The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

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.”

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!