Saturday, January 19, 2013
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
This film was made by NJEA Classroom Close Up about the Literature Links program that we created to help parents read with their children strategically. The producer, Adam Bauser, wrote his thoughts about the Literature Links program and how it changed his own reading time with his kids in a post entitled, Unlocking the Keys to Reading with Your Child. His post was the "ripple effect" I was hoping for when I sought out the Target grant over a year ago!
Friday, February 11, 2011
A large part of the movie was devoted to the research that did not support hours and hours of homework. Yet, homework seemed to be the single thread that was stressing the kids out and causing them to take stimulants, not sleep and cheat. The film also looked at what these kids were learning. Many kids pointed out they can't remember what information they learned on tests or homework because they just needed to "cram it in and then let it out". Doctors and lawyers spoke about how the young adults coming into their profession can't think. They are so used to being "coached". This was a scary thought for them because who will be the leaders in their professions if no one is thinking.
I took a lot away from this film as a Mommy. "What homework do you have tonight?", will not be the first thing out of my mouth when I greet my 2nd grader anymore! As a teacher, I am looking into my homework practices. Two books about the homework topic in the film.
Librarians have a role in adding inquiry into their collaborative projects. Leading the way to show the importance of critical thinking for our students not simple recall.
It was quite a powerful film. Please leave a comment if you have seen the film and it moved you as well.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The MHA library was the recipient of an Early Childhood Reading Grant from Target stores this summer. Whoo hoo! With budgets shrinking and programs being cut, the grant was welcomed news. The grant allowed me to create a program called Literature Links. The goal of the program was simple: To Help Parents and Kids Connect with Books through Strategic Reading. Research shows that when parents become involved in their children reading their children reading achievement grows and stronger families of readers are built. (Darling, Westberg 2004)
The Literature Links parent book club studied the book 7 Keys to Comprehension by Susan Zimmermann. In the book, 7 comprehension strategies were examined to help readers make meaning from the texts. At the Literature Links Book Club, parents learned about these strategies each week. Through interactive activities parents were encouraged to “Try It!” with their own children.
In order to help parents continue to utilize the strategies they learned in the book club and to reach out to other families unable to attend, a library backpack program was developed. The MHA library now offers 30 backpacks to circulate among K-2 students. Each of the 30 backpacks contain two library books based on a theme. The backpacks also include a prompt sheet that should be used when families are reading and discussing the theme’s literature. Parents are able to use these prompts before, during or after the reading of the literature.
The program has been so successful at our school. Parents have been quite vocal of how much they have learned from this program. Literature Links will even be featured on an upcoming segment of the NJEA show Classroom Close Up! I am presenting this idea to other NJ librarians this Thursday at our local Barnes and Noble. I have included the website that I will be sharing with them. It contains resources that librarians could use to begin a similar program in their library.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I will be honest and say it was wonderful to collaborate with other librarians and to participate in conversations surrounding the happenings of school libraries again. I am looking forward to a great conference. At the top of my NJASL list is getting the opportunity to hear and meet Buffy Hamilton finally! My former professor and friend Shayne Russell will be presenting “New Technologies for Program, Promotion & Productivity @ Your Library.” Look for my tweets!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
I love the idea of the annual report. It allows me to look back and see all the learning that has taken place not only by the students and teachers, but myself! The library in my school has made such a transformation in the last two years and I feel honored to have been a part of it. The administration, teachers, parents and students have been so willing to allow change to happen!
This year will be my last year in the library. Due to the dramatic funding cuts in New Jersey my district will not have a full time librarian in each building. I am fortunate that I will be returning to the classroom. (2nd grade!) Although I am embracing this new opportunity, I will miss this position terribly! I have only been a librarian for two years, but it has been the most rewarding two years of my 16 year career.
This is the link to the report. As always, I welcome any feedback.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
We thought it would be a great visual to go along with the oral information the children would provided the visiting classes. We had her class be creative with their art supplies and decorate the front with the factual information they learned. The back was to be an advertisement to encourage children in other classes to approach them. We decided to just invite the other 5th grade students due to limited time. Mrs. Demski's class was positioned around the library ready for the approaching students. It was amazing listening to the students explain their research and answer questions from the other classes. The visiting classes were impressed with the knowledge of their friends. Some even checked out books about topics that were discussed because they wanted to learn more! How exciting! This text is our teacher book club choice for next year, so stay tuned for more posts about this great book.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Long before I became the librarian at Allen, I wanted to have a Family Literacy Night. This year, as the librarian, I was able to make it happen. Literacy nights are a wonderful way to spread the love of reading with your school families along with promoting the your libraries services. This year we connected the Family Literacy Night to our year long Geek Campaign. Here is the website I created to be used as a "How To" guide. I hope others will be ready to create their own Literacy Nights in their libraries. I welcome your comments and suggestions!
This is the url:
Saturday, March 20, 2010
On Tuesday night, I participated for the first time in a Second Life meeting. I had received an email from the Teacher Librarian Ning I belong to that read “Make plans to join your colleagues on Tuesday, March 16that 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT for a very special event, “A Chat with Sara Kelly Johns”. Sara is a candidate in the election for ALA President and she will speak to librarians about her platform and her vision for ALA.” I thought this would be a great opportunity to try out this environment and hear Sara's platform. I had to create an avatar for myself first and got my husband to help. Shopping in second life was just as frustrating as in my real life even with a thin avatar! I didn’t want to spend any real money, but there only seemed to be inappropriate outfits for free. I couldn’t possibly meet the future ALA president looking like a “lady of the night”! We eventually got an appropriate outfit and Tuesday night I transported to the location of the meeting. I was able to sit right next to Sara Kelly Johns. My cyber friend Buffy Hamilton was there for a bit too. Sara’s power point was available for us and a chat box appeared so we could ask her questions. I went back in forth between Twitter and the meeting so I could share some of Sara’s message. I loved her push for more collaboration between the public libraries and school libraries. She stated, “strong school libraries make stronger public libraries.” It would be a huge boost for school librarians if Sara is voted in as ALA president.
I have to be honest and say I am not really sure about the whole Second Life thing for use in education. I know that some schools have purchased islands and students create things in Second Life as projects. I am not a fan of video games, so the whole set up was uncomfortable in that way. I will say it was great “seeing” people while we chat. I feel isolated in the postings of my online Rutgers class because it is just words. I am visual and enjoyed watching the others participate in Second Life. Sara had a mic and spoke about her power point, which made the meeting more personal. I could also hear the passion in her voice something that would not have been achieved through just typing. So maybe teachers could have kids go to a class in Second Life even though they would be in the same real room in real life? Is anyone using Second Life in their library? Does anyone have any experiences in how this could be used for projects? Any examples they would like to share with me?
I am not sure if I will attend another Second Life event, but I am glad I had the experience. I feel if a parent or administrator questions me about the Second Life environment I will have a small background to answer. I enjoy trying out these new tools and seeing how the can benefit our students.