The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

Sunday, August 21, 2016

This Week in the JCHS Library: August 15-19, 2016

9th Grade Orientation...continues!

One of my favorite things about the beginning of the school year is getting to meet, interact, and get to know our incoming 9th graders.  

Years ago I created a scavenger hunt activity so that students could learn about the library through active engagement with the parts of the library they would most likely use throughout the school year.

This year I updated the scavenger hunt by creating it on Google Classroom.  The reason for doing this this two fold.  First, our school district just went GAFE (Google Apps for Education) last year and is pushing even more for our teachers to use Google Classroom this year.  Thus, I like to do lessons like our 9th grade orientation as a way to model use of Google Classroom for those teachers that might not yet be familiar with all that Google Classroom can do.  Second, I like to know that students know how to sign into their GAFE accounts, how to access their Google Classes, and how to open, respond and submit assignments within the Google Classroom environment.

In addition to learning how to use Google Classroom students also learn how to use our electronic book search (Atriuum), how to print from the library, discover our genrified library collection through the building of Book Spine Poems, explore & discover our MakerSpace, and so much more!

Embedded PD

Assisting teachers in learning and embracing the new technology our school district is now using is so much FUN!  Yes, PD can and should be fun.  What makes it so fun for me is that I get time to know the teachers, learn about their curricular needs, and find the best technology tools to support the curriculum as well as students. 

This week I worked with teachers on the best ways to get students blogging, showed the awesomeness of Power My Learning to Special Education, and helped empower teachers to begin using Google Classroom.

Reading Promotions: 

Our Personal Shopper program  has really caught on after Ms. Friedlein's classes participated.  Every day we have new Personal Shopper orders coming in.  Ms. Johnson and I love the challenge of finding just the right books for students to enjoy.

Story Time:

Each week the Special Education Self Contained classes come to the library for story time and for time to explore, discover, create, and tinker in the JCHS Library MakerSpace.  Thanks to Mandy at the Huntsville-Madison Public Library we found a great book about manners to read, Do Unto Otters. After reading the story we made special Thank You notes for people we hadn't taken the time out to stop and thank for all they do.  One student made a thank you note for me for reading books to them each week! YAY!

JCHS Library MakerSpace:

This week we continued to make adjustments to the JCHS Library MakerSpace.  This year we have certain days dedicated to certain activities.  This allows time for deeper exploration of that particular area.

I was really excited to unveil the Google CS First passport program on Computer Science Day this week!  We are signed up for Storytelling, Music & Sound, and Fashion Design passport programs.  
Fashion Design was the big hit this week!

Interactive Library Displays:

Prompted by a Facebook post from Shannon Humphrey our first interactive display in the JCHS Library is: What Is Your HOPE?

Weekly Tech Tips Newsletter:

Each week the JCHS Library sends out timely tech news via the JCHS Library Tech Tips of the Week Newsletter made using S'more.

Check out this week's issue below:

Follow all of our adventures on social media!

Watch our August 2016 Flickr Album GROW!

(New pictures added daily!)


Sunday, August 14, 2016

This Week in the JCHS Library: August 8-12, 2016

Library Orientation Scavenger Hunt WINNERS!

9th Grade Library Orientation:

This week our new Jets (9th graders) had the opportunity to get familiar with the JCHS Library and all that it has to offer.  Using Google Classroom, students explored various aspects of the JCHS Library.  One activity had students create original memes about our library "rules" (I hate rules so there aren't many).  Another activity had students explore the various genre sections in the JCHS Library and build Book Spine Poems. Another activity had students explore the MakerSpace.  In all, students came away from the experience knowing how to use Google Classroom to access assignment and turn assignments in and learned about all the cool stuff the JCHS Library has to offer.

Googling with Spanish 1 & 3:

I made a return visit to Ms. Crouch's Spanish 1 & 3 classes this week to check on their progress with building their Digital Portfolios.  This week we added a blog component to their Digital Portfolios and began writing our first blog post.  Additionally, we explored various aspects of Google Drive and Google Mail so that students would feel comfortable working within the MCS GAFE environment.

Googling with Health Science:

Ms. Collins & Ms. Jemison's classes came the the JCHS Library's Harvard Room this week to get a "tour" of our MCS GAFE tools.  We started with accessing Google classroom, moved on the learning about the Google app menu (I call it a waffle),  explored Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.  We played around with Voice Typing and explored research helpers including the Research tool, EasyBib add on, and the MLA Report template. We also explore Google Mail and learned how to set up a signature for our gmail account.

Story Time with Ms. Humphrey, Ms. Jefferson, and Mr. Watters' Classes:

Last week when Ms. Humphrey, Ms. Jefferson, and Mr. Watters' classes came to visit each student wrote about their favorite thing and then drew a picture of that thing.  I took their work and created an ebook using FlipSnackEDU.

This week we focused on similes!  We started by watching a video about similes and metaphors.

Then we read, My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil And Other Funny Classroom Portraits
by Hanoch Piven.  We followed this up by making simile self portraits!

Personal Shopping with Ms. Friedlein's Class:

Personal Shopping is one of my most favorite things to do in the JCHS Library.  Ms. Friedlein had her students fill out our Personal Shopper Google Form.  This enabled Ms. Kimberly Johnson and I to know a little bit about each student; their likes, dislikes, hobbies, and other interests.  Using this information we "matched" each student with five books.  We wrapped the books with ribbon and attached a personalized name tag.

When Ms. Friedlein brought her students into the library we presented each student with their personalized packet of books.  They were asked to look through the books to see if there were any books that peaked their interest.  If we made a "match" students checked those books out and left the others behind for someone else to explore.  If we failed to make a match we worked one on one with the student to find that perfect match.  By the end of our time together every student had at least one book that was perfect for them!

The BONUS from doing this activity with Ms. Friedlein's students is that other students noticed and we know have an ever growing list of students wanting Personal Shopping as well!

MakerSpace Cha Cha Changes Continue:

The JCHS Library premiered its MakerSpace last school year.  This year, based on observations from last year, big changes were put in place (full detail blog post coming soon). This week in the MakerSpace included:
  • Monday: Arts & Crafts
  • Tuesday: Learn How to Build Your Own SnapChat GeoFilter
  • Wednesday: Build & Tinker
  • Thursday: Game Day (BINGO)
  • Friday: Explore, Discover, SIGN UP
The JCHS Library MakerSpace Graffiti window is also starting to look happy and colorful again!

JCHS Library Tech Tips of the Week:

Follow all of our adventures on social media!

Watch our August 2016 Flickr Album GROW!

(New pictures added daily!)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

This Week in the JCHS Library: August 1-5, 2016

Team Building:

James Clemens High School holds an overnight team building retreat for teachers.  It provides a casual, relaxed atmosphere for us to meet new teachers, catch up with old friends, and get ourselves geared up and ready for the new school year.  

This year the creative genius of Allison Miller, Jennifer Flanagan, and Kristi Combs made the team building activities Olympic themed. They even had cool Olympic Medals to award! 

After the JCHS Faculty Retreat we had a morning of team building activities with our feeder school, Liberty Middle School.  We focused on CONNECTIONS. I was happy to get some time to connect with my friend and fellow librarian, Sandy Brand!

I love that the organizers of this team building session created a website that we can use throughout the school year to stay connected as a team for our students!

Jet Night:

Jet Night is the night before school starts back for students. Students come pick up their schedules, find their classrooms, meet their teachers, join PTA, get a cool Jets t-shirt, take care of various fees, and see old friends.

I had the pleasure of seeing old students who had graduated but came back with younger siblings, meeting new student aides, and showing off our new and improved MakerSpace.  I also had our "Welcome To The Rabbit Hole" video running on a loop so that new students could see all the cool stuff we do in our library.

First Three Days of School:

The first three days of school were fast and furious! We unveiled the special JCHS Library SnapChat filter, students started making their mark on the library graffiti window, we got student aides assigned to their classes, Ms. Johnson situated her ACCESS students and settled them into their online courses, we oriented students to the new and improved MakerSpace, presented one on one and small group PD sessions, created an original ebook with our special education self-contained students all about their favorite things, and co-taught classes on building digital portfolios. WHEW!  It was an AWESOME start to the new school year!

JCHS Library Tech Tips of the Week:

Watch all of our fun throughout the school year via our social media links!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

MCS Forging Forward with Bold Innovative Move To Fully Integrated GAFE with Gmail

Madison City Schools took a bold, innovative step last school year with the adoption of GAFE and the use of Google Classroom.

This year, Dr. Dee O. Fowler, Superintendent of Madison City Schools, continues to be a leader among leaders by transitioning from Outlook email to our GAFE Gmail, thus streamlining communication and allowing for full functionality of MCS GAFE. 

Change, as we all know, is uncomfortable, messy, and, yes, painful. Ms. Heather Donaldson (Coordinator of Secondary Instruction), Ms. Judy Warmath (Coordinator of Elementary Instruction), Mr. Aaron New (Coordinator of Infrastructure Technology), and Mr. Daniel Whitt (Coordinator of Instructional Technology) are not letting the inevitable bumps of change deter them away from the course that is best for STUDENTS and not succumb to what is easiest for the adults. These leaders KNOW that this change is NOT about what is easiest for the adults but what is most beneficial for STUDENTS. They know and support this change because #KidsDeserveIt

I am proud to be a part of this future ready family of educators. Together, we will hold strong to what is right, good and true for our students! 

Friday, July 29, 2016

SnapChat GeoFilters and the School Library

I first learned that making your own SnapChat Geofilter was a possibility from AJ Juliani, Director of Tech & Innovation.  AJ Juliani wrote a great blog post detailing not only the steps to make a SnapChat Geofilter, but ideas for how to use SnapChat Geofilters at your school.

WARNING:  SnapChat Geofilters cost $$$$.  Cost is based on square footage of where the Geofilter can been accessed and for how long the filter can be accessed.

So far I have made a SnapChat Geofilter for the Arkansas Association of School Librarians and a special JCHS Library filter.  I plan on creating more filters to compliment various activities in the library throughout the school year.  

I'm even toying with the idea of a SnapChat Geofilter Contest! 

Please click HERE to read AJ Juliani's blog post: How to Create a Custom Snapchat Geo-Filter for Your School Event

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Great Gmail Migration BEGINS!

Last year we embraced the wonders of Google Apps for Education (GAFE) with great success.  This year we are empowering even more functionality with GAFE by migrating from Outlook to Gmail.

Daniel Whitt, Coordinator of Instructional Technology at MCS, pointed out a few reasons this transition will be beneficial for students and teachers:

Why We're Excited 
1. We can now use the much-requested "Email" function within Google Classroom. This will enable students to email their teachers (and vice-versa) within Google Classroom.  
2. We will never have to worry about inbox size again; we have unlimited storage.  
3. It is virtually impossible to ever experience a "crash" again. Our email is backed up on Google's servers across a variety of geographic locations.

Below is the first Tech Tips of the Week S'more Newsletter from the JCHS Library for the 2016-17 school year. Hopefully these tips will get out JCHS teachers off on the right foot with our Gmail migration.

What tips, tricks, advice would YOU suggest?!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

SnapChat & The School Library: A Love Story

Library Snapshot Day has been around for years and began as a way to showcase, through pictures, all the amazing things that are happening in our school libraries.  I thought, wouldn't it be great to take pictures of all the incredible things happening in the library whenever they happen, not just on a particular day.  My Flickr albums go back several years documenting the fun, learning adventures in my libraries.  I also shared these pictures out with my PLN via Twitter and Facebook.  I even have had Twitter and Facebook accounts for my school library. But, where were the kids? Students just weren't then and aren't now using Twitter or Facebook.  It's not their thing.  

Where on social media are the kids?  SnapChat, Instagram & YouTube!  George Couros wrote ablog post about SnapChat Stories that peaked my interest in using SnapChat (Stories-Librarian-LOL).  So, this past school year, I took the plunge and learned how to use SnapChat.  I used it from Day 1 and almost every single day to tell the story of the JCHS Library. I also made sure to download each SnapChat so that I could upload the images to my Flickr account, and also post images to my school Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Letting kids know that the library has a SnapChat account and getting them to follow the account was important, otherwise anything I posted would just be me talking to myself, thus, meaningless.  

I used Canva to create a poster that hung in the entrance of the library. (see below) Then I made a "big deal" out of taking pictures with the JCHS_Library SnapChat account, starting with simple selfies, and then screaming animately, "Library Snappy Chat! Follow us!"  The kids thought I was also made them curious.  My SnapChatting continued with our new MakerSpace, snapping out all the awesomeness happening there. This evolved into students saying, "Ms. Robertson! Come here! SnapChat this!" referring to what they were doing in the MakerSpace. I will never forget the first time I heard one student say to another student, "Yeah. It's on the library SnapChat right here. You should follow them".  

I have also noticed that more and more educators have been asking, "How are you using Snapchat in your school/library?"  I like to think of SnapChat as a way to not only advertise new books or library events, but a place to celebrate students, teachers, and all the wonderful things that are happening in and around the library.

Here are a few ways to use SnapChat in your library:
  • Promote new books
  • Advertise library promotions
    • Poem In Your Pocket
    • Banned Books
  • Spotlight new robots, art supplies, Legos, etc in the MakerSpace
  • Showcase student talent
    • music mixing in the MakerSpace
    • impromptu singing
  • Celebrate great co teaching lessons
    • Breakout EDU
    • Digital Portfolios
  • Let followers know what is printing today on the 3D Printer
  • Selfies, groupies, and SnapChat filters!

Really, taking SnapChats of everything from a welcome message in the morning, "We are open and ready for business" to and evening snap, "Thanks for the most amazing day!" with pictures of the day throughout.  

Want to learn how to use SnapChat?  Grab a teenager...or....check out these resources:

What will YOU snap?!

Add your school SnapChat information HERE.

Almost all the pictures and videos on my Flickr account from this past school year were all made using SnapChat.  In fact, I created this "year in review" video (below) using all SnapChat pictures and videos.

Below are just a few more pictures from our year with SnapChat.