March 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for May 2008

What Would Madison Avenue Do? Marketing to Teens

To attract today’s teens, think like a marketing pro

Whether you work for Nike or in a library, it’s tough to attract an audience. And that’s where smart marketing can make all the difference. Even though libraries don’t have millions of dollars to spend on slick Madison Avenue ad campaigns to entice today’s teens, you do have access to the media that kids love, and that’s a great place to start. But before we consider the best strategies to attract Generation […]

Return of the Google Game

More fun ideas to transform students into skilled researchers

It’s Sunday night and Amanda and Zach are instant messaging each other on Gmail chat. Their high school is staging the musical Man of La Mancha this spring, and they’re searching for some background information about Cervantes’s Don Quixote for their Spanish class. Although it’s already 10 p.m., the night before their assignment is due, these ninth graders aren’t worried. They plan to conduct a few quick Internet searches and then call […]

Start Your Search Engines, Part 2: Images

Part Two: When image is everything, here are some great ways to find one

Are your students struggling to come up with kid-appropriate pictures? Have you ever scrambled to find that perfect image for a presentation? Well, there’s no shortage of search engines that’ll help you do the job, and we’re here to share some of our favorites.

There’s no doubt that Google is great for finding images. Simply head to its home page, click the “Images” link, enter your criteria in […]

Star Power | Consider the Source

What’s the role of nonfiction in our celebrity-obsessed culture?

I’ve written books for young readers for more than two decades, and I once ran an imprint that published edgy titles, like Gary Nash’s Forbidden Love (1999), which is about America’s secret history of race relations, and Judd Winick’s Pedro and Me (2000, both Holt), a graphic novel about his roommate on the reality show Real World who later died of AIDS. But until recently, I’d never been asked to take part […]

Killing Me Softly: No Child Left Behind | Soap Box

The President’s education plan is hurting students and teachers

I feel like the last marine who got out before the siege of Khe Sanh. I feel like the one Titanic band member who overslept, missed the voyage, and lived. In my darkest moments, I feel like a traitor.

I was an urban teacher for 14 years. I am still an urban teacher in my dreams, in my bones. For the last 14 months, I have been on a leave of absence from […]

High-Wire Act: Sue Stauffacher | Under Cover

Sue Stauffacher’s Wireman’ is a huge hit with kids who had given up on reading

Photograph by
Mitch Ranger

You’ve written a number of well-received children’s picture books and novels. Why did you create a series of high-interest, low-vocabulary comics aimed at urban kids?
In the mid-’90s, I started volunteering in the Grand Rapids Public Schools [in Michigan]. And I also volunteered at our community college, doing literacy stuff with VISTA […]

Play It Again | First Steps

Play produces children who are emotionally healthy and ready for school

A quote from George Bernard Shaw hangs in our office, guiding our daily interactions: “We don’t quit playing because we grow old; we grow old because we quit playing.”

These days, we feel a strong need to defend playtime for children, too. According to Howard Chudacoff, a cultural historian at Brown University, today’s children have less time to play than children of previous generations. With the increased emphasis on academics and […]

Coming Attractions | The Gaming Life

Not-to-be-missed video games for 2008

What does the future hold for video games? You could ask Professor Trelawney, the divination instructor at Hogwarts, but she can sometimes be unreliable. Luckily, you won’t need a crystal ball to discover that there are a host of great console video games scheduled for release later this year that promise to be exciting, innovative, and lots of fun. In 2008, you’ll get to use the force, brick bad guys, bust ghosts, guide a civilization, hit […]

Brave New Worlds: Science Fiction | Focus On

As a youth, I enjoyed reading both science fiction and fantasy. Since then, the genres have changed radically with the explosion of fantasy titles and the appearance and growth of the graphic-novel format. Children’s publishing, in general, has grown; so where I was forced to rely on the adult section for much of my science fiction, children and young adults can now find books on their own shelves. Additionally, the media industry has a greater interaction with the world of […]

Reboot Camp: Get into Tech Shape

In just 15 minutes a day, you too can get into tip-top tech shape

To stay fit, we all know we need to exercise. It might be a 30-minute cardio workout one day, some weight training the next, or just forgetting about the car and walking. In a similar way, we need to invest in our professional health.

What exercise regime do teacher-librarians need to grow their skills and be able to lead? Well, just like at any upscale health club (kickboxing! […]

What’s Going On | Scales on Censorship

Has there been a sudden surge in the number of book challenges?

When I was in high school, I don’t remember anyone ever challenging the books we read in English class. Why has there been a sudden increase in the number of challenges? And what do I tell our English teachers who’ve become “gun-shy” about selecting books for their classes?

I don’t think there’s been a sudden surge of book challenges. I think we’re just doing a better job of keeping track […]

10 Best Digital Resources

The “must-have” products for next fall

Yes, “best of” lists typically run at the end of the calendar year. But for me—and many other school librarians—the “year” ends in June. So for this column, I’ve considered products reviewed from 2007 to the present. Not only has this allowed me to add a couple of recent resources, but I’ve also had more time to observe how my colleagues and students have adopted and used some of these products.

With both schools and public […]