My experiences as a high school librarian interested in engaging instruction, edtech, combating poverty, creating lifelong readers and a safe place for all students.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Green With Envy: Using Chroma Key
Friday, April 22, 2011
Two New Advocacy Opportunities
photo © 2008 Eric E Castro | more info (via: Wylio)
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Welcoming 5th Graders
This week we have been having school tours for 5th grade students from our feeder elementary schools. I met briefly with the guidance counselor planning the event and asked her if I could speak with the groups for a few minutes during the tour. She said that no one else has ever offered to do anything for the tour and she would love it if I wanted time with them. I decided to create a video in Moviemaker that highlighted some of the programs and activities that we have done this year. I thought this would be the best option because if I had a class and couldn't take the time to stop and talk with each group they could still watch the video to get an idea about what we do and get excited about the library. I plan to visit the schools before we leave for the summer to tell them about our summer reading program. All of our schools are pretty close so I don't think this will be a problem and I believe that I will get a better response if I deliver the information personally. I created a parent scavenger hunt for our rising 6th grade students to complete with their families at an Open House event. Thanks to Google Translate and a quick check from our translator I also have a Spanish version. Of course, the library is on the tour and I'll pull out all the stops that night to make sure they all feel welcome and enthusiastic about our library program.
South Carolina's Library Snapshot Day
SCASL's Library Snapshot Day Information
South Carolina school librarians impact the lives of their students daily. Whether working with entire classes or individuals, we enhance our students’ education. Study after study has proven the worth of effective school library programs led by certified school librarians. As of yet, South Carolina school libraries have not been featured in one of these studies. Let’s provide our administrators, district personnel, school board members, and state legislators with data that demonstrates the need to support school library programs in South Carolina!
The South Carolina Association of School Librarians is sponsoring a snapshot day of data for our school libraries. We ask that each school librarian choose a day in the month of April, National School Library Month, to collect data, anecdotes, testimonials, and photographs to submit to the SCASL Advocacy Committee. The committee will compile the data and other requested information and provide each South Carolina school librarian with a report that he/she will want to share with their school communities and state legislators. Together, we can provide a powerful picture of the impact our programs have.
How can I participate?
Please collect the following data to submit: A) General
1. Type of schedule: fixed, flexible, or combination
2. Number of students attending your school
3. Number of teachers on your staff
4. Number of school librarians on your staff
5. Number of full or part time library assistants on your staff
6. Number of computers in your school library and on mobile laptop labs
7. Number of items in your library’s collection
B) Data from one day in April (choose one of your busiest days!)
8. Number of individual students visiting the library (not with a class)
9. Number of classes visiting the library and the total number of students in those classes
10. Number of teachers visiting the library (with and without classes)
11. Number of classes the school librarian taught
12. Number of items circulated
13. Number of individual student computer uses
C) Anecdotes and Testimonials from one day in April
D) Photographs from one day in April
Where will I submit the data, anecdotes/testimonials, and photographs collected?
The data you collect for #1-13 above should be entered in this survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/scaslsnapshot
All photographs can either be uploaded to the SCASL Flickr Account or attached to an email sent to email@example.com
When is the deadline for data and photo submittal?
Thursday, May 5th
Questions? Have questions about this initiative? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
My Snapshot Day
I held my Library Snapshot Day this week on a very busy day. I have a book fair going on, 5th grade tours and 6th grade classes all day. Collecting the information for the day was very easy. Many of the questions I could answer right away. I kept a record of visitors by making tally marks all day. I have a laptop at the door for sign in, but I knew there were visitors each day that "forget" to sign in so recording the numbers myself would be more accurate. Having the book fair actually reduced my numbers because I didn't have my usual lunchtime readers and computer gamers, but hopefully my shoppers made up for it a little. Recording circulation was simple because I pulled a report in Destiny. I did have to go back and add the A/V items because I wasn't sure if I should could the laptops and iPods as one check out for the day or one for each of the four classes that used them. I asked for a second opinion and decided to count them four times. I put out the SCASL surveys and had my student helpers ask others to complete the short questionnaire. I put a copy in each teacher's box as well, but only had two teachers complete them. It was affirming to read the nice quotes from my students.
In addition to answering the survey for SCASL my district is collecting the data so that we can create a Day in the Life video to share with our district office administrators, school board, community, parents, teachers, students and principals. We plan to use Animoto to create the video and spread the news about our impact on students.
Have you collected your data yet? I hope to see high levels of participation, especially in this critical time for education. What are you waiting for?
To read more about Snapshot Day check out Cathy Nelson's reflections on her day.
QR Code Easter Egg Hunt Update
The past few days my sixth graders have been coming in for the QR Code Easter Egg Hunt. My previous post on this activity can be found here. I'm happy to report that is was a hit with the students and teachers. All of the students were engaged and had fun while they learned. The teachers were impressed with the content of the questions and the novelty of the activity. My principal even stopped by for a visit and enjoyed seeing technology in action. Everyone can rest easy now that my sixth graders have saved the Easter Bunny and released him from captivity. Enjoy a few pictures from the fun times we had in the library.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Technology, Book Browsing, and the Interactive Library
Two articles in the American Libraries March/April 2011 issue have my wheels turning: Jason Griffey's "CES: The Librarian's Takeaway" and Meredith Farkas's "Let's Not Borrow Trouble" .
- QR Codes: Using a smartphone or iPod students can scan the QR codes on books to listen to book talk podcasts or visit author or book web pages. I did this with our state book award nominees and posted about it here. I could post QR codes at Dewey sections or genre sections to help students learn about the collection's organization.
- Smart Pens: Book talks can be built into the book with a Livescribe pen. Read the post describing how to do this on The Daring Librarian's spectacular blog.
- KINECT technology: After seeing KINECT used to create interactive window displays in stores I really want to try this in the library. It would be awesome to have an interactive display that allowed students to explore genres, holiday or event displays like Banned Books, or programs and promotions like reading contests.
- Augmented reality: This technology is growing rapidly and I see loads of potential for libraries. Most people thing this is really complicated, but one common use of this is the yellow first down line when you watch football on TV. Apps could be created that allow students to flag their favorite books, recommend books to their friends through the app and librarians could put markers and guides throughout the collection. The student would look at the shelf through the smart phone or iPod device and see the notes and markers created in the app. These apps could translate signs into other languages like the Word Lens app. This would allow easier browsing for our non English speaking students. You can even use them to create virtual objects. To promote that new fantasy book you could have a dragon perched on the shelf where the book is housed. There is already an app that could help in shelving books.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Stuck Between a Bookend and a Hard Place
The past two days I've been making some changes regarding how I shelve my collection. After more serious weeding I moved all of my Reference to Nonfiction. The only books that remain as Reference are the sets of encyclopedias and a small set of dictionaries. This year I allowed Reference to be checked out, but just a few days instead of two weeks. Now that they are all in Nonfiction they will be checked out the same as the other books. This year has really been a year of observation in regards to Nonfiction. I weeded this summer, but not as much as I wanted because I was not sure what projects or requests I would get from the teachers. Now that the year is winding down I have a better idea of what I can weed further and where I need to order more. I have read about shelving them by subject instead of using Dewey and I'm thinking about this. I would have to work on this during the summer though.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
QR Code Easter Egg Hunt
This week I created a QR code Easter Egg Hunt for my sixth grade students. I wanted to share this early enough for others to have time to do something similar if they wanted even though the students will not come in for a few more days. This activity could be adapted for any subject but we are doing the activity in English/Language Arts. The specific concepts that the teachers wanted included were hyperbole, idioms, main idea, denotation, connotation and some of the prefixes and roots that were recently covered. With state testing coming up I'm sure you could convince at least one teacher to do something like this for a review activity.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Never Far From My Mind
My husband, son and I took a trip to Disney for Spring Break. I'm sad to report that I did not get any of my reading completed, but we had a great time. Libraries were never far from my mind, however. This is me shelving books before entering the Haunted Mansion, which had quite a creepy library inside, and the library on the Swiss Family Robinson tree house.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
A New Tool for Reaching Reluctant Readers
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Advocacy: One Step at a Time
One aspect of my job as a librarian that I did not anticipate when I was working on my degree was advocacy. Yet, this has been a major focus of my first year.