Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Helping Teachers Research Using Google

When asked to present a session to high school ELA teachers about research, I was inspired by a post on Ditch That Textbook called "Writing Papers and Research Reports the Google Way." 
I incorporated some of these ideas and requests from principals to create a session about tech research tools.
Before we meet, each teacher is asked to complete this pre-assessment in Google Forms.

Each teacher will also be asked to download the following Chrome extensions: Google Keep, Tab Scissors, Tab Glue, Easy Bib, Kami, Grammarly, Destiny Discover.

The teachers will be asked to join a Google Classroom class and will proceed through the rest of the session as if they were students completing the research process. Here are the tasks:

1. Complete the pre-assessment above and download extensions.

2. Let's daydream about summer vacation. Open the attached Google Sheet and add your name and location you plan to research. (We shared this one so that everyone can edit, in order to show how Classroom can be used to collaborate on one document.)

3. Open the research paper template. (I created a template shared so each student will get a copy. Then I can show the teachers how they can share on Classroom in order to have easy edit/view access as students work. You can also use a template so that the documents are in the format you require.)

4. Finding and Citing Resources. Teachers will use the state database to find a few articles related to their vacation location then save the articles and citation information in Google Drive. I created short video instructions for this.

5. Taking Notes in Google Keep. Teachers will use the Keep extension and/or app to paraphrase notes from their saved articles, insert parenthetical documentation, and use tabs in Keep to organize notes. They will use the following three tabs: Land & Climate, History, Tourism.

6. Writing the Paper in Docs. Teachers will open the template, go to Tools>Keep Notepad, then use the labels to copy and paste their notes into the appropriate parts of their paper. Then they only need to fill in connecting sentences to finish the short paper.

7. Peer Editing in Docs. Teachers will choose a partner to share using the Can Comment option. They will add a few suggestions for their partner then go back to address suggestions in their own paper.

8. Self-Graded Rubric and Turning in Completed Paper. Teachers will complete a short self-assessment on Google forms and turn in their paper through Classroom. (Then I can show them how I see it as a teacher and can edit, grade and return in Classroom.)

There will be some teachers who are challenged (hopefully not overwhelmed) by this plan. Others will finish this quickly and find themselves bored. For those teachers, I created a hyperdoc of additional activities to explore. I loved this post from Joyce Valenza and was eager to give it a try.

This will be my first official session with the ELA teachers from my new high school so I am hoping that this goes well and that they will want to collaborate with me to use these tools with the students.

Creating Instructional Gifs

I have been working on a research PD session for high school ELA teachers and I wanted to try out instructional Gifs after seeing them on Alice Keeler's page. I love that it is little bite-size instructions that loop automatically for learners. I feel that this is less intimidating that a long Youtube instructional video.
I had to alter the creation from her original instructions because Snag it is no longer a free Chrome extension and I don't have the extra money to buy the full version right now. I will consider it for next year though.

I used Screencastify Chrome extension to record how to save files from our state DISCUS databases and how to use the citation tools in the databases. Then I uploaded the recordings to Youtube, used the Youtube editing tool to trim the clips, and then used the MakeGIF video capture Chrome extension to create and download those clips into Gifs.

Here are a few examples.
This is a loop showing how to use a PDF printer to save articles from the database into Google Drive.

This is a loop showing how you can send some database articles straight to Google Drive.

My main issue is that I am not sure why they show up so small with a big gray border. I may purchase Snag it next year and try making more of these to insert into hyperdocs, Google Classroom, the library website and other instructional delivery methods. I think if I can figure out how to enlarge them they will be very useful for helping teachers and students use tech tools.
If you make Gifs, I would love to hear about how you make them? What tools work for you? How have you used them in instruction?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A New Curation Tool: Elink.io

I learned about a new curation tool, Elink.io, on the Future Ready Librarians Facebook page. I like how visual this tool is for curating several links. I thought this was the perfect tool for links to the summer reading books.

I see potential for using this tool for curation activities with students and creating a research launchpad for projects. I hope you can find this tool useful as well.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Summer Reading Plans Underway

I am lucky that the middle school that feeds into my new school has an amazing librarian, Emily Pataky (@MrsPatakyReads) and very supportive ELA teachers. I scheduled a time with them to introduce the summer reading program, Wren Reads, to the rising freshmen. Unfortunately, that is the day that my children were ill.
I know time is precious at the end of the year so I snuck into a quiet room and recorded my presentation using the Screencastify Chrome App so the show could go on without me. You can find my presentation and playlist of book trailers below. Students will begin signing up for their books very soon. We're waiting on the announcement of a new administrator and the title he/she chooses.
I sent an email to the upperclassmen today with the Summer Reading Bingo sheet, SYNC YA flyer, and a short video I recorded in Shadow Puppet. I embellished the email with my Bitmoji character to make it more fun and personalized. My next Google Form survey will also feature my character thanks to Alice Keeler's instructions for inserting them into Forms. So fun!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Reaching Out to My New School

I know that relationships are vital in being the best librarian I can be for my new school. In an effort to reach out to my new students and teachers, I created a quick video introduction and asked for feedback using a Google Form.
I used Snapchat and Animoto to create an introduction video.

I created a separate survey for students and teachers.
Here is a copy of the teacher survey.
Here is a copy of the student version.
I was very happy with the number of responses and useful information for planning. When asked about social media the students answered that Instagram and Snapchat were their favorite sites/apps. I shared this information with the principal and asked for permission to create a library account in each of these platforms. She agreed to Snapchat as long as it was only active after school hours and said that next year I would have access to use the school accounts on the other sites. Thanks to Nikki Robertson and other librarians for sharing how they use Snapchat in the library.
Sixty percent of students felt that they had enough opportunities to visit the library even though half of them visit only when teachers took them or once a week and a full 30% visited rarely or never. A few stand-out answers for what would make them visit more often included "if books were arranged in a way I understand", "I didn't have to pay fines", and the most popular answer: more variety of books. One student recommended bean bags and cotton candy machine. Yum! I'll consider it. This is good evidence for me to support my move to genrefy fiction and drop overdue fines. The most popular answer for "favorite thing about the library" was the quiet. That lets me know that even though I'm not a shushing librarian, I do need to maintain some areas for quiet study. I also added 27 books to my order list that students requested.
The teacher survey illustrated to me that they are not accustomed to co-teaching, something I'd like to work on. Almost 60% of teachers are interested in coming to a monthly tech session with me, which could be a way I can build some collaborations. Eighty percent were interested in summer PD, which is why I organized and shared the Camp Readamorra program last week.
I have already met with a few teachers as a result of the survey to discuss ways we can work together next year. I look forward to sending another survey next year and comparing the answers to guide my library goals. If I can share something here with you to make your efforts easier, contact me.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Camp Readamorra: Summer Reading PD Plans

I have noticed that most professional development sessions that address reading seem to be about dissecting, analyzing, and tearing texts apart. I wanted to put a course together that promoted independent, recreational reading. I also wanted to start building relationships with the teachers at my new school before next year. I thought it would be fun to use a camping theme so Camp Readamorra was born.
I debated between Camp Readamorra and Camp Wannaread. I wanted something cute that conjured up those happy feelings of summer camp, even though my own experiences at camp never met the high expectations from camp movies. I tweeted a poll and it ended in a tie. Internet, you failed me:)
I shared the outline of the tasks with the other librarians in my district and several expressed that their teachers would also be interested. I submitted the course for approval to my district to earn renewal credit and created a Google Classroom for elementary, middle and high school groups.

This is the outline for the course if you would like to adapt and use with your teachers. You can access a copy of the Google Doc here.  From there you could copy and paste the assignments into Google Classroom or another platform you prefer.

I shared a flyer I made using the Canva images above with a short description and the Google Classroom code. By the end of today I already have 8 teachers enrolled from all different content areas. Normally we focus on reaching out to our students and of course, that is essential, but I also believe we need to continue to share the power of reading to our teachers as well. I would love to hear how you're sharing with your teachers.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Summer Reading Plans 2017

Summer reading is so important for our students so I knew that I wanted to plan something as soon as possible for my new position. I found this article from YALSA and was inspired by Lauri Vaughan's ReCreate Reading program. As much as I would love to do this with the entire school I thought that might be too ambitious since I would not be there to make sure it all went smoothly. I know I'll only get one shot to convince the teachers and admin that the program is worth the time and effort so I wasn't willing to try it and risk failure. After speaking with my new principal we decided that I would implement this idea with our Freshman Academy only. I met with the FA admin and a few staff members and we worked out the final details. This is what I'll be sharing with the entire FA staff after Spring Break.

All 12 teachers, plus me, one guidance counselor, one administrator and the School Resource Officer will be sponsoring a book. This will allow our discussion groups to be under 20 students. I created a resource list of book titles to help the teachers choose a book. I included two authors that we are considering for author visits. When everyone has selected their title I plan to go to the middle school and meet with all of the rising 9th graders to share the summer reading plan and sign up each student for a book. I hope that our public library will have their summer reading materials ready at that time as well so I can share those.
My promotion materials will include an Animoto video with the book covers, QR codes that link to teacher videos explaining why those choose their book, and posters for each teacher to hang near their door. I'll post again when everything is complete, but this is what I have so far since a few teachers have chosen their book already.

I didn't forget the other grades. Even though it isn't feasible for me to plan a more involved summer program this year I did want to do something to encourage summer reading. I plan to make a quick video explaining why summer reading is important and share the SYNC YA information, our public library summer reading information and this BINGO sheet. I'll buy some affordable books to hand out as prizes.

I look forward to reading more about summer reading as the time draws near. I'll be sure to come back and post more when I have materials ready for my students. If you see something you would like a copy of or more information about, don't hesitate to contact me.
*All my background images were made in Canva then layered in Google Slides.