The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The RETURN of The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

This year I return to the library at James Clemens High School after a year off working as an Instructional Technology Facilitator in a 1:1 MacBook school.

I have some lofty goals already set up for myself this year so I thought I'd put some fire under those goals by posting them here so that all of you could hold me accountable and follow my journey!

The two top goals this school year are to establish a MakerSpace in the library and to genre-fy the fiction section of the library.

So what is a makerspace?  Makerspace defines it as:
Modeled after hackerspaces, a makerspace is a place where young people have an opportunity to explore their own interests, learn to use tools and materials, and develop creative projects. It could be embedded inside an existing organization or standalone on its own. It could be a simple room in a building or an outbuilding that’s closer to a shed. The key is that it can adapt to a wide variety of uses and can be shaped by educational purposes as well as the students’ creative goals.
The Library as Incubator Project describes makerspaces as:
Makerspaces are collaborative learning environments where people come together to share materials and learn new skills… makerspaces are not necessarily born out of a specific set of materials or spaces, but rather a mindset of community partnership, collaboration, and creation.                                   Quote from: 

Here is my proposal for starter materials for the James Clemens MakerSpace.  I am also asking for donations of arts and craft materials as well as LEGOs, K'Nex, games, puzzles and any other materials that could be used in a MakerSpace environment.  See a starter list below. If you have any talents you would like to share in our MakerSpace like sewing, knitting, woodworking, etc please contact me and lets make this happen for our Jet students!

Genre-fying the fiction section of the library is my other big goal for the school year at James Clemens. Luckily, my friend Sandy Brand, Librarian at James Clemens feeder school, Liberty Middle, will be genre-fying her fiction collection along with me! 

Why genre-fy?

  • Increase patron ease of locating books
  • Easy to identify collection needs
  • Increases appeal of many books
  • Provides opportunities for genre studies
  • Increase overall circulation
Below is a great video about genre-fying the library collection from the Bangor School District Libraries.

Stay tuned as the school year progresses for updates to these lofty goals! I will certainly be counting on my PLN to cheer me on when I think I've hit a brick wall!  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Invite Experts Into Your Classroom...FREE!

One of my top goals as I enter a new school year in a new school is to connect educators and students globally to make learning more authentic and provide real world insight from experts around the globe.  

Google Hangouts on Air is the perfect way to accomplish this goal.  It is free, easy, device agnostic, and FUN!  Most experts are willing to visit your class for 10 to 15 minutes at no cost.  But don't stop there! 


Did you book a great expert to Google Hangout with your students?  Share them with the rest of us! I shared the amazing author/illustrator, Ed Hose, with classes from all over the United States by using a Google Form to invite other classes to be a part of the Google Hangout.  I also shared the YouTube link so that other classes could watch our conversation with Ed Hose.

Have an awesome speaker actually coming to your school?  See if they would be willing to be "shared" via Google Hangouts with other schools.  Share the love!  At Hoover High School we had a Vietnam Veteran talk to our IB students about the war.  We invited other classes to watch through Google Hangouts on Air!

But wait! This is just the tip of the iceberg of what you can do with Google Hangouts! 

Want to find more great connections with Google Hangouts?  Check out the new website, Google Hangouts for Education and help us grow! 

Breathe New Life Into Your Classroom This Year

It wasn't that long ago that I found myself in a rut as an educator.  Like most of us, I entered the teaching profession with big, bright ideas. Over time this enthusiasm for teaching was tainted by the daily routine, strict pacing guides that allowed for little creativity or teachable moments, endless paperwork, unsupportive or uninformed administrators, little or no access to technology and/or blocked websites. Eventually I feel victim to these forces and feel into a submissive, run of the mill, collect my check and do the bare minimum expected of me teaching role. 

This is the path I could have followed into retirement but thanks to Shelly Terrell and the 30 Goals Teacher ReBoot Camp my professional life and personal life took a dramatic change and my love of teaching came back stronger than it had ever been.  

If you know an educator or you are an educator who is stuck in a rut, unsure of the first steps to take to get out, Shelly Terrell's 30 Goals Teacher ReBoot Camp gives you not only suggestions and guidance but a whole support group of other educators just like you who are working to transform themselves and their classrooms.

July 16-19, 2015 was the first ever global 30 Goals Free eConference.  Over 30 speakers worldwide shared how they transformed their teaching through accomplishing goals. If you missed this inspirational conference be sure to catch the archived recordings and get inspired by their stories.

I was honored to be asked to keynote at this event.  My keynote is below.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Leadership Academy: Limestone County Schools

This week I had the pleasure of presenting with my fellow Instructional Technology Facilitators in the Limestone County School District during the annual Leadership Academy.  The Leadership Academy is a two day professional development specifically geared towards helping administrators in understanding the 1:1 Digital Passport Initiative that rolled out tho their schools this past year.

Add our Yapp App to see crowd pics and to see our schedule or click HERE to see our Google brochure.

If you would like to learn more about this conference and how to provide one at your school or about our 1:1 Digital Passport Initiative please contact Karen Tucker, District Instructional Technology Director.

During Day 2 of the Leadership Academy I will present four one hour sessions on Building a School Brand with Social Media with an emphasis on Twitter.  If you would like to join us live click on the appropriate sessions below:

Session 1- 9:00-9:50 am CT

Session 2- 10:00-10:50 am CT

Session 3-  12:00-12:50 pm CT

Session 4- 1:00-1:50 pm CT (Ugh! Bandwidth issues messed up this broadcast)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Google Hangouts or Skype: Which, When & Why?

The use of technology in our schools is bringing the world to our students. Thus, understanding how to best harness various technologies to get the most out of what your school has is essential.

Many schools focus on the SAMR Model when envisioning where they want the technology initiatives in their schools to take their students.  The ability to videoconference is one of these important technology tools that can kick your school's technology initiative into the higher levels of SAMR.

No matter what resource you decide to use, the important thing is to get kids connecting and collaborating with others. 

Many videoconferencing tools exist, my two favorites are Skype in the Classroom and Google Hangouts (Google Hangouts on Air).  

I use these two resources in two very distinctly different ways.  

Google Hangouts on Air:  

HERE is my presentation about using Google Hangouts at NCCE 2015.  It contains step by step picture directions! YAY!  

You can also watch me present about Google Hangouts for SimpleK12 HERE

Lee's Summit R-7 School District in Lee's Summit, MO has an all inclusive Google Hangouts Guide for Teachers.  The link I like best on this site is the one that takes you to a collaborative Google Document with amazing ideas collected from the #eduhangout group.  You can add how YOU have used Google Hangouts HERE.

Skype in the Classroom:

The best part of this post is near the end where they share stories from teachers who successfully used Skype in their classrooms for a variety of projects. To me, real learning takes place when we reflect on what we did in the classroom with our students and then share our successes and pitfalls/failures with others.

1- Working on a history project using Skype
This is a story of 7th  grade students who have used Skype as a part of their history project that resulted in their collaboration with the curator of the National Museum in Canada 
2- Using Skype to help a classmate join classroom from homeRead this post to learn how a 4th grade class used Skype to help a classmate with leukemia become a part of the classroom from her home.
3- Connecting two classes using Skype
learn how this teacher brought two classes, who had been tweeting all semester, to finally get together and meet face-to-face via Skype.
4- Using Skype in classroom language
Find out how this teacher used Skype to help her students learn a foreign language from native speakers of that language.

#iCONNECT Tech Tips Smore: Mark The Date Edition