Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday's Panels: At least 2 things that I learned from the panels

IPads and Free Agent Learning.

The Wifi wasn't working in the Cheshire Room. At a conference, always bring back-up (good thing the presenters were prepared). Ways to promote use of iPads with teachers: visit department meetings and take teacher suggestions of apps to load and have textbook apps on iPads.

Book Trailer Bootcamp.

When doing photo projects, encourage students to take their own pictures (copyright friendly). Show students models of project before they start and ask them to take notes on what they liked and what they thought didn't work well (improves the product that they will produce in the future). Pics for Learning and Flicker Blue Mountain are great places to search for photos because photos are listed with citations.

Syncing Your Library and Technology Program.

Share a physical space. Callahan and D'Elia based their program on Shannon Miller's standards: digital citizenship, technology, information and media literacy, love of reading. It's OK not to have students check out books at the end of library time (especially older students), encourage them to return on their own time. Develop your volunteer program to get great volunteers that may staff your library when you're out in the classrooms.

Jack Gantos - Sunday night

Sunday night dinner

I was very excited to hear Jack Gantos. I loved Dead End in Norvelt and also loved the Rotten Ralph books as a child. From the moment he stepped on the stage, we all knew it was going to be a fun speech. No one was disappointed; Jack Gantos was HILARIOUS. Amazing. Librarians were ROTFL almost for real. Overall, he shared how his personal experiences and love of reading growing up have informed his writing. And what amazing experiences! From his childhood in Norvelt, Pennsylvania that informed his Newbery award winner Dead End in Norvelt to owning a cat as an adult, which helped him write the Rotten Ralph books ("most menacing animal not in a cage").

He started out talking about his love of reading, which he calls "bookishness." His description of reading the final chapter of a book and lingering over every word and even the white space between the words spoke to a lot of us, I think. He went on to emphasize that readers are 50% of the book; after we finish a book the book just sits there, but it and the characters live on in us. As he said, "books are an infection." He talked about the excitement of getting a new book at a bookstore, carefully preserving the perfect condition of said book, spiriting it home and then ahhhh! sniffing the book for the first time. "Did I ever tell you about the time I sniffed Lady Chatterly's lover?" I know for many of us this is why an e-reader will never replace our physical books. You don't see many people sniffing their Kindle. :)

Next he moved on to show some (12) of his failed books including one about pigs that had nothing but Oinks for dialogue, which didn't work out because "pigs don't buy books." Ha! But talk about persistence! We had a chance to see inside some of his journals from when he was a kid, which were filled with maps of his neighborhoods with interesting commentary. As he said, "the same stuff you thought was interesting as a kid is still interesting to kids today." Like the kid in his neighborhood who was a daredevil and rode his bike off the roof into the pool. Except he missed and knocked himself out. Or like the time his mother was arrested for murder. Ha! Makes me wish I saved more of my childhood journals...or wrote about more interesting stuff. Mr. Gantos actually still writes out all his books by hand in journals and then types them up each night.

Overall, his presentation was fabulous. He had us laughing from beginning to end and definitely highlighted what for me is why I became a librarian in the first place: I love books and I want other people to find the joy, pleasure and fun that I've discovered from reading. Sharing that excitement for stories is what each of us do every day. Thanks so much, Jack Gantos! (Now I can't wait to find a way to bring him to my students will love him, too!)