April 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for February 2008

Study: NCLB’s Accountability Requirement Feeds Drop-out Rates

Here’s a new and significant research finding that won’t surprise many of No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB) school-based critics: high-stakes, test-based accountability—exactly what the law promotes—has a direct, negative impact on graduation rates.

That result, from a new study out of Rice University in Houston and the University of Texas-Austin, flies in the face of NCLB’s aim: to improve schools and create more equitable educational success for minorities.

Between 1997 and 2002, as Texas schools began abiding by their state’s accountability system, which […]

I Like Being Me!

I Like Being Me! CD. 32:30 min, Prod. by Sherwin Communications. Dist. by CDBaby.com. 2007. $12.98.

PreS-Gr 4–Lanny Sherwin’s outstanding album is fresh and on target for young audiences. He uses varied musical styles, including country, reggae, rock, do-wop, a cappella, and swing to complement his original songs. Accompanied by a variety of musical instruments, Sherwin’s voice is easy and relaxing. Songs address everyday events in a child’s life. Tunes such as “Everyone Is Different,” “Litter-Quitter,” and “Dad Said a Bad […]

Federal Court:No Parent Notification on Gay-Themed BooksOK

A federal appeals court in Massachusetts has ruled that an elementary school may use children’s books that encourage tolerance for gays without notifying caretakers in advance.

The parents of three children in Lexington, MA, had argued that such notification was justified under the U.S. Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause and their parental and privacy due-process rights.

At issue were the books King and King (2002) by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland; Who’s in a Family? (1995, both Ten Speed) by Robert Skutch […]

DOE Unveils Database on Student Achievement

How is your state doing when it comes to closing the achievement gap? The U. S. Department of Education has unveiled a new database designed to show how schools across the country are performing on their math and reading scores, as well as their high school graduation rates.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings says the so-called National Dashboards—one for each state and the District of Columbia—will help parents and policymakers better understand how states stack up against each other in terms of […]

Improving Literacy Through School Library Grants

It’s that time of the year again. If your school library is located in a district in which 20 percent or more of families live below the poverty line, you’re eligible for a grant from the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the program provides funding to public school libraries to update collections, expand Internet connections, buy new technology, provide professional development for media specialists, and extend library hours.

Eligible applicants include public school districts […]

Paolini’s New Release Date for Brisinger Hits a Snag

Some children’s booksellers are unhappy with the recent decision to move the release date of Christopher Paolini‘s latest book, Brisinger, to a weekend so that kids can take advantage of midnight store events.

Although the shift is likely to be well-received by public librarians who may want to organize events at their libraries.Two weeks ago, Knopf Books for Young Readers gave in to requests by booksellers to shift the release date of Brisingr,the third book in Paolini’s Inheritance series, to Saturday, […]

S & S to CBC: We’re Baaaack!

What a difference a year makes. Simon & Schuster (S & S) has rejoined the Children’s Book Council (CBC) after withdrawing its membership last January.

“We like the direction they’re going,” says Rick Richter, S & S’s president and publisher of children’s books. “They’re really taking seriously the potential role they could have in the book retail community. I think they’re making some real strides.”

Richer specifically cited the CBC’s decision to host Children’s Book Week in May instead of November to […]

What’s Going On? | Teenage Riot

Listening is crucial to building bridges between public, school librarians

As a public librarian, one of the most important ways to connect with media specialists isn’t by highlighting all the amazing resources you have to offer. It isn’t about doing booktalks or scheduling student trips for library tours or author visits. While these services are valuable and needed, the key to bridging the gap between school and public libraries is really about listening and understanding what your school counterpart has to […]

Widgets to the Rescue

These handy mini-apps serve up content—fast

On a recent visit to the San Jose Zoo, I made a beeline for a family of meerkats. You know, the ever-vigilant and undeniably adorable relatives of the mongoose, title species of the popular Animal Planet television show? I never miss an episode of Meerkat Manor. So, no surprise, I returned from the zoo with a camera-full of snapshots, which I quickly uploaded to Flickr. Within minutes, anyone who visited my Facebook and MySpace profiles […]

A World of Stories: 2008 Outstanding International Books

The 2008 Outstanding International Books list has extended its reach

This year’s third annual United States Board on Books for Young People’s Outstanding International Books list covers more ground than its predecessors. That’s because for the first time, foreign titles coming from publishers with U.S. distributors, as well as those acquired by U.S. publishers, were eligible for consideration.

Our committee ended up reading 380 books published in 2007 in an effort to narrow down the best of children’s literature from other nations—books […]

Bedside Reading | Consider the Source

History can open up some unexpected vistas

School librarians often tell me they don’t read a lot of nonfiction—it’s not a pleasure that many of you look forward to. Since I read adult nonfiction every chance I get, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of the selections on my night table, and tell you what I like about them.

Last night, I picked up a book by Michael and Ellen Kaplan called Chances Are…: Adventures in Probability (Viking, 2006). […]

All About Abe: The Lincoln Bicentennial | Focus On

February 12, 2009, is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, but the official bicentennial kickoff is February 11–12, 2008, so we hope that this list will help you get started on planning events and activities. We all know the story of how Lincoln rose from poverty to become the 16th president, penned the Emancipation Proclamation, and preserved the Union. Aside from the facts of his life, much of the lore surrounding the man can be traced back to Carl Sandburg’s […]

The Big Cheese: Jon Scieszka, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Our first kids’ book laureate takes literacy a lot more seriously than he takes himself

Jon Scieszka, the man who gave new meaning to the word stinky, is on a serious mission. Early last month, the Children’s Book Council and the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book tapped the author of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (Viking, 1992) as our first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Scieszka’s two-year charge? Nothing less than “to raise national […]

Celebration Time: Black History Month

Black History Month is here and there’s a party goin’ on

When I was a kid, Black History Month was very special to me and my family. On the first day of February, Mom pulled an armload of books off the shelf of our home library and displayed them, face out, on top of our Magnavox stereo console.

She would then make a visit to my school to show the faculty the right way to celebrate during the next 28 days. “If […]

Machinima Goes Mainstream | The Gaming Life

Digital filmmaking for the 21st century

What do a commercial for Toyota, TV programs such as CSI: New York and The Office, film festivals, and an organization that works with urban youth all have in common? They are at the forefront of machinima, a filmmaking genre that is helping to shape video for the 21st century. Machinima, a contraction of the words machine and cinema, is a genre of filmmaking that was originally created by gamers in the 1990s. Over the […]