Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Surprise! Mediocre Books = Great Book Club Discussions!

Last week my small book club (one10th grade boy, seven 9th-10th grade girls) discussed James Patterson's The Angel Experiment, the first in the popular Maximum Ride series. The students and I loved the book - so much action, such great characters, such imagination! But we agreed that the writing wasn't fabulous, and the characters were sometimes unbelievable, like when one would suddenly and just in time realize she had a special power that would save the day. But now my students are fighting for the sequels and devouring the series.
 So, what made this a great discussion? We made a list on the whiteboard of all the characters, their powers so far, and if those powers were positive or negative. The hilarious discussion that ensued (like about the character Gasman - guess his special power), made my day. I often try to find literary, critically acclaimed books for us to read (Our next selection is The Book Thief). Now I know that sometimes it is great to dissect books that are really just fun. The conversations that arise about what makes a great story, or what makes a book literary (or not) are just as valuable when discussing a mediocre book as when discussing a masterpiece.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My First Slideshare: Creative Commons Attribution

This is the first time I have shared anything on Slideshare. I am presenting these slides as part of a presentation to my faculty about Creative Commons. I found while I was making it that there are so many options for attribution, really, but we need to come up with the best way for our students to do it and teach them that way. I am a rule follower usually, so I am leaning toward following how Creative Commons says it "is nice" to do (see recent blog post).
Pardon the sloppy transcript for the slides, by the way, I wasn't sure they would be posted! It is easy to update the slideshow, however, which I may do soon. I'm loving Slideshare so far. I embedded my slideshow into the LibGuide for our presentation - it looks great!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

School Librarian or Teacher Librarian

This is especially for Independent School Librarians:
Please read Cathy Nelson's blog post and comment - which title do you prefer? Why does it seem that most independent School Librarians like the term School Librarian?  Are our jobs and responsibilities that different? Are our goals different? I don't think so. It seems very important to many public school librarians to switch to Teacher-Librarian. We do need some consistency in this - where do you stand and why?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Creative Commons Image Attribution

I put the following on my school library blog for the students, but I thought it might help some of you too. It took me a while to get the hang of using Creative Commons licensed images. I hope this helps you! Please send feedback and ideas; I will be teaching our faculty about this later this month.

If you find a digital image (or video or audio file) you want to use in a presentation or project, first you must discover if you are allowed to use it, alter it, or sell it. Creative Commons licenses take the mystery out of this aspect of your research.

The following picture I found on flickr using the Creative Commons portal, a great resource for finding images you are allowed to use in your work. Or you can search flickr: Creative Commons directly. On the bottom right of the flickr page for the image, in the Additional Information section, there is a link usually titled Some rights reserved. If you click on this link, you will find if and how you are allowed to use the image. It will also give HTML to copy and paste the correct attribution onto a site.

I added the title of this photo with a link directly to the photo's page, and the photographer's name in this attribution. The attribution sends readers to the photographer's site on flickr, and the second part links to  the type of license (in this case, non-commercial, share alike - meaning you also must allow the same licensing).

"Sharing" by Andy Woo  

I used Picnik to quickly and easily add a frame and put part of the attribution on this photo, and I added a heart as well, since I am allowed to make a derivative work.Although you will sometimes see only  this short attribution, the more complete one is preferred (note the language from the quotation from creativecommons below).

"Sharing" by evilpeacock 

The next one I edited in Picnik as well. Notice that I can really adapt the work, as long as I give credit.The attributions within the pictures in this case aren't links, but the URLs are short enough to type in if needed.

This is a derivative work of

More information from the Creative Commons FAQ:

"How do I properly attribute a Creative Commons licensed work?

All current CC licenses require that you attribute the original author(s). If the copyright holder has not specified any particular way to attribute them, this does not mean that you do not have to give attribution. It simply means that you will have to give attribution to the best of your ability with the information you do have. Generally speaking, this implies five things:
  • If the work itself contains any copyright notices placed there by the copyright holder, you must leave those notices in tact, or reproduce them in a way that is reasonable to the medium in which you are re-publishing the work.
  • Cite the author's name, screen name, user identification, etc. If you are publishing on the Internet, it is nice to link that name to the person's profile page, if such a page exists.
  • Cite the work's title or name, if such a thing exists. If you are publishing on the Internet, it is nice to link the name or title directly to the original work.
  • Cite the specific CC license the work is under. If you are publishing on the Internet, it is nice if the license citation links to the license on the CC website.
  • If you are making a derivative work or adaptation, in addition to the above, you need to identify that your work is a derivative work i.e., “This is a Finnish translation of the [original work] by [author].” or “Screenplay based on [original work] by [author].”