Friday, January 30, 2015

I'm a Digital Citizen. Are you?

Early memories of my life filter through my mind. I'm staying in during recess in fifth grade in order to draw pictures in Paint on the library computers. I'm in middle school using our library computer catalog to find books on mythology for a language project. I'm a junior in high school setting up my first email account. This is when it happened; in the year 2000, I became a digital citizen.

My admittance to the digital world happened when I hit submit and created my first Yahoo email account. I gathered my friends' emails and we soon starting sending chain letters and how-much-do-you-know-about-me surveys. Then one of us found ICQ. This was my introduction to instant messaging (though to pacify my parents I could only talk to real people I knew). From there it grew to a second email, accounts on different websites, and as time went on, a presence on social media sites. And now I am a pretty involved digital citizen.

Are you a digital citizen? What got you started? How involved are you in the digital world now? And what does your digital presence say about you as a person?

Try this: Search for yourself in a search engine. Try adding a state or city where you lived to your name. Try adding a school or business that you are connected with. Is the information that comes up something you are proud of? Or does it paint you in a negative light?

Don't worry if you can't find yourself. That just means you are a very private digital citizen. Add if you find yourself but wish that you didn't, go into your social media sites and adjust your privacy settings. If you find yourself on other peoples pages/accounts, you are well within your rights as a digital citizen to ask them to remove any pictures or information that you would rather not have shared.

Most of all, make sure that you make good choices as you are posting and sharing information about yourself.

If you'd like more information on digital citizenship and how to be a good citizen, check out some of the links below.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Books of the Week, Jan 26

Elementary - Little Monsters Cookbook by Zac Williams

Middle - National Geographic Kids Cookbook: A Year-Round Fun Food Adventure by Barton Seaver

High - College Cookbook: Dorm Eating and Apartment Feasting by David Poran

Friday, January 23, 2015

Career Reserach

The 8th grade is completing their annual career research project today.  They are here in the library frantically finishing their five-paragraph essays with all the fantastic facts they found out about their career. I'm so proud of all of them, because research can be a big scary topic. But this year has been the best, most pain-free career research in the nine years I've been here.

Career research in eighth grade happens in three parts. Part 1 is where students go on WisCareers and take a few quizzes to see where their aptitudes and interests lie. WisCareers then suggests careers that might be of interest.

Part 2 is when I get them! Student choose one of the recommended careers from WisCareers to research. They have to find information about their career using four sources;  we require them to use WisCareers, two books, and then they have the option of what to use for their fourth source. They also have to find specific information in the subtopics of job description, education, personal skills/traits, pros/cons, licensing, and outlook. They have to find a minimum of 20 facts about their topic covering those subtopics (30 facts got them a cookie at the end of the week, just as a small incentive). Plus everything needed to be properly cited, resources needed to be evaluated for content and quality, and facts correctly taken down in quotations or paraphrasing. All of these requirements can make for a pretty daunting task!

Luckily I'm the research master and try to make it is pain-free as possible. This year we used both digital and paper packets (due to a lack of computers for some sections). Both seemed to work well. In both cases, students followed the Big 6 which asks you to make a plan, do your research, and then evaluation how it went. Both packets, plus extra resources can be seen by visiting:

Part 3 is where they take all that wonderful information that they found and present it as a five-paragraph essay. All this week that has been their task, creating interesting introductions, having body paragraphs with support details and accurate in-text citations, and wrapping it all up in a bangin' conclusion.

There are lots of things that contributed to this year's career research going smoother. But mostly, it's the students. They put in the work to master the skills we set out and pushed through even when it got tough. So good job Class of 2019 and I hope the Class of 2020 does just as great next year!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Books of the Week, Jan 19

High School - We Shall Overcome with CDs: The History of the Civil Rights Movement as It Happened by Herb Boyd

Middle School - Every Human Has Rights: A Photographic Declaration for Kids by National Geographic Editors

Elementary - I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr.; paintings by Kadir Nelson

Friday, January 16, 2015

Update on BryteWave App

We host our ebooks and digital audio books on FollettShelf, and with iOS or Android devices you can get the BryteWave K-12 app to use these resources.

Recently BryteWave released a new version of the app. This new version allows you to download audiobooks to your device so you can continue listening even without an internet connection. They also fixed lots of small bugs in the app so overall it should work better as well.

You can get the apps by using the links below or search your app store for "BryteWave K-12"
We have lots of good resources at all three buildings and I am always looking for suggestions of titles to buy (in ebook or audiobook). Here's what we've got:
  • Elementary - 591 ebooks, 2 digital audiobooks
  • Middle School - 423 ebooks, 164 digital audiobooks
  • High School - 267 ebooks, 113 digital audiobooks
If you need any help with FollettShelf (accessed via any browser) or the BryteWave app, check out the help page.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Books of the Week, Jan 12

High - Pottery Basics: Everything You Need to Know to Start Making Beautiful Ceramics by Jacqui Atkin

Middle - Ceramics for Beginners: Hand Building by Shay Amber

Elementary - Cool Glass and Ceramic Projects: Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Trash into Treasure by Pam Scheunemann

Friday, January 9, 2015

Are you up to the challenge?

The new year is here and I challenge you to increase your reading this year. Whether it is a book a month or a book a week, increasing the amount you read has TONS  of great benefits (which I won't go into here, but trust me it does).

To help get you started here is a great infographic for young adult books, broken down into seasons, months, weeks, and days. A book a day, that would be something else!

If nothing else, it will give you some great ideas for things to read this year.

You can find the full graphic as well as the lists of books on Epic Reads.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Books of the Week, Jan 5, 2015

High School - The Universe: An Illustrated History of Astronomy by Tom Jackson

Middle School - Women in Space: 23 Stories of First Flights, Scientific Missions, and Gravity-Breaking Adventures by Karen Bush Gibson

Elementary - T-Minus by Jim Ottaviani