Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Connect, Collaborate and Grow with Twitter-Finding New Tweeps at ALLA!

Thank you to all who attended the Connect, Collaborate and Grow with Twitter session at the Alabama Library Association Conference!  Here is the link to my presentation:

The very last slide contains a link to many of the sources I used to learn how to navigate Twitter myself.

Remember to tweet about the conference sessions you have attended to share the information learned with those who were unable to attend.  Use the hashtag: #alla2012

Shameless plug: Join the Alabama School Library Association during their monthly Twitter Chat Session using the hashtag: #aslachat  The conversation takes place the 1st Tuesday of each month from 7:00-7:30 pm CT.  We'd love to have your input.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like a one on one lesson or just to ask questions.  My twitter name is: @NikkiDRobertson

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Stars Aligned and EdCamp Atlanta Was Born

Left: Tracy Schutz @tracyschutz, Shervette Miller @ATLTeach, Cutia Blunt @Appsforclass, Ron McAllister @rondmac, Greg Walkup @teamwalkup, Nikki Robertson @NikkiDRobertson, Jaime Vandergrift  @JaimeVanderG (via Google Hangout), Wanda McClure @WandaMcClure, Kendrick Myers @MyersMr

Right: Shelley Paul @lottascales, Paula Boston @paulaboston, Kathy Shields @KathyDShields, Angie Griffin @AngieEdDirector, Glenda Wheatley @gewheatley, Cindy Dixon @DixonCindy

This past Sunday evening (April 22, 2012) EdCampATL held it's first face to face planning meeting.  Several of the attendees had been trying for several months to get a group together to form an EdCamp Atlanta and last month the stars aligned and we all found each other, forming the Fab Five...(which I think should be changed to the Super Six).  The Fab Five (Super Six) includes: Wanda McClure, Nikki Robertson, Tracy Schutz, Catherine Flippen, Janelle Wilson, & Shervette Miller-Payton. From that moment on planning has been fast a furious.  Each one of the original organization members has unique skills and all the "pieces" fit and work together like a well oiled machine.  To see us in action you would think we had been working together for years!  In just that short amount of time we have accomplished the following:  

Interested in attending EdCampATL?  Register here:  Eventbrite - EdCamp Atlanta

Sunday we slashed through a pretty hefty agenda under the great leadership of Wanda McClure.  While we now have even more balls in the air than before, I am confident in the planning meeting participants and in the Fab Five (Super Six) to bring this event together seamlessly for Georgia K-16 Educators.

Stay tuned to this blog and watch our baby grow!

To learn more about what an EdCamp event is, read this selection by Sarah Fudin:

EdCamp is a new professional development tool for educators that’s centered on an event known as an “unconference.” The unconference was conceived by technology professionals in 2005 for a Silicon Valley event known as BarCamp. Since then, the notion of an unconference has evolved to encompass any ad-hoc gathering that allows people with similar interests to come together for presentations, workshops, performances, demonstrations and discussions.The schedule for an unconference is typically created the morning of the event with all attendees free to contribute to the design of sessions.

How does an unconference operate? Unlike most professional conferences, an unconference is free of charge (the cost of the facility and other miscellaneous costs like T-shirts are covered by sponsors). On the day of the event, everyone who’s interested in leading a session posts an index card on the conference schedule board. The number of sessions is only limited by the size of the facility. The event organizers hold a quick kick-off meeting to convene the conference and then the sessions begin. Participants may attend any sessions they want and are encouraged to move between sessions to find topics that hold their interest. Participant discussion and networking between sessions is an integral part of an unconference.

The open participatory unconference model was first applied to education in 2010 at EdCamp Philly, an unconference dedicated to K-12 issues and ideas. According to blogger Mary Beth Hertz, an elementary school computer teacher and one of the organizers of EdCamp Philly, EdCamp sessions typically range from basic conversations about teaching methods to sharing student projects to discussions on how to use technology in the classroom. While edcamps don’t necessarily focus on technology, the use of  technology to share information is integral to the EdCamp experience.

EdCamps have been described as organic participant-driven professional development. Because attendance is voluntary, there is a great deal of commitment, enthusiasm and excitement among EdCamp participants. One of the best things about EdCamp is that there is no established hierarchy between presenters and attendees, allowing a greater exchange of ideas. This flattened hierarchy empowers educators to take control of their own professional development and grow their personal learning network.

Not only teachers can benefit from the EdCamp experiences. Administrators can get a fresh perspective about teaching issues and see methodologies that they can take back to their own schools. They can also network with administrators from other schools and school districts. Many EdCamp organizers hope that inviting administrators to EdCamps will encourage school districts to adopt the unconference model to support educator-driven professional development and learning.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Connected Librarians-Check Them Out!

A special Thank You to our ASLA Twitter Chat participants this past Tuesday, April 10, 2012.

Librarians are such an isolated segment of the school community.  Often we are the only ones in our school that do what we do.  Rarely do we get to meet face to face with other librarians to discuss, share, and learn from each other.

Twitter helps to bring librarians together.  Be sure to join the discussion next month on May 8, 2012 from 7:00-7:30 CT to share your thoughts and ideas.  You just might come away with some great ideas to implement in your school library!

Gina Ashley
Madison, AL ·

 Sandy Brand
Madison, Alabama
Bio: Madison City Schools Tech Coach, MLIS, Univ of Alabama

Tamara Cox
Mother, teacher librarian, wanna be edtech geek interested in books, integrating technology and pushing the limits of outdated school policies.
South Carolina, USA · 

Jennifer Padgett
Huntsville, Alabama
Bio: Married; Alabama Middle School Librarian; avid YA lit reader; Texas girl

Jen Meyer Wells
Mother, Teacher, Jr High- High School Librarian, Colts fan, Reader of YA books, French Teacher

ASLA Twitter Chat April 10, 2012 Storify Wrap Up

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Linky/Pinterest Party for School Librarians

Taking a cue from Julie D Ramsay's latest blog post for National Poetry Month and wanting to try out how Linky works, I am using this post to host a Linky/Pinterest Party!  

I know how much we love learning something new that we can use in our own classrooms to support our students' learning. The most powerful way that we can learn is from one another. A Link Party is a great way we can share what we love with others in our PLN. Please share links to your school library Pinterest Board so that other school librarians can benefit and share with their teachers and students.

Book Spine Poetry for National Poetry Month

I am celebrating National Poetry Month by inviting librarians and educators everywhere to a great collaborative opportunity.  Take a glance around the shelves in your home, school or public library and create an original Book Spine Poem.  Take a picture of your poem and upload it to a photo sharing site like Flickr that gives you a URL that you can share with others.  Be sure to share your Book Spine Poetry picture on the VoiceThread link here:  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Challenged Materials: Do You Have a Plan?

Last month a high school librarian facing a challenged materials issue in her school contacted me and other librarians for advice on how to best handle the situation.  

People involved: 
1. Mrs. C, classroom teacher who rarely visits the library (whose husband was just elected a judge in their county).  
2.  Dr. S, high school principal.
3.  Mrs. L, high school librarian
4.  Dr. R, Assistant School Superintendent 

Challenge Material:
Seventeen Magazine subscription

The Challenge:
Mrs. C decided that Seventeen magazine was inappropriate for high school students.  Instead of addressing Mrs. L regarding her concerns, Mrs. C went straight to Dr. S to express her concerns.  Dr. S, without consulting the school librarian, Mrs. L, took it upon himself to remove the magazines and order Mrs. L to not display any more issues of Seventeen magazine.  While there is a board approved challenged materials protocol it was not followed by either Mrs. C or Dr. S.  

Concerned about rocking the boat but equally concerned about further problems with Mrs. C, whose children will be students at the high school in the near future, Mrs. L reached out the library community for advice.  

Current Progress Made:

An update from Mrs. L:  I requested a meeting with the asst. superintendent who has jurisdiction over library media specialists.  It took place in my office Friday.  Although it was apparent she had discussed the matter with the principal and takes his side, she was much more open to a two-way exchange.  Despite her best efforts, she was unable to offer one valid reason why our board-approved challenged materials policy should not be followed.  Thus, she agreed that the teacher will need to complete a challenged materials form which will be presented to a committee the principal and I will form together either this semester or early next fall.  I assume they realize that challenged materials stay on the shelves until the process has been completed and a conclusion reached.  In the end, though, Dr. S will have the final say, as I have no doubt he will scrutinize every line of every PO from now on.  But, the teacher will realize that altering our collection to suit herself will not be quite as easy as she thought.  Hopefully this will slow her down in the future.
I very much appreciate your input and the advice you and your contacts gave me. Otherwise, I may well not have pursued this, as I was leaning toward not rocking the boat, which would have just led to more problems in the future.  I also have done a lot of research and am much better informed now, which certainly helped me present a pretty convincing case to Dr. R, the asst. superintendent.  

Advice issued:
(I am sharing the advice given for those librarians who may also be facing a similar situation.)

Ann Marie Pipkin
Sylacauga, AL 35151: 
One of the best ways to thwart a challenge is to have a policy in place before there ever is a challenge.  If you don't have a policy in place, make it a priority if you want to be proactive about the way the library operates on all fronts. 

Wendy Stephens

High school librarian, reader, and giant geek in the heart of Dixie. Google Certified Teacher, NBCT LMS. Still working on that dissertation.
Alabama ·
OIF will be interested in the case regardless of whether or not she is an 
ALA member. 
The reporting form
is a little ex post facto for this situation. 
If she is anticipating getting any press coverage, I would definitely call
1-800-545-2433, ext. 4220 to get OIF involved. 
Theoretically, the principal had been signing the purchase order for this
and other periodicals, so he should have been aware the library held
Seventeen. I would be curious to know what both the principal (and the
teacher's) thinking were with regard to this decision. It does sound as if
he isn't really aware of what he has started. 
Keep us posted, I know we are all curious to know how it shakes out. 

LeeAnna Mills, NBCT
ASLA President
School Librarian 

Northside Middle School:
If she is anticipating getting any press coverage, I would definitely call 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4220 to get OIF involved. 
Theoretically, the principal had been signing the purchase order for this and other periodicals, so he should have been aware the library held Seventeen. I would be curious to know what both the principal (and the teacher's) thinking were with regard to this decision. It does sound as if he isn't really aware of what he has started. 
Keep us posted, I know we are all curious to know how it shakes out. 

Is she a member of AASL and ALA? Could she report it to them and let them help?  Has there been anything in the newspapers or online about it? If so I know the Office of Intellectual Freedom keeps up with reported challenges.

Susan Dickey
Walker Elementary
Northport, AL  35475 

I realize that I don't know all the politics involved.  However, my first reaction is that she need to talk to the principal as if she's certain he/she is going to follow the policy.  Go in saying OK now here's what the policy says our next step should be....  This gives the principal the chance to cover himself and do the right thing.  The librarian then has some defense if the principal has been reminded of the policy and refuses to follow it. 

Molly Ann Bates
School Librarian
Scholars' Bowl Coach
Russellville Middle School
Russellville AL 35653 

I agree with LeeAnna and Wendy. 
Has she contacted her superintendent and or school board? If the challenged
materials policy is board approved, then the principal and teacher are not
following board policy.
Is the principal fearing repercussions too? 

Another thought, is she a member of AEA. If so, she needs to contact her
UniServe director ASAP. If she's not a member, now is a good time and
reason for her to join. 

Advice from my Tweeps:

Tweets from:

William Chamberlain


Husband, Father, Teacher,Adjunct Professor, Youth Leader, DEN Star teacher,  advocate, and OG (Original Goober!)

Jennifer Northrup


Media Specialist. Techie. Alias Junkie. Book Diva. Aspiring Author.

Melinda Sears


Secondary French teacher implementing technology in my curriculum. This year, teaching French 1,2,3

Thanks also to Dan Kelley and Donna Keller for re-tweeting to their followers.

Donna Keller

Mom of teens with a love of children's books. Interested in the future of education in the USA.

Dan Kelley


HS Principal, Teacher, Father, Coach, Runner, NEU Doctoral Student

Additional comments, advice, etc is welcomed.  I will update this post as action in this case develops.