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Bibliodidaskalos-ity?

This is my newest blog, and this time, it’s about making connections.  I have another blog, Bibliocity, where I do reader advisor book summaries.  I call it Bibliocity for two reasons.  First, most people are familiar with the Greek root “biblio” which means book.  I chose “city” because it means “a place or situation characterized by a specified attribute” (Google definition).  Combine the two together, and you get a place for book summaries.   Second, I was a teenager in the 80s when The Police came out with Synchronicity and Bibliocity made me think of great music AND connecting things.

220px-police-album-synchronicity

For Bibliodidaskalos-ity (biblio-di-das-ka-los-ity), I inserted didáskalos, which means teacher in Greek.  To get technical, I think I am a didáskalissa, but that would have meant the blog’s name, which is already crazy, would end in “issa-city”  and I prefer the sound of “os-ity”.

So connections.  Teacher librarians have to be really good at this.  They connect students to information, teachers to information, and often wear other hats besides.  They are tech coaches, professional development leaders, curriculum developers.  They have to be up-to-date with subject area standards and technology.  They are reader advisors, champions of all kinds of literacies.  That makes them superstars and superheroes on school campuses.

Advocacy in Advertising: Student Icons

7b739e548f9d8df0c3763e12980e015c-library-lessons-library-ideas
student-created display, from liquidliteracy.wordpress.com

As I’m getting ready to begin the new year, I’m moving into preparing the library for patrons.  That is a concrete job that showcases the learning commons’ resources.  In my role as library advocate, I have to spend time on signage.  I was chagrined by my lack of time to put into displays this year–there was funding last year for new textbooks, so I spent this week adding them and generating barcodes in Destiny instead of working on displays.  I shared my frustration with the principal (she used to be the TL), and she reminded me that I will have plenty of time to get displays up in the first week of school. This encouragement helped me to remember that the STUDENTS have been the display creators in past years, and they do really well.

Two years ago, students from the Virtual Enterprise class took my print orders and made beautiful copies that I laminated and used for signage.  I have since discovered a wealth of help creating gorgeous signs and displays from student aides and the Students for Literacy club.  One student aide made a bulletin board for books that will be made into movies.  My last student aide put together an origami border for the digital citizenship board, and another lovely fanime board.

Sometimes it’s hard to let students take on this job.  My aesthetics approach to lettering involves peeling off stickers and sticking them to designated spots on a penciled-in line.  Two years ago, one of my students spent an inordinate amount of time cutting out lettering for a graphic novels display.  Despite the fact that the Gothic font was a bit difficult to read, and the letters were smaller than I would’ve done, I was at least thankful to delegate a job that needed doing, thereby supporting participatory culture.  According to the 2006 MacArthur Foundation/MIT publication, White Paper: Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century by Henry Jenkins, “Our goals should be to encourage youth to develop the skills, knowledge, ethical frameworks, and self-confidence needed to be full participants in contemporary culture” (p.8).  In addition, YALSA’s (2014) publication, The future of library services for and with teens: A call to action  exhorts us K-12 educators to “Listen to teens and seek out ways to affirm [student] identities through connected learning opportunities with libraries that build upon academic, digital, critical literacies, etc.” (p. 27).  What better way to engage students than to grant them the privilege to not only contribute to the running of the library, but also to build community?  And what a great way to move a job from the librarian’s shoulders to the place where it naturally goes?

For those of us who either have trouble removing our hands from the task, or have students who want to help but can’t draw a straight line, there are places to go to get great, free, images.  As I was searching the web for my last post, I came across the July 17, 2017 Knowledge Quest article by Becca Munson titled, “The Noun Project: Find icons for all your needs” .  The Noun Project, located at thenounproject.com, contains “over a million curated icons, created by a global community.”  And if they need ideas, have them check out Pinterest boards like this one by KarinSHallett. For lettering, if you want students to conform to your expectation of readability and coloring, you can go the sticker route, or you can get die-cut letters from your local RAFT (Resource Area For Teaching) store.  I challenge you to let them take the reins, though.  There is cooperation, and then there is collaboration.  If you hand over a job and say do it this way (here are the letters, use these colors, etc.), the student cooperates by completing the job to your specifications.  If you ask your student to come up with some display ideas and plans that you review and ask about (What font size do you plan on using? Do you need me to purchase supplies?), that’s collaboration.

Do any of you have go-to sources for images and lettering that you’d like to share?

References:

Jenkins, H. (2006, October 19). White Paper: Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century.  MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.macfound.org/press/publications/white-paper-confronting-the-challenges-of-participatory-culture-media-education-for-the-21st-century-by-henry-jenkins/

Munson, B. (2017, July 17). The Noun Project: Find icons for all your needs. Knowledge Quest. Retrieved from http://knowledgequest.aasl.org/noun-project-find-icons-needs/

Young Adult Library Services Association. (2014, January 8). The future of library services for and with teens: A call to action. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/yaforum/future-library-services-and-teens-project-report

 

Symbaloo for Professional Development

It was the first day teachers were back today, and my professional development colleagues and I talked about tech best practices.  Professional Development Co-coordinator is one of my roles as a teacher librarian, and I have to say that being a tech coach is one of my favorite hats to wear. As we (my fellow students and myself) have learned over the course of the summer, “Twenty-first-century standards progressively call for librarians to step in as instructional leaders, connecting educators and students to materials, methods, and technology across the curriculum” (Parrott & Keith, 2015, p. 12).

So this morning, our collaborative team had so very little time, just half an hour, before the educators in the audience moved on to the next back-to-school meeting.  Which meant that we stuck with the basics.  No delving into nitty-gritty how-tos.  Just overviews. And while this works in a broad sense, as we are covering bases that need covering, I know that two things need to happen for follow up.  First, our team needs to ensure that new teachers have access to tutorials for our LMS and other applications.  They also need access to a tech FAQ.  Secondly, our team recognizes the importance of documentation. We can point back to teaching as a means to measure what teachers know.

Fellow INFO233 student Katrina Bergen suggested using a tool called Symbaloo to organize my professional developer ideas and lessons into one place, and I thought it would be a great idea to do a little trial with Symbaloo for filling in professional development gaps like the ones I KNOW must have happened this morning, especially for the new teachers.  Here’s what I’ve got so far…

symbaloo_example

Now this isn’t the real deal, in case you were wondering why the buttons don’t work. Our school uses Google Apps for Education, and while our teachers would be able to open all the links, you won’t since they’re proprietary to my school.

However, I am going to add the link to Karen Hume’s Teach Magazine article, “Managing Technology Use in Your Classroom.”   I found her points highly relevant — technology use in the classroom was one of the big points of our talk this morning.

Going back to the Symbaloo tile board, I imagine that this will go great on our PD website. I’m using the old Google Sites, which allows me to embed a widget, so the tile board will show nicely there…

Now, in terms of measuring effectiveness, I will need to talk to new and old teachers about whether the Symbaloo tile board helped them learn the tools.  I can make changes or scrap the tile board if the teachers didn’t get much or anything out of it.  To say the least, I have attempted to fill in learning gaps for teachers in an accessible, simple way.

Thanks, Katrina, for the suggestion!

References:

Hume, K. (n.d.) “Managing technology use in your classroom.” Teach Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.teachmag.com/archives/3510

Katrina’s response to my August 3, 2017 blog post, “Professional developer seeks organizational assistance”

Parrott, D. J., & Keith, K. J. (2015). Three Heads Are Better Than One. Teacher Librarian42(5), 12-18.  Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lls&AN=103235147&site=ehost-live&scope=sited

 

 

 

 

Professional Developer seeks organizational assistance

one_hell_of_a_mess
Cronin, Tom. 10 July, 2004. One Hell of a Mess…CC Share-Alike 2.0 Generic

One of the many hats the teacher librarian wears is the role of professional developer.  Yes, we are bound to develop our own skills.  These days, we find professional development opportunities through conferences and workshops, but more and more of us are moving to OERs, webinars, and connections through social media sources like Twitter and Facebook.  As Carolyn Foote notes in her 2013 Library Media Collection article “From professional development to personalized learning,” personalized learning is “something that you do for the benefit of your own learning on your own time and at your own convenience, and it’s tailored to what you need.” Foote points out that we have ample choices at our fingertips, and we need to use them.

How do we transfer what we’re getting to the teaching staff and classified staff at our schools?  I’ve been pondering this question as summer comes to a close and I will be looking for ways to get into the classroom to support teachers since, as Kristin Fontichiaro states in her 2013 article “Librarians as professional developers,”  “being a professional developer allows librarians to reach kids by empowering their teachers” (p. 47). In past years, I have been able to incorporate what I’m learning into weekly emails that I send out to the staff, called “Tech Tip Tuesday.”  I’ve also been able to use what I’ve learned in tech menu sessions and in department meetings.

But part of my problem is organization.  My tech tip emails are in one spot; my tech lessons in another, etc.  A lot of the professional learning comes at me in bits and bytes, and winds up relegated to a back channel.  I would love to have all my little bits and pieces in one spot so I can find it easily AND direct staff to it.I love Pinterest for that, and I’ve used my Google+ account to do a little of this, too.  The new Google Sites can also be a great place to put stuff, except for the fact that it’s not ready to work with Widgets (my Twitter feed and Pinterest boards are just links).  I love WordPress, and have a feeling I’ll be moving everything onto a site here…

Any of you out there have some good tips on getting my professional development ideas organizing your good stuff?

References:

Foote, C. (2013). From professional development to personalized learning. Library Media Connection31(4), 34-35.  Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lls&AN=84557824&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Fontichiaro, K. (2013, May). Librarians as professional developers. School Library Monthly, 29(8), 47-48.  Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lls&AN=87773567&site=ehost-live&scope=site

 

Go Game, Young Person

go-equipment-narrow-blackFellow iSchool student Lauren McNeil writes about tabletop games as a great addition to any library/learning commons (link below).

I attended the June ALA conference in San Francisco last year and got a quick taste for tabletop games when I encountered a group playing Go.  I signed up to receive a free set of GO games for the library, but am sad to say that I’ve let them collect dust in one of the library storage cabinets.  NO LONGER!  I am inspired to get Go-ing on providing games for my patrons.

Lauren’s well-cited post (seriously, check out her reference list) reminds me of the importance of the learning commons as a place to play and connect.  To get into the spirit of the thing, I decided to Google popular board games for teens.  Tutor Doctor recommends games like Settlers of Catan and Equate in order to “improve memory, build social skills, develop strategic thinking skills, and even just learn more about the world and its history.”  I love to play Settlers of Catan  with my family, and I bet our high school students would like it too (especially on block days, when they’ll have plenty of time to play).

Lauren additionally reminds me that “In support of culturally responsive teaching, game playing can unite patrons of different backgrounds.”  So I looked up games that help in this category as well.  Hellogiggles’ Elena Zhang (2016) post, “10 superfun tabletop games that celebrate women and diversity” .  Included in the top 10 are many games that, like Settlers of Catan could take long hours of play (Dungeons and Dragons, Pandemic); however, Dixit is there!  How did I not think of Dixit?  If you haven’t played it before, please go out and try.  It’s definitely a game that anyone can play, and really gets people to see varied perspectives.  Anyway, I’m getting it!

My school is a pretty diverse population, and one of our missions is to build community.  How better to build community in my own corner of the school than to promote games that draw patrons together?

One final word: Lauren’s post also shows you ways to get board games on a shoestring budget.  Here’s her link: Info 233 Learning Journal, Week 8: Tabletop Games as School Library Game-Changers

The Learning Commons Showcase Showdown

Showcase showdown sign from the Price is Right TV GameshowLast year, I approached the art department about bringing in art installations or exhibits that showcase student work.  I was disappointed with the lackluster response, and have since had time to think about better ways to get students involved.

Then I saw fellow INFO233 SJSU iSchool student Thoai Truong’s recent July 18th post, “Art Displays in Library,” and was inspired by the resources and videos he provides. Thoai notes that the library is a fantastic place to exhibit student work and I agree!  This certainly accentuates the library’s role as a learning commons, where students have ample room to showcase their achievements (a key LC feature–see Carol Koechlin & Dr. David Loertscher’s 2014 Knowledge Quest article, “Climbing to excellence: Defining characteristics of a learning commons”).

I like Thoai’s ideas about using the learning commons as a place to display work for finals, or use the exhibits for art competitions.  Then I got to thinking about The Price is Right game show and the showcase showdown.  In the game, the showcase showdown is between the two contestants who have gotten past three other competitions.  The primary problem with the idea of competition is that although winners are able to bask in the attention, is the purpose or mission of the learning commons to display examples of excellent work, or is its mission to be a place where ALL students have a chance to exhibit?  (On a related tangent, think of Mary Bennett in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, who is forcefully ejected from the pianoforte bench at the Netherfield ball to allow “other young ladies time to exhibit” (p. 105)).

I would argue that there may be space for both, but when it comes down to it, the learning commons is best served as an equitable environment by various student examples.  Our Art 1 teacher currently utilizes a small wall space in the main office to display best student work, and our Advanced Art class has small glass display cases on either side of the entrance to the library, but no more.  Wouldn’t it be great if we had art hanging from the barn-like central ceiling?  Or display boards where the art changes periodically over the course of the year.  Or even areas where teachers could set out student work from their recent biology experiments or Lord of the Flies units.

This is the point where I have to admit that I have been bad about communicating the possibilities and the lengths to which I’d go to house exhibits.  Our INFO233 professor, INFO204 professor,  INFO237 professor, and INFO266 professor have told us time and time again that we need to advertise to advocate!  Here’s to a new school year where I dive into meetings with the Art department (and other departments) to get the word out about showcasing student work.  Perhaps our version of a showcase showdown will be more in line with getting a great set of exhibits to work and generating community involvement rather than competing for the glamorous prizes, but building participatory culture is a pretty glamorous prize.

References:

Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Scribner and Sons, 1918. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=s1gVAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=pride+and+prejudice&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjkl-CCzZjVAhWmwFQKHbqqCywQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=%22young%20ladies%20time%20to%20exhibit%22&f=false

Loertscher, D. & Koechlin, C. (2014, March/April). Climbing to excellence: Defining characteristics of a learning commons. Knowledge Quest, 42(4) 14-15. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/urlsa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiAgJ6LvMrUAhVI6mMKHTqbAH4QFghQMAU&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ala.org%2Faasl%2Fsites%2Fala.org.aasl%2Ffiles%2Fcontent%2Faaslpubsandjournals%2Fknowledgequest%2Fdocs%2FKQ_MarApr14_ClimbingtoExcellence.pdf&usg=AFQjCNE81kSXAozBfnmKvkhBXtq5dmvveg&sig2=G-VMICsHzL8_VxEu6Q68vQ

Showcase Showdown. The Price is Right Wiki. Fandom. Retrieved from http://priceisright.wikia.com/wiki/Showcase_Showdown

Truong, T. (2017, July 18). Art displays in libraries [Web log]. Retrieved from https://ischoolblogs.sjsu.edu/info/thoailearningjournal/

Twitterer

697029-twitter-512I’m a social media dabbler. Not the kind of person who wakes up to check Facebook, sends tweets from conferences or author sightings, or takes fabulous Instagram pics for the school’s library site. Worse, I’m also not the kind of person who advances the library social media challenge to willing teacher’s aides. Actually, they’re usually not that willing.

Needless to say, I’m devoting this post to extending myself to Tweet world, or Tweetland, or whatever you Twittery people call it. My reason? It’s a network thing. I am always amazed by the contacts I get through Twitter. It’s awesome to attend a conference and get the handle for a great educator or inspiring librarian, and then see those tweets start coming in.

I am not a handle collector, and I never hope to be. However, it was somewhat gratifying to see that I follow 3 of the 15 (okay, 16) listed educational innovators from Laura Devaney’s (2014) eSchoolNews.com article, “15 innovative Twitter accounts you should follow.” I’ve been a big Alice Keeler fan since I attended a workshop session at a Google Summit a few years back–or was it a Computer Using Educators (CUE) conference? I also like seeing what’s going on in the EdTechTeacher world, and I love Ron Swanson. That one comes up as a bonus account in the article.

So why keep up with Twitter, when there are so many other things to think about? Well, I asked my husband that question recently, and he said that he only uses Twitter for industry news and trends. This gels with advice I’ve seen elsewhere, as in Joni Nguyen’s (2017) Edudemic.com article, “15 top educators to follow in 2017.” Nguyen states, “Following educators on Twitter can help today’s teachers stay up-to-date on the latest trends and research in education as well as help develop innovative and fun lesson plans for various subjects.” So I’m challenging myself, starting this next school year, to up my game by checking my Twitter feed more often, and to Tweet more, myself.

As a social media site, Twitter is probably the most innocuous. I can easily substitute a fancy, time-consuming Tech tip email for a quick Tweet that shows up on the library site or the school’s professional development site via a widget. And it doesn’t have to be mine! I can retweet someone else’s brilliant idea, which, COME ON, is basically what we do when we share tips. We’re librarians! So all that time I spent worrying about the fact that I hadn’t a) thought of a useful tip, and b) sat down to write and click send, as well as the time actually used in those tasks, is SAVED, yes SAVED. If you’re interested in more ways to use Twitter, check out another Edudemic article, “The Teacher’s guide to Twitter.”

If you have comments about the way you use Twitter to save time in your hectic library-running, class-coordinating, tech-consulting day, please share!

References:

Devaney, L. (2014, June 17). 15 innovative Twitter accounts you should follow. eSchool News. Retrieved from https://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/06/17/innovative-twitter-accounts-365/

Nguyen, J. (2017, April 24). 15 top educators to follow in 2017. Edudemic. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/teachers-on-twitter/

The teacher’s guide to Twitter. (n.d.). The teacher’s guide to Twitter. Edudemic. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/teachers-on-twitter/

 

Hey everybody, let’s host a Human Library!

HumanBookIn reading the June 2017 issue of American Libraries, I came across the article titled, “If these books could talk” by Liz Granger.  In it, Granger talks about a recent trend called the Human Library.  A Human Library is one that checks out humans that are “read” by the patron in a 20-minute conversation.  There is also the option of checking out a human for a group, which may help those who are timid about asking questions.  For example, if I attended an event, I might check out a “book” titled Drug addict or another called Illegal Immigrant.  I would have a conversation with the human book.  What might we talk about? I’m sure I would have my own questions, but hopefully, the organizer has coached the human book and run through practice questions as one organizer, Megan Gilpin of Penn State University recommends (p. 23).  

Ronni Abergel, cohost of the first human library event in Copenhagen in 2000, trademarked human library in 2010 with the goal of helping people “confront prejudice and stereotypes” (p.20). (FYI, If a library or organization wants to host a human library event, they must apply for permission from The Human Library Organization, and if they are approved, they are given training materials that facilitate setting one up.)

So my thought is this: AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner (2007) mark the importance of supporting global citizenship. AASL 3.3.1 states, “Solicit and respect diverse perspectives while searching for information, collaborating with others, and participating as a member of the community,”and standard 3.3.2 states, “Respect the differing interests and experiences of others, and seek a variety of viewpoints.” As facilitators and coaches, we teacher librarians can host these kinds of events!  Think of the impact in just one day!  Speaking from my own experience, we teachers and school administrators have a heightened sense of awareness about the threat of prejudice in light of recent 2016 events.  One school in my district had to handle anti-semitic threats this past year which resulted in examining practices through work with the Anti-Defamation League. Our efforts to level the playing field and combat prejudice can be augmented by programs like the Human Library.

What if the Human Library could be an event conducted online?  ISTE Standards for Students (2016) state that students “use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.”  I can imagine a classroom where students interview a human book in the same way that they interview entrepreneurs and industry experts with Google Hangouts for business classes or career days.  Moreover, an online environment for the Human Library would encourage the global transaction–remote information made local.  In this case, the transaction is not only information, it hopefully represents socio-emotional growth.

According to another organizer, Abby Kasowitz-Scheer from Syracuse University Libraries, people who attend Human Library events are “inspired by the strength of survivors and by people’s ability to go on after difficult life experiences.” (qtd. in Granger, p. 23).  If a big part of our mission is to help students to empathize with others, the Human Library sounds like a great way to accomplish this, giving way more bang for the buck.    

References:

American Association of School Librarians. (2007) Standards for the 21st-century learner. American Library Association.  Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards

Granger, L. (2017, June). If these books could talk. American Libraries, 48(6), pages 20-21, 23.  Retrieved online from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2017/06/01/if-these-books-could-talk-human-libraries/ 

ISTE Standards for Students. (2016).  International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/docs/Standards-Resources/iste-standards_students-2016_one-sheet_final.pdf?sfvrsn=0.23432948779836327