Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Non-Fiction and reading diversity

I had two students question today whether it was "fair" to record their non-fiction reading in their "passport." The passport is the reading log for New Yorkers Read, a special program in my school. Ironically, part of the point of this program is to increase reading diversity and make students aware of the cool non-fiction waiting for them in the library! In the end we had a really good talk in this group about how readers have to read more intensely and more thoughtfully when they read non-fiction. Reading good non-fiction can sometimes be more challenging than a novel, even if the book is shorter.

This connects to a thread that I have contributed to in another blog that I follow: Nonfiction Matters with Marc Aronson. Marc writes thought provoking non-fiction usually for middle and high school. His latest book, Sugar changed the world could change your view of history and geography.

Friday, May 6, 2011


During the last week I have added screencast tutorials to my library home page. So far I have made tutorials on ebooks, and resource lists from the school catalog. This took a chunk of time - much more than I expected - and is one reason that I didn't blog last weekend.

So far I have posted four five-minute tutorials. So why haven't I done more of these? Quite simply, it is harder than it looks. I am much more appreciative now of the talking heads, especially those that have to use their hands as they talk. Even after lots of practice I still have odd little pauses whenever I move the mouse.

I bought a subscription to Jing Pro over the winter holiday break. It took me this long to finally get started, but now I have finally gotten my feet wet I have many ideas for tutorials that would be helpful to people using the library. They won't be arriving all at once, but I will keep creating them whenever there is an opportune moment.

I am currently debating with myself over whether it is better to write a script, or to plan the tutorial but wing the delivery. At first I was adamant about using a script, but now I am not as sure. I allowed myself to hot dog - do one tutorial planned with bullet points but no script. I think it might actually sound a little better. Not easier, but maybe a little better. I still had to restart the recording five or six times.