Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Serendipity! And proms ...

Here is a wonderful case of serendipity; next Thursday is Celebrate Teen Literature Day. A day during National Library Week (April 16, 2015), that is aimed at raising awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today's teens.  Where's the funny coincidence?  I chose that day last fall to have my annual Battle of the Books in my school library with my teenagers (you know, readers of YA literature?!)  I'm not sure if the stars were aligning or I was psychically in tune with ALA or YALSA but there you have it, a great event for teen readers on Teen Literature Day!!   It even goes a little farther with the teen part, I have a committee made up of, you guessed it, teens, who actually make the book selections thus continuing to demonstrate that the YA genres have a strong interest in my small part of the world.  The students who have been reading the 9 books that were chosen for this year have seemed very excited about the choices, so this promises to be an awesome day for YA lit.

More YA lit fun; Speed Dating in the library.  If you work in any way with high school students, then you know that prom season is upon us.  This makes for a great opportunity to talk dating and books.  You can talk about how you want to help them find the perfect date, make all sorts of sly comments, and get everyone excited about this fun time.  I was "matching" my students in the library this week, really for an English assignment, but where's the fun it that, and I had one student tell me he was actually going to take his book to the prom, we'll see, I will be
chaperoning and that will be definitely be a picture worthy coupe if it really happens.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

I have been thinking about this phrase, which we all learning in elementary school - reduce, reuse, and recycle and how it should apply to school libraries today.

Image result for quote about good attitudeReduce- the attitude, you know, the "but I've always done it this way" or "its my library".  We need to Remind ourselves that ours is not a regular classroom, we really do belong to our community of teachers and learners and must open our doors widely and cheerful (even if it is for testing!)

Reuse - there are lots of things we have stockpiled in our libraries that we can get rid of.  Why not use it to create a Makerspace activity? Take a look here for ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/cari_young/library-makerspaces/

Image result for conversationsRecycle - or check it out!  Just about anything in our spaces can be checked out if there is a need.  My advocacy thought is that if an item is checked out, someone needs to bring it back and that can begin a conversation that could lead to more use of the media center.

What can you do with 3 R's to improve your library media center/learning commons?  Try something new!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Testing, redux!

After reflecting on the testing situation, and talking with wise friends, I am rethinking testing.  I now think it can be viewed as an opportunity - for solidarity with colleagues, we are all in this together, for demonstrating the spirit of team player, showing administrators we can work and play well with others, and for collaboration experiences.


I am always working for more and better collaboration experiences, and I discovered that testing opened that door.  My teachers had less time to cover what needed to be and when I offered to help out and be a part of their teaching some were thrilled.  A second teacher in the room, as I working on embedding myself in classes when the library space was closed.  Once they realized that I wasn't adding more time to their lessons, but supporting their teaching I was welcomed back; this is building that relationship I want.  Sometimes we need to step back and not push our own agenda, just be that extra set of hands.  I am anxiously waiting to see if we progress toward the next step closer to collaboration ...

There are  many resources available, to assist you as you move to a more collaborative environment.  Here is one I really like.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
Helen Keller

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Reflections on Innovation

I went to a wonderful one day conference, an educonference, yesterday.  We learned about some great innovations in technology and ways to use them with students. Or rather, to collect these resources and allow students to create their own learning!  It was an exciting day, learning about Makerspaces, one word for a vast spectrum of ideas, watching students demonstrate their thinking with technology, hearing what new things are happening in other school libraries. 
Now it is the day after, and I am reflecting on all of that.  I guess my first question should be, what exactly do I want as an outcome of this?  What should I offer?  Who should be involved?  How can it be funded?
Thinking outside the box
Here are the steps I plan to take:
  • 1. Create a survey for students, learning what they would like to have.
  • 2. Create a steering committee of interested students, and go through collected data to formulate a plan of action.
  • 3. Take plan to administration and determine follow through opportunities.
  • 4. Set up Makerspace model and see what happens!
  • 5. Reevaluation after a period of time.
That sounds so matter of fact, so opposite of the creative ideas behind makerspaces, but seems essential for success.

What do I hope to gain from this endeavor?  A new space in the media center for students to have a creative outlet, a place to safely "push the envelope", a haven for students who feel out of step with others. 

How about you?  Are you reflecting on innovation?  What do you see as the future of your teaching and learning space?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tested by testing!

The end of the second week of testing, and I am so distressed.  It has totally disrupted library use, denying students who need to access resources, denying students who need a safe place to be, denying opportunities for teaching and collaboration.
Because wishing it will not make testing go away, I am trying to reflect on what can possibly be the learning piece in all of this.  What can I do to make this experience count for something positive? 
The best thing I can say about losing this time is that I have been able to get some things done that are long overdue - budgeting, book ordering, even cleaning off my desk.
What is the positive outcomes for my students?  I really can't think of any.  I will be searching for an answer for a while, I think.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Signs of Spring?

Some people can tell spring is coming when certain birds arrive, or when they begin to see grass again, I know when I once again find myself proctoring the standardized test. Here I sit, watching students slog through a test that they took on this one day at this one time could potentially keep them from graduating with their peers.
      I am trying to use this time to make my final book order of the year.  I'm looking for some good books beyond the few trending titles; books for the discriminating reader.  If you have one with good circulation in your library, drop me a note, and I will post a list. 

This is the book that is "hot" in my library right now, we are using it for Battle of the Books and students are coming back raving!  "I cried more at the end of this than Fault in Our Stars!
Even better, one of my students discovered this book and shared
it with me. 

It might be wishful thinking on my part, but it seems as though
I have more students reading for pleasure.  If not, more students
than ever are stopping at the circ desk to talk about what they
are reading. This is such fun; I am working on a way to use
this energy to share books using social media.

Ah well, these are the things I think about when proctoring,
everything I would like to do if I could only find the time!

How about you?

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

What happens on a snow day, really

A snow day, yay!  How did we get it?  I bargained with Mother Nature, of course.  I promised that I would do certain things if we got to stay home, boring, mundane things that were overdue -- but necessary.  How did I really spend the day, why I did them, of course.  I don't want to jinx snow days for everyone else. So I worked on everything I promised, and I cooked as I always do on a snow way.  I mean, what if the power goes out and I don't have a big pot of spaghetti sauce done?  And I sat in my comfy chair with my warm blanket in front of my fireplace and I read.  Actually, I had to read the boring, mundane things I had been putting off.  But that was okay, I was in my  pj's in front of the fireplace, drinking hot chocolate.  And for a while, I just stared out the window, enjoying the show put on by Mother Nature.  So that's my snow day, what is yours?