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!