Monday, January 16, 2017
This past week has been incredibly busy in the Doucette Library with loads of teaching.
The workshop in high demand is Introduction to Design Thinking.
The workshop, as the title suggests, is an introduction for undergraduate students, giving them the opportunity to learn the process and vocabulary associated with design thinking by working through two examples. One example we show is the IDEO group designing a new shopping cart (click here to see the video we’re using) and the other is the work that my colleague, Paula and I did to construct this very workshop using the design thinking process.
It’s very interesting to see what the uptake is with students and the differences between those students looking to become elementary school teachers and those headed towards junior high and senior high schools.
If you’re keen to learn more about what’s happening in these workshop then you MUST go to Paula’s blog, Doucette Ed Tech where we are documenting our work on a daily basis. Because one of the premises of the workshop is using it as a PROTOTYPE and having students go through the last step of this process – TESTING and FEEDBACK – giving us feedback about the workshop, we often make modifications as we go along. So, if the students seem to consistently struggle with one of the activities, we try to improve our instructions or tinker with the format. Time has been a big issue for us since the earliest stages of planning as 80 minutes isn’t really enough time to have students work through all five steps:
in a meaningful way while they’re still coming to understand the very basics of the process. This means we’re very conscious about the length of each section and activity and have moved away from barking out how long they have to do something to let the activities unfold and deciding as we go how long something should be. We do have to keep an eye on the clock but this is working for us much better.
If you’re looking for a great introductory resource for yourself or to use with kids, I strongly recommend Design Thinking by Kiristin Frontichiaro. This very short book walks you through the steps using a scenario of helping a girl confined to a wheelchair use her school elevator more easily. She has difficulties reaching the buttons. This book is easily accessible and the concrete example works well.
Remember to stop by Paula’s blog, Doucette Ed Tech to follow along with us.
Monday, January 9, 2017
Happy New Year, Everyone!
Calgary is ‘enjoying’ a winter-wonder-land at the moment; seemingly, arriving within a couple of days over the holiday break.
Lots and lots and lots of fluffy snow, everywhere.
This is the perfect time to bring out the picture books that are about snow.
April Pulley Sayre’s latest offering, Best in Snow would be one such book.
I do love her books.
This one also includes stunning photographs which draws the reader into a simple poem that incorporates the beauty of winter while giving us tantalizing bits of information about snow.
First, the photos: really gorgeous. Her images capture the jagged edge beauty of frost and ice crystals perfectly; the soft, lightness of the snow itself as it gently but irrefutably accumulates or the way wind and light can make the air bright and sparkly as if filled with polished gems.
Secondly, the poem: With so few words, the author is able to create a landscape that becomes redefined by the snow. Woodland birds and animals are shown within this landscape, adding depth to her words as the reader sees how life goes on. Nothing is static. Warming temperatures change the qualities of the snow and shows that within the bigger seasonal cycles there are lots of mini-cycles, too.
And last, are the information pages at the back of the book that make this a terrific book for connecting science and poetry. Each line is given some explanation and shows us how important snow is and where it fits into the hydrologic cycle.
I highly recommend this for elementary grades.
Other snow books that I love and worth checking out, include:
Blizzard by John Rocco
Red sled by Lita Judge
Snow sounds by David Johnson
Winter bees and other poems of the cold by Joyce Sidman
Monday, December 5, 2016
Here’s the pitch…
Want to impress the young folk in your life with an awesome book or two this holiday season?
Want to avoid the disappointed /horrified / mortified looks of these same young people with stunning gaffes with selections like Boy’s Body Book or Golden Girls Forever or A History of Interest Rates (4th ed.)?
Or perhaps you’re aiming bigger and want to turn them into life-long readers or at least temporarily redirect their attention to something other than social media, their phones or computer games?
Then this list may just get you on your way.
This is our Second Annual Holiday Children’s Book List and it was a blast pulling these titles together. So in anticipation to those of you who like to check in with Paula and myself about what to get for sons, daughters, nieces and nephews, kids of friends, kids with special interests or godchildren, we spent some time at a local bookstore and online to find books that we think will make great gifts. The titles are linked to the Chapters website for book details, summaries and reviews.
We’ll be publishing our list over the next four days. Books recommended on days 2 to 4 are of mixed grade levels and likely to list both fiction and nonfiction titles.
Here’s the lineup:
Day 1. Picture Books & The Subversive Grinch
Middle Grade Novels
Young Adult Novels
Crossovers: Adult Books For Teens
Day 2. Seasonal best bets
Play, Play, Play (interactive books for all ages)
Making and Doing
Day 3. Nonfiction
Series (all level of readers)
Day 4. Pretty Pictures (coffee table books and the like)
Kid Books for Supposed Grown-ups
Not Our Demographic Or Books That Are Cool Even Though We’re Not
If you are going to invest in books this year for a young person, these suggestions may help you find just what you are looking for. Spend a few minutes with the list and at the store making someone very happy.
And, of course, have a wonderful holiday break everyone.
Tammy and Paula
For those who love to curl up in a big chair with steamy hot chocolate and take life at a slower pace during the Holiday Season, here are a few books to savour the pictures and the text on a snowy afternoon.
*Gr. 4-7 *Guidebook *Fairy Realm *Rich Multimedia *Good Gift Book
Magnificent Magical Beasts: Inside their Secret World by Simon Holland, David Wyatt, Kev Walker and Gary Blythe
*Gr. 5 & up *Guidebook *Vivid Illustrations *Dragons *Unicorns *Werewolves
*Gr. 5 & up *CGI Artwork *Facts, Stories *History *Mythology
*Young Adult *Doodle Art *Graphic Design *Inspiration *Technique
*All Ages *Too Cute for Words *Title Says it All
*All Ages *Nature *Animals *Insects *Plants
*All Ages *Photographs *2016 *#Hashtag *Nature *People *Animals
Not Our Demographic OR
Books That are Cool Even Though We Are Not!
Okay, we work in a library and we work with Education students who love picture books and middle grade novels and even the dystopia that is YA but here is the category that is a bit beyond our comfort zone. Do you remember the Bay City Rollers, The Monkees, Boys to Men, The Back Street Boys? We do but we choose to always, categorically deny it. Here are those books that are the treasure of the preteen and teenage fan with names we do not recognize but we guarantee that if you recognize one name on this list, you should have that book under the tree. You would be a hero!
*Gr. 6 & up *Olympics *Gold Medalist *Gymnastics *Sports
*Young Adult *Cutie Patootie *1D (One Direction) *Music *Memoir
*Young Adult *Cutie Patootie *Biography *Fashion Model
*Young Adult *Social Media *Entrepreneur *EBay Vintage Clothing *Nasty Girl ™
G.L.G. (Good Looking Guys) that Teens Follow on Social Media
(but we don't know from a hole in the wall…)
*Young Adult *3 Billion YouTube Views! *Social Media
*Young Adult *Social Media *YouTube Personality
*Young Adult * Vine *YouTube *Social Media
*Young Adult *Social Media *YouTube Personality
*Young Adult *Social Media *YouTube Personality
Kid Books for Adults
even though you are a mature adult who doesn’t DO picture books any more? Here are a couple of books, we think you might enjoy.
*Beautiful Illustrations *Writers and Writing *Biography *Race Issues *Poem
Harkening to the olden days (Classics)
We all have favorites that we remember fondly from our childhoods and would love to share with the young folks in our lives.
*Gr. 5 and up *Orphans *Friendship *Beautiful illustrations
The Best Bear in All the World by Jeanne Willis, Kate Saunders, Brian Sibley, Paul Bright; illustrated by MarkBurgess
*Gr. 2 and up *Sequel to Winnie-the-Pooh stories *Pair with Finding Winnie (Caldecott winner)
Fan Fiction – For the Groupie in All of Us
If someone mentions a favorite author doesn’t it make your heart race, maybe just a little? Or maybe want you go ‘sqweee’ and then gush about how much you love said author? Just be prepared if you ask Paula about Bunjitsu Bunny. Fair warning… Sqweeee....
*Gr. K-3 *Picture book *Facing fears * Bedtime *Passions
*Gr.2 and up *Interactive *Games
*Gr.2-5 *Humour *Life
*Gr.3-7 *Growing up * Family * Read alouds *Humour *Classics
*Gr. 8 and up * Fantasy *Death *Futurist world
*Gr. 9 and up *Fantasy *Romance *Series *Great cover
More, Please (Series)
Well, this kinda goes with Fan Fiction. For those of us who like to return to wonderful places and visit with ‘old friends’ finding a series to get immersed in, is the way to go. Let me introduce you to a few wonderful characters and their worlds…
*Gr. 1-6 *Dark humour *Hats *Animals *Fantastic illustrations
*Gr. K-4 *Wordless *Adventures *Imagination *Friendship *Fathers and daughters
Tedd Arnold: Fly Guy series: Fly Guy’s Ninja Christmas (2016)
*Gr. 1-3 *Chapter book *Picture book *Humour *Boy book *Insects
*Gr. 2-5 *Humour *Detectives (sort of) *Poultry *Hounds *Fun
*Gr.2-4 *Family *Everyday stuff *Humour
Lenore Look: Alvin Ho series: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions (2015)
*Gr.2-5 *Family *School *Fear *Anxiety *Humour
Catherynne M. Valente : Fairyland series: The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (2016); The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home (2017)
*Gr.4-7 *Fantasy *Adventures *Fairies
*Gr. 4-7 *Yes, that Stephen Hawking *Science *Space *Universe *Illustrated *Humour
*Gr.4 and up *Graphic novel *Fantasy *Adventure *Strong female
Daniel Kraus: The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol.1 At the Edge of the Empire, Vol.2 Empire Decayed
*Gr.9 and up * World Wars *American history *Fantasy *Humour *Second chances *Great cover
Michael Grant: Soldier Girl series:Frontlines #1
*Gr. 9 and up *Alternate history *WW Ii *Girl soldiers *Epic
Colleen Houck: Reawakened series: Recreated (2016)
*Gr.9 and up *Time travel *Ancient Egypt * Adventure *Fantasy *Romance *Great cover
Rae Carson: The Gold Seer Trilogy: Walk on Earth a Stranger
*Gr.9 and up *Fantasy *Historical *Magic
Just the Facts
Not everyone loves a great fiction story. Some may love a great true story and here is a list for just such people on your list. From dinosaurs to social media world record holders, we have something for everyone…
*Gr. 1 & up *Dinosaurs
*Preschool – Gr. 1 *Die cut Shapes *Interactive *Opposites *Manipulatives
*Gr. 1-4 *600 Animals *40 Categories *Some Mythical *Misc. Info *Browsing
*Gr.4 & up *Science *Inventors *History *Updated *Technology *Computer Technology
*Gr. 5 & up *History and Landscape *Interactive *Lonely Planet Book *Maps *Nature *City *Fascinating Facts
*Gr. 5 & up *Magic and Magicians *Boy Book *Interactive *3D pop-ups *Tricks
*Gr. 5 & up *Trivia
*Gr. 7 & up *History *Berlin Olympics *Rowing *True Story *Sports *Underdogs
*Crossover *Science *Universe *Life *Invention *Knowledge *Civilization
*Crossover *Exploring *Solar System *History *Space *Planets *Science
Seasonal Best Bets
Not necessarily for Christmas but more to get into that winter mindset of snow days, hockey, and, perhaps, a little romance to keep us warm …
*Preschool – Gr. 3 *Classic *Play *Winter *Red Hooded Coats
*K- Grade 2 *Winter *Snow Day *Beautiful Illustrations
*Gr. 1-3 *Humour *Grandparent *Snow Day *Play *Animals
*Preschool – Gr. 2 *Winter *Giving *Empathy *Generosity *Animals
*Gr. 1-6 *Christmas *Songs *Canadiana *Humour *Animals
The Hockey Song by Tom Connors, illustrated by GaryClement and The Hockey Sweater (30thAnniversary Edition) by Roch Carrier
*Preschool – Gr. 5 *Songs *Hockey *Canadian *Classics
*Gr. 1-6 *Novels *Dogs *Humour *Magic *Read Aloud
*Gr. 10 and up *Dual Voices *Sequel *Contemporary *Romance *Humour
Making and Doing
For those people who love to have a book under the tree but love, also, to do, not just read. This list of books with have you making and doing as a family or as individuals clear into the New Year.
*All Ages *LEGO *Enough Said
*Gr. 3-6 *Boy Book *Science
*Gr. 3-7 *Family Activity Books *Transportation *Things that Move
*Gr. 3-7 *Family Activity Book *Science *Easy, Medium, Hard Rating
*Gr. 3-7 *Art Activities
*Gr. 7/8 & up *Drawing *Artist Based Masterpieces
*Young Adult *Cookbook *Humour *Healthy Eating *Kickass Kitchen Primer
*Young Adult *Crafts *Hobbies *Sewing *Steampunk
*Crossover *Puzzles *Mathematics *Problem-Solving *Illusions *Paradoxes
Play, Play, Play
Play, Play, Play is a category that engages those on your list who like to interact with what they read. Our favourite book from this year’s list is here and we both, immediately thought how much most kids (and some adults) would love this book. Look at the YouTube video of Illuminature to see what we mean. Giving one of these books is an ongoing conversation with the person who gets it about what they find out.
*All Ages *YouTube Video *Animals *Habitats *Special Effects *T&P Favourite
*All Ages *Art Masterpieces *Game Book *See also Fan Fiction – Where’s Waldo
*Gr. 1-5 *Fossils *Flaps *Games *Activities
*Gr. 1-5 *Facts *Universe *Space
*Gr. 5-8 *Illustrated Journal *Technology Inventions *3D Model Building *History
*Gr. 5-9 *Codes *Puzzles *Spies and Spying
*Young Adult *Art *Colouring Book *Fashion Designing
Picture Books – PreK – Grade 3
We both love reading picture books and funny picture books are our favourites. We have tried to find something that appeals to most picture book buyers like grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles but there is a definite bias that Storytime should be fun as well.
*Senses *Imaginative Thinking *Animals *Perspectives
*Rhyming Text *Exuberant *Eating *Read Aloud
*Read Aloud *Identity *Father and Son
*Flaps *Bedtime *Animals
*Canadian *International Intrigue *Humour *Boy Book
*Boy Book *Humour
*Buddy Books *Humour *Read aloud
*Friendship *Caring *Read Aloud
*Humour *Dinosaurs *Pirates *Knights *Family Road Trip
*Humour *Read Aloud *Pets *Sheep *Baby Brother
*Grandparent *Gift Book
Subversive Grinch in Picture Books
Not necessarily the usual picture book fare – Are the sweet, sentimental, nicey-nice stories getting to you over the holidays? Give these a try to cleanse your palate. Good fun with a bit of a bite.
*Humour *Over-the-top funny *Nathan Lane people!!! *Dogs *Friendship
*Kids books for adults *Humour *Life lessons *Perspectives
*Snort - Humour- Snort *Animals *Tricksters *Gags *Fecal matter
Middle Grade – Upper Elementary/Junior High
– Grades 5 to 8 or 9 Novels
How do we choose just a few to post this year. This category is always rich with plenty of good reading in a variety of genres. Pick a book that fits the reader in your life.
*Gr. 3-7 *Beautifully Illustrated *Animals *Newberry Award Winner *Read Aloud
*Gr. 4-8 *New York City *Fairy Tale Re-Telling *Graphic Novel *No Dwarfs *Art Deco
*Gr. 3/4 – 6 *Identity *Contemporary *Family *Humour *Strong Female *Read Aloud
*Gr. 5-7 *Modern Day Fairy Tale *Magic *Fantasy *Awesome Writing
*Gr. 3-6 *Read Aloud *Robots *Survival Story *Deserted Island *Illustrated
*Gr. 5 and up *Family Secrets *Magic *Humour *Mystery *Adventure
*Gr. 4-8 *Gender Issues *Contemporary *Afghanistan *Breadwinner Read Alike
*Gr. 6-8 *Mystery *Contemporary *Friendship/Romance *Disappearances
*Gr. 5-8 *Mystery *Suspense *Family Dynamics *Identity *Strong Female
YA – Young Adult – Teens – High School Novels
We tried. We really, really did try to find lots of light-of-heart, quirky, comedic novels for this age group.
BUT— there just seem to so many more titles that are intense, dramatic, about teens who come from dysfunctional families or are struggling to figure out their identities and their place in the world. But then again, who isn’t in this crazy Trumptonia POTUS-in-waiting, world? Just saying…
*Gr. 8 and up *fantasy *strong female *adventure * world-building *pirates
*Gr. 9 and up *contemporary *gender issues *identity *gaming *romance
*Gr. 8 and up * contemporary *mystery *romance *identity *Canadian author
*Gr.10 and up *psychological thriller *murder mystery *multimedia format
*Gr. 8 and up * fantasy *LGBTQ *murder, mayhem, magic + horses *romance
Replica by Lauren Oliver
*Gr.8 and up *science fiction *flip book (2 stories) * human replicas (think Westworld) *identity
*Gr. 10 and up * science fiction *robots (duh) *futurist world *identity *love vs. fear
*Gr. 10 and up *humour *contemporary *escapades *spontaneous combustion
*Gr. 9 and up *contemporary * romance * identity *second chance *tragic ending
*Gr. 9 and up *sea adventure *romance *dystopia * time travel *music *great cover
*Gr. 9 and up * contemporary *family *travel *summer of love and loss (but not necessarily in that order)
Posted by Tammy Flanders at 6:00 AM