Monday, May 16, 2016

ThingLink Teacher Challenge

Click on the graphic for more information on the ThingLink Teacher Challenge
It's almost time for summer and I am looking forward to some much needed rest and relation.  That being said, it's also time to take advantage of the many professional development opportunities offered during this time.  I participated in the ThingLink Teacher Challenge a few summers ago and I'm ready to partake in the ThingLink VR (Virtual Reality) Challenge this summer.  Join the amazing Susan Oxnevad for this challenge.  I promise that it will be well worth your time.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Librarians As Lead Learners

Join Becky Calzada (@becalzada), Neil Krasnoff (@TXlibraryguy), and Sue Fitzgerald (@sue_fitz) on Tuesday, May 17th at 8:00 p.m. CST for an evening of summer professional development opportunities from an amazing PLN.

May the Force Be With Your eBooks Usage

Many have asked for my advice on developing interest in the use of eBooks in their school communities.    Let's face it folks eBooks are here to stay and they should be an important part of your collection.  It's all about providing choices and eBooks should be a choice in your learning community. There is no exact formula but here is how I used my powers to launch a successful eBook program in my middle school.

Collection Development - This is one we should all be consumed with regardless of the format  If you don't have content that everyone wants to read then your collection development process needs improvement.  This is an all consuming expectation for all librarians to provide a high interest collection while enhancing the curricular needs of your learning community.   Some of my favorite collection development tools include:
  • School Library Journal
  • VOYA
  • Follett's Titlewave - I have used this one for many years now.  We use Destiny and the seamless integration between the two have helped me numerous times over the years. I have recently joined Follett Community, and I am looking forward to connecting with other educators.
  • Goodreads -This is my favorite site to help me keep track of the many series.  I have signed up for a monthly newsletter and have joined some reading challenges.  
  • Youtube - Follow publisher channels and others in your PLN who produce book trailers.
  • Conventions and/or opportunities with authors - I love to see the new gadgets, collaborate with others, along with speaking with the authors.  
  • Blogs from my PLN - Follow those who lead and we have many amazing librarians willing to share.
  • Book Clubs - Conversations within book clubs can lead to so many more conversations, friendships, and collaborations.  
  • Twitter Chats - Join the many chats including #TXLChat with endless ideas and topics.
Practice What Your Preach - How many times have I heard others say they prefer the feel of a real book while turning the pages?  Let's make this clear that we are providing choices for our students in getting them "future ready".  That includes not persuading their choices with our biases.  I model the process by using the Brytwave app, iBooks, Overdrive, Kindle app, and more.  We need to be versatile and feel comfortable in providing content in many formats across many devices. You need to be 100% enthusiastic.

Provide Learning Opportunities - Demonstrate, demonstrate, and demonstrate more.  Have demonstration lessons (I prefer to call them infomercials) at least 3 times per school year.  Start with one lesson at the beginning of the school year, revisit the process before the December holidays, and finish the year with a "kick off" to summer reading with a final demonstration. Provide these learning opportunities to parents during Open House, faculty members during meetings or PLCs, or any other opportunity and/or event.

Use Your Website - Provide easy directions on your website for FAQs.  When I receive an email about eBook access it's simple to reply with the link to our website with step-by-step directions. It's also easy to provide the website link via social media throughout the summer or school year to peak interest after I receive a new batch of eBooks on our Follett Shelf.

Put Up Signage -  Is there a better way to remind your students about accessing eBooks than a colorful sign?  Don't limit your signage to the library and make sure you offer your teachers signage for the classroom.  My favorite website to design signs is Canva.

Inclusion- Include information on eBook usage with ALL your programming.  As an example I even included listening to our digital audio books during our Let's Move It! @ Pike faculty program.

Use your librarian powers and provide your community with choices.  Encourage versatility with content usage across the curriculum and across devices.  We are preparing our students for a fast passed ever changing world.  Prepare them well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Coloring Contest in the Library - YES!

Top 10 Reasons to Sponsoring a Coloring Contest:
  1. It was a fun activity sponsored and promoted by the library
  2. It didn't require extensive planning my part
  3. The items were easily found and purchased
  4. All students were invited to participate
  5. No creativity was required 
  6. It made a colorful display
  7. It helped celebrate School Library Month
  8. It was a new program and received much positive attention from both teachers and students
  9. It brought students into the library before school and during lunch
  10. It helped create a positive welcoming environment to all students and teachers

This year I tried a new library program and it was not only fun but a welcomed success.  With many blogging, tweeting, and commenting on adult coloring I decided to host a  bookmark coloring contest in honor of School Library Month in April.  I found awesome bookmarks on the Demco website along with some colored pencils and that's all it took.  Students were given almost 3 weeks to complete the contest and the results were so phenomenal  that I had a difficult time choosing a winner.

Here are the bookmarks from Demco.  There were 5 templates to choose from.  I had some leftover for next year as I hope to continue this tradition.

I put the bookmarks on display in a case with many students, visitors, faculty, and parents stopping to admire the colorful arrangement.  This easy to manage program brought so much interest that I continue to get requests for the coloring bookmarks even after the event is over.  Who said library programming was difficult?  Make it easy and think about adding a simple coloring program to your library for a positive overall outcome.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Let's Move It! @ Pike

Should we lead by example?  I say yes and so did my faculty with our 2nd year to introduce this very popular program. Back by demand we merged digital literacy, exercise, health tips, collaboration, and enthusiasm in our school. In the first day 24 faculty members logged in 728.972 miles with many more miles yet to come. As an ambassador for literacy, I joined with the school nurse and our PTA for this dynamic collaborative program. Amazingly every department is being represented in participation.   Think outside the box and take your programming beyond the walls of the library with some unique ideas and collaboration.

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