Friday, December 30, 2011

I shipped in 2011

I updated this post on January 1, 2012

"This might be a useful exercise. Doesn't matter whether it was a hit or not, it just matters that you shipped it. Shipping something that scares you ... is the entire point.. from What did you ship in 2010 Seth Godin"

One of my favorite bloggers and virtual mentors, Doug Johnson quoted Seth Godin recently to preface his post, "I shipped in 2011 - you can too".

I have been thinking about that post quite a bit as the calendar year ends. It was a memorable year for me professionally. I think that with the support of my team and administration, I "shipped" quite a bit. All of these things were a stretch - and scared me a little (and sometimes a lot!).

  • Started a 365 day photo blog dedicated to SCSD Media Services (I only missed a couple of days) January 1, 2010 Fear factor: Could I actually keep up with this and come up with enough work related images?
  • Created an SCSD Media Services YouTube channel with playlists and locally produced content (January) Fear factor: Putting our SCSD creations out there for the world to see.
  • Created a GoogleSites eportfolio template based on the work of Joyce Valenza and Jennifer LaGarde, "Manifesto for 21st Century Librarians" shared it via Twitter and later used my individualized eportfolio as part of my evaluation package (January) Fear factor: Joyce and Jennifer are two librarians I admire greatly. It was scary asking for their permission to borrow their ideas to create something to share with the TL community.
  • Invited our local women's club to use the high school media center as a meeting space and gave a presentation on social media (January) Fear factor: I'm used to talking to media savvy kids, could I answer their questions on their level?
  • Coordinated World Read Aloud Day Skype sessions with schools in Illinois and Singapore (March) Fear factor: Would the technology cooperate?
  • Attended EdCamp Omaha and facilitated a session (March) Fear factor: When they called for volunteers, Alyssa Calhoun and I decided to go for it even though we were not experts on the topic: GoogleDocs.
  • Collaborated with Mike Herdliska, SMS Principal, to meet with all 7th and 8th graders to discuss digital citizenship and online safety (March) Fear factor: Could we make this relevant, thought-provoking and interesting to them?
  • Presented at the Iowa Association of School Librarians annual conference with Shannon M. Miller from Van Meter School District: Making Connections with Web 2.0 and Social Media (April) Fear factor: Up until about 15 minutes before the start of the presentation, I wasn't sure if it would be a solo gig or if Shannon would be able to get there.
  • Published an article in Teacher Librarian "Go, set, ready: Collaborative Relationships for 21st Century Learning" (April issue) Fear factor: I hadn't written for a scholarly publication since I was at Kaskaskia Community College. I wasn't sure where to start. Betty Marcoux was a great editor and cheerleader.
  • Compiled documentation and participated in the review of library services for the Department of Education Site Visit in April. The Media Services program was recognized as a strength in three sections of the final report Fear factor: How would our services be viewed by an objective, trained team of evaluators?
  • Collaborated with 4th grade teachers to help 50 4th graders create book trailers (May) Fear factor: Could we really do this complex project with 50 students - starting out by working altogether in the cafeteria? 
  • Presented at the TransformEd Ignite Event in June (sponsored by SourceMedia) Fear factor: This was the scariest thing on the list. Could I capture the attention of a room full of community members, teachers and business leaders?
  • Organized, publicized and hosted a Tweetup for Eastern Iowa educators Fear factor: Would any one show up?
  • Worked with Jodi Rickels, Lakeview Principal, to renovate our Media Center : paint, shelving, furniture, AV (work in progress) Fear factor: What if everyone hated the color scheme or thought the graphics were lame?
  • Created a Media Services support web site for users (August) Fear factor: What if my time was wasted and no one used it?
  • Started a district level blog for staff in September (this is it) Fear factor: Could I share anything that would interest the staff? Would they read it?
  • Rolled out Destiny Quest to staff and student, introducing the social media/sharing features (September) Fear factor: What if I couldn't learn all the necessary basics for being a site administrator? What if I didn't know how to fix a problem?
  • Presented "PD in your PJs" at the Iowa Library Association Annual meeting (October) Fear factor: How could I make my individual experience with professional development relevant to an audience of school, academic and public librarians? (Answer: chocolate)
  • Collaborated with the 6th grade Science teacher on astronomy research/presentations (November) Fear factor: How would I schedule this around my other responsibilities? What kind of working relationship would I have with the teacher?
  • Helped Tech Writing students set up iGoogle start pages and explored the concept of PLNs (December) Fear factor: How could I get them excited about personalizing their online learning opportunities?
  • Presented a "day in the life"to the SCSD Leadership Team. Presented the 2010-11 annual report: an infographic with hyperlinks (December) Fear factor: Could I effectively substitute a collection of vignettes for the more typical series of charts and graphs?
  • Staff "Appy Hour" featured in the December School Library Journal and in online editions Fear factor: Admitting first that I am not an expert, could I facilitate a sharing/learning session? 
  • Shared two slides at a TL Cafe webinar: Library World Smackdown  (December) Fear factor: After passively attending for the last couple of years, could I jump in to share? Would the technology work? Would I sound clueless?
  • Created an advocacy piece for our state association in response to the Iowa Education Blueprint (December) Fear factor: Would I get anyone to collaborate? Would it be acceptable to the Iowa TL community?
  • Met with middle school students every Tuesday morning before school for "Tech Club" Fear factor: Would anyone show up? Would I be able to accomplish anything in less than 30 minutes?
Those are just the highlights I can come up with right now. I'm sure I've forgotten something. 

Almost every bullet in this list has been influenced in some way by my online PLN, especially by Twitter. Twitter has not only become one of my favorite ways to learn, but also key to keeping me energized, motivated and willing to take risks.

I'm looking forward to 2011!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our top ten lists - What SCSD kids are reading

At Lakeview, Ripley's Believe It or Not dominates the list. This makes some teachers and parents uncomfortable. Why aren't they reading the good literature? But the truth is, many kids love nonfiction - especially stories about the bizarre and weird. They gather round those books and read the captions to each other, pointing at the images. It isn't that they aren't reading our award winning selections, it is just that across the board, lower level, girls and boys, excellent readers and struggling readers - they all love the Ripley's books.

Jeff Kinney does pretty well too with his Wimpy Kid series. We currently have over 30 holds attached to our 6 copies. 

You can thank Mrs Day for the inclusion of "Big Pumpkin". Her spirited and memorable reading to the kindergarteners (actually it is more of a performance) makes it a year-round favorite. 

Speaking of weird, "Night of the Living Gerbil" features a weird science store with a weird owner and it has tops the SMS list. 

Several of these titles are in the top 20 year after year, including "Night of the Twisters" and "Shiloh". "Eragon" was pumped up by the long awaited release of the 5th book in the series, "Inheritance". 

A surprising entry might be "Friday Night Lights" but it has been popular with upper level readers, mostly male, for many years as well. It is not strictly a book about football, it is more a sociological study of the Texas community where the team played. Getting through that books is really a significant reading achievement. We love discussing the book with them.

In fact, the phrase, " come talk to me about that book when you are done" or a variation upon that is almost always attached to a book checkout. Mrs Bishop is a voracious reader (okay - the truth is that she can speed read) and has an in-depth knowledge of the collection, an invaluable asset for the school.

Circulation at the high school is a bit more reserved, but the are still front runners. "Banished" is a gritty, fast-paced story that appeals to our "Hunger Games" fans. And the inclusion of "Black Holes"? That can be credited to students writing research papers.

It is so fun to see Amanda Hocking on the list, since we discovered her through a fascinating article in the New York Times Book Review. She has been writing non-stop since she was a teen, and did it "backwards" - becoming a best-selling author of e-books before being courted by the big guys, specifically St Martins Press.

"Forever" by Judy Blume was published in 1975, but with a new cover, it is still relevant and a book that is passed around, mostly by girls.

After readers have torn through the "Hunger Games" series, they often move on to "Graceling" and "Fire" is a prequel. 

Mrs Clingerman does a wonderful job of connecting readers with the right books. A good problem this year though is that we have so many new, great books that we can't keep up.

It has been a great reading year so far and we hope every one will get some reading in over the holiday break!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Face Time with the Leadership Team

I look forward to my once a year F2F with the SCSD Leadership Team. Although I think I do a pretty good job of keeping the team informed of Media Services activities (celebrations and challenges) and the team members are certainly accessible throughout their buildings and the district, this venue provides for a unique opportunity to tell our story.

Today, my assignment was to present the Media Services annual report for 2010-11 and I did have an artifact prepared,

(Click here for the interactive version).

but frankly, that news seemed stale, especially since this has been such a busy, positive year, full of success stories. Instead I focused on one day (Friday December 2nd), taking the team through a series of interactions (both digital and one-on-one) that illustrated our theme: Making Connections. It was a "day in the life" snapshot that started with a 7:30 a.m. convo with the 6th grade science teacher and ended with a 15 minute tutorial at 4:30 pm with a student who needed to create a web site for the boy's freshman basketball team. There was everything else in between, including an email from "Melvil Dewey" of "Dewey Rap" fame, a planning session with the Business Ed teacher for post-break collaboration on copyright, Google Presentation for 4th graders sharing out on their circulatory system study and prep for a 7th grade Language Arts unit on African nations.

I sincerely appreciate the support and positive feedback the Leadership Team provides to myself and my team. It makes a tremendous difference to us and to the students. I think they deserve the stickers I bestowed - granting them honorary status as "Library Tech Geek Tribe" members!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Online tools - Media Services can help.

Have you heard of Edmodo? It is a secure learning platform that gives students and teachers an easy way to  communicate and collaborate. SCSD has its own subdomain. If you are using Edmodo and don't enter through our subdomain, it is easy to change. Just contact me for the code. If you are interested in Edmodo, we have several active classrooms in the district. I can give you some basic training and connect you with a colleague.

E-pals is another safe online student communication tool that is managed by SCSD Media Services. Student email accounts can be moderated by the classroom teacher and filtered for spam and language. In addition, there are a host of global collaborations available through their network.

Have you ever thought about using Skype to connect with an expert or another classroom? I belong to a variety of online networks which are designed to foster collaboration across the globe. I can make inquiries on your behalf or help you set up your own accounts.

Last year, S.E.F. funded the purchase of a one year school subscription to PollEverywhere. I activated it at the end of October, so we only have a few days left. The benefit of the fee-based service was the ability to poll larger groups and manage users. PollEverywhere is still free for limited use.

If you have any questions about these or other resources, please let me know! I would be happy to help.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

When I go to other schools or look around our own buildings, I am fascinated by how teachers make technology work in their classrooms even though the facilities are not designed for it (not enough electrical outlets, for example) or funding is inadequate for the carts or furniture that makes the technology easier to use (like carts designed specifically to house/charge Apple laptops or iPads).

Recently, we added document cameras to the suite of tools available for classroom teachers. We did not purchase specialized carts for the doc cams, so we had to make the most of what we had. After attending a tech learning conference at Van Meter and seeing that this internationally known 1:1 school was doing pretty much the same thing, it was obvious - you don't have to have a perfect environment with state of the art design, equipment, sound, seating (etc.) for meaningful and exciting learning to take place (although it would be great...)

Here are some of the creative ways our staff has incorporated document cameras into their physical space:

Friday, September 30, 2011

Using DestinyQuest

Recently, SCSD staff received a handout explaining how to create an account on Destiny Quest, our new online library system.

Here is a screencast taking you through the same process.

This screencast explains how to create a public list.
Try it today!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How can it be almost October?

Best intentions.

That is what I started with at the beginning of the school year. Best intentions to update the SCSD staff on a regular basis via this blog.

Each year I forget how intense the first few weeks are once the students return to the buildings.

This year has been especially crazy, but in a good way. At the very end of May, we implemented our new online library system (it is so much more than a catalog), but we let it simmer over the summer. All the significant training took place about a week before school started, so when teachers and students began checking out, we were still trouble-shooting bugs and tinkering with the system. We have been learning along with the students - and like the students, we love it!

All Lakeview 3rd and 4th graders, SMS and SHS students have had the opportunity to create their own accounts, for creating lists and sharing recommendations. Login information has been distributed to staff as well. If you have not received this information, or need assistance, please contact me. This is a very powerful tool for communicating to students our own commitment and love of reading. Please consider creating and sharing your own list of "faves" to share. 

The online library system is one element all three media centers have in common, but each building has its own news. You might be surprised to see the great things happening throughout the district.

As you know, Lakeview is in the middle of new construction and renovation. A Media Center refresh is a center piece of that project. 

Our new circulation desk and shelving is scheduled to be installed October 10th and 11th, but it won't be until the new classrooms are done that you'll get the full effect. Our new space will inclue a story time room and a state of the art presentation area with a Mimio interactive white board setup and a document camera. (If you want to see it visualized in Google SketchUp, let me know!)

On the personnel side, Paula Day is now at Lakeview full-time after 8 years of sharing a position. It is still a little of a shock to see her staying until 4 p.m., but it is really a delight to have her interacting with all the students and staff. (She does an AMAZING job at remembering names, plus she really puts her all into her read alouds - BTW, I'd recommend that you DON'T let the pigeon drive the bus).

Our middle school media center may be mini, but it is very mighty. We now have 10 new MacBooks for study hall students and a pilot collection of e-books available through Destiny Quest (the online system highlighted above). The Tuesday morning tech club is growing every week and we are having so much fun. Today, we had about 15 students, all creating Voki avatars. We explore new tools and share our creations on the web site. Any one interested in a tech club for teachers? (Seriously - I'm up for it!)

This is Jen Bishop's fifth year at SMS, where she continues to creatively maximize our space and resources. Her speed reading skills help her keep on top of the new books and students depend on her for honest and on-target recommendations. (And having her MLS doesn't hurt). Please stop by to talk tech or books!

The high school media center is a hub for academic and social connections. With twenty computers and lots of comfortable study space, the room is busy from opening to closing time - an average of 500+ students use it every week. 

The lunch/seminar time draws in a combination of competitive chess players, study groups and readers armed with earbuds and iPods. The READz book club is off to a great start and all the freshmen and sophomores learned about MC expectations during "Media Center 101 for Zombies".

Karen Clingerman continues to keep student and staff needs as her primary concern. Whether it is assisting with a printing problem, recommending a great read or delighting our senses with stimulating displays - Karen is always "there for you". 

I have been updating the Staff Support web site: Making Connections on a regular basis. Check it out. This is where I share information about our online databases, troubleshooting tips, great web sites for teachers, and more. There is even a slide show of our document camera setups in the Equipment section. 

Collaborative projects are my most rewarding activity. If you aren't sure how we can work together, let's schedule a time for brainstorming. I can recommend resources (print and online), suggest web tools to enhance learning, help with setup of accounts and partner with you for projects. Browse through my e-portfolio to get a snapshot of my skills and interests.

Thank you all for a GREAT new school year. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you and your students!

Monday, August 22, 2011

What I said...

I am looking forward to a fantastic school year working with all of you! Be sure to check out the content on the Media Services Staff Support site and feel free to recommend content. It is a work in progress. (Remember, this is limited to our Google domain. You need to be signed into to your Google account in order to access it).

Want to know where I am and what I am doing? Check my calendar. It isn't always 100% accurate, but I try to predict my activities and schedule myself at the beginning of the school day. It isn't interactive, so you will need to contact me if you want to book a time. 

I try to have iChat and Skype open all the time, but I am often away from my computer. Ping me and if I am available, I will respond. I do check my email often as well, even in the evenings and before I leave for work...

We are off and running!

Never interrupt me when I'm reading a book!

Thank you to the SHS staff for being good sports and cooperating in a very quickly planned "flashmob". It was goofy and fun.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Here comes the school year!


I'm going to try something new this year and start blogging just for the staff at SCSD.

I'm sure you have noticed that I send quite a few emails. What you probably don't know is that I keep hundreds of received and sent messages in my archive for future reference and that I use them all the time.

My plan is to archive the more generic information here so that anyone in the district can have access.

I will still send out email reminders when new info is posted.

The first big post is on its way shortly and will include information about our new databases and our new online catalog.

Stay tuned!

This poster was generated from the web site:

Keep Calm and Carry On

Make your own!