Monday, April 29, 2013

Hidden by Helen Frost (3.9/3.0)

HiddenI just finished my first of the 2013-2014 Georgia Children's Book Award Nominees. Hidden by Helen Frost was a very interesting book. It was told from the point of view of two girls. One of them tells her story in free verse poetry and the other is also written in a unique style. I didn't realize until the end when I read the author's notes that Darra's story was written that way to include another hidden story. In this book, Darra's father steals Wren's family's minivan and has no idea that Wren is hiding in the backseat. Wren is scared of what Darra's dad might do if he finds her, so she stays hidden in the garage for two days until she manages to seek out. Fast forward several years and the girls meet at a summer camp and eventually become friends.  I enjoyed this book and will be suggesting it to many of the girls. The nontraditional formatting always appeals to them, and I'll have to be sure to mention the hidden story!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Clone Board

I just found a great free app. It's called CloneBoard. We have been trying to figure out how to mirror the image of a tablet onto a PC that is hooked to the SmartBoard so that kids in math classes could work problems on the tablets and it show up on the screen and, therefore, the SmartBoard. We have also been trying to do it on the cheap. There are a million apps to control the computer from the tablet, but almost nothing to mirror it the other way around. Enter CloneBoard. When you open the app, it gives you a web address. If you go to that web address on your computer, you can watch what you are writing/drawing on the tablet.
There is a little lag time of course, but it seemed to work pretty well when I was testing it. Of course, using it in the classroom will be the true test. The 6th grade math teachers will be getting their tablets in the next week or so and we will get them set up, and then give it a real test. In case you are wondering, I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, which is what the math teachers ordered as well (Thank goodness, because you really don't want to get me started on my refusal to use apple products when there is ANY alternative). I will warn you that the free version does have ads. I have only seen ads for things like YouTube, so nothing inappropriate. However, if it works well, we will probably "invest" the $0.99 to get the non-ad version.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Guess How Many Books Are in the Media Center Challenge

The Guess How Many Books Are in the Media Center Challenge has had great participation! Teachers have been bringing their classes in all week. They say it's so the kids can work on their estimating skills, but it's really so they can look around and make a better guess!

Teacher winner: Mrs. Dorch
Student winner: Lana Posey- only 7 books off the correct #

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Speed Dating: Library Style

This week and next the kids are taking the CRCT, so by the afternoon, they are wiped out. They need something that is fun and doesn't take a lot of brain power. Enter Speed Dating. Well, not really...

If you have ever heard of a Book Tasting, it's basically the same thing. I thought that my middle schoolers would think going to a Book Tasting was cheesy, so I changed the name to Speed Dating. How it works is: kids get 2-3 minutes with a book to look it over and answer a few basic questions. When the timer goes off, they pass the book to the next person and get a new one. They spend 2-3 getting to know that book and so on until you run out of time. Since we are running a shortened class schedule this week, this activity was perfect for a thirty minute class. We had time for me to explain the process, to date about 8 books, and then for them to have time to checkout the ones they really wanted.
Here is what they used to record their results. Feel free to email me if you would like the the word document.

Monday, April 15, 2013

National Library Week

In honor of National Library Week I am hosting a "Guess How Many Books Are in the Media Center" challenge. The student and teacher who guess closest will each receive a Zaxby's gift card and a copy of The Grimm Legacy from the Georgia Children's Book Award Nominee list! Guesses are due by noon on Friday.

Also, I am so excited! I have posted before about the student created book trailers, but you will never believe what happened. Carl Deuker, author of Payback Time, actually watched the book trailer and thanked us for posting it!! How cool is that?! If you haven't checked them out yet, head over to the bmsmedia youtube channel and watch a few of them.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Just created my first newsletter using Smore. Wow! It was so easy to do. Big thanks to The Librarian in the Middle for sharing this.