Tuesday, 17 August 2010

What issues should I focus on this coming year?

The great thing about schools is that you have the opportunity to start over. Not only do we get the chance to change and adapt what we do but we also get the chance to try it out on a whole new set of students who do not have any preconceived ideas about you or your library.

So what will I focus on this year?
My thoughts are beginning to crystallise as the summer holidays progress and lots of little things all start to pull together. Lots of the non fiction reading that I have been doing is helping this thought process.
I would definitely recommend these four books. Igniting a passion and Readers Advisory complement each other and this whole area of Readers' advisory services is going to be a focus for the year. This will mainly focus on fiction

The second focus I think will be all around the area of notetaking/referencing and citing. I am considering purchasing a subscription to Noodle Tools as I think this might be better than getting all the students to use Evernote and citation tools, not sure though.

And the third focus (everything has to be threes, or so they say)

Still not sure though, maybe as 1 is so big I ought to split it into two bits.

Fortunately there is still time to ponder.
Still need to decide that I am going to do in the Y10 into to USIC lesson and the English Y7 booked up lesson.

Libraries supporting literacy

Henning Mankell, plenary speaker, IFLA 2010, World Library and Information Congress, Gothenburg, Sweden.
I was alerted to this by the CILIP announcement of the untimely death of Bob McKee. What a shock as I had only been speaking to him on 20th July at the House of Commons launch of the school libraries survey. He had supported SLG so well in all our efforts and he seemed to be looking forward to his retirement.
So I then went to investigate the conference and listened to two presentations, this one and the Hans Rosling one (which was very annoying as you could not see the ppt he was pointing at, but much of the content seemed similar to other of his talks available on TED)
This Mankell talk was about literacy and the role of libraries. I would suggest you listen

Laugh at least once a day or life would be too miserable
To be able to read and write the question of being literate
What I want more than anything else in my life is an identity card, to get an identity card I need to be literate
Illiteracy is a plague that haunts the world.
The internet is the only thing we can thank the army for
People who read are armed forces words and pens are among the most dangerous things there are

His talk reminded me of a poem, in the past we did a lesson using this poem as a writing frame to discuss identity. Some of the poems the students produced were amazing and gave us such an insight into their lives, far more than if we had just asked them to write about what was  important to them. When I read the poem I realise what Mankell means about words being dangerous things but they are precious too and we need to take care how we use them.

Poem by Miroslav Holub A boy's head

In it there is a space-ship

and a project

for doing away with piano lessons

And there is

Noah's ark,

which shall be first.

And there is

an entirely new bird

an entirely new hare

an entirely new [bumble-bee.

There is a river

that flows upwards

There is a multiplication table

There is anti-matter

And it just cannot be trimmed.

I believe

that only what cannot be trimmed

is a head

There is much promise

in the circumstance

that so many people have heads.

Miroslav Holub

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

The Perfect Book

I have been trying to read lots of teenage fiction ready for the new book club I want to start in September. Think I will call it First Choice Club, unless I think of anything better. Members will get the opportunity to read new books first (wont include the major new titles but the new ones that they might not otherwise notice) and hopefully the students might than do some sort of recommendation for the books to promote to others.
To remind me of each book I read I am making a brief record about it, again following ideas in Igniting a Passion for Reading. For each book I am trying to think of a hook, how I would sell the experience of reading the book to the students, not what it is about but how they will feel if they read it.

Then a few notes on plot to remind me and and idea of genre and target age. Just finish Simone Elkeles "Perfect Chemistry". At first I thought it was going to be very chick lit but infact it is more about loyalty and doing the right thing rather than what is expected of you. Even shed a few tears towards the end. Not sure about the epilogue though.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Readers' Advisory Work

At the moment I am planning a lesson for Year 7 about choicing fiction and was thinking of planning it on Steven Layne's shopping for fiction ideas. And now, as always, once something it going round in my head I spot other relating items. Checking emails this morning alerted me to SLJ's latest issue and I read this article
Then thought it would great if I could read "Readers' advisory service in the public library" By Joyce G. Saricks and low and behold it is available online in google books. or at least up to page 41!
Skimming through spotted these sentences.
"most readers are not usually looking for a book on a certain subject. They want a book with a particular "feel""
We often ask students what they are interested in and then try to find a fiction book on that topic. But in reality this is probably all wrong and explains why the football fiction books are not popular. Perhaps if you like football you like playing it not reading about it. For reading you probably want something that makes you feel the same way you feel when you are playing football.
Now will have to buy or borrow thew book if I want to know more