Friday, September 20, 2013

Yes, the Library has Standards!

Here is a recent poster I placed outside the library door. At our school teachers have to place lesson plans outside the door and objectives for students in student language inside the room.

I wasn't asked to do this, but I thought it would be a great idea to advertise to teachers our 21st Century Standards.

Teachers have even asked me about them! It's been a great way to show that I am a part of the teacher/teaching team.

If anyone has other ideas out there for posting standards, please share them!
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Constitution Week

It's Constitution Week and a great time to have a congressman or field representative from a congressman's office come and speak.

He or she will speak about the White House and tell students facts like when the flag is flying above it, it means the President is at home; they tell kids fun facts about how the President gets to choose the rug and furniture for the Oval Office; and about the favorite museums to visit in Washington, D.C.

They also speak about amendments to the Constitution and tie in a real world aspect to studying the Constitution.

My favorite part of Constitution week is the tiny pocket Constitution of the United States that would tempt anyone to read.
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Digital Learning Day and Project 24: Planning for Progress

How does a dose of digital learning for district and school leaders sound? That's right - as a school librarian you are a school leader! More on this in a sec because this whole Project 24: Planning for Progress is preparation for Digital Learning Day in February. If you didn't participate in that in some small way last year, please make plans now to particpate in 2014 - which is right around the corner, by the way.

Now back to being a leader. It is incumbent on us as school librarians to rev up our engines for learning in every way - but especially digital. Excuse the cliche', but you will want to be on that train. It just may save your job one day! So, all aboard for Project 24. (You may want to sign up for School Library Journal's digital newsletter to read about New York City's Education Department asking for a variance not to have librarians...)

This course lasts for eight weeks and is free. Part of it is to help your district get a digital plan which we have in the Jefferson County Schools district, but the rest is to strengthen and learn about digital transition. This year is only the second one for this course and it sounds great! I have already signed up and I hope you will, too. It asks a few questions about your district that are quick to answer. It starts September 30 and ends in November.

All Aboard!

Hope to see you soon in the digital world and beyond!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Swirling Solo - This post originally appeared on

Well, this is the first year of flying solo or "swirling solo" which rolls off my tongue in a way that's a bit more fun!

In the middle school setting swirling solo means I'll have a lot more student aides swirling around and I'll be swirling a lot more myself around the school and back to the library before a flurry of e-mails sends me to the next task! I am looking at this transition in a positive way.

At first I did not see working alone in the Library Media Center as a good thing. I only saw more tasks ahead of me and wondered how I would get it all done.

What I have found instead is lots of teachers pitching in to help other teachers on their hall with setting up technology and a lot more teachers stopping by the library to talk about future collaborations.

So, I am excited about this! Here is how I will handle some of the housekeeping issues:

  1. Create self-checkout for students in Atrium.
  2. Allow students to take on an ownership role in creating huge dsiplays in our very large display case.
  3. Allow students to take on a bigger role in management of Nooks - counting them and making sure they stay charged.
  4. Demonstrate to students how to troubleshoot issues on teacher laptops and send them out to take care of it (The Fn (function) key being the largest of these issues). Perhaps I'll create a laminated sheet of various problem-solving tips or let "guided inquiry" take over! Many times the techie student can figure it out on his/her own.
  5. Allow students to assist teachers with pulling books and assist students with software, hardware, and website issues.
  6. Bounce ideas off students for grants and contests.
  7. Provide a student chair and rules for being behind the desk.
  8. Students with the best handwriting will be able to abbreviate the genres in the fiction collection - since my library is genre-fied.

All in all it's going to be a more student-centered and student-led Library Media Center. No, there is nothing earth-shattering and very new here, but I think it's going to work. I am ready to swirl! If this is the case for you, have a great year and leave a comment about how you will manage the year.

Our former library aide, Mrs. Barker, working one of our many bookfairs. Have a great year at your new school, Mrs. Barker!