Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Facebook Groups Are Awesome Resources for School Librarians!

How many of you just don't bother with Facebook? The social media network has the reputation of too much talking and arguing about anything and everything. It took me awhile to contact on Facebook with friends outside of my family circle. About two years ago, I made the connections with a few teacher colleagues. I did not friend students or former students (unless those former students were currently teachers in my old school district).

For many people, it's easier to follow a conversation thread on Facebook rather than on Twitter. They are familiar with how Facebook works. They chat with college friends, wish their siblings "happy birthday", and join their high school alumni groups. Of course, they save recipes from Tasty!

This past year 2017, Facebook has opened new doors for school librarians and educators. It's an easy transition to use Facebook for professional development and instructional ideas for school librarians. Just save the posts you are interested in by clicking on the three dots at the upper right corner > Click on Save Post. Later go back in your saved posts, and add links to your Google Keep, Pinterest, LiveBinder or other digital curation platform. 

Facebook groups have grown rapidly into the educational world.  You can search for groups by keywords like "school librarian" or " high school librarian". 

Facebook School Librarian Groups

Future Ready Librarian
Future Ready Librarians  
Moderated by Future Ready Schools Initiative. Collaboration space for school librarians. Includes all grade levels of school librarians with a membership of over 13,000. One of the most sharing groups on Facebook, even though the posts range from specific Future Ready librarian discussions to how use weeded books for holiday decorations. If you have a question, someone will probably post an answer within minutes.

Click Here to Purchase Book
Moderated by the co-authors of The HyperDoc Handbook. Educators can a public group of over 7,000 members. If you are interested in learning about creating and sharing an interactive Google Doc that supports student learning way beyond the typical worksheet. This forum is the place to ask question, share ideas and resources all centered around HyperDocs. Great Facebook group for school librarians to join in the discussions around blended learning.

Breakout EDU

Moderated by Breakout EDU administrators.  Official Breakout EDU Facebook group of 26,914 members. This forum provides a space to collaborate, brainstorm, and share new Breakout EDU games - both the digital and the lock box games. If you need a place to start learning about Breakout EDU, this group will open those games for you to use in the library and to share with classroom teachers. Click on the Breakout EDU welcome page to start learning more about Breakout EDU games.

Do you have other favorite Facebook groups that school librarians will find a great source for new ideas and resources? Just add your fav's to the comments below.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

You Are Invited for Learning & Sharing

You are invited to join me for the first monthly EducationPlus Library Media Specialist PLN here in the St. Louis area.  Check out the newsletter for more information. Please take a minute or two to fill out this year's survey.  Hope to see you on September 19th.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Planning for Fall PD Learning

Fall PD @METCedplus
Retirement is lovely with the absence of school bells. I don't miss that 5:30 am alarm clock at all whatsoever.  However, I do enjoy teaching the teachers and librarians so I have more time to devote to learning and sharing.

To start off this fall, I'm teaching the Library Media Specialist Academy at Education Plus.  Looks like a great group of local librarians are adding themselves to the attendance roster.  First meeting is Wednesday, September 27, so contact Education Plus by September 24th to reserve your spot.  Looking forward to sharing with this LMS cohort.

Last year, METC started a local PLN for the St. Louis area school librarians that connects to the ISTE library network.  I'm still pulling together the plans for this once a month meeting. The first meeting I'll be the presenter so plan on joining up at the Education Plus main building for the first get-together on Tuesday, September 19th.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blog Challenge #4 - Students as Creators

Image by Linda Dougherty

Students as Creators

For this 4th blog challenge, I'm looking at students as creators. On my padlet, #Future Ready Librarians: Empowers Students as Creators, there are two articles that resonate with me.

I read both of these articles again tonight while reflecting on conversations with a teacher who wanted support for individualized professional development.

There are times as a school librarian we become so excited about new digital tools we neglect an important part of student learning. Sharing great digital resources is wonderful opportunity to collaborate with teachers. In our excitement to get those ideas out to teachers, we forget an important piece of students' creating and collaborating. 

I was reminded of that today while talking with this great fellow teacher.  He is at top 10% of tech savvy teachers. For professional development, he no longer needs hours of "how to use" Google Drawings or Adobe Spark.  What is he looking for is how to integrate those digital tools into his content. Add in other instructional practices to make for differentiated instruction for his students. I will need his curriculum to study, review, and then brainstorm what I can do to help.

For 21st century learners, it is not about being able to just use the digital tools. Students today are going to need life skills in creating, collaborating and communicating. Student creations may not always include technology. Students should be able to create art works to show their learning: write a poem, act out a dramatic presentation in the form of a play, newscast or radio story.  Will some of these activities include technology? Certainly! The students need to be able to explore on their own. 

Now as a librarian, what do I do to help this teacher and others to explore and design their lessons to reflect that next quality level of instruction? Point teachers in the direction of becoming facilitators not instructors behind the podium. One place we have started is changing the library into a learning commons that provide spaces for students create, collaborate, and communicate outside of the classroom walls and the school building.  Students need to share their learning with a greater audience than just their teacher for a grade.

Spaces to create digital products 

Changing the library into a learning commons is on its way to a reality for next year.  My co-librarian Kim Hornkohl and my new replacement Melissa Fry are already sharing ideas for the whiteboard tables on wheels, televisions plugged into collaboration tables, video studio with green screen wall, and the "old" computer lab turning into an Idea Box (design studio) as a way to break down the classroom walls. A few teachers have quietly discovered on their own this year, that the library spaces provide plenty of room for recording individual podcasts as student review, space to spread out student groups, and having a librarian right there to either provide instruction or just to be another teacher to encourage the kids.

Next step is to show off the new opportunities before school is out.  Make sure teachers have summer contacts for the school librarians. Shared planning docs with ideas and resources. Work on a lesson plan together virtually. Meet for lunch in July! Kim and Melissa are going to have a different way of working with teachers and students with the learning commons spaces.  Giving teachers the space to leave the four walls of their classrooms will hopefully give students room to create for themselves what they have learned.

Where to Start Future Ready Librarian Changes?

You may find it helpful to check out Wisconsin's Department of Public Education Future Ready Librarians website.  They share a PDF Wisconsin's Future Ready School Librarians Planning Resource.  (I downloaded the document as a PDF and shared it as an open document so it would be easier for all to view.)

How will you answer the following questions about students as creators?

1.  Do you have spaces for students to create digital products documenting their learning?
2.  What types of library instruction do you use to promote critical thinking?
3.  How does your program support connections to the community?
4.  What do you include in your program to support real-world problem solving by students?

Final thoughts

Just pick one of the Future Ready areas to concentrate on for this next year. This is an ongoing project to change your library and your role as a school librarian.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

METC 2017 Sessions Resources

Once a conference is over, I always have good intentions on keeping all that wonderful information tucked away in a Google folder.  Time passes and then I'm wondering what was that great idea from Tuesday morning at METC?  This year I went down the session grid and searchable program to toss URL links into a padlet.

Some types of links work better than others.  Google Slides URL's work the best.  The slide pictures that appear on padlet are a little stretched out but you can recognize what the session is about. Once you open up the presentation, you can view it just fine in View Only. Websites are problematic, especially weebly sites.  They link but images do not show up so I grabbed an image shot and then the url link in the description. Joquette Johnson's LiveBinders showed up just fine since Padlet took the icon image for her binders and used those as the images.

Hint to all presenters:  please take time to add your resources at least by the end of the conferences.

Now I have my list to review the sessions I attended and new ones that I missed.

Click here for the direct link to METC 2017 padlet.

Made with Padlet

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Changing up the Library Spaces

Busy year changing up the library space with more changes coming next year at Northwest High School. My co-librarian Kim Hornkohl moved in this year and has worked hard to start changing the library space.  It's been a great time to work with her and watch ideas grow into real spaces and programs.

To show what has been going on and future plans check out our recent METC presentation from this past week.

Retro Rehab Library Learning Spaces

I'm moving on to new challenges since I'm officially retiring at the end of this school year.  If anyone is interested in working at a great high school in the suburban area just south of St. Louis County, please apply online.

I'm not heading to the beach next year.  I'm already signed up to facilitate Education Plus Library Media Specialist (LMS) Academy (2016-2017 calendar shown)for next fall. Looking forward to meeting new librarians and working with them to expand their professional careers.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Changing up the Library Spaces

Changing up the Library Spaces

Spring Cleaning

Moving Fiction from one side of the library to the other plus keeping the books in order by author.
My co-librarian Rhonda completed the genrefication of the fiction books a couple of years ago. Fiction has the color code labels but we decided to keep the books in order by author's name.  Several of the YA authors, especially, write books in different genres. Our students have favorite authors so they wanted to go grab the next books in their fav writer's series. 

In less than two weeks, we moved the whole library collection by switching the fiction and nonfiction sections. To make the nonfiction collection fit into its new home, over 2,000 books were weeded. Drastic cuts took no prisoners of any books that had not been checked out in recent times. 

Weeded Nonfiction Books

Conclusion of Spring Cleaning

1. Fiction books will have room to "breathe" in their larger space.
2. Nonfiction book collection is on its way to being streamlined to what the students actually use in a print version for personal reading as well as research.

Biography and Nonfiction Bookshelves
3. Empty book shelves are waiting to be removed and recycled where they will be used within the high school building.

Facebook Groups Are Awesome Resources for School Librarians!

How many of you just don't bother with Facebook? The social media network has the reputation of too much talking and arguing about ...