Archive for November, 2007

Uploading iMovies

November 19th, 2007

General instructions for the Virtual Classroom.

  1. To share the movie, click on Share->QuickTime->Webstreaming
  2. Go to the Virtual Classroom.
  3. Log in using your school computer login. (Enter the enrollment key and update your profile if you haven’t before.)
  4. Find section 2: Technology/Research Skills
  5. Click on your class name.
  6. Click on ‘Add entry’.
  7. Click on ‘Choose file’. Browse for where your movie (not your iMovie file, but the new .mov file) is saved. Click on the file and then click ‘Choose’.
  8. Click ‘Save and view’ to finish uploading your file.

Michael A. Stackpole Presentation

November 18th, 2007

I want to get the audio file up there for people to listen to, but check back for photos and better audio quality (hopefully).

Michael A. Stackpole (who is totally cool for agreeing to let me post him talking) presented on “Gaming: Not Just For Teens”. Great stuff.

Here’s the MP3:

Michael A. Stackpole’s AZLA Presentation


AZLA 2007 – Set your library on fire!

November 17th, 2007

Once again, thank you for the kind words and evaluations. Here’s the handout.

Pam Standhart officially rocks as a co-presenter, in case anyone is wondering.

I recorded the presentation on a little digital Sony ICD-P110. Yes, this goes against my own Ed. Tech. degree (I apologize in advance to Dr. Tu and Dr. Zhan) , but it was my debut using the device (frankly, I did it for both my wife and my mom…I knew that they would want to know the presentation was more than, “Fine.”).

It’s also my first time with this podcast player. Let’s see if it works.

Click the name for the MP3 file or on the play button for the Flash player (I split the Flash player into 4 parts).

AZLA 2007 Library on Fire Podcast


I am convinced that no one sounds good on a dictaphone.

Grand Canyon – Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson

November 16th, 2007

I saw the new Grand Canyon list while at AZLA and I was glad to see Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson in the midst.

Disclaimer: I love Disneyland.
Another Disclaimer: I’ve never been to Disneyworld.

Kingdom Keepers is every kid’s dream – to be able to stay within Disney park boundaries after closing time. Who wouldn’t want to walk those magical streets?

To fully appreciate the book, you gotta read the acknowledgments. Many thanks to Wayne and Christina for the insider’s scoop on the parks. Can you imagine having your own apartment over Main Street? Someone has to be a first responder.
(And yes, there is a sweet trash evacuation system in the city of tunnels underground. (I had an ex-girlfriend who shoplifted (after we had broken up) at Disneyland. She got to visit the “Happiest Underground Jail Cell on Earth”.)

The Zip-a-dee-doo-dah
1. Ridley Pearson, also of Peter and the Secrets of Rundoon fame, has a Disney license. Big hook-up.
2. Many of the rides are desribed in detail. The imagery, building on already strong emotional ties, puts you right there.
3. The rides have a nice, twisted spin. The premise of the book is that a hologram system, built to fully immerse patrons in the experience, goes haywire. Imagine the Pirates of the Carribbean firing at the little boats. Imagine the tiny animatronics of It’s a Small World swarming as a tidal wave of chomping faces, singing in a drone, wanting you to smile. (They actually stop up the tracks and spill over into the boats.)
4. It’s really cool trying to name which characters he’s describing. “I see two chipmunks followed by a clumsy dog in a hat.”

The Beast
1. If you are annoyed by Disney merchandising, it might be tough to get through the book. But! There is still good character development (and he even parodies how Disney has to select multi-ethnic teams to be the most staring at a copy that’s on hold right now).

This is definitely one that I wish I had more copies of (as I stare at one that’s on hold).

I love my job – and a Dewey/Don’t We clarification

November 15th, 2007

I love my job (as if that had to be restated). I just got home from the AZLA conference (actually, just back from Basha’s with celebratory donuts, danishes, and milk).

First, I chatted with the woman who would be presenting for the Dewey/Don’t We and I need to clarify. For fiction, I love by author, no genre.

But you can tell my bias towards fiction. Hardly anyone checks out nonfiction in my library. The presenters were talking about using the bookstore genres for nonfiction. You know what? That’s actually a pretty decent idea. I know that Dewey already is divided into subjects, but maybe re-organizing the nonfiction into bookstore style might actually get more checkouts.

The woman from Dewey/Don’t We also helped me fulfill a dream.

[Begin nerd obsession]

I met Michael Stackpole! This is the guy who created the Star Wars: X-Wing/Rogue Squadron series. Devin, I know! The creator of Corran Horn and the guy who made Wedge Antilles more mainstream. He agreed to let me podcast his talk, the photos, and he might even come to my library for a signing.

Woo! (Or as Wedge would say, “Wooha!” and then the AT-AT blows up.)

I will need time to make sure that the audio is maxed to how I want it, so it might take a little bit.

[End fanboy stalking moment]

The conference was great, Mango’s was great(mmm…fish burrito), and we received many positive comments from our audience members. If you are reading, thank you!

Check out Michael Stackpole’s site at

A response to Dewey or Don’t We

November 15th, 2007

Today someone’s going to present on setting up their library in a bookstore style by genre. I think that it’s great to present on that because it’s very current.

Here’s my take (representing/speaking for only myself): Setting up by genre instead of Dewey pigeon-holes authors and encourages a reading rut for students.

Meg Cabot is a great example. Sure, she’s got the Princess Diaries, but what about the 1-800-WHERE-R-U? series. Or Avalon High? I have students that “read only fantasy”. They’re die hard (like me with Star Wars). What if I have them read Avalon High and they love it? (Very possible.) They might want to read more of Cabot’s stuff.

Would it shake the world if a fantasy die hard read a mystery?

But if I take them over to a different section of the library, I’m shaking their identity as a reader. I have a friend who reads only sci fi. I had him read Killer Angels because the awesome show Firefly was influenced by the book (woot, Joss Whedon). My friend read the book, could appreciate the tactics, but it wasn’t as good because it wasn’t sci fi.

Now, a positive for the genre model is Darren Shan. If that boy branched out into anything but horror, I would be shocked. He’s got his niche. (As if R.L. Stine would write a dating comedy.) But what about Stephenie Meyers’s Eclipse? Is it horror? But everyone tells me, “It’s not a vampire book!” (They’ve got fangs, they drink blood, they’re not Republican (I joke at my own political party)(if you keep reading after that, congrats to your open-mindedness!).

The bottom line, though, is whatever works to get students reading (and have them get ready for college libraries, or a library that’s not set-up the same, or…okay, so we have to balance a lot of needs).

Digital Booktalks – Movie Trailers

November 15th, 2007

When I was teaching Language Arts I wanted my last student-created booktalk to be an exceptional one. (I didn’t want a simple summary (probably from the back of the book) book report).

We watched the Spider-Man 3 trailer, looking for theme and symbolism. We then looked at a trailer storyboard to find the same elements of literature.

Students had read a literature circle book as a group of 4 and now they were ready to create the movie trailer.

Trailers needed:

  1. 5 different scenes from the book
  2. 10 different camera shots
  3. an interweaving theme
  4. 3 examples of text
  5. a music soundtrack
  6. to be 30-60 seconds in length

I tell you nothing teaches precision in words like a 30-60 second limit. If they were under, they didn’t have enough content. Over, and they were boring.

These editing skills transferred later into their essays and narratives. (Woo!)

A week with iMovie and then we were ready for the HJHS film festival. At lunch we had standing room only in the library (my obsession was long-building) as most of the 8th grade student body watched everyone’s trailers on an iDVD.

When do you have students asking for a copy of their book report to show off?

Uploading Hofmann Portfolios

November 14th, 2007

To share the movie, click on Share->QuickTime->Webstreaming

1. Go to the Virtual Classroom.

2. Log in using your school computer login.

3. Find section 2: Technology/Research Skills

4. Click on ‘Hofmann Poetry Portfolios’.

5. Click on ‘Add entry’.

6. Click on ‘Choose file’. Browse for where your movie is saved. Click on the file and then click ‘Choose’.

7. Click ‘Save and view’ to finish uploading your file.

Boot Camp by Todd Strasser

November 14th, 2007

In 2005, over 100,000 teens were held in boot camp facilities. Until they are 18, those kids are treated like the property of the camp. Many camps hire transporters to bring in detainees (as featured in Nadya Labi’s Want Your Kid to Disappear? ), kidnapping them from their own homes.Returning with the same research style that made Give a Boy a Gun and Can’t Get There From Here work, Todd Strasser gives us a scary glimpse of one boot camp in the northern part of the United States through the eyes of Garrett.

A Great Escape

  1. This book screams of Shawshank Redemption and 1984. Garrett may have been wrongly thrown into the camp, but since the police are not involved there is no trial. Once Garrett is inside the camp, all rights are forfeit.
  2. Garrett struggles with maintaining his integrity and compassion in such a harsh environment. Many times he chooses not to retaliate but instead to try to understand what is going on.
  3. The camp members will beat him until he recants. The adults may be under contract, but what is to stop other detainees from getting in a couple of cheap shots to move up. Detainees are ranked by levels of merits, earning more by selling out other camp members. More than once Garrett points out that the guards (much like Hitler’s soldiers) are still responsible for their actions, even if they were “only following orders”.
  4. There is a chase scene where Garrett and his transporter are face to face and it distinctly reminded me of the face-off between Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive. Throughout that chase the level of suspense is expertly maintained. I honestly didn’t think that the book would have that type of action in it, but it still added to the plotline.
  5. The book will challenge students to compare to their own lives and then to expand their worldview, much like Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called It got students talking.

A Shiv in the Back

  1. The book is rough. Namely, someone gets stabbed in the back by a homemade toothbrush shiv.
  2. The topic of boot camps is controversial, especially when the parents in the book could be very wrong.

I personally love the book. The students that have read it so far have been very gripped by what’s inside.

AZLA Handouts and PowerPoint

November 13th, 2007

I’m pretty excited about the presentation materials for AZLA.

(Woot, Mac!)


AZLA 2007 Presentation