Clairvaux Library wiki

Clairvaux Catholic Primary School teacher librarian Pam Niewman has shown what a fantastic educator she is by developing this brilliant wiki in a very short space of time.

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Pam explains

The wiki is the backbone of my teaching at the moment and it develops along with our needs. It’s very primary orientated and by no means complete  – it even gets some things deleted/changed at times. However, like a tap dripping slowly, Web 2.0 is filtering throughout our school . . .

We are still continuing small steps at a time.

The wiki is gradually becoming a very useful tool and something that the children are beginning to refer to and use on a regular basis. I often use it as a teaching tool in my lessons from Prep to Year 6. The children have a link to it on our MyClasses page and the staff have a link on their desktop.

The use of the wiki and various web 2.0 tools is beginning to filter throughout the school – in addition to work done in library classes, we’re up to about 90 children now who have engaged in some form of after hours activities as either creators or responders. I’ve had many emails – some requiring advice, some informing me of what they have done or sending me links, and some just communicating about things they are enjoying.

As more children are beginning to show an interest in displaying their work on the wiki I have decided to set up a Student Work page in addition to incorporating their work into other appropriate pages.

Recently some Book Week activities created some learning opportunities.

  • Children began emailing to be the first to answer a question a day about a shortlisted book. This question became hotly discussed as children tried to be the first online with the correct answer. (Side effect – Use of email improved particularly with younger children)
  • Wallwishers which I set up to discuss the Book Week theme and related activities created interest with the Seniors, who then began creating their own. These were posted on MyClasses and the wiki and the discussions began . . . and then more …and more . . .  They added videos and websites  (Side effect – online mentoring, classroom teachers added comments, good questions had to be developed)
  • Some children who saw my Book Week ToonDoo cartoon tried some out for themselves and emailed their link to me.
  • A few children found a link to Picasso Head on the wiki (via Schumann the Shoeman activities) and tried it out.
  • Book Trailers – Two Year 4 boys created a book trailer for visiting author Justin D’Ath. A number of children who saw this on the wiki now want to try creating their own.
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  • A year 4 girl wrote and published on the wiki an excellent biography of Justin D’Ath, based on a talk he gave to her class during Book Week.
  • Some children have begun adding book reviews.
  • During their Inquiry unit, two year 6 boys made a web page to make people aware of the plight of the children in the Pakistan floods. A link to this was put on the wiki.
  • As a spin off from these activities, I now have lots of evidence for assessment and report writing.

There is a growing awareness and some curiosity now amongst the staff about Web 2.0 and I have been asked to do some PD and share ideas with the staff next year. As well, I have the opportunity to further develop both my own and the children’s web 2.0 skills next year in my teaching. I think the wiki will develop according to the paths we take and the tools we explore.

My goals for next year are to continue learning about Web 2.0 so that I can provide opportunities to embed the use of appropriate Web 2.0 tools in the learning and teaching of students and staff in our school.

Pam points out that she is by no means an expert (I think she is) and that she is experimenting with the development and use of the wiki. I think she’s done a brilliant job and I am sure the wiki will continue to grow and evolve over time. Please take the opportunity to browse through Pam’s wiki. It is truly amazing what she has accomplished in a couple of terms.

Promoting reading

Australian publishers such as Penguin and Allen and Unwin are now providing some really great content on their websites for YA readers.

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Between the lines blog is Penguin’s offering while Allen and Unwin’s Teen page is their home for YAs.

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These sites are fantastic for promoting reading as they contain:

  • book trailers
  • author blogs
  • opportunities for students to review books and have the reviews published online
  • sneak peek
  • enewsletters
  • news

and more. All of these resources make it easier to promote reading to students. I would love to hear what other publishers are doing.

Book Video Trailer Awards

Have you and/or your students created a book trailer? If so, you could be in line for an award. A couple of days ago, Joyce Valenza blogged about the New Book Video Trailer Awards to be held by the School Library Journal.

The competition is global and the categories are:

  • Publisher/author created for Elementary readers (PreK-6)
  • Publisher/author created for Secondary readers (7-12)
  • Student created for Elementary readers (PreK-6)
  • Student created for Secondary readers (7-12)
  • Adult (anyone over 18) created for Elementary readers (PreK-6)
  • Adult created for Secondary readers (7-12)

The deadline is 17th September. For more information go to Joyce’s brilliant blog Never Ending Search.

Assessment rubric for Book Trailers

Since Book Trailers have taken schools by storm and many classes are using them as creative ways to respond to texts, one question is how to assess them.

Whitefriars College library coordinator and School Library Association of Victoria President Rhonda Powling (@bibliokat) has developed a fantastic rubric for assessing book trailers and it could be adapted for other creative text responses.

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Many thanks to Donna for sharing this fantastic resource.

PGSC Reading wiki

A wiki suggesting alternative ways to respond to texts has been developed by Preston Girls’ Secondary College.

PGSC reading wiki 1

The idea behind the wiki is to show both students and teachers creative ways to respond to texts. The wiki includes examples of how students have responded via tools such as:

PGSC  reading wiki glogs

A big thank you to @thenerdyteacher Nick Provenzano for sharing his students’ Prezis on The Great Gatsby. You can view more student responses (including YouTube clips) on his excellent blog.

PGSC reading wiki prezis

Hopefully students will be excited to show teachers and parents their understanding of texts through creating and publishing presentations. Schools could use the presentations on their websites and/or parent information night.

Bookleads wiki

Joyce Valenza blogged about this terrific wiki a few days ago.

Bookleads wiki

Although her message was primarily about the book trailer resources, there’s a lot of other great stuff to be found!

Resources on the wiki include:

Joyce welcomes contributions from any interested educators. This can be done by applying to join the wiki here. Thank you yet again Joyce for developing and sharing excellent resources.

Book trailers with Chrissie Michaels

ustice and SurvivalChrissie Michaels* is a teacher of English, Drama and Humanities at a Gippsland school. She is also an author of YA fiction. She has been using book trailers in class to enhance teaching and learning. She explains more:

Why did you begin using book trailers as part of your teaching?

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to make tasks interesting and engaging for my students. This seemed a new and novel way to have them respond to a wide-reading activity; a change from the basic written review or oral presentation. A book trailer requires a different approach: working out how to portray the selected book in such a way that someone else is persuaded to read it. The task sets a multilayered challenge―to create visuals, audio and text.

Recently I was involved in the production of a book trailer for my YA novel In Lonnie’s Shadow. After doing a bit of my own You Tube and publishing-house research, and enlisting some willing helpers, I discovered it wasn’t that hard to put together a short film. A great big cheer for Windows MovieMaker which is the program we used. It’s readily accessible on most PCs. At home we had already been using MovieMaker to put together family DVDs. Making the book trailer was just the next step.

Which trailers did you use?

In the classroom I used the trailer for In Lonnie’s Shadow as a starting point. Being an author/teacher has its pluses! I also showed a simple student trailer from TeacherTube which used the basic MovieMaker elements. This provided enough background for the students to work on their task, which was to create a book trailer to market their chosen wide-reading novel to a new audience of readers (i.e. without giving too much of the plot away). First, students spent a period creating their own ‘test’ sample, using a set of photographs on a range of general interest topics (surfing etc.) and adding some audio/music clips. Teachers do have to remain aware of copyright issues of course. Students inserted text onto these pictures or made separate text frames and played around with transitions and effects.

How did students respond to them?

Since we started they have been really engaged. It’s still early days, but I’ve been delighted with their interest! Of course they picked up on how to use the program within about five minutes flat. Two students already knew how to use MovieMaker. Some could use Vegas (another movie-making program) which is a more complex program (at least for me). I gave those students the option to use it if they wished. Teachers may prefer to use Photo Story 3 as another simple option.

Have they made their own trailers?

Many are well on the way but they are still a work in progress. All have picked a key line of narrative or brief interpretive piece of dialogue from their chosen novel to work with in a new way. I dutifully bring in a video camera and the digital camera for this section of the task. Many still haven’t got their own pictures ready (part of their homework) so I am going back a step for some students where they have to map out a short storyboard. A website with some starting pointers can be found at:

We are planning to show the finished clips (1-2mins duration) in a class presentation probably in a fortnight’s time.

If so, what skills did they learn?

I think that being able to weave together a multilayered storyline using the visual, auditory and textual has been a great creative exercise. Of course, students start by reading. They pre-write: plan their response and storyboard those visual images to create a narrative line. The task makes it so important for the students to understand the key imagery and themes for each story they have read and then they have to work out how best to convey these in an original way. They decide on transitions and effects. They seek peer review. They revise and refine.

We are all looking forward to the presentation. Students have been discussing with each other how to best represent imagery, themes and characters. They have teamed up with others to film snippets of dialogue. Hooded students have been chasing each other down corridors (for the sake of the film clip of course!).

Can readers see what the students have developed?

At this stage the students have elected for a once-off viewing of their book trailers for the class only. I guess the next time we may be more adventurous and do something for a wider audience.

Since you mentioned a book trailer for your novel, tell us a little about it…

My new YA novel is called In Lonnie’s Shadow, and is out in May 2010. It is published by Ford Street Publishing.

The novel is about a group of teenagers living in Little Lon, Melbourne in 1891. Lonnie, Pearl, Daisy and Carlo are trying to make a fair go of life, although many things are conspiring to make their life difficult. Sometime it’s hard to know who they can rely on. Secrets are kept and promises made. There’s plenty of action and the characters find themselves facing many hot spots – theft and kidnap, gang warfare and murder – and they have to make some pretty serious choices. The narrative structure draws upon artefacts (some real and some imagined) found in the contemporary archaeological digs of Little Lon. There’s a wonderful collection at Museum Victoria. In fact this is what first inspired me to write the story. So I hope you will read the novel and most of all, enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Check out In Lonnie’s Shadow trailer here or through Vimeo, Blazing Trailers, or go straight to Chrissie’s author website or Ford Street Publishing which has a number of other book trailers readers might like to use in their schools.

There are new essay questions for In Lonnie’s Shadow on Chrissie’s author website: Themes covered:

  • Justice and survival
  • Identity and belonging
  • Imaginative landscape

Thanks Chrissie. We would love to be able to show the students’ book trailers on Bright Ideas if at all possible.

*Chrissie Michaels is an author pen name.

f2m: a collaborative project

Quentaris author and Ford Street Publishing representative Paul Collins recently sent Bright Ideas some information on an interesting way the new YA book f2m was written.

Authors Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy co-wrote the novel and collaborated via Skype using a webcam. By writing together online and using online conferencing, they developed the entire novel using web 2.0 tools. This is a great example of the power of online collaboration for our students. The result is that the writing is seamless; readers cannot tell which author wrote which pages or chapters.

f2m will be launched on 14 February in Melbourne. A media release about the book is available here. The novel is aimed at students aged 15+, it deals with female to male gender transitioning.

Ford Street Publishing also have a number of book trailers on their website.

Book trailers

A number of people contributed places to find book trailers via OZTL_NET. Here they are in one place:

TrailerSpy – thanks to Ruth Buchanan.

Twilight # 2 – New Moon (Stephenie Meyer) thanks to Ruth Buchanan.




CMIS trailer Tuesdays thanks to Judi Jagger. 

Whitefriars College book trailers

Jacketflap thanks to Barbara Braxton

On the topic of book trailers, local teen publisher Ford Street have a set of YouTube ads created by a fan who loves making trailers:

 Crime Time by Sue Bursztynski

My Private Pectus by Shane Thamm

Trust Me! edited by Paul Collins, foreword by Isobelle Carmody
The Spell of Undoing by Paul Collins
Before the Storm by Sean McMullen
Finding Home  by Gary Crew, illustrated by Susy Boyer

Ice-cream man by Jenny Mounfield:

Crossing the Line by Dianne Bates:

They Told Me I Had To Write This by Kim Miller

Sean McMullen speaks about Before the Storm

As with anything you show students, please remember to vet all book trailers first.

Feature wiki – Whitefriars College “Reading – Active and engaging

Whitefriars College Head of Library and Information Services (and School Library Association of Victoria President) Rhonda Powling has created an incredible wiki. Entitled “Reading – active and engaging”, Rhonda’s wiki focusses on strategies for engaging students with reading, particularly for boys (as Whitefriars is a boys’ school).


Rhonda has introduced her students to ‘Book trailers’ This  is where students make a movie style trailer advertising a book. Rhonda’s rationale for introducing the student to book trailers includes:

There are many students who seem disengaged at school. It has been said that young people are not reading and won’t write anymore than they absolutely must.
Outside school, however, it is a different story. Studies have shown young people are reading and writing incessantly, updating their MySpace/Facebook pages, keeping blogs and WebPages

In other words they are reading and writing but in different modes and media to the more traditional print literacies of the 20th century. Indeed the definition of literacy is evolving all the time. Literacy can no longer just encompass print-only works. In the 21st century literacy must include digital, hypertext, images and the plethora of communication media that make up the complex systems that bound in today’s world.

The complexity of messages in today’s world means that our students have to not only know how to “read” them but also know enough about them to be critical viewers, with the power to analyse and understand the obvious and more obscure meanings of the messages around them.

Students are bringing multi-literacy skills to the classroom and teachers tap into their interests and skills and then enhance their students’ understanding of these various diverse texts. This will enable them to become skilled at critically viewing any of the diverse texts that is presented to them so that they can confidently use all the media around them to learn, clarify and communicate information rather than by passive users who can be coerced, confused and persuaded by the unscrupulous.

Some statistics: (in 2008)
· 73% or ¾ students on the internet watch or download videos
· ½ of the young internet users say they watch YouTube
· Many young people post videos to blogs and even more forward on a link in an email
· They are socializing, researching, playing games, getting news via technologies.
In schools we need to look at innovative ways to capture the interest and commitment of students to the understanding the deep-thinking and as the learning world because more and more immersive these initiatives are an important step.

 Rhonda has supplied some examples of book trailers developed by her students.


 The General

Nemesis Book 1: Into the shadows


Rhonda has included the process of storyboarding and planning before students begin filming:



Also included is an assessment rubric:

Assessment rubric

Assessment rubric

You have to agree that Rhonda has created a sensational unit or work and seeing the students’ brilliant efforts only reinforces what a wonderful job Rhonda has done to bring the love of reading to students in this age of multimedia.