Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ms. Little's absolutely NOT mandatory summertime reading list

Here are some books I want to read for FUN this summer 

Children of Exile by Margaret Peterson Haddix

What's it about: This is a science fiction novel that is about Fredtown "a happy, safe place to grow up."  The protagonist, Rosi, is suddenly moved from Fredtown to her new town the adults are calling home.  But "home" is not what she expected.

Why I want to read this: First because the author is Margaret Peterson Haddix.  Second, because I have a daughter transitioning from high school to college and I think this story will help me with empathy.

Refugee by Alan Gratz [available July 25, 2017]

What's it about: This story follows three children a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany,  a Cuban girl in 1994 and a Syrian boy in 2015.  All three are refugees.  This promises to be an action-packed read about escape and survival.

Why I want to read this: Why, because I love survival fiction.  I also really like this author! I can tell he puts a lot of work into his writing. [It always helps to meet the author.]

The Gender Game  by Bella Forrest

What's it about: This one is about a world that is divided by gender where the Women rule the East and the Men rule the West.

Why I want to read this: Mainly because I have not read any self-published authors.  Also, the premise of a specific gender ruling intrigues me. We will see ... this one is 416 pages.

So now the question is  - What are you reading this summer?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

To Ban Or Not To Ban

Is that, the Question?

It is no surprise that educators struggle with classroom management in the age of the smartphone. The number of distractions is just too large to list. This coupled with the temptation to cheat and the problem of cyberbullying has led many schools to ban smartphones altogether. This often pushes education about these issues into the "after school" territory. When this happens, parents need advice and education for teaching digital citizenship to their children.

Shakespeare Selfie
Shakespeare Selfie

Help is Here!

A good resource for understanding and teaching digital citizenship is Common Sense Media. This site has information for both Parents and Educators. The site also provides in-depth data and review to help determine age-appropriateness of everything from books, to video games.  It is neat how they give a parent opinion and a kids opinion in the recommendations for appropriate age.

What happens when you ban ...

I have to say that banning something like technology goes against my nature as a librarian. Especially when I am fighting so hard to provide access to information. 

Signe Whitson makes a great point in her article Why Banning Social Media Is Not the Best Answer for Kids.
"... adults do kids a frightening dis-service by banning the use of technology outright. At best, this head-in-the-sand approach ill-prepares kids to deal with the world in which they live and at worst, it creates a fervor among these young people to get their hands on social media in sneaky, risky ways."
We have all seen what banning a book does for circulation of the banned books.  I have noticed when you ban technology and social media there is indeed a fervor that drives students "underground."

You can't teach if you are not in the classroom

Some educators may brag that they don't really pay attention to social media. This is sad to me because they are discounting an important part of their students' lives.  Two years ago in 2015 Pew and the Internet reported that 73% of teens had a smartphone and 41% of teens were on Snapchat and half of teens were on Instagram.  When you ignore the technology platform it becomes a teacherless classroom.  We need teachers of all ages in the social space [online] teaching about honesty, courage, and respect.  How? Not necessarily befriending young people as peers, we instead need to provide positive role models of not just "appropriate" but honest, courageous, and respectful behavior online!

Traditional Values for the Digital World

So, how can we as educators help Generation Z, born into our data-rich world, learn digital citizenship and discernment skills? Jason Ohler in a 2011 article, Character Education for the Digital Age introduces the idea that we should encourage students to live a single life.
"The "two lives" perspective says that our students should live a traditional, digitally unplugged life at school and a second, digitally infused life outside of school."
The article further discusses the idea of developing and teaching traditional values and how to apply them to the digital world.   Ohler cites two organizations lists of principles.  These lists show the overlap of what is important to diverse groups.
International Center for Leadership in Education: "The 12 Guiding Principles of Exceptional Character"  - adaptability, compassion, contemplation, couragehonesty, initiative, loyalty, optimism, perseverance, respect, responsibility, and trust-worthiness 
Heartwood Institute: "The Seven Universal Ethical Attributes" - courageloyalty, justice, respect, hope, honesty, and love 

Finding ways to teach these intangibles is a challenge.  And teaching without a teacher-parent partnership is nearly impossible.  Join me as I search for ways to encourage parents and teach students to live a singular life.  One where students don't hide from the trusted adults in their lives.  And one where we embrace the positives of technology and the digital world and use tech for the greater good.  

Ways to start merging the digital and physical space

  • Learn about the technology for yourself
  • Ask your child or student to teach you how to set up an Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter
  • Ask students for tips on the "unwritten rules" [like don't screenshot everything]
  • Read about emerging technologies and recommend those with educational benefits 
  • Make the technology conversation less threatening 
  • Ask students "how can we use technology for good?"

Take a look at our Digital Parenting Book Display

Monday, April 03, 2017

Unpacking the Spectacles

The Spectacles have arrived, Now What?

Just in time for Spring and School Library Month, the Snapchat Spectacles have arrived. We are unpacking and charging right now and hope to have videos up soon!

Here are some ideas of what we can do with the Spectacles.

Snapchat Spectacles: What are they, how do they work and where can you buy them?

10 things to do with your Snapchat Spectacles now you’re bored of them: The fun is only just beginning

Here are 11 tips to help you get the most out of your fancy sunglasses.

A post shared by The Webb School Library (@libfeet) on

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Snapchat Discover

Snapchat goes Public

On March 2, 2017, Snapchat went public.
Read about the event 

The Snapchat Discover platform is packed with media and news.  It has everything from Wall Street Journal to BuzzFeed.  Check out the charts below.  I am hoping to also develop a "how to cite" Snapchat discover post very soon.

Coming Soon, Snapchat will offer television programming.

Stay tuned, you will hear much more about Snapchat in the near future, including our adventures with Snapchat Spectacles.

Charts with the Snapcodes for the Discover Channels

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Year, New You

Focus on Life Goals in the New Year

This year we are featuring books in our New Year's display about overarching life goals and not just about the yearly resolution.

Some Featured Books include:

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens "This ultimate teenage-success book provides a step-by-step guide to help teens improve their self-image, build friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve goals, get along with parents, and more."

  • Hello Life!  "The best part about this book is every part. ... It’s like King Arthur’s round table; everyone holds the same importance. So the 4 main parts of the book are: Health, Relationships, Crisis and Future Planning."

  • What Should I Do With My Life? "Novelist and business writer Bronson spent two years interviewing more than 900 people who had weighed or were weighing that question."

Monday, December 12, 2016

Something they Want, Need, Wear, and READ

A new tradition:

This is the third year we have tried to simplify the Christmas madness.
When the kids were small there were piles and piles of "stuff" that was forgotten in no time at all. Now we follow a simple formula we found on numerous "Mom blogs" and Pinterest boards.  The idea is to purchase fewer quality gifts.  The tradition goes like this "Something they Want, Something they Need, Something they Wear, and Something to READ."  My kids actually make Pinterest boards for each category so there is still the element of surprise.   Of course, as a librarian, I love the fact that the tradition includes something to read!

Ideas for "something to read"

  • Dog, Horse, or Cat breed books
  • A Rhyming Dictionary
  • Inspirational Journals
  • Health or Sports books
  • The Daring Book for Girls
  • The Dangerous Book for Boys
  • Guinness Book of World Records 
  • Cookbook for Teens: The Easy Teen Cookbook with 74 Fun & Delicious Recipes to Try
  • Kindle E-reader or Tablet

I am sure that you will not have any trouble with the other categories.  The only thing that is problematic, for teenage girls, is that the want, need, and wear are all WEAR. ;)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Guide to Cutting the Cord

The Frugal Librarian's Guide to Cutting the Cord

This post is a little off-topic for me.  I am writing this because so many have asked my advice for cutting out cable.  Last year my family decided to cold-turkey ditch cable.  Our most basic cable package had surpassed $100 per month.  We wouldn't have been so frustrated if we actually had the time to watch TV.  Additionally, we were primarily watching free network TV and paying for the DVR capabilities.  We decided to go with the Amazon Fire TV.  Perhaps the most useful Amazon tool in the process of replacing cable was the Interactive Guide for streaming TV.

Our Amazon Experiment

Right now we are using Amazon Fire TV with an Amazon Prime subscription.
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick - Fire Stick runs between $29.99 - $49.99
  • Amazon Prime subscription - This runs $99 for the year and includes so much more than Videos and free shipping.
  • We are also using the minimal versions of Hulu and Sling since we like to stay somewhat current 

Watercooler TV - latest TV
  • Hulu -  $7.99 a month w/commercials [major free networks on demand next day ABC, NBC, and Fox ]
  • Sling TV -  $20- $45/month [3 different packages] cable networks regional FOX Sports networks (depending on location), NFL Network, NBCSN, AMC, FX, CNN, HGTV, Comedy Central, USA, Cartoon Network, History, TNT, Bravo, Food Network, FS1, FS2, NBCSN, TBS, BBC America, FXX (on demand), Syfy, Nick Jr., Disney Channel, IFC, A&E, TruTV, Lifetime, Cheddar, Travel Channel, BET, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Newsy, Bloomberg TV [app is slow at times]
  • The CW - Free [app works well]
  • PBS Video - Free [app is a little glitchy]
  • NBC - Free [app is a little glitchy]

Binge Watcher - whole series and movies
  • Amazon Video - $10.99 or currently comes with a Prime membership
  • Crackle - Free  - Older television and movies 
  • Netflix -  $7.99 a month w/commercials

Free Apps that we like
  • CBSn - somewhat Live News
  • YouTube - What can we say its YouTube
  • Frequency - "If YouTube and cable television had a baby"
  • Haystack TV: Watch world news, business & finance, and celebrity gossip