Friday, May 23, 2014

Display Case!

Oh the display successful display leads to a desire to create another of equal or greater success.  The self-induced pressure is what drives me.  That and the fact that I actually really love creating display cases that make people smile.  Having said that, I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of January's iRead case.  It featured iPod representations with students pictures and a "playlist" of their favorite books.  The kids loved that one and asked to take their iPod representations home. Then there was February's display case - a favorite of many and yes, once again I forgot to take a picture.  That was the giant origami case that featured Tom Angleberger's Origami Yoda book series.  I folded and displayed a giant origami Yoda, Darth Paper, and Jabba the Puppet.  Forgetting to take pictures of these cases is a concept my 13 year-old daughter can't wrap her mind around.  She takes a picture of (literally) everything she does.  She Instagrams images of her Starbucks drinks, Snapchats wardrobe decisions, and Tweets every funny thing she sees.  She doesn't understand how I could be so old that I could actually forget to snap a pic of something I put so much work into!  In her mind, if you don't post it somewhere it may as well have never happened.  Looks like I'll have to recreate those cases next year just so I can get some documentation.

At least I remembered to get a picture of March/April's case - the literature genre theme that went hand-in-hand with our building wide March Madness Reading Challenge.

Finding balance in the library program's focus

As promised, I have meditated on the library program's focus and finding a balance within elements it contains.  One of the library program's elements that I thought a lot about was reserch.  The last quarter of the school year I committed to attempting a module from the engageny website for the 3rd and 4th grade classes.  How did I arrive at this foolish decision?  Well, I'd already done some research projects with both the 1st and 2nd grade classes and felt ready to take on the upper grades but wasn't sure about choosing a topic.  So, I solicited feedback from the 3rd and 4th grade teachers - I asked if I could help support the curriculum with a particular research topic or if (gulp) anybody might be interested in collaboratively teaching a research project?  I didn't receive many responses and the ones I did receive said that any research was good research and would be well appreciated.

Now, everyone likes to be appreciated but, as a librarian, I also wanted to be helpful so I thought I'd take a look at the enagageny modules that our district would be taking on next year.  I thought maybe I could take a couple for a test drive and offer my experiences with them later.  Ha!  Taking on one of these modules solo with an entire grade level of 125+ students is not recommended.  Even a modified version of one of these things (the full module for Interdependent Roles of Colonial Trades, grade 4 is 656 pages) is a big undertaking.  I learned a valuable lesson, one that was taught extensively in library school but nevertheless, had to be experienced personally.  That lesson is that collaboration is necessary if we are going to tackle deeper projects with cross-curricular content.  Although we enjoyed some success with these modules, they could have been so much more!

It has been rumored that next year the library will be flexibly scheduled for grades 2-4.  If this schedule is put in place, the possibilities for meaningful research in the library will be greatly increased!  Collaboration will be the norm instead of the exception and at least two elements of the library program will be in balance.  Research and Curricular Support.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I've been thinking a lot recently about the library program's focus.  When I was in library school I learned about what the program "should" focus on.  When I was hired to run my first library and library program I quickly realized that those "shoulds" didn't necessarily apply to my library.  I agonized over focus for the first few months until I settled into a rhythm of programming that felt right.  Then I worried because I wasn't so stressed about the program that I would dream libraries every night.  Was I now being remiss in my attitude about the library program?  I clearly wasn't ready to tackle writing a curriculum for the library (my end-of-the-year goal).  The winter holiday break gave me some time to explore the professional blogs I respect most and catch up on my professional journals.  I came across a slideshare of Tiffany Whitehead's that spoke about balance and really made sense to me.  This is the balance that I will meditate on during the first part of 2014.  I'll let you know what comes of those meditations.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December Display Case

This one was a big hit although it did fall down once and had to be rebuilt.  Then there was the reshelving of all these books but it really was worth it in the end.

November Display Case

Global Read Aloud

Back in October I began a Global Read Aloud (GRA) project with all six of our second grade classes.  The project involves reading a selected book (Marty McGuire by Kate Messner) and making global connections with other classes reading the same book.  We have had moderate success connecting with other classes but have been limited by our early morning start.  At 8:30 in the morning most of our connections are either still sleeping (Australia) or simply not available for face-to-face connections.  So, we have connected using our own Kid Blog, sending and receiving photos, comments, and questions.  We've also experimented with online tools like Padlet, Screen Chomp, and Blendspace.  This week we are taking a break from reading Marty McGuire to perform a reader's theater of the play in the book, The Frog Prince.  I can say with confidence that the students have enjoyed the experience and that they look forward to reading more Marty McGuire stories on their own.  I had to order several copies of Ms. Messner's Marty McGuire series per student demand and that in itself indicates success for this project!

Professionally, I was able to connect with other teachers in the GRA project through Twitter and Edmodo. Using these tools was exciting and a good deal easier than I'd thought it would be.  As a bonus, I was able to get the district to unblock Twitter in the library so now I can begin exploring ways to use it with the students. I even managed to collaborate with one of our own second grade teachers who used the Kid Blog as part of her writing centers.  This experience has caused me to explore many other global connections through education projects that I'll be sharing with our wonderful teachers and administration.  Thank you Global Read Aloud and we'll definitely see you next year!

Union East Kid Blog

Monday, October 28, 2013

Guess Who?

October Library Display Case.  Thanks Pinterest!