Monday, December 15, 2014

Student Driven Hour of Code

It was our 2nd celebration for the Hour of Code and although we organized the event completely different from last year, we had extraordinary results this year.  First we advertised and invited all interested students to the morning event rather than limit it to the technology club.  Second, the student technology club facilitated the event rather than participate in the coding.  We were ecstatic that 30+ students  (including girls) came an hour before school for the Hour of Code. 

Here’s our basic structure of how we ran the event.

  •  Flyers were made, video commercials were produced for student announcements, and social media along with our school website were all used to advertise the event.
  • The meeting began with refreshments and viewing the official Hour of Code video along with a brief introduction of our student technology club.
  • A short student produced lesson on batch was taught.
  •  A second short lesson on coding to produce a simple calculator was taught.  We are very fortunate that not only does the student technology club know their content but they have good communication skills with teaching the lessons. As students had questions other members of the technology club circulated around the room answering individual questions.  At times it looked like an EdCamp with mini lessons and teaching going on simultaneously.
  • Finally, the students were given the option to continue to code or use one of many sites provided for the event.  As when you give students choice, the activity continued with varied possibilities. 
  • The technology club grouped participants by knowledge levels.  They had beginners (the largest group), intermediate, and advanced groups.  Lessons on each level were taught congruently. It was interesting to witness the students take charge of the teaching and change the groups as they discovered the need for modification.  
  • The student technology club took attendance and used the event to promote others to join the club.  They also produced and gave out certificates at the end of the event.  





In reflection everyone including the participants were extremely pleased with the Hour of Code celebration.  The feeling of accomplishment was experienced on both ends with some students excited about learning how to code and another student group pleased with teaching and sharing their passion.  As an educator I could not have planned a more perfect scenario then the student driven celebration.  At the next technology club meeting we will reflect on the event and come up with an action plan on how to move forward with this growing enthusiasm to code.  After all, isn't that the main purpose of the Hour of Code?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

12 Days of Twitter Challenge @Pike

I see many creative librarians offering 12 Days of Technology but I wanted to try the 12 Days of Twitter Challenge with my staff.  There are many tweeters on our campus but I wanted to expand the use of our hashtag as a school.  I worked with our administrative staff and aligned the Twitter Challenge with the 12 Days of Celebration that our administrators implement during this time of year.  So far the participation in the use of our hashtag #Pike_Proud has been awesome.  I plan on adding a new challenge each day, tweeting it out, and emailing it to my faculty members.  When I shared the event with my students I had 2 incredible young ladies volunteer to modify and sing for the challenge.

The 12 Days of Twitter Challenge visual was designed in:


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Edublog Awards Voting - Open!

It's that time for us all to thank those that put countless hours into helping others learn. So please take the time and show your support and appreciation by voting for the many cutting edge educators and programs that make us all become better at our positions.  

Click here for the link to vote for your favorite Edublog Awards.

Here are all the categories:
    Best group blog
    Best new blog
    Best class blog
    Best mobile app


Voting will close at 11:59pm EST on Monday, December 15th. 

Curating Student Blogs

I have encouraged my student library aides to blog this year and here is the result. I am extremely proud of the time and effort some of the students have spent on designing and develpoing this platform.  I have curated the blog websites through a Google form so we may all easily view and give feedback to the blogs (including mine).  I love to see the students share the number of views, the  geographic locations of the views, and their posts with one another.  The students have taken extreme pride in their blogs and have included them on their ePortfolios.

In producing this thinglink, each student made and emailed me their own avatar.  I arranged the avatars in canva before uploading it into thinglink.  Students were able to view the final product through there individual thinkglink accounts even before I shared the link.   Blogging, creating, smashing, writing, reviewing.....what other lesson can incorporate all these task?


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Edublog Awards Nominations 2014 Are Open.



It's that time of year to recognize and nominate those who have inspired you along your educational path.  The Edublog Awards #eddies14 is now open and accepting nominations.  The deadline for nominations is November 24th so take some time to thank those who give so much of their time and wisdom to many. Click here and fill out the form.

Here are just a few of my nominations:
Best Individual Blog http://teachkiwi.wordpress.com
Best Group Blog http://www.edutopia.org
Best Student Blog http://sarcasticsocrates.wordpress.com/
Best Ed Tech / Research Sharing Blog http://d97cooltools.blogspo
Best Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com
Best Hashtag / Twitter Chat #TXLChat
Best Free Web Tool http://www.thinglink.com
Best Mobile App voxer

It's difficult to choose when so many have made a difference in who I am as a librarian.  Please know I cherish my entire PLN.

Wii Day Tuesday - Sometimes It's the Simple Things

Our school has a solid group of 8th grade boys that are the core of our Technology/Coding Club.  They initiated the club and keep interest going through a variety of marketing techniques.  That in mind, they are always looking for exciting tools and projects eager to take on the next new challenge.  That takes us to a new marketing strategy.  Our principal bought a Wii that is used sporatically for special occasions.  The Wii is stored in the library and you all know the unwritten rule that if it's in the library, we can use it.  So with permission we started Wii Day Tuesday during 8th grade lunch.  The Technology Club showed in force and had the choice to play Mario or dance.  Yes, this group of high technology skilled 8th grade boys chose to dance.  Even after 34 years of educational experience students never cease to amaze me.  So the library and Technology Club will continue to host Wii Day Tuesday.  I must admit that I have many motives including: hosting a fun activity in  the library; expanding the Technology Club; getting to know more students; and the list goes on.  So Wii Day Tuesday has been another successful program in the library!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Learn From Your Mistakes - I Did With New Book Club Successes!

Over the years I have learned to evaluate the successes and failures when it comes to our library programming. Interesting enough I came face-to-face with two situations that made me rethink how I was conducting the student book club.  Our first book club of the year was in simple terms a "flop".  Second, an article came through my Twitter PLN from an Edutopia article (one of my favorite blogs) It's a Mistake Not to Use Mistakes of the Learning Process. Merging the two events made me rethink what went wrong with this year's book club and how I could learn from these mistakes.  As stated in the article I am choosing #4, "Those I learned from and shared my new knowledge with others,"  as my plan of action.  

So after soul searching and reflection we have completely changed the book club process with an overwhelming success and here's a few tips of advice and strategies that might help others.

  1. Consistency - Choose a date and time and stick with it.  I was moving the times back and worth from morning to lunch and it was confusing to everyone.  Lunch seems to bring in a larger crowd so I'm sticking with the lunch time.  I may also choose a particular day of the month such as the first Thursday of the month is Book Club Day.  
  2. Marketing - As with any project marketing and advertising is crucial and cannot wait until the last minute.  Flyers (both paper and online), video advertisements, postings on Twitter and Facebook, and an announcement on the school marquee were some of our promotion strategies.  The video advertisement was produced by one of my student aides and played in the ELA classes which gave leadership and ownership to the students.
  3. Empower the Students - Although I feel I am late to this game, it's better late than never.  Since we had little interest in the librarian facilitated book club I changed strategies and released the entire process to the students.  A group of 8th graders picked The Book Thief to discuss, set the date, promoted the meeting, used a Google document to organize their discussion questions and book trailers, and completely ran the entire book club. Attendees included an excited 8th grade ELA teacher, our principal, an assistant principal whose favorite book is The Book Thief, and roughly 25 8th grade students during a lunch meeting. The 8th grade book club had never seen this many students in the past.  
  4. Choose a High Interest Book - In the past the book club books included newly released  high interest books.  This time the students picked an established novel that many had read thus enticing a larger audience.  I will take note that a few students who attended had not read the book and the conversation motivated them to add a new title to their must read list.  
  5. Let Them Be Heard - I was amazed at the student lead discussion and all I can say is, " WOW!"   I could not have planned a more perfect discussion if I had rehearsed the dialog.  Let the students drive the conversation.  
  6. Include a Treat - I'm always thrilled when students give up their 30 minutes of social time during lunch to talk about books so I try and bring a treat such as cookies to the event and it humbles me when they are appreciative of this simple gesture. 
  7. Invite the Faculty - Who said book clubs are just for the students?  You may find administrators and faculty members who will eagerly join the event to talk about books.  
  8. Be Enthusiastic - Enthusiam is congatious and promotes more enthusiasm.  No matter what library program you are trying to promote the students and faculty can quickly pick-up if you have your heart and sole into the event.  
It's been a week and I'm still getting positive feedback from those who attended that new book club format was a huge success.  It brought a diverse group of students and faculty together to discuss a mutually adored book.   The enthusiasm from the event has encouraged me to ask for more volunteers for the remainder of the year.  So each month, we will continue to have students volunteer and drive this event.  My role as the facilitator of the event is to help promote through our website and social media accounts, seek volunteers, and make sure the monthly event stays on the calendar.   


"It's a Mistake Not to Use Mistakes as Part of the Learning Process."Edutopia. N.p., n.d. Web. 02
            Nov. 2014.


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