Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Colaboration in the Real World

I am thrilled to be co-presenting at the NJASL fall conference on Friday with two amazing ladies. Jackie Albright Pugh and Katie Eagen-Casale are two librarians that work in my district. This year they have the daunting task of maintaining not one, but two school libraries. I am in awe of how they daily meet many challenges and yet still aggressively seek collaboration opportunities in both schools! Our presentation provides many strategies for librarians that are struggling to keep the collaboration part of their library program and those who are looking to start collaborative efforts within their district. We share many examples of what has worked for us. The Power Point and other resources are available here.
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

The End of the Year

This year's annual report will be almost entirely digital. Once again I have been inspired by Buffy Hamilton. Mine is not as fancy, but I think the opening movie is a perfect way to sum up our year.

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

Sandwich Board Research

Many classes have been collaborating with me in the area of Reading Workshop. Some classes come to the library once a week to have their reading workshop time in the library. The kids love the change of space and the teachers love the team teaching opportunity. Some classes focused on non fiction texts at the end of the year. After reading Collaboration and Comprehension by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels, I was so excited to try out some of their suggestions. Mrs. Demski was one of the teachers who shared her class with me for a non fiction unit. In the book, there are specific lessons about instructing children to code the text, take notes and write summaries from what they learned. We used these lessons over several weeks with much success. The kids were truly engaging with the text. They were writing notes in their own words unlike the straight copying we had observed in the past. We were so excited about their learning we wanted them to share it with other classes. In the book, it had mentioned the idea of a sandwich board to convey your message to others.

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

End of the Year Survey Questions

I am knee deep in data right now compiling the library's end of the year report. As I am sharing some funny statements from the kids on Twitter, some of you have asked for the questions I asked them. I felt that the easiest way to share the tools was a quick blog post. I created a quick Google site to share the word document that I used for grades one and two. (I use some of the drawings to jazz up the report.) I included a link to my website that has the Zoomerang survey questions I use with grades third through fifth. I also have attached the results of the Zoomerang survey I gave to the teachers. These questions are specific to my school, but please feel free to use them as a springboard for your own survey questions. I will post the final report soon.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Family Literacy Night

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

My Trip to Second Life

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.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Prezi - Dr. Seuss

I have been looking into a new site called Prezi. This site allows you to create more visually appealing presentations rather than just a standard PowerPoint. I saw one that Dianne McKenzie created on her blog. It was so cool! The upcoming Dr. Seuss biography lesson seemed like a great time to try this out. I found the site a bit confusing at first. Their online tutorials were not as helpful as they could be, but I was able to figure it out. There are some parts of my presentation I would like to improve such as layering more artwork under the text and adding my talking points in a note section. I feel this is a good start. The presentation will be used with all of my classes this week when they come in for a book exchange. One of the ways we celebrate Read Across America is with a daily triva question read over the loud speaker of our school. The first homeroom to buzz in with the answer wins a book from the library for their classroom library. This year, we will use the information in this Prezi to create the questions for the kids. The embedded version here does cut off some of the words in the show. If you click the Dr. Seuss link directly below the show it will take you to the Prezi site where it can be viewed full screen.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Promeathean Board Workshop

Our district has always been wonderful in professional development for the teachers. I feel they listen to our needs and find excellent presenters. This week was no exception when we had a two hour delay for an in-service. Our presenter, Ms. Susan Eley, provided a valuable workshop for us on practical tips for using our Promethean boards.

I came up with 12 new things I learned and have listed below.
1. "Drop a copy" feature
2. Placing obj into "My collection" instead of recreating them from scratch
3. Locking and unlocking obj
4. Making objects translucent
5. Using a camera tool to make a worksheet a picture and paste it into the flipchart
6. Attaching sound to an obj
7. Use the paint bucket to change the font color
8. Creating a hyperlink
9.Selecting multiple obj and clicking the trash can throws them away!
10. Create a "ticker tape" message
11. Changing the colors in my toolbar up to 24
12. Using the ink drop tool to create new colors

I am planning on turn keying this new knowledge with the staff in a morning workshop. Susan provided valuable handouts and was flexible with her agenda when we stopped to ask questions. She created a wiki space that shows videos that she created for us to refer to in the future! Amazing! She was a wonderful resource! You can tell that she put a lot of thought into our needs and set things up for continual learning. As a bonus she works close to my district so it will be nice to actually see her face to face!

Promethean Board Information
Promethean Planet
Susan's Wiki
Susan's Website