Wednesday, June 17, 2015

ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge - Join In!

Last summer I participated in the Summer ThingLink Teacher Challenge and it changed my approach in presenting, curating, teaching, and even my PLN (Personal Learning Network).  I am very excited to share with everyone that the amazing Susan Oxnevad is offering a 2nd ThingLink Teacher Challenge this summer.  It may be the best virtual professional development of the summer.

Here's an introduction and schedule from the ThingLink blog.

About the ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge

The ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge is a free, self-paced, online professional development opportunity designed to help teachers explore the powerful possibilities of using ThingLink for teaching and learning. This 5 week challenge invites teachers to have fun learning to use interactive images, slideshow channels and interactive video to power up your pedagogy and redefine learning in the classroom.
Throughout the challenge, we will use the ThingLink flexible suite of interactive tools for schools to create media rich, customized resources for use in your classroom. The weekly challenge activities are designed to be beneficial to educators who are new to ThingLink and also to experienced users. We will explore all the flexible features of ThingLink and discover the tremendous potential for using this amazing tool. Here are 3 reasons to take the ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge.

ThingLink Summer Teacher Challenge at a Glance

  • Week 1: Design Your Digital SelfGet started with ThingLink, a very useful activity to get you and your students started
  • Week 2: Curate Incredible ContentDiscover, collect, reuse and remix the work of others.
  • Week 3: Explore ThingLink UnPluggedExplore learning on the go with a mobile device without wireless access.
  • Week 4:  Design an Interactive Collaborative Student Project Learn to combine ThingLink with the power of Google Docs to create engaging learning experiences.
  • Week 5: Flip It with ThingLink for VideoLearn to create interactive video and include it in a slideshow channel.
Week 1 will begin on June 28th. Entries will be accepted until mid August.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Top 10 Book List 2014-2015

It's our Top 10 List and Legend by Marie Lu has been our #1 book for 3 years in a row.  Could it possibly be the awesome Skype session we had with Marie last October?  Maybe but it's the first year that we haven't seen any books by Stephanie Meyers.  I'm really excited to see The Testing as our #2 book on the list.  The Maze Runner actually won the vote during our March Madness program. I designed the original poster in canva and will print it out for a library display.  I can't wait to see what awesome YA books make it on our next Top 10 list next year. I must thank my student aides for sharing a Google document with me and finding all the book trailers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Never Too Old for Something New

I began my educational career in 1980 and as a veteran educator I am often confronted with statements like this, "They are just too old for change." Or, "They need to retire." Change has no age limit but rather has a specific mind set. When I hear these comments I readily defend the troops who have seen a tremendous amount of change from chalk boards to present day devices and tools. There are many of us who embrace change and are open to new adventures in education. On the flip side, I expect that younger educators should know basic computer and software skills and on many occasions I am amazed at the lack of knowledge in both areas. Another comment I often hear is, "You are the librarian and it's your job to know all this stuff." I disagree with that statement. I am an educator, I am always ready to learn, I am in control of my professional development, and I choose to keep up with the times. I love to reply with, "How effective would I be as an educator if I was still teaching like I was in 1980?" Embrace a passion to learn no matter how many years you have been an educator. I find this video extremely inspiring and although I'm not sure I can accomplish a head stand, I know I can embrace new challenges.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Annual Report Time - don't stress it!

It's the time of year when I gather tee library information and data to produce an annual report.  I must confess that's it's probably done more for my benefit than for anyone else.  I look at classes served, books circulated, programming and more to reflect on the good, bad, and the ugly.  Let's face it folks, all programs can use some tweaking and fresh ideas.  In the past I spent hours designing graphs, writing summaries of programs, and collated the report into a nice cool binder.  After hours of work I watched my principal, from a few year back, take about a 30 second gander.  I spent 2 days writing this report and he gave it 30 seconds.  At that point I decided to change up my report style and as you can see from my latest creation I turned it into an interactive infographic.  I used one one of the new templates in canva and imported the graphic into thinglink.  At that point all I had to do was link everything up.

As a quick and easy report I sent the link to my principal.  I would also suggest to many to have a face-to-face meeting to cultivate the relationship.  The key to a successful library program is all in the relationships. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Success With the Best!

I've already blogged about our Let's Move It! @ Pike program but in conclusion I wanted to share my reflective "take-a-ways" from the campaign.  It all began with a collaboration between the library staff (including my student aides), our school nurse, and our amazing PTA. Together we wanted to bring forth the importance of a healthy life style including exercise.  Tools such as, Google Form, and Google Slides were selected as the platform to launch and archive the entire program. The online flyer had roughly 700 views which in itself a testament of the program's success.  The amazing outcome is that 21 faculty members (roughly 1/3 of our staff) logged in 3,456.532 miles in the last 6 weeks of school. Through a PTA grant, all participants received a gift card that was given out during our last faculty meeting of the year.

  • This was a truly successful collaborative program.
  • I connected with the Physical Education department!  Yes, after many years of pondering how to connect with one of the most difficult departments it blindsided me when it just happened.  
  • The other large group I connected with was our paraprofessionals.  I learned through this eager and amazing group that they too want to belong and participate in our school programming so make sure you have this group on your radar. They are extremely important and influential in your school's dynamics.
  • A group of educators started meeting 30 minutes before school to walk as a group.  WOW, I didn't orchestrate this group and was so proud they took the initiative. 
  • Students started asking faculty members about their miles.  Yes, they became interested and were amazed at how many miles were logged into the Google Form.
  • I had teachers approach me for the 1st time asking me questions about their Google account! 
  • The tackk used generated interest in a new platform tool for some.
  • Our PTA "rocked" and gave us a grant to purchase amazing gift cards for everyone who participated. 
  • My student aides produced signs for the doors of all participants. It was a visual for the entire community to see.
  • Social media and marketing generated interest from outside our building. 
  • Staff members were extremely complimentary with positive feedback about the library and our programming.  Folks if you haven't figured it out yet let me inform you it's all about relationships. 
As the nurse and I stood on stage giving out the awards we agreed this was one idea that needed to be repeated.  Our next incentive will include challenging another school in our district.  It was visibly evident some faculty had lost weight and were making better life-style choices by the end of the program and that to me was SUCCESS!

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