Saturday, September 17, 2011

New School Year

Well, another new school year and as usual there are many changes. Same principal... That's good. It sure makes things tough when you get a new principal and we have had lots of them. We added PreK to our campus and 5th Grade. So now we have PK - 5. Other changes include dealing with departmental classes in 5th grade and Team Teaching classes in 3rd and 4th. It seems each grade level has their own idea how to fit my library into their system. Fifth grade students come every other Thursday and they take up my whole day. Fourth grade decided to bring their classes with the teacher who is teaching reading. They come every week, one week for check out and one week for Library lessons. Third grade is team teaching too but each teacher brings her own homeroom class.

Another change that made me a little sad is that the fire department decided I had too many stuffed animals in the library and I had to remove some. I've always gotten compliments about how wonderful my library was and how child-friendly it was. It was a little tough removing things that had made so many love my library but, you have to do what you have to do. It still has lots of stuffed animals...just not as many as before. I'm sort of an over the top type person so maybe it still looks okay. I'll post pictures later.

At school we have teams. I am teamed with the ESL teacher, the dyslexia teacher, and the Math/Science specialist. We are called the Intervention Team. I have sort of shortened it to the I-Team. It is much easier to type every time you need to identify the team. Last year we were a team of five, this year, we are a team of four due to all the government cutbacks. Those changes were really tough because we lost people that were awesome teachers. Then because of the changes throughout the district, two of our team members are new. I like the new team members a lot but I do still miss the ones who left.

Adding new grade levels means adding new books to target those new audiences. They gave us some new money to buy books for 5th grade but not PreK. We also closed down two intermediate campuses and split up those books between all the elementary campuses and the Junior High. They didn't give us new bookcases to put them in so I had to find them throughout the building. They don't match exactly but they don't look too bad. I did some heavy weeding.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One month anniversary of last post

Wow! I can hardly believe it has been a month since I last posted. School has been awesome. I have two volunteers who have come in now twice to help me shelve books. We lost our RIF funding because they changed the qualifications and we didn't qualify and that was really really sad.  My principal and I our going to try and hit a warehouse sale and see if we can do one book give-away with the children. We found the cutest shirt Peter Pan/Tinkerbell/Captain Hook theme that says "Hooked on Reading" Our theme for our year is about our treasures and not letting the pirates steal them, so I can hardly wait until we get our new shirts. Our PTA is going to do a book exchange during one of their programs so students can bring a gently used book and exchange it for someone else's gently used books.   What can I say? We are a resourceful group and if we lose one way to get books in our children's hands then we will work to find another. Spilt milk tears are not allowed.

We lost a few classes to another elementary school this year so I was able to work out my schedule to have one afternoon free. Now a smart librarian would have taken that time to clean up that mess they call my office... but no.... I kept thinking about how the preschool children in our district didn't have a librarian at our school so I volunteered to go and read with them once a week.  Last week was my first week and it was really fun. I made one mistake... I took my puppet which is almost as big as some of them are and it frightened a few of them.  Now I can't decide if I should continue to take her to help desensitize them and get them used to her or if I should leave her at my school.... There are arguments for both sides and I'll guess I'll let my brain play them all out and decide. As I was leaving, another teacher wanted to know if I was going to read to her class???? Hmmm... I had sent the principal a note and she set it all up so I don't know how to fix that but I am guessing I will just let her know and see what she says.

On a personal level several teachers (including myself) have started the Medifast program. Today was my first day. Good so far.... I hope I can stick with it. None of those other ladies need to lose as much as I do so I'm hoping I can continue on even when the others have lost all theirs. Me... I'll probably still be on it next year at this time... Who knows?

Oh, I almost forgot, EXCITEMENT!!!!, I can actually access my blogspot from school!!!! YEAH, I am not longer filtered out!Well Signing off for now.  Hopefully it won't be a month before I post again.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back to School

Well, I've finished the 23 things and I did a week with Capturing Kid's Hearts and my mom stayed with me for a month. Can you say, "Glad to be back at school!"? Summer always comes and goes so fast and I'm always sure I'm going to get a million things done... and I probably do... just not the million things I wanted to get done. Such is life. Since graduating, I have ventured forth to create my own version of wordles in Word using Word Art. It's been fun. I just finished the Social Contract for our Intervention Team at School. (Social Contracts are part of Capturing Kid's Hearts in case you haven't been there.) Loved that program as well. If you get asked if you would like some Flippen training. Say YES! Not only do I think it will be great with the students, but the relationships we built with the teachers that were from our district was awesome. We came to know each other much better and in building that relationship, we created a much greater bond. Of course, that's what it is all about so... Guess it worked! I start seeing students on Monday. Took awhile to get them all placed into the right class on the check out system and to get them all made library cards... but they have them now and we are ready to start.

I am planning on doing a short lesson with the 3rd & 4th grade and going ahead to let them check out. K-2 however will have to get the longer version of library procedures and how to treat books. Also I plan to do a general social contract with all the classes to see if I can find one we will all sign. I don't have room to set up a social contract with each of the classes individually so I'm hoping I can get them all to buy in this way. I think it will work. I just discovered VoiceThread and I think I have another new love. I'll have to play with it a little more but this may be a perfect way to get my students to help the library advertise all its great treasures.

Well, my husband is building me a huge closet and he needs my help on the ceiling so I'll sign off for now and let you know later how things are going in the library.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thing 23: Summarize Your Thoughts about this Program

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
I had so many favorites, it is hard to pick. I’m very excited about the Nings. I loved finding groups of people who do what I do and being able to share ideas, bounce them off others. I like finding people who are excited about what they do. I also loved all the photo & word toys: Flickr Toys, Image Generators, Wordle, Glogster, Dumpr… I know there are more… I had a blast playing with those and I know children will too. My granddaughter was here when I was exploring Dumpr and she’s still sending me things she is making. Rollyo is awesome. Delicious is destined to be my new best friend. Honestly, there is so much I really liked, I can’t pick a favorite. I loved how you can subscribe to blogs and then you don’t have to visit their site to see if something is new. They just send it to you if they have something new. That was cool.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
This program has literally changed my life. There is so many ways I can introduce students to Web 2.0 that I feel sure I can find something to please them all. I know I won’t be able to teach it all immediately but I plan to start with several things and get them started. Wikis seem easy to use and they are a great way to get students working in groups and brainstorming. What I want to do is take all that I have learned and pass this new love I have on to my teachers so that they too will get the bug so we can work together to teach the children.

Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
I would say a lot surprised me because I just didn’t realize how much was out there. I mean like Delicious. Folders were one way to organize favorites but you know they never work because many sites cover a wide variety of subjects and this way, I can tag one site with everything I would want to and be able to find it.

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
Hmmm…Actually I have loved it all. Improvements? Wiki section maybe. It seemed that all of the examples were older and no longer being used. It made it feel like they didn’t work. I do see that Wikis are often used for a project and then closed out but going to older wikis and then seeing others use different things for their projects now, made them look less useful. Some of the links didn’t work. It would be helpful if they were checked a little more often to see if something had been moved or was no longer there. I know my blog had someone who was checking it to see what I was doing. It would have been helpful to have had a little more feedback…. Personally a little, “You’re on the right track” or “You’ve got it” would have made me feel a little more comfortable. Even a few admonitions if I got on the wrong track would have been okay. I did go and give feedback to others and I received a few from some other bloggers but as a program, I wanted a moderator to touch base a little more often. Maybe with so many it would have been an impossible task but it would have been helpful.

If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate? Most definitely, I have loved all the things I have been introduced to and I would love to see more or more in-depth. I have other librarians in my district doing the North Texas 23 things and I can’t wait to sit and compare. I’ve already introduced one to Rollyo because it wasn’t part of theirs and she loved it.

How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities? One Word – AWESOME. One sentence – This could change your library forever.

I have loved this opportunity to be a part of this program. I am greatly in your debt for opening it up outside your district and allowing me to be a part of it. I have learned so much and I just hope I can eventually incorporate all of it into our school to give our students the absolute best chance of being a success in this technological world they were born in. Thank you and God bless you.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thing #22: Nings

Okay, I really liked the Teacher Librarian Ning and tried to sign up for their group and I joined the Texas School Librarian Ning. I liked that there were places discussing the things I want to discuss and brains I can pick for ideas. Texas School Librarian Ning… was typically Texas. They immediately put me on their list and and their arms around me. Apparently it takes the Teacher Librarian Ning a little longer to decide if they like you but hopefully they will. It was awesome seeing some of the topics and I jumped right in to read their ideas. I have to go to Arkansas tomorrow to check on my mom again… so I mostly lurked around and got their goodies but I promise to be more active when I get back. This is a great way to brainstorm and get ideas for library programs, find out the latest ideas and suggestions for running your library. It’s an opportunity to become a part of something that I think will be much bigger than the sum of its parts if everyone stays active. I hope I can.

Well, I have one more Thing to do and I really wanted to finish but if I’m to leave early in the morn, I better finish packing and get to bed. I guess I’ll finish when I get back.

Thing #21: Podcasts and Videocasts

I created a video using Photostory and pictures from Creative Commons section of Flickr. I did download Audacity and play with it but I didn’t use it. I just used the music selection available in PhotoStory3. If I had a headphone and microphone I would have tried but that’s all at school. I have used PhotoStory before and I have used Windows MovieMaker. Also, I use Smilebox and there are several applications there they make unique shows that I enjoy sending to my friends and family. They have a digital scrapbook, slideshows, photomatic, colormatic…lots of neat things to do with that program but it does cost. I even tried my hand at Animoto. Each of them has their own appeal so I don’t really have a favorite. I used PhotoStory at school last year for a project our teachers did for our Three Words. Our district did one, so we thought we ought to have our own. It was fun. I also used it for end of the year productions for teachers. We have used it for the awards ceremony at the end of the year for students to see a year at a glance. I have made them for Book Fair and our RIF giveaways. I am hoping this year to do some podcasting with our morning announcements. We don’t really have a way to do live production over the TVs in the classrooms but we could record it and upload to United Streaming and have it shown that way. That is one of my new projects I want to do for the year and now I just have to get all the mechanics down.