Category Archives: Events

Embed THIS!

Embedding is always exciting and sometimes aggravating but imagine my excitement when I realized that the Padlet I created to share resources on a presentation I was giving actually has a specific embed code for WordPress– as in, copy and paste this address rather than lines of code inside the body of the blog post and it will automatically embed. Cool, huh? When we talk about how integrated and networked devices, apps, and websites are, these are the shining examples.

Today I had the privilege of presenting at the New York State Council for the Social Studies. The first presentation centered on current books representing timely topics like child exploitation, trafficking, and social movements. And the second (back to back and in separate rooms leaving little room for error in disconnecting and reconnecting my laptop, cables, and bags) was about new literacy. For the attendees, I wanted to share websites, articles, videos, and images and decided Padlet was my mode of delivery. So if you’re interested in the topic, check out the collection of resources

Made with Padlet

Enjoy the resources and be happy that you were not me during the presentation (though I will say I think I handled it flawlessly) where many of the resources and videos I wanted to show live never happened since the Internet wasn’t working. But damn, my slides looked amazing! (see previous post about the importance of images for me)



Student privacy: respect it

As a unique educator in that the 2,500 students that attend the public high school that I work at are all “mine” since I work in the library means that any given program, activity, class project, or visitation could mean meeting a student I have never met before or that has never come to the library before. It also means that at the beginning of the school year I haven’t sent home a photo release form from our school to post or not post images of my one class or multiple classes that I have direct contact with if I was a classroom teacher. With that in mind, as I do for my own elementary-aged children, I do not want my own kids’ images plastered on social media for the sake of capturing an exciting educational moment unless it protects their privacy or I have given permission. That’s where creative camera work comes into play.

Many of my favorite memorable moments from programming in the library have been avoiding students’ faces and focusing on the atmosphere or activity. Now, I’m not saying I’m Dorothea Lange, but I know my way around my iPhone camera to capture the moment without student faces. Yes, I have them, but they’re not the ones that get shared. This is important. It’s also why I teach Googling your name and do so often with my and my family’s name to see what is out there. This is an element of digital citizenship that people must get out in front of, even if it’s simply to know what’s out there. We must be aware of what it out there attached to our identity or others that have similar or the same name. It can take the form of a picture or simply your name or your affiliated institution.

Ultimately though, it is as much our responsibility as educators as students and their parents to be sure that they can control what and where they can. So, here are some examples from our own social media postings where we avoid showing student faces. For us, it’s about angles, light, or putting teachers in the foreground.

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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in edublogsclub, Events, Librarian Life, Miscellaneous


Six sensational stories with veterans

In honor of Veteran’s Day, I wanted to highlight some of my favorites from the past and one current favorite to recognize all the men and women who have fought for our country, returned, struggled and adjusted, and continued on. I certainly could highlight many, many more including books like The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien or The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, but I’ve chosen these six sensational ones to highlight for this homage to our veterans, including my husband.

  1. In Country by Bobbi Ann Mason- The journey that Sam takes to understand why her father never came home from the Vietnam War and what her uncle and his friends are experiencing upon their return creates a beautiful arc to the story where they travel to the Vietnam Memorial fulfills Sam’s quest.
  2. I Had Seen Castles by Cynthia Rylant- This is a small story with a very big impact because it doesn’t sugarcoat the experiences of a World War II story. I’ll share a favorite quote “When I told my father, during his Sunday evening call, that I had enlisted, I think he stopped breathing. When finally he could inhale once again, it seemed to be with great labor. A man with a ton of weight on his heart.”
  3. Soldier’s Heart by Gary Paulsen- A contemporary classic using one of the oldest terms for PTSD, this is Paulsen at his best telling the story of nineteen year old Charley Goddard during the Civil War.
  4. Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19 Year Old GI by Ryan Smithson- Knowing him personally makes the impact of Smithson’s story stronger and his willingness to speak to teenagers about the impact of his service on him and his family make this a powerful memoir with a mix of emotions, facts, experiences, and heart.
  5. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers- A seminal work that makes me love Walter Dean Myers. African American service member, Perry who enlists and goes to Vietnam coming face to face with evil and danger to fight against racism in the military as well as the horrors of fighting in Vietnam.
  6. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk- This story has many layers, but the one that spoke loudest to me as a reader was Toby’s, the World War I veteran living near Annabelle’s home in Pennsylvania. He’s disliked because he’s mysterious, a loner, and disheveled, but Annabelle knows how deeply he feels inside, especially when he becomes the target of the new, mean girl’s rage only to suffer a tragic fate that is emotionally draining.

If you haven’t read them all, add them to your to-be read pile because none of them will disappoint. Happy Veteran’s Day to all who have served as well as their families who have supported them.



When students and authors collide

This post originally appeared on the Times Union Books Blog here.

When someone asks a school librarian whether kids read books anymore, they’ll have to move past the look of shock from the librarian and then likely hear a few minutes worth of anecdotes and data about how reading is alive and well for teens. It was no more evident than this past weekend when over 250 students and over a hundred more of their librarians, teachers, parents, and siblings converged on the Shenendehowa Middle School campus for the third annual TeenReaderCon.

In short, it’s a free event for middle and high school students to attend a day filled with authors, books, and reading. This year, the students rubbed elbows with eight authors: Jennifer Armstrong, Joseph Bruchac, Eric Devine, Jackie Morse Kessler, Patricia McCormick, Lauren Oliver, James Preller, and Ryan Smithson. There was a kickoff and then individual sessions with the authors and a panel to choose from at the end. Northshire Bookstore was on site to sell the author’s books, but the students could bring their personal copies of the authors’ books as well, plus mementos from the day. It was the hum of the students throughout the day: some excited to exit the bus they rode for over an hour to get there, amazement over Joseph Bruchac’s storytelling, or simply sharing a book recommendation with a stranger turned friend while waiting in line.

The culmination of the day was our author signing where students clamor to get in line for a few extra minutes of face time with their heroes; sometimes it is literal, since rumor has it that Eric Devine, local teacher and author, will willingly sign foreheads if the requester asks. And at the end of a long day when I put my feet up, staring at my book socks and scrolling through the tagged photos from the day, we know we’ve succeeded as a committee of educators, writers, and book lovers in bringing more joy to the joyful readers who took part.

If you want to learn more about TeenReaderCon, including making a donation to continue to make it a free event for students, visit our website at You’ll find pictures from past events, our giving sponsors, and the names of the committee members who work diligently to put this on.

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Posted by on October 23, 2016 in Authors, Events, Librarian Life, Young Adult


See you Saturday

In just a few short days, middle and high school students will descend upon the University at Albany’s Downtown Campus for the second annual TeenReaderCon. Write this down—on Saturday, October 17th. Boasting nine authors, including a few famous locals, let me take a moment to share my favorite book from each of the authors in one sentence.

  • Jennifer Armstrong’s Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and The Endurance: A riveting survival story with a killer setting.
  • SA Bodeen’s The Raft: A smart thriller on the open water with mind-bending twists—a contemporary version of survival classics.
  • Eric Devine’s Press Play: Compelling rather than sensationalistic, there’s a sensitivity and intelligence that makes the book so grounded.TeenReaderCon134 greenTry
  • Helen Frost’s Salt: A Story of Friendship In a Time of War: An eloquent verse tale of two boys whose lives are changed by the War of 1812.
  • David Levithan’s Every Day: Uniquely existential it allows readers to take a long, hard look at who we are, how we treat one another, and the fluidity of love.
  • Jackie Morse Kessler’s Breath: The final book in her Riders of the Apocalypse foursome, Kessler kills it with imagination, creativity, humor, and Death perched on a balcony.
  • James Preller’s Bystander: The necessary tale of Eric’s role in a middle school drama that can be happening in Anywhere, USA.
  • Eliot Schrefer’s Endangered: With the bonobo sanctuary destroyed and war breaking out, a beautiful story unfolds of the riches of the animal kingdom and the cruelty of humanity.
  • Todd Strasser’s Wish You Were Dead: The first in his ‘thrillogy’, I know it’s good when I’m scared in the middle of the day.

As anticipation builds, the most deeply personal images from our first event and the infectious excitement of the students reminded me of something Holden Caulfield said in The Catcher in the Rye that “what really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though,” so while I can’t promise that you’ll be able to call up any of them like they’re a terrific friend, you can get pretty darn close Saturday.

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Posted by on October 15, 2015 in Authors, Events, Young Adult