Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It appears that I need some New Year's resolutions

Generally speaking I don't like to make New Year's resolutions. Inevitably, I get side tracked and before you know it my vow to stop swearing so much is thrown out the window on a stream of sailoresque expletives. But, looking at how long it has been since I have written anything of note on this blog, I think some resolutions are needed.

In no particular order, Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian resolves to:

Read at least one grown up book for every kid/young adult book
Read at least 100 books this year
Write something here at least twice a week
Participate in a reading challenge
Get my kid to read at least one book I recommend - this is by far the most difficult of my resolutions

What are your reading resolutions for the year?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes

A weekly segment in which I interview some young pup on what they are reading.

YFNL: Why, hello, Miss. I noticed that you are reading one of my favorite books, The book that eats people by the amazingly talented Ann Arborite, John Perry and illustrated by Mark Fearing.

Young Miss: Yes, I am.

YFNL: I wonder if you would mind if I interviewed you about the book.

Young Miss: I would not mind at all.

YFNL: For the purposes of our interview, I will allow you to choose an alias so as to prevent weirdos from reading this and knowing your identity. What alias would you like to choose?

Young Miss: I choose Your Friendly Neighborhood Weirdo.

YFNL: Are you mocking me?

YFNW: Maybe.

YFNL: Can you tell me a little bit about The book that eats people?

YFNW: This book is about a book that you should never read while eating food. If you do, it will eat. you. up.

YFNL: What is your favorite part?

YFNW: My favorite part is when the book eats Victoria Glassford after hitting her over the head.

YFNL: A fan of violence are we?

YFNW: Quite.

YFNL: How do you feel about the illustrations in the book?

YFNW: I like how the illustrations look like they are cut out of newspapers.

YFNL: To whom would you recommend this book or would you recommend it at all?

YFNW: I would recommend this book to my annoying brother.

YFNL: Are you hoping that the book eats him?

YFNW: Yes.

YFNL: Well, thank you for agreeing to my interview. I bid you a lovely day.

YFNW: See ya.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Just bought two of these bad boys for the library. I am going to download some stories from I am looking for something short because my idea, at least initially, is to have the mp3 players set up as a center. I have several centers that kids can visit after they are done checking out: magnetic poetry, hangman, magnadoodles, brain buster puzzles, pop up books, bookmark making and this year I added flannel board storytelling and listening center.

One of the cool things about these mp3 players is their ability to record. I am hoping to have the fifth graders do some podcasts this year of book reviews and add them to my wiki. This looks like a simple tool to help me achieve that.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wordle me this, Batman

I decided to try Wordle to write a review of the superly awesome book "Let's do something!" by Tony Fucile. Check it out then get over to Wordle and make one for yourself!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Whew! I made it!

Prior to participating in this class, I thought I was fairly tech savvy. I took digital pictures and uploaded them to the web, I made digital videos and shared them with others, I used Skype, made a Facebook page, kept a blog. But, I didn't use a lot of those things with my students. There were too many technological hurdles - old computers, stressed servers, lack of materials, lack of time. Throughout this course, I learned about many things that I CAN use with my students that circumvent some of those barriers.

I think the Thing I am most excited about is Thing 22. I created a wiki and I can think of some easy ways to use it with students. I am hoping that as the school year begins and my plate becomes full, I will still have the excitement and committment to editing and expanding the wiki.

I am also super excited about video podcasts. I did a quick one with my daughter - she is an excellent student - with just a few pointers. I can totally see doing this with my students and adding their video booktalks and presentations to the wiki I made.

I hope to keep up with new innovations by checking in with with the feeds on my Bloglines account, checking in with the wikis I discovered, reading the blogs of the participants in this course - everyone is going to keep those up, right? - and hopefully, participating in more opportunities like this class!

I feel I have a better sense of the opportunities for reaching students with technology than I ever did before.

My Wiki - Mrs. Gatto on books

Oh. my. god. I have been having sooo much fun creating my wiki! I created a homepage using Glogger which was super cool. The site has lots of free graphics and you can upload photos and videos of your own, as well. So much fun!

I changed my logo by uploading a digital picture that my husband took of me yesterday in my library chair. I did a video podcast of my daughter doing a booktalk and linked it to the homepage. I created a wiki page where students can add books they would like to see added to the library. I did a page of new books recently added to the collection. I have lots of ideas on what I can do in the future - book discussion pages, student video podcasts of booktalks and bookreviews, pathfinders for teachers, etc. My mind is swirling with all the possibilities!

Check out the wiki here!

I really like how the wiki has blog elements - you can keep an on line dialogue about what is going on in your classroom, library, life, etc. - but it also has the community aspect to it which rocks! Students, community members, can add their thoughts and ideas to create something totally new and exciting! I am looking forward to trying this out in my library this year!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I haven't really thought about creating a wiki of my own - it seems like a lot of work although the ones I checked out today were really cool and inspiring. I really liked wikiHow. It had how to steps for all sorts of things. I learned how to make a book using old cassette tape inserts. I can see kids really getting into using wikiHow to discover how to do new things AND sharing what they know about with others.

I discovered BookLeadsWiki--Reading Resources at the collection of educational wikis and it is really cool! I loved the great ideas and resources that were compiled for librarians. It even includes videos, documents and step-by-step guides on things like creating book promotion screen savers for your library computers - something I am definitely going to do!

I would love to explore wikis and how they could be used in my library, but even with input from others, it seems like a big time consumer. Recently, my assistant had her hours reduced in the library which is going to impact everything from the daily running of the library to cataloging books. It will be difficult to squeeze in time to create and maintain a wiki.