February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for May 2009

Libraries Catch on to ’39 Clues’

Libraries are taking advantage of the phenomenon around “The 39 Clues” series (Scholastic) to attract a new crew of young patrons through their doors to meet, share, and sleuth to solve the fantasy adventure as a team.

“There’s a lot of cooperation, they take turns, and work together,” says Vida Lashgari, assistant head of children’s services at the Farmington Library in Farmington, CT, about the kids who come to the library’s computer lab the first Tuesday of each month at 6 […]

From Writer’s Block to The Eternal Smile

Gene Luen Yang (left) and Derek Kirk Kim (right)
Images © 2009 by Yang (left) and Kim (right)

Soon after meeting in the mid-90s in San Francisco at an Alternative Press Expo (APE), Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim began working together on “Duncan’s Kingdom,” published as a two-issue miniseries by Image Comics. “Duncan” appears to be a comic in the classic superhero vein: an unlikely hero avenges a king’s death, winning the hand of the princess to assume the throne himself. […]

My Bluford High Boys

How a book club for reluctant readers proved the naysayers wrong.

Meet the New School Board: Board Games Are Back–and They’re Exactly What Your Curriculum Needs

Josh and his colleagues are huddled around a table studying their map. Based on the fear in their eyes, the situation looks dire. The last epidemic had come out of nowhere, spreading three diseases around the globe into areas that Josh and his team had struggled to help only minutes before. “What are our options?” Josh asks. “São Paulo is critical, any more breakouts around there and we could lose all of South America.”

Heather shakes her head. “Forget São Paulo,” […]

The Parent Trap: How to Handle a Group of Witch-hunting Grown-ups | Scales on Censorship

A parent who objected to one of the titles in an eighth-grade classroom collection has recruited a group of parents to search for other “objectionable” titles in the teacher’s collection. I’m the school’s librarian, and I’m afraid those parents may be heading my way next.

Let’s deal with the classroom situation first. No parent should be allowed to paw through a teacher’s classroom for any reason. Where was the school administrator? There should be a reconsideration policy in place for classroom […]

Flipped!: Want to get teens excited about summer reading? Just add video.

Want to get teens excited about summer reading? Just add video.

Jennifer Wooten; All photos by Meryl Schenker

“They’re not doing legitimate work” complains the agitated woman, pointing at a group of teens on the public library’s computers. “They should be doing schoolwork, not watching YouTube.” I remind her that they are patrons, too, and what they do with their computer time is up to them. The woman stomps off in a huff and waits impatiently in the corner for her […]

Celebrating Scratch in Libraries | The Gaming Life

Creation software helps young people develop 21st-century literacy skills

What has a low floor, a high ceiling, and wide walls? While it could be a tricked-out RV, the correct answer is Scratch (scratch.mit.edu), a free computer program from MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group that’s changing the landscape of how young people learn programming, engage in media-based project creation, and develop 21st-century literacy skills.

There has been a slow, steady movement by schools and libraries throughout the world to adopt Scratch. In pockets […]

Something to Smile About: A Statewide Early Literacy Program Is Making a Big Difference | First Steps

As our communities face serious economic challenges, it’s easy to focus solely on the dire news of the day: dwindling budgets, programs at risk. So, now more than ever, it’s important to appreciate the work that energizes us and gives us hope. Here in Oregon one such program is our new statewide training project to increase early childhood literacy skills.

In 2008, after many years of planning and securing funds, Reading for Healthy Families: Building Communities of Learning was launched in […]

The Original Handhelds: Magazines That Teens Can’t Resist

Forget about iPods. Here are 11 magazines that teens can’t resist.

Illustration by Tom Richmond

In a world of instant messages, Twitter, and Facebook, what do magazines have to offer teens? Well, as it turns out, plenty. For starters, they feature celebrity gossip, humor, beauty tips, sports, and even manga. Some magazines, including Entertainment Weekly, offer online content that can only be accessed by using a special code that’s available in the print edition. Other magazines tease their […]