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We ended our latest Lunch Book Club last week, and we are in the process of selecting our books for next semester’s clubs. Our school has designed three book clubs that align with our three lunches at school, and students who sign up (in time) get a free catered lunch. This is not the only book club we do, as we also participate when able with another group (known as the Somewhat Virtual Book Club) that meets after school and online.

 

In the beginning

I feel though I need to explain our lunchtime book clubs, maybe to inspire others. I have done these in different ways, but I like the current format the best. I have done book clubs where students signed-up and then brought their lunches to a location, usually the library. These were well attended but had an exclusive feel to them, like I was leaving a group out (primarily those whose only choice was to eat a school-provided lunch.) I’ve done book clubs IN the cafeteria where the students eat, but felt that some students opted out due to peer pressure–they actually felt they were abandoning friends by coming to my table for the book club meeting. I had some good participation in both of these scenarios, just not what I wanted.

 

Taking it to them…accommodating all the lunch options

I then changed it up to arrange for “bagged” cafeteria lunches, and students who planned for a school lunch could pick up a “to-go” bag lunch and bring it to the meeting location. I even arranged for a free-no-questions-asked-cut-in-the-lunch-line option for them. The problem with this format was that the book club had to compete sometimes with hot lunches that were more alluring (pizza or other hot food items) that couldn’t be brown bagged or made for transport.  I lost kids to the “good” lunches regularly.  (And who says kids don’t eat school lunches?)

How About Now?

Photos made from CJN’s photostream; using http://www.fotor.com.

Fast forward to the current format. Now we (with administrative blessings) advertise our book clubs WITH a free catered lunch. Sometimes we order out (like Pizza) but other times we use our very own cafeteria service to get a catered lunch, like chicken strips, deli style sandwiches, and/or desserts. We  offer a lunch that is competitive with our cafeteria and the assorted vending machines, and best, it’s FREE for our groups that sign up in time. Note: Those who sign up late are reminded to bring a lunch.

Funding is for the most part, local

We use local fund raising and fines to offset costs, though at times we have to ask for a little help from our admin. This last time we wound up purchasing around 60 paperback books and lunch enough to feed that many. We sell flash drives and ear buds to help, and I’m amazed at how many ear buds we have sold this year (at $2 each.) Being a high school, we are allowed to charge overdue fines, but every penny is funneled into our book clubs.  If students sign up by a cut off date, they get the free, catered lunch.  And this year it seems to be doing the trick! We are very excited with our numbers so far this year. Best, each of us, myself, my co-librarian, and our assistant, are taking a lunch group. So it works out well.

 

Plans are underway for January

We are each talking about a book to use for our January clubs. My lunch is considering the book Butter by Erin Jade Lange.  The other two are looking at Matthew Quick’s Boy 21 and S.T. Underdahl’s No Man’s Land. Al three of us leading book clubs will read all three titles, as we never know when we’ll possibly have to cover another’s book club group. So here’s my Christmas reading all settled. I’ve already read Butter, which was a great book! As I was working with a class on writing reviews and making book trailers using Animoto recently, I made the following as a “how-to” example from start to finish. I think I’ve made them hope they have first lunch next semester when we change schedules.

 

So, what works for you in your teaching context? I’d like to know.

 

Sometimes I share ideas with my favorite art teacher at school (Mrs. S. Eleazer), and then she amazes me with the class interpretation. She surprised me last year with some, and one of her students even won a Scholastic Art contest award with their weeded book project.

 She just runs with it!

A gift to the DHS Library from Mrs. Eleazer’s Art Sculpting class.

Fast forward to this month–again, the Art Sculpting class took on a discarded weeded books project, repurposing these books into art. I am once again amazed at the work of my friend and art teacher’s class. So of course I want to share here. I have two sets; one set is the Christmas tree, and the other set is just book sculptures. So very beautiful and we are featuring them in the library once again!

Sharing here!

So it is with pleasure that I share this year’s projects in two sets, one featuring a Christmas tree complete with “presents” made from recycled books, and then a second set of various items, including a dress, Rapunzel’s tower, and more!  we plan to “dismantle” the tree after Christmas, and try it again next year–or sooner if we feel inspired. Enjoy.
Set one: A very Merry Christmas Tree!

Set two, just as special!!:


Last year’s projects, just in case you missed them:

 

Picture Attributions:
All the pictures featured here are from my own Flickr Set.

I am happy to report that the following from my nominations have made the voting cut for their respective Edublog 2013 shortlists:

Color me stunned to just discover also that my own blog is on the short list for “Top Individual Blog.” But let me go ahead and burst my own bubble by sharing that this “short list” contains 53 nominees, and my blog is numero 36. Is that a short list? Yep, takes a little of the the shine right off of it, doesn’t it? No matter though, I’m still honored to reside on the list at all. and I will sport my badge PROUDLY. It should already be there! Not only that, but eight of the twenty librarian nominees are true face-to-face friends. Yay for my friends and all school librarians everywhere! Feeling so inspired by the nominees this year. I know there are those who poo-poo such lists, but to me THIS is the one that means more, as it is peer reviewed, selected, and voted upon.  But I am HAPPIEST to see the ones I nominated make their respective “short lists.” I encourage you to visit and vote. I will embed the voting for my own nomination, though, to enable voters an easier path to vote.  Happy voting everyone! And congrats to all the nominees who made their shortlists.

Best Individual Blog 2013 - Edublog Awards
Best Individual Blog 2013 - Edublog Awards
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Best Individual Blog 2013 - Edublog Awards

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If you missed this past Monday night the TL Cafe, here is the crowd sourced presentation with the tools shared:

Here is our TEXT CHAT ARCHIVE PDF – EduTech_Smackdown_Chat.pdf

TLCafe Webinar ARCHIVE (opens in Blackboard Collaborate)

UnSouled (Unwind, #3)UnSouled by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

 

I don’t know how Neal Shusterman is so capable of churning out novels that just suck me right in!! I truly dislike sequels and series, but I now cannot WAIT for the final installment in the Unwind series (er, I mean, um, new word–>”dystology”) to come out. Best, this is a series my high school guys can truly get into. Thanks, Neal for forcing me to read against my will. I think it will work for the guys in my teaching context too.

I have been seriously considering this Follett Challenge each year that it has been out, and this year I even have ideas swimming around in my head ready to spill out into a video and an application!  I’ll keep you posted on my progress. A lot of my ideas actually happen next week, so I’m charging up the camcorder to video document as we go. Two awesome projects happen with collaborating teachers, one using Destiny and Destiny Quest, (the previous link alludes to my idea, which I’ll talk about Monday evening, December 2 on the TL Cafe Annual Smackdown) and the other using Popplet with a science class research project. Actually, the Popplet project might even be a better project for the Follett Challenge. So very thankful for willing collaborative teachers at my school! They make it easy to consider these kinds of opportunities. So, tonight I add a link to sport on my sidebar, in hopes of encouraging others and myself to follow through. Who else is planning an entry in the Follett Challenge? Read about previous winners’ projects here.

 

My slide contribution for the TL Cafe 3rd Annual Tool Smackdown

That’s right. I’m stepping up to the virtual mic on Tuesday, December 2, 2013 at 8PM for the 3rd annual TL Cafe (Teacher Librarian Cafe) EduTech to share the tools I used to do a recent Book Speed Dating activity. It’s open-mic night. Will you be there??

by Gwyneth Jones


Who, What, When, Where?

It’s all online of course. Grab you headset with a mic, slap a slide in there, and step up.

In the words of the moderator herself:
It’s a rich, crowd-souced presentation/book. So grab a fresh slide (or two!) and share your Learning Tools tips, info, or resources! (Gwyneth Jones)

I hope to see many virtual friends in attendance AND participating.

Our school is experiencing an Innovation “grant,” and I’d like to thinks we can move in this direction. Thanks Scott for sharing this.

Screenshot from my Feedly account

Yesterday I worked on my #Eddies13 Nominations. Of course I had to visit my reader to see which ones stick out for me before making my nominations, looking for the profound and memorable. I have so much in my reader sometimes things get lost. That happens when there are 273 feeds there. And daily I find myself adding to the group. Usually when I add something lately, I go in and remove a few. That happens. My interests change or those in my reader have for whatever reason stopped sharing.
 
What RSS reader to use?

Screenshot from a recent staff development.

Today in the SLS Cool Tools Facebook Group I belong to a question was posed about preferred readers: Do any of you have an RSS reader you like? Still mourning Google Reader here.  It reminded me of earlier this month when I visited a neighboring district to spend time with them for staff development where I used a portion of our time to explore some readers. These are the ones we explored:

  • Feedly
  • BlogLovin’
  • Feedspot
  • Netvibes
  • FlipBoard
  • Zite

 
Taking a brief look

I had around 25 school librarian participants, so I just allowed them to group up by grade level band, with two groups being elementary. I gave them an overview of each reader via YouTube, trying desperately not to be biased (since I am a Feedly fan.) I explained that some of these were definitely more tablet-friendly while others were more web-friendly. I even shared that some of these are both web-based AND have a tablet format (like Feedly.) We watched short YouTube videos that gave a brief overview of each service, then separated into our groups to get busy using one. Here’s my playlist link for exploring the ones groups could choose.
 

The task

Their task was to as a group select a feed reader, and using some links I had provided, subscribe and read in the chosen reader. They were to then report back to the group their ah-ha moments regarding the service they were trying out as well as new voices they’d discovered for inspiration. You see my staff development had been titled “From Information Literacy to Information Relevancy” and this portion of the 2.5 hours was focused on how to stay relevant and on the cutting edge of everything, and I was trying to make the point that being well-read is one way to stay on top of new literacies, helping librarians stay one step ahead of their students (if possible!)
 

Not enough time!

While we ran out of time and never did get to the part of sharing (poor planning on my part perhaps) I can distinctly remember reactions, discoveries, struggles, and even frustrations expressed from my groups. A few in the group of 25 were well versed in using a reader, so I asked them to try a different one for the task, even if it meant moving to a different group. Half of the group was using a laptop of some kind, while the others were using a tablet of some kind.  The iPad apps were the ones that caused the most frustration, but based on my experience, one just has to give it a little time to really understand it and then channel your feeds into it. Time was one thing we did not have as a group.
 
20/20 looking back

I am thinking readers and finding inspiration is probably a workshop topic all by itself in hind sight.  Oh well. Or next time I’ll provide the links to the videos and reader services ahead of time, and do a “flipped PD approach” asking them to first research the reader, choose one, and then use it, all so we can have the discussion my workshop attendees missed here. Maybe at their next after school get together they can revisit this discussion on their own.
 
In summary

For those still looking for a reader, I leave you with these tips. If you’re more comfortable on a tablet, then you’ll probably like the ones that are showcased in my playlist with a tablet. If more comfortable on a computer, then those above that are shown on a computer screen are probably best. If you’re looking for a Google reader like experience, use my choice, Feedly, though Blodlovin and Feedspot also offer a similar experience.

So what reader do you use?

Love all these I’ve listed here!!

Time to nominate some favorites for an Eddie! I didn’t do all the categories, but it’s not required. Many of the other categories I just could not pick a single nomination. They are all good! Many of these are personal acquaintances and friends, which makes it even more special, and all are a very important part of my PLN.  There is also a “lotta” teacher librarian love here!

Screenshots of my Bests

Now please do your nominations. Here are the rules/guidelines.  To nominate your favorites:

  1. Write a post with your nominations for the different categories on your own blog (or a website – anywhere public) – here is an example of a nomination post from 2012.
  2. Send us the link to your nomination post by completing this form here

So go nominate your favorite blogs, twitterers, community sites, videos, podcasts and more… for 2013:

Here are the categories in full – nominations are open from now through Sunday, December 1st

  • Awards_170px_02Best individual blog
  • Best group blog
  • Best new blog
  • Best class blog
  • Best student blog
  • Best ed tech / resource sharing blog
  • Best teacher blog
  • Best library / librarian blog
  • Best administrator blog
  • Most influential blog post of the year
  • Best individual tweeter
  • Best twitter hashtag
  • Best free web tool
  • Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast
  • Best educational wiki
  • Best open PD / unconference / webinar series
  • Best educational use of a social network
  • Best mobile app
  • Lifetime achievement

How To Nominate

  1. Write a post with your nominations on your blog, link to them and link to this site
  2. Use this form here to send us a link to your nominations

Nomination tips:

  1. Nominate in as many categories as you want!
  2. You can’t nominate yourself ;)
  3. Nominations must be made somewhere public – your blog, a forum on a ning, a school website, etc.
  4. Even if you see your favorite has already been nominated, it is best to nominate them again
  5. Categories are competitive, and only the most nominated will make it to the voting round
  6. Share your nominations using twitter (#eddies13), facebook, Google+ and email

Add your nominations here:

Enter your nominations using this Nomination form here. You will need to complete the form from home if your School District blocks Google Forms.

Remember to be a valid URL or link it starts with http://

 

DISCLAIMER: Parts of this post originally appear here.

Image Attributions:
Amore a Cliche. Jackeline Roque. 12 March 2009.
Edublogs Nominations are Open.  Form the Edublogs Awards original post.
My own screenshots stitched together using fotor.com

 

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