Thoughts from a teacher-librarian

Archive for July, 2012

Back to school is creeping into my thoughts

I was lucky enough to be able to spend most of July out of the school buildings. I really needed a mental break after a pretty grueling year of adjusting to a new schedule which included 3 schools. This left me feeling very disconnected from each building, as I missed many things that happened each week. I can tell that July has been good for recharging my batteries; this week thoughts of “What can I do to make this year better for me, and also provide better services to the students?” started creeping into my thoughts. I will be juggling 3 buildings again….that’s a non-negotiable. What is in my power to change? That’s what I have to focus on. So far, I have changed the days of the week for two of my sites, which will help a little bit. I also need to make a mental switch to view the high school as my home site (rather than the intermediate site where I used to be full-time). I will now attend all of the high school’s faculty meetings, which ought to help. I am usually a positive person so I need to try and keep my attitude positive. It’s a work in progress, but here are some of my thoughts:

1. I need to gear up for the Kindle pilot I will be helping to implement this year in all K-4 & 5-8 schools. 10 Kindles at each site will not be life altering, but it’s a start! We can do some really cool things with kids & books. Many kids will have a chance to be exposed to e-readers this way. I will spend some time online in the next week looking for ideas for use with small groups. I will also finalize the order with Amazon & get those devices and cases on their way to our district!

2. In August, I will re-read parts of the book THE HAPPINESS PROJECT, which for me is very helpful in reminding me of things I can do to adjust my surroundings and therefore improve my mental state.

3. I will take my district AA out to lunch & chat about some non-school things. She works her tail off all year long. I want to spend some quality time with her and let her know how much she is appreciated.

4. I will be helping interview for one of the district’s new library media specialist. I need to use some of the between interview times to promote library services to our C & I director and the principal who will be involved. I also need to help select a go-getter to join our team. We have several very young, new people. They have enthusiasm, but still lack practical experience. In an ideal scenario I could help find an experienced person for this position. That would be helpful for our team, but also for the single site he/she will service.

5. I will continue plowing through some of the new library books that I have carried home to read. This way I can recommend some new titles to the students right away in the Fall. I will also log reviews in Goodreads since that was a goal from last year that I have found helpful.

6. I will continue to post on this blog periodically. It is so good for me to model online writing to students and teachers. Communicating to others in the world is one way technology makes learning much more exciting & meaningful!

I’m sure I’ll think of more items for my list as the days go by. For now, it’s time to turn off the mental checklist & get some rest. Like any teacher who loves their job (which most of us do) I start to get a little revved up when the calendar is turning to August. A fresh start is such an awesome opportunity.


Google Education Summit -random thoughts

This week I am attending a Google Education Summit along with several other educators from my school district.  It has been exhilarating at times, but also exhausting.  Being a student for most of the day is always a good reality check.  It reminds you how hard it is to sit quietly in a chair for long periods of time, and it especially reminds you how hard it is to pay attention!!  Teachers can be such a bad audience at times (I am no exception).  Since most of us received a brand new Google ChromeBook with our registration to this summit, we are all using them; sometimes we’re even using them for the purpose the presenter wants us to!  Right now I am listening to a presentation on wikis, so of course I’m typing on my blog.  Someone else is checking Twitter, another is reading e-mail, looks like someone else is working on some prep work for the Fall.  This is probably the fear of teachers everywhere…..if you allow students to be hooked up to technology (cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc.) during class, will they be tuned in to the instructor?  Honest answer: probably not all of the time.  This reinforces the notion that classrooms need to change.  The lecture model has some merit, but is way overused at all ages.  Most software is very self-explanatory after some exploration, so demos should be minimal.  “Sandbox” time should be part of any class that is teaching technology.  Let the students play with the software and they’ll figure things out and help each other.  Give them a purpose, such as creation of something, and let them go.  I know this wouldn’t work for every grade level and/or discipline, but it’s worth a try!  I’ll have to ponder what worked really well at this summit and try to incorporate some of that into our district’s tech boot camp that we’re hosting in August for some of our staff.