Archive for May, 2012

Raising Maori Achievement

The elusive BOK11 Indigenous Knowledge Paradigms, so difficult to get meaningful PD for a price your average school librarian can afford and yet to vital to your registration.  Thank goodness for online PD I say!  This might just be something you can use.  Yet another gift from Core.  This is one to share with your SMT, with your Maori Dean, with all your staff.   In this video, two key elements for raising Māori achievement: forming relationships with students and whanau; and being culturally located are discussed.

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You got to love a great Meme

Replace a word in a famous quote with librarian.  A bit of fun going on on Twitter.  Posted today on the Australian Listserv by Ann Weaver of the fantastic and full of lovely links blog Readingpower this is totally, stupendously hilarious.  Join in the meme!  The best bits here and  here are the comments.



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The judges report – NZ Post Book Awards

So, the results are out, we know the winners, many of whom I think thoroughly deserve their prizes.  If you, like I do, wonder how the judges reach their decisions you might want to check out the judges reports.  This perhaps goes some way towards explaining how some books make the lists of the finalists, and why some of our students favored books don’t get a look in.  Every year I am surprised by what the judges decide are the worthy winners and what I feel is a disconnect between them and the people who write the books that our students love.  I often find myself wondering about the criteria used, how can some of these books which are chosen as the best and brightest shining lights in the NZ children’s literary world make the grade, over and above books which have real appeal to students.  I often wonder about how well connected to actual children the judges are!

Yes, I know there is the children’s choice award – only the one, but given that that is hard to manage in a secondary school, and that because of that it is always going to be a picture book which wins that prize, it seems that if you allowed an online voting system as well you would get quite different results. As an aside I would say that in my school the overall winner this year is a huge success, you can see my review of it here!

Angela posted the link to the awesome Kate De Goldi interview on Kim Hill’s Saturday morning show on the listserv yesterday and also there is this one from Doris Mousdale which was on Kathryn Ryan’s show the other day.

People I really respect have been part of the judging panel, but I really wonder what goes on behind the scenes.  I’m on our local Otago NZ Post Awards Committee, we spend our time organising events for children in our region using the author that we are given by NZ Post and as well arranging shows, workshops, competitions and activities which we feel will appeal to the children for whom the books are written.  We are the only region where the committee is not part of a public library.  We love taking authors out to schools and engaging children with books in lots of different ways.  But, when large numbers of children seem to be really connecting with a particular book and that book is passed over – as happens very regularly – then one does wonder who exactly are the books selected appealing to?

I’m not disparaging any of the books in the competition I’m just really saying that if it is a competition based on what children’s books are the best in any given year, then why is it that so often the ones that really appeal to them, are not the winners?  It makes for a hard discussion when faced with a bunch of enthusiastic readers who have read all the books I can tell you!

One day I’d love to hear the judges discuss this.  I’m sure they have valid reasons for choosing one book over another but when every year it is disappointing to the children the books are written for you just have to ask why.  I know that there are conspiracy theories and I do dismiss those but I have to say I’ve read some great NZ fiction this year and some of those books either can’t have been entered (why wouldn’t you enter the books?) or the judges found them to be faulty in some way. Does a book have to be ‘worthy’ for you to choose it?  And what makes it so?  I love having local books to show our students, and they love reading them, but they do have questions, as I do about what makes a good one and what doesn’t according to the judges.

Come on guys, get out there and really talk about why you choose the books you choose,  and do it in a way which explains it to the children whose books you are judging.

Authors write the books for a particular audience, perhaps it isn’t a judging panel, perhaps the children need a bigger voice in the prizes.  What do you think?



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In my RSS reader today

Every day I read lots of blog items pulled from all over – library stuff, crafty stuff, school related blogs, miscellaneous weirdness and bits of usefulness. Thanks to Google Reader’s “J” and “K” keys and the space bar, I whip through a couple of hundred posts most days, because – shock, horror – I don’t actually read them all. Don’t tell anyone. I skim the post title and the beginning of each item to see whether it warrants a close read or further investigation. If it does, then I pop it up in another tab and get back to it later. If it doesn’t, I use space bar (page down) to have a skim read, or if I’m really not interested, I just hit “J” to move to the next post.

Here are the things that caught my eye today which could be of interest to school library people.

  • Because it helps to remind yourself sometimes not to worry about whether some reading is “worthier” than other reading:
  • Because I still have my eyes open for free iPad/iPod eBooks for the school where I used to work:
  • Because I’m reading this series at the moment – loved the first one! And I know the boys at school will be interested in this movie, even though it’s release date is a long way off yet. They have a tumblr blog for it, too:

an RSS feed I saved from a Google news search for
~child book “into a movie”


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The Google Research Tool in Google docs

I noticed this  yesterday when I was doing a quick document on Google Docs to record what had happened in a meeting, whoooah “what is that happening on my sidebar” I thought.  Turns out I had stumbled upon the newest feature in the Google Docs department.  The Google Research Tool.  They’ve been blogging about it over on the Bright Ideas blog too!  Here is how it works (thanks Bright Ideas, love your work).

This has lots of interesting implications for our students as it pushes keyword searches straight into their documents.  Clever stuff.  As many schools are using to Google as an entire school platform I think it needs lots of critical and information literacy to get students sifting as they create documents.

Image representing Google Docs as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

If you still aren’t using Google Docs for documents which need more than one person to work on them (or even for all your wordprocessing) then you are missing out on one of the best tools on the internet.  So many ways they are useful, so many hours saved.  I now have most of my templates on there from the library timetable master to policy documents which get changed every year.

Watch the Video here to see the latest tricks.

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Core Education – Data Engagement explained

Got lots of new devices heading your way?  I’m betting they are heading towards you even if they aren’t there yet.  How will your library manage them, will they change the way you teach students to engage with information?  Will you have to scramble to catch up or will you embrace them and learn the new tricks so that you can be one step ahead of your students?  Do you need to be one step ahead of the students?  Could they be teaching you new tricks?  Head over to the Core Education blog, plenty to see other there today as they explore data engagement and what it means for education.  They don’t think much about the library in particular over at Core, but they do look at the trends and some of these trends are going to definitely impact on libraries in education.

Today I was being told about a Livescribe.  I started to think about the impact that would have on special needs students in our school.  Yet more engagement with data, yet more data to carry around in your pocket along with your other devices.

Stand back folks, more clever stuff heading your way, into your schools and therefore into your libraries.  While you are over there be sure to watch Hans Rosling, he is my maths crush!



Adventures in Self-Publishing

This is from the Attempting Elegance blog – I thought this was really cool. Any use for Serious Fun? Actually it might be a bit too serious and not enough fun, but really interesting anyway!

My friend Carole send me the message above on Friday and she is right, this is a great story of online publishing, demand, and self funded writing/publishing.  Read the post and then have a think about whether the whole crowdsourcing phenomenon is liable to change the face of publishing as we knew it!

The Traditional Publishing Bingo Card

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