Seriously, I have goosebumps

June 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

If this isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is!

Twilight… no, really… THAT Twilight

June 28, 2010 § 5 Comments

For the past few years, I have spent a lot of time trying to avoid all things Twilight. I refused to read the books, no matter how many of my friends and acquaintances told me they were “really pretty good” or “not as bad as you’d expect.” I even had a few people tell me that they were “great.”

Feeling peer pressure from some friends in grad school, and submitting to the infectious enthusiasm of one friend in particular (as well as a healthy admiration for the strikingly handsome Robert Pattinson, a.k.a. Cedric Diggory), I consented to watching the first movie. Though it was better than I had thought, my extreme low expectations made it almost impossible for the movie to be worse than expected. I don’t plan on seeing it again, nor any of its sequels.

On with my story…

While waiting for my flight to this year’s American Library Association annual conference, I discovered that I had lost the charger to my nook. Egads! I had not brought any other reading materials, since I have over 30 unread books loaded on my nook at this very moment. I was sure I had another charger at home that would work, but that did me absolutely NO GOOD for the next six hours I would spend on my way to Washington, D.C. Cripes!

Feeling hopeful, I wandered over to the only newsstand in the Moline “International” Airport… they had to have something that I could tolerate for the next day or so, at least until I could get my hands on some free swag from the conference. After perusing the tiny book selection, I was disheartened. Would I have to stoop to pulp crime fiction? Really??

There were two editions of the first Twilight… Next to the other options, it was no longer looking so bad… “Well,” I thought, “One really can’t judge a book by its movie… But I’ve spent SO MUCH ENERGY disliking vampire romance! Am I really about to go there??” Apparently, I was.

I went ahead and paid the $7.99 plus tax for the smallest paperback.

“Crap,” I thought as I sat back down to wait for my flight. “I can’t hide the fact that I’m reading this.” At least, if I could use my nook, no one would have any idea what I was reading. If I had bought a hardcover, I could take off the jacket, or even better! switch it with another book’s dust jacket (yes, I really thought of these options). Even worse, the cheap copy I had purchased had the movie tie-in cover… not as artistically appealing as the original, and quite cheesy.

Embarrassed, I began reading.

Halfway through the book, I landed in D.C. Halfway! That is a LOT for me, since I am a remarkably slow reader. And, much to my chagrin, I was enjoying the read.

“Crap,” I thought. “Now I’ll have to come clean to everyone that really, Twilight isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.” And I did. This is my very public confession.

Here’s my thoughts on the book:

I was quite impressed with Meyer’s writing for the first half of the novel. She avoided using repetitive adjectives and phrases. However, during the second half of the book, it seems that her thesaurus failed her… I got a little sick of hearing about Edward’s “angel” face, and his “marble arms.” Blech.

I was also a little disturbed by Bella’s obsession with Edward. While I get the romanticism of the book, and understand the parallels with Romeo and Juliet, a voice in the back of my mind kept complaining that the relationship is not a healthy example for young girls to emulate. Bella goes along with whatever Edward tells her (for the most part), in what seems to be a very one-sided relationship.

For now, however, I’m willing to ignore these details, in the hopes that they will be resolved in the future. I must give props to Bella, who FINALLY tells Edward towards the end of the book that she is sick of being “saved” all the time, and that their relationship should be more equitable. I hope that this theme continues in the next books. Which (shhhhhh…. don’t tell) I now intend to read.

Sync: free audiobook downloads this summer!

June 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

I love audio books. I frequently forget about them, but when I remember they exist, they really brighten my day whilst driving or knitting, or doing really boring tasks.

That’s why I was so excited to hear about Sync. Starting July 1, Sync will be offering downloads for YA audio books. The MP3 friendly downloads are hosted by Overdrive, and have been donated by their respective publishers. Sync itself is hosted by Audiobook Community, “a new social networking site for the discovery of audiobooks.”

In particular, I can’t wait to download The Hunger Games (available July 29)!

The importance of creativity

June 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

Thanks to Bib2.0 for sharing this video. I personally can’t imagine my education without the art, music, and other creative programs I enjoyed in my 13 years of public school. But even these examples of creative outlets do not necessarily live up to the vision of creativity in education espoused by Sir Ken Robinson.

For some reason, the embed isn’t working today, so here’s the link.

New books for June

June 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’m super excited about the books we’ve gotten in the past month. In the bunch, we have biographies, some great fiction, and bullying prevention materials. Here they are:

Borrowed Names, by Jeannine Atkins, CC PO ATKINS BORROWED 2010

Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean, by Sarah Stewart Taylor, YA GN TAYLOR AMELIA 2010

Sir Charlie, by Sid Fleishchman, YA NF FLEISCHMAN SIR 2010

I and I: Bob Marley, by Tony Medina, CC BIO MEDINA I 2009

Black Elk’s Vision, by S.D. Nelson, CC BIO NELSON BLACK 2010

Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee, by Marissa Moss, CC BIO MOSS SKY 2009

Zig and Wikki in Something Ate my Homework, by Nadja Spiegelman, CC FI SPIEGELMAN ZIG 2010

Love, Aubrey, by Suzanne LaFleur, YA FI LAFLEUR LOVE 2009

Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, YA FI COLLINS HUNGER 2008

APA Style Manual, 6th ed., RESERVE APA MANUAL

Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, Teacher Guide, GEM LB3013.3 .O494 2007

Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, Schoolwide Guide, GEM LB3013.3 .O44 2007

Also, we now have a graphic novel section! So far, we have some authentic manga, and the entire Sandman series by Neil Gaiman! Woot!

Also also! We’ve got quite¬† a few new textbooks for secondary math, history and American government. Yes! Goodbye, textbooks older than I am! Hello, bright, shiney “new” (ish) textbooks! And thank you to The Mississippi Valley Area Education Agency for their annual give-away.

VoiceThread

June 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

A couple weeks ago, a faculty member introduced me to VoiceThread. It’s a pretty neat application, with a lot of potential uses in education.

As I am currently trying to learn French (using the Coffee Break French podcast, which I highly recommend), I immediately saw the potential use of VoiceThread in language learning. Art, history, math, you name it, you could use VoiceThread to help learners engage and more fully understand the subject. In particular, I think that VoiceThread could replace discussion board posts as a class assignment. I’m not sure if it’s currently possible, but embedding a discussion within a discussion board or Blackboard page would also be useful.

Week in Rap

June 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Time for a personal side note. My (much) younger brother graduated from high school last weekend! Watching him go through high school and graduation brought back lots of memories for me. Watching this video brought back more of the same:

The Last 18 Years In Rap from Week in Rap on Vimeo.

I look forward to watching more of Week in Rap next fall!

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