Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back to School Special: Making You & Your Library Indispensable

(an after-school special webinar that's not totally awkward!)
Monday September 13th - 8pm EST (NOTE: changed date due to Labor Day holiday)
Guests: Gwyneth Jones, Shannon Miller & Keisa Williams Host: Gwyneth Jones
Back to School Special : Wikipage
A casual discussion to generate ideas on how to build school allies, support new teachers & become indispensable to admin & staff at the beginning of every school year.

Here's an example of what I do for my teachers...Every year I create a new PPT Slidedeck to give out to my teachers & staff to make their getting ready for Back to School Night easier. Then all they have to do is to modify the slides, add their own info, and Voila! It's all good! This year I'm sharing my slidedeck with you!
You can download the slidedeck from Slideshare OR visit the Daring Librarian & MHMS BTSN wikipage

Oh and if you get the chance...visit my other blog - the MHMS Media Blog where I blogged about books, tools, & toys! Here's a taste and for more click the graphic below! :-)

Welcome Back Murray Hillers! And as the blog post title says New School Year & YAY New Books & Toys! I just ordered some new HOT books for you! Our regular big book order will go in mid-October (get your book suggestions ready!) but I can't wait for these titles. I want you to have them NOW!
You know I'm always thinking about cool books & stuff for you when I got to the airport after the ISTE conference in Denver the week after school left out - I sat next to this super cool teen named Allie I met - along with her book loving Auntie - she was raving about this book Incarceron and I took a pic of her holding it with my celly. I knew I had to blog about it on our MHMS Media Book Blog! Bought this book for our school library!

Oh! & Leviathan! - "Full of nonstop action, this steampunk adventure is sure to become a classic." - starred, School Library Journal
Steampunk rocks! If you haven't heard of Steampunk before it's a genre of Science fiction, AND type of music and a fashion aesthetic - here's a definition from :-Joshua A. Pfeiffer a.k.a. Vernian Process

"Steampunk simply embodies a time and a place. The time... the late 19th century. The place... a steam powered world, where air travel by fantastical dirigibles is as common as traveling by train or boat (or submarine). A place where national interests are vastly different than our own version of history. A place where the elegant and refined are as likely to get pulled into a grand adventure, as the workers, ruffians, and lower classes. A place where the idea of space travel is not so far fetched. A place where lost civilizations are found and lost again. A place where anything is possible, and science can be twisted to meet ones own ends." From: Aether Emporium

So bookwise, think Jules Verne meets H.G.Wells - with a pinch of technology and Science!

Speaking of NEW books - on pre-order are Hero by Mike Lupica and the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth. We'll display it on the cool book pyramid once it comes in!

Now..if you fancy gritty reality teen dramas that are more fitting for 7th & 8th graders and If you liked Monster by Walter Dean Meyers you'll like these next books!....

Read the rest at the MHMS Media Blog!

New Circ Counter Toys in Action! Electric Planet!

PS.. My assistant is so very wonderful, talented, and long suffering (having to work with me day in and day out now in our 19th year together! LOL) that I sent her flowers on the first day back last week....still lookin good!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Garden Spells and Gifts of Love

I received and gave several gifts this week to friends that has filled my heart and warmed my soul. WARNING: Stop reading this post now if you're looking for my usual snarky comments & tech tips - though I don't blog about books as often as most librarians - I will always be a book lover!
This post is a heartfelt thanks, celebrating my relationships, and mentally positioning myself with a air of grattitude for the upcoming school year that starts....for me...on Tuesday.

I met with dear librarian friends and Maryland PLN peeps Brenda Anderson, Kyra Kreinbrook, and Andrea Christman at the Ram's Head Tavern this past week for happy hour ales & laughs. We stayed well beyond the hour of happy talking, bonding, scheming, and planning for the next coming school year. Brenda surprised me with a gift of a hand-made bracelet which I love & touched me! I want to share it with you! Awwww! Damn. So lucky.

During our conversation, Andrea mentioned a book - Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen that I immediately downloaded to my Kindle, read and LOVED. Great prose...lyrical and touching. Yes, some say this book is remincient to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman - and if that means an old house, magic family, two sisters and love...Oh..ok, yeah got it...but can you have too much of a good thing? I even added Practical Magic to my Netflix queue for tonight! This book made me blink back hot happy tears almost every 5 pages - from either the events of the book or the way the author, Sarah Addison Allen wove the beautiful prose together to create a warm soft blanket of Southern charm and happiness embracing friends and family...and ourselves. Acceptance. Forgiveness. Giving. Generosity. These are the things I need to focus on this coming year. 

I wish this had been our summer Book Club choice! Instead it was Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout which I have read "was a bit disappointing. I felt very depressed and disheartened after reading the short stories in this collection." So I didn't read it.
So there! I want only positive and happy in my life - I'm not going to over stretch myself with commitments and I'm going to avoid toxic people and situations. I love right now but I'm not in-love. That might change this year - if I find time. But I am surrounded by amazing family and friends who love me and who i adore.
I gave my friend Debbie this week a sterling, pearl free form flower ring that I saw at Ross Simons that just called her name...and gave it to her early for her Sept. B-day because I know how Septembers are for me...and for all teachers! CRAZY! It made her so happy which, of course filled me with happiness. (see quote above!)

So inspired, I went back to Amazon and downloaded the other two Sarah Addison Allen books - set in small Southern towns that I love so much with new quirky characters: The Sugar Queen and The Girl Who Chased the Moon: A Novel. I'm hoping these touching books will give me something happy to read on the plane and in any quickly grabbed quiet time this coming month. I need to make time for that - reading. That would also be a gift to myself.
You can also pre-order Ms. Allen's next title: The Peach Keeper: a Novel to be released Spring 2011 - I'm so there!

Thank you family, friends, and dear readers for all that you give me - outright with your words of encouragement, gifts of your time, out loud love, & even in your unspoken support. Your comments & feedback are a gift to me and I thank each and all who take a quick min to leave one. Thank you.

I wish all educators a good school year and much love and happiness in your life. Keeping in mind:

"We tend to seek happiness when happiness is actually a choice."

a print I plan to buy from Ballard Designs and a sentiment I 100% believe in.

Going back outside for a few....funny how I've been off all summer but have been so busy - ISTE, being daring, friends and family obligations, & I've only read 3 books! I used to read 3 books a week in the summer....[shakes fist in mock anger] Damn you interwebs!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Still Think Social Media is a FAD?

Watch this video and I think you'll change your mind!

In 2007 I blogged on my MHMS Media blog about the amazing video "Did You Know" by Karl Fisch and Scott Mc Leod -- then last year '09 I posted the updated version to my community. And as we watch the phenom of Social Media and the newly coined Socialnomics the video above..... AND WOW! This has rocked my world - ALMOST as much as the Did You Know vid did in 2007~ I am even thinking of featuring this new video during my MASL keynote!
"Social Media Revolution 2 is a refresh of the original video with new and updated social media & mobile statistics that are hard to ignore. Based on the book Socialnomics by Erik Qualman."

Btw, ROI means Return on Investment. What it means for us is how much we invest in our web presence and PLN will directly relate to what we get in return for our kids, school & the community - in other words - connecting with our kids!
Of course, the most important ROI is teaching. Full stop. Our kids are our most important investment - with or without Facebook & Twitter - let's NEVER forget that...but why not be as approachable TO our kids by using the networks they use every day?

A great review of the book on TopRankBlog: Socialnomics by Erik Qualman breaks down the chapter and is worth the read. Insert "Library, School or District" for the word Company and you'll get an idea of why this is so vital right now.

"Obama’s Success Driven by Social Media – Great breakdown of the Obama campaign’s use of social tools like video and what companies can learn from it." - Lee Odden

You can get the Socialnomics book on Amazon, visit Erik’s blog here or connect with him on Twitter @equalman.

I'm going to get this book for our professional collection. I think we have a lot to learn from it.

ISTE has also just published a similar book:

From Fear to Facebook: One School's Journey. by Matthew Levinson

[Cover]"From Fear to Facebook is an insider's view of the journey from peril to possibility with digital media in school communities. Matt Levinson gives a clear picture of how communities need to work together to create safe, innovative opportunities for kids to learn with digital media.
Jim Steyer, CEO and Founder, Common Sense Media
$19.55 ($27.95 nonmembers)

I want this book, too! I'm fascinated by this.... but I really need to reiterate, Social Media, the interwebs, the YouTubes & the latest tech toys are an ENHANCEMENT to my Library Media program... nothing beats straight forward teaching kids and yes.... BOOKS! /rant

Photo credits:
Book in hand
Erik Qualman's photo from his Flickr
ISTE books by ISTE!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Overdue Book Calendar from Aunt June & Etsy

I admit it... I have an addiction. Last week I bought 3 big over the top gorgeous sem-precious stone rings from DazzleFinger and 2000 year old Roman/Bactrian Glass sterling necklace & earring set from HARDWEARART.

Being on VaCa brings out the interweb shopper in me! I also admit, I have a bling and jewelry addiction problem. Admitting it is the first step. ANYway.....

....Seeing that Aunt June was a Featured artist on the Etsy front page, I discovered & immediately LOVED this Overdue Book Calendar for Institutions & Schools! It's so graphic cool! Cute but not TOO Elementary for my Middle School kids!
The super talented AuntJune has hand drawn illustrations and pages that once you buy it - you'll get a .PDF to download and print for your ENTIRE SCHOOL! Only $30.00! You can print these out and give them to your kids so they can keep track of their due dates VISUALLY! (my kids rarely consult our little printed receipts) I can also see printing a blank one out, laminating it and letting the kids use a dry erase marker ......OR! IF you're really strapped for $$$$ Print out a colour one, laminate it, and put it on your circ desk so kids can see when their book is due!

Here's the amusing description:

"This version of the calendar is intended for institutional use, which is defined as printing and distribution to entire school, business, or library. Books are great, but they cost money, and that is bad. Fortunately, there are libraries, which are great because they let you read books for free! Unless you forget to take them back, and then it costs money again. So, I have designed this handy calendar to help you remember when to take your library books back. Take that, money-grubbing public libraries! (I am kidding, libraries are the best. You should keep books out too long just as an EXCUSE to give them money! Or, just actually donate money. That would probably make more sense.) Every month of this 2011 calendar has space for you to write in 13-15 library books you have checked out along with their due dates. Circle those due dates on the calendar and give yourself an extra reminder! And you can save it, to prove to people that you can read. This year I have also included an "extension" page for months when you may read more than the allotted number of books, as well as a completely customizable page that just has books with a single large space for you to fill in- perfect for recording your favorite (or least favorite) books you read during the year! This printable calendar is emailed to you as a PDF, which you can then print on standard 8.5x11" paper, or take to your local copy shop for printing. Make sure that you have software for opening PDF files (such as Adobe Acrobat Reader,) before you buy this item. Printing instructions are included in the email. Print it out as many times as you want, it is a great gift to give to all of the readers on your gift list! Perfect for classroom use or to teach kids to be responsible for their books. Instructions for calendar download will be emailed to you within 24 hours of purchase. File is 55.6 MB, and may take some time to download. This year, I am also including a version of the calendar without the words "Due By" so that you can write in your own text, if you want to make the calendar a record of what you have read! Download information for BOTH calendars are included in this listing, so it's two for the price of one! Note: Because the calendar is sent as a PDF, which you can reproduce as many times as you want, there is no need to order more than one. If you do, the transaction will be refunded Aunt June/ lauren hunt Copyright 2010 All rights reserved. Buyer is granted permission to use this design for institutional use, which is defined as printing and distribution to entire school, business, or library. "

So, I wrote her and asked if I could use her text & images to blog this out to you, dear readers and also if she ever thought of creating a greyscale blank version (for those of us who can't afford THAT many colour copies!) and she was SO gracious!

"Hi Gwyneth! I would LOVE it if you wanted to blog about the calendar, thank you so much, your blog looks fabulous! Actually, I had meant to include a "colorable" b/w version of the calendar along with the School Year Editions, and the generic one page is an excellent idea too! Having worked in schools, I know that it's not really in the budget of most schools to print a ton of color pages. Anyway, thank you SO much for reminding me, I will get the colorable version included with the files this weekend! Thanks so much for your interest! Lauren"

You may wish to visit the My Aunt June Blog & Flickr feed, too! They're great! She's a talented graphic & fiber artist and photographer, too!

I was SO glad to see the School/Institutional price so that we Teacher-Librarians could respect the copyright and feel virtuous if we made multiple copies! LOVE THAT!

What do you think? What would you do with it? Do you think $30 is a good price? (I do!)

I've always had such good experiences ordering from - it's like the Ebay for artists and hand crafted one of a kind goods. As Martha would say, "It's a good thing!" They even have a whole category called GEEKERY! Where I found this EtchASketch iPad cover from yummypocket ! OMG!

© photos & text used with permission by the artist Aunt June/ Lauren Hunt

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I am a Total Gleek! Hip Cultural Literacy

So, thanks to my friend Sondra I am totally, irrevocably, and joyously a Gleek now! I just pre-ordered the Glee: The Complete First Season on Amazon to be released on Sept. 14th because I missed the first part of the season - and yes, I know I can watch them on Hulu - but I want to OWN these - maybe even show musical clips at school! And no, Glee may not appropriate for elem kids but for middle+ and hip grownups it's a HOOT! AND it provides a lot of teachable moments if parents watch the show with their teen.

Glee almost makes me contemplate graduating to teach High School - then I come to my senses and say Naaaaah! I'm still too immature for HS!

Two bits of exciting Glee news: Apparently even Sir Paul McCartney is a Gleek! He passed onto Ryan Murpy the show's creator a CD of music! What the what!? According to the New York Times & Reuters:
“It came out of blue in a package, handwritten, and it had two CDs, and it said, ‘Hi Ryan, I hope you will consider some of these songs for “Glee”

Who could say no to THAT!?? The episode or other details hasn't been released yet...stay tuned and follow Glee on Twitter!

Glee Goes to Springfield! Doh!

Zap2It is reporting that "a few cast members from the hit FOX comedy series “Glee” will appear on another FOX series, “The Simpsons.”

“Glee” stars Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Amber Riley will appear in the season premiere of “The Simpsons,’” which is set to air Sunday Sept. 26.

In the episode Lisa will attend a performing arts camp where the kids of New Directions are at the same camp."

Want to keep up on all things Glee? Visit TV Fanatic's GLEE page for news, quotes, spoilers, episode guide, pics, & more! I really adore the Sue Sylvester quotes:

"Sue: Your hair looks like a briar patch. I keep expecting racist, animated Disney characters to pop up and start singing about living on the bayou."

So, How does this relate to Education?

Teachers & teacher-librarians: I think it's important to stay culuturally relevant to your kids - know the popular: songs, groups, TV shows, sayings (but if you can't pull them off - say them anyway in an exaggerated way and then laugh at yourself!) and all the stuff that the kids are talking about. You don't have to watch every show and squee on Tuesdays mornings "OMG! Wasn't Finn awesome last night!?" Cause that's just not realistic (and a little weird) but you should keep tabs on current cool stuff, branch out and grow cause otherwise you might find yourself in a petrified forest. And it's ok to joke it up!

...I have a big tacky diamond encrusted gold G-Unit watch I got off eBay for $10 years ago and sometimes I wear it and if the kids ask me about it I say in a very refined drawing room voice "Oh this lil thing?! It's a G-Unit watch - you know G-Unit? Featuring that lovely young man whose name is umm Half Dollar? - wait...that's not it...Hmmm" (they can't wait to correct me & call it out) and then I nod and say with sass "Oh, yes...that's right! Fiddy!" Most importantly, add an ironic eye roll and laugh at yourself.

Sometimes building relationships means being goofy and keeping tabs on all the cool stuffs.

Don't want to watch Glee, Jersey Shore, the Bachelorette, and listen to Ke$sha? Want an easy 30 min a week cultural literacy primer? DVR & watch the E! TV show The Soup. And yes, Life is Good. But not for Ke$sha! LOL

Oh and here's my Cultural Literacy & Fun Sqworl Page!

How you doin, Wendy Williams!?

Photo Credits:
Gleek collage
Lisa Simpson
Glee Header
G-Unit Belt buckle

Monday, August 2, 2010

SLJ: Librarian and Steampunk
Fan Set to Rock ISTE

WOW! Thank you Lauren Barak & School Library Journal for the lovely article -(update: that doesn't work anymore! Doh!)  pinch me!
I hope my principal Mr. Donyall Dickey doesn't get irked by the last line...but I'm ready to help him set up his blog.....when he's ready! He's a great Admin, very supportive & inspiring, and has a lot to share! He also wrote a book! "The Integrated Approach to Student Achievement: A results-driven model for improving performance, leadership, and the culture of instruction at your school"
I would love to inspire all Admins to share more with the community in an ongoing conversation their hopes, dreams, & plans for their kids! No need to have JUST a newsletter home - an Admin can have an online relationship and inspire the world!

A great list of Admin blogs can be found in this excellent blog post by Mrs. Smoke called Educational Blogs You Should Be Investigating

And yes, dear readers...I did admit in the interview that I was "obnoxious!" I wonder what my Mom is going to say about *that!* LOL (I swear I DO *try* & filter!) - but I'm very happy to have been able to "represent" teacher librarians, MHMS, HCPSS, Maryland, MSET, ISTE, & the Steampunk aesthetic! Oh and middle school goofballs everywhere!

I do want to ROCK the ISTE Board of Directors...In a *GOOD* way! [grins]

I'm flattered & humbled by dear friend Andrea Christman quoting:
"One of my favorite lines, “We call libraries the laboratories for lifelong learning and no one represents that better than Gwyneth.” Don Knezek (ISTE CEO) gets it! I totally don’t think your principal will mind the last sentence. You didn’t make a specific comment about YOUR principal, just principals in general. AND IT’S TRUE! Maybe your principal will ask you what blogging is and let you mentor them in that reflective piece of their practice! You can show them one of Eric Sheninger’s recent blog post on “Why Blog? or Peter Pappas’ Jan. 2010 post on the “Reflective Principal
I was also humbled & flattered by these Twitter RT's
brightideasblog RT @AuntyTech: “If a TL doesn’t have a strong Web presence, she’s doing her students and herself an incredible disservice” - @gwynethjones

For those of you who have stumbled across this blog via the SLJ article, HI! Welcome! Please follow me on Twitter & tweet me so I can follow you back by adding @gwynethjones in your tweet - I can't wait to add you to my PLN and get to know & learn from you!

Let me know what you think of the article :-)

And OMG! So to happily file under "when it rains, it pours!" I just found out this blog was named Blog-O'-The-Month by Scott Merrick, Oh Virtual Learning Blog & the Bloggers' Hut on ISTE Island in Second Life! What the WHAT!? Thank you so much, Scott!

Thank you Voters from Bloggers' Hut on ISTE Island! Here I am in SL at the Bloggers' Hut hut where you can sorta see my blog in the background all dressed up in my Victorian finery to thank the voters!  Visit there to vote for September's Nominations....details soon to be released!


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