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Medicine Chest for the Soul
1. Gearing up for school year 2012-2013
Here's a nice thought for the day:
“ Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is. ”
~ Ernest Hemingway
Unfortunately, what I don't have the most of is time. This summer seems to have flown by, and I'm shaking my head sadly as I realize I didn't do half of what I set out to in June. However, I'm getting there. My prep to do list for school is at least started, though definitely not finished, and I am working on prioritizing my tasks for this year. I would like to try to make my appearance on this blog more of a regular occurance, so I am moving it up on my list. We'll see how long it lasts.
If you haven't read any books this summer, or are looking to sneak in a few last minute ones, or are anywhere in between, here are some I read this year, and they are all available in the library this September. Happy reading!
2. Final Day
I spent the morning with Sue Kowalski and co. on a plan for change. We focused on one of the sections of the SLMPE rubric and emerged with a step-by-step of how to accomplish one goal for the next year, including both steps for the librarian to take, AND steps for the district/administration to take if the goal were to be successful. I focused on providing professional development, which is already in the works. It was kind of nice to see it laid out on paper though, especially with the two sides next to each other; you can see how both parties need to work together to accomplish a goal, and it might also be a tool to use with your administrator for planning, if they are amenable to that.
4. APPR and Advocacy
Hmm...well, I left feeling more frustrated after the APPR workshop than before it, but it wasn't the presenter's fault. Here's the nittu gritty - do the best you can with the SLOs; try to have a voice on the APPR if possible, and work as hard as you can to get teachers and students into the library. Other than that, there is not a whole lot you can do with the way things are set up besides doing the best you are able. The advocacy was a little more hopeful. The basic message: make your voice heard. Be visible. Cultivate your stakeholders. Be positive, not negative. Use the tools at your disposal. If you would like more information, check out the AASL advocacy website.
7. DJV (Dr. Joyce Valenza)
The following is a quick recap of what the great JV covered in an hour. Leaves me both exhilarated and frustrated. She is doing great things, but where are we? There is so much out there that will enable our students to become truly C&CR, we just need to seize the opportunities.
10 Things Librarians Should be Teaching in 2012
Sweetspots (tools to help us help kids succeed):
NY Regents Vision Plan 2020 The Essential Role of Librarians in Student Achievement The New Media Literacies - YouTube Core Ninja 5 Things Every Teacher Should Be Doing for the Core Standards Digital Citizenship Mike Ribble's 9 Themes of Digital Citizenship Henry Jenkins - Master of the Web One Space: Being a Responsible, Citizen of a Digital World Academic Digital Footprint Managing Your Personal E-Reputation Reading Students on Facebook Storm Code of Best Practices in Fair Use in Media Literacy Education (page give to test) Use of film Jam Studio Plagiarism Report - Turnitin PaperRater Mendele Research 3.0 David Loertscher - Knowledge Building Center Live Binders Online Zones of Intervention LibGuides/Spartan Guides TL Chat Daily Pinterest Google: Help Your Kids be Better Searchers Pandia Search Central Instagrok SLIKK Mashpedia DuckDuckGo Wolfram Alpha FindingDuclcinea/Sweetsearch SearchyPants Boolify Horizon Report 0 Importance of being mobile CLIP Debbie on Weighing Truth with Wikipedia Infographics - becareful crap detection Annotate Works Cited - Who wrote it? Why did they write it? How does it help me answer my question and prove my point? Similar Search Sites IWitness Bernardine Porter Assessment Tools Voicethread - Story of immigration to US
Breakfast - packed. JLSLS table - packed. Grand Ballroom - packed. Hope this says it all. Rumor has it librarian APPR is approved (we think, we hope). Mayor of Binghamton (nice guy) opened up the conference with proclamation - School Librarians' Day in Binghamton 2012! We are off to a good start.
9. Last Night
So, I find it a little weird that I have all these adventures, or "episodes", when I attend conferences. For those of you who remember the Savannah incident of 2010, I think this one comes in a close second. We got a late start on dinner, and that's all I will say about that, but when we finally did go, we were hoping to eat at the Lost Dog, but that was a 30-40 minute wait. Yes, on a Thursday. So we went on to Burger Mondays, and brought a couple of people waiting for the Lost Dog with us. We ended up getting our own table because we wouldn't all fit a the table of librarians already there, but it turned out to be great. I caught up with Mary Z. and Kate B. and Aimee's boyfriend was really funny. The meal went well, (a little spicy, perhaps), until literally, we paid. THEN THE SKIES OPENED UP. Ok, so we should have known when the humidity hit us like an hammer on an anvil on the way over that we were in for rain, but we didn't, and like good earth-saving, exercise-getting people, we had walked. So we had to weigh our options. We ended up asking a waiter for 5 garbage bags, and he just stood there, contemplating. I mean, I'm thinking "ok, this is kind of a yes or no question, what gives?" He tells us to hang on a couple of minutes and walks away!! Seriously?! Then he comes back and says his bartender would be happy to drive us back to the hotel and her car is right outside. Unbelievable. Well, we were profuse in our thanks, and ended up pilling 4 of us in the backseat, with Mary up front, and off we went. It was great. I mean, it was squished, but it was also great. This is what I mean about conferences and adventures. You never know what will happen when you get a bunch of librarians together. So now it's off to breakfast, Valenza, more Valenza, Wiesner, Common Core, more Common Core, and many other things. I will return soon...never fear.
I'm here, in one piece, though there is STILL construction on 17. I swear the same construction was going on in the same place, like, 5 years ago. But that being said, I am here. Had a board meeting, mostly routine, logistical stuff. However, if you are looking for an opportunity for active membership, there may be a few opportunities coming up...more on that later. Now just need to find some place cool to eat, and maybe take a look at the vendors. Tomorrow starts bright and early at 7:30. Now if my person would just get here...
11. SSL Countdown
Almost there! The conference officially kicks off tomorrow, and I'm excited. As I do, I will be live blogging the conference, sharing the highlights and my commentary on what's going on. Please comment if you like, I will answer you as best I can. You can also follow the action via Twitter Hashtag #SSL2012. Sooo...what can you expect? Well here's my top picks for the next three days.
Top 5 highlights I am looking forward to:
Joyce Valenza's keynote "10 things librarians should teach in 2012". Lunch with David Wiesner (I LOVE the Three Little Pigs) A "Heavenly" Common Core Workshop Not 1, but 2 Cultivating Workshops DANCE PARTY
Top 5 things I plan to do:
Buy books - lots and lots of books Get lots of free stuff from the vendors (I hope) Win a basket (I will have to figure out how to rig it - JK) Absorb lots and lots of knowledge, blog it back to you, and bring home massively cool ideas for collaboration and instruction (yep, a tall order) DANCE (yes, there is a theme here)
Autographs I plan to get:
David Wiesner (did I mention I L O V E the Three Little Pigs?) Suzanne Bloom Emily Arnold McCully Anyone else I feel like :)
So now I need to go home, pack (do not forget bathing suit this time like I usually do), get a good night's sleep, and head out tomorrow for three days of fabulous fun with a bunch of fabulous librarians!!!! YAY!!!!
12. Valentines for Veterans
Thanks to all the students and teachers who contributed Valentines for Veterans. The valentines will be given to the Watertown Vet Center to be distributed at their monthly gathering this week. Thanks for showing you care!
13. Teen Read Week 2011 a success
Well, we survived another Teen Read Week. It actually went well, I think. Total, I had about 15 kids come to events throughout the week, and I think they went pretty well. There was a glitch with the animoto videos only doing 30 seconds, but that has been fixed, so students can now do full length if they choose. They just have to go into Advanced Settings and change the options to full-length. The surveys are also coming along - I currently have about 20. Unfortunately, none of the authors people want to see are available to come, some being dead, and others not doing author visits. We do have time though, as it will probably be a couple years before we do another author visit. In the meantime, I hope students check out as many of Ben Mikaelsen's books as they can, so they can get the most out of the visit on November 16.
14. Great books over the summer!
Well, I haven't had as much time to read as I thought I would, but I have read some great books in spite of it. The first great book I read was Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott. It reminded me of Lord of the Rings in some ways, but it's a completely different story. I do have to say, I kind of saw then end coming, but I was still surprised by a few final twists. Best part is, the sequel's coming out in September! I have countdown on my website. I also went on a Carl Hiassen reading spree - I read Hoot, Flush, and an advance copy of Chomp, which will be out in the spring. Oh, it's good to be a librarian. If you liked his other books, including Scat (which I read last year), you will love Chomp. Oh, yes, and I'm caught up on the 39 Clues series, including Vespers Rising. I see why I can't keep them on the shelves, although they were a bit short for my taste. I like a book I can really fall into - the thicker the better. I have hopes I will be able to read a few more books before the end of the summer. I have The Dreamer, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, Vixen, and Revolution on my to read list (along with about 10,000 other books - I'm not exaggerating). However, summer school is over this week, so I should be able to devote more time to my reading. I will come back with some great book trailers in the fall to get you all pumped up. Be sure to check out some of the new features I've included on my website - most of them are linked to the home page. What have YOU read this summer? Leave me a comment!
School's almost out, and that means the summer reading season is officially here! Studies show that reading as little as four books over the summer will help you get off to a great start next year, so the more you read, the better you'll do. Be sure to check out the lists under Student Resources for some ideas of great reads. The lists are arranged by interest level, but you are welcome to pick books from any of the lists. If you would like to share your thoughts, a review, or your own book picks, just post a comment to this blog. It will be open all summer, just like your local libraries - be sure to check them out!
18. On to the last session
Ok, I've been fed, I've collaborated, and now I'm officially a school librarian (no more SLMS). This last session is on management, marketing, and collaboration, all of which are so necessary to our schools. I will check back after for a recap.
20. Sessions 2 and 3
Sorry, got busy then had to charge my laptop. But I'm back now. Session 2 was on Digital Libraries to School Libraries, and basically the highlight was this tool: Web2Marc http://dl2sl.org/web2marc. This tool will strip the information from any website and create a MARC record to be downloaded into your catalog. I can't believe how unbelievably fabulous this is. First of all, it will immediately increase your collection age. Secondly, you can customize it with keywords, subject headings, etc. for your specific library. I can't wait to get back to IR and try this out. This way, if we find a fabulous resource, it can get added to the catalog in about 5 seconds, and then it's always there. I envision a teacher request center where they can type in what they are looking for, and then we can stock the catalog - or they can send suggestions for what should be added, if they already have something they love. This way, the catalog is not just a "library/librarian" thing - it's a "school/user" thing. The third session was with Susan Campbell Bartoletti, and that was just me indulging my inner muse. Most of the workshop was creative writing strategies, which might be cool to share with the ELA folk, but it was more for those of us who want to tell our own stories. Not specifically library related, but fun. And really, passing up a Newbery Honor author - I don't think so. Luckily, the JLSLS peeps had the other workshops covered - we will do an info switcheroo when we get back to Watertown. I'm still waiting for the conference wiki to get updated - hopefully the raw materials for everything I missed will be there. Now I need to snazzy up and get down to the banquet. Then dance party time, yeah!
21. Susan Campbell Bartoletti - AKA the Trooper
I was very impressed with Susan Campbell Bartoletti's presentation. First of all, she is a wonderful speaker - the kind I will never be. She just has a very calm but interesting way of speaking. And she is a courageous researcher. She genuinely cares, really cares, about her subject, and will literally go to the ends of the earth to find the truth. I'd like to bring her to Watertown at some point. I think the kids at Indian River would really enjoy her and maybe even WANT to read. I now need to read all of her books, especially her novel, which I know we have, but I'm not sure is on the shelf. I'll have to check when I get back. Two more sessions, then dinner. Off to a good start so far - I'll check back in an hour.
22. Session 1: How to talk to your administrator
Wow! Best session ever. Let me just say that the administrators from Orchard Park and Cheektowaga are really great. They had some really insightful ideas about what librarians do and their value to the school and students. It actually didn't really end up being about what to say to administrators (it was really more of just lauding the librarians they had, which is not necessarily a bad thing) but I did pick up a few tips to share.
1. Run new ideas past them first - it keeps them in the loop, and they can then share your initiative
2. Have great ideas, but follow through on them - if they say yes, don't drop the ball
3. Relate things to 21st century skills, or common core standards, or anything like that - proves you are working with curriculum
4. TALK to them - don't just ask them for stuff, talk to them as people, not just administrators
5. Be powerful and connecting - prove you deserve the job - show them you are a part of the learning and wider community
Great advice, and now time for lunch with Susan Campbell Bartoletti!
Marcia Mardis, assistant professor from Florida State University, definately gave some food for thought in her keynote address. Much of the talk had to do with the impending impact of such upcoming events as RTTT, merit pay, digital textbooks, and the continued emphasis on 21st century skills. I tweeted a few key highlights under the hashtag #SLMSinBLO, which is where all the conference related tweets should be, so follow along if you Twitter. For now though, just a summary. The first thing was the dominant themes in learning - as they currently stand: achievement, accountability, and affordability. I don't think these come as any surprise. These three words basically sum up the current state of education for most of us, especially in New York State. The problem lies in that none of these works take into account the strengths of librarians - our big picture abilities, our talent for interdisciplinary collaboration, and how we provide instructional resources. In fact, these three words are almost the antithesis of what librarians do best - not that these words have no place in education; they certainly do. But, should they be the most highly prized three words in education? The second portion of the talk was a little bit of a history lesson - first was an overview of charter schools and how they fit in to the library landscape. According to studies, the only real strength that charter schools have is that they tend to increase parent involvement in schools and they have a lower dropout rate - they do not, however, significantly impact student achievement. Also, 90% of US public schools have school libraries. In comparison, only 51% of charter schools have libraries, and of that number, only 36% have school librarians So, is the tradeoff worth it? Or can we public schools keep our libraries and whatever librarians we have left and find a way to increase student and parent involvement. Dr. Mardis then gave an overview of four historical movers and shakers in the library and education worlds - Melvil Dewey, John Dewey, Marshall McLuhan, and Paulo Freire. Each one has had a lasting impact on the way we run our libraries, but I especially was interested in McLuhan's idea of hot and cold media - hot being one with passive involvement, and cool being one with active involvement - and that we need much more cool media in our schools. Guess who's job that is? The last part continued the conversation to the introduction of what Mardis' opinion of the three "real" themes in learning should be - consistency, connection, and community. Librarians are already experts at the first two, but in order to compete with the other factions in education that are negatively impacting our jobs and the impact we are having on students, we need to continue to work to make the library the focal point of not just the school building, but the wider community as well, including parents and others not directly connected to the school. If we can do this, it will make sharing what we are good at a much easier task. There are a lot of suggestions to be gleaned from this talk. I'm hoping her ppt is made available after the conference. Now, I have to decide which panel to go to. I was thinking about the equality of access one, but I'm not sure it will be what I'm looking for. I may send a delegate to bring me back info, and I can always catch up with the presenters later. So I guess I will go to the administrative panel, which should be...enlightening. Catch you after.
24. and it's 4:30 in the morning...
I'm really thinking that my brain should pay attention to when my alarm clock says I should get up, rather than when it thinks I should. I actually had the opportunity to sleep in until the luxurious time of 7AM today, and what did my brain go and do? Woke me up at 4:30. Urgh. But here I am - up, fed, and ready for a day of fun and entertainment. Yes, you heard me - fun and entertainment. We librarians are a very fun and entertaining bunch, and I am really looking forward to today's sessions. I can't really give you a preview of what I'm going to, as I haven't yet decided. There are so many choices! First up is the keynote by Marcia Mardis, a professor from Florida State University's library program. That will start at 8:45 and I need to go find the room. So I will be back in a little bit.
25. We're here!!
I know, I know, I didn't post yesterday. But really, I needed to spend the time packing so I could actually get to the conference, which I will now proceed to talk about. I'm really liking being back in Buffalo, mostly because I'm seeing lots of faces I haven't in a while. I mean who doesn't enjoy getting hit on the head by their former professor (yes Sue, talking about you). And then I saw Chris, and then I saw Mary, and then I saw Sara, and then I saw Cathie. Yep, just one big mostly happy family (not thinking about the money). And may I just say, having the conference on Cinco de Mayo - genius. I loved the little cone things at the snack table - no idea what they were, but add guacamole and sour cream and I was in heaven. They were fabulous. Then 6 of the 8 of our delegation went to dinner and had a very fun time. It's nice to be able to get together and just talk. Honestly, that's how most of my ideas - there's a reason collaboration is one of the staples of our job; two heads are most definitely better than one, or in this case, six. Then since it's been a very long day, we retired for some much needed beauty sleep, ready to jump in to tomorrow's events cannonball style. I will put way more effort into the live blogging tomorrow. Right now...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.