Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ASLA Twitter Chat Session Recap: Aug. 2, 2011

One of the most powerful things you can do for students is create a culture of learning and collaboration with your teachers.

The topic of the ASLA Twitter Chat Session on August 2, 2011 was drawn from the Educate Alabama formative assessment continuum that is to be implemented Fall 2011. Specifically, the topic discussed drew from Alabama Quality Teaching Standard 1.1: Facilitates professional development for the learning community.

“Annual performance assessment” can be a nasty phrase for school librarians as most teacher assessment/evaluation systems do not acknowledge the differing role librarians fill within the learning community of schools. Librarians felt that a separate document that reflects the specialized practices of their profession was necessary to successfully assess a librarian’s current level of practice. Twenty school librarians, most members of the AASL-affiliated Alabama School Library Association, were invited by the State Department of Education to revise the Continuum. Meeting in both large and small breakout groups, the librarians restructured the Continuum over the course of two months, hammering out a document that reflects the intent of the Alabama Quality Teaching Standards and the principles of AASL’s Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs and Standards for the 21st Century Learner as well as Alabama’s School Library Media Handbook for the 21st Century Learner. EDUCATEAlabama Continuum of Practice for Librarians, a formative tool for guiding and supporting librarians in the use of reflection, self-assessment, and goal setting for professional learning and growth, is scheduled to be implemented in the fall of 2011. by Carolyn Jo Starkey (@carolynstarkey Buckhorn High School, New Market, AL)

The moderator started the ASLA Twitter Chat Session with an introduction of the top and a reminder to use the hashtag #aslachat to ensure your tweets are seen by others participating in the chat session. It was also noted for participants to please remember that Twitter accounts that are protected could cause the moderator and a majority of Twtchat participants to be unable to see or benefit from your contributions to the conversation.

ASLA Twitter Chat Sessions are the first Tuesday of each month at 7CT/8ET and focus on the concerns of Alabama School Librarians, but can benefit from our colleagues in other states and countries. All are welcome to attend.

Guests from outside Alabama participating in the ASLA Twitter Chat Session on August 2, 2011 included Melissa Techman (@mtechman a K-5 librarian just outside Charlottesville, VA), Mary J. Johnson (@johnsonmaryj retired teacher/librarian from Colorado Springs, CO), Donna Macdonald (@dsmacdonald teacher-librarian from South Burlington, Vermont), M.E. Steele-Pierce (@steelepierce an educator from Cincinnati, OH), Pam Moran (@pammoran an educator from Virginia),and Shawn Hinger (@cmslibrarylady School Librarian from Athens, Georgia). Even Kyle B. Pace (@kylepace Instructional Technology Specialist and Google Certified Teacher and Edcamp KC organizer from Kansas City, MO) stuck his head in briefly to say hello.

Both Grace Williams (@gracewilliamsal Media Specialist at Cordova Elementary Birmingham, AL) and Melissa Techman discussed the importance of differentiated instruction to provide PD personalized for the needs of individual teachers. Identifying teachers who have the same PD needs and grouping them together to support each other can be helpful and sets up a great collaborative environment. Tips for presenting PD sessions that will stimulate, not anesthetize your target audience can be found from the following sources:

Nikki Robertson (@NikkiDRobertson from Auburn High School, Auburn, AL) shared her PD plans for the 2011-2012 school year through a “commercial” and Google Doc:

Developing and presenting PD sessions on your own can be an overwhelming task, especially for those school librarians who are not fortunate enough to have two librarians and an aide. Additionally, time can also be an deterrent when planning PD sessions. However, school librarians can still provide access to PD opportunities by connecting faculty with online PD experiences. Melissa Techman culls sources for her teachers and found a plethora of webinar sessions for her teachers at Mary J. Johnson suggested using The Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources ( as another valuable PD resource.

Other online PD resources mentioned were:

Bookmarking sources including Diigo, Delicious, and Symbaloo as well as data gathering sites like and were also mentioned as a way to keep faculty abreast of Web 2.0 Tools, websites, and webinar opportunities. Cathy Manis (@Cathymgm Librarian at Vestavia Hills High School, Birmingham, AL) even brought up using the newest social network, Google+.

For complete transcripts (excluding protected tweets & RT) click here:

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