Wednesday, March 31, 2010

First teaser trailer: Tomorrow When the War Began

(this is just an image.  Link to trailer in next paragraph)

Yes, as of 9am this morning there is a teaser trailer for Tomorrow When the War Began (film based on John Marsden's very popular novels).  I couldn't embed it, so don't click on the image above as it's just an image.  If you want to see the trailer you will find it if you click here

The trailer includes a website at the end, http://www.twtwb.com/ but when I just checked it I got an error message - maybe it will go live Any Day Now - worth bookmarking, anyhoo.  According to imdb, the film's release date in Australia is 2 September 2010.

Just in time for Trailer Time at lunch today - woohoo!

Cheers

Ruth

Trailer Time Easter 2010

Today at lunchtime (in the second half, about 20 min) I plan to run Trailer Time, a bunch of book-related film trailers (candy-coated get-'em-reading propaganda).

Read all about the mechanics, hints'n'tips here at my original entry about Trailer Time (GIFSL* 42, and thus potentially the answer to life, the universe and everything). 


Below is the list of trailers (OK, Toy Story and Shrek aren't desperately book-related, but if I need a filler before the bell, they're fun).

Cheers

Ruth

Trailer Time: Easter 2010: Ruth's list

Twilight Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (10 sec teaser)
http://www.trailerspy.com/trailer/8509/The-Twilight-Saga-Eclipse-Trailer-Preview  

Robin Hood (we have a couple of Sherwoody books in the library including Robin McKinley's Outlaws of Sherwood)
http://www.trailerspy.com/trailer/8512/Robin-Hood-Trailer-HD

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
http://www.trailerspy.com/trailer/6282/How-to-Train-Your-Dragon-Trailer-HD

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (teaser)
http://www.trailerspy.com/trailer/7066/Harry-Potter-and-the-Deathly-Hallows-Teaser-Trailer-HD

Beastly by Alex Flinn (clip)
http://yourmovies.com.au/news/?action=news&i=182747

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
http://www.trailerspy.com/trailer/7705/Diary-of-a-Wimpy-Kid-Trailer-HD

Twilight Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (teaser)
http://www.trailerspy.com/trailer/8567/The-Twilight-Saga-Eclipse-Teaser-Trailer-HD

Twilight Eclipse (longer sneak peek)
http://www.trailerspy.com/trailer/8726/The-Twilight-Saga-Eclipse-Extended-Sneak-Peek

Twilight Eclipse (scene, follows from above)
http://www.trailerspy.com/trailer/8726/The-Twilight-Saga-Eclipse-Extended-Sneak-Peek
Toy Story 3 Trailer 2
http://www.trailerspy.com/trailer/8091/Toy-Story-3-Trailer-2-HD

Shrek Forever After
http://www.trailerspy.com/trailer/8568/Shrek-Forever-After-Trailer-HD

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Children's Book Council of Australia 2010 Shortlist

Find it here.

Initial reactions:
  1. the older readers list titles (most relevant for a high school library) aren't ones yet that have garnered much of a following among my kids - they've been in the collection for varying amounts of time, but none have yet set the world on fire.  Hmmm.  I'll cherrypick from the picture books and information books lists with my high schoolers in mind.
  2. I could sit here and reformat the list for publication on this blog as I've done in other years (A), or I could leave school at a respectable hour (B).
  3. (B).  It's been a wet day, madly busy, a lunchtime that was crammed in the library, computer breakdowns all day.   You're all well able to click a link, aren't you?  Ciao!

Cheers

Ruth

Naming fantasy book characters

Imogen Russell Williams in the Guardian's book blog has an enjoyable rant/discussion about the names of characters in fantasy novels.  As I've been working my way through the audio books of Naomi Novik's Temeraire series (so I'll be absolutely ready for the next volume later this year), this conclusion about Novik being a superb namer rang true with me:

Naomi Novik, whose dragon breeds range from the sturdily English (Regal Copper, Winchester) to the sneakily French (the dark Fleur-de-Nuit, used for night attacks, and the Flamme-de-Gloire, a dangerous fire-breather).


Could be a good piece to share with your English teachers.  I'm sure kids would have sturdy opinions on character names. (Gratuitous insertion of one of the book covers - love those black and white UK edition covers!).

The Guardian's online Books site has so many wonderful resources.  Worth checking regularly.
 
Cheers

Ruth

Monday, March 29, 2010

A week without books

Bibi Van Der Zee, a constant reader, describes her week without books in this article in the Guardian.

A couple of quotes:

I decided to try giving up books for a week because I have come to the point where I wonder if they are holding me back. On the whole, the world seems to think that books are always a good thing, that you can never get too much of them. People admit to being bookworms in the same way they admit to being "just too tidy really", or "a bit of a workaholic".

***
But the rest of me is missing books like a drug, to the extent that I start to wonder if it actually is some kind of drug. The odd thing is that when I try to find out more about it, about whether reading fiction produces some kind of hormone in your mind, no one seems to know. Robert Darnton, director of the Harvard Library and a specialist in the history of the book, tells me: "Reading is mysterious, and we don't really understand how it is that we make sense of these signs that are embedded in paper or on computer screens. There have been attempts by cognitive scientists to measure the chemical exchanges in the brain, but as far as I can tell no scientist has really fully explained it. They're working on it."


So we don't know exactly what is happening, how the piles of pages or markings on the screen are transformed into other worlds inside our minds. But we do know that our brain experiences what the characters we are reading about experience.

***
Books, I realise, have been one of my longest, truest friends. When I'm anxious, sad, angry, in need of comfort, a book is often the first place I will go...


The day that the ban is lifted, I wait until the children have gone to bed, and then pick up the novel I was halfway through when the axe fell, pour a glass of wine and settle down with it, a bit worried that somehow (like the first puff of a fag when you've given up smoking for a while) it won't be as good as before, that somehow I will have spoilt it.


But there's no need to worry. Immediately, it is as if the wardrobe doors to Narnia have been thrown open again and thousands of other technicolour lives have tumbled straight back out from that eighth dimension inside my head. Day-to-day life just fades out, I stop worrying, stop twitching and just forget who or where I am for a gorgeous hour. ...reader, I am never giving up books again.

***

Cheers

Ruth

Friday, March 26, 2010

Quote of the Day

Student examines a copy of the graphic novel version of Twilight.

Miss, Edward's head is a disco ball.

!!


Cheers

Ruth

Ten Rules for Writing Fiction

Some time ago, Elmore Leonard wrote his ten rules for writing fiction (eg. you can have two or three exclamation marks per 100,000 words of prose, and no more).  Successful author without a doubt, worth reading ditto.  The Guardian (UK) recently invited a number of other writers to contribute their rules, and published them in two parts.


Part one (which starts with Elmore Leonard's list)
Part two

One of the points made by Wolf Hall's author, Hilary Mantel:

Description must work for its place. It can't be simply ornamental. It ­usually works best if it has a human element; it is more effective if it comes from an implied viewpoint, rather than from the eye of God. If description is coloured by the viewpoint of the character who is doing the noticing, it becomes, in effect, part of character definition and part of the action.

Michael Moorcock mentions the Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot.  Which is at the very least worth discussing with kids writing creative pieces; I've pointed it out to some kids doing Extension 2 English major works as well (where plots can sag under the weight of Beeeyooootiful Writting (sic).  Also, it's fun.

FOURTH 1500 WORDS

1--Shovel the difficulties more thickly upon the hero.
2--Get the hero almost buried in his troubles. (Figuratively, the villain has him prisoner and has him framed for a murder rap; the girl is presumably dead, everything is lost, and the DIFFERENT murder method is about to dispose of the suffering protagonist.)
3--The hero extricates himself using HIS OWN SKILL, training or brawn.

Cheers
 
Ruth
 
PS.  Heads-up: In the second part, Will Self contributes in his point 10 a suggestion you might like to review before blithely handing this out to your class.  Sigh.  He could have made the same point differently, but I guess the temptation to be an enfant terrible (although he's perhaps a tad old to be an enfant terrible) was too great (and nor does the paper have any requirement censor to school-level).
 
PPS. I'm too old to be an enfant terrible too.  I'm just sayin'.
 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

To Avatar...

New verb.  To Avatar.  As in, for example, Mr Bean was Avatarred.  Thus.


Isn't that fabulous?  Doesn't it have potential?  Hasn't it added a chuckle to your day???

Now to show the photography teachers....

Cheers

Ruth

PS. the Robert Pattinson one wasn't quite as clever, imho; but you can toddle over on the link and judge for yourself; or horrify the Twilightery, should you wish...

PS. I'm easily amused.  I know.  I liked the one of Hugh Laurie as House, too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Twilight Eclipse movie poster

Find it here.  Tagline: It all begins...with a choice. Release date isn't showing up for Australia on imdb as of today, but I doubt it would be different to June 30...

Cheers

Ruth

The Periodic Table made real

From the wonderful resource that is the SLAV blog, Bright Ideas (over there in my bloglist too, so check them out anytime you are visiting Skerricks to see their latest entry), comes the link to this resource, which not only shows the periodic table:

but also shows you what these elements are used for.  Bismuth, anyone?


It's one of the free resources offered by BP - they have a browsable catalogue of secondary level resources here with a focus on Business, Geography and Science (and aligned to UK curricula).  Maybe one to send on to your teachers in those areas?  If you want a site with more specific technical detail on elements, ChemiCool has some ads, but also comprehensive data.

A Science teacher pal who reads Skerricks and has more than once pointedly pointed out that I'm a bit light on in the Science-y stuff, should be happy as a pig in mud now!  Look!! Authentic real Science-y entry, right here!

Cheers

Ruth

PS.  Couldn't help myself....  ;-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sometimes (interruption)

Mostly
interruption 
I know that
interruption
my work as a
interruption
teacher librarian
interruption
is rarely uninterrupted
interruption
or has long periods of time
interruption
when I can predict
interruption
what might happen
interruption
or even direct, as you might
interruption
be able to do
interruption
in a single classroom
interruption
with a single
interruption
class.
But sometimes
interruption
when it seems
interruption
as though you barely
interruption
get focused
interruption
on one thing that
interruption
needs to be
interruption
done before
interruption
you're
interruption
asked for help
interruption
needed to fix
interruption
a computer problem
interruption
lending
interruption
a book
interruption
fixing
interruption
a photocopier
interruption
finding a
interruption
website link
interruption
fixing
interruption
a beady eye
interruption
answering
interruption
the phone
interruption
chasing
interruption
a missing order
interruption
finding a lost
interruption
book
interruption
locating
interruption
a particular item
interruption
helping a
interruption
colleague find a
interruption
plan B research approach
interruption
organising
interruption
work
interruption
writing merit
interruption
certificates for good
interruption
students
interruption
checking the
interruption
senior study
interruption
lending b-
interruption
-ooks
interruption
recommending good
interruption
reading
interruption
advising a senior student
interruption
on a misadventure submission
interruption
putting out more
interruption
fiction for the next
interruption
class coming in
interruption
repairing a broken
interruption
chair
interruption
cleaning off a
interruption
graffiti tag
interruption
finding the holiday
interruption
borrowing display items
interruption
printing
interruption
for students
interruption
lending out our fairylights [true]
interruption
to an art student
interruption
wondering
interruption
if
interruption
I
interruption
will
interruption
get
interruption
enough
interruption
time
interruption
today
interruption
to
interruption
focus
interruption
on
interruption
anything
interruption
at
interruption
all
interruption
or
interruption
if
interruption
this
interruption
is
interruption
just
interruption
the
interruption
way
interruption
it's
interruption
going
interruption
to
interruption
be
interruption
today.

And I know they're work too, all those things, and needed, and important too, to the people needing that help.  But sheesh and begorrah, sometimes I'd like to get enough time to focus on one thing, just one, for more than a couple of minutes....  Most days I manage it all perfectly well, but some days it frays you 'round the edges, just a tad...

The happy (interrupted) life of teacher librarians.

Cheers

Ruth

PS. And inevitably when you do find five consecutive minutes, you have no sooner lifted that Diet Coke/coffee to your mouth than a colleague comes in, remarks on the peace and quiet and says that they'd like to have a bit of time in their day...  and then there's nothing to do but cheerfully agree (as the alternative is probably braining them, which would have health consequences for them and legal and employment-related consequences for you).

How to Grow Book Worms

"How to grow book worms" is the title of a terrific blog entry by Pip Lincolne over at Meet Me at Mike's

If you're looking for something to share with parents about encouraging their children's reading at home, there are lots of ideas here.  Maybe recommend this blog entry in a school newsletter?

Meet Me at Mike's often covers easy/simple craft ideas, too, so it's worth exploring its tags/menus.  Some of her memes could be adapted for classroom use, too.

Cheers

Ruth

who was lucky enough to grow up in a house full of books and encouraged to become a bookworm; who now lives in a house full of books and is still a bookworm; and who spends her working days in a castle full of books and encouraging others to be bookworms.

Monday, March 22, 2010

GIFSL* 54. Manga fabric

Ikea has a new range of fabric with a manga kinda theme (well, nobody said you couldn't combine manga and vikings...!!).  The Charlotta fabrics are designed by Åsa Ekström.

This is Charlotta Teckning:
and this is Charlotta Block:

which as you can see is darker in colour - the range has lighter and darker black and white fabrics in it.
See the whole range here; $8.99/metre, 150cm wide, and pay attention to the repeat if you're sewing it into curtains.

But what's to stop you stapling some over a cheap canvas frame for a wall feature?  Or make three, for greater impact?  Maybe they could highlight your collection of graphic novels and manga and so forth?

If you're after manga in colour, the quilt fabric manufacturer Alexander Henry  (that's the manufacturer website, you would buy from a retailer such as the link given below) often has unusual fabrics, including this one from their Indochine range:

which is available from this online retailer (where I found this image).  $US9.50/yard, 45in/112cm wide.
Cheers

Ruth



Saturday, March 20, 2010

The 500th entry

Hard to believe, but a couple of years after starting this blog, this is the 500th entry.  I've canvassed useful stuff online, the happy life of teacher librarians, books to love and lots more.  What began as a way to catch things for myself has evolved into a resource for others too.  Which is lovely.

I went back to hunt up my first entry.  Hmmm.  I've stayed on track with my original idea, one way and another.  With some entertaining detours.


Friday, February 1, 2008


Whaffor?


I keep tripping over useful stuff on the net that's worth a) having in one spot so *I* can find it again and b) having in one spot so others can find it if they wish to.


Being a teacher librarian is a great job. It's changed so much in twenty-coughcough years, but it's still a great job. Just not enough time to sit and drink Diet Coke and read the newspaper, like people seem to think you do, but hey, every job has its cliches.


(Dang, I'm working the bun and glasses thing today - only it's too hot to not have your hair out of the way, and the glasses are a genetic gift from Grandpa. Can't win 'em all...).


So welcome to my virtual office. Pull up a pew. Post a comment. Share useful things you've found that I can add here for other teacher librarians. But bring your own Diet Coke...! And if you were in my real office, you could dig into the jellybean jar. Jellybean diplomacy is damn fine stuff.


What would I like as a present?

Comments from readers (sometimes one does wonder if one is writing into a vacuum - and then you get a lovely comment, and sigh with pleasure at knowing the tree falling in the forest really is heard!).  Yup, you.

So if you want to say what's useful, which entry has been your favourite, or just hello - leave a comment, and that will make this 500th entry rightfully special.

Thank you for reading this blog!  Now for the next 500...

Cheers

Ruth

PS.  It occurs to me that if I'd written the number of words in this blog for a novel instead...I'd probably have at least a decent first draft.  But this has just been a different sort of story.  Differently fun.  Also fun.  No regrets!  And I can still work on novels too, if I wish.

PPS. Just for the archives, the stats as of today: 69,226 visitors according to one counter (the number on a counter depends of course when you added it to your site &tc).  20 Bloglines readers, 23 Followers in Blogger, 118 bookmarks of the home page on Delicious, Technorati authority 128.   A couple of other snapshots of visitors:



and the same map with smaller dots:

Hmmm.  Anytime I find myself muttering Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum I can remind myself it's been done...!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Trees on special! Holiday Borrowing! Easter!

If you remember these trees and thought, hmmm, maybe.... a white tree could be just the jim-dandy thing I'm looking for to spruce up that corner of my library...



They're on special now, as Easter grows closer.  30% off at Bed Bath 'n' Table.

So are these eggy necklaces (well, restring 'em on hat elastic and you have a necklace!).  I'll be wearing mine for the rest of the term.



And next week we'll go into Holiday Borrowing mode (which is why I wear the necklace), with just two weeks left of this term.  Must find those Easter decorations I bought last year after Easter at 50% off...

Cheers

Ruth

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Read this. Very important.

If you are a teacher librarian in Australia, read this.

And send a submission before 16 April 2010.


Thanks to Audrey Nay for the heads-up on her blog here.

Cheers

Ruth


So what is steampunk?

Have you got any steampunk novels in your school library?

You probably have The Golden Compass/Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, and its sequels in the His Dark Materials series,

and Mortal Engines and its sequels by Philip Reeve; 

Maybe also his Larklight series (thanks for the reminder, Jessica!)

You may have come across Worldshaker by Richard Harland,

and have Ichabod Crane and the Lighthouse Mystery may have made its way into your collection (by Australian author James Roy - thanks for the heads-up, Victor).


 Enthusiasm for other Scott Westerfeld books (eg. Uglies and its sequels, Peeps) may have encouraged you to invest in Leviathan (Behemoth is out later this year).  Nice steampunk style book trailer for Leviathan on Westerfeld's site, too.


So what is involved in the steampunk genre?  Read Jeff VanDerMeer's article/overview here (click on each slide to read its informative caption) - here's an extract from Slide 1:

First, it’s both retro- and forward-looking in nature. Second, it evokes a sense of adventure and of discovery. Third, it embraces divergent and extinct technologies as a way of talking about the future.



Over the past decade, Steampunk has gone from being a literary movement to a way of life, a part of pop culture, and a mechanism to look at the idea of “progress.” Steampunk has gained strength and momentum as it has transitioned from a “movement” to an “aesthetic.” A Steampunk aesthetic now permeates movies, comics, fashion, art, and role-playing games, as well as events such Maker Faire and the Burning Man festival. Media coverage from juggernauts such as the New York Times and MTV has fostered its spread through the zeitgeist.



Steampunk draws people from all political persuasions and social classes, but the best of Steampunk in my opinion is unabashedly progressive, proactive, and deliberately pushes against a cynical and jaded world with a brand of cautious optimism. Steampunk also serves as a potent entry point for people to reclaim technology and to talk about a sustainable way of life. Both the Maker movement and the Green movement have become part of the Steampunk subculture.



An exploration of Steampunk begins more than a century before the term was first coined in 1987.


and find more info and a bunch of links from author Gail Carriger here.

The steampunk aesthetic reaches widely.  Try googling to find images of  steampunk (wooden/brass) laptops, and on http://www.etsy.com/ the tag 'steampunk' will yield a whole bunch of handmade items in this style (some gorgeous, quirky jewellery for example).

Cheers

Ruth

ADDED LATER
PS.  I've added to this blog entry since writing it, prompted by some very helpful folk.  Also, read the comments to find out more.  And I must be PsyChic, this very day, after this blog entry had been written and published, the Book Depository newsletter came with a feature on steampunk.  It focused a bit more on steampunk fiction for adults, but here's the link if you'd like it.

Images sourced from www.bookdepository.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Building a better teacher

image from the New York Times

Elizabeth Green's long article from the New York Times, Building a Better Teacher, discusses recent thinking and research, including Lemov's Taxonomy of  Effective Teaching Practices (49 specific techniques).  There are some videos demonstrating these on the Uncommon Schools website here, and also info on the upcoming book detailing this approach, Teach like a champion.

A thought-provoking quote from a maths teacher who's spent considerable time on considering what works, and why:  “Teaching depends on what other people think,” Ball told me, “not what you think.”

Might be a new addition to the Professional collection in the library.  It's always useful to reflect on what you do now that's effective, and what you might change/improve.

Cheers

Ruth

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

GIFSL* 21: Tree (revisited)

In GIFSL (good ideas for school libraries) 21 I mentioned this tree:

I bought one last year (after Easter, on special) for the school library, and it's since graced the table outside my office full of face-up borrow-me impulse-grabbing books.  It's had various things hung on it over that time - bats at Halloween, laminated fabric motifs, book cover and so forth, depending on our themes (with banners/bookmarks).  In fashion parlance, its 'cost-per-wear' has been worth the purchase; it provides a focal point on a table I deliberately keep a tad untidy, so kids don't feel, by browsing, that they're disturbing a neat-and-do-not-touch display.

Bed Bath N Table, the shop from which it came, has three white tree options this Easter.  None are dirt cheap, but I'd point out that one of the attractions of these is their scale/size - they don't get dwarfed in the context of a library.  The above tree is $99.  About the same height, but 3D/in the round is this one:



I don't think I have a spot for it in my library, but it certainly has potential.  Smaller, but not small, is this one at $129:



As I said in my original piece, these aren't specifically Easter - you can tweak the themes to suit yourself.  They do only seem to be on sale (in these larger sizes) at Easter.  So you can buy now and secure one, or wait till the after-Easter discounts and potentially miss out (last year I gambled and won, but it's always a gamble!).

Bed Bath N Table is a chain of shops, but unfortunately they don't have a website/online store.  The shops can order stock in from other shops, though.

No affils or suspect brown paper bags with apple pies or crisp banknotes: we've been happy with ours, and so I thought I'd give you a heads-up, when I saw them again.  Photos taken with permission.

Cheers

Ruth



Monday, March 15, 2010

Advice on life

Richard Glover's column in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald was entitled, "It's what I know now...and wish I'd known then", and is advice on life to his 18 year old son - tips that are by turns practical, wry, thrifty, funny, sincere and apt.

Here's an extract:

People who spend excessive time on their own appearance are almost never as interesting, or as attractive, as they think.



You are what you eat but also what you read and watch and hear. Don't feed your brain with rubbish, at least not all the time.

Don't be negative. Whingeing is for people who want to blame others for their troubles, because it's easier than finding their own way forward. If a friend makes a habit of bad-mouthing other people, take a moment to wonder what they say about you. Spend your mental energy on people who think you are terrific, not people who dislike you.


I'm not sure yet how I'll use it at school, but I've stored a copy (since the SMH often takes online material down after a fortnight) and kept the paper copy so I will have it to hand.  Maybe with study skills, maybe Crossroads (sex, drugs, personal safety etc for Year 11 students).  It's got all sorts of potential.  Definitely worth reading.

Cheers

Ruth

Friday, March 12, 2010

Twilight Eclipse film/movie teaser trailer

Here's the teaser trailer for Eclipse, the third Twilight movie.  I've sourced this from TrailerSpy since YouTube is riddled with fake trailers labelled 'official'.



Or view the webpage here:
http://www.trailerspy.com/trailer/8567/The-Twilight-Saga-Eclipse-Teaser-Trailer-HD
Enjoy!

Cheers

Ruth

The happy life of teacher librarians: do not assume


At the end of a lesson when I'd helped this teacher find some visual resources for her science class, shown with our data projector and screen, she said to me, after the kids had gone, "Thank you.  That YouTube site looks useful.  I hadn't heard of it.  I'll have to take a look at it."

So we talked about YouTube (blocked for kids but not teachers) and TeacherTube, and finding animations/videos of science-y things, and she went off happy.

I had assumed that YouTube had soaked into popular culture enough for everyone to have heard of it, but this was a salutary reminder of the old saying about assuming.  It was good to know she'd added another source to her knowledge bank. 

I know I can be left behind by those who have greater knowledge than me (I've barely looked at Second Life, for example, so those worlds are a mystery to me, I don't (yet) have an iPhone so I'm app-iggerant and I've never really mastered spreadsheets) and I know my technoliteracy is selective rather than comprehensive.  Teachers have been expected to make great techno-leaps in knowledge in the last ten and five years, and there are new things to learn about all the time.  In teacher librarianship, over the twentysomething years of my career, we've gone from the nineteenth century (eg. card catalogues) to the twentyfirst - lots to be learned, long after finishing my teacher librarianship qualifications.

Memo to self: don't assume.  Bring them along for the ride, and hitch one yourself when you need to.  Just this week I learned from two different people that the secret to not going over your iPhone's megabyte limit for internet use is to make smart use of your home wireless (if you have it) and free wifi (eg. at McDonalds), because you can connect through them with your iPhone (and thus you don't have to pay for the extra).  I'm not dumb; I'm a lifelong learner!

Cheers

Ruth

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Twilight Eclipse film/movie 10 second trailer

From my extensive network of spies/fans/Twilightery enthusiasts:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k33DEEI-15c
This is just ten seconds: the full trailer due out tomorrow, I believe.

Cheers

Ruth

GIFSL* 53: Signage: Welcome to fiction

Here's the fiction section one recent afternoon, at the end of the day.  A class has just been in for reading and borrowing, which explains the books on the table.  I'm always pleased to see them disarranged like this, not neatly as I set them out at the start of the period, because it means they've been looked at, picked over, and, for some, borrowed.  (That's why I didn't tidy them before taking the photo - the 'birdseed' caught some 'birds', ha!).  The array put out depends on the class/year group and if the teacher is focusing on a particular genre or topic.

I wanted to improve that back wall.  The Harry Potter hanging cubes were looking a bit faded from being there for a couple of years, and I still had a couple of Welcome signs from a foray to Reverse Garbage - the same aqua style as that in the reading retreat downstairs, near the library entrance foyer.  Took them home for a wash (as they used to be street signs, hanging in Sydney streets with traffic and weather and so forth) and one of my school assistants sewed hanging sleeves on the back top of each.  Two dowel rods, a couple of hooks...


Better, I think.  I like the message for our library users, and the repetition of it.

I utterly understand that this was a lucky find, and you may not be able to have exactly the same banners.  But they are makeable, with fabric; or you could use preprimed canvases, such as those we've used for our major area signs.  And keep your eyes open for things with library potential, because there are lots to be found, in places like Reverse Garbage, and op shops, and garage sales, and things you see in other libraries, and the world all around.

Cheers

Ruth


*GIFSL good ideas for school libraries


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The happy life of teacher librarians: an unexpected croissant

One of my mentor kids popped by the other morning period one, on her way to the senior study (which is in the library, upstairs).

Hi miss.  I brought you a chocolate croissant.



She hands me this, and smiles, and heads on to the senior study.  Wasn't that sweet?  A lovely unexpected moment.

Oh, in case you wonder, I have an ergonomic mouse, as a result of some issues from a couple of years ago.  The model is Sky Vertical, and you can read all about ergy mouses here and this one in particular here.  I keep meaning to get one for home... it's brilliant, and much less strain on arm/wrist than conventional mouses.  I'm so used to it now, I forget it's 'weird' till a kid asks about it.

Cheers

Ruth

Skulduggery Pleasant Book 4: it's EARLY!

I've had a waiting list for this book since last April (2009):


It wasn't due out till April 2010, but it arrived at our excellent local independent bookshop early, and they phoned me to let me know (see what I mean by excellent?).  There are several very happy borrowers as a result.

Skulduggery Pleasant book 5 will be out in September 2010 - yes, this is a double Skulduggery year - and Skulduggery Pleasant book 6 a year later, in September 2011 (according to the information at the back of this one).

Cheers

Ruth

PS. I now have a waiting list for Skulduggery Pleasant book 5.  Of course!

PPS. IMDB still shows the Skulduggery Pleasant film as having a 2010 release, but as it's in development, early days by the look of it, I'd not be holding my breath.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

GIFSL* 52: computer furniture on the cheap

Our enquiry terminals upstairs were on rather ratty old study carrel tables (the sort with a veneered wooden top, probably graffiti'ed, and a wooden back, ditto, from earlier service elsewhere).  We wanted to spruce, and have something occupying a bit less space.

Ah, you only have to say the words 'library' and 'furniture' in the same sentence, and you're usually looking at significant dollar signs.  Our budget doesn't stretch to significant dollar signs... 

What about two enquiry terminal stands for under $160 in total?  If you think laterally... I was on the hunt for a while for a solution.  And here it is:

Ikea thinks they're kitchen trolleys, but I didn't think they had to be just that... the lower shelf is an easy spot for the thin client terminal to live, there's enough space on the top for monitor, keyboard and mouse, and they are the right height for standing, doing the enquiry and moving on (rather than sitting and hogging).  Sure, you have to self-assemble, but they weren't too hard to do.  We just varnished them (satin, two coats, sanding between each), thinking that while paint might be fun, it was likely to be more susceptible to inadvertent dings.  They don't LOOK like kitchen trolleys (at least, nobody's commented on that), they're sturdy and they do the job just fine and dandy.

Ikea Bekvam kitchen trolleys are $79 each at Ikea in Sydney.  Check your local, as I know Ikea prices can have some regional variation.

Cheers

Ruth

Monday, March 8, 2010

The library is for all the kids

Among the classes coming to the library for wide reading in the last while have been 10E8 and 9E8 - classes composed mostly of boys.  The classes are streamed, so these are classes where I want to put out books that will catch their attention.  Graphic works can be a great way to go.  Some of these kids struggle to learn, others are focused on other things - I've had some great conversations with them about all sorts of topics.  They don't like being patronised, and they don't like books that patronise them either, 'stupid-simple', childish covers, or such.

I put books out for them as I do for all the other visiting wider reading classes, all around the table to give them plenty of choices.  A couple of successes recently:


The Osprey Graphic History series is one (that's the publisher website).  They're thin (never mind the quality, feel the width) and high interest - battles include Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal and several US Civil War ones.  9E8, to whom I showed them first, had some kids who were pleased (and surprised) that when I realised how much they liked  them, I offered to add the remaining titles to the library's collection (we had five of the twelve, as I wanted to see if they would find friends).  10E8 liked them just as much, and were very pleased to know more were coming (collection development and library PR, there).  Several boys who had never borrowed from the library EVER borrowed from this series.  (My excellent local independent bookshop is able to supply these in Australia with no hassles, so check with your local independent bookshop if you're after some).  We had conversations about the planes illustrated (luckily the male teacher of 10E8 knew more than me about planes) and looked to see exactly where Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal were in the atlas (I could do that better than plane identification), but most of all we wanted the classes to engage with books, and most of them did (you can't win them all, but you can keep trying).

One of the charming smart-alecks in 9E8 thought he'd catch me out (or end up with Where's Wally) when he asked for a book 'with no words'.  Ha, buster, I've got YOU sorted...


In this book, about five pages of detailed drawings in, it goes surreal - the man, having packed, arrives in a place where there is a dragon-like tail shadowed on a building... the kid got interested in spite of himself, and spent  a goodly slab of the lesson reading this book.  His mate got kinda interested too, so I gave him this Shaun Tan book:



which he liked; and you can still access, online a pdf of my favourite story from this book, Eric.

The teachers of these (sometimes challenging) classes have been positive about these visits, and the classes will be returning.  Which is great.  The library isn't just for good kids or top classes, it's for all the kids.

Cheers

Ruth


Friday, March 5, 2010

International Women's Day 2010

One of the advantages of banners and bookmarks and signs is that, when Annual Occasions roll around (eg. International Women's Day) you can do Same Song, Next Verse.

So we have our purple/green banners and bookmarks back in action, with women/girls able to sign the banners on Friday lunchtime.  This year's Year 7 students have been reading them over, and students here last year who signed them then have had fun finding their names again.

The signs (love that cornucopia of language about women) are back on the noticeboard.  I meant to do put up some ribbonry or some such, but you know, time has got away.

Our ever-useful bookcase has books about famous/heroic/achieving women, with some pictures of fine Australian women across the top.  This is one of the times when we do one face-out book per 'box' rather than lots for browsing.  Always good to change things around, make them look different, encourage a second look.

For more resources, try the International Women's Day site.

Cheers

Ruth

TGIF.  Gosh I'm tired.  Must be the mad pace of this term so far, the heat and humidity, the way it's felt a tad relentless...some days it feels like you're trying to run in glue, and the goal you're after keeps receding as you scoot from task to task to question to find to help to question to task to phone call to....  So many kids are so terrific - when they tell you about a book they've enjoyed, or you help them understand something that puzzled them, or tell you a story about their life that makes you chuckle, or like yesterday when one boy quite out of the blue got four strikes in a row at sport/tenpin and it was fabulous to see his achievement.  I've got so many great colleagues.  Plenty to be grateful for.  But right now, this morning, it's exhausting rather than invigorating.  TGIF! (Thank goodness it's Friday).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The happy life of teacher librarians: I'm not making this up...

So, Sally*, how goes it?
Fine miss.  A bit tired.
Oh?
Been working in my mum's pie shop.
Good pies?
Really good pies.  Chunks of steak or chicken, she makes them all herself.  Good pasta bakes too.
Sounds yummy.  Is she in a group of shops [she's told me the suburb]?
Oh yes.  Upstairs is a gym, there's a pizza shop and others, and next door is a funeral parlour.  My grandparents own that.
[she grins]
I bet you're over the Sweeney Todd jokes....
Yes, miss [she grins again]

Just another vignette from the happy life of teacher librarians.

Cheers

Ruth
who shamefacedly admits to having lost her appetite for just a moment there...

*which might be her name, but isn't.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

GIFSL* no. 52. DIY CD case wall art

From (US) Country Living magazine's look at the Photojojo book, here's an idea to play with.  This link will tell you exactly how to make a collage like the one pictured (and who says it has to be all one photo? and aren't there lots of library-related image possibilities?  oooo yes.). 

The Photojojo site has lots more (free) ideas for playing with photos, and plenty of scope for teacher librarians looking to make their libraries more interesting/engaging/fun.  And once you have your CD cases in place, who says the artwork has to stay the same?

All you need is a little time and some simple items: CD cases, photo paper and cardboard.  Nothing expensive there.

Photos of book covers?  Kids?  Kids reading?  Lots of possibilities...

Cheers

Ruth

*GIFSL good ideas for school libraries

Twilight: the graphic novel (release date)

image from Amazon.com

A long time ago when the world was young, this blog gave you the heads-up on the Twilight graphic novel.  Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water... the release date is mid-March 2010.  Real Soon Now.

Cheers

Ruth

PS I am currently researching sewage treatment for a Year 7 lesson.  Hmmmm.  The elegant life of teacher librarians...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Draft National Curriculum

The Draft National Curriculum is being launched today by Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard.  Here are some quick links.

  • Federal Department of Education National Curriculum page (just a brief outline, then refers you to ACARA)
  • ACARA (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, responsible for the documents)
  • Want to get involved in the consultation process? Click here.
  • Want to read resources, including information sheets from ACARA on each subject? Click here (or if you just want one subject's information sheet: English, Maths, History, Science).
Curriculum drafts:
PDF copies of the draft curricula in Maths, Science, History and English are from this Melbourne Herald-Sun article.

(The SMH is apparently very preoccupied today with Spencer Tunick's photography at the Sydney Opera House).

Cheers

Ruth

GIFSL* 51: take photos (with an added bonus: Skerricks: all singing, all dancing live version!)

(Actually, I lie.  No singing, no dancing.)  But it's lovely to have received some invitations to speak at teacher librarian meetings and conferences about re-imagining/enhancing/sprucing your school library.  So if you're going to the Sydney TL conference in Leichhardt in March, the Northern Sydney TL conference in Terrey Hills in March or MANTLE (website will show the 2010 program soon) in Newcastle in May, it will be lovely to meet you.

One of those looked like it might have to be done using the Connected Classrooms videoconferencing and Bridgit, so I would have been at my own school but beamed on a telly with my presentation on a whiteboard at the meeting venue.  Circumstances altered and I'll be able to attend in person, but I'm thinking I'd like to add being able to do that to my skillset.  Always good to learn something new!

I spoke at two conferences last year,  ASLA (NSW) and Western Sydney TL - they were fairly close together in time, so I didn't tweak my presentation enormously between the two (although I did tweak it - there's always something to make better/more effective). It was great to get the positive feedback and know my contribution had been useful.  This week, looking over the presentation (I don't have notes, the PowerPoint is my prompt as I find that more interesting, less 'rote' and besides, like lots of teachers, you switch me on, I talk... and I enjoy public speaking), I can see plenty of room for more tweaking/changing, even though it's only a few months down the track.  New things we've tried.  Improvements to the library.  More goodness to share!

I cannot encourage you enough to take photos of your library.  At least once a term, or more often if you change something (as we do with our foyer/entrance area).  Not only to record what you've done, but also to remind you of the evolution of your library, to see what's better than it was before.  I just wish I'd photographed my current school library when I walked into it first ten years ago, so I could have those photos to compare with how it looks now. 

One of the ways in which this blog has been really useful to me is the way in which providing illustrations for it has made me fish out my camera more often than I might otherwise have done, to catch 'before' shots as well as 'after'.  The camera's lens, and the reality of a photograph, can help see more clearly what one likes and what one would like to change/improve/develop. I've only got to look at the renovation of the library entrance (several entries from May 2009 on the blog illustrate this - use the archives over on the right) for just one example.

Other ways to use photographs (hurrah for the digital camera) include our framed row of student readers and (which used some of those photos again, as well as others taken at lunchtimes etc) our Christmas tree.

Cheers

Ruth


*GIFSL: good ideas for school libraries