Saturday, 31 December 2016

February's picks

Books choices for February. Book covers and blurbs from Goodreads. Vote here

1. Poison's Kiss by Breanna Shields

Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya a poison maiden is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

2. A List of Cages by Robin Roe

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he's got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn't easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can't complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian--the foster brother he hasn't seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He's still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what's really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.

3. Air by Ryan Gattis

When 17-year-old Grey witnesses the tragic death of his mother in Colorado, he is shipped off to live with his aunt in inner-city Baltimore. Grey struggles to fit in to his new school and environment until his new friend, Akil, introduces him to the enigmatic Kurtis, the leader of a group that uses high-octane sports as a form of social activism. By challenging the police with death-defying stunts and then posting videos of them online, Kurtis, Grey, and their group become unlikely heroes in the fight against the prejudice that surrounds them. 
As Kurtis takes Grey under his wing, they come up with a name, an insignia and attract more and more followers to their extreme acts. The lines between social activism and criminal behavior blur and their escalating stunts become a rallying point for the underprivileged and disenfranchised around the country, spreading like wildfire across the Internet. How far will Grey and Kurtis go to push their message, and can their fragile alliance withstand their growing power?

4. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

5 things I most proud of from 2016

It's that time of year when I reflect on the last 12 months and recognize what I have accomplished and where I need to grow. I've had an awesome year and am very proud of the library program we are running at CNB. The five things I'm most proud of are:

1. Advocacy. This September I found myself with yet another new principal. I sighed as I knew that I had a long road ahead of me explaining to my prinicpal what it is that I do. I was especially concerned as his previous school didn't have a teacher librarian. My last principal told me to continue having monthly meetings with my new administrator to go over my monthly reports as it is a great opportunity to showcase my work. I have been doing that and I had felt like my principal was starting to understand my role in the building but this was confirmed when I asked him to write a letter of support for a grant application I was putting together. When I read the draft, I was blown away and when I handed it to him, my feedback was, "This letter is awesome. You do understand what I am doing!". Advocacy is very hard but I feel like I am finally getting the hang of it.

2. Embedding skills. I have also made the commitment to really embed skills within each project that comes through the library. I was apprehensive about my aggressive approach with teachers as I know that teachers are already feeling the pressure of time. The grade 7 Humanities teachers and I decided to take a day and teach the structure of PBL and it was extremely successful. We created a PBL road map to show students the structure and then used that road map in our first Social Studies PBL project and I felt it went much smoother. I then talked to the Math/Science 7 teachers and took two of their classes to teach the grade 7s note taking and then non-fiction text features. Both of those lessons were well received. The grade 9 Social Studies teachers and I created a one day lesson for the grade 9s on how not to plagiarize by teaching them how to summarize, paraphrase, and quote. Next challenge: scheduling the grade 8s in the library for some lessons.

3. Awards. This September, two colleagues and I received the Government of Canada's History teaching award for a PBL project we designed and implemented. I am very proud of this award because it highlights the wonderful teaching that is going on at CNB; teachers are cutting edge, looking at the curriculum to create innovative projects, and doing this all through collaboration. I also received the Diana Poole Memorial Award as the BC teacher librarian of the year. This award is an incredible honor and is something I will always cherish.

4. Speaking. I am an introvert and I am terrified of public speaking. I have been, over the last few years, challenging myself to speak more often. I've signed myself up to present at conferences and then berated myself every moment after signing up until the actual presentation was over with. I presented at the BCTLA conference in October and I also delivered my acceptance speech at that same conference and felt that both went better than expected. I feel like I am slowly getting better at conquering my nerves but I recognize that I still have a long road ahead of me.

5. Technology. I'm not one of those tech savvy tls that's on the cutting edge of everything. This year I have really tried to set up my game around technology - I have taken on running the virtual field trips, I've embraced GAFE and hope to implement it at my school, and I'm trying new web tools more frequently.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Questions for This is Our Story

Q1 Initial thoughts? Likes and dislikes?
Q2 Did you find Kate a believable character?
Q3 How did you manage to keep the characters straight?
Q4 Who did you suspect?
Q5 What did you think of the ending?
Q6 Other titles like this to recommend?

Friday, 2 December 2016

January picks

Book covers and blurbs are from Goodreads. Vote here

1. The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costs

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

2. Teach Me to Forget by Erica M. Chapman

This is the story of Ellery, a girl who learns how to live while waiting for the date she chose to die.

Ellery's bought the gun, made arrangements for her funeral, and even picked the day. A Wednesday. Everything has fallen into place. Now all she has to do is die.

When her plans go awry and the gun she was going to kill herself with breaks, she does the one thing she has control over--return it and get a new one. After tormenting the crusty customer service associate by trying to return the gun with the wrong receipt, Ellery gets caught by the security guard who also happens to be someone she knows--the annoyingly perfect Colter Sawyer from her English class.

3. The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane

According to sixteen-year-old Zander Osborne, nowhere is an actual place—and she’s just fine there. But her parents insist that she get out of her head—and her home state—and attend Camp Padua, a summer camp for at-risk teens.

Zander does not fit in—or so she thinks. She has only one word for her fellow campers: crazy. In fact, the whole camp population exists somewhere between disaster and diagnosis. There’s her cabinmate Cassie, a self-described manic-depressive-bipolar-anorexic. Grover Cleveland (yes, like the president), a cute but confrontational boy who expects to be schizophrenic someday, odds being what they are. And Bek, a charmingly confounding pathological liar.

But amid group “share-apy” sessions and forbidden late-night outings, unlikely friendships form, and as the Michigan summer heats up, the four teens begin to reveal their tragic secrets. Zander finds herself inextricably drawn to Grover’s earnest charms, and she begins to wonder if she could be happy. But first she must come completely unraveled to have any hope of putting herself back together again.

4. Shooter by Caroline Pignat

A lockdown catches five grade 12 students by surprise and throws them together in the only unlocked room on that empty third floor wing: the boys' washroom. They sit in silence, judging each other by what they see, by the stories they've heard over the years. Stuck here with them--could anything be worse?
There's Alice: an introverted writer, trapped in the role of big sister to her older autistic brother, Noah.
Isabelle: the popular, high-achieving, student council president, whose greatest performance is her everyday life.
Hogan: an ex-football player with a troubled past and a hopeless future.
Xander: that socially awkward guy hiding behind the camera, whose candid pictures of school life, especially those of Isabelle, have brought him more trouble than answers.