Sunday, November 24, 2013

2013 Edublog Awards Nominations

This is my first time to participate in the Edublog Awards, and I am excited to nominate people and sites that inspire me to be better at what I do.

From the Edublog website:

The Edublog Awards started in 2004 in response to community concerns relating to how schools, districts and educational institutions were blocking access of learner and teacher blog sites for educational purposes.  The purpose of the Edublog awards is promote and demonstrate the educational values of these social media.

Although there are more areas to nominate in, these nominations are the ones that have impacted me the most this past year.

Best individual blog: Margie Myers-Culver's Librarian's Quest is a great source for book reviews & weekly Twitter wrap ups.

Best group blog - Definitely has to be the Nerdy Book Club blog

Best new blog- Cynthia Alaniz, blogs about being a new librarian at Librarian in Cute Shoes

Best class blog- Louise Morgan's Class at Mrs. Morgan's Superstars Second graders that connect and create

Best ed tech / resource sharing blog - Todd Nesloney  great resource for tech tools and information on flipping classrooms.

Best teacher blog - Katherine Sokolowski's  Read, Write, Reflect Always thoughtful, heartfelt, well written posts

Best library / librarian blog  Nancy Jo Lambert's Borchardt Elementary Library blog is one I use almost daily to see how she is collaborating with her teachers.

Best individual tweeter - Nancy Jo Lambert @NancyJoLambert - I seem to favorite and retweet many of her tweets.

Best twitter hashtag: #tlelem A great place to connect & share

Best free web tool BiblioNasium My students love this site and the support you get from the people at BiblioNasium is incredible! Marjan Ghara, the founder even Skyped with our students!

Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast Matthew Winner's Let's Get Busy podcasts

◾Best educational wiki- The Global Classroom Project is a great spot to find opportunities to connect students.

Best open PD / unconference / webinar series School Library Journal put on the webinar Be the Change during the spring. It was a six part series that was very motivating.

Lifetime achievement - Jerry Blumengarten His thorough lists of sites and Twitter chat schedules are referred to by many.

So there are my nominations of people and places who have inspired me in the past year. If they have also inspired you, feel free to leave a comment. Who would you nominate? You can make your own nominations at Edublogs Awards. Nominations are open until December 1st, so go nominate!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Rising to the Challenge- AASL 2013

I had a wonderful few days recently, learning and connecting with fellow school librarians from all over the world. My path to getting there began last spring when I first started receiving notifications in the mail about American Association of School Librarians 16th Conference in Hartford, CT. It would be my first national conference to attend, and I knew a lot had to go right for me to get there. The stars starting aligning  pretty quickly, and I found cheap airfare to Hartford.

My roomie!
A roommate would be needed, so I posted on Twitter that I was looking for a roommate for AASL. Michelle Cooper, a member of my PLN responded quickly that she was interested. Now I had airfare and a roommate! Since it looked like I was going, I jumped at the chance to present in the eLearning Commons area when Carolyn Foote tweeted about signing up. I wanted to present on using Twitter to grow professionally. Of course, I looked for a co-presenter on Twitter and Cathy Potter, another member of my PLN, volunteered.

All of this planning came to fruition this past week and it was very exciting! While in Hartford, I connected with other members of my Twitter PLN, planned fun events for connecting our libraries, and learned from some incredibly talented people. 
Just a few members of my PLN!

I also met AUTHORS!

Author Seymour Simon

Laurel Snyder, my first author Skype
An exciting part of AASL13 was the "unconference" that was held Friday night. An unconference is like an edCamp, which is participant driven and led. Who could imagine that there could be so much energy at 9:00 PM after conference goers had already been going full speed all day? But oh my! The energy level in the room was incredible! One of the groups I sat in talked about Makerspaces, which I am trying to get started in our library. One librarian in the group shared about how she runs the makerspace in her library, and Andy Plemmons  talked about a 3D printer he just got funded on Donors Choose! It was a whirlwind of a night!

The organizers of AASL Uncon

Our Twitter presentation, which was my first time to present outside my district, was very fun and went well. I think we might have hooked a few new people and persuaded them to give Twitter a try for professional learning.  I've now made it a goal to present at a conference again in the future and am already planning with local members of my PLN for our state conference.

Cathy Potter & me before our presentation

As for takeaways, I will be considering genre-fying our fiction section of the library. This was a hot topic at AASL13, with some people having very strong feelings for or against genre-fying. For me, I want to be able to help my students locate materials quickly and easily in our library and think this might be a good way to go about it. As the only adult in our library, and often having up to 30 students in there at a time, it can be a challenge to get to all of the students and help them find the perfect book.  So for now, I will order genre spine labels and begin by putting those on books. I will see how that goes and then decide whether I should rearrange the books.

Another thing I will be working on is keeping the technology out and the projects going during our library times. Jennifer Reed presented an excellent session on using digital tools for promoting books. This was my last session to attend before heading home, and it was one of the most energizing ones for me! I took lots of notes and have already started to apply some of her ideas.

It was a wonderful few days, full of inspiring people sharing ideas on how we can rise to the challenges before us and be leaders and collaborators within our schools. I left feeling excited, energized and, of course, just a little overwhelmed, but definitely ready to Rise to the Challenge!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Media Maker Club, aka Digital Bookworms

As you can see by the title, our students exercised their voice and changed the name of their club. They decided, after some debate, that they wanted to be the Digital Bookworms, and so they are!

The club members first worked on creating an account on Biblionasium. We talked about what a great tool this is for not only keeping up with our books, but also recommending books to others. The students were very excited about logging in and making recommendations!

We have been connecting with my friend, Shannon Miller and her students in Van Meter, Iowa.  At our last meeting, we were able to connect again, which was a lot of fun!. After several students from Van Meter performed a song they were working on, we talked about ways we could connect and create. After some discussion & brainstorming, we decided to collaborate on a blog to share different types of projects. These two clubs have lots of great ideas, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with!

Already, students have created videos to advertise our book fair, brainstormed questions to ask other students about making book trailers, and had some of our group members explain how to use Animoto.

At the end, we posed for a group photo that will be a part of our new blog that we are doing with our friends in Iowa. You will have to check it out!
Creative Connections Club

Our goals are to connect, collaborate & create and this new joint blog is sure to help us meet these goals!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Third Grade Learns About Biblionasium

Today our 3rd graders had an awesome opportunity to connect with Marjan Ghara, the founder of Biblionasium. I first learned about this site from my friend, Shannon Miller in Van Meter, Iowa. Her students even Skyped with our students last year to help us learn more about the site.  Biblionasium is a safe, online place for young readers to keep up with their books, as well as to recommend books to friends.  You can find out more about their site HERE.

After students sign in, they set up their shelf with book categories, such as Favorites, Recommended, and more. We can even set up challenges, so that we are reading a variety of books.

Biblionasium has offered support all along the way as we experimented with their website this summer. Several students enjoyed keeping up with their books and earning badges while reading during their summer break. And they also earned Book Fair Bucks for logging in!

I knew this was something I wanted to use more this year, so I planned on introducing it to my 3rd graders. Through Twitter, Biblionasium reached out and offered support, which is something I've noticed about their company. If I have a question, I only have to tweet or contact them and someone responds almost immediately! They listen to suggestions from their members and then make changes so their site is even better!

Mrs. Ghara shared with us how Biblionasium came to be, telling us about how her children were always looking for their next book to read when they were younger.
 She answered questions from our Curtis students, who asked some great questions, by the way!

Mrs. Ghara explained to students about how important reading is and also, why it is important to be safe online.

And then she gave us a peek out her window! The students were THRILLED to see a bit of
New York!

It was so great to connect with Marjan and to learn more about Biblionasium. We can't wait to start setting goals, logging in our books and making recommendations.
Thanks so much to Biblionasium and Marjan for helping us along in our reading journey!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Historical Fiction with 5th Grade

Monday, 5th graders looked at different genres of fiction, focusing on historical fiction for this week. After brainstorming some of the genres, we talked about what makes a book historical fiction.  I had started a Google presentation about historical fiction that you can find here and students would add information to it.  To make it easy to access, I added the link on the 5th grade Symbaloo here.

The students could click on the tile labeled "Historical Fiction" and easily get to the Google presentation. Each group had a laptop and a picture book that could be categorized as historical fiction. Their task was to type in the title and author of the book and then share what historical event or person was depicted. Time ran short, and we weren't able to get them completely finished, but will complete these in future visits and continue this process with other genres.
As students were choosing books for check out, I encouraged them to consider checking out a historical fiction book, reminding them of the 40 Book Challenge some of them are participating in. We even reviewed how to search for different types of books in the catalog, both by topic and by keyword.
My hope is that they will be excited about trying different genres of books when they are choosing.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Book Character Pumpkin Patch

After the fun we had last year with our Book Character Pumpkin Patch, we knew we had to do it again! I had seen information about this on Cari Young's Blog HERE and after doing it last year, I blogged about it HERE. And, in case you want to see even more great pumpkins, check out Crockett Library's Pumpkin Patch. You can see it is a great activity that really makes the library festive! I mentioned that it was one of my favorite activities, and someone said it was because I didn't have to do anything. Hmmmm, they might be on to something there! ;)

We were clearing out our book fair when the first pumpkins started arriving. The creativity always amazes me, which is also why we changed it from a "contest" to a "show". It is really just too hard to choose a winner! Our families do an incredible job with these pumpkins! Here are some pictures to prove my point!


On Halloween day, we all dressed up to celebrate Red Ribbon Week. With a little inspiration from Pinterest and a lot of help from my Fairy Godmother, Mrs. Wilds, I was the Book Fairy!

Could you have picked a winner from the pumpkins above? :)