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!