Saturday, August 28, 2010

Flipped - The Movie

Yesterday, I took some time off from prepping for my new job and reading Mockingjay, to go see "Flipped" with my daughter. It was a real treat for both of us. It's true to the book, while offering some new insights and a delightful late 1950's/early 1960's setting. Wendelin Van Draanen's book was a huge hit at Lindero Canyon MS I booktalked many, many times, and she is a wonderful speaker and human being I had the delight to host as a visiting author, so I was anxiously awaiting the film release. I wasn't disappointed, as I so often am when I loved a book.

I learned from teacher librarian George Pilling that the film is just being "platform" released in six major cities. Its success in these cities will determine whether it gets further releases. Please go see it, both for your own pleasure, and to boost its chances of getting a well-deserved nationwide release. If it's not in your city, visit the Flipped Facebook page and ask why. In fact, as George noted, it will probably appeal to small town audiences more than in the big cities, but this "big city girl" loved it.

Here's the trailer:

You can read Ebert's enthusiastic three and a half star review here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Getting Going at Mira Costa

Nearly three weeks have now flown by since I accepted my new position as teacher librarian at Mira Costa High School, and I've already spent four days on the job this week. The list of things to learn about, decide about, and set up seems to be endless, but I'm reminding myself to take it one step at a time. To add to my personal "to do" list, my family and I are working on trying to sell our home and move closer to my new job to reduce what is currently a very long commute. So, I certainly have my plate full right now, but all with exhilarating tasks. Everyone I have met at Mira Costa and in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District -- administrators, teachers, parents, and students -- has been incredibly nice, helpful, and welcoming. I'm even delighted to be getting a "welcome" visit from the other Manhattan Beach USD library staff. They will be coming to visit me at my library after work on Tuesday.

I will be going over goals with my principal next week, but here is my preliminary list for the first month:

  • Learn all the ins and outs of textbook distribution, and get the textbooks out to all students the first week of school.
  • Establish library policies.
  • Create a library brochure.
  • Develop and deliver a live orientation for all freshmen.
  • Develop a recorded orientation for sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
  • Organize routines for library volunteers. 
  • Develop a lively web presence, along with a library blog and wiki.
  • Begin collaborative lessons with teachers. 
  • Finish Mockingjay. (I couldn't resist throwing that in, since I just got my copy this week and have been savoring each chapter so far. :) )
Do please feel free to comment with advice on other goals I should be including. 

You'll notice that I still haven't decided how to rename or morph this blog. Ideas? 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My "Orientation" Poster

I forgot when I did my posting last night to include this photo of the poster I created for my "orientation" demo. (Sorry the quality of the iPhone-captured photo came out rather fuzzy.) As part of my application process at Mira Costa High School, I was asked to do a 15-minute library orientation demo for a class of students. I did the demo in order to qualify for an interview. The demo took place in a classroom of summer school students, and there was no projector or Internet available. I could have brought my computer, but I was dubious that asking 30 students to hover around my Mac Air would work well. So, I went low tech with a high tech theme using this poster, which I asked two student volunteers to hold for me. Each of the icons you see on the "iPhone" represents a feature of the library program (technology, librarian, research, procedures, virtual library, books, and fun programs). I described each feature in "random" order, then had the students guess which "app" it was and what it would be called. They wrote their answers on an index card, and then I asked volunteers to share the answer. Once I confirmed each answer, I also elaborated a bit more on the feature.

I also got some input on what students want from the library and what books they like. Before I started the features "game," I asked them to quickly write the following on their index cards:
"I wish the library would..." and "My favorite book is ..." 

Many thanks to my great friend and super TL, Marie Slim (Marie's blog and Follow Marie on Twitter), for all her great input as I prepared for my demo. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

TL in the Classroom Moving Back to the Library! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Almost exactly a year after I started this blog to help reconcile myself to becoming a "TL in the Classroom," I am incredibly excited to report that I am returning to a school library the end of this month! On Monday I was offered a position as the TL at a wonderful high school, Mira Costa, in Manhattan Beach. I am still trying to process the news, but can't wait to get going on another new chapter in my life. I feel confident that the experience I had in the classroom will only enhance my preparation for my new position. And, with a year outside the library, I've had a lot of time to rethink my philosophy about a whole variety of library issues. What will be brand new for me is moving to high school after spending 8 1/2 years in middle school. I really love the quirkiness of middle schoolers, but I feel ready and able to "graduate" to the next level. Please send me good thoughts as I embark on this next chapter!

As for this blog, I need a bit of time to figure out what its future will be. I haven't managed to blog as regularly on it as I would like, but I've enjoyed the experience when I have. I am also rather sad to know that I will have to abandon, which was my daily companion during the last school year. I kind of hate the idea of leaving not just one, but two blogs behind, so I am hoping I can figure out how to morph this one into "TL Back in the Library," or something like that and also start a new blog for my new library. Please stand by as I sort this all out.

And, if you are one of the TLs in the classroom out there, please take heart from my news and don't give up!

Teen Learning 2.0

I don't know where the time has been going this summer! I have been intending to post about Teen Learning 2.0, the CSLA tutorial my friend Sheryl Grabow-Weiss and I completed last month as a teen introduction to the world of Web 2.0 tools:

It's an updated version of Middle School Learning 2.0 developed a while back by Connie Williams as a student version of CSLA's School Library Learning 2.0 and Classroom Learning 2.0 tutorials. (Check this link for information about all the CSLA tutorials developed by the CSLA 2.0 team under the able leadership of Jackie Siminitus and Connie Williams.) Sheryl and I volunteered to rework the tutorial after "test driving" it - and modifying as went along - with several hundred students during the 2009-2010 school year.

The tutorial not only walks students through a variety of fun and useful Web 2.0 tools; it also emphasizes good digital citizenship. In addition, we included a teacher's guide, sample parent permission letter, and correlations with the draft of the California Model School Library Standards.

You can use the tutorial in a variety of ways:

  • As a self-guided tutorial for library aides.
  • As curriculum for a computer class. (Both Sheryl and did this.)
  • As a library club or other extra-curricular group activity.
  • As material to be included in student blogs in English or other subject area classes. (I did this with my language arts students.)
There are probably other ideas I haven't thought of. Please share them and feel free to give us feedback! 

Thanks so much to Jackie Siminitus and Connie Williams for giving Sheryl and me the opportunity to work on this. Thanks also to Sue Waters for offering a free Pro account of, the platform on which we built the tutorial.