Orientation: LIVE in the Bookhenge!

3 06 2011

“Live the questions . . .”

We always begin class with a poem and for this, the first time we got together, I read what may be our “touchstone” poem: Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Live the Questions.” In response to my question about a question that we have each lived or will live this semester, most chose to introduce themselves with a question about teaching literature for young adults that they will “live” this summer school session. Perhaps these questions will inspire Action Learning Projects . . .

2B Writer: I’m Cris, and my question is how will English types take to class in a virtual world

acbryan5 : HI! I’m Amber. How will the virtual world transform literature?

ElizabethLiddell: Hello, I’m Jenny. My question is (considering I seem to hear it so often), why is English important?

VoglerApprentice: I’m Will. Can young adult literature do more than entertain?

ahwoodall: Hey y’all, I’m Ali. My question is how can we make literature relevant to the lives of students?

MatthewAHayes: I’m Matt, and my question is what aspect of literature draws you in the most?

Kendra4055: Hi, I’m Kendra. How will AI affect high stakes testing?

Avatar Makeover

Ajax Quinnell explained the layering theory of dressing in Second Life. A huge tip for quick, efficient and discreet outfit changes is to place all of your layers in a single folder in your inventory so you can simply right-click on that folder and choose “replace current outfit.”

Another crucial how-to is how to open a freebie box – can only be accomplished where you have permission to do so – usually a sandbox. You can open boxes in the sandbox at Cris’s Closet, just a short flight from the Bookhenge.

I’ll add a link to Ajax’s slides for review or for study if you missed the session. If you have questions, just tweet and he can respond.


A bookcast is not simply a video podcast about a book. The goal of a bookcast is to cast as in “to set forth or let loose” a response to the book that shares not the story of the book but something that the book brought out in you, perhaps what you felt or learned through the reading and reflecting. Rather than tell your viewer, you show your viewer by sharing that sense, feeling, thought through story, sound, and images.

Book trailers are popular activities these days but serve a different purpose. Book trailers are designed to entice someone to read the book just as a movie trailer promotes the movie.

Here’s a book trailer and a bookcast on the same book, Rick Yancey’s 2010 Printz Honor Book, Monstrumologist.

Official book trailer:

Stephanie’s bookcast:

Our Blakely has already grappled with the distinction and created first a book trailer and then a bookcast on A. S. King’s Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Note that she created the hilarious cartoon with GoAnimate, a free and simple animation tool.

Book trailer


Three types of connections that a bookcast usually makes — text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-world.

Stephanie’s Monstrumologist bookcast is an obvious text-to-world. And Blakely’s couldn’t be more text-to-self.

Must all bookcasts be positive? No, last semester several students created book rants.

Jenny asked a question about engaging in literary analysis in a bookcast. Analysis comes after response/connection (Will suggests connection works best for him). A bookcast should be the initial response/connection. Reader Response theorist Louise Rosenblatt’s term for a reader’s response to any text is a “poem” from the Greek “poiesis” which means “to make” as in “to transform and continue the world” (see Wikipedia for more on poiesis). Take-away message: Always begin with a reader’s response to the text; once engaged, then critical literacy, literary criticism, the teaching of literary elements, writing, etc. can follow. There must first be a poem, a reader-text transaction, for the reader’s world to be transformed and continued . . .

“A Hard Choice” created by a Ramapo Island Middle schooler (a “virtual” school in Second Life) that usually helps clarify the meaning of bookcast. Inspired by Robert Frost’s “A Road Less Traveled,” this student connected the question of making choices to a difficult one she had to make.

For additional exemplars, see the Bookcasting guide

Heads-up: Don’t let the technology overwhelm you. Regardless of your video or audio slide show experience or lack thereof, you can find a tool that will enable you to bookcast. See the Bookcast Production-Transaction Cost Matrix For PC users, PhotoStory is an oldie but goldie. And here are five tools for producing animated videos –See five free & easy tools for Video Slide Shows . . . Or a Flip cam or digital camera that shoots video can be a simple solution, too. Just check with me and we can brainstorm to match your experience and concept with the right tool.

Intellectual Property Rights

“With great power comes great responsibility.” — Peter Parker, Spiderman (often quotes by Henry Jenkins)

As we learn to extend our creative power through digital tools, we must also become aware of the great responsibility that we have for respecting the intellectual property rights of others.

I’m convinced that the best way to teach our students to realize both their power and their responsibility is to create the conditions for them to create their own intellectual property. Then they can come to value their own intellectual property and that of others.

They also need to understand fair use. Fair use is a legal right that we have (Section 107, US Copyright Law) to use or appropriate” copyrighted material without permission if, and a big IF, we build upon it in an original, innovative way; if we add value or transform it for the purposes of “criticism, comment, news, reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research”(Section 107, US Copyright Law). In class, we looked at a series of scenarios and applied what’s known as the Fair Use Analysis Factors to make informed decisions. The factors are purpose, character of use; nature of the copyrighted work; amount & substantiality; and effects on the commercial market (See Stanford University Libraries).

On the Orientation archives page, you’ll see our list of scenarios that you can match up with the slides in the PowerPoint.

Bill Ferriter, middle grades teacher and blogger (The Tempered Radical), shares this “teachable moment” about copyright and fair use.

To learn more about copyright and fair use, check out this resource that includes an archived seminar with an lawyer-now-librarian who has a strong interest in copyright and fair use — Copyright Remix: What’s Copyright? Copyleft? Or Copywrong in a Participatory Culture?
Don’t miss The Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Literacy Media Education.

To follow best practices in fair use, my best advice is to use the creative work of others who have indicated their willingness for you to appropriate their work with qualifications, such as they receive attribution, there are no derivatives (which specifies no audio-video synchronization) and the work is non-commercial. Learn more about Creative Commons . . .

You’ll find sources of Creative Commons images and royalty-free music on the Bookcasting Production-Transaction Costs Matrix.

Will asked an interesting question about embedding YouTube videos of others in your blog. He makes a good point that when you upload a video to YouTube that you have the option to allow embedding. If the originator allows embedding then it seems fine to take him up on that opportunity and embed. Coincidentally (unless you read of the legislation before class, Will), there’s news today of a bill that would hold those who embed videos that infringe upon the copyrights of others accountable. So embed but carefully.

Nonfiction Book Clubs

Congratulations to the newly formed The Glass Castle Book Club pitched by Jenny. The Maus Book Club still has space for members (tweet @LordBlakely), and we have enough members for one additional book club. See our recommended sources of YA nonfiction to find a book to pitch . . .

Please add questions, comments, positive reinforcements here and we can continue the conversation . . .




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