The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

Monday, October 17, 2016

Changes Ahead For #TLChat (Cross Post)

Seven years ago, our amazing tribe of Teacher Librarians embarked on a journey to deliver much needed professional development on library and technology topics. At the time, there were no such free opportunities to be found to meet this need, so the TL Virtual Cafe Webinar Series was born. School library leaders Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones, along with numerous others, started offering monthly webinars to teacher librarians and other interested educators. Not only did this webinar series provide valuable free professional development opportunities, but it also helped to build and strengthen our tribe.

In the past several years, we’ve expanded our offerings to include monthly Twitter chats and News Night broadcasts to further engage our community. Our #TLChat tribe includes so many inspiring educators who generously share their knowledge and experiences with others. It has been an incredible honor to be part of such an inspiring group of people.

Over time, we have found a decline in participation in our professional development offerings. This is no doubt due in part to the wealth of learning opportunities now available online. We are glad to have been able to provide great opportunities to learn three times a month for the past few years. We have reached the point, though, where we feel that it is time to reevaluate our offerings in order to best serve our community and learn together.

For the months of November and December, we are putting a pause on our professional development offerings to make plans to revamp our offerings starting in January. Although we are still working out the details of what that will look like, we will return on the first Monday of each month at 8PM Eastern Time, starting on January 2, 2017.

We are looking for new voices to get involved with our professional development offerings, in whatever form it may take. If you are interested in getting involved, please fill out the form below to let us know your interest and contact information.

Thank you so much for supporting our #TLChat community. We look forward to what the future holds for our tribe!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

We Got the Beat! Yeah! We Got the Beat!

This week in the JCHS Library was a real treat as the JCHS Library and Special Education classes collaborated with Mr. Stuart Tankesley, Assistant Band Director and Choir Director at James Clemens High School, to bring the book, “Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music” to life.

Mr. Tankesley arranged for percussionist and newly crowned Homecoming Queen, Elisia Alampi, brought an array of percussion instruments for student to learn about and have an opportunity to experiment with the different sounds each instrument makes.

Each Thursday JCHS Special Education Self Contained classes come to the JCHS Library for story time and time of their own in the JCHS MakerSpace. This week students were welcomed with the sounds of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, for whom the book was inspired.

We read the book and then Elisia demonstrated the instruments she brought.  We then had students take turn creating beats to be played.  

This collaboration has been one of my favorites so far this school year!



Sunday, October 9, 2016

Camp Out with a Good Book in the JCHS Library

Teen Read Week will be observed for the whole month of October in the JCHS Library....with S'mores!

During the month of October students, teachers and administrators are encouraged to observe Teen Read Week and celebrate their love of reading by creating a book review.

Participants get to continue the celebration by making gooey, chocolatey, s'mores in the JCHS Library "campsite".

Stay tuned to the @JCHS_Library social media feeds for updates all month long!

Made with Padlet

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The New JCHS Library Media Team: Ready to Connect, Share, Learn & Grow with YOU!

It is with great pleasure that I take this opportunity to introduce the new JCHS Library Media Team: Ms. Laura Smith, Ms. Holly O'Neal, and myself.

James Clemens High School has a rapidly growing school population.  With our current student numbers, James Clemens High School has received Foundation Funding from the state department specifically earmarked to provide students with a certified school librarian, a second certified librarian and/or a "tech" related person, and a school library media aide.  I am grateful to Dr. Fowler and Dr. Clayton for recognizing and facilitating the changes needed to accommodate this student growth.

To best serve the needs of students and teachers we have split up our main responsibilities.

Ms. Smith will:
  • Spearhead the JCHS Library MakerSpace 
  • Maintain/run the MediaCast system
  • Troubleshoot & assist with technical operations in the Harvard Room
  • Facilitate ACCESS students
  • and so. much. more.

Ms. O'Neal will:
  • Supervise students coming & going from the JCHS Library
  • Assist students with printing & copying needs
  • and so. much. more.

Ms. Robertson will:
  • Spearhead the overarching JCHS Library program
  • Offer technology related professional development in one on one, small group, and/or co teaching opportunities
  • and so. much. more.

We look forward to serving the needs of JCHS students, teachers, and administration this school year.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

We're BACK! The TL FREE PD Season Is BACK! N. p., 2016. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.

Back to school time brings football games, pumpkin spice everything, and the TL (Teacher-Librarian) FREE Professional Development Season BACK! 

Did you miss us?!

Each year school librarians from across the country come together to bring relevant, timely, professional development to their peers.  We'd love for you to take the opportunity this year to step forward and let your talents shine together with us. 

1st Monday of each month

TL Virtual Cafe: Monthly, FREE, LIVE, Webinars
8 pm ET

The TL Virtual Cafe is committed to creating conversations about teacher-librarians,
educational technology, and collaborative connections to facilitate meaningful
and lifelong learning skills.

No need to register for our events - just show up! 

We are always looking for new presenters and topics.  If you would like to present a topic or get a group together to present a webinar please contact Tiffany Whitehead.

2nd Monday of each month

#TLChat LIVE!: Twitter Chat Session
8 pm ET

#TLChat takes place the 2nd Monday of each month at 8 pm ET (unless there is a holiday or natural disaster).

#TLChat LIVE! Twitter chat session will follow a Q1/A1 format. Leading questions will be asked using Q1, Q2, etc. Please provide input/answers/links/etc to each question using the corresponding A1, A2, etc. so that the conversation can be followed easier.

A poll for voting on the topic to be discussed is posted on Twitter at least one week prior to the chat and is also posted during the preceding TL Virtual Cafe webinar.

#TLChat LIVE! moderators are needed.  Please step forward, shrug off your comfort zone and volunteer!

Click HERE to volunteer as a moderator.  Volunteer a friend too!

3rd Monday of each month

TL News Night: YouTube Live Event

TL News Night is a LIVE show presented in news show format featuring a Wrap up of “This Month in School Libraries”and deeper discussion of topical school library issues with special guest experts from state library associations and the general education community.

Official hashtag for asking questions during a TL News Night Broadcast is: #tlchat

When YOUR state school library association is ready to be our special guests please contact Nikki D Robertson.

None of these three monthly events could happen without YOU!  We need your ideas, your voice, your participation, and your willingness to volunteer as a presenter of moderator.  Together we can provide the professional development so many of us just don't get from our local schools or districts. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Making the Move: Google Hangouts On Air Is Now YouTube Live

The change from Google Hangouts On Air to YouTube Live (officially starts September 12, 2016) didn't concern me until I tried to actually set up a live event and became confounded and bogged down by the whole "encoding" nightmare.

Forget about encoding unless you are an advanced videographer.

The issue that threw me off was how to set up a YouTube Live Event for a future date without the use of encoding (custom vs. quick).  Perplexed and frustrated after hours of researching, playing around with YouTube Live, and reaching out to my PLN for assistance, I finally figured out a solution! YAY!

Below is the Google Slide presentation with step by step picture directions.  If you have any questions or see a step I have missed please contact me.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Stand Up 4 Intellectual Freedom

September is the month when libraries all across the country celebrate Banned Books Week and Banned Website Awareness Day.  I decided to merge the two events and celebrate all month long in the JCHS Library.

Part of our job as school librarians under both Every Student Succeeds Act (*ESSA), as a Future Ready Librarian, and as a member of the American Librarian Association (ALA) is to  "promotes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all ."

Teaching students how to be involved, knowledgable, active citizens and learning about their 1st Amendments rights as well as their right to intellectual freedom and how excessive Internet filtering in K-12 schools undermines 21st century learning, is a skill we should be teaching and encouraging, not squelching.  

I created an interactive display where students can write what websites and/or apps are currently blocked by our school district that they need or feel they should have access to at school. Additionally, I created a form letter students can use to email Dr. Fowler, our school district superintendent, to voice their concerns about banned/blocking in our district.  Below is the email I sent out to teachers at my school to get the word out about this month long activity:

Let students have a voice (#stuvoice) about access to websites and apps that are currently blocked by our school district.  
Banned Website Awareness Day (September 28th) will be observed all month in the JCHS Library.  Students are encouraged to email Dr. Fowler regarding websites/apps that are currently blocked by MCS and why they would like these restrictions removed. A form letter can be found here: 
I have witnessed students trying to research breast cancer and MCS blocks the search because of the word BREAST.  Also, students researching To Kill a Mockingbird have been similarly blocked due to the work KILL.  SnapChat is also blocked but is an important app I use to connect and communicate with students. These are just a few examples of the unnecessary and overly restrictive blocks currently in place in our school district.
This is a great persuasive writing activity and teaches students their role as an active, involved citizen and an advocate for intellectual freedom.

AASL supports the position that an effective school library program plays a crucial role in preparing students for informed living in an information-rich society. 

*Future Ready Schools & Future Ready Librarians:
“Future Ready Librarians can and should help students develop into responsible digital citizens. Librarians can empower students to constructively share their words and use their voices to advocate for positive change in our schools and communities.”