The Absolutely True Adventures of a School Librarian

The Absolutely True Adventures of a School Librarian

Monday, March 19, 2012

Joe Dyer: An Example of Using Pinterest in an AP Art Class

Joe Dyer, our innovative AP Studio Arts teacher, is using Pinterest with his students.  Checkout his Teaching pinboard here:


Mr. Dyer has made his teaching board collaborative so that students can pin examples of the type of art they are studying to his Teaching board.  Reversely, students add Mr. Dyer to their Pinterest Boards so that he can add art ideas for current and future projects on which they are working.  

How are you using Pinterest with your students?  Please share the link to your "teaching" boards in the comment section below or tweet me: @NikkiDRobertson


Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Best Thing About Twitter is the F2F!

Heard County Middle School
Franklin, GA

Twitter, as many of you know, has completely transformed my professional life.  I have been able to virtually connect, learn, and share with some of the most innovative, forward thinking educators from around the world.  The best thing to come from these virtual connections besides the vast amounts of knowledge from collaborating is the opportunity to meet these friends F2F (face to face)

I have meet some of my favorite tweeps at conferences like EdCamp Birmingham and the Georgia Educational Technology Conference.  Others, I have made special arrangements to travel and meet, even sharing a kosher meal with my tweeps family.  

Recently, I had the great privilege to be invited to visit my tweeps at their school and participate in an Open House honoring their school library and librarian for being EXCEPTIONAL.  You know that I jumped at the chance to visit my tweeps!


When I arrived at Heard County Middle School I immediately understood why Heard County Middle School received such a distinguished award. The office staff greeted me with such warmth and kindness.  Then I arrived at Glovis South's (@Bravesread) exceptional library and saw students playing Words With Friends on iPads (acquired with a grant) with principal, Mike Roberts aka: @mikeroberts1973, school superintendent Jerry Prince and Representative Nix. Students can earn access to the Internet Cafe located in the library where they can play games on iPads, enjoy beverages and other perks. 

New friends were made during this visit as well.  One new friend that I know I will be able to collaborate with and learn from is Sabrina Thompson (@TigersRead), librarian at Temple High School with the Carroll County School District and daughter of librarian extraordinaire, Glovis South! Be sure to check out Sabrina's kitty cat widget here: http://ths.carrollcountyschools.com/MediaCenter/tabid/7622/Default.aspx . I can't wait to get to know her better and share ideas for our libraries.  Teachers were in and out of the library throughout the day.  I was able to talk with a special education teacher who shared her ideas for using iPads in the classroom to train students for using an iPod Touch (which is smaller & not as cumbersome) to assist with real world tasks like grocery shopping.  Follett Representative, Ben Myers, showed me the Titlewave app which I can't believe I didn't know about!    Now when I'm perusing the bookstore and find a book I think would be great for my school, I can scan the ISBN and it will automatically save it to my Titlewave account. How easy is that?!   Follett must only hire the best people because I love my Alabama Follett Representative, Chip Gillikin!  JC Barb, a representative from Barnes & Noble, showed me a variety of ereader devices which are available for students to check out from the Heard County Middle School Library.

As Glovis showed me around her charming library I gathered several ideas I hope to incorporate into my own library next year.  Don't miss seeing the great Weebly Glovis South designed for the Heard County Middle School Library: http://bravesread.weebly.com/  I really like the Morning Show crew that reports school news, sports and weather each morning at 7:45.  I also think Ms. South's incorporation of QR Codes into her website is a great draw for students who love technology.  A must see, however, is the entertaining Mr. Spock Library Tutorial made using Xtranormal!  

It should be noted that Glovis would be severely limited in her ability to be as innovative as she is if it weren't for the complete support of her principal, Mike Roberts.  Mike Roberts is also a published author.  His book, One-On-One With America's Most Inspiring Teachers: Conversations on the Art of Teaching, is a must read for educators (http://www.amazon.com/One-One-Americas-Inspiring-Teachers/dp/0615511856).  Mike Roberts' blog, Americas Most Inspiring Teachers (http://americasmostinspiringteachers.blogspot.com/) is one that should be added to your RSS feed.  

There just isn't enough good I can say about Heard County Middle School, Glovis South and Mike Roberts as well as the rest of the staff and new friends I made while I was there.

I have quickly thrown together a slideshow of my day and hope to add more pictures soon! Enjoy:





Monday, March 12, 2012

Treasures Just Waiting To Be Discovered

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.-Chinese Proverb

This year I have been included in a special group of Alabama School Librarians from my region to learn ways to improve our school libraries from each other and master teachers, Sandra Hornig and Anita Meadows. 

This past week we learned how to use VoiceThread.  Ridgecrest Elementary School Librarian, Jamin Ellis, started a fantastic VoiceThread designed for School Librarians to share how they have designed interactive areas in their school libraries for students and/or teachers.  


Share treasured ideas from your library by adding to this VoiceThread! http://voicethread.com/share/2835776/


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

So You Think You Know What It Takes To Be A 21st Century School Librarian? Think Again...

Which picture below would your students, teachers, administrator say best represents you? 


The question, "What is a 21st Century School Librarian?", has been at the forefront of my mind recently for several reasons. First, the best mentor librarian I have ever worked with in my 20 year career is retiring and we are currently interviewing candidates to "replace" her. Looking over the list of questions for applicants has made me pause and think how I would answer these same questions.  Second, I have the pleasure of being included in a unique learning group of school librarians that has allowed me to connect, collaborate and learn from professionals around the region.  One of the first questions our group was tasked to answer was:

Third, the vote for the ASLA Twitter Chat session for March 6th was: 


My research, in an attempt to adequately answer this question, has been saved in my new favorite format: 


I agree that 21st Century School Librarians are: leaders, teachers, innovators, collaborators, problem solvers, technology gurus, and learners.  However, the question itself is fundamentally flawed.  

The question that should be asked is, "What is an effective 21st Century School Librarian".

To be an EFFECTIVE 21st Century School Librarian you must first be LIKABLE, APPROACHABLE, AND TRUSTWORTHY.  Your blog can win awards, you can be on the board of local, state or national organizations, you can host webinars, speak at conferences, and publish books, but if your own teachers, staff, students, and parents would not rise up in arms if your position was on the chopping block, you are simply a body taking up space in the school library.

Last week in our library we narrowed down the key elements to being an effective 21st Century School Librarian: Smile & Make 'em Happy



Too simplistic? Maybe...but I have seen this method work wonders in my current library and with my former co-librarian and it has taken years to get through my thick, anti-social, social anxiety bordering on  Asperger's skull to learn.  

I use to think that taking the time to pay full attention to a teacher or student to inquire as to their family, classes, life was a waste of valuable time. I now realize that socializing is an all important part of the job. 

Socializing = Relationship Building = Trust = Cooperation

Taking the time to go to a teacher's classroom when they need help rather than emailing the answer makes a difference.  Putting down whatever you are working on to smile, chat and interact with teachers/students makes a difference. Treating "interruptions" as welcomed breaks makes a difference.  Ensuring you never make a teacher or student look stupid makes a difference. Keeping what happens in the library in the library makes a difference.  Without this foundation of trust and respect a librarian, 21st Century or not, will never be able to successfully serve the patrons at his/her school.  



For those of you who are socially inept like myself, here is an article I found helpful: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/let-their-words-do-the-talking/201107/get-anyone-you-instantly-guaranteed-1