Monday, November 28, 2011

The HVLA Edublog Award Nominations

Thank you to those of you who made suggestions for the Edublog Award Nominations. Here are some of the sites we'd like to nominate:

Best Individual Blog:

We love Betsy Bird's Fuse #8 Production blog for her regular book reviews, insights into the publishing world and her uncanny ability to predict the Newbery Award winners. Her write-ups on publisher's librarian previews are a huge help to those of us unable to attend in person and every weekend I look forward to her roundup of videos related to children's literature.

Best Group Blog:

Yalsa's The Hub (Your Connection to Teen Reads), exemplifies why group blogs are so fun. With over 30 bloggers contributing content including teen bloggers, this one gives readers a wide variety of programming ideas, breaking YA lit news and offers insight into Yalsa's Selection Lists and Awards that no other blog can provide.

Best New Blog:

Launched in September, Someday My Printz Will Come, fills a gap in online book awards discussion. We have the Newbery and Caldecott blogs, but no place to discuss the Printz Awards. Even if you aren't following the Printz Awards, it's still a fabulous blog just to get ideas for great books to recommend to teens.

Best Ed Tech/Resource Sharing Blog:

Hack Education is one of the best blogs for information about the use of technology in education. Audrey Watter is "committed to telling the stories of students, educators, organizations, entrepreneurs who are using technology to 'hack education.'" Her writing is accessible and her blog discusses the latest in technology developments relevant to educators.

Best Library/Librarian Blog:

What did I do before School Library Journal's Adult4Teen Blog existed? When SLJ's Adult Books for High School Students column ended, few resources existed to help librarians determine which adult books would have appeal in teen collections. Many of the juniors and seniors in our library have moved beyond reading young adult titles, but want an adult book that speaks to them. Angela Carstensen's Adult4Teen blog, launched last October, has made it easier to make recommendations to this group of readers. Angela's blog is constantly updated with contributions from a variety of reviewers and all include that key element- will this book appeal to teenagers?

Best Free Web Tool:

Google's brain teaser challenge, A Google A Day, is a fun way to teach students how to hone their research skills. A new puzzle is posted every day and a running clock keeps track of how long it takes you to solve the puzzle using web search strategies. Students can try to beat their own record or compete against each other to see who can solve the puzzle first.

Over 400 sites have been nominated so far, see all the nominations here.

This post was brought to you by HVLA Treasurer Rachael Myers with help from Kerry Roeder

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Edublog Awards

The Edublog Awards is a community based incentive started in 2004 in response to community concerns relating to how schools, districts and educational institutions were blocking access of learner and teacher blog sites for educational purposes.
The purpose of the Edublog awards is promote and demonstrate the educational values of these social media.

The best aspects include that it creates a fabulous resource for educators to use for ideas on how social media is used in different contexts, with a range of different learners while creating an invaluable resource of the best-of-the-best on the web!
Last year, I found the Castilleja School Library Website while browsing the Edublog winners and it has become the inspiration for our new library website that we will hopefully launch after winter break. I think the Castilleja site is everything a school library website should be- it is easy to use, nice to look at and features student reviews and engaging information while also promoting library programs. I've also found some of my favorite resources and blogs on the Edublog Awards Site including Free Technology for Teachers and the Moodle Guide for Teachers.

I'd like to use our blog to spotlight and nominate some of the sites, twitter feeds and other online resources we all use and would like to spotlight. The nominations period just opened last week- if you have any resources you think should be nominated please leave a comment on this post or send me an email. The categories are below. Please let me know by next week if there are any online sources you think should be included.

Best individual blog

Best individual tweeter

Best group blog

Best new blog

Best class blog

Best student blog

Best ed tech / resource sharing blog

Most influential blog post

Best twitter hashtag

Best teacher blog

Best librarian / library blog

Best School Administrator blog

Best free web tool

Best educational use of audio / video / visual

Best educational wiki

Best educational podcast

Best open PD / unconference / webinar series

Best educational use of a social network

Lifetime achievement

This post was brought to you by HVLA Treasurer, Rachael Myers

Monday, November 14, 2011

New York Comic Con Report Back

I had a chance to attend Comic Con this year as a presenter on a panel about graphic novels in libraries. I had never been to any Comic Con before, so I was excited to have an excuse to go. NY Comic Con offers a free professional pass to educators and librarians for the Professionals-Only Day where they conduct panels during the day and then the Exhibition Floor opens in the afternoon.

Sadly, because of my schedule, I missed some of the early day panels that likely would have been the most interesting to me as a school librarian: a panel on digital comics and graphic novels in the classroom. When I arrived, I was able to attend two panels on video games in libraries. One was about starting a video game collection where they discussed how to evaluate video games, lending pr
actices and budgets. The second was about National Gaming Day and was more focused on libraries that already have video game programs in their libraries. The final panel, Beyond the Basics, was about some of the issues that come up after you have an established graphic novel collection. I had a chance to talk about our experiences with our graphic novel collection along with two public librarians and one academic librarian.

After our panel ended, we got to explore the Exhibition Hall which was overwhelming to say the least. I mainly just stuck to the publisher rows to take a glance at some of the new graphic novels being showcased. Unlike ALA and other conventions I've been to, there weren't many publishers giving away books or Advanced Reading Copies. But it was a great place to pick up little buttons, bookmarks, and other memorabilia that will be given away as prizes throughout the year. I even got some Comic Con temporary tattoos which students in my graphic novel club were excited about.

If you're thinking about attending Comic Con next year:

- it's free to librarians and educators
- good panels for school librarians if you can arrange your schedule to get there for them
- free memorabilia that your graphic novel fans will love

- it's at the Jacob Javitz Center
- no free books

This post was brought to you by HVLA Treasurer, Rachael Myers.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Running a Mock Newbery Club

It's the time of year that people start talking about and making predictions for the upcoming book awards. At my school, we have just created our shortlist of five titles and students are furiously reading to be eligible to vote in our annual Mock Newbery Election. Our five titles are: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier.

From talking with other librarians, it sounds like there are a lot of different ways to run a Mock Newbery, but our club begins in September with a list of about 50 books that I have been compiling since January. From this list, students weed down the list to about 15 just by looking at summaries and book covers. Once we have the list of 15 books, we talk more in-depth about each title. We watch book trailers, read excerpts and listen to audio-book excerpts. We discuss the Newbery criteria and talk about the merits of each book and students vote for their top five. From this vote we get our list of contenders and students must read and write reviews for all five in order to vote in the final vote.

Last year our Mock Newbery winner was the book After Ever After and the author, Jordan Sonnenblick, visited our book club via skype for a mock awards ceremony. We even created a little awards seal that students solemnly placed onto the cover of our library copy. We had about 25 students eligible to vote in the final election last year and it even inspired a Mock Printz Club to form in the high school.

Here are a list of resources that I refer to frequently throughout the year:

Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog- run by Nina Lindsay and Jonathan Hunt, this blog is a wonderful and thorough resource for anyone who follows the youth media awards.

Goodreads Mock Newbery Group- a Goodreads group where readers can discuss eligibility and make predictions.

A Fuse #8 Production- Betsy Bird also served on the Newbery Committee and offers great insight into potential titles. Her predictions have been uncannily spot on!

Newbery and Caldecott Mock Elections Tool Kit- I have an older edition of this, but I am looking forward to taking a look at the newly released toolkit.

The HVLA Listerv- when I first decided to try to run a Mock Newbery Club, I emailed our listserv and got some great ideas from colleagues in terms of creating a structure and process for the club.

This post was brought to you by HVLA Treasurer, Rachael Myers.