Thursday, April 29, 2010


(After just being informed that my job may no longer exist in a year or two and that this degree may have been for nothing not to mention the thousands of dollars in debt and the loss of 2 1/2 years of my life, I am not so motivated anymore to do anything today....alas, I will try...)

The next victim that filled out a form was my old roommate, Gena.  Gena is the one who loves I knew this could be rough.  On her form she listed that she is interested in cooking, wine, travel, and Italy.  She listed humor and women's lives as genres and told me that she likes women authors and female characters.  I found her a biography about a man who was well known for his wine knowledge, a few light and fast reads that were humorous and about women's lives similar to Sophie Kinsella. 

Michael was my other victim and since it was a guy, I did find it to be more difficult.  He likes to read Westerns, fantasy, humor, and horror which are the opposite of the type of books I am familar with.  I search books similar to the authors he listed and found an award list of Westerns to look at.  I found him a couple of good Westerns and fantasy/horror books that he said look like good reads.

My last person to do was the hardest.  Devin did not put much on his form and from my personal experience of him being in the book store with me for hours, I knew this one was going to be painful.  He said he likes espionage.  I didn't know what that is...had to consult with Michael.  He said he liked Tom Clancy and J.R.R. Tolkein so I searched for read alikes by author.  He liked the Bourne series so I did find similar on those as well.  I did find him some books that he thought he might read.  He isn't an avid reader like me! :) 

Over all, I think it was a good experience and my people seemed to be happy with what I found.  I used Fiction Connection alot but also used Fantastic Fiction, Amazon, Mid-Continent Public Library, Stop! You're Killing Me!, and Library Thing for my searches.  I love these resources and will be sad when I no longer have access to them.


Well, for some reason I totally spaced it on having to blog about my lab.  Looking now at my blog, I see that I posted about getting started, but failed to update.  ahhh....the joys of having too much on your plate.  So to catch you up....

I sent out my fictional form to 6 of my friends and family.  I figured I needed 5 so if someone flaked, I was covered.  I got all six back and all were really well filled out except one.  

I chose my Mom since well, she is my mom and a reading specialist.  I know we love reading the same things but was interested to see what she would put on her form.  She said she liked Jane Austen, historical fiction, humor, and mystery.  I found her a book written in 2007 about Mr. Darcy, a mystery/romance series from Meg Cabot, and one of the historical fiction books about WWII I read for this class but had forgotten about already.  Over all she liked the list and was looking forward to reading them over the summer.

I also asked my best friend, Mandy, to fill out the form since she is currently flying through books.  We have been been on a vampire kick since we read Twilight but she also likes Sophie Kinsella. She loves reading series books.  I found her a series called Vampire Kiss that I am now dying to read as well.   I also found a series that Kinsella recommended about girls in a boarding school and each book covers one year in the school.  They encounter lots of girl drama.  Since Mandy and I are Jacob fans after seeing the last movie...hello, he is HOT....she also wanted me to look for topics on shapeshifters.  I found a series about shapeshifters that form into werewolves.  After looking at my list and reading the information that I put with it, she is excited to finish Burned byProxy-Connection: keep-alive
Cache-Control: max-age=0

.C. & Kristen Cast so she can start on those 3 series.  (She needs to hurry with Burned, I get it next!) She is hoping to finish those 3 series before the school year is out because for some reason she has not read Harry Potter and plans on doing that over the summer.

Well that is the length of my first break of the be continued!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

524-YA Books!

I was looking forward to hearing what Dr. Irwin had to say about Young Adult Literature.  I have loved getting to read adults books this semester since I am usually surrounded by children's books, but last year during my Materials for Youth class, I fell in love with Young Adult books.  My best friend and I are addicted to Twilight, we have read then multiple times and were among the 12-18 year olds that were at the theatre at midnight when New Moon came out.  We even have "Property of Cullen"  sweatshirts made.  Yes, we were those people! :) haha  We now can't seem to get enough to vampire books.  She has devoured the True Blood series and we are both addicted to the House of Night Series.

I agree with Dr. Irwin that teens read YA "edgy" books because they can relate to it.  I teach in IPS and some of my kids have had it pretty rough.  They can relate to the drugs, alcohol, abuse, sex, etc.  But I also think they read it because they want to read about someone's life that is worse than theirs.  I think so that they can say, see my life isn't so bad, look at this kid's.  They love the fast paced short stories.  They love that they aren't in the children's section.  I think it makes them feel older and more important.

I think for the same reasons teens read YA, my age group reads YA.  I love fast paced books.  Otherwise, I fall asleep.  I have to get thrown in to a book and get hooked.  I like a book that I take everywhere and can't stand to put down.  I like the drama.  I grew up very very sheltered out in the fields of Kokomo.  I went to a country high school where diversity was a word that didn't exist.  You were either Baptist, Methodist, or Catholic...that was our diversity.  So to read about inner city kids going through all that horrible stuff not only makes me glad I grew up where I did, but also gives me an idea of what others's lives are like. 

I was surprised that the older generation of women are loving YA, but like I pointed out in class, they watch Lifetime and well the same type of drama is in those movies that is also in YA books.  I am sure they, too, appreciate the fast paced shorter novels.

Regardless of the reasons why people are loving YA, they are and we have to make sure as librarians that we keep up on it to be able to recommend it to those who want it.  I know with budget cuts things are getting tight everywhere.  I hope that YA departments can stay in tack.  Teens don't want to go to the children's section to get their books and they think they are "old" if they go to the adult's section.  Teen are "special" people and therefore need the extra "special" attention.

Friday, April 2, 2010

524-Lab Intro

I decided to do my lab on advising 5 people.  When I thought about reader advisory, I know a lot of people are much more comfortable with the anonymity of computers, texting, and other non face to face ways of communication.  So I think what I am going to do is create a document that would then be placed on a librarys website to assist with reader advisory.  Patrons would then be able to fill out the form and submit it to the reference desk.  On my form, I am going to have options for the follow up.  Do they want to make an appointment and come in to the library and meet with me about the selections I have chosen for them?  Do they want me to call them and discuss the selections over the phone?  OR Do they want me to simply email them the selections with descriptions about the books I think would interest them?  I think that by giving those options, I will be better ablet to help different types of people and their preferences.  Some people may not have the time to actually come into a library and go through the reader advisory interview in person, but would like the face to face discussion about the books found and then be able to take them home at that time.  Other readers may just want the information over the phone or by email so they can come into the library at their leisure to check out the books, or though we might not like to think about it, they may just order them through Amazon or head to Barnes and Noble to purchase the books.  Either way, I like my idea.  I already have 3 people in mind to do my advising with.  Need to find 2 more victims! :)

524-Programming-Baby & Toddler Reading Time

I decided that during my Spring Break I would find a program that interested me either at the library close to me or the library close to Devin and attend.  Unfortunatly, all the programs close to me cost money and well...I'm broke after visitng a friend in Nebraska for the first part of my break.  So I decided on the Baby and Toddler Reading Time which is held Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.  Parents can bring their babies and toddlers up to 2 years old for stories, songs, and social interaction.  Since it is the week before Easter, the librarian chose stories about chicks, bunnies, and Springtime.  She read two stories to the kids and then together they learned some songs with hand motions.  Everyone seemed to be having a good time.  There were only about 5 babies with their moms present.  The librarian said they usually have a few more but with schools being on Spring Break she had expected fewer in attendance.  After they read and sang, the librarian let the children play with the toys and eachother.  The actual program only lasted about 15 mins, but parents lingered with their kids playing for about another 15-20 minutes.  This not only gave the kids time to socialize with other babies, but the moms got a chance to talk to other moms as well.

I really like the idea of this type of program.  I think it is good for babies to learn to play with other babies and it is definitely a good idea for moms to have other moms to talk to as well.  The library also does a preschool program as well as other age groups throughout the month.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

524-Secret Shopper

For my Secret Shopper assignment, I went to a Indy suburb branch.  When I walked up to the desk, the Reference Librarian looked up and smiled and asked what she could help me with.  I told her that I was looking for book to read but was tired of what I have been reading (white lie) and that I wanted to read something new.  She continued to look at me which I took to mean keep talking so I said I had been reading a lot of historical fiction about WWII.  She immediately lit up like a Christmas tree and asked if I had read any of W.E.B Griffin's books.  I said no, and she grabbed a reference book of the shelf, "What's Next," or something like that.  She looked up his name and showed me the series he writes.  She told me she absolutely loves his books and if you are going to read one you need to read them in order since the paragraphs at the end of one book lead right into the first paragraphs of the next book.  She told me the topics of his series.  One was about cops, one about post WWII, during WWII, presidents.  She also told me that if I was going to read one to also check out the second because I wouldn't want to wait to come to the library to get it.  I decided to try the post WWII because she said it was written more from the war strategy perspective rather than the survivor stories I usually read.  She was so excited walking me over to the paperback sections and actually told me that I had made her day because Reader Advisory is her favorite part of her job.  I just smiled and told her I was happy to help.  I was thinking "Great, now I have to actually read this book because she is going to tackle me at the door the next time I come in to ask how I liked it."

So now here I sit writing this with yet another book on my to do list! :)  I was glad that she was very friendly and excited about helping me.  However, I wish she had asked me some questions other than if I had read that author.  I would have liked her to ask me what I have read in the past and what I liked or didn't like to read.  Overall, though, it sounds like I had a better experience than most. :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

524-The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Authors: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Genre: Gentle Reads

I loved this book!  But hated that I bought it and a week later my mother says "Oh Christ gave me this book for you to read, she thought you could use it for your class."  What do you know, same book!  ug!  There goes $14!!!

This is set in the aftermath of WWII in London and Guernsey which is an island in the channel.  The author begins to write letters back and forth with a man who had read her book and wanted to see if she had information on another book.  Through their correspondence, she realizes she could write an article about thier lives during the war.  She then begins to write to other islanders and learn about thier stories during the war.

She also writes to her editor and his sister whom she met while in boarding school.  After falling in love with her friends on the island she decides to visit them and falls in love with island.  Through the book her friends learn that girl, Elizabeth, who started the society on a whim when being questioned by the Nazis as to why they were out after curfew, died in the concentration camp she was sent to for harboring a worker.  Her daughter was being raised by the other members of the society and after Juilet (the author) comes to the island she stays with her in her mother's cottage.

Juliet stays on the island for a few months and realizes she does not want to leave and would be content living there and adopting Kit.  She also realizes she has fallen in love with Dawsey who was the man who originally wrote to her.

Through reading all the letters written amongst them, you learn so much about each of their lives and about how life was during the war.

I was originally worried about the format of the book since it was written completely in letters.  After a while you don't even notice the letters and just get caught up in the story.  It is a smooth quick read and very enjoyable.  I feel like it ended too quickly, however.  We never knew if Juliet was able to adopt Kit.  Even so, it gets 5 stars from me!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

General classes....

I know I have mentioned to some readers of this blog how frustrating this online I am taking is.  It has officially reached a new level of frustration....If I am in tears over an assignment, I would say that it is too hard.  Actually, let me rephrase.  The assignment itself is not hard.  Write a lesson plan....I do that every day.  Its nothing like my lesson plans....way too complicated and teachers never write or use this detailed of plans, but I get that she wants us to "think" it completely through.  That's fine.  But we have to use Wikispace to display our work.  I can only handle so much "new technology" at a time.  I have figured out this "blog" thing, why can't we just keep using that???  Why torture me with a wiki that isn't even our Oncourse wiki???  I could do that.  Maybe.  I just hate being made to feel stupid and to the point of tears.  My anxiety attacks have lessened quite a bit since leaving my previous school.  So far this year has been great....however, this online class is killing me.  I finally get something mastered and then let's just throw me for a loop.  Part of this is my own fault.  I am a perfectionist and I don't like not knowing something.  I don't do this well.  The over achiever in me is screaming and scared that I may fail.  Will I?  Ofcourse not, that has never been an option or even allowed to be in my vocabulary throughout my life.  I have 3 weeks to figure this thing out.  Can I just write in Word and copy and paste to this Wiki thing?  I don't want to have to design or create a website which is what I am feeling like this thing is.  Ofcourse it would be easier to just write the thing in word and post it in Oncourse in a forum.  Everyone would still be able to read it and comment on it which is what we have to do with this Wiki thing.

UUUUGGGGG!!!!!!!  I don't know which is harder: being the newbie in Step Areobics this morning or figuring out this Wiki thing.  I am feeling like a fish out of water in both.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

524-Fake Memoirs??? Really???

When doing the readings for class last week, I hadn't had the chance to read about the individual fake memoirs, just about the general topic.  When Andrea mentioned the one about the child walking across Europe and living with the wolves, I had to go back and read about it in detail.  Reading about the Holocaust is a big interest of mine, especially about the children who survived the Nazis.  Even though this is not  real story, I want to read it.  I don't understand why an author would want to write an untruth.  Why not just write a Historical Fiction???  I guess it wouldn't have the same "wow" or "shock" factor but to lie?  I don't get it!

I pasted the link for the book that caught my attention.  I am going to try and find a copy of this book to read as fiction since that is obviously what it is.

I wonder if authors get punished for writing something and claiming it to be true?  I mean in education it is called cheating and they are reprimanded.  

This article is also about fake memoirs.  I found it to be interesting and thought I would share.  He proposes answers to the questions I have already asked. 

As for legal ramifications, I did a search to see if it is illegal to write something and pose it as truth when in reality it isn't.  I found the answers on this site to be interesting. 

Regardless, I think it is very shifty to write something and claim for it to be real.  This is not fair to those who have had things happen to them that is worthy to write about, but if too many people write about fake real things, then people will begin to doubt the actual real stories about there.  We don't want to lessen or cheapen their experiences. 

524-Smart Girls Think Twice

Title: Smart Girls Think Twice
Author: Cathie Linz
Genre: Romance

I think for genre we should really call this "Hot Romance" since it isn't for the those who like sex to be a "behind closed doors, private thing that nobody talks about thing."  Linz does a good job of making us wish we were Emma being seduced by Jake in this story.  Emma is the "smart sister" as the people in her hometown refer to her.  She is a sociologist who teaches and works at a university in Boston.  She has come back home to her very small town for the summer to attend her sisters's weddings and to do research on what attracts outsiders to her hometown.  She is teased by her family for being boringly dressed and not into snatching up a man.  Emma walks into a bar to interview a newcomer to town and finds herself distracted by the hot bartender (who is the newcomer.)

Jake is an extreme sports athlete who left the sport after a tragic accident on a mountain that he barely survived and which unfortunatly killed his best friend.  He is on a personal journey to find his birth mother who is from this very small town he has found himself tending bar in.  Jake is used to being with "ski bunny" model type women and never thought a sociologist would bring him to his knees.

Even though this is a very hot and steamy romance, I enjoyed the story itself as well.  The characters in the book were entertaining and brought a lot to the story.

To spare anyone any uncomfortable reading, I won't go into detail about the "hot" parts, but if you need to get your engines revved up be sure to read this one!  (Be sure to warn your man first since you will be liable to jump him after you have finished the book!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

524-Finger Lickin' Fifteen

Title: Finger Lickin' Fifteen
Author: Janet Evanovich
Genre: Mystery/Humor

I had never picked up a Janet Evanovich novel until I read this one.  I always wondered what all the hype was about.  My aunt is addicted to them which is why it gave me the idea to read one.  I can remember over the past few years on family vacations or get togethers that my aunt would be reading and all of a sudden be laughing so hard she had to close the book until she was done.  She would laugh so hard she was crying...and my aunt does not laugh quietly.  Those of us around her would simply be laughing because she was.  It is hysterical to watch. 

The week after we started class I was sitting with our text thinking "what books do I want to read?"  I called my aunt and asked her what genre those books would be.  She said Humor and when I said that wasn't in our book she suggested mystery.  She gave me "Finger Linckin' Fifteen" and assured me I would not need to read the first 14 before reading this one.  She was right.

Stephanie Plum, the inept "bounty hunter," goes off another adventure trying to track down the men who jumped bail as well as the men ripping off the Rangerman accounts.  While trying to manage all that, she has to deal with her friend, Lula, who is trying to not get killed by the guys she witnesses decapitate a man in front of her car.  Lula and Grandma are also trying to create a winning barbeque recipe that is mission impossible since Lula can't cook and Grandma is used to a much different type of cooking.  The two men in Stephanie's life also prove to cause her stress and drama.  Should she go for the hot Ranger or cop Morelli?  Personally I vote for hot Ranger.  In the end, as any good mystery or fun read, everything works out for the best and along the way we have laughed ourselves silly.

Lula in tight bright yellow pants and a black flak jacket stuck hanging out the car window.....and her breasts falling out of her shirt....need I say more????

524-A Thread of Grace

Title: A Thread of Grace
Author: Mary Doria Russell
Genre: Historical Fiction

This book is set in Italy during World War II.  A group of Jewish refugees is trying to get to Italy to be safe only to find out that once they have climbed and reached the other side of the mountain that Italy had been turned over to the Germans and they were still not safe.  Italian soldiers ran with them and found them safe places within the hills of Italy with patisans who are willing to help anyway they can.  The story takes you through the later years of the war and many things happen that don't make it a "happily ever after" type book.

While I think this book is very well written and a very realistic picture of what the war must have been like in that part of the world, I found it hard to keep track of since there were so many different story lines.  I felt like I needed a felt board of Italy with character cut outs so I could move them along and figure out who was where and doing what.  Each section would be about different characters and you would have to remember who they were talking about.  As the book progressed, the characters did meet and come together so it made it easier. 

The ending was unexpected and very sad, but one should expect the unexpected when it comes to World War II.  I have been reading WWII books for years but this one was very different for me.  I am used to the stories of Jewish families or just children being sent away and tortured in the camps, or being hidden and then found and tortured.  I have read many books of survivors and what they went through to survive.  This one took on a different perspective of how the Italians and Catholic in particular helped people in need.

Over all I give it a thumbs up, but be prepared to get out that felt board or some other way to keep track if you choose to read it!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

524-Is Reader Advisory better in a book store vs. a library?

Two of the books I wanted to read for this class were not at my local library.  Instead of taking time to find it at another library or do ILL, I cheated and went to Borders.  Yes, I know, as a librarian this surely puts me on the black list, however, I would rather spend money instead of time I don't have!  I felt better about buying the books knowing my best friend, my mom, and my sisters would probably read them as well. 

Since the first book I was looking for is a Romance, I went to the section of the store with the little sign "Romance" hanging above the books.  It wasn't I asked a female employee who happened to be walking by if she could help me find it.  We looked in the computer and didn't see it, but did find out I was spelling the authors first name wrong.  So I asked her if she knew of anything that would be similar.  She mentioned a few authors and asked if I had read them and told me a little bit about each.  She mentioned a few times about books that her reading group was reading so it was apparent she herself is an avid reader.  She asked what about that book that specifically caught my eye.  I told her it was mentioned in our text and that it had some "hot" scenes in it.  We eventually settled down to two choices, one by the same author and one by another.  I chose the one by the same author. 

While we were walking back toward the front of the store a book caught my attention and we started talking about it.  This led to her advising me on other books that are "popular" and since they were buy one get one 50%, I ended up with two books to read for fun.

As I was talking to her and she was asking me questions, I thought about the various blogs or conversations in class about the secret shopper assignment.  For the most part, people are having disappointing experiences at libraries.  I had a positive experience at the bookstore.  I wonder if we did the same assignment at bookstores if our experiences would be different.  Since retail is big on customer service, are we going to get better service at a store?  Libraries should be concentrating on customer service, especially, reader advisory since it is there job! 

I asked the woman who I was speaking with if she had an MLS.  She said no, but she had thought about going to school and had been working at Borders for 12 years.  She sure does have the experience and knowledge and I encouraged her to go to school. 

Maybe I got lucky and found a bookstore worker who actually knew what she was talking about.  Maybe that is the norm?  I wonder....

Anybody had any similar experiences?  Thoughts?  Opinions? 

Or is it just me? :) haha

Monday, February 8, 2010

574-Project 1

Personal Connection:
Before doing this project, I don't know if I had a specific way to inquire about something other than if I wanted to know the answer to something I would search Google to see what I found.  If that satisfied my curiosity, I stopped there.  If it didn't, I would ask someone who may know the answer (friends, family, coworkers.) If they didn't know, sadly I would just give up.  I never really took the time to do inquiry...I have no time to give!

When for classes when I was asked to inquire or search for information, depending on the topic, I would search Google or the IUPUI databases.  I only searched full text articles and would print out websites or the full text articles and then highlight what I wanted to keep for my paper.

Now, since doing this project, I have found a way to save many trees by using NoteStar.  Collectin information is soooo much easier with this tool and it produces a bibliography for you!  That is always the dreaded final step of writing a paper for me personally.  I like that NoteStar helps me keep things organized.

I honestly would compare my experiences with inquiry very similar to that of a child.  Children start with one idea and then get lost on some other aspect of that idea easily.  I tend to do that myself.  I will be searching for information on one topic and then something will catch my eye and I will be off on a tangent searching that.  Pretty soon, I have to stop myself and ask what was my original question.  I think that is easy to do since the internet is very stimulating and has so much information.  I think if students are equiped with an organizational tool it would help them stay on target and focus on the original task at hand.  I know for myself, NoteStar did that for me.

After finally completeing this project (it seemed to take forever!), I think it is something important for us to drag our kids through on smaller scales so that they can build upon those experiences and be ready for middle/high school and college.  I had never experienced something like a research paper until I went to college and I was a like a deer in headlights!  I didn't know what to do or where to begin.  I soon found writing 10 page papers to be a breeze.

Now it is time to say goodbye to the elefantes for now....I feel that I have answered the questions and found the informatio I was looking for.

574-Project 1

Curriculum Connection:
I could easily fit this project into any of my grade levels but for my two examples I chose 2nd grade and 4th grade.

The standards that I chose for 2nd grade are:
1.1.4: Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions.
1.1.6: Read, review and listen for information presented in any format in order to make inferences and gather meaning.

My 2nd graders would be asked to choose a wild animal that they would want to learn more about.  They can search the internet and find websites that will answer their questions.  I have taught them that websites with a lot of advertisments are probably ones they want to stay away from and that they should look for ones that are sponsored by organizations or zoos.  They will be able to watch the videos on some websites or listen to soundbits as another way to answer their questions in addition to reading the information.  They would write their questions and answers on a piece of paper as evidence that they completed the assignment.

For my 4th graders, I chose the following standard:
2.1.6: Use the writing process, media and visual literacy, and techology skills to create products that express new understandings.

The 4th graders are very good at creating PowerPoints so once they complete the same steps as the 2nd graders, they can take the information that they learned and create a visually stimulating and information packed PPT to share with their classmates.  They would have slide design, trasistions, and images as well as the questions and answers about their animal on the slides.  Since they are 4th graders, I would probably require a minimum of 6 questions and 8 slides.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

574-Project 1

I think my project went well.  I think my topic was a strength and the model to do the inquiry was a weakness for me.  The project was challenging simply because I have never done a project using a model and using steps.  I am sure in the past I was using some sort of model, but not one I was aware of.  If I had to do this over again, I would have started right away using NoteStar.  I think this is a huge help to organize your information.  I would hopefully have more time to use more of a variety in my sources and exapand my project to include other questions that came up while I was reading.  I just simply did not have the time for this project.

I think a strength was also my technology knowledge since I use these skills and programs daily with my students since I am the "computer teacher."  I am used to trying out new things to see if they will work for my kids and then using them in small simple steps so that they can learn it.

I think for this project my experience mirrored that of my older students in the sense that they usually feel overwhelmed and confused and that is how I felt throughout the process.  My kids ask lots of questions and are fortunate enough to have me standing right there.  For me in this project, I had lots of quesitons, but instead of just speaking right then and asking them, I had to write a post or email and wait for a response.

Overall, I think this was a good experience and will definitely help me emphathize with my students in the future.

574-Project 1

As I already discussed in my Wrapping step, that even though I did this project for me, I do plan on showing it to my students to show them PPT and to share with the younger students the information and pictures that I found about elephants.

I already posted my project in the Waving post....

574-Project 1

My information could be used for students who are studying animals.  It could be a starting point for them or an example of how to compile information.  When I chose my topic, I chose it for myself so really I wouldn't need to share my information with anyone since I just wanted to know the answers for my own personal interest.  This information is important to me becuase of my interest in elephants.  I love learning about them. 

I created the Power Point since it is what I am teaching my older students.  They are learning how to create PPT's and all the options that are available to them in the program.  I can use this PPT to show them next week as an example of transistions, slide design, and importing pictures.

I enjoyed making the Power Point as a way to display what I found.  I like that each slide can be its own subtopic or answer to one of my research questions.

I hope by viewing my PPT you will learn a little more about elephants.  If anything spikes your interest and you want to see where I got my information, see my previous posts that contain my bibliography.

Sommers-Project 1 Elephant Product, PPT

Friday, February 5, 2010

574-Project 1

I am finding the whole process to be frustrating and confusing.  I don't think my project is hard or frustrating, but I think the model is frustrating to follow.  I know I probably shouldn't say that since our professor is the one who created it and has published it, but its too much.  I am a very simple person when it comes to looking for information.  I don't need or want all these steps and I feel like I am repeating myself a lot.  I would love to go back to my Super 3 model....3 steps...I can focus on that sooooo much easier!  We all learn differently and I definitely don't learn well when I am overwhelmed.

That being said, I will attempt this Weaving bit. (I feel a little better, had to vent!) :) 

I organized my information by using NoteStar.  When you find your sources it allows you to take notes as well and creates the equivelant to the old fashioned note cards I used in high school to organize a research paper.  Each note card on Note Star gives me the information I decided to keep from each website and it organizes it inot topics and sub topics.  When I got to create my final project I just have to reword the information on those note cards...simple!

I have discussed this project quite a bit with my boyfriend and best friend since they know my obssession with elefantes.  I doubt they find herd life as interesting as I do, but at least they are willing to listen.  I have even mentioned different aspects of the information I have found with my students.  They also know I like elefantes (which they love that I use the Spanish word since 1/2 of my kids are Hispanic) and when we search things online I always use elephants as my example.  Right now the first and second graders are learning how to take images from the interent and place them on Word.  They have loved seeing all the pictures I have found of baby elephantes and their mamas.

Since I have been particularly interested in herd life, I have found some sad facts about elephants lives in a zoo.  On the IDA website I read that "There is little opportunity for the development of normal social structures."  Many zoos do not have enough space for the elephants to move around like they should and their health is affected by this.   "The confinement, isolation from family, lack of freedom of movement, and absence of a normal social structure take an intense physical and emotional toll on elephants. Captive elephants commonly suffer from foot and joint problems, stress related disorders such as impaired immune and kidney function, stereotypic behaviors such as weaving, and aggression, sometimes directed at keepers to frequently fatal ends. Elephants in captivity die young."

As much as I love visiting the elephants at the Indianapolis Zoo, reading this information has me wanting to help find ways to make their quality of life better for them.  How horrible it must be for them to not have the social interaction that they are accustomed to.  Since breeding in zoos is difficult, they may only be one baby at a time at a zoo.  In the wild, they are used to having a large family with many babies running around together at the same time.

The information from my ask-an-expert also gave me an interesting tidbit.  He found that when an African and Asian elephant were made to breed, the baby only lived for a short period.  That has me curious to find out if that was just a fluke or if mixing the breeds was the cause of this.  That question will have to be answered on a different inquiry!

Since some of my students have taken an interest in animals (since that is what I tend to use in my examples), I have thought about creating a project for them to work together in groups.  I would use the Super 3 model since they are little and well who am I is simple enough for both them and me!  When I do projects with my kids, I have noticed that most of my ILS standards are easily met through the process.  The below standards are what I use when I create my lesson plans.


Information Literacy

The student who is information literate

ILS 1: accesses information efficiently and effectively.

ILS 2: evaluates information critically and competently.

ILS 3: uses information accurately and creatively.

Independent Learning

The student who is an independent learner is information literate and

ILS 4: pursues information related to personal interests.

ILS 5: appreciates literature and other creative expressions of information.

ILS 6: strives for excellence in information seeking and knowledge generation (generates knowledge).

Social Responsibility

The student who contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information literate and

ILS 7: recognizes the importance of information in a democratic society.

ILS 8: practices ethical behavior in regard to information and information technology.

ILS 9: participates effectively in groups to pursue and generate information (shares and collaborates).

In our Curriculum Connections text they talk about Communities of Inquiry on page 36.  After reading that paragrpah, I agree that it is important to have a community of inquiry in schools.  The first sentence really caught my attention: "Communities of inquiry are created when teachers and students build a shared purpose for learning, when they embrace a diversity of perspectives and ingage in the process of developing new understandings, when they share responsibility for supporting and challenging each other, and when they connect their learning experiences in school with the outside world and their futures."  Students have to much to teach us just as we have to teach them.  I feel that if you have the established relationship or community information sharing will be flowing and learning will be a certain.  I would like to get this idea familiar to my teachers and principal so that they may see how important it is do projects that incorporate so many different subjects and ideas to learn instead of always just doing worksheets and taking tests.

Well that concludes this morning's attempt at the 8W's....the snow is beautiful, but I guess I should get to school....the half day I took off is coming to an end....

Go Colts!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

574-Let me know if you are able to view this!

This is a test to see if posting something on here will take you to a PowerPoint...Please let me know if it works!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

574-Project 1

My Bibliography:

Project: Elephants

Bibliography : renaesome_46038

(2010). The san diego zoo's wild animal park elephant cam. Retrieved 31 January 2010, from The San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park Elephant Cam

(2002). Asian elephants - national zoo
fonz. Retrieved 31 January 2010, from Asian Elephant Facts

(2008). Welcome to the indianapolis zoo. Retrieved 31 January 2010, from Welcome to Project Elephant

(2002). African elephants - national zoo fonz. Retrieved 31 January 2010, from African Elephant Facts

(2008). Welcome to the indianapolis zoo. Retrieved 31 January 2010, from Communication

(2008). Welcome to the indianapolis zoo. Retrieved 31 January 2010, from What are the differences between Asian and African Elephants?

(2010). San diego zoo's animal bytes: elephant. Retrieved 31 January 2010, from Mammal: Elephant

Arnold, C. (1993). Elephant. New York: Morrow Junior Books.

Bright, M. (1990). Elephants. New York: Gloucester Press.

Brody, J. (1995). Elephants. Parsippany, NJ: Silver Burdett Press.

Sheldon, W. (1961). Junior science book of elephants. Champaign, IL: Garrard.

Ida campaigns, elephants. Retrieved 31 January 2010, from Sentenced to Life: Elephants in Captivity

(2009). Elephants in zoos. Retrieved 31 January 2010, from Elephants in zoos

(2008). Welcome to the indianapolis zoo. Retrieved 31 January 2010, from Elephant Kinships

Elephant herd structure africam. Retrieved 31 January 2010, from Elephant herd structure

Ida campaigns, elephants. Retrieved 31 January 2010, from Sentenced to Life: Elephants in Cativity

574-Project 1

Techonogy Requirements:
I have mentioned some of the technology I have used but I wanted to make sure I had a separate entry listing them so there was no confusion.

Note Taking:  I used NoteStar to collect notes about my subject.  This was an amazing new thing to learn and use.  I love it and plan on using it in the future to organize papers and projects...wish I had found this 2 years ago when I started my MLS.  (

Ask-an-expert:  I used for this section.  I have copied and pasted my question and the answer I received.
Wild Animals/Answered Question

Expert: Jonathan Wright

Subject: Elephants

Question: When elephants are housed in zoos, do they create a herd including the other elephants already placed at the zoo? Do African and Asian elephants combine to create one herd since they are at a zoo and not in the wild, or would they create two seperate herds? Are the two types of elephants even aware the other is different?

Answer: Dear Nichole

Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

It was quite common for African and Asian elephants to be kept in the same enclosure and this still occurs today (see shows that an African/Asian hybrid is possible, although the calf only survived for two weeks. Please note that elephants will accept elephants of a different species (I have seen this in various zoos), but the small group dos not really constitute a herd. Some new elephants are not accepted in a group, but this is the case with various animals and zoos often send these animals to other zoos. As far as I know, zoos do not keep large groups of African and Asian elephants in the sam enclosure. In fact, many zoos have been criticised because their enclosures are too small and it would be difficult to work out the herd structure in a cramped enclosure. I can't prove that elephants recognise that different elephants belong to different species, but as they are one of the few types of animals that recognise themselvs in their reflections, I am pretty sure that they would identify differences between their species.

Now elephants are usually kept in herds of Asian or African elephants and not in mixed groups. The herd of females have access to a male when they are ready to mate and breeding success has increased.

All the bst


I think this was a great resource and I am thinking about having my students use this to teach them another way of aquiring information.

Productivity Tool:  I am going to use Power Point as a way to present the information I found about elephants.  I am planning on using Oncourse's My Workspace to upload it and will place the link on my blog.

Bibliography: I am going to compile the sources I used into a Bibliography page so that if others want to visit the websites they can.  When it is complete, I will post it.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

574-Project 1

When I looked at the technology requirements and was deciding which ones I wanted to try, I saw  I have used their RubiStar many times and loved it so as I was looking through their home page I saw NoteStar.  This website helps students to keep track of their notes and sources.  Winner!  I signed up and after a while, I have figured it out.

When searching the websites, I would click on Note Card which was installed by NoteStar.  A box pops up and you fill in all the information.  It asks you what project it is for and what topic or subtopic you want it filed under.  (You create this in the "manage projects" section.)  There is a place for you to put the publication year, organization sponsoring the site as well as other bibliographical information.  The best part is there is an open box that lets you type notes about that website or copy and paste the information you want to keep.  You have the option to choose "my own words" or "quote" and once you hit create note your information is saved and organized for you on NoteStar.  There is even a function for viewing the bibliography!  So far it is a hit.  It also keeps track of your sources that are not online.

When I was loking through my websites, before I chose to Note them, I would look at who was responsible for the content of the page.  The zoos and other educational well known names I considered to be reputible sites.  It was also reassuring that the information was consistent from site to site.

When I started this project, I had a general background knowledge about elephants and it has been reassuring that what I thought to be true is and that the information I am finding just elaborates on those facts.  I knew that males did not stay with the herd.  I did not know however, that they left at about 14 or 15 years old to travel on their own in search of a female in a herd that was in heat.

574-Project 1

Today I have spent my homework time by searching the wonderful World Wide Web.  I have found the internet to be my best friend when doing homework since my time is so short and there is just a wealth of information out there.

Since my topic is about elephants and how they behave in their herds, both in the wild and in a zoo, I first looked at the San Diego Zoo's website.  I happened up on it last week and find myself returning regularly to view their webcam.  In addition to their webcam, they have an online elephant game you can play as well as lots of facts and information about the elephants.  I also visited the Indianapolis Zoo's website to see what types of information they had since they have the Elephant Project.  I like the way they catagorize their information so it was easy for me to filter through.

After looking at those two websites, I did a google search for "elephant herd behavior" and came upon some good websites with a wealth of information that talked about how elephants travel in herds and the herds can be up to 100 members.  Herds only consist of female and young males.  Once a male reaches maturity he goes out on his own to find a breeding herds with a female in heat to mate with.  This is just a tidbit of the information I have found.

I then looked for "elephant behavior in zoos" which lead me to a IDA website which was stating its case for elephants to not be held in captivity since they are not able to maintain thier natural behavior and their health deteriates.  When I saw the word "captivity," I changed my search words to "elephants in captivity" and found an interesting article that discussed how being held in a zoo affects the elephants both physically and emotionaly.

I think my research questions are still applicable to my project so I have not tweaked them.  I have so far used the internet and Inspire to look for my information.  I am going to look at my elementary library tomorrow and see what information I can find on our shelves.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Disgrace by J.M Coetzee
Genre: Domstic Fiction (also my classic)

In Disgrace, a 52 year old projessor at Cape Town University who has been divorced twice finds himself unemployed after having a sexual relationship with a student.  He refused to defend himself or seek counseling to save his job.  He feels that he acted as a man should....act on desire.  I have a feeling this is what probably ended his two marriages.  Before the relationship with the student, he found desires filled by a weekly "working" woman who left the business.  He was lost without her and not willing to settle for another one of the agencies women so instead he started the affair. 

Once he finds himself unemployed, he decides to visit his daughter who lives on a farm taking care of stray dogs.  He finds life there to be very different from city life and much more dangerous.  After his daughters house was robbed and they were both attacked, she changes and becomes more determined to stay and have a life there.  He wants her to leave before she is killed by the local thugs. 

Through the story, he is trying to find his place.  Who is he and where does he belong?  He begins to acknowledge that his relationship with the student was a bad idea and after returning to the city months later apologizes to her family.  He finds his home robbed and still he has no job.  With nowhere else to go, he returns to his daughters town and rents a room while he tries to repair their relationship which was strained from the time spent living in the same house.  Upon his return he finds his lesbian daughter is pregnant---from the men who robbed them on his first visit.  He is outraged that she insists on keeping the child and refuses to press charges on the one of three suspects.  He doesn't understand their way of life, but in an attempt to be there for his daughter he remains to assist in any way he can. 

While this book is called Domestic Fiction which has been compared to the genre Women's Relationship, it is written from the man's prospective.  It is what I would call a gentle read.  There is no suspense or thrill....nothing that makes you unable to put the book down because you HAVE to know what will happen next.  It was an enjoyable read with a good story and some interesting lessons.  I am not sure however why it is considered a classic.  It was published in 1999 so I am not even sure it has been out long enough to be considered a classic.  Overall, I enjoyed this book.

574-Project 1-Wondering

When I decided to do my project on elephants, I didn't have particular quesitons in mind.  I just love reading about them and learning everything I can.

After reading some of the San Diego Zoo's website (, and viewing their webcam some questions came to mind about the herd itself.  I wondered how when elephants where put into the zoo, how they created their herds.  I wondered if African elephants were friendly with the Asian elephants and if they even realized amont themselves if there were differences.  To answer this question I emailed an "expert" through ask an expert on 

Since there is so much information about elephants both wild and housed in zoos, it is hard to really narrow down a focus for my search.  I wonder certain things about the herds in the zoos, but then I also like to read about their herd behavior in the wilde.  I like the facts on the zoo boards at the elephant displays that talk about how the male elephant leaves the herd upon reaching a certain age and travels to visit other herds to mate with.  I find it fascinating that a female elephant is pregnant for 22 months (no, thank you!) and how when the babies are born the can stand right away to eat.

After reading what I just typed, I think I just make my subtopic "life in the herd" and include both behaviors in the zoo as well as in the wild.  That way I can compare these two.

A few questions to be answered in a addition to the one I asked the "expert" are:
1.  How is a herd started?
2.  Can a herd ever be too big to where it needs to separate into smaller herds?
3.  Who is in charge in the herd?  Who makes the decisions?
4.  Elephants are said to mourn their dead.  How does the herd do this?
5.  Do elephants have any other "human" like behavior?
6.  How does the herd defend itself from predators?

Well, I think that wraps up my wondering....
On a side note about the project in general, I am feeling very overwhelmed with the amount of work this project entails.  I now understand why my students freak out on me when I introduce projects to them.  They just want to know what to do first or next....that is how I am feeling.  Upon looking at the "Evaluation" list of what all has to be done, I nearly had an anxiety attack....I am hoping that by following the 8 W's, doing the 4 technology steps, commenting on others blogs, and putting my findings into a PowerPoint or Brochure for the final product that I will have completed the project.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Macguire
Genre: Fantasy

Elphaba is born to a minsiter father and a immoral mother as a girl with green skin and huge sharp teeth.  To go along with her odd physical appearance, she seems mean spirited and has to constantly be watched.  While her father is off preaching her mother has an affair with stranger from a different land that happened upon their home.  When her sister, Nessarose, is born with no arms the mother is unsure who the father is.  Elphaba grows into a strong willed woman who is insistent on saving the Animals from the life that the Wizard has condemed them to.  Her life takes her in different directions and many different experiences.  She encounters a young man with whom she has an affair, she is involved with plots against the Wizard as well as her head mistress from her school, she ends up in what is comparative to a convent and leaves wtih a child she is not sure is biologically hers or not, and finally ends up settling down in the land of her lover and ironically with his wife and family since he died more or less as the result of Elphaba's political activities.  From there she is informed that her sister has taken over as ruler of thier homeland nicknamed Wicked Witch of the East.  When Elphaba visited her sister the people then assumed she too was evil and called her the Wicked Witch of the West which Elphaba kept simply becuase it was amusing to her.  Upon Dorothy's arrival to Oz which resulted in the death of Nessarose, Elphaba went in pursuit of the red shoes that Glinda (nicknamed the Good Witch) cast a spell on to make Nessie stand unassisted.  Sadly, the measures Elphaba took to get Dorothy to her home were wicked indeed and in the end resulted in her accidental death at Dorothy's hand.

On a personal note, I feel the book has a good story line, however, the way in which it is written is difficult to read and follow.  There are scenes in the book that are even inapporpriate for my 30 year old self and could have easily been left out as they did not apply to the story line at all.  Along with that, some of the language and descriptions were crude and vulgar and again could have been left out.  While I am interested in the story that the next two books have to tell, I do not plan on reading them for fear of the same writing style, language, and sexual scenes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

524-Kirkus Review "Kindred"

Author: Octavia E. Butler
Title: Kindred
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press (September 15, 1988)
Language: English
Category: Science Fiction/Young Adult
ISBN-10: 0807083054
ISBN-13: 978-0807083055
Hardcover: $23.70
Paperback: $15.00

Butler creates a path to explore what women in the twentieth century would be like if they landed back in the time of slavery. Through some sort of time travel, Dana Franklin, a black woman writer, travels between 1976 and the time of slavery. She encounters a white boy, Rufus, and saves his life. Upon saving him, his father begins beating Dana and she travels back to 1976. Often she is thrown back in time, where she must learn the rules of being a slave and unwillingly follows those rules to stay alive. The timing of her travel becomes clear. When “Slave Master” Rufus’s life is in danger, modern day Dana comes in and saves the day. Thankfully, when Dana’s life is in danger she gets to go home to her white husband (who eventually joins her on a travel and had his own adventures.) This riveting story is suspenseful, thrilling, and quite the page turner. Through some investigation, Dana soon learns that Rufus is her ancestor and that if she does anything drastic to change history she will not exist. During her time spent under Rufus’s iron fist, she befriends her ancestor, Alice, and teaches her literacy but also has to encourage her to withstand being raped by Rufus thus to ensure her own birth many years later. Reader’s who surely enjoy this historical fiction with a twist that teaches many hard lessons.

Monday, January 25, 2010

574-Project 1

Part of this was on my previous post when I listed my three choices.  The conclusion of this step is as follows. (Since I think I am grasping the directions, I am using the 8 W's to help keep my process posts on track.)

I think I am going to do my inquiry on elefantes.  I find elephants absolutely fascinating.  I want to learn more about their culture (yes, elefantes have one!) and about their history in relation to us, the horrible humans who kill them simply for their ivory tusks.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

574--Project 1 Inquiry Ideas

Well, I am a bit overwhelmed when looking at the directions and requirements for Project 1 so I am going to take this slow and hope I do it right.

Some subject ideas I have had is:
The Holocaust--a subject I have always loved learning about.  I am particularly facinated with the children's stories.  What they went through, how they survived, what are they doing now if they are still alive.

Down Syndrome--my 14 year old cousin and her twin who passed away at 6 weeks old were born with DS.  While she is my cousin I always think of her as my baby.  She and her sister, Anna who is 17 and an academic genius, are the joys of my life.  Since Alana was born, I have been fascinated with DS and can't learn enough about it.  I do anything I can to help Alana be successful.

Elephants--I collect elefantes (spanish word I usually use when I refer to them) and decorate my house with them.  I love visiting the zoo (I am a member) and spending most of my time there at the elefantes just watching them.  They are beautiful animals!

Those are my 3 ideas.  Hopefully after reading the directions for the project a few more times (I have already read them 3 times) I can make a decision by tomorrow and begin the next part....whatever that is!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

524-Ding! Dong! The Witch is DEAD!

It is official.  I have officially finished Wicked and am glad to be done.  I will say the last 60 pages were the easiest to read since I have seen The Wizard of Oz many times before.  The last 60 or so pages picked up from when Dorothy arrived to Oz, but it was told through Elphaba's perspective which was interesting.  After completing the book, I feel the Wicked Witch of the West has been misrepresented throughout the years.  I look forward to seeing the play, but never again plan on picking up the book or reading the other two books in the series.

Now on to read Disgrace which is counting as my Classic and the genre is Domestic Fiction.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

524--Wicked....Am I done yet?

Well, over the weekend I officially choked down over 100 pages of this "wonderful" book.  I am currently on page 260 of 400 and am hoping to complete it by our class on Thursday.  Is it getting better?  Yes and No.  I have finally found a story line I can follow even though at each new section of the book it has jumped years ahead and I spend the next few pages trying to figure out what is going on.  Is it still wierd strange crude and just plain gross at parts---yes.  As I have described it to my friends, it is porn.  I am all about the hot and steamy romance novels that I freely admit to reading.  However, this is not HUMAN!  These are Wizard of Oz characters and well, I am sorry, but it is just not cool.  Not too keen on the way it is talked about either...very vulgar. 

Currently, the Wicked Witch is not yet Wicked or even known as a witch, I think.  I could be missing some things since I tend to doze off every 10 pages or so....I could put it down right now and never read another page and be totally ok with that.

But, I will finish it just so I can say I did.  From what I hear the play is awesome and leaves out the parts that I do not like.  So, I will look forward to that.

This now ends my status report on the hardest book I have ever forced myself to read.....
Until next time...Happy reading, Folks!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

All About Me

Hi!  My name is Nichole and I am an elementary school Media Speialist.  I am taking this class as an elective and am looking forward to getting to read adult books in this will have me reaching out of my comfort zone since I usually read children's books (Hey! I work in an elementary school! Don't judge!) and Young Adult books (um, sadly, I just like them! haha).  I love the Twilight series and am on a vampire kick right now!

I am currently at IPS School 79 which is an ESL site so I get to use some of my Spanish which I love.  I taught Spanish for 2 years in a Catholic elementary school.  I have been a teacher for 8 years and decided to switch to media because the classroom was becoming too political and not about the kids anymore.  In the library, I get to help kids and have a relationship with them that isn't about passing tests and doing thier homework and I love it!  At my current school, I have been asked by my principal to teach computer skills instead of library skills which saddens me, but I hold out hope that someday my job description will be my actual job. :)  In addition to being a teacher, I have always also been a Swim Team coach.  I am looking forward to being able to go back to it one I graduate.

In my free time (let's be honest here, before I started grad school), I like to scrapbook, quilt, sew, crochet, knit, make cards, bake....anything crafty really.  I love spending time with my friends, family, and boyfriend (he would be the one in the picture on my blog).  I have a younger sister and brother who are both married.  I am close to all of them.

Last spring I adopted a kitten who quickly became my baby.  Now I understand how people are so attached to thier animals!  Corby Tarzan is crazy, lovable, smart and dumb at the same time, and thinks he is both dog and human, but don't dare call him a cat...I think he would be insulted!  He loves water, snuggling, having his belly rubbed, and eating.  (He is currently on a diet!)