Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Stay Connected in Your Library this Summer

The Big Summer Read @ Pike!

With summer vacation fast approaching, I have been brainstorming for creative ideas to stay connected with my faculty and students. If my students abstain from reading for 2 months over the summer this will directly affect their academics when they return in late August. I have challenged myself to find unique ways for staying connected and promote reading through the summer months. Please join me in this endeavor as I embark on our summer reading program - The Big Summer Read @ Pike!

Monday, April 29, 2013

TLA 2013

Now that reality has hit, I am back in my library this morning with an incredible amount of enthusiasm after the TLA convention in Fort Worth, Texas.  It was the perfect venue for an awesome gathering of some of the brightest and best in the library profession.  For all those who organized this event I say thank you!  I am proud to be a member of the Texas Library Association and I look forward to another inspiring event at San Antonio in 2014.

For all those who would like to reminisce please join us this Tuesday night (April 30th) on twitter and use the #TXLchat at 8:00 p.m. CST. The topic is TLA Highlights.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Reflections on TLA in Fort Worth 2013

It has been way too long since I have had the privilege of attending the Texas Library Association convention and I had forgotten the effect of this amazing event. Yes, 1992 seems like an extraordinarily long time but that is the year when we moved from Houston, Texas to Spartanburg, South Carolina. But absence makes the heart grow fonder and I am ecstatic to be back as a Texas librarian again!

Reflective thoughts from TLA 2013:
  1. Both General Session speakers, JR Martinez and Dan Ariely, were inspirational.
  2. Listening to the incredible Lone Star author panel was worth their entire weight in gold.
  3. Richard Byrne's, Free Technology 4 Teachers, session was a long anticipated encounter. I began following Richard about 4-5 years ago and seeing an icon in my PLC in person was wonderful.
  4. My next stop was listening to Rosemary Chance and Teri Lesesne have a battle of the booktalks in “New Books for Teens and some Tweens Too!” Those two ladies know their YA literature.
  5. “Right Now: New YA Literature to Entice Readers” was very enlightening.
  6. What can I say about Lois Lowry?
  7. I picked up some ideas from “The AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning” and decided to collaboratively present with other district librarians this summer at NISD's TechnoPalooza with our own best websites.
  8. Attending the Texas Tea at the Omni with the most amazing YA authors was the best. I cannot wait to share this experience with my students.
  9. The vendors were amazing.
  1. The sessions were very well planned and the variety provided something for everyone.
  2. Meeting some in my PLC and collaborating with new and innovative ideas was just what I needed at this time in the year – very inspirational! 
  3. Reconnecting with old fantastic friends from my days at Aldine ISD such as Cindy Buchanan brought me back to younger days. Oh how I have missed you!
  4. Meeting and learning from the "Rock Stars" in our profession was rejuvenating.
  5. Getting inspired with new innovative ideas is why I attended TLA 2013!
  1. Time limited me from doing it all.
  2. I was unable to attend Saturday's events.
Professional development is an essential part of being a librarian. I was filled to capacity from my venture at TLA 2013. Thank you to all those involved with this time consuming task of planning such a Texas sized event!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Popplet for Mind Mapping

My IT Coach and I recently presented the use of popplet to our faculty during TechnoFriday (10 minuntes of pure technology during a Friday faculty meeting) with astonishing results. I highly recommend starting out with popplet as a first time mind mapping software. Here is a little information that might help in the quest.

Website for Popplet http://popplet.com/
Tutorial for Popplet http://youtu.be/CxLDsWHsQ1g

• Free
• No confirmation email
• Easy set-up
• Collaboration
• Embed graphic
• Share with link, embedded code, facebook and twitter
• Printer friendly

• APP - Limited free version
• Cannot embed video
• 5 popplets only with free account
• Individual accounts
• Cannot collaborate with our student school email accounts

Book cover from Follett

Monday, April 22, 2013

Creativity At Its Best!

I just had to post one of the finalists for the Teen Read Week photo contest. It is creativity at its best. Thank you Helen Read for the photo entry.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Poem in Your Pocket Day!

For the past few years I have celebrated Poem in Your Pocket Day with small programming activities. With the STAAR examines next week I decided something small would suffice for this year’s celebration. I decided that we would write a school-wide poem and started it off with Pike is……… Faculty and students were allowed to contribute 5 words to poetically describe our school. The response was overwhelming with a school-wide poem of over 7 pages long.

Here are some of my favorite lines.
Pike is students under construction.
Pike is a quest for a test.
Pike is going to rock the STAAR.
Pike is a school that loves me.
Pike is the epitome of all epitomes.
Pike is the most fantabulicious school EVER!
Pike is the nation of playful panthers.
Pike is something extraordinary in many ways.

You can see the progression in the wordles as the entries were submitted.

Friday, April 12, 2013

eBooks Anyone

At a recent district Librarian PLC (Professional Learning Community) my fellow librarians wanted me to the share secrets to the success of our small eBook usage. After leaving the meeting I thought about why our school had seen such an increase in our eBook usage. There is no magic formula other than what we do as librarians - sell the program. So here goes the story.

As I maneuvered through the school year in a new library position, I found myself setting monthly goals. In December I focused on our small collection of 105 eBooks as I noticed not one eBook had been checked out for the entire school year. I contacted all my English teachers and shared my plan for demonstrating "How to Check Out an eBook" during their next library visit. I also requested to allow students to bring in any device that had internet capabilities for the hands-on demo. As classes came into the library I had my laptop, iPad, and iPhone ready. During the demonstration I had nothing particularly fancy but highly encouraged everyone to participate. I enthusiastically mimicked the "but wait" commercial as I brought out each device. The eyes of middles school students were as wide as can be when they pulled out their phones, iPads, netbooks, and other devices. I began the demonstration with my laptop, smoothly moved to the iPad, and ended with pulling my iPhone from my back pocket. Watching the students engaged in the process was just amazing. Students were eager to master this lesson and they helped each other in the process. Some bigger questions came up that I handled. Teachers worked along with the students helping each other. We had mini celebrations as I watched the circulation status live and praised each student who checked out a book. Yes, by the end of the week I was one tired librarian.

I watched the status report grow and shared the data with faculty and students regularly. EBook usage spread throughout the school and when a faculty member checked out an eBook I gave a “shout out” either through my weekly emails, my monthly smore page, or at a faculty meeting. I bought donuts for the English teachers when we reached hurdles in multiples of 100. Our small school logged over 850 eBook transactions in 3 1/2 months. This data went on the school Facebook page, was posted on the school website, was tweeted on the school's twitter account, was discussed in the leadership meeting, and shared on the student announcement video. I just ordered about 200 more eBooks and I cannot wait to share the titles once they arrive.

Why did our school go viral with our ebook collection? I truly believe it has to do with an engaging activity that seemed "really cool” to the students. It was new, fun, and easy. I have trained my student aides to be the experts in checking out eBooks and they help train other students. There is nothing more exciting than to see student on student teaching and learning. I cannot give an exact formula for our success other then my enthusiasm, modeling, making it fun, and allowing the students to experiment. As I watched the usage over the weekends and holidays, I would share the progress via text messages with my principal and staff. It seems the more excited I became, the higher the reports reflected our eBook usage. My role as a librarian is changing ever so rapidly. I embrace the future and the change.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Twitter Chat #TXLchat for Texas Librarians

It was an exciting evening to be invited and involved with the inaugural #TXLchat on twitter. I am honored to have been a co-moderator participant. The success was phenomenal and I look forward to many awesome future twitter chats with our Texas librarians and friends. Thank you Naomi Bates, Sandra Carswell, Michelle Cooper, Marsha Edney, and Sonja Schulz for taking on this endeavor. For more information on the #TXLchat please see the link. http://txlchat.wikispaces.com/

Sunday, April 7, 2013

TechnoFriday @Pike Middle School

My IT Coach and I collaborated in designing TechnoFriday during our monthly faculty meetings. We introduced our staff to twitter in an earlier meeting and continue to build on various technology skills. This week we introduced digital mind mapping skills that can be used in the classroom, bulletin boards, or science projects. We designed and shared a Google drive document and demonstrated popplet and spiderscribe. The reception from staff was awesome with many requesting help at the end of the meeting. Take some time during your next faculty meeting to highlight or share one simple item that might be useful to help your faculty integrate technology in their next assignment. If you show them, they will ask.

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