Sunday, July 13, 2014

Happy New Year!

New Year Flags by Rones

Last week, while reading tweets from members of my PLN (Professional Learning Network) I could see that people were planning. Planning for a new school year, planning for a new challenge, even planning for new positions or new schools. For those of us in education, July feels a lot like January. It is a time for making goals and changes, for really looking at what you have been doing or where you have been, and then working to make sure that when August comes around, and the students walk in the door, you are right where you are suppose to be, ready to give your very best!

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So today, I jumped on board the "Back to School" train! I bought my planner for the year! I've been thinking about the new school year all summer, as I participated in staff development, Twitter chats, Summer Learning challenges, brainstorming sessions with my #Wandoo5 +1 friends, and EdCamp Ft. Worth. But the purchasing of the planner says "I'm ready to focus & commit to ideas and goals for the new year."

Earlier this month, I watched with excitement as our school counselor, Lindsay Fuller started developing her own Twitter PLN and collaborated and connecting with other school counselors. I've shared how being a connected educator has helped me be a better librarian, and she experienced that this summer!  She wrote a fabulous blog post about her goals for this new school year that you can read HERE and sent out this sweet tweet!

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This and a session at EdCamp FWTX helped bring to mind one of my goals for the new school year, which is to help teachers on our campus become connected educators. I can do this by providing opportunities for connections and supporting them while they develop their own PLNs on Twitter.  Joining and participating in conversations & chats on Twitter is a great way to become a connected educator.  During EdCamp FWTX, Todd Nesloney Skyped in to talk about his Summer Learning Series aimed at getting educators connected and comfortable with using various tools. He also spoke to the people in the room about creating a PLN on Twitter. Here some more tweets from that session.

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Another goal I will have this year is having a MakerClub. Having had a Media MakerClub last school year, I know better than to name this club. The first thing the students did in the Media Maker Club was change the name to Digital Bookworms! :) #studentvoice

 If you've been reading this blog, you know we created a maker space in the library last spring. You can read the posts about it HERE and HERE.  My goal this year is to use this space not only during the school day, but also with an after school club. This club will change each six weeks, with a new collaborative project each six weeks. I have had several parents who are interested assisting with this club, so I will be calling upon them for help. The students have really enjoyed the time they have spent exploring the makerspace, but my goal is for it to be more product oriented, with a mini-makerfaire at the end of each session to showcase the creations of the students. 

The media maker club will also run similarly to this, so that students are learning a tool and then creating with that tool. This decision was based on feedback I got from the members of the Digital Bookworms at the end of last year.

Lastly, a goal I have this year is to collaborate even more with our campus teachers. Each year brings more opportunities for collaboration and more willing participants. These collaboration efforts, like other goals I have, need a specific focus so I will design collaborative projects for each grade level, with the help of the grade level teachers. With these collaborations, students will be taught a digital tool that they can use. While at AASL last November, I listened to Jennifer Reed talk about how she teaches each grade level a specific digital tool each year so that they build a tool box of digital tools. I did a little of this last year, but want to be more focused this year, planning ahead each grade level's tool. These tools will then be used for their collaborative project. 

I am excited about this new year! I'm ready to open my new planner, get focused and start working on these goals! What goals do you have for the new school year? 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

SummerThrowDown '14

I love being able to tackle my #TBR (to be read) stack during the summer, mixing in both kidlit and grown-up books. My friend Sherry Gick tweeted out about the 3rd annual SummerThrowDown, where this year you can challenge a friend to compete against you. I haven't challenged anyone, but I am finally attacking my stack of books that have been waiting for me! For more information, you can read Sherry's blog post at The Library Fanatic.  

The organizers of SummerThrowDown are:
Brian Wyzlic - Wyz Reads 
Kathy Burnette  - The Brain Lair 

All of these folks, Sherry included, would be great people to follow on Twitter and add to your PLN.

My goal for SummerThrowDown is 25 books. Having just finished Divergent, and now I'm reading Insurgent by Veronica Roth, so I'm definitely going to have to work in some picture books to reach my goal!

If you want to join the SummerThrowDown, you can sign up here

To follow my progress, you can find me on Goodreads.

Happy Reading!
Also, please ignore the two pictures of Insurgent. Not sure why it is showing up twice! :)