Sunday, December 31, 2017

I Wish My Principal...

I am working on a presentation specifically for school administrators to help them gain a better understanding of school libraries and school librarians.

Please help me gather information that YOU wish your principal/administrators knew about you and your library by answering the questions pictured above via the Google Form below.

Thank you in advance for helping me curate this information.  No names or locations will be used in the presentation.

Tell Me Something Good

My granddaughter was scared of our little Shih Tzu but when she wore this mask she was invincible. LOL!

As we all sat down to Christmas dinner with my daughter's family in Kansas my three year old granddaughter turned to me and said, "Grandma, tell me one good thing".  Inquisitively, I looked to my daughter not completely understanding the request.  It turns out that at my granddaughter's school, right before lunch is eaten, they go around the table and share one good thing about their day so far.  After sharing one good thing about your day you are then prompted to "ask a friend" about their one good thing until everyone has had a chance to share.

This activity reminded me of an activity I like to do at the beginning of each library class, "Hey! Listen To This!"  Before we start our library activities for the day we start by giving students the opportunity to share something with the class as a whole.  Mostly students share joyful things like upcoming birthdays, sports team wins, etc. but occasionally a student will share something sad like a pet dying.  What I like most about this activity is that it not only helps me to know the students better, but it also helps build sense of community where we celebrate successes together and also support our classmates who may be going through an emotionally difficult time.  I also love that we start each class filled with positive energy.

I got this great idea from my wonderful principal, Donna Brady.

This also makes me think of my wonderful PLN (Professional Learning Network). On a daily basis I get to celebrate the successes of other school librarians, offer encouragement during hard times, reach out and ask for help when I am out of ideas or at my wits end, laugh at things only school librarians would understand, and so much more.  More than anything, I know that through connecting with other school librarians via social media, I am not alone.

As this year comes to an end I challenge you to not only look back at 2017 and find the good things but make it a point to stop each day and find that #onegoodthing.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

This Holiday Season @Winkley Library

The 1st nine weeks had come to an end and I had just started in on my 2nd nine weeks of Library Center rotation activities when it dawned on me that the quickly approaching holiday season was going to throw all of my plans into utter chaos. Thanksgiving Break, the Scholastic Book Fair, special school wide Holiday Events, Winter Break, and me being out sick (UGH) all took big chunks out of the normal library routine.

I am extremely lucky that the PTA is in charge of the Book Fair. All I do for the Book Fair is provide our Library as a space in which it can be set up; PTA does the rest. Since the conditions in the library with all the coming and going of Book Fair patrons wasn’t conducive to teaching and learning, I moved the library to an empty classroom upstairs. My wonderful library aide, Sandy Perez, and I worked together to turn the room into a pretty awesome little library space. We pulled a few carts of popular books so students could still check out books, we carried the reading carpet up, and redesigned our library activities to better suit the space and limitations we faced.

Fortunately, these hiccups actually worked out for the best as Hour of Code week fell within this time period and could be accommodated in our smaller space using MacBook and Chromebook laptops.

Kindergarten and 1st Graders learned how to code using Tynker’s Hour of Code Puppy Adventure game. This is the one I found was most compatible with the ability level of my students with regards to understanding coding as well as with use of a trackpad on a laptop. 2nd through 5th graders learned how to create a Holiday Card using Scratch. Scratch is awesome because it passes the “If Ms. Robertson can do it” test! Scratch has great step by step directions that, with a little modeling, can easily be followed by students. I absolutely love seeing the lights go off in students eyes as what they are doing “clicks” and then they take off on a creating rampage! Getting them to come to a stop so the next library class can come in is the hardest thing I have to do.

5th Graders got an extra little treat this week. I wrapped up our Scratch coding lesson about 10-15 minutes early each class and then we “made” a silent movie. Ask your kids what a silent movie is. The responses are so cute! Then actually explain the concept and the confusion on their faces is so precious. “Why didn’t they just record what the actors were saying?” What made it even funnier was that I’ve had laryngitis while teaching this and the kids thought it had something to do with not being able to talk!

Once explaining what a silent movie was we then made our own silent movie using the Chrome Experiment, Peanut Gallery. We watch a movie clip and then worked together to write a “script” on the dry erase board. Then students were chosen to speak the parts in Peanut Gallery. Then we watched our silent movie! Watch two of the ones we made using the links below:

Ms. Reed’s Class:

Ms. Evrard’s Class:

3rd through 5th graders also had the opportunity to participate in a “mock” Mystery Skype. What Sandy Perez, Dorothy Marinski (Instructional Coach), and I did to facilitate this activity is as follows.

We explained the concept of Mystery Skype to students but told them just like in Sports or other competitions we wanted to practice first before competing against a “real” team. Thus, we split the class into two teams. Each team drew a state and city from a box where I had cut out 50 states and cities. In advance, I had also printed and laminated two sets of Mystery Skype “playing cards” that I got from Teachers Pay Teachers. I also printed on cardstock and laminated the US/World Maps provided inthe Teachers Pay Teachers package. Then, with dry erase markers in hand, Sandy and Dorothy took half of the class to a different room and we “Skyped” with each other. I say “Skyped” because we actually used Google Meet instead of Skype because it just worked better in our school setting. Students then proceeded to play Mystery Skype until one team was able to guess the other teams state or until we ran out of library time.

Now that we have played Mystery Skype the kids are super eager to play it for real! I promised the kids I would search over Winter Break for classes who wanted to challenge us to a game!

This activity was a great way to teach so many different skills! Research skills, map skills, deductive reasoning, critical thinking, effective questioning, and so much more!

A few classes these past few weeks even had some time to get silly with some apps! Check out the carnage that happened when BB-8 went crazy and attacked this 5th Grade class! OH MY!

The holidays can be such a stressful time. I love that we found a way to teach our kids lots of important skills while also having a bit of fun!