The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fast Forward: An MCS Initiative



The Fast Forward blog is the brain child of Daniel Whitt, Madison City Schools Coordinator of Instructional Technology, and is composed of a large collaborative group of elementary and secondary educators from across the Madison City School District.  The goal of Fast Forward is to unite innovative educators across the district and give them a space and place to share how they are working to "move education forward and to challenge long-held, foundational beliefs about the nature of education."

The December 1, 2016 Fast Forward post is near and dear to my heart, combining both my love for libraries and for connecting through Google Hangouts.  Even my dear friend, Andy Plemmons, gets a shout out from Bonnie Howard, librarian at Madison Elementary School.

Check out the Building Readers Beyond The Building video below then click HERE to see more of the amazing, pioneering, innovating, and inspiring work happening in Madison City Schools.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

JCHS Poised to Set Hour of Code Record!


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On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, James Clemens High School is poised to set an Hour of Code record with its planned school-wide Hour of Code “unplugged” event to expose over 1800 students, teachers, and administrators to computer science. This event is part of a week long series of Hour of Code events showcasing why computer science matters in the lives of our students.

Hour of Code activities start November 29, 2016 with a special Pilot's Lounge to train advisory teachers how to present the "unplugged" Hour of Code lesson to their students.



In addition to the school wide "unplugged" Hour of Code event, other activities will take place throughout the week of December 5-9, 2016, including whole class coding activities customized to subject area content and an extra special teacher Reindeer Games celebration that will include Hour of Code and MakerSpace activities.

Computers are everywhere, but fewer schools teach computer science than 10 years ago. Girls and students of color are severely underrepresented. The good news is James Clemens High School is changing this for the better.

There are over 500,000 computing jobs open nationwide. Only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce in the U.S.  The Hour of Code is gateway toward providing all students with access to high-quality computer science education.

Over 100 million students worldwide have already tried an Hour of Code in the past three years. Thanks to the Hour of Code, computer science can be found on the homepages of Google, MSN, Yahoo! and Disney. President Obama, Shakira and Ashton Kutcher have joined with over 100 partners to all kicked off the Hour of Code with videos to support this movement.

“We need to encourage and embrace our students’ interest in computer science,” said school librarian, Nikki D Robertson. “Every student deserves the chance to learn computer science to access the best careers of the 21st century.”

For more information about how James Clemens High School will participate in Hour of Code events this school year, visit snap.vu/s1eq or contact Nikki D Robertson.

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!


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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!


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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.