Diving into Digital Fiction: Locating/Selecting Part 3: Web Fiction and Online Novels

Online/Web Fiction

This form of fiction is simply a regular novel or collection of stories that exist online. Web fiction authors often publish on blogs or community wikis. Readers can comment, review, and subscribe to novels if they are still works in progress.

Web Fiction Guide

This is a community site with online novels, story collections and reviews. You can select from categories and one of those categories is young adults. There is quite a collection to choose from, some still being updated and others complete. Readers score the stories and stories are tagged as well so you know what you’re getting into ahead of time. Some of these stories can be downloaded as pdf files so could be loaded on to handheld devices, some are available on Issuu, some  also have podcasts with them so students can read and listen, a bonus especially for ESL students or those with reading difficulties. Novels still in progress often have an rss feed available so you automatically receive the next chapter when it comes out. Here are a few I’ve dipped into (each quite different) so I plan to include:

Scary Mary

Impeccable Petunia 

Mortal Ghost 

Also part of this site is Top Web Fiction a listing of the top rated stories on the site.

One of the downsides of using a site like Web Fiction Guide is it does leave your students the option to go to other categories of fiction, one of which is erotica. This may or may not be blocked by your school filters. Common sense says active supervision is a must if students are the ones searching and selecting stories online.

Fifty-two Stories with Cal Morgan

Fifty-Two Stories is a website run by Harper Perennial (part of HarperCollins) and is a showcase for short stories. Each year a theme is selected and authors contribute their offerings. Each week one story is selected for publication on the site. The theme for 2011 is: ASK. The quality of writing is professional, the stories are for general consumption so again it pays to preview what’s on offer although I haven’t run into anything untoward.

One of the offerings worth a look on this site is  The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, a novella by popular author and screenplay writer, Neil Gaiman.


This is another community offering novels in different genres. It was started by a Christian self-published author so features some of her writings but also contains many other self-published authors. There does not appear to be any mature content stories on this but preview before selecting. I did like the fact that this site includes some online graphic novels. The down-side of this site is that there are no ratings on it so quality is highly variable.

Quality Management and the Teacher Librarian – pt 1

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rikkilynn07/88613509/Quality management is a very large concept to get your head around. While I understand the general idea, it is the principles and the terminology that takes a bit to get the brain around. But I recognize it’s importance. It is what is often missing – the ‘umbrellic’ process that turns visions into reality. It’s the idea of working on the system to improve the service.

The question the ETL504 – “Teacher Librarian as Leader” course asks of us is this:

After reading, explain how the QM model could be used to enhance the management of information services (LRC) provision in a school.

Our first article about TQM (total quality management) was written by Myron Tribus and is the first time I’ve seen someone connected with management speak ‘our language’ — ie. make the distinctions between industry and the education sector. We’ve had presidents/treasurers on school council try to apply some of the TQM principles to our school plans i the past and it just didn’t work. Our school is not a business, it’s not meant to turn a profit (we’re a non-profit organisation), its meant to be viable but more importantly its meant to be successful. The economic success formula just didn’t work. The success of students is even more difficult to measure when you are not interested in test score success, our philosophy is more holistic, dealing with character as well as academic success.

Again this is where the planning process starting with vision is imperative. We need to define what we are aiming for, beyond a mission statement and philosophy. We (our school community) need to look back at the vision we created years ago.

As far as the TL and Information Services in a school are concerned. Our vision for the LRC must marry with the school’s visions and aims. A TL needs to be in touch with the overall principles, aims and objectives and have ones for the Resource Centre.  I guess we’ll be experts and leaders in this because we’ll have to go through the process twice – once for school and again for the LRC. We are like a service within a service.

Photo from flickr courtesy:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/rikkilynn07/88613509/

Creating a Culture of Inquisitiveness in the Classroom

Chapter Three of Barell’s book, asks the reader to pause and ponder —

My responses are below but I’d love to hear others thoughts and suggestions.

How do you go about creating a culture within a classroom, and within a school, that fosters inquiry?

  • listen to questions – use active listening techniques
  • encourage students to listen to each other’s questions and responses and to ask each other questions before they ask the teacher. I want them to view each other as possible human resources not just adults.
  • set expectations that no questions are to be rubbished as ‘dumb questions’.
  • invite thoughtfulness – stop and think or write/think, envision

What have you done to enable students to feel comfortable posing questions?

I’m not in a classroom, I’m in the library and I feel that libraries are the ultimate classroom of inquiry So I :

  • try to be to be curious myself. If a child talks to me about a topic (eg. sharks lose 200 teeth each year) I like to say “I wonder why that is? I wonder how …. I guess I wonder out loud a lot
  • admit I don’t know things and then wonder out loud where the best place might be to look (in fact I often ‘don’t know’ even when I do know). I want to encourage them to think about the resources and which might be most useful for the question at hand.
  • encourage them to report back and fill me in on anything I don’t know about that they find the answer to — then I can give them some positive feedback about their search efforts.
  • began to place non-fiction books in the picture book display racks. Little kids can get a lot out of the pictures even if they can’t read the words and these are popular item for prep boys to take out. They would never go looking on the stacks for them at first. Now they will come in and ask if we have more on trucks, motorbikes, dinosaurs, volcanoes, tornadoes …. they venture into the non-fiction a lot more now.
  • purchase and leave out odd facts books like Guiness World Book of Records, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Wacky but True magazines etc.
  • teach them how to use the catalogue to search for resources as young as possible.