Friday, March 5, 2010

Feast of Souls by Celia Friedman

Review by Nathaniel Parsons (Head Student Librarian, Year 12) as part of the 50 Book Challenge

This book is the first book in The Majester Trilogy.  In the story, a woman called Kamala, a whore from the slums of Gansang goes to a majester, who is like a sorcerer, called Ethanus to secretly become the first woman Majester.  This book is about her adventures after she becomes a Majester. 

In the story, every time magic is used it drains away the life of the magician who uses it, so it needs to be used with great care.  This is a great book, lots of action, madness, fake deaths, royal drama and lots of good and evil.  I really liked this book because it is different, the characters are unusual and the author hasn't made the book like lots of other fantasy books.  I thought it was structured really well and that it was easy to read.  I hope our library gets the rest of the books in this series. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Scenes from the library at lunchtime

Yesterday the library was 'the place to be' there were heaps of boys here doing all manner of things.  Some were trying to get a quiet moment to finish off some homework, like Alex from year 10 pictured on the right.

Others like these guys on the left, were all about the socialising!  It was madness, books were going in and out at an alarming (but pleasing) rate.  People were asking questions, looking for books, using the computers - we even had a queue for computers at one point.  The librarian was sprinting from one end of the room to the other, the phone was ignored, staff passing through were press ganged into service, it was all go.  And amidst all the mayhem Warren (on the right) and a few others read, in little isolated islands of peace!  

The 50 book challenge has kicked in with a vengeance and the boys who think they are in the running are using every available opportunity to knock off books.  The first book reviews are in already and competition is running hot!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shift happens - again. An update for parents!

Social media, Iphone and Ipod apps, Twitter and a raft of Web 2.0 tools are changing the way students work, study and the way everyone finds answers to questions.  Watch this video about the influence of these new tools and be amazed!



In a world of rapid change it is really important for parents, caregivers and teachers to know exactly what their kids or students are doing online.  These students we have today are so media savy they don't even think about doing all or at least some of the things in the video, if you want to understand them you need to know how to use it too, social media can leave you behind very quickly.  Technology is only going to get more important in our lives.

While the library here at King's is full of books and research materials, which are used every single day of the school year, there is no altering the fact that the internet, and applications that use the internet to deliver information are also very important.  If you want a starting point there is an easy way to start, ask your teenager to help you.  Trust me they know what they are doing.  They may not be good at judging the quality of the information which is where you can help them.  You can help them to think critically about what they are reading and absorbing online, this is part of the libraries job, and you can provide support at home and talking about what students are doing online which reinforces learning, helps you to be involved with student learning and supports your teenager by showing you are interested.

Over the coming months this blog will profile some of the common applications and tools that students are using, or may find useful for homework, for research and also because they are so much fun to use.
Thanks to the Hey Jude blog for reminding me to post this.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Duck Duck Go - The cutest search engine

It is good to try new things!  We all know that google has become second nature, but there are many many other search engines out there that work very well when you are trying to retrieve information.  This is a little profile of one that is cute, works well and is incredibly visually appealing!  The site information says "Duck Duck Go is a new search engine with better results and less garbage. With less clicking forward and back between links, it is for anyone who wants to get information faster."


This search engine gives great results, I particularly like "I'm feeling ducky" which works the same as I'm feeling Lucky on the Google search engine.  Duck duck go has been around for a while now and it is getting better and better.  Go check it out!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The 50 Book Challenge

Yes folks, it is that time again.  Time for a repeat performance for the 50 book challenge.  There have been a few changes made to the competition this year, a little bit of tweaking to ensure fairness, given the competitive nature of this very popular challenge.
  • Your Group Teacher's reading counts towards your group total.
  • There will be prizes for the top readers - who may in fact read way beyond 50 books.
  • Prize of a pizza lunch for the winning House Group (overall most books read).
  • The competition goes from 1st March until 1st October.
  • Members of the Book Gang will help Ms Schaumann and the Head Student Librarian to administer the competition.
  • There will be a special prize for the staff member who contributes the most towards their group total.
Forms for the challenge are available in the library, ask one of the student librarians.  Can't wait for the forms to start rolling in.  May the best reader or the most prolific reader - win!

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