Thursday, February 28, 2013

Teen Me - What Teachers Read in High School

This may be the most fun library display I've done to date! Yes, it takes a bit of time and yes, more than a little prodding to remind teachers to bring photos of themselves as teens, but the end result is soooooooo worth it.  

A few weeks ago, my intern Janet designed a flyer featuring some of the best 70s, 80s and 90s fashion mistakes statements ever, along with a request for teachers to submit photos or scans of themselves from 'back in the day' along with a few titles of books they read in high school. A few trickled in but with added email prompts and *ahem* nagging from moi, I started to get in quite a few. Better still, our cafeteria staff and school nurse even contributed, to which I say, "Hey, the more the scarier merrier!" Well, we are talking about teens rocking past trends such as bell bottoms, polyester suits, big HAR, puffy sleeves, feathered hair, and - Lord forgive me - 'Like a Virgin'-era Madonna.

The layers of jewelry, the gloves, the big hair bow...yep, that's me my senior year of high school along with a few of my favorite reads from the era.  

I created the "Teen Me" poster using PPT, as always, and made sure to feature books my teachers and staff had read during their teens - such as Carrie, Jaws, Go Ask, Alice, and Killing Mr. Griffin. Some were upfront about the fact that they only read what they were made to read in school, so they shared their favorite required reads (The Count of Monte Cristo seemed to be the winner there). Others hung their head in shame to share they'd love Harlequin Romances and/or Fear Street, to which I was all, "Child, so did I. No judgment here." While the most popular author through the years appears to be Stephen King - no surprise, there - the book that popped up most frequently on people's lists was V.C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic. Not for nothing do I have the words 'teen angst' in this blog's title. Dark and angsty has always ruled teen hearts. <3

For the teachers worried about losing their precious pictures, I reminded them we now live in the digital age. I only needed their picture long enough to scan it on our copier and send digitally to myself via email...and done! Along with each picture, I included a colored clipart of a book with the book titles of the teacher's favorite book(s) listed on the front.

No sooner did I get up the display, than students stopped to point, read and laugh at their teachers. Mission accomplished. ;-)


Friday, February 22, 2013

Scappenger Hunt - Teen Tech Month

The month of March is so chockful of activities - research papers, digital newsletters, our state's school librarians conference, instruction on online safety, PASS testing - that I can't possibly be expected to recognize Teen Tech Week in just a...week. Nope. If I'm gonna do this mother justice, it's going to need to be a month-long event. *cue Bobby Brown* That's myyyyyy perogative.

So since I'm giving myself some extra time for this, I decided to adapt a scavenger hunt idea I saw on Pinterest (but, of course!) to use with my kiddos for Teen Tech Month. The plan is to sponsor a month-long "Scappenger Hunt."

Students who wish to participate will be given a card filled with apps, as seen in the picture above, and as they complete tasks having to do with those apps (see below), I'll hole-punch them until they're done. The prize will be a giftcard to the new WalMart opening in our town this March, and everyone who gives it the ol' high school try will get some candy for their efforts. Students can use their Smartphones, iPods, iPads, and other devices to complete their mission both in the library with me or at home.

No surprise, my school district blocks more than a few of these app sites, which is why I am going to allow students to use their Smartphones and devices in my presence for a few of the hole-punches. Others can be done on their own time at home - they're probably on many of these sites already.

I may tinker a bit more with these tasks, but so far I've got...

Facebook – “Like” our Powdersville High School Facebook page
Twitter – start following @PatriotsRead1 which is our new library Twitter feed!
Pinterest – tweet a funny/humorous pin you like from Pinterest to @PatriotsRead1
Goodreads – post to Edmodo the link to a suggested Listopia of good books you'd recommend to others
Bump – share a picture of Hello Kitty with Mrs. Chesney
Instagram – tweet an Instagram pic of you either reading or doing some activity in our library to @PatriotsRead1
Dropbox - upload a picture of your favorite book/magazine/manga to www.dropitto.me/PatriotsRead1  password: *****
Tumblr – tweet a link to your favorite tumblr to @PatriotsRead1 and share what’s awesome about it
QRCode reader – view one of the movie trailers from the ‘Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You’ poster outside the library
Edmodo – answer the poll and comment your favorite app on the poll on our Edmodo Book Freaks page
ReplayIt – share a picture using the ReplayIt app to our yearbook staff (they might even use it in the yearbook!)
Pandora – find the 80s Pop music station and tweet the first song you hear to @PatriotsRead1
YouTube – watch a book trailer and tweet @PatriotsRead1 the link
Camscanner – scan a written homework assignment  and save to Evernote to show Mrs. Chesney
Shazam – identify a song Mrs. Chesney will play over the iHome in the library
Evernote – show Mrs. Chesney the assignment you saved using Camscanner
I've just set up a school library Twitter account at @PatriotsRead1 and thought this would be a great way to get students following it. If you have any other suggestions, please comment them! I won't be doing this until the month of March, so I've got a little time to adapt and then promote.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Talking Dead

Business offices have watercoolers - schools have libraries. When AMC's "The Walking Dead" returns this Sunday - which, squee! - my students who are fans of the show are going to get the opportunity to dissect and discuss Sunday night's show the following Monday morning in the library. Yep, Monday mornings just got a little less suckier!

Last fall as the first half of season three aired, I found students dropping in throughout the next day to ask if I'd watched the previous night's show, sharing what they thought about so-and-so getting killed, wondering what the Governor was really up to, fangirling over how hot Daryl Dixon is...you get the picture. With such a huge student fanbase, I decided to tap into that and sponsor "Talking Dead." Every Monday morning starting Feb. 11, fans are invited to gather in the library before school at 7:40 so we can talk all things Dead.

I put up posters promoting the event earlier today and have already had about twenty students pop in to ask about it and say they'll be there. Interestingly, I've found some of my more shy boys are the ones who stop being tongue-tied and awkward when it comes to talking about their favorite show - which is a great opportunity for me to tear down some walls and build relationships! Can't wait... 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blind Date with a Book

For students who might not have a book boyfriend or book babe in his/her life, there's always the chance of meeting a potential book crush on a book blind date. My fabbo new intern, Janet Allen, approached me with this idea, and I said, "Start your matchmaking!" The idea is to pull books, wrap them up, and then give students the opportunity to choose a book to take on a date (y'know, check-out) and see if they're compatible. Who knows, he/she might even fall in love with the book! We ask they at least give the book a few chapters before kicking it to the curb, and who knows - it might be love and the student will want to go out with other books by that author or in that genre. The idea is to step outside your book dating comfort zone and try something new!

Every student who goes on a book blind date can report back with a brief review letting us know if he/she'd give it a rose or send it packing home. Regardless of the outcome, there's the consolation prize of some candy for taking a chance on book love.

We wrapped books that girls might like in pink, and books for guys in red to help guide their choices. Like people, books come in all sizes - some went for skinny, some chunky, some short and some tall. We did discover that it might be best to choose books that are high interest and entertaining but maaaaaybe haven't been on a date in awhile. Some of our kids who are BIG readers opened 2-3 books before they found one they hadn't read. I teased a couple of the girls that that's what they get for being such book sluts! We decided that would be an awesome name for a girls' book club at school...except our administration probably wouldn't find it as amusing as we do. ;-) Also, don't forget to throw some cool nonfiction books in there - nonfiction books need love too!!

Taylor and Jennifer meeting their book blind dates...

...and pretty pleased with the results. Taylor normally
sticks with Orca Soundings, but she's giving her date,
Girls Against Girls, a chance and has even reported
back on some of the facts about girl drama
she's learned from the book. Jennifer is a huge vampire fan,
but she's willing to give Brutal and it's take on bullying a chance.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Boyfriends and Babes...

February is one of my favorite months being a school librarian, because it's all about the LOVE. What better way to get teens pumped for Valentine's Day and all things romance than to get them to share their book crushes? When I was sixteen, I read S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders for the first time and fell hard for bad boy Dallas Winston (didn't hurt that I had Matt Dillon as a visual!). He may have been rude, crude and rough around the edges, but his loyalty to Johnny and Ponyboy ("Let's do it for Johnny!") and vulnerability in the presence of Cherry Valance made me want to rip him from the pages and save him from the Socs and his own self-destructive ways with my love. Why did Dallas Winston have to be a fictional character?!! And why did S.E. Hinton have to go and kill him?!!!!!!

Dallas wasn't the first or last book boyfriend I'd lose to death. My most recent book boyfriend would have to be The Fault in Our Stars' Augustus Waters. C'mon, a boy who'd battled and overcome cancer, lost a leg to that cancer, but remained full of humor and hope to the point he'd fly thousands of miles overseas to make a dream come true for his terminal girlfriend Hazel? *sigh* *sniff* It's no wonder that Hazel loved you as she did, and when you died I sobbed for your family, Hazel and my heartbroken inner-teen self! 

So who are today's teen book boyfriends and book babes? For February, my students are sharing that with me and our school with this display...

I found an online candy hearts maker that allowed me to add the names of some of the more popular book crushes in recent series - Lola, Cricket, Bella, Jacob, Edward, Patch, Alex, Carlos, Luis (Fuentes brothers! *fans self*), Fang, Clary, Jace, Gale, Katniss, Peeta, Tris, Ron, Hermione, Harry, Augustus, Hazel, and Starfire (manga babe!). I have colorful cut-outs hearts that the students complete with info on their book boyfriend/babe, the name of the book, and why that character is so crushable. Snap a pic of the student, and we're good to go and swoon!

So far, the Simone Elkeles' Fuentes brothers seem to be garnering the most love from the girls, while Katniss is rocking the guys' world. I only started the display this past week and hope to add many more hearts down the hallway as we get into February!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Y.A. Books Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You...

My students are uber-excited about the upcoming movie, Warm Bodies. Like all things Zombie these days, the book has been a hit in our library, and once the movie trailer hit YouTube, students have been marking the days on their calendars until the Feb. 1 release. It doesn't hurt that the main character "R" is played by cutie Nicholas Hoult. ;-)

But Warm Bodies isn't the only popular teen read seeing a movie release this year. In the next few months, hot Y.A. titles like Beautiful Creatures, The Host, and Mortal Instruments: City of Bones will also hit the big screen, while adult books also marketed to teens, such as Safe Haven and World War Z (there go those zombies again!), are being touted as must-sees by my boo's too.

To tap in to the Y.A. cinema craze, I created this poster featuring the book covers, projected release dates, and QR codes for the movie trailers. For all the fans of the book Warm Bodies, I still have students coming in to say, "I didn't know that was a book! Can I read it before I see the movie next week?" Annnnnnnd that's the idea. ;-) FYI - if my school is any indication, you may want to pick up some extra copies of these titles because demand is HIGH.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I Mustache You a Question...What Have You Been Reading?

Okay, so obviously I'm late to the mustache party, but better late than never...

I can honestly say this reading display has been one of my most popular since teens love 'em some fake mustaches! Amazingly, I didn't come across anyone - jock, goth, nerd, cheerleader, *insert stereotype here* - who thought he/she was too cool to don a 'stache. Afterall, teens are hams at heart. ;-)

All I did was Google some mustache styles, cut 'em out, slap on some masking tape, and capture students posing with their current reads whether it be books or magazines. Took the opportunity to quiz them on their reads too - like whether they liked it, why they chose that particular book, etc. This display is also a work in progress as volunteers keep coming up with their books and asking for a mustache so they can be included.