Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dr. Joyce Valenza

Keynote speaker this morning at NJASL was Dr. Joyce Valenza. What an amazing woman! She provided us with her first singing keynote presentation down the yellow brick road to search for the Wizard of Apps. She led us on the road to many online resources to provide our students with tools to build their digital citizenship, information literacy and foster their creativity. As she provided examples through video of her students living out their research, I was in awe of her work and wanting to move to her district for my son. Her presentation will be on Slideshare and her Wiki is a path of resources that she discussed. I was brave at the end to ask for a picture. She obliged with a kind smile.

Dr. Valenza is such an empowering woman in our field and I feel fortunate to have been one of the lucky ones in the audience. Last year, it was her annual report that inspired me to write my own at the end of my first year. I am trying to slow my brain down to one thing to take away from her keynote, besides the Wizard of Oz theme song that is still playing in my head. I think what I am walking away with today is the message to be a leader in my school for the benefit of the children. Be knowledgeable of the tools that they will be using and get them to dig deeper in their research process. So much to think about!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Collaboration - A Journey

The library has been quite a buzz this year! We have hosted our book fair, begun our "Geek" campaign, started our morning book club "Book Chomp" and continue to be knee deep in many collaborative projects. At Allen, I have the benefit of having a both a fixed and flexible schedule. This assures, I meet with each class for an isolated library lesson and have open spots for collaborative lessons during classroom teacher's content times. Isolated library lessons would include book talks, Destiny instruction or lessons on the Dewey Decimal system. Collaborative lessons include the classroom teacher's content area being infused with the research process. When this happens, students benefit from a team teacher model and are able to make real world connections to the content. I am thankful that our school's technology teacher, Maureen Schoenberger and I work very closely. In most of these collaborative projects, Maureen is the facilitator of the end products that make us all go WOW! There are many librarians out there that also fill the tech teacher role. Not having to wear this hat all the time, allows me to dive deeper into the research process and continue to make sure meaning is in the front of our research goals.
Collaboration has not always been a part of our curriculum at our school. We have experimented with different models, created a planning form and had some bumps along the way. Our school is not at the point of true collaboration, but we are definitely headed in the right direction. We have a supportive principal, who makes collaboration a priority and a knowledgeable staff, that seeks ways to improve student achievement. Maureen and I were asked to clarify our collaborative journey with the staff at a past faculty meeting. We wanted to share our presentation to others on this collaboration journey.