Sunday, January 24, 2010

Free Book/Author Selection Tools

Register & provide an email, put in a list of books you've read & liked and What Should I Read Next? will help you find other books & authors that you might also like.

Whichbook uses a set of sliding scales between opposing concepts that allows you to indicate how much of a given quality you wish to have (happy/sad, gentle/violent, easy/demanding) in your reading and provides a list of books which contain the element(s) you have chosen.

Book Army is a social networking tool for readers.  You can write reviews, share book lists and communicate with other book lovers.

(adapted from Kevin Purdy's Top 10 Tools for Better Reading Online & Off )

Friday, January 22, 2010

Abraham Lincoln Award Book Trailers

Our new Head Librarian Christi Shaner and a few other High School librarians (including former GBS Instructional Technology Coordinator, Pamela Pleviak) have made some really cool book trailers for some of the Abe Lincoln Award titles with animoto (which I have just started to play with--easy & fun).

Check them out--they're really cool.

And there's more (and even more to come):


Look Me in the Eye

Pride of Baghdad


Saturday, January 9, 2010

I <3 the National Film Board of Canada on Twitter

I can't tell you how much I'm loving the wide array of wonderful free resources that I'm finding online.  The National Film Board of Canada's website (which I posted about in May) just keeps getting better and better. Because I follow them on Twitter, I was introduced to this delightful gem of a short film about literacy and reading.  It's a pleasure to watch and because the NFB gives everyone access to their wonderful collection for free (and have an incredibly well-reviewed iPhone app), I could see it being used very effectively by both public & school libraries.
  I can attest to the fact that my 4 & 6 year old children *loved* it and were particularly excited about the Indian music used for the soundtrack.

Yeah, I know it's not exactly for a HS audience (though fun for any age, imo), but I think it's a great example of the kind of stuff that I hope educators and librarians are taking advantage of (both the NFB page and using Twitter to enhance their work).

The Girl Who Hated Books: This animated short about literacy introduces us to Meena, a young girl who hates book even though her parents love to read. Books are everywhere in Meena's house, in cupboards, drawers and even piled up on the stairs. Still, she refuses to even open one up. But when her cat Max accidentally knocks down a huge stack, pandemonium ensues and nothing is ever the same again...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Why are bad reviews so much more fun to read than good ones?

Librarians often advise readers on books--most often, we tend to recommend books we ourselves have read and enjoyed and think patrons will like, or that we find on book lists compiled by professional organizations, or have read favorable reviews about in professional resources.  We sometimes even make out own lists of the recommended books. However, I often find negative reviews of books (and film, for that matter) more fun to read than positive ones.  It's a pleasure to read a very well-written pan of a piece of overblown literature, especially if it's written by a well-known author.  Having found Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love    an especially irritating read, I found Janet Maslin's scathingly funny review of Gilbert's newest book, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage in the New York Times particularly enjoyable.  Even if you enjoy Gilbert's earlier work, it is a very funny, well-written piece. 

Seriously.  Read it.  You'll like it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

5 cool resources I learned about via Twitter

Kitchen God and His Wives (Upper Section),
with Prosperity God (Lower Section)
, Qing dynasty
Unidentified printshop in Shandong Province
Woodblock print on paper
35 x 28 cm
© A. E. Maia do Amara 

I know that twitter is sometimes associated with marketing campaigns and Ashton Kutcher, but I've found it to be an incredibly helpful resource for finding out about terrific resources for students and teachers, as well as a powerful professional development tool.  So, for my first post of 2010, I'd like to share 5 really great learning resources I've used in 2009 and have shared with others that I only found out about because I'm on Twitter.

The BBC Archive
"Take a trip through our collective past with the BBC archives and discover themed collections of radio and TV programmes, documents and photographs.
Explore who we are and see how attitudes have changed over the years through selections from an archive which began over 70 years ago."

Open Thinking Wiki: Digital Storytelling (compiled by Alec Couros)
A thorough overview of the uses digital storytelling and a fantastic list of digital storytelling resources.

Asia for Educators: Columbia University
"An initiative of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University, Asia for Educators (AFE) is designed to serve faculty and students in world history, culture, geography, art, and literature at the undergraduate and pre-college levels." This site really rocks!

Top Ten Psychology Videos (compiled by Psych Central)
"Cognitive to clinical to social, the many applications of psychology reveal profound thoughts, human frailties and strengths. These are some of the best results, framed in video players."

Trailblazing: Three and a Half Centuries of  Royal Society Publishing
"Welcome to Trailblazing, an interactive timeline for everybody with an interest in science. Compiled by scientists, science communicators and historians – and co-ordinated by Professor Michael Thompson FRS – it celebrates three and a half centuries of scientific endeavour and has been launched to commemorate the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary in 2010.
Trailblazing is a user-friendly, ‘explore-at-your-own-pace’, virtual journey through science. It showcases sixty fascinating and inspiring articles selected from an archive of more than 60,000 published by the Royal Society between 1665 and 2010."