Three for: Library and Classroom Free Lessons and Printables

This morning as I was pinning, I came across several great FREE items.  Who doesn’t love free?

Lessons

  • Use this search:  “Lynn Farrell Stover” “Library Sparks” This generous lady shares her Library Lessons – and they are awesome!  They are geared for elementary students but I have found ideas to “eduplay” with my grandsons.  (Hmm…don’t know if that term will catch on.)
  • The Book Bug‘s Destiny (catalog) exercises – for elementary, but I know I can use the general idea for my high school students:https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8Hp3hxOmva9ekZhUVdUWkZKd28/preview  If you have some time, surf through her site.  Treasure trove!
  • Teacher Vision’s Library Resources for Teachers Most of the activities are geared toward elementary and middle school students, but some can be modified for use with high school students.  For example, librarians can add another level to the Dewey Relay game which divides students into teams tasked with being the quickest to locate books with a specific Dewey number.  Perhaps combine this with gathering citation information to have students not only locate, but also use, library resources.

Printables

Screenshots:

“Remembering the Titanic” from the PDF available from Highsmith at www.highsmith.com/pdf/librarysparks/2012/lsp_mar12_ll_titanic.pdf

“Always, always, always consider the source” from Technology Rocks Seriously’s Scribd. document.  http://www.technologyrocksseriously.com/2012/01/blog-post.html

SCASL Conference Reflections: Day Three

The third day of conference is a half day.  There are three morning sessions and the grand finale of our conference is always the Author Celebration Luncheon.

“Meet the Author”  Chris Crutcher

I have long been a fan of Chris Crutcher and looked forward to his session.   His characters ring true with compelling, heartbreaking stories.  Chris shared some of his life experiences that have inspired his fictional characters and situations.  He had us alternately laughing and crying, but always wanting to read (or reread) the stories inspired by the children who had touched his heart.

“Unwritten Research Paper:  Projects for Busy Teachers and Bored Students”  Cathy Nelson

Cathy Nelson lives and breathes instructional technology!  Never one to be satisfied with the status quo, she is always in search of ways to enrich her students’ educational experiences – often with technology.

One of her pet peeves is the “KMN” PowerPoint presentation.  We have all suffered through them:  slides with too much text that the presenter just reads to his/her audience.  You know, those presentations where you think “Kill Me Now!” (KMN) rather than see another slide with several bullet points.

Her session offered suggestions on improving those PowerPoint presentations – information that MUST be shared with our teachers and students.  Then she shared her recent collaborative experiences where students were allowed to choose a means to share what they learned through their research (no three page papers here).

Cathy has shared both her PowerPoint on improving PowerPoints (!) and her ideas for the unwritten research paper on her wiki.

Side note:  This is NOT how Cathy appeared when she was presenting at the 2012 SCASL Conference.  But it is a favorite picture of mine that captures Cathy’s spontaneity and willingness to try new experiences.

“eEk and eCstacy:  Incorporating eReaders and eBooks into Your Curriculum”  Jen Chesney

This was the second session I attended focusing on eReaders.  Jen Chesney, media specialist at Powdersville High School, shared her experiences with eBooks and eReaders  as she opened a new library last year.

Her nonfiction eBooks haven’t been as successful as she would like.  Students want instant access;  having to visit different sites to reach the library’s Infobase and Marshall Cavendish eBooks is off-putting for them.  Publishers are still exploring the new frontier of eBooks.  Until there is a “one size fits all” solution,  nonfiction eBooks are not going to be our students’ first choice for information.

Jen chose to go with Nooks for her fiction eBook collection.  She purchased enough Nooks to take advantage of the Barnes and Noble management program and devised a way to keep track of titles on each device.  Because students check out the devices rather than the books, she has no way of tracking which titles are being read on each device other than to ask students when they return the Nook.

The Nooks have been extremely popular.  One of the “eCstasies” that Jen has discovered:  no more having to wait days or weeks after publication of the newest book in a series!  If you purchase these on eReaders, the books will be there the day they are released.

Although earlier in the school year I had decided to wait a bit longer until the dust settled (and prices on devices are bound to drop), Jen’s success has me wondering whether I should purchase a few Nooks and see how successful they would be in my library program.

Final Thoughts

In this and my past two posts, I have attempted to share some of what I learned at the 2012 SCASL Conference.  Our keynote speakers were topnotch this year and the talent of my fellow South Carolina school librarians never ceases to amaze me.

I am never able to attend all of the sessions I would like to; two or three will be going on simultaneously and I must make a choice.  However, thanks to the generosity of this year’s presenters, I can at least get a taste for sessions I was unable to experience in person.  Their presentations/handouts/materials can be found on the Conference page of scasl.net.

 

SCASL Conference Reflections: Day Two

“Ereader Duel:  Nook vs. Kindle”  Tamara Cox and Carla Nash

Tamara and Carla sponsored a showdown between Nooks (both Simple Touch and Nook Color) and Kindles (both Kindle and Kindle Fire).  It was a lighthearted “duel” that ended in a tie.  Both Tamara and Carla have had great success with their eReaders and admit that the choice boils down to preference based on our community’s needs.

After their presentation, they passed out both Nooks and Kindles to give attendees an opportunity to get a feel for each.

Their presentation provides a clear overview of both the pros and cons of each device.

How to prevent students from purchasing ebooks on your devices:

Carla inherited Nooks when she took over the program at West Pelzer Elementary.  Although Barnes and Noble offers a management service if you have a minimum number of Nooks (now 25), Carla manages her own eReaders.  She uses gift cards to purchase eBooks for the readers and pointed out that a zero balance does NOT mean that you can’t purchase any more titles on a device.  Because you must register the device and your account with a credit card number, if purchases are made once the gift card zeroes out, purchases are then put on the credit card associated with the device.  Yikes!

To prevent students from purchasing any more books, Carla sets the Nooks on “demo mode.”  Students are still able to make some changes to the content on a Nook, but none that will be charged to the credit card.

I personally own (and love) a Kindle with keyboard but left from the conference on Friday and stopped by my local Barnes and Noble to begin a discussion on purchasing and using Nook Simple Touches for my library program.

Image attribution:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/scasl/6989720469/in/set-72157629585399085

“Change or Start Looking for a New Job”  Bob Berkowitz (keynote)

What would really happen if your library program were cut?  Berkowitz challenged us to consider the possibilities and then to realize the importance of showing our library program’s impact on student achievement.

What does it take to have a vibrant school library program?

Berkowitz suggested strong programs

  • have high expectations of their students
  • have a rigorous content
  • engage students in learning
  • use assessment to evaluate the success of instructional strategies
  • ensure students see a connection between what they learn in the library and their lives
  • have environments that support learning
  • are super strategic

He gave us several questions to use as we consider our current programs:

  • Whose program is it?
  • Whose library is it?
  • Whose virtual space is it?

What can we do to improve upon our programs and change with the times?

Berkowitz suggested:

  • form an advisory team
  • rethink sacred cows
  • be recognized as someone who solves problems
  • develop a district-wide plan
  • marketing
  • branding

We are the CIOs (Chief Information Officer) of our schools.  As such, we need to develop a curriculum and put the world in our students’ hands.

Image attribution:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/scasl/6982689629/in/set-72157629604521493/

SCASL Learning Commons

My afternoon was divided between the Learning Commons and my own presentation “Ramp Up Reading with Technology.”

Cathy Nelson kicked off the Learning Commons by sharing how she teaches “Web Evaluation” to her students at Dorman High School. She has a knack for relating well to teens and keeps her lessons interesting.

I love the informality of the Learning Commons!  Even though only a handful of folks listened to my presentation on “Jazzing Up Monthly Reports,” the smallness of the group lead to open discussions that might not have occurred in a larger session.

I thoroughly enjoyed Tamara Cox‘s session on “Nontraditional Shelving” as it challenged my thinking about nonfiction arrangement in my library.  I’m not ready to give up Dewey, but I think that signage to indicate special sections of high interest would help my nonfiction circulation.

Julianne Kaye shared how her elementary students used Blabberize to demonstrate what they had learned through research about famous South Carolinians.

Susan Myers shared several strategies she uses to keep her community informed about what’s happening in her library in her “How to Be Loquacious: Constant Talk about Your Library Impact.”

And Susan Dicey shared “Injecting Life (and 21st Century Skills) into Book Reports with Book Trailers.”  She uploads these student created trailers into her library catalog for all students to enjoy.

Because I was presenting from 3:15-4:15, I missed some excellent sessions in the Learning Commons, but thankfully, most of those presenters have been gracious enough to share their materials through the conference handouts link on scasl.net.

Resources for Teacher Librarians

Slidestaxx by Donna Baumbach (AuntyTech)

Teacher Librarians Rock!

I am always ___________ (fill in the blank:  in awe of, extremely grateful for, in debt to, inspired by) the people in my PLN (personal learning network).

When I sign into HootSuite to catch up on tweets, I often feel like a contestant on an old game show entering a glass enclosed booth filled with money being blown in the air. The contestant is given a limited amount of time (say thirty seconds) to grab as much of the money as possible.  Whatever he can grab becomes his.

Although the tweets flying around contain just as much wealth as that glass enclosed booth, there is a HUGE difference:  the buzzer never dings while I’m visiting with my PLN and the wealth they offer remains available even if I have to step away from the computer.

Take, for instance, what Donna Baumbach shared today on Twitter:  a Slidestaxx entitled “Lesson Plan Resources for Teacher Librarians.” (seen above)

Or, how about this:  Carolyn Starkey’s Livebinder entitled “School Librarians and the Common Core Standards:  Resources‘? (seen below)

Livebinder by Carolyn Starkey

Role Models for Sharing

Looking for ideas to promote reading through technology?  Colette Cassinelli created a Google Site to share the resources she was using in a presentation at ISTE this summer.  She has freely shared this on Twitter and it is a treasure chest of great ideas to help fire you up for the new school year. “Got Books?” is just one more example of a passionate teacher librarian sharing with others in her PLN.

Google Site by Colette CassinelliThis are just three resources I’ve recently added to my Diigo Library to refer to as I plan lessons and activities.  The teacher librarians and other educators in my PLN exemplify all that is right in education.

If finding awesome resources like this doesn’t convince you to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, I don’t know what will.

The resources shared here are just the tip of the iceburg!  What is your favorite Twitter find recently?

 

You Can Take the Librarian out of the Library, but…..

I’m into my third week of summer vacation and loving every hectic and relaxing minute of it.  I have been back to the school library a few times to water plants, check on the mail that piles up over the summer, and just visit with office staff.

Today after stopping by the school library, I headed over to my local pubic library branch (two libraries in one day – nirvana!).  I had to return a couple of public library books that had been left in lockers at school  (those rascally kids!) and also turn in one of my book reviews for our public library’s Rock and Read summer reading program.

As I walked in the door, I heard my name being called – one of my favorite students was in the library with her aunt checking out  a load of books to carry home.  When I asked her if she was participating in the teen summer reading program, she said “no” and then gave her aunt a strange look.  Turns out her aunt reads as much as she does and wasn’t participating in the adult reading program.

So here I am, a school librarian, encouraging one of my students and her aunt to join the public library’s summer reading program.  Then up walks another one of my students who is also – gasp – not participating in the summer reading program.  Can I keep my mouth shut?  Or do I urge her to sign up, too?  Whadda ya think?

Photo attribution:

“Relaxing on the Beach” by Andrew Osterberg

http://www.flickr.com/photos/virtualphotographystudio/2890301351/in/set-72157607796135691

Show Your Stuff!

Gloom and Doom

When animals feel threatened, they become defensive and attack.  When school librarians feel threatened, they become__________________.  If I had to fill in the blank based on what I’ve been reading on our state’s listserv, I’d be filling in “negative and whine.”

Yeah.  That’ll protect our jobs.  Let’s just sit back and whine – others will feel sorry for us and not only save our jobs, but pay us double and get us library assistants, and give us unlimited budgets, and, and, and….

Loud and Proud

Instead of feeling defensive, let’s do what some of our colleagues have done and toot that horn, blast that trumpet, raise that roof!

Kelly Knight, librarian at Fork Shoals School in Greenville County, South Carolina, began today what I hope to see as a continuing theme on the SCASL listserv and forums:  a thread entitled “Tooting my own horn.”

In the post, Kelly shared the success she has been experiencing while teaching her 4th graders about blogging. Today the students learned netiquette and began posting comments on the library’s blog.  Next they will tackle book reviews and are revved up and raring to go!

After wading through several negative “gloom and doom” messages, Kelly’s post was like a breath of fresh air.

We are doing AWESOME things in our school libraries.  Let’s share them with not only one another, but also with our school communities.  They’re dying for fresh air, too.

Challenge!

Let’s inspire one another.  Please share one (or more) awesome thing(s) that you are doing in your library in a reply to this post, or in a post of your own (and then share the link to that post here).  And remember to share it with your faculty, administration, parents, and community.

Image “African trumpet‘ by smithadri  is  used through a Creative Commons license

SCASL 2011 Conference Day One

Last week was an exciting time for school librarians who attended the SCASL conference in Columbia, SC.  Those who were unable to attend were greatly missed and several of us have tried to capture the experience through tweets, photos, videos, and blog posts.

March 9:  Pre-Conference, Exhibit Hall Grand Opening, and SCASL Board Meeting

This was my first conference as a board member of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians.  Hearing some of the planning details of the conference for several months in board meetings added to my excitement as March 9th approached!

I arrived in Columbia in plenty of time to register and set up the Advocacy Committee Display (pictured above) in the Exhibit Hall before heading to my first conference session.

Leadership Strategies for Building Communities @ Your Library

Several intriguing pre-conference sessions were offered on the afternoon of March 9th, but as usual, I signed up to attend a session with the conference’s keynote speaker. This year our keynote speaker was none other than David Loertscher, currently a professor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University.

Dr. Loertscher directed us to a website he had created for the session:  Leadership Strategies for Building Community: Leadership by Demonstration and Doing.   He encouraged us to become experts on the Common Core State Standards and directed us to the English Language Arts Standards (pdf is found on the Common Core State Standards site).  He asked us to skim through this document and share any wording that would directly relate to what we as school librarians do.

We quickly discovered much that related to (and shared common wording with) the American Association of School Librarians’ Standards for the 21st Century Learner.

Which tool?

Next Dr. Loertscher directed us back to the session’s website.  He asked if any of us had attended any “smackdown” sessions at conferences where the audience is introduced to a large variety of Web 2.0 tools in a very short amount of time.  Many of us (including me) had.  “What if,” he asked, “we focus on the learning experience first and then choose the tool?”

He pointed us toward the list “Types of Learning Boosts from Technology” on the session’s website.  Looking over the categorized  lists of 54 learning boosts, he encouraged us to choose a type of learning and then a tool that would address it. We then used that information to complete a survey (a Google Docs form) and analyze the results of the survey.

Knowledge Building Centers

Finally Dr. Loertscher introduced Knowledge Building Centers(KBC): his vision for creating learning communities of the future.  He was planning another session on this topic the next day so did not go into much detail during this session.  But it was definitely enough to arouse my curiousity!  He has provided templates for creating a KBC if you wish to further explore it.

Exhibit Hall Grand Opening

During the Exhibit Hall Grand Opening, Heather Loy and I “manned” the Advocacy Committee Showcase Display so that we could answer any questions posed by those who stopped by to examine our booth.  Because we were using the conference to announce our Snapshot: A Day in the Life of South Carolina School Libraries initiative, I had hoped for a large turnout.  However, the location of our booth was not conducive to tempting school librarians to “come hither.”  We did have several people stop in and show interest.

Board Meeting Dinner

Heather and I left the Columbia Convention Center in hopes of locating our dinner destination before the skies let loose the torrents of rain that seemed to be threatening.  Luckily, we found the Garden Bistro in time to avoid the downpour.  The food was delicious and the board got down to business as we readied ourselves for the two busiest days of conference.

A long, eventful day!  And only the first of three of the conference.