Friday, May 30, 2008

Move up day today

Each year we send our middle schoolers home early and host the city's approximately 450 5th graders on a move up day. The 5th graders get to have tours of the school and spend time learning their way around a bit. When you have 8 small schools combining to form one large one, this is a great way to help the kids transition. I met some interesting kids today. Most of them could name at least one author they like. Some gave me a list. I am looking forward to working with some readers this fall. Most of them seem to mention either a fantasy author or a mystery author but I did have one little girl tell me that her favorite is L.M. Montgomery. There's a girl I'll remember!

Today's podcast is for Lyon, George Ella. MY FRIEND, THE STARFINDER. The artwork is amazing in this book and I love the storytelling intergenerational tale.

Have you ever held a star? It doesn't seem possible, does it? But that's what he said he did. When he was young, he saw a star falling and he went looking for it. And he found it. What other wonders has he seen?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Alex

Today is my son's birthday. My youngest. My baby. He is turning 21. How can that be? He's also a college graduate. Now for those to events to happen, it would mean that I am getting old. Or maybe I am already old. After all, I have two grandsons. I guess when you get to my age, it doesn't matter any more. But being 21 is a big deal. So we are having a barbeque and then we'll see what happens. I don't know that he is really anxious to go get a drink but we may take him if he wants.

Alex has always loved soccer. Playing and watching. He still kicks the ball around the backyard when he is bored. So, today's podcast is a book about soccer. Not how to play, but lots of interesting information about the game.

Thomas, Keltie. HOW SOCCER WORKS
Toronto : Maple Tree, 2007.
IL 5-8, RL 5.9
ISBN 1897349017
Do you play soccer? Or do you just like to watch? I am definitely a spectator. This isn't a book about techniques to help you improve your game. But it is filled with information that you can share with your friends. It starts out with the history of soccer. For instance, did you know that the ancient Egyptians played soccer? That was way back around 2000 BC. Or that a soccer game in England in the 700s used the head of a Danish prince as the soccer ball? Or that in Thailand, elephants play soccer. Just about everything you want to know -- and then some -- you'll find in this nifty book.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hypercard -- what might have been

Wow. Hypercard. Haven't thought about that in awhile. But this article in Wired made me think back to the days when it was the hot app. I loved Hypercard and so did the kids. It was easy to use and created such cool "stacks". Interesting to read how Apple held him back.

Our state book award results were announced at our conference. Rules by Cynthia Lord won in the Grades 4-6 category and Perfect by Natalie Friend won in the Grades 7-8 category. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer won the teen award. (Twilight won last year!) I'm going to be adding the booktalks and podcasting them during the next month. Always a fun time. This year I am also having my students video the booktalks and am adding them to my school blog -- Blue Duke Reads. I have a few of them ready and will put them up today. Although it is supposed to be a beautiful day so I guess I'll have to work in the backyard! I also have some mp3 files to finish up to put on the school page. What I really should be doing is studying for the GRE exam. I just can't remember all that math. I sat in on a math class at school the other day and the teacher had to ask one of the kids to sit with me to help. Too funny -- at least the kids thought it was funny. Later that day, the study hall kids kept asking if I needed help with my homework!

Today's podcast is for John Wilson's Four Steps to Death. It is on our state reading list and is an interesting perspective on WWII. It is an interesting look at events from both the German and Russian points of view. I have always liked Wilson's war books and this is no exception.

It’s December 25, 2004. Constable Sergei Illyich Andropov, 70 years-old, cold and tired has been called to a construction site because two bodies have been found in the cellar of an old building in Volgograd. They turn out to be something other than the gangland murders that he expected. Sergei is forced to relive a time 62 years in the past when the Germans had laid siege to Stalingrad. His hero was sniper Yelena Pavlova. Four Steps to Death tells the story of the Siege of Stalingrade from both the Russian and German point of view, as Sergei seeks to identify the bodies frozen in the basement. (New Hampshire Isinglass Award Nominee, 2008-2009)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

google site

I've just been playing around with the new Google feature -- google site. I am still exploring friend connect and then they launch a new application at me. There is just so much potential, I don't know where to begin.

The possible uses of this in education are endless. I can't wait to show this to some of our teachers! Google does it again.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

NH library conference

Today was the last day of the conference. It was a great conference with so much to choose from. It was hard to decide which sessions to attend. The keynote this morning was Nate Greenberg, Superintendent of Londonderry schools. He really gets libraries and librarians. What an inspiration.

I presented the Tech Savvy booktalker program in the morning to an enthusiastic crowd. Lots of great questions. It was fun. And the technology worked this time!!

Luncheon speaker was Stephen Abram. I sat in the corner so I could watch Stephen but also watch the reaction of the audience. It was so cool. As usual, he blew people away. He had their full attention!!

After lunch, I went to Stephen's break out session. There were a lot of people who wanted more after lunch. There is always so much to think about when you are listening to Stephen.

The NH Isinglass book award was announced at the end of the day. Perfect by Natalie Friend won this year! The committee then presented next year's nominees. I should have the booktalks up on my site soon. And then the podcasts will begin. I love this time of year.

But now the conference is over but not the enthusiasm. I always learn so much and want more.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

NH Educational Media Conference

Day one has been jammed packed and lots of fun. Keynote given by Toni Buzzeo. She spoke about the importance of librarians in the NCLB era and stressed that we need to advocate for our positions. Too many library teachers are being replaced by reading specialists or literacy teachers.

Luncheon speaker was Cynthia Lord. What a wonderful speaker. She had us all a bit weepy at the end but it was a good feeling.

I went to Toni's afternoon workshop on collaboration and got some good ideas.

The NH Great Stone Face book award was announced. The award went to Rules by Cynthia Lord. And she was here to accept!! Too cool.

And Michael Sullivan and I did our He Said She Said booktalks. Always lots of fun for us. Neither of us knows what books that other has brought so it is interesting to see how we'll work it out.

Tonight was dinner with people I don't see often enough. End of a long day. And another great day set for tomorrow.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Away to the conference I go...

I'm spending today getting ready for the New Hampshire Educational Media Association Conference that starts on Tuesday. I love going to the state conference. I get to reconnect with people I only see once a year. And I get to meet new and interesting people. This year will be bittersweet because several of my long time buddies are retiring and this may be their last conference. The state of NH is eliminating their medical subsidy for retirees this year so it is now or never for those eligible. What a shame.

I am giving two workshops at the conference. On Tuesday, my buddy Mike Sullivan and I will be presenting our He Said, She Said program. Mike highlight the latest "boy" books while I concentrate on the new "chicklit". And we try to see who can outspeak the other! On Wednesday, I'll be doing my Tech Savvy Booktalker program. I've jazzed it up a bit and hope it will work!

Other speakers at the conference include Toni Buzzeo (who I ran into in the hotel lobby in Texas last month), Stephen Abram (I get to introduce him!), author Cynthia Lord, Reg Aubrey from Google, and of course Dr. Cathy Higgins (congrats on the new title!)

My packing is not up to Joyce Valenza's. If you haven't seen her shoe video, check it out here. What a hoot! I'm glad I don't have those dilemmas. I'll just throw on my pair of crocs and away I go. I might bring two pairs just to have some variety.

Today's podcast is for Carol Plum-Ucci's new book. It is a bit of a departure from her usual mysteries but it is grippinng. I guess I just like the terrorists are going to get us type of book. I presented at a workshop in NH last month and a couple of the evaluations commented on the number of dark books I used as examples. I can't help it. I love them!

Plum-Ucci, Carol. STREAMS OF BABEL
Trinity Falls, is just a small suburban town in southern New Jersey. It is not any place you would expect to find anything interesting. But now four teens have come down with a mysterious flu. A flu that has killed two people already. The doctors can't figure out what is causing the illness. Even the CDC isn't sure what is going on. But the kids seem to be getting worse. Can a teen from the other side of the world help figure out what is going on?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Time to go?

I got a very unexpected phone call the other day. It was the Assistant Superintendent calling at 8:00 in the morning. These new phones we got with the caller ID are great. I couldn't imagine what he would be calling me for but I answered it anyway! Well, he gave me some great news. I was number 10 on the list for 2010. Now, if you are not in our district, you would have no idea what that means. Each year our district gives an early retirement buyout to the 10 most senior people who have applied. I apply every year but since there are so many people with more years in the district, I never expected to get the buyout. I had been number 16 on the list for 2010. Apparently, because of the economy, 5 people pulled their names from the list and bumped me up to number 10!!! So, I am now set to retire in June 2010.

When you start seeing that light at the end, you look at what you have accomplished so far and what more you want to accomplish. I have so much more that I want to accomplish so I expect to be very busy for the next two years. But it is a great feeling to know that my life will go into the next phase in June 2010!