Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First Book Club Meetings of 2008-2009

It is almost the beginning of October which means that the book club meetings are finally here! I'm really looking forward to talking about our first books of the year. The 6th grade club meets on October 1 to talk about Rules by Cynthia Lord. As soon as we pick our next book I'll post it here. The 7th grade club is set to meet October 2 to talk about Turnabout. Finally, the 8th grade club will meet on Monday, October 6, (which is a change of date!) to discuss Acceleration.

Web Search Strategies in Plain English Video

I'm a big fan of the Common Craft Show. Lee and Sachi Lefever make really easy to understand short videos on often complicated topics. Their latest video is about web search strategies. Check it out. The tips will help you improve your searching.

Monday, September 22, 2008

An animation about Runner

I read the book Runner by Carl Deuker this weekend. I really liked it. Chance and his dad struggle to make ends meet, and his dad can never seem to keep a job. They live on a run down sailboat. Chance is desperate to make some money to pay the bills. When a strange man on the docks approaches him with the opportunity to make $200 a week to pick up packages on his daily run, it seems too good to be true or at least legal. What will Chance do?

I was just playing with the tool GoAnimate. It is a really simple way to create animations. I thought I'd use the tool to make a teaser about the book. If you try out goanimate, please share what you make!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Everlost by Neal Shusterman was a book that hooked me right in and made me want to find out what would happen to the main characters.

Allie and Nick awake to find themselves in a place called Everlost after a car accident they didn't survive. As they try to navigate this new reality, they try to figure out its rules, tangle with Queen Mary, and deal with the evil creature McGill. Allie is desperate to get back home again, and she'll do just about anything to try to get there. This was a creative concept for a story and a really enjoyable read. The book had action, adventure, interesting characters, and was thought-provoking.

Another book I recommend to a lot of Highland students is Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. It imagines the life of the main character after she has died in a biking accident and goes to a place called Elsewhere. Although the after death places are totally different, this book came to mind while I was reading Everlost.

Image Citation
"Elsewhere Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 18 Sept. 2008 http://www.librarything.com/work/76114

"Everlost Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 18 Sept. 2008 http://www.librarything.com/work/book/36103293

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Evil Genius

I just finished Evil Genius. The sequel for this book, Genius Squad, just arrived at the Highland library as well.

Cadel is smart, really smart with a genius IQ. He is moved ahead in school despite his teacher's concerns about his social skills. He is also a master manipulator and studier of systems of all types. Small challenges he tackled were to create traffic jams and make all the teachers late for school without getting caught. Cadel is surprised when he finds out from his psychologist, Thaddeus, that his dad is really Phineas Darrkon, one of the most dangerous criminal masterminds around. Cadel gets enrolled in the Axis Institute, an academy to train potential supervillians and other evil doers. Cadel starts to wonder if he is really cut out to be evil and if his plans are spinning out of his control. I enjoyed the book, but the characters and plots once Cadel starts at the Axis Institute got a bit convoluted. This book would definitely appeal to fans of the Artemis Fowl series!

Image Citation
"Evil Genius Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 17 Sept. 2008 http://www.librarything.com/work/book/36052441

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Be Funky - An imaging tool

I am working on the new version of the Learning Center website this weekend. I was looking for a tool to convert a photo to become a more cartoon-like image. I found an easy one to use, Be Funky, and the results are so cool!

Before getting funky

and after

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Support for Book Clubs

I just finished reading a book this week for a new book club that I've started with my childhood friends. These are girls I've been friends with since middle school - that's a long time! Since we are spread out all around the country, we are going to use technology tools to connect us together to let us having our "meeting".

The Learning Center runs several book clubs at Highland for students. However, I know there are many Highland students who have book clubs of their own or want to read the same books with friends. Libraries are great resources to help facilitate book clubs, and the Highland Learning Center is no exception! From offering help in gathering copies of the books to providing suggestions for things to read to having meeting space for groups, libraries offer all sorts of services for book clubs. The Highland Learning Center will offer these services to you as well. If you have a book club for your group of friends or want to get one started, feel free to ask me for help - I can work with you to get copies, select books, or build discussion questions.

I'll let you know how my virtual book club meeting goes later this week!
Happy Reading and Discussion!