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.




Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Building Your Librarian PLN

Shared lunch with a roomful of school librarians at METC in St. Charles, Missouri today. Here is the slideshow I presented that gives local Missouri librarians options to connect with each other. Live links to join the METC ISTE affiliate, TL Virtual Cafe events, and the St. Louis Suburban School Librarians upcoming February 27th event are included. Have fun making new connections with your PLN.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

How to Design Posters in Google Drawings

Google Drawings is one of my favorite Google Apps. It's great place to create images to use for posters, infographics, and slides.  Let's start with a propaganda poster project that started out as an English Language assignment that connected with a Social Studies unit.  

Always nice to make those connections across the curriculum. The following slides present the background for the propaganda poster assignment.  Besides Google Drawing, there are directions on using Poster Generators such as Keep Calm-o-matic  posters.


If you want to use the same idea for another type of Drawing project, just follow the tutorial below. The slides are self-explanatory plus there is a detailed video tutorial.



Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Google Certified Educator - Level 2 Exam Passed!!!

Passed the Level 2 exam tonight! Finished up in plenty of time with 37 minutes left on the clock. Checked off that certification on my bucket list for this year. After studying for Level 1, I decided to just go for Level 2. Studied the scenarios closely in the training lessons and just went for it. Glad I did!

Now to frame my beautiful certificate for my library wall.


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,...