New writers in residence on Inside a Dog

Jordi Kerr, Learning Programs Officer at the Centre for Youth Literature talks about upcoming writers in residence on insideadog.

Ever wanted to break into a writer’s mind and find out the true story – how do they do it? What makes them tick? Where did that idea come from? Welcome to insideadog’s Residence blog.

insideadog hosts a different YA writer each month – they hang around the kennel, and write posts that give an insight into their lives and writing process. It’s a unique opportunity for students, regardless of their geographical location, to pick the brains of an author. By commenting on the blog posts, students can interact with professional writers, and have their questions about reading and writing answered.

In March, debut author Myke Bartlett provided candid and humorous explorations of his background and process, as well as exclusive glimpses at some of his unpublished work, and his upcoming sequel to Fire in the Sea.  (You can easily access all of Myke’s posts here.)

Myke has also aptly demonstrated that blog writing is an art form in its own right. In the classroom the Residence blog can be used as a launch pad to discuss and explore how writing for an online audience is different to writing for print. What makes a good blog? How is blog success measured? How can readers be encouraged to become involved?

In April, American graphic novelist (artist and writer) Raina Telgemeier was at the helm. (You may have heard of her multi-award winning book Smile?) If you’ve ever been uncertain about how to introduce graphic novels into your classroom, this is your chance. Raina’s got some great posts from how a graphic novel is born (and raised), advice for budding cartoonists and graphic novel recommendations for young readers. You can access all her posts here.

Insideadog endeavours to publish the names of upcoming resident authors ahead of time, to give teachers the opportunity to prepare and plan. Students can familiarise themselves with the author’s books, and research them online. There is also a blogging worksheet included in the site’s teacher resources, which you can use or adapt to foster discussion.

You may notice that over the next few months the writers hosted on insideadog are also involved in our Reading Matters Student Day program. For those students lucky enough to be attending Reading Matters, the residence blog gives them a chance to get to know the authors beforehand.

Teen Librarian

British website Teen Librarian (no, our colleagues are not getting younger before our very eyes, it’s for librarians who work in young adult settings) provides some excellent resources for those of us who work in schools or public libraries.

Homepage

Homepage

The site has book trailers, book reviews (and I love that the book the website author is currently reading is Melbourne’s Lili Wilkinson‘s Scatterheart), event ideas, information on graphic novels, ‘films of the book’ and more.

The monthly newsletter, although includes some content specific to the United Kingdom, has some interesting author interviews and book reviews. Well worth a look!

MahShelf

Graphic novel lovers of the world unite! MahShelf is a social network that allows users not only to create their own graphic novel library, but also to publish their own graphic novels to the site.

MahShelf home
MahShelf home

It is heartening to see that MahShelf has a strict copyright policy, which is designed to protect authors, illustrators and creators. Uploaded books can be designated as private, shared with a few or shared with all members.

MahShelf provides all books uploaded with an external reader that allows books to be embedded into other websites, such as blogs. Members can subscribe to the bookshelves of others, add comments and add friends. There is also unlimited storage space for users.

Books with mature content are meant to be set as ‘not suitable for everyone’. Before members can access these titles, a warning message and a request for confirmation appears on the screen. Not all ‘mature’ books or images have been set to ‘not suitable for everyone’, so it’s best to have a look at MahShelf yourself before you recommend it to students. As with YouTube, there will always be people who upload questionable content.

Designed by three Finnish students, and still in its early stages, MahShelf needs a lot more content development. MahShelf is a great idea and hopefully it will be applicable to students interested in and/or studying graphic novels.

Feature wiki – Ballarat High School

Deborah Marshall is a teacher-librarian at Ballarat High School. She has developed an excellent wiki in conjunction with classroom teacher Samantha Gooding. Deborah and Samantha both attended the SLAV conference early this year which featured Will Richardson. Deborah says, ‘We were inspired enough by him that we wanted to put his ideas into action. In Term 2 our Library team completed the SLAV Web 2.0 training (which was great!) and this gave me the added confidence to dive in and have a go.’
Homepage

Homepage

She continues, ‘I initiated the wiki and invited the classroom teacher in as a co-administrator – and as a collaborative tool it has been wonderful. We can both add to the wiki without having to physically be together – but the history page allows us to keep track of developments. Given that the wiki was to be based on a brand new unit of work, Graphic novels, we felt the wiki would be a useful way of tracking our progress.’
Lesson plans

Lesson plans

Deborah explains how she and Samantha have ‘spread the word’. ‘Recently we presented the wiki at an English Learning Area meeting to demonstrate the possibilities for our colleagues – this was our first “marketing” effort.’

Graphic novel summary

Graphic novel summary

Deborah describes the process, ‘As this was a first effort with a wiki neither the teacher nor I were overly adventurous: we decided to start with a wiki that we could control and that was meant more for staff than students – a curriculum record, in a sense. Our aim was then to invite other teaching staff along so they could add to the wiki if they wished (eg. the Year 9 teachers and the English Learning Area teachers – as both these groups could make use of this wiki in the future). We hope that this presentation will encourage wiki use by other English teachers in the school. It is certainly something that my Library colleagues and I hope to pursue.’

Mind map assessment

Mind map assessment

Deborah explains, ‘Our Library team will be presenting to the whole staff next Term on our Web 2.0 training, as we were a Professional Learning Team for this activity and all PLTs at school are presenting their learnings to our colleagues. We have decided to create a wiki for this presentation and this wiki will have links to our Graphic novel wiki and Library blogs etc. We are hoping that this presentation and wiki will encourage other teaching staff to come on board with the Library next year and create more wikis for curriculum development and resourcing. Some of our other Library team members are beginning to create wikis for this purpose.

 

 

 

Mind map rubric

Mind map rubric

Thank you to Deborah and Samantha for their terrific work, for sharing their learning with us and with their staff. Well done.