BTFA – Book Trailers For All

BTFA was created by Teresa Schauer, a district librarian in South Texas. Like many of us, Teresa began making book trailers with Windows Movie Maker, but soon discovered Animoto. Teresa also discovered there wasn’t really a place online to find and share other free book trailers, so decided to create BTFA.  


If you don’t have the time to make your own book trailers, have a look at some of the ones available at BTFA. You can search by year level and can also view ‘official trailers’. Below is an example of what you can find. It is a trailer for Something Rotten, by Alan Gratz and was created by Suzanne Severns of Arlington, Texas.

Book trailers are a great way to encourage reluctant readers to want to find out more about a story, and to give confident readers a taste of different genres. Book trailers can be a way to show literature circle groups the novels they can choose from; they can be shown in the library during lunchtimes (if your library has an IWB or tv monitor); they can be a way to encourage students to contribute reviews to review sites, and; book trailers can also be a form of assessment.

Animoto: A favourite of 2010

Animoto  changed the way we did things in the library at Mooroopna Secondary College in 2010. We used Animoto to create book trailers from photos, video clips, and music. Using the videos that animoto collated for us, we had a new way to connect to the students, one that far surpassed trying to talk to reluctant readers about a book that we thought they would like. Showing them a book trailer talks to them in ways we never could. Below is an example of a book trailer created by library staff in June 2010, for The Book of Lies by James Maloney:

We have found that many students connect with the book trailer format, as it is in the same vein as a movie trailer. Since using Animoto the library staff have presented book trailers to english literature circle classes to showcase novels (using the IWB). We have connected with authors, some of whom have kindly given us images to use in the book trailers of their books. Furthermore, we have been invited to go into the classrooms to show staff and students how to use this tool. The students, especially, like seeing each others completed Animotos. Currently, a media class is using Animoto to create cybersafety videos.

A question that is often asked is “how do we get our class signed up?”. One option I use is below:

* First sign up in Animoto for Education. This provides you with an education code to get Animoto Plus.

* Create a ‘fake’ account in gmail for your class, e.g.

* Sign yourself up to Animoto using this email address and the education code Animoto would have sent you via email.

Animoto sign-up

* Now, sign-up each of your students using your fake gmail account. To do this, you need to add a  ‘+1’, ‘+2’, ‘+3’ etc. to the email address for each student.  E.g. student 1’s email address would be:; student 2’s email address would be:; student 3’s email address would be, etc.. Don’t forget to include the education code when signing up.

* Don’t forget to write down the email address and password for each of your students.

* The benefit of having them all signed up like this is that each student’s Animoto video will go to the fake gmail account that you control. Therefore, you can monitor their use and assessing their work is made simpler.

I must admit, for large classes this is quite laborious, and if you could it would be easier to have each student sign themselves up using the email address (as above) that you assign them.

 Animoto is enjoyable to use, and at Mooroopna Secondary College we are now seeing students submit reviews for our review blog MSC’s licorice allsorts using this applicaiton (things were quite dry on that front!).

If you have a particularly favourite tool of 2010, please leave a comment and let us know.


LibraryBIN is an online site where you can buy e-books and audio books, but it is more than that. It supports libraries. If you work in a library in the US it would be a particularly benefitial site, because when a customer purchases a product some of the proceeds will go to a participating library of their choice.


For the rest of us, the site provides interesting statistics on the most downloaded e-books and audio books in a number of different countries, including Australia. The categories are for adult fiction, adult nonfiction, juvenile fiction, and juvenile nonfiction. Checking these statistics occasionally will help when choosing texts for the library, and provides librarians and english teachers with titles that may encourage students to increase their reading.

To see the most downloaded books in Australia click here.
For the most downloaded books globally, click

Beautiful MaliceThe most downloaded e-book (from LibraryBIN) in juvenile fiction in Australia is currently Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James.

Guest post: Global collaboration by Kathleen Morris

Kathleen Morris is a grade two teacher from Leopold Primary School, Victoria. Kathleen has an inspirational blog called Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom, where she shares her experiences, resources, and advice concerning blogging, global collaboration, and technology integration.

Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom

Kathleen has agreed to share her wonderful experiences with collaborating globally, in a joint post between Bright Ideas and Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom. We hope together we can inspire more teachers to make connections and open up whole new worlds for their students.

Below, Kathleen outlines her experiences from the first global collaboration in 2008 to now, showing that her classroom experiences of collaboration have become more integrated, frequent, and richer.

I created the following diagram to demonstrate how my involvement in global collaboration has progressed (tip: click on image if you want to see it more clearly).

diagram progress global projects

A summary of how I progressed with global collaboration


Christmas Card Exchange Project organised through iEARN: our class was matched with seven schools around the world and we exchanged Christmas/holiday cards.
PROS – Learning about all the different countries involved and their holiday traditions.
CONS – Lack of “real” connection to the classes and lack of technology used (the contact was slow!).


Teddy Bear Exchange Project organised through iEARN: our class was matched with a class in Canada. We exchanged teddies via snail mail and we “helped” the teddies write weekly emails to each other. We collated all the emails on a page on our class blog.

PROS – We learnt a lot about life in Canada; children learnt about email.
CONS – There wasn’t the chance for a “real” connection to develop between students – it was all through the teddy.


Blogging Buddies: in our second year of blogging we began forming connections with many classes around the world. We would leave comments on our new friends’ blogs and keep track of what they were up to in an informal manner.

PROS – Blogging suddenly become more powerful, interesting and meaningful as we had a real international audience. Students began to learn there was a life outside of their neighbourhood.
CONS – All our interactions and learning was “ad-hoc”.

2010 – first half

Our relationships with our blogging buddies continued and expanded while we looked to more structured, self-organised and personalised projects.

Collaboration Corner
I created a blog with Linda Yollis in California. Our classes had got to know each other since early 2009 via our class blogs.
We called the blog “Collaboration Corner”. This was a place for the students to work on projects together and have rich discussions through commenting.

We had two main projects in the first half of the year:
•    Lunch Box Project – this complimented our “Food” theme. A child from each class took turns making a post about their lunch. They used a tool like Fotobabble to narrate a picture of their lunch. Some great conversations got going in the comments on healthy eating, food preferences, cultural difference with food, food groups etc.
•    Our School – the students used tools like VoiceThread and video to show their American friends around their school. The students made posts about the play areas, library, office etc. The students were really interested to compare how school is the same and different in Australia and the US.

PROS – The students got to really connect with their blogging buddies and the blog provided a window into their lives. Skype was used to enhance this connection such as our Skype breakfast party. A lot of content was learnt about food, time zones, schools, geography. A lot of reflection and new ideas also arose.
CONS – We were working together and learning a lot but what for?

2010 – second half

Ugandan Global Project
This is an idea I came up with because I loved how my students were learning and connecting with their buddies overseas but I thought something was missing. I knew we could take it further. I wanted my students to be able to use these global connections for a greater good; to raise their social conscience, help others and learn more about the world in which they live.

In this project, we set up another blog and invited some of our blogging buddies to join in. We had two Australian classes, three American classes and one Chinese class involved all working together to help out a school in Uganda.

The students were sponsored by their family and friends and at 10am on Friday 22nd October, all the classes around the world ran/walked for one hour to earn their sponsorship money.

Throughout the project all the classes involved worked on various tasks to learn more about Uganda and put up posts on the blog on topics such as
•    A day in the life of a student in Australia/USA/China/Uganda
•    A traditional song in each country
•    The run/walk event in each location
•    Time zones
•    Currencies

Behind these posts, the commenting was fantastic! The students (all aged 7-9) were involved in some rich conversations.

This project raised $20,000 which is making an enormous difference in the lives of our Ugandan friends.

There are also incredible flow-on effects still happening. A group of Americans who followed our project blog decided to volunteer at the Ugandan school. There are around 20 of them in Uganda at the time of writing and they’re making an invaluable contribution. Additionally, a teacher who read about our project contacted the school founder asking how she can help. The possibilities of these after effects are endless.

I feel that one of the ultimate goals of being a global citizen is to be able to work together for a common good, be understanding of others and have a social conscience. Through blogging, my students are developing as effective global citizens and I’m so proud of what they are achieving! I can’t wait to see where we’ll go next…

What next?

Needless to say, I want my students to be involved in more global collaboration in the future. I think a mix of informal collaboration and more structured projects works well. We’re now at a point where we don’t need to look at projects organised by outside agencies as we are part of a large international blogging community.

When it comes to projects, I like the idea of working on some projects that are simply designed to increase student learning and global awareness, while also aiming for perhaps an annual big project (like the Ugandan Project) where the aims go beyond individual student learning.

How to get started

If you want your class to connect and collaborate globally, I recommend you read this post by Edna Sackson “10 Ways to Create Global Connections

If you want to start in a more structured way like I did, there are many free and paid organisations co-ordinating global collaborative projects.

You might like to try…

Good luck!

Thankyou Kathleen for sharing your knowledge, and providing the links to further information. As Kathleen says on her blog, please leave a comment if you would like to share your experiences with global collaboration.

ALERT- Reading Matters Conference

AlertThe State Library of Victoria‘s Reading Matters conference is coming up. This is a two day conference on Friday 27th May and Saturday 28th May. This does sound a fair way off, but the conference often sells out quickly, and if you book before the 18th February there are great discounts. The conference provides stimulating presentations by leading authors including Markus Zusak, Melina Marchetta, Ursula Dubosarsky, and Lili Wilkinson. During the conference there are also lively panel discussions and performances. Youth literature specialists will also be presenting at the conference.  For more information, including the conference schedule, click on SLV’s webpage below:

Reading Matters conference

Search Tools for Kids (Dr. Valenza)

Dr. Joyce Valenza has updated her Search Tools for Kids, as of 12th January 2011. This glogster poster provides a myriad of search tools for students (specifically primary). Have a play with the search tools yourself, share this resource with your colleagues, and/or let your students explore. Thankyou to Dr. Valenza, who is such a guru for teacher librarians and educators the world over.

Search Tools for Kids

You can access this glogster poster through the Sprinfield Township Virtual Library, which is a wonderful example of what you can do with a wiki, and glogster posters. Take your time to have a look at this virtual library and you may be inspired.

Springfield Township Virtual Library

Today is Safer Internet Day 2011

Safer Internet Day 2011 is organised to promote safer use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst young people. This year’s theme is “It’s more than a game, it’s your life”.


Today is the day to consider cyber safety at your school and in your home. If you are not part of the school’s planning committee for online safety, or bullying, then send them the information that could contribute to creating a safer online community.

Cybersmart, developed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, is part of the Australian Government’s cybersafety program. It is a brilliant site that provides activities, resources, and advice to help young people, parents, and educators safely enjoy the online world. It offers training and resources for schools, and material for libraries. It has appealing portals for ‘young kids’, ‘kids’, and ‘teens’.


The wiki site Raising ‘digital’ kids: Parent workshop by David Truss houses the free workshop ‘Education in the digital age: A reorientation for parents’. This is a workshop by David Truss to develop expectations around the use of technology to play, learn, and connect. Designed for parents, it can be applied to schools. The wiki has an abundant amount of resources. Below is the slideshow of the presentation:

Don’t forget that you can ring your local police station to organise a guest speaker to come to your school to talk about cybersafety and cyberbullying, with just the teaching team, or the whole school. If your local police station does not have the resources, they will be able to point you in the right direction.

Guest post – Books for boys

Barbara Braxton is an award winnng teacher librarian from Cooma, who has spent her time in schools in the ACT where she developed a primary school library that Jackie French once described as “the best I’ve ever seen”. In 2003, Barbara was awarded the Dromkeen National Librarian’s Award for her contribution to children’s literature for her online activities, particularly running book raps, Read Around Australia, and the Young Australian Readers’ Award. Barbara is also the author of professional articles and teachers’ books including the All you need to teach information literacy series published by Macmillan Education. Although ‘retired’, Barbara is currently undertaking her third masters degree through Charles Sturt University . As part of her research for an assignment, she asked the members of OZTL_NET for their suggestions for titles that would appeal to young teenage boys struggling with their reading.  The following list of authors and titles is a collation of what was received, that Barbara has very kindly agreed to share with us. 

Bauer, Michael Gerard

Shannara seriesBrooks, Terry – Shannara series, Magic Kingdom of Landover series

Child, Lee – Jack Reacher series (although I would have thought these were
for an older audience)

Coates, Jimmy

Colfer, Eion – Artemis Fowl series and other titlesArtemis Fowl series

Hunger Games seriesCollins, Suzanne – Hunger Games series

Collins, Tim  – Diary of a Wimpy Vampire

Cowell, Cressida

Dashner, James – Jimmy Finchner saga

The Last Apprentice seriesDelaney, Joseph – Last Apprentice

The Belgariad seriesEddings, David – The Belgariad

Ellis, Deborah – I am a Taxi, Sacred Leaf

Flanagan, John – Rangers Apprentice

Grant, Michael – Gone series

Griffiths, Andy – Just series

Grylls, Bear

Gwynne, Phillip – SwerveSwerve

Heath, Jack

Higson, Charlie

Hirsch, Odo

Hobb, Robin – Farseers

Horowitz, Alex

Kinney, Jeff – Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of Wimpy Kid seriesLandy, Derek – Skullduggery Pleasant

Lord, Gabrielle – 365 Conspiracy series

MacHale, D. J. – Pendragon series

Book of Lies seriesMaloney, James – Book of Lies

Marsden. John – Tomorrow series

McNab, Andy

Measday, Stephen – Send Simon Savage

Metzenthen, David – Jarvis 24

Morphew, Chris – The Phoenix Files

Tomorrow seriesMowll, Joshua – The Guild of Specialists trilogy, esp in hardback

Mutchamore, Robert

Myers, Bill – Wally McDoogle

Nix, Garth – Mister Monday series, Keys to the Kingdom

Paolini , Chris- Inheritance Series

Maximum Ride seriesPatterson, James – Maximum Ride series

Reilly, Matthew

Riordan, Rick

Deltora QuestRodda, Emily – Deltora Quest

Ryan, Chris – Alpha Force

Sage, Ange – Septimus Heap

Scott, Michael – The Secret of Nicholas Flamel

Cirque du Freak seriesShan, Darren – Cirque du Freak, Demontia

Van der Ruit, John  – Spud, The  Madness Continues

Wilkinson, Carole – Dragonkeeper series

Wright, Joshua

Death Note and Naruto graphic novels; X-men; Maus I & II, Asterix

Dragonkeeper trilogySeries – Beast Quest, Zac Power, Midnighters (Westerfield), Specky Magee,
Panckridge sports novels, Goosebumps, Barrington Stoke; Quentaris
Chronicles; Adventures of Sherlock Homes;

Ripley’s Believe it or Not; Guinness Book of Records, Top Gear;

Agatha Christie


comics (esp Marvel) & magazines

More accomplished readers head for:

Conclave of the Shadows seriesRaymond E. Feist – all but particularly the later series ‘Conclave of

Robert Jordan (‘Wheel of Time’ series)

Stephen Lawhead (Pendragon series, etc.)

Dragonlance chroniclesMargaret Weis/Tracy Hickman
(‘Dragonlance’ and other series)

George R. Martin (Ice and Fire series)

Bernard Cornwell (‘Sharp’ series, Saxon series, Arthur, etc.)

Jack Whyte
(Saxon chronicles, etc.)

A favourite excuse of students who are reluctant readers is “there’s nothing in this library to read!”. I know our library staff will be using this list to display fantastic books for boys in an effort to encourage them to use the library and read some of the great books we have. Thanks Barbara and contributors.

Art Project

Art and history teachers be amazed. Google’s Art Project is bringing famous museums and artworks to you.

Art Project

What a way to inspire your students! Show them around some of the world’s most famous museums, view brilliant artworks closer than you could ever get in ‘real life’, or get your students to create their own collections, that they are then able to share. Below is a close up of Vincent Van Gogh’s The Bedroom. It is truly breathtaking. What a way to teach technique.

The Bedroom

You can have virtual tours of rooms in places such as Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), The National Gallery of London, and the Palace of Versailles (Versailles). This is a fantastic resource that can take you places and show you things that you and your students may never see otherwise.

Worth reading – research into school libraries

worth readingBelow are links to research carried out in the UK, published in 2010, concerning school libraries and their roles in education today. Linking school libraries and literacy discusses a clear link between student attainment and school library use. These can be useful documents to reference when advocating the importance of school libraries and teacher librarians: