Conrad, Matched by Ally Condie, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, Wonder by RJ Palacio, I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, How To Save a Life by Sara Zarr and the winner, The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. Check out the book trailer.

I was happy about the choice because I thought it would bridge our own young adult experiences with current teen literature. The book is set in 1996, the year I graduated and a year that all members of our book club could remember regardless of their age at that time.
After a few weeks time to read the book we had our first meeting. We played music from the book like Pearl Jam, Oasis, Alanis Morissette, and Green Day, snacked on chocolate covered strawberries and  shared our high school pictures. Can you tell which one is me?

We talked about the book, the characters, benefits and drawbacks of Facebook, and advice we would give our younger selves. We had a great time talking and spending time with faculty from other grades and departments.

Our first read went well so we choose our next read, Wonder by RJ Palacio. I'm especially excited about this one. It has become one of my favorite books ever! And I think this will be a good summer read and our discussion when we return will get us in the mood to welcome ALL students to our school and start on an uplifting note. If you haven't read Wonder yet, definitely add it to your summer reading list.

What do you do to promote reading with your faculty and staff?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top Titles 2012

I love reading Watch. Connect. Read, John Schumacher's blog. I enjoy seeing the popular titles from his library. He is in an elementary library, but I get ideas for my son and titles that I want for my special education classes and occasionally one that I want to buy for my own collection. In his honor I wanted to share my top titles from this year. There is probably nothing on this list that will surprise you, but this is it.

Overall highest checkouts:
1. The Hunger Games
2. Tsubasa
3.  Mockingjay
4. Catching Fire
5. Eclipse
6. Guinness World Record Book
7. Bleach
8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
9. Twilight
10. Soul Surfer

Top Nonfiction:
1. More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
2. The Football Book
3. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
4. Scary Stories 3
5. How to Talk to Girls
6. The Paranormal Caught on Film
7. Sharks and Other Fish
8. Hottest Sports Cars
9. Scary Stories for Sleepovers
10. Sports Illustrated Kids All Access

Top Biography
1. Soul Surfer
2. Chasing Lincoln's Killer
3. Justin Bieber: first step 2 forever
4. Marley and Me
5. Bieber Fever
6. Lil Wayne
7. Michael Jackson
8. Matt Hardy
9. Escape: the Story of the Great Houdini
10. Ice Cube/ Life In Prison/ Through My Eyes (3 way tie)

We had 18, 529 items circulate this year. I would love to hear what your top titles were this year.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Million Page Challenge 2012

This year I have teamed up again with my two middle school colleagues, Kristen Hearne and Monique German, to plan the Million Page Challenge for summer reading. We almost made the million last year!  We are using Edmodo to stay connected with our students, share book recommendations, post reading goals and continue our reading community outside of school. You can see my summer reading webpage on my school site here, including the reading log we are using. In addition, we are hosting a Get Caught Reading contest. Students can submit photos of themselves reading in interesting places. This is the photo I showed them as an example. My son and I posing in front of the real Ivan at Zoo Atlanta holding The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

One and Only Ivan

Today was my first visit to our elementary schools to share summer reading information with the 5th graders. This is one of my favorite visits because they are so excited about coming to the middle school next year and have lots of funny questions. By the time I got home this afternoon, one of the fifth graders had already signed up on Edmodo!
I shared several book trailers with the students to get them thinking about what they want to read. Here are a few of their favorites.
I start it off with something creepy to grab their attention.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Then lighten it up with Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

A dash of romance for the girls and to make the boys roll their eyes.
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Finally, a strong finish with my new favorite book, Wonder by RJ Palacio.

I'm taking a cue from the amazing Library Girl and promoting summer reading to my teachers. I emailed an invitation to them asking that they participate in the summer reading programs and gave them a few book suggestions of professional books, adult best sellers and YA/MG novels. My list is a little random, but this is it.

Professional books:
Rigor Is Not a Four Letter Word by Barbara Blackburn
The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch
Disrupting Class by Clayton Christensen
Driven by Data: A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo
Ten Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Jeff Anderson

Adult Bestsellers:
On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
The Road to Grace by Richard Paul Evans
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
The 11th Hour by James Patterson
The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts

A few Young Adult and Middle Grade novels you might like:
Wonder by RJ Palacio
Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
The Selection by Kiera Cass

I would love to hear about your summer reading program!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Library Display Inspiration: Colors and Reality TV

One of my weaknesses is library displays. My creativity is usually limited to propping up our new arrivals and moving on to the next task. I doubt that I will ever be a master at this skill, but I do want to improve so I've been looking for inspiration. I thought I would share some of the best displays I was able to find and inject a few ideas of my own.

I saw this photo by Covs97 on Flickr and was inspired to think about ways to use color for displays.

ORANGE you glad you read?

Then I saw this on Pinterest.

It's Not Easy Being Green
Photo on Flickr by Enokson.

Later I found this one with a black color scheme with the title "Books Are the New Black".  I started listing other ideas that use color. Here is my list and I would love to hear your ideas in comments:
Get a Black Belt in Reading
These Books are Red Hot or These Books are White Hot
Pretty in Pink
What have you RED lately?
Feeling BLUE? Try reading.

I referred to this site to stimulate my "colorful" phrases.

I know that I need to do a better job of making nonfiction appealing so I tried to thing of something that could highlight those titles. I saw this post about using reality shows to connect with nonfiction which got the wheels turning.
Here are few ideas I have so far including the reality show and a few fiction and nonfiction titles that are related:
1. River Monsters/Swamp People: Lost in the River of Grass, Chomp, River Monsters Scholastic book, World's Strangest Animals, anything nature or fishing
2. Mythbusters: Mythbusters Science Fair book, The Way Things Work, Do Not Open, The Secret Science Behind Movie Stunts and Special Effects, various other science activity books
3. The Voice/American Idol: musician and band biographies
4. Survivor/Survivorman/Man vs. Wild: Lost Trail: Nine Days Alone in the Wilderness, The Hunger Games, Trapped in a Canyon, The Girl Who Owned a City graphic novel, Defying Death graphic novel series, Nature Girl
5. Dancing With the Stars/ So You Think You Can Dance/ Dance Moms: A Girl Named Faithful Plum, Bunheads, Snap Books dance series
6. The Apprentice: books on small business, career books
7. America's Next Top Model/ Project Runway: Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules, Teen Vogue Handbook, Seventeen 500 Beauty Tips, Lauren Conrad Style
8. Amazing Race: travel and country books, Weird US: A Freaky Field Trip Through the 50 States
9. Bachelor/Bachelorette: How to Talk to Girls, romance novels
10. Sons of Guns: Military weapons series from Scholastic, The History of the Gun, any history book on weapons
11. Comic Book Men: DC Adventures Heroes and Villains, any comics or manga, drawing books
12. The Biggest Loser: healthy cookbooks, sports manuals, health books on obesity and exercise
13. Hell's Kitchen: all my cookbooks, Incredibly Disgusting Food series, Weird But True Food
14. Ghost Hunters/ Fact or Faked: In Search of Sasquatch, The Paranormal Caught on Film I and II, Ghosts Caught on Film I and II, any supernatural books

OK. That was more than a few. I got carried away. Sorry. I couldn't think of anything for Jersey Shore, Housewives or Kardashians.

This is the Pinterest board I've started to collect some of the ideas. I also recently found this blog with great examples. I would love to hear your ideas, blog suggestions, library display Pinterest boards worth following and any other advice you have about library displays.

I'm sure the end of the year is as crazy for you as it is for me right now. I'll be posting soon about all the exciting professional development courses that are approaching soon. I hope your final few days or weeks go well!