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!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

New Book Cart

It was breaking my heart to keep the Kindergarten classes out of the nonfiction section.  Especially since we were spending so much time learning about fiction and nonfiction!  They would sneak past the chairs that I put up as a "barrier" and try to smuggle out cat, dog, and dinosaur books.  So, when my brand new green apple book cart arrived I decided to use it as a portable nonfiction section for younger users of our library.  They love it!  They get to browse for themselves and choose from a wide array of nonfiction titles without leaving shelf destruction in their wake!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

SLAWNY Fall Sharing 2013

Yesterday I attended SLAWNY's Fall Sharing 2013 at Hamburg's Union Pleasant Elementary.  The event was well attended with about 80 professionals there to share their ideas and resources with one another.  The first workshop consisted of 4 "speed rounds" lasting 15 minutes each.  Of the choices available, I chose Ready, Set, Art: A Look at Programming Offered at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery with Jessica DiPlama, Elementary Library Programming for Autistic and Special Education Students with Susan Walterich, teacher-librarian and mother of an autistic child, and Classroom Management in the Elementary Library with Elizabeth Kick.  I chose to stay at the last session for another round as new participants made the content fresh and I need all the classroom management support I can get.  I'd say it has been my most challenging area of teaching so far this year but I did walk away with some new ideas that I intend to implement this coming week like playing classical music during book selection and checkout!  The plan is to subliminally soothe and calm the students into a state of quiet contemplation..........I'll let you all know how that goes!

The keynote speaker at Fall Sharing was Shannon McClintock Miller, a teacher-librarian and technology integrator at Van Meter School in Iowa.  I had been following Shannon's blog and using some of her great tips and ideas since the summer so hearing her present in person was a real treat.  She shared a wealth of information on becoming and staying connected in the school library.  She advised everyone to strive for the goal of becoming connected on Twitter and provided an array of ways in which Twitter helps to grow and facilitate your personal learning network as well as streamline your online presence.  I spent a few hours going over the materials I came away with yesterday and I am excited to get started.  I even found some key people she mentioned we should follow on Twitter and started searching some hashtags!

Here is the link to Shannon's presentation where she talks about the importance of building a personal learning network.
How to be a Connected School leader

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Read Box

I finally got around to getting an image of my first display case.  I found this idea on Pinterest and was really happy with the way it turned out!  I'm loving Pinterest for display ideas and have already used it for my second display case.  Now I just have to get around to taking a picture of that one!  Yes, I'm a very busy first year teacher-librarian and social media sites like Pinterest keep me fueled with great ideas for displays that bring people in to the library!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Librarians of the Future

I came across this poster from PewInternet.com for the 2012 SUNY Librarians Association Annual Conference.  It's true, Search has changed the way we get information.  How then does the role of the librarian change as facilitator of information?    I think the new roles outlined on this poster are relevant, especially that of Filter.  For librarians interested in continuing their careers in the future, its time to start figuring out how to filter and then curate content.  Or become irrelevant.

Libraries of the Future [VISUALIZATION] | LibraryScienceList.com

Saturday, August 31, 2013

By Way of Introduction

So.............I'm thinking about how to best introduce myself to the other members of the faculty when I come across a post in Jennifer Underhill's blog "Three Ring Library" that mentions the tool smores.com.  I spent the next 24 hours in a digital rabbit hole investigating and creating digital flyers.  The result speaks for itself.  I would add that normal people do not need to spend as much time as I did on creating their first digital flyer.  It is actually a really easy and user-friendly process.  It's me, not you.

Eye Openers

This past week, the administration at CCSD treated us to a 4 hour tour of the neighborhoods, history, and landmarks within our district's borders.  As a Cheektowaga native, I thought there wasn't much you could show me that I hadn't already seen.  I was wrong.  We learned about the history of the town and the first settlers here (Hitchcock).  We passed an Underground Railroad location and learned about the tremendous contributions the Rheinstein family made and continues to make.  We visited Buffalo Crushed Stone Quarry and were treated to a detonation of limestone (one in our group even got to push the button!).  It was a wonderful way to see the district in which we all will be teaching in just a few days.  There was one aspect of the tour that stood out in everyone's minds and that was the diversity of the neighborhoods in the district.  We saw neighborhoods in poverty conditions that bordered other neighborhoods in Buffalo more poverty stricken.  The bus took us through pastoral areas where the homes are valued upwards of $300,000 and the working class areas that seem to define Cheektowaga.  This is where our students live and knowing that will make it easier to identify with them in the coming year.  Thank you CCSD for an eye-opening orientation that would have made Pedro Noguera proud.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blog « Classroom Technology

Found on EduClipper https://www.educlipper.net

This digital poster really made me think.  I'm in the middle of structuring my curriculum map and trying like crazy to use technology in my lesson plans.  As an educator I need to be ever mindful that technology exists as a tool and not as a means to an end in itself.

Technology does not transform education.  Teachers and students transform education.