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.