Savvy Web 2.0 Teens Forge Critical Thinking Skills

By Lauren Barack Jun 15, 2010 06:36AM on SLJ online

Teens are crafting new ways to connect online, says a Toronto, Canada-based researcher, who's studying how students use Web 2.0 social media tools to make friends-and are inadvertently transferring these skills to the classroom. Natalia Sinitskaya Ronda, a PhD candidate with Toronto-based York University, discovered that a handful of 14-year-old girls in a pilot study used critical thinking skills independently online.

"How teenagers use Web 2.0 tools has huge implications for teaching critical thinking skills," says Ronda, citing Wikipedia as one example. "While adolescents are using tools like Wikipedia in their social lives (one of my participants actually admitted she read Wikipedia for fun), they are frequently discouraged from using Wikipedia in the school.

 Read more here or visit SLJ online at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com.

Take Pictures, Tell Stories: Flickr Extras

Submitted by Cindi Trainor on June 3, 2010 - 9:53am on www.alatechsource.org

"I use Flickr all the time personally, and my library has two accounts, a general library account and a University Archives account. Flickr has been around for a few years now, and librarians all over the world use it to share images from their personal and professional lives.  Flickr is more than a great place to post and share photos with your community; it's a community in itself, and a starting place for all sorts of activities.  Here are a few extra tools that can be found at and around flickr, to add a little extra to your photo experience."

Since summer is here, maybe getting those photos together with a little help from Flickr would be just the thing we need to make those September school beginnings even more interesting. Check out the article here or visit www.alatechsource.org . You can also visit Flickr here.


School Librarian Creates Web Lesson on Oil Spill

Lauren Barack -- School Library Journal, 5/24/2010 10:42:00 AM

"Melissa Corey helped turn a catastrophe into a teachable moment. After the explosion of Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig leased by BP PLC on April 20 off the coast of Louisiana, Corey, a library media specialist at Benton High School in St. Joseph, MO, had a teacher ask her to conduct a mini-unit with his students, incorporating the oil spill into lessons on environmental disasters.

Corey logged online and developed a LibGuide on the oil spill combining news links, a Delicious linkroll, an RSS feed, and a Google Map that compares the relative size of the spill to Manhattan, Paris, and other global cities."

Talk about teachable moments! This article is great and you really should read it. It's not very long and gives some resources at the end of it. Read it here or visit SLJ at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com.


New iPhone App Lets Kids Access School Library Databases

From School Library Journal, 5/19/2010 2:05:00 PM

"Add this to the growing list of popular iPhone apps for kids—AccessMyLibrary School Edition, which makes remote searches of media center databases just a click away.

The latest app from Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, comes on the heels of last year’s launch of an iPhone application that helps users find their local libraries. This latest K-12 version asks students to enter a password, then search for their local school library. Once in, they can pull up the vast array of Gale online resources within a 10-mile radius that were purchased by their media specialist."

How might this work in CPS? It might be a great way to locate resources anywhere in the system, even though we have SOAR. Might be a good may to do inventory in your own library...what do you think? Read the article here or visit  SLJ at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com.

Free Speech Groups Protest GLBT Book-Banning at NJ School District

By SLJ Staff -- School Library Journal, 5/19/2010 2:00:00 PM

"A coalition of free speech groups is protesting the recent banning of the book Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology (Alyson) from New Jersey’s Rancocas Valley High School library following a complaint by a conservative group.

Leaders of the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and People For the American Way Foundation wrote a letter to Rancocas Valley Regional High School."

It is unfortunate that in this day and age, there are still these types of challenges to our collection choices. This may not be happening in Chicago now, but you never know. Read the full article at SLJ here or visit them at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com.



What if Everyone on Twitter Read One Book?

By Jeff Howe on March 24, 2010 from Wired.com.

"I have a dream. An idea. A maybe great notion. Actually, as Auggie March might say, “I got a scheme.”

What if everyone on Twitter read the same book at the same time and we formed one massive, international book club? Usually such programs are organized by big-city libraries. Seattle started the trend for collective reading in 1998 when zillions of Seattlites all read Russell Banks’ book, Sweet Hereafter. Chicago followed suit with To Kill a Mockingbird a few years later, and then other cities started jumping on the bandwagon. When the program works — and it doesn’t always — it gets more people reading, more people talking and more people generally appreciating the written word. What’s not to like?"

8 Financial Tips For Young Adults

From the website Investopedia at http://www.investopedia.com

"Unfortunately, personal finance has not yet become a required subject in high school or college, so you might be fairly clueless about how to manage your money when you're out in the real world for the first time. If you think that understanding personal finance is way above your head, though, you're wrong. All it takes to get started on the right path is the willingness to do a little reading - you don't even need to be particularly good at math. To help you get started, we'll take a look at eight of the most important things to understand about money if you want to live a comfortable and prosperous life."

Since we're talking about money (see our prior post below) we might as well look at some helpful pointers on all this money business. Any other tips or suggestions are always welcome!

Read the article from Investopdeia.com here .


Chicago School Librarians to Teach Money Savvy Classes

By Lauren Barack -- School Library Journal, 5/12/2010 2:05:00 PM

"Susan Beacham thanks a four-bellied pig for giving her the edge to teach young children how to find financial footing—and for giving her firm, Money Savvy Generation, its spot on the educational map.

[Money Savvy Pig] has four tummies, four plugs at the bottom, one each for saving, spending, donating, and investing,” says Beacham, founder and CEO of Money Savvy Generation, based in Lake Bluff, IL. “If you give young children something to touch, something tangible, they can excel in a financial lesson.”

To read the entire article from SLJ click here or visit School Library Journal at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com.

Is there anybody out there doing this? How is it going? It sounds very interesting!


Draft- National Educational Technology Plan

"Secretary Arne Duncan invites comments on the draft National Educational Technology Plan.
The plan describes how information and communication technologies can help transform American education. It provides concrete goals to inform state and local educational technology plans, and recommendations to inspire research, development, and innovation.

Click here for an accessible version of the video.
This plan is a draft. “We are open to your comments,” Secretary Duncan said in a video announcing the plan. “Tell us about how technology has changed your school or classroom.”

Read the plan.  Share your comments, videos and examples of how technology is changing and improving education.  See Secretary Duncan’s March 3 speech about education technology."

I'm not sure about this yet, but it might be worth visiting the site and checking it out. To visit this page, click here or see the executive summary here.


The Story of Stuff

"The Story of Stuff Project’s mission is to build a strong, diverse, decentralized, cross-sector movement to transform systems of production and consumption to serve ecological sustainability and social wellbeing. Our goals are to amplify public discourse on a diverse set of sustainability issues and to facilitate the growing Story of Stuff community’s involvement in strategic efforts to build a more sustainable and just world.

The Story of Stuff Project was founded in June 2008 by Annie Leonard to leverage the remarkable success of The Story of Stuff, a 20-minute web-film that explores the often hidden environmental and social consequences of America’s love affair with its stuff. Currently, the film has been viewed over 10 million times on-line and in thousands of schools, houses of worship, community centers and businesses around the world. Our Project’s focus is on systems of production and consumption—in particular the harmful environmental and social impacts of current modes of producing, consuming and disposing of material goods. Our Project is systems-focused, solutions-oriented and change-driven."

Although this isn't a library-specific topic, the Story of Stuff is an excellent topic of research for many grade levels. This might be a good end of the year topic! Some great videos on Electronics, Cap & Trade, and Bottled Water in addition to the classic Story of Stuff.

See more here or visit the site at http://www.storyofstuff.com/index.php or http://www.storyofstuff.com/teach.php.

The Three Simple C's Of Librarianship

"If the three L’s of buying a house are “location, location, location”, then the three C’s of librarianship should be "communication, communication, communication”. I don’t think what I’m going to list is anything revolutionary; I do think it might be a novel way to remember the basic interactions that keep the library moving forward...
(1) Communication with Patrons (students)
(2) Communication with Staff (teachers)
(3) Communication with Governing Bodies (administration)"

Do you have anything to add to these? I think they cover just about everything, but maybe you have others?

Read the article here or you can visit http://www.lisnews.org/ .


Oregon Says Yes to Free Google Apps for Education

Lauren Barack -- School Library Journal, 5/3/2010

"In a first-ever move by a state, Oregon has adopted Google Apps for Education for use by all its K–12 school districts.

While universities, including Wesleyan, and select public schools like New York City’s IS 339 have adopted the cloud-based suite of collaboration and communication tools, Oregon has become the first state to deploy Google Apps in each of its nearly 200 school districts."

To view the entire article click here or visit SLJ at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com.

Read about Google Apps for Education at http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/k12.html.

It does sound enticing, doesn't it? But what is the real price to pay for schools to have Google offer their Apps for "free"? It could be a boon for budget strapped schools. It could spell the end for Microsoft as we know it. What do you think?

School Libraries, Now More Than Ever!

By Brian Kenney, Editor-in-Chief of School Library Journal

"Are schools adequately preparing students for future challenges?

Not if districts keep cutting school librarians’ jobs and slashing their budgets. For some much-needed ammunition, check out “School Libraries, Now More Than Ever” a position paper produced by Rutgers University’s Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL). It defends the need for media specialists with five decades of research proving that school libraries help boost student achievement."

View the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries' website at http://cissl.scils.rutgers.edu/index.html and read up on the position paper. You can view School Library Journal here.

This couldn't be more important! Maybe this can be a resource in drafting the school library's role in your school improvement plan?


Schools Sticking to Cell Phone Ban, Despite Teens' Daily Texting Routine, Study Says

By Lauren Barack -- School Library Journal, 5/5/2010 2:05:00 PM

"Teens use cell phones and text at rates dramatically higher than years prior—but that doesn’t mean that schools have shown any give on allowing students to use the phones in classrooms.

One in three teens between the ages of 12 and 17 send more than 100 text messages a day, or 3,000 a month, as a full 75 percent of all teens now own a cell phone, up from 45 percent in 2004, according to a recent study, “Teens, Cell Phones and Texting,” released from the Pew Internet & American Life Project."

It sounds like texting and cell phone use by students is getting out of hand, but schools' responses aren't changing. Is this justified? Maybe there is another way to deal with this issue? Weigh in on this growing problem if you can...

To read more, click here or visit SLJ at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photobucket.

"Photobucket is an image hosting, video hosting, slideshow creation and photo sharing website. It was founded in 2003 by Alex Welch and Darren Crystal and received funding from Trinity Ventures.[2][3] It was acquired by Fox Interactive Media in 2007..."

 "Photobucket is usually used for personal photographic albums, remote storage of avatars displayed on internet forums, and storage of videos. Photobucket's image hosting is often used for eBay, MySpace (from 2007-2009, a corporate cousin), Bebo, Neopets and Facebook accounts, LiveJournals, Open Diarys, or other blogs, and message boards. Users may keep their albums private, allow password-protected guest access, or open them to the public..."

"Since Photobucket does not allow sexually explicit or objectionable content, they may remove content at their discretion due to violations of their TOS.[8] "

This photo service has a lot of features that may be of interest to you, and it is not blocked by the CPS servers (at least when I got on today). Let me know what you think about this resource- it's pretty powerful! I especially like the slide show feature.

Learn more about Photobucket here.


Taken from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter.
"Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Since late 2009, users can follow lists of authors instead of following individual authors.[4][5] All users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS), or external applications (notably including those developed for smartphones). While the service itself costs nothing to use, accessing it through SMS may incur phone service provider fees. The website currently has more than 100 million users worldwide."

Wikipedia's article seemed to say a bit more than Twitter's site about the company. Visit Twitter at http://twitter.com/. Let me know if you think this might be of interest to you in the library or classroom. I have my doubts, depending on the situation of course!

NYC’s 140 Character Conference Explores Twitter in the Classroom

By Rocco Staino -- School Library Journal, 4/29/2010

"More than 700 Twitter users, including a group of eighth graders who tweet as part of the curriculum, showed up at last week’s 140 Character Conference in New York City to explore the effects of the popular microblogging site on music, education, the media, advertising, and politics.

Students from the Sts. Philip and James School in St. James, NY, together with their technology teacher George Haines (@oline73), used drama and song to explain how they use Twitter to enhance the reading of George Orwell’s Animal Farm (Secker and Warburg, 1945), a book that was selected by their school librarian Leona Gallagher. Haines then asked students to Tweet while pretending to be characters in the novel." 

Cell phones are not required for Twitter, but it seems like they may come in "handy" for an activity like the one mentioned. Anybody interested?

To read the article, click here or visit School Library Journal at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com.


Libraries Fight Challenges to Graphic Novels

Libraries fight to keep graphic novels on the shelves

Brigid Alverson -- Publishers Weekly, 4/26/2010 6:09:55 PM

"At the recent Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, a librarian from Jessamine County, Kentucky, spoke firsthand about dealing with calls for censorship in his library, and an expert from the American Library Association discussed how to handle challenges to graphic novels at the panel titled "Burn It, Hide It, Misshelve It, Steal It, Ban It! Dealing with Graphic Novel Censorship in Your Library.""

What would you do if books in your collection were being challenged? I hope you're prepared to defend your books! To read more click here or go to http://www.publishersweekly.com.

Illustrators Join the Fight to Save California School Libraries

By Rocco Staino -- School Library Journal, 4/28/2010 2:05:00 PM
"Graphic novelist Kazu Kibuishi is the latest artist to join the fight to save California’s school libraries. He’s created an original work of art for librarians and their supporters to get the word out about the drastic budget cuts that have wiped out so many in the profession.

The artwork depicts Miskit, a toy rabbit character from the artist’s New York Times bestselling "Amulet" series (Scholastic), reading from a pile of books and proclaiming, “Save California School Libraries.” The series, about resistance fighters in a mythical city, have already been optioned for a movie by actor Will Smith."

To read more, click here or visit SLJ at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/


Cell Phones in the Classroom? Wiffiti Says Yes.

 By Rocco Staino -- School Library Journal, 4/28/2010 2:00:00 PM

"A software app may have educators telling students to take out their cell phones rather than put them away. It’s Wiffiti, which takes its name from Wi-Fi and graffiti, and it’s been used by thousands in sports stadiums, concerts, gallery openings, corporate conferences, and both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Now it’s making its way into the classroom in a big way."

So maybe we should allow cellphones in the library? I'm not so sure, but it sounds interesting. What do you think?

Read the whole article here or visit SLJ at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/.

When libraries and art collide!

Fourth Grader’s Cartoon Creation to Appear in ‘Sports Illustrated Kids Graphic Novel’

By SLJ Staff -- School Library Journal, 4/21/2010 2:05:00 PM

"Justin Cox, a fourth grader from Timmerman Elementary School in Pflugerville, TX, will have one of his dreams come true—a fictional cartoon character he created will appear in a "Sports Illustrated Kids Graphic Novel."

Cox was named the first-place winner of Create Your Own Sports Star, a nationwide contest sponsored by Capstone Publishers. The nine-year-old received more than 23,000 votes- or more than 70 percent of the ballots cast- from kids around the country who chose his creation, Dash the Flash, as their favorite character. Professional illustrators then brought his character to life."

Don't you think this is a great idea for an art project in the library?

To read more, click here. Or you can visit SLJ at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/


eChicago 2010: Seizing the Broadband Moment (Conference)

April 30-May 1, 2010
University of Illinois at Chicago's Student Center West

"Bigger than ever, eChicago 2010:  Seizing the Broadband Moment will offer over 20 sessions covering the latest updates on how technology is being deployed and used in Chicago and beyond, from a wide variety of perspectives and areas of expertise:
What are the plans for building broadband infrastructure?...How is government using technology to become more transparent?...What about jobs?...How are our communities using technology in transforming themselves?...  What are the implications for libraries and media?...What does Wikipedia have to do with any of this?
Take a look at the program posted at http://echicago.illinois.edu, and then come to explore these and other questions on April 30-May 1 at University of Illinois at Chicago's Student Center West.   
Keynotes: Hardik Bhatt, City of Chicago CIO; respondent Neville Roy Singham, Executive Chairman, Thoughtworks; Erik Garr, General Manager of the FCC’s Omnibus Broadband Initiative; respondent Drew Clark, Executive Director, Partnership for a Connected Illinois"


This conference is co-sponsored by the GSLIS departments of the University of Illinois at Urbana and Dominican University.


ISLMA- Illinois School Library Media Association

ISLMA's mission is "to promote life-long learning by the students of Illinois, ISLMA will provide leadership and support for the development, promotion, and improvement of the school library media profession and programs in Illinois."

ISLMA is a great organization to be a member of! You can register for their 2010 conference "Bridging the Gap" at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL on October 28-30. For more information, click on the link below...



Catalyst Chicago: Independent Reporting on School Reform since 1990

Though not a direct news source about libraries and technology, the effects of state funding for schools, school leadership, and student preparation for college are all important issues to us as educators. Catalyst Chicago brings up some great news stories and forces us to closely examine how our schools are moving forward and what challenges we face as teachers in Chicago.



Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College by Doug Lemov

"Teach Like a Champion offers effective teaching techniques to help teachers, especially those in their first few years, become champions in the classroom. These powerful techniques are concrete, specific, and are easy to put into action the very next day. Training activities at the end of each chapter help the reader further their understanding through reflection and application of the ideas to their own practice.
Among the techniques:
  • Technique #1: No Opt Out. How to move students from the blank stare or stubborn shrug to giving the right answer every time.
  • Technique #35: Do It Again. When students fail to successfully complete a basic task?from entering the classroom quietly to passing papers around?doing it again, doing it right, and doing it perfectly, results in the best consequences.
  • Technique #38: No Warnings. If you're angry with your students, it usually means you should be angry with yourself. This technique shows how to effectively address misbehaviors in your classroom." 
I'm not sure I like "how to" books for teaching, but maybe this one actually shares some useful ideas.

You can see more details from Pressie.com here.

Prezentit.com - A Cool New Presentation App

Christopher Bell -- School Library Journal, 4/21/2010

"Buying presentation software can be a very expensive proposition. That’s why I’m constantly looking for free, high-performing presentation tools. Fortunately, there are a lot of good ones to choose from, and some of them even allow you to store your presentation and work online. Prezentit.com is a new presentation tool and it’s one of the easiest to use. Plus, sign-up is a snap—just create a username and provide a valid email address and password and you’re ready to go."

View the full review here. Please post any comments about this software!


Edutopia's Ten Top Tips for Teaching with New Media

"Through the Edutopia.org Web site, we spread the word about ideal, interactive learning environments and enable others to adapt these successes locally. Edutopia.org contains a deep archive of continually updated best practices, from classroom tips to recommendations for districtwide change. Allied with a dedicated audience that actively contributes success stories from the field, our mission relies on input and participation from schools and communities."

The Ten Top Tips for Teaching with New Media is in PDF format and can be accessed at the link below:


You can also subscribe to their informative magazine on their website.



"With VoiceThread, group conversations are collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world. All with no software to install.
 A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate pages and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too."

Any recommenders out there?

How to Save the World: Kids are the Earth's best hope—and librarians can play a special role

School Library Journal presents an excellent article here about what kids really represent for all of us: the future. Some great insights and reflections on what we as media specialists and librarians can do to help shape students' ideas and perceptions.



Librarian and Information Science News

LISNews is a great source for what's happening in the library realm. Today's articles include the Rikers Island Prison Library, the iPad, the Kindle, and Amazon. One of yesterday's stories included an overdue book that was never returned by none other than our first president, George Washington!



i think iPad!!!

As I'm sure you're aware, the iPad is being talked about (and bought) all over the place. I tried it out at a demo last weekend, and it did impress me with its smooth interface and snappy performance. The educational potential of these "Objets d'Art" seems to be pretty high but I'll wait to make my final judgement. You can read about the iPad's "bigger picture" at the following link to an article in Newsweek:


Standards for the 21st-century learner

"Standards for the 21st-Century Learner offer vision for teaching and learning to both guide and beckon our profession as education leaders. They will both shape the library program and serve as a tool for library media specialists to use to shape the learning of students in the school."

This document was distributed to attendees of a CPS Dept. of Libraries professional development day in 2009. A very timely guide!



WebJunction Illinois

Here's a good site for getting connected with your librarian colleagues here in Illinois. Gives some good suggestions for Web 2.0 applications in your library.



Wordle- Beautiful Word Clouds!

This interesting word tool was presented to a group of high school librarians by Lisa Perez of the CPS Dept. of Libraries in the Spring of 2010.

A wonderful visual tool to help analyze text and create great visuals!


Differentiated Instruction

Here's a great newsletter on DI that could shed some light on this integral approach to our teaching practice:

January 2007 Newsletter (PDF) - A Teacher's Guide to Differentiated Instruction - Powered by Google Docs.

Technology and Libraries

To get yourself up and running on this technology stuff, maybe you can try out the following link from Learning 2. 0:

If you're not that experienced with using the latest web technologies, it'll be a great place to start getting those minutes in and becoming an expert! You may also want to check out the following blogs of true professionals (technology specialists and coordinators) in the field...

David Jakes is a librarian/media specialist at Glenbrook South High School:

Henry Thiele is Director of Technology at Maine Township High School District 207: