Developing Library Goals to Carry Into Every Collaborative Meeting

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Last year, a book impacted my life, my library program, and found its way into so many conversations with students, teachers, and librarians.  “Expect the Miraculous” came to be our mantra in the Barrow Media Center thanks to Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo.  It was all thanks to p. 130-131.

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This summer, as I sat down to develop our library program goals for the 2014-2015 school year, that mantra of expecting the miraculous everyday was still a big part of my thinking.  However, this summer I carried so much more with me as I reflected on goals.

I had my experiences and conversations with the #Wandoo5 at Evanced Games in Indianapolis.

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I had the moonshot thinking and action plan of the Google Teacher Academy and becoming a Google Certified Teacher.

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I had the Invent to Learn Workshop with Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager.

Photo credit: Sue Levine

 

I had numerous experiences at the ISTE 2014 conference including a zombie fighting keynote from Jennifer LaGarde, empowering talks from George Couros and Todd Nesloney, and inspiring keynotes from Ashley Judd and Kevin Carroll about the importance of each child’s story and the importance of play.

The more I reflected on my summer professional learning experiences the more I realized that I wanted this year’s goals to be different.  In the past, I’ve made big goals about developing the participatory culture in our library, but I’ve also made specific goals about the collection.  While the collection is important, it is not my primary focus for the library program.  I was reminded of a question in Jennifer LaGarde’s keynote about the Dewey decimal system and her answer of “who cares”.  Who cares if I have specific goals about the library collection?  What cares if the 300’s have the recommended number of books?  Who cares what the average age of the biographies is?  The heart of the program isn’t the physical collection.  The heart of the program is the students, the teachers, the families, and the community.  The heart of the program is the opportunities that they have through the library.  Now, I’m not saying that I’m abandoning the collection or that I don’t have goals about the collection.  It’s just that my primary goals of the library aren’t about the collection.

I want goals that I can carry with me into every collaborative meeting that I attend.  I want goals that I can put up on the walls of the library and add tangible evidence throughout the year of how they are impacting the students, teachers, and families in our school.  I want goals that support our school and district goals as well as reflect what is being talked about on a global level.

This week, I will share these goals with our faculty during pre-planning, but they’ve already faced their first test.  During our first day of pre-planning our principal set the stage for our year.  I must say that it was one of the most inspiring opening days that I’ve ever been a part of because it wasn’t filled with duties and responsibilities, mandates, and daunting changes.  Of course, all of those things  will be present this year, but our principal chose to focus on how we can value each child’s story, how we can add to and enhance that story by what we offer at school, and how we can develop a vision and mission for our school that represents what we truly believe in education.  As I listened and as I talked with other teachers, I was already carrying my goals with me, and I must say that I felt really good about the 4 goals that I’ve chosen.

These are the goals that are based on the themes that consistently surfaced in all of my reading, professional learning, conversations, and reflections.

Goal 1:  To provide students, teachers, and families opportunities to dream, tinker, create, and share

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I chose these verbs carefully because I think that the order matters.  So often, we feel the time crunch in education and I think we often jump to having students make something with so many detailed requirements that they don’t have time to dream about what they hope they could make or have time to mess around, fail, and learn from those failures.  As I plan projects with teachers this year, I want to intentionally plan spaces for students to pause and wonder and have time to explore before they actually create a final product that is shared with an authentic audience.  I want us to think carefully about how we “show our work” just as Austin Kleon outlines in his books.  He says, “If your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist.”  I’ll be thinking carefully about how we give students opportunities to create and also how they share their process as well as their final product.

Within this goal, I have subgoals about the number of large-scale projects I will do with each grade level, the development of our library makerspace, the collaborative relationships with our community makerspace and tech startup, and embedded digital citizenship.

Goal 2:  To engage in global thinking and global collaboration

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I can’t even count the number of times that global thinking and collaboration came up this summer.  I feel like so many people around the world are primed and ready for this endeavor during the upcoming year.  Last year, our library was more connected than it has ever been through authors, guest speakers, reading events, and peer feedback through Skype and Google Hangouts.  Even though we felt connected, most of our work was projects or single connections.  I would love to see global thinking and collaboration become more evident in what we do through long-term collaborative relationships around the globe and authentic questions and projects that matter to the world.  Within this goal are the many networks that I will be a part of this year including GlobalTL, Connected Classroom, Skype in the Classroom, and my Twitter PLN.  I’m inspired by the work of Sylvia Rosenthal Tolisano and will look at her work as we plan this year.

As teachers and I plan this year, we will ask ourselves how we are being global thinkers and how we are connecting our students beyond the walls of our school.

Goal 3:  To empower student voice

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When I thought about this goal, I was reminded of many stories shared by George Couros at ISTE including the story of a little boy who made a video where he overjoyed by getting one “like” on a social media post.  I was reminded of Todd Nesloney sharing about his math fair and how he asked students to “wow” him by showing their math knowledge.  Students did more that “wow” him.  They shared their passions in life, involved their families, and were empowered.  I was reminded of how we all want to be heard and feel like we’ve made a difference.  As I plan with teachers this year, I want to ask how we are empowering each student by allowing them to share their passions and feel that their voice is heard.  In the library, I will continue to explore this as well by giving students opportunity to document our year, make decisions about library resources, share their passions through contests and displays, pass on their expertise through co-teaching experiences, and listening closely for opportunities I don’t even know about.

Goal 4:  To support the reading habits and curiosities of students, teachers, and families

It’s no secret that the more you read the better reader you become.  You of course need to have the skills and strategies to accompany that time commitment.  You also need access to reading that matters to you.  This year I want to be more intentional about supporting reading curiosities to match students, teachers, and families to the kinds of stories and information they are looking for.  I also want to be more intentional about documenting that commitment to reading.  Our library is not the only source of reading materials, so I want to continue to build a collaborative relationship with the public library, local bookstores, and other community resources to all work together toward a common goal.

This year, we will explore an Evanced tool called Wandoo Reader.  This tool will give students a portal for documenting their reading lives through tracking book titles and minutes read.  Along the way, there will be challenges issued to students, and within Wandoo Reader, they will earn pieces to a robot that they will customize.  I hope that this tool will offer a level of engagement for tracking reading as well as encourage students to spend more time reading in multiple ways from multiple locations.

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Our planning will begin this week and I look forward to carrying these goals with me, trying them out, and see what miraculous things happen this school year.

What are YOUR library goals?  I invite you to think about them in new ways and share.

 

 

Scratch Google Hangout with Barrow and Van Meter

GHO (4)Mrs. Hicks’s 3rd grade students have been working on building Scratch programs for several weeks now.  Originally, their journey was going to lead them to creating some scratch programs around a math standard or possibly environmental standards, but the project grew into so much more.

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These students started out by creating their own Scratch accounts and exploring.  I showed them how to use the tutorial built into Scratch as well as the video tutorials from Hour of Code.  From there, students got to work.  It seemed that every day these students came into class, they had learned something new.  Many of them loved using Scratch so much, that they went home and continued their projects on their own.  When a student learned something new, they came in and shared it with others.  At the close of each lesson, Mrs. Hicks had students write reflections on a Padlet.  This wall became a collective list of tips, new learning, and frustrating moments as students shared their thoughts each day.  Students often went back to review their standards, used checklists, and reviewed their work with rubrics throughout the creation process.

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Today, several students came together to share their work in progress in a Google Hangout with Shannon Miller’s students in Van Meter, Iowa.  The students were very nervous about sharing their work, but they had a lot to be proud of.  Students’ projects had branched out to projects in every subject area:  a multiplication program that solves multiplication problems, a social studies program about the regions of Georgia, a science program about dinosaurs, a math program about data, and more.  It was truly amazing to see what these students have created in Scratch knowing that they all started on the same page.  None of them were users of Scratch prior to this project.

To prepare for our Google Hangout, we talked about how to present work online.  This included reminders about talking through each step that you are doing rather than just clicking on things in silence.  Students went into my office to present their work, while the rest of the students sat in front of the projector to watch.  During the practice, students gave one another feedback on how they presented.

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Today’s live Google Hangout On Air had some glitches at the beginning when we couldn’t get everyone connected in the hangout, but once we got rolling, the process was smooth.  A student screenshared their Scratch project, while students at Barrow and Van Meter listened.  Barrow students wrote feedback on paper to give to the presenters during tomorrow’s class.  Todd Hollett, our tech integration specialist, helped facilitate the hangout at the projector while I facilitated the student presenting in my office.  Van Meter’s students gave verbal feedback during and after each presentation.

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I think today gave our 3rd graders confidence in presenting their work online.  The positive feedback from Van Meter boosted their confidence as well.  Here’s a look at how our Hangout went.  It’s a long video, but the projects are amazing for our 1st attempt.

I was excited to hear after the hangout that the students in Van Meter have an idea for a project between Barrow students and Van Meter.  I can’t wait to hear more!

GHO feedback

 

How I Became a Librarian: #whylib

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I’ve lived in Georgia all of my life.  I spent the first 18 years growing up in the mountains of Blue Ridge, GA.  Our family didn’t have a lot of financial wealth, but what we did have was a wealth of love, story, and education.  My family made sure that my life was enriched with conversation, storytelling, and weekend car rides.  I was also fortunate to have a weekly trip to the library to get an armload of books.  My mom took me to the library often, so much so, that they knew me by name when I walked in the door.  We spent lots of time curled up with great books.

I’ve always loved reading, and I think my dad always thought I would grow up to be a teacher.  That’s not where I started though.  First I wanted to be a doctor.  Then, I started college as a music major, which turned out to be a horrible experience with a college professor who ridiculed me more than made me feel like a musician who could grow into a band director.  I thank him though, because without his torture, I might not have taken the path that I did.  After freshman year, I switched my major to early childhood education due to my love of learning, love of reading, and love of helping others discover their own passions.

During my student teaching at Colham Ferry Elementary in Watkinsville, GA, Martha Brodrick offered me a teaching position, which I accepted.  I’m so thankful for her early support of my teaching career.  For seven years, I taught 3rd grade.  During this time, reading and writing were the subjects that I was most passionate about and my students were involved in many reading and writing projects that put their work into the world.  For example, one year students wrote poetry about historic sites in the community and published a books that was put in waiting rooms around the county.  Another year, students sent a bear traveling around the world through the mail and wrote his story using their imagination and the pictures and objects he collected along the way.  During this time, I got my Masters in Children’s Literature and Language Arts.

You will probably notice that so far I haven’t mentioned a thing about technology.  That’s because my classroom had a chalkboard for all 7 years that I was there.  I had 3 clunky, unreliable computers that we rarely touched and the computer lab was in another building and hard to schedule.  I certainly was not a technology leader in the classroom, but I loved being a classroom teacher and had many successes.  It built my foundation in education and has made me such a better librarian today.

But how did I make my way to being a librarian?  The media specialist (librarian) at Colham Ferry was wonderful.  Kathy Graham was a master of weaving together multiple ways for students to experience a topic.  It seemed that no matter what topic you gave her, she would bring boxes of stuff from her house, gather pictures and websites into slides, and create centers that allowed students to explore a topic in multiple ways.  I had always loved libraries, enjoyed being in them, and started thinking that the library might be a place where I wanted to be in my career.  I began exploring my options and talked to several people who went to the University of Georgia program.

I applied to the UGA specialist program.  The letter came in the mail, and I was……..DENIED!  It seems that a subset of my GRE scores were not quite high enough even though my portfolio of work and accomplishments showed much more than a number on a test.  Sound familiar?  But alas, the test score ruled and I wasn’t in the program.  I was devastated and thought I would never be in the library.  After a few days of pity party, I got mad and decided to do something about it.  After exploring with UGA, I discovered that I could still get in the program in the same semester if I took the GRE again.  I registered for the test and then spent hours studying vocabulary, taking practice tests, and learning strategies.  I’m a terrible test taker, but I thought that surely I could boost my score by a few points.  I took the test, got the points, and applied to the program again.  This time the letter came in the mail, and…..I was in!

The UGA program and professor, Mary Ann Fitzgerald, were transformational for me.  For the first time, I really started to understand what it meant to take control of my own learning, to develop my professional learning network, and to use multiple formats of information to explore and create.  In those 2 years, I learned more about using technology than I had learned in all of my other college coursework.

Halfway through the program, a position opened up at Barrow Elementary.  I knew that the media specialist was incredible and that many people would be competing for the job.  For that reason, I decided not to apply.  I’m good at second guessing myself and talking myself out of things.  I figured that I was only halfway done with my program and that there was no way that they would hire someone who didn’t even have a library degree yet.  One day driving to school, it was like someone smacked me in the head, and I asked myself, are you crazy?  Why not give it a try?  This might be an exact fit, and at least it’s good interview practice.

So…I applied, got the interview, interviewed, got the second interview, and that’s how I became the librarian at Barrow.  I finished my EdS during that first year and was able to use my own library in my research and exploration.  I can’t thank Mary Ann Fitzgerald enough for pushing my thinking, supporting my decisions, and opening my eyes to what it means to be a life long learner.

Once I became a librarian, other librarians and educators continued pushing me to stretch and grow as a librarian.  Buffy Hamilton is one of those librarians.  I can’t even begin to count the times that I saw something that Buffy was doing and it pushed me to rethink my own understanding of library.  Buffy also shared my work in numerous ways from conversations to conference presentations and her support connected me with so many other libraries and librarians.

The librarian community is inspiring.  There are so many educators within our profession doing amazing work.  Each year, I add layers onto my own role as librarian and new layers onto our library program because of these great people.  Each year I understand more about using technology to consume and create and how digital literacy weaves together with so many other kinds of literacy.  There’s no way I could name them all, but just to start, I give so much thanks to librarians like Shannon Miller, Jennifer LaGarde, Matthew Winner, Sherry Gick, Shawna Ford, Jennifer Reed, Cathy Potter, Jenny Lussier, Okle Miller, Edie Crook, Shawn Hinger, Shannon Thompson, Tanya Hudson….the list goes on and on.  Each day, I connect with someone new and my understanding of library grows.

I invite you to tell your journey to becoming a librarian.  Share it with #whylib  If you decide to do a blog post, please add it to our Padlet.  http://padlet.com/wall/whylib

Tell Your #whylib Story for School Library Month

 

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April is School Library Month, and this year’s theme is “Lives Change @ Your Library”.  This theme connects with Barbara Stripling’s campaign to sign the Declaration for the Right to School Libraries to show that school libraries really do change our lives.

Yesterday on Twitter, John Schu shared a thought about going to library school, and he had no idea the conversation that his tweet would open up.

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I responded by sharing a brief glimpse at how I didn’t get in to library school on my first attempt.  The conversation continued with more of our Twitter professional learning network sharing stories of perseverance, stories about professional background, and stories of how becoming a librarian changed their lives.

even more library school

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When I woke up this morning, the list of tweets had grown and more people had commented on how much they were enjoying the conversation about individual people’s journeys to becoming a librarian.  I love this about Twitter.  I love how one little comment can spark a conversation among colleagues across the country because they find a connection with the comment.  This morning, we decided that a new hashtag had been born.  After some discussion, the talented Jennifer Reed suggested #whylib as our hashtag.

Even author, Deborah Freedman, jumped in on the conversation with her love of the librarians.

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We invite you to share your story in any way that you are moved:  a poem, a video, a blog post, a series of tweets, a picture collection, a song, etc.  Be sure to tag your story with #whylib and post on Twitter and other social media outlets.  Let’s share our journey to becoming a librarian and share how libraries have changed our lives.

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Taking Time to Say Thank You

Thank You (1)As a teacher librarian, I give a lot of my time to students, teachers, and families just as every educator does.  The rewards of teaching for me are seeing the brilliant work that students create and watching that work reach out and connect to a global audience.  I love seeing the excitement from kids as they meet an author in person or over Skype and how that one moment inspires them to read a new book or to write a new story.

When you actually get a verbal or a written thank you, it means a lot.  Those thank you’s are a reminder of how much students appreciate the opportunities that they have in the library, and they are a great pick-me-up on days where you feel like nothing is going right.  Thank you’s also give me an insight into what kids take away from the experiences in the library and what they are curious about.  This kind of feedback informs future planning to create experiences that kids are excited to be a part of.

This year during Read Across America and World Read Aloud Day, we held 36 skype sessions connecting with 50 locations, 22 states, 2 countries, and 9 authors.  I received a whole pack of thank you letters from Caitlin Ramseyer’s class at our school.  I put all of those letters up on the windows of the library for everyone to see and to validate the students’ hard work in writing the letters.

Yesterday, I got a big pack of thank you’s from Sherry Gick’s 6th graders in Rossville, Indiana.  These students shared a Skype session with us and author, Barbara O’Connor.  I loved seeing 6th grade writing, and it was so interesting to see what they valued in the skype experience.

  • I love when we get to skype with classes because it is a cool experience to meet other kids and classes in different states.
  • It was fun to see the author in real life
  • That was the best reading class ever
  • Even though I don’t like writing, I LOVE reading.  After that skype, I now like writing better.
  • We just finished Chapter 1 of How to Steal a Dog so hearing Chapter 2 was a bonus.
  • I wish we could do this again.
  • If we could skype again, it would be even better.
  • Your class had some interesting questions to ask the author.
  • I’ve always wanted to Skype with an author.  I finally did!
  • Since you are in a different state, it is awesome to see the differences in our classes and the similarities too.

There were also several sentences that made me smile

  • You class looked very nice and it seemed like they are good kids
  • Thank you again for giving us your time to Skype because it was probably hard to find time during your day since you’re a librarian.
  • I think it would be fun to live in Georgia.
  • Thank you for skyping with us.  I think we should meet in person next time!
  • So, I hear you are a librarian.  Mrs. Gick is too!
  • Once again I want to thank you for everything you have done!  Since you are a librarian, this must have been hard enough!
  • I love your library setup (from what I could see)
  • It’s always frun skying with another class because we get to see what kind of weather you guys are having.
  • You seem like a nice teacher.
  • You seem like a cool teacher.

 

They also asked me some questions:

  • What book are you reading now?  Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age: How One Small Boy Saved Our Big, Dumb Species
  • What is the name of your school? David C. Barrow Elementary
  • How big is your library?  Big.  I don’t know the square footage, but right now we have the book fair in half of the library and there is still room to have all of the books and spaces to work on the other side.
  • What is your favorite book?  Anything by Kate DiCamillo
  • Do you have swamps?  Not in Athens, but we have the Okefenokee Swamp in south Georgia
  • Did you like Mrs. O’Connor’s book?  I love her writing, especially How to Steal a Dog
  • Do you like animals?  Yes.  I have a dog and 3 cats.  My favorite animal is a killer whale.
  • What kind of books do you like to read?  Love realistic fiction with a bit of magic in them.  Also fantasy and poetry.
  • Do you eat gator?  Not on a regular basis.  I have tasted gator but don’t really like it.  
  • Do you know any good biographies?  I love Tanya Lee Stone’s biographies, especially Almost Astronauts
  • Wasn’t Barbara O’Connor awesome?  Yes!

This experience reminded me of the importance of slowing down to say thank you. Our school felt so connected to so many people during the week of World Read Aloud Day.  I truly do thank each librarian, author, and student that we connected to that week.  You enriched our lives in so many ways.  Thank you!

 

A Flipgrid Celebration with 2nd Grade and the Flipgrid Team

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Our 2nd graders just wrapped up a huge research project.  During the project, they chose a leader from black history, researched that person, wrote a short persuasive piece about their person, designed a US postage stamp, and recorded a video using Flipgrid.  Their videos were pulled together on a Smore which included a Google Form for people to vote on their favorite leader from black history to be featured on a postage stamp.   Read more about our project:

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Along the way, the students had several connections to an authentic audience.  They started the voting portion of the project by sharing at our schoolwide assembly.  Students stood in front of the entire school and told about the project as well as shared a video from each question of the grid.  The Smore was emailed to every teacher and student in the school.

I also shared the Smore on Twitter and our library Facebook page.

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Shawna Ford, librarian in Weatherford Texas, saw my tweet and had her 2nd grade students view the project.

Shawn Ford Students

 

As the project continued, my posts and tweets were shared and retweeted until our Smore had 480 views and counting.

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Our project was viewed in 161 locations and counting.

Smore Map

 

 

Throughout the project, Charles Miller and Bradford Hosack, our friends at Flipgrid, were following along and sharing our work as well.  It has been an incredible experience for students to use a tool, encounter success and frustrations, and be able to offer feedback to developers that respond to that feedback.  The Flipgrid team has been so responsive to all of the feedback we have provided to them, and they consistently work on Flipgrid to make it better.

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Today, our 2nd graders came together in the library to connect with the Flipgrid team via Skype.  The team shared information about how Flipgrid was developed and talked to the kids about coding.  All of the 2nd graders had background in this concept because they all participated in the Hour of Code back in December.  I loved how the Flipgrid team reiterated what I had told the students many times.  You have to work through the frustration.  You have to be willing to fail and learn from your failures to make things better.  The team said more than one time that they wanted to create a tool that works for users, so they are constantly listening to users of Flipgrid to improve their product.  I hope that the students carry these ideas into all area of their lives to be willing to take risks and work hard at what they are passionate about.

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Charles and the Flipgrid team then gave us some stats about our videos.

  • 1875 people watched the student videos
  • 699 people clicked on the heart to like videos that the students made
  • students created 1 hr 15 minutes of video all together

During this presentation of facts, Charles reminded students that when they make a project like this and share it with the world it really is giving them a global voice.  I loved that he said this because it is something we strive for in our library:  giving students a global voice.

One of my favorite parts of our Skype was the awards.  We wanted to honor several students during this segment.  Because each video was “liked” by viewers of the video, I could easily see which videos had the most likes.  This became an award category.  We also had specific students who received shout-outs on Twitter because people watched the videos and cared enough to specifically name a student video that they loved.  Finally, we had some students who worked really hard to express themselves in their writing and persuade people to vote.  I created a certificate to use.

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After selecting all of the students, I sent a list of the awards to the Flipgrid team and they announced the winners via Skype.  It felt like the Academy Awards as the Flipgrid team cheered for students as I handed out the certificates, and it was amazing to hear the shouts and claps of all of the 2nd graders cheering on their peers.

Flipgrid Skype (8) Flipgrid Skype (6)

 

Mixed in with our connection the kids had a chance to ask the Flipgrid team questions.  I loved the moments where one student said “sometimes it doesn’t work” and another student said “I think you need to be able to turn up the volume for people who talk soft”.  These weren’t questions, but the Flipgrid team let the students know that because of their videos they were already thinking about volume and that they were working to make sure Flipgrid always worked for users.

During and after our Skype, the Flipgrid team and I shared several pictures from both sides of the Skype: Georgia & Minnesota.

We closed our time together by revealing the results of the overall voting for the favorite leader from black history to be on a postage stamp.  The votes were extremely close, but Rosa Parks came in just 1 vote ahead of Jesse Owens.  By this point, the kids were so excited about all that had happened with their project that the vote didn’t even seem to matter anymore.

Thank you to Charles Miller, Bradford Hosack, and the entire Flipgrid team for helping us celebrate this project today before we move on to our next adventures in the library.  Thank you!

 

Our Miraculous Start to 2014 with Flipgrid

miraculous flipgridIn the new year, I wrote a post about expecting the miraculous in 2014.  I can honestly say that the expression “Expect the Miraculous” has taken on a life of its own in our school.  Let me tell you how it happened.

To kickoff the second half of the year, we held a schoolwide assembly.  The purpose of the assembly was to review goal setting, celebrate our unique talents, and to give ourselves permission to have dreams.  It really was an amazing assembly.  We had student performances, a teacher who played her violin, a youtube video from Kid President, and Martin Luther King Jr contest winners.  The assembly was also a space for me to talk about expecting the miraculous.  I read the excerpt from Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures.

“All things are possible,” said Dr. Meescham.  ”When I was a girl in Blundermeecen, the miraculous happened every day.  Or every third day.  Actually, sometimes it did not happen at all, even on the third day.  But still, we expected it.  You see what I’m saying?  Even when it didn’t happen, we were expecting it.  We knew the miraculous would come.” ~Kate DiCamillo

I also shared synonyms for the word “miraculous” such as “extraordinary”.  Finally, I told my own story of expecting the miraculous.  My story involved our new 3D printer.  From the day I heard about 3D printers, I expected that one day our library would have one.  I wasn’t sure how or when, but I felt in my heart that this incredible piece of technology was something our students should have access to in school.  About a year ago, our district considered purchasing a 3D printer for our school.  It was all the way down to the ordering process, but something happened over the summer and it didn’t get order.  Still…..I expected the miraculous.  I wrote grants and began advertising the idea of purchasing a 3D printer.  I publicized that a portion of our book fair profits would go toward 3D printing.  However, this was a slow process and I knew it would take time to raise almost $3000 for a printer and supplies.  Still….I expected the miraculous.  Then, in October, Makerbot announced their partnership with Donors Choose.  I immediately submitted my project and hoped for the best knowing that much of the available funding would most likely go to Brooklyn schools.  Still…I expected the miraculous.  Miraculously, our printer was funded overnight!

This is the story that students heard.  I followed this with an invitation for them all to “Expect the Miraculous” with me.  To capture our goals, dreams, wishes, and expectations for 2014, I created a Flipgrid.  I gave them a quick tutorial on how to record a video into the Flipgrid by walking them through screenshots of the process.  Then, I setup a Flipgrid recording station in the library.

Flipgrid station Over the past 2 weeks, students have written about their hopes and dreams in class and visited the library to record.  It has been an amazing process to watch.  Goals have ranged from reading goals to behavior goals and from school-related to extra curricular related.  I encourage you to spend some time listening to their miraculous expectations and feel free to click the + and add your own.  Students have enjoyed coming into the library and listening the the videos on our touchscreen computer at the front of the library.  I can put the Flipgrid on slideshow and it flips through each video throughout the day.

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I’ve heard so many kids, families, and teachers using the word “miraculous” in conversations.  Some students have even recorded their videos at home with their family.  Our school embraced the phrase so much that we even put it outside on our sign.

miraculous

One more miraculous thing happened.  Kate DiCamillo posted an opportunity on her facebook page to ask questions about her books.  I asked, “What miraculous things have you expected that actually happened and what miraculous things are you still expecting?”  Here’s her reply!

Miraculous

Simultaneous Learning in an Elementary Library Media Center

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.schooltube.com/embed/29b463bcb37c4365ba49

 

After seeing a video posted by Buffy Hamilton showing the buzz of energy as multiple classes worked simultaneously in the library, I decided to take a moment to capture a snapshot of the Barrow Media Center.  In this video clip, you will see simultaneous classes doing very separate things.  Our space and collaboration allow for multiple lessons to happen at different times taught by the media specialist, teachers, and paraprofessionals.  While all of this learning is taking place, students are also still able to come to the library to checkout books by themselves.

 

 

 

If you missed AASL 2011…there’s still time to learn and take action! « Georgia Library Media Association

If you missed AASL 2011…there’s still time to learn and take action! « Georgia Library Media Association.

Summer Reading: What’s “acceptable”?

This summer for the first time I helped compile suggested summer reading lists for each grade level.  This came at the request of parents and teachers.  I’ve always been a bit hesitant about narrowing down to one list per grade level because there are so many wonderful books out there to read and many that I haven’t even read myself.  How could I possibly make lists that would cover so many interests and reading levels?  However, I made the lists, and I’m sure they have been helpful to several people.

Now that summer draws to a close, I’m revisiting the need for summer reading lists and thinking about what is really acceptable when we think about summer reading lists.  Should we really expect students to read an extensive list of books over the summer and only focus on the book lists?  I raise this question because I wonder where do all of the other kinds of reading and writing experiences over the summer fit onto the reading logs that come back to school in August.

For example, I read multiple blogs and online articles that come to me through my Google reader, facebook, and twitter.  Last week, I saw a post on facebook about a recipe for butterbeer cupcakes in honor of the last Harry Potter movie.  I’ve eaten a few butterbeer cupcakes from 2 local cupcake shops and I was curious about how to go about making them.  I followed the link to the blog, read the article and recipe, and then proceeded to search for other butterbeer recipes.  Other than cupcakes, I became curious about how to make butterbeer, so I started comparing recipes until I found one that sounded just right.  I printed the cupcake and the butterbeer recipe, made my shopping list, and went shopping for ingredients.  Back at home, I reread the blog and the accompanying pictures of the cupcake process and got busy making my own rendition of butterbeer cupcakes.  I don’t consider myself to be much of a baker, but I felt like I was on an episode of cupcake wars.  After what seemed like hours of work, the cupcakes were ready and I savored every bite of my first one.  Then, I thought that I needed to document the final product, so I took pictures of the cupcakes.  I started asking myself…what did you learn from this?…..which is what lead me to sit down to write this post.

Where does this reading experience fit on a summer reading list?  It wasn’t a book, but I did a lot of reading, critical thinking, applying my learning, and reflecting.  In the future, I want to open up avenues for students to share these kinds of reading experiences when they get back to school from the summer.  I hope I’ll even hear some of them this year, even though they weren’t a part of the “suggested summer reading”.