Saturday, 29 March 2008

5th Grade FBA

The Book Without Words. Avi. Hyperion, 2005.

My 5th grade book club chose this book by Avi as their choice for discussion. I had three book clubs in all- one girls, one mixed and one boys. This was the mixed group's choice, and it was by far my favorite one of the three. The Book Without Words grabbed me on the first page and held my attention throughout the book, not an easy feat for an adult reading a YA book. Master Thorston is on a quest for eternal life, but he must sacrifice the life of a green-eyed thirteen year old to do so. Sybil and Odo must stop Master Thorston before he swallows all four of the magical stones that will give him eternal life, thus ending hers.

This book had just the right amount of intrigue, suspense and heart to make it perfect for solid upper-elementary readers. The female protagonist, Sybil, experienced significant changes during the book that were great fodder for conversation. The paperback version I bought came with discussion questions in the back that were a wonderful guide. It's my new favorite recommendation for boys and girls alike!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Blogs Revisited

When I posted my question about the three top blogs to get people started on the Classroom 2.0 website, I was very pleased to get a number of responses. Ok, and truthfully a bit surprised as well because I still find the whole web connecting thing so bizarre and intriguing! What was very interesting (and even sparked another blog posting) was the fact that some people wrote in that their own personal blog was one of the top blogs. Hmmm...I will compile the list and include it in an upcoming post.

One conversation that was sparked by the question I posed was very insightful and hit the mark for me. That is, if you have been asked to start reading blogs as a means of professional development or are choosing to enter the blogosphere due to your own curiosity, a good way to start is by finding blogs on a subject that is of interest to you, and maybe at the start that isn't necessarily technology. I started out reading adoption blogs and design blogs and still read those everyday. However, if you would have told me a year and a half ago that I would do a ton of online reading, I never would have believed you. Reading online is a big change from magazine reading, and it takes time to make the adjustment. Tip: A good search engine to try for blogs is Ice Rocket.

Another point that was brought up is that there are two types of technology blogs: the 'big picture' blog and the 'concrete idea' blog. The big picture blog tends to include reflections and information about the person's experiences at conferences and in the classrooms and/or a means of recording thoughts and opinions. The concrete idea blog is one with links to recommended resources or simply ideas of how to enhance one's program. Both are great types of blogs, but you need to figure out which one suits you at the moment. I find I am still drawn mostly to the concrete idea blog, perhaps because I am busy filling my metaphorical suitcase with ideas about tech and library connections, but I also like to mix it up with thought-provoking blogs as it helps me have a better idea of what others in the field are doing/thinking and reminds me of what a tech-rich classroom and library look like.