Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Book Trailer Class Starts Tomorrow

I'm excited about teaching a six-day class for Junior High short term, but I'd be lying if I didn't also confess to being terrified, overwhelmed and worried. I'm always like this before a short term class starts!

I have nine students who are going to be working on creating short promotional trailers for favorite books. We'll be working for 90 minutes each afternoon -- I really can't wait to see how they turn out. Part of the class will be about the legal use of images and sound found on the Internet; what's ok for a class project under Fair Use but not for public performance use. Trailers that correctly use Creative Commons-licensed media will be posted on YouTube on the PiLibrarian channel.

To walk the talk, I've created my own trailer over the past few days, and I can say from this experience that the hardest parts were 1) the storyboard/script and 2) finding legal music. Flickr makes it easy to find CC images, but finding decent music that's OK took a lot longer.

The trailer is for Three Girls and Their Brother by Theresa Rebeck, my favorite so far of the Alex Award winners I'm reading this spring. I don't think I'll be taking it to Cannes, but it's alright. If it makes you curious to read the book, it's done its job. And let me know, ok? Thanks!

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's Summer Now,
The Reading Lists are Out!

Natalie and I have finished distributing our summer reading lists to students! Elementary students get them in classes; junior high and high school students gets theirs by mail. Speaking for myself, writing and publishing my two (JH & HS) is the closest I will ever come to publishing a Great American Novel, and I'm quite proud of them. Cue applause, please.

If you are used to Summer Reading Lists that require all 10th graders to read from a list of 8 choices, or something like that, you will be surprised by ours. Of course, our summer reading program fits in with the whole Paideia personality, so maybe you won't be surprised at all.

Here are the Paideia Summer Reading requirements:

  • Elementary (grades K-6): read (or have read to you) 5 books
  • Junior High (grades 7 & 8): read 5 books
  • High School (grades 9-12): read 4 books

ANY books. Preferably good books, but books will do. Graphic novels, fiction, non-fiction, YA, adult, easy readers, picture books. Yes, it's assumed that students will read in the approximate range of age and ability. They do have to account for their reading to next fall's literature teachers, so 5 Garfield Fat Pack comics for a 7th grader could be a little embarrassing.

So our summer reading lists are really more aptly called "Reader's Advisory Guides." Each one includes a thousand or more titles, either in award winner lists, student & faculty recommendations, or 'canonical' lists. Newly published and standout favorites even get annotations.

Did I mention we're pretty proud of our reading lists? If you're interested in seeing more, you can download one or all as PDF files, and please remember this guiding philosophy:
We believe that the best readers are those who read books of personal interest, for the joy of it. The main criterion for summer reading is that students read books they want to read, for enjoyment only!

2009 High School Summer Reading List

2009 Junior High Summer Reading List

2009 Elementary Summer Reading List