Friday, September 21, 2012

Live tweeting 'The Hunger Games'

As a lark this summer, I decided to 'live tweet' the hunger games. I created an account separate from my personal and professional ones and wrote timed tweets through novel, tweeting as the characters would during the story. It's not very good - but it's an example at least! The URL for the twitter feed is:
You need to scroll down to the very bottom and load all the tweets - twitter shows your latest tweet first.
I used a program that allowed me to write tweets and store them to post at later dates. That way I could write timed tweets for days into the future. The goal was to have a site that teachers could show students as an example if they wanted this as an assignment option.

  1. I really got to know the story and the characters. I knew the Hunger Games but now I really know it. Not sure when I'll ever want to read it again. 
  2. I was able to learn more about the characters and their development as I tried to speak as they would in situations presented.

  1. Writing as a character and nailing their voice can be difficult when you're trying to speak as they would but not as they did (due to copyright issues). Not happy with the voice of a number of characters as I presented them. As well, at times all grammar went out the window. Combo of the format and my laptop being cranky.
  2. Not all novels are compact in timeline as 'The Hunger Games'. Would work for something like 'Lord of the Flies', less for something like 'Night'.
  3. A number of the tributes do not have official names. Found those that I could, had to refer to them by district if I couldn't.

 The Process:

  1. Created an account. 
  2. Read and reread the book. Decided on what was important to tweet. Five pages of her discussing how hard it is to live in a cave might merit one tweet, one page of battle might merit 10 tweets from several characters.
  3. Wrote with #character at the start but did add some hashtags as they are generally used at the end (eg. #cato That boy from 12 was playing us!!! he's with the girl!! #killpeeta #CATOROCKS). For those unfamiliar, hashtags are used to either link to other tweets on a topic or to express a quick thought on a topic, minus spaces. (sample tweet : "Allowed the child to eat staples #theregoesparentoftheyear). Many of the tweets from Cato ended with #CATOROCKS. Many from Haymitch ended with #ineedadrink or #stayalive.
  4. Tried to ensure that characters were represented in the feed, even if they didn't have dialog in the book at that section. One example would be near the end when Katniss is waking in her room and hears yelling. That yelling is quite possibly Haymitch talking about how she's not to get cosmetic surgery. Included a tweet from him in that instance. 
  5. Used twuffer (another website) to write tweets to post at certain times. I could write days and days and days of tweets in one sitting, making sure to chose what time they posted. 
  6. Started to hate the process 
  7. Continued through the story, breaking character at the end to put any references and thanks I needed to put there.

What I like about what I've done is that I have a definite example of how to use twitter for a project such as this. Now, instead of just stating 'you can use twitter' blah, blah, blah, I can show them how I did it. Always useful!

Banned Books Display

The most talked about - ever - display I have ever done in the library is the one currently running. I decided to do a display on 'Banned Books'. After extensive searching, I found lists of books that have been banned in various places for one reason or another. I found out why they're banned, found them in my library and boop! Display. Sort of.

I first did an information board. This board is near the door as well as the circulation desk. I purchased book envelopes, hallowe'en ribbon and chose a black and navy colour background scheme. The background is a tablecloth from the dollarstore (all plastic, $1). The ribbons I purchased are the borders. I decided on a 'Here we read Banned Books' title, partly to emphasise that we do read these books here and partly as an intro to the library and school in general (just to set the tone for the year). Each of the little envelopes lists on it the reason a book is banned. Then, inside is a card saying the title of the book.
Students can lift out the card and see what book is banned. Then, the table. I kept with the same colour (and cost) scheme and had a black tablecloth with a blue skirt. I used the leftover ends from the ribbons to decorate the skirt a little and tie the theme together a bit. Then I added the books that were banned that I have in the library.
Each book has a note on it saying why it's banned. Several of the books are ones we study or the students have studied in previous grades. I tried to include as much current, popular fiction as possible. I made the choice to put the info over the cover/title of the book to make the book seem a little more remote or hidden. A number of the books aren't in that picture as they've been checked out already.
Students have really caught on to this idea of books being banned. They can't believe that titles they grew up with like Harry Potter are banned. Nor can they believe that books they study, like 'Speak' or 'To Kill a Mockingbird' could ever be banned. It's garnered a lot of discussion and has garnered a lot of interaction between them and me but also between students discussing books that are banned that they love. I make the point that here, we encourage people to read as much as possible, even if in other places they ban it. They appreciate that.
I have NO clue what I'm going to do next!