Sunday, November 25, 2007
The first obstacle to creating a blog that students and teachers might read is finding a blog service that our ever diligent filter wouldn't protect them from. I received several different recommendations and decided to go with Wordpress. I wanted to be able to create entries at school as well as on my own time. I also wanted staff and students to be able to get to it. So far so good.
The next, and even more important, part was to decide the purpose for the blog. I needed to have a theme that would make others want to read it. One of my goals in the library is to help students enjoy reading. That became the premise for my new blog. I decided that I would read new books, old books, classic books, picture books, etc and then "book talk" them for the students. I started with Each Little Bird That Sings because I just loved the characters in the book. I am going to try to add a new book each week.
The last part of setting up my blog is promoting it. How am I going to bring readers to my page? Library Learning 2.0 spoiled me. I had a cheer leader assigned to me and I could always count on someone reading what I wrote here and commenting with a pat on the virtual back and maybe a suggestion. But most of all there was encouragement.
For my new library blog I have to be a little more forward. Maybe a lot more forward. I emailed my whole staff, the other library staff in my district, my technology mentor and the assistant superintendent over curriculum. I told them why I was doing the blog and where they can find it. I put a link on our school website. I also plan on putting a shameless plug for my blog in the school newsletter first chance I get.
Thus, my new blog has been inaugurated. It's a little like opening a store and hoping for that first customer to walk through the door. The open sign is lit.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The newest toy I have come across isn't really Web 2.0 but useful and fun all the same. Photo Story 3 is such a fun and it's so easy that even the technology challenged can put together a photo story. I learned about it from our district technology coordinator and then asked her if she'd mind if I shared it with the teachers at my site. With her blessing I did three inservices for the staff, taught it to a fifth grade class and did a presentation at the PTA meeting for parents. The last was a shameless ploy to get them to finance microphones. Our principal had already convinced them to purchase ten new digital cameras for us. (Side note: We bought hot pink Cyber Shot cameras so they couldn't be confused with personal cameras. Besides a donation went to breast cancer research when you bought the pink ones.)
Back to Photo Story 3 .... If you haven't used this yet, it is a free download from Microsoft. It works on your computer if you have XP or higher (I think it is part of the package with Vista). One of the fun features is the option to email your Photo Story when it is completed. I have taken pictures in the morning, put one together and emailed it to teachers so that they can show it to their students before dismissal time. It, by no means, equipped with the bells and whistles of similar programs like Roxio, but for something quick and easy, Photo Story 3 is your answer.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
First up is Kate DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. If you have read this book you certainly know why it is my number one recommendation when teachers ask for a good read aloud. If you haven't, run and get a copy. Think The Velveteen Rabbit with a little Flat Stanley thrown in. DiCamillo hit a home run with Because of Winn Dixie and she scores again with Edward. It's one of those books that, as a child, I would have hid under the covers with a flashlight to finish.
Also on my hit parade is Polly Horvath's When The Circus Came To Town. Now, I must admit, this was a book I found by a happy accident. A couple of years ago a title of the same name was California Young Reader Medal nominee. I didn't pay attention to the author and just ordered the title. By the time it arrived in my Follett order I was aware of my error but the cover looked interesting (yes, sometimes, I do judge a book that way) and I started to read the first few pages. I couldn't put it down and have recommended this tale of tolerance in a small town many times. (The Laurence Yep book was also very, very good!)
Patricia MacLachlan is far more well known for the Sarah Plain and Tall series but one of my favorites is a book that isn't as popular, Baby. It's a story about loss and love and family which is what MacLachlan does best. It's also a book that an adult can enjoy as much as a child, maybe more.
One of my favorite moments in the library comes when a fifth grader stares at me incredulously and says, "You mean they made that movie into a book?" This is especially fun when the book in question is The Indian in the Cupboard. This is also a great book for boys who just don't want to read anything but Captain Underpants and Goosebumps. They get sucked in to Omri's world and can't get enough of it.
Finally, in my top five, is a book for those students who are at that higher reading level. You know that kid. He (or she) is in the fourth grade and is reading at a "high school" level. Just ask the mom! She wants to know what you have in the library for her child. The dilemma is that, although the child might be reading at a 10.5 level, the maturity factor is not even close. And I don't carry Tom Clancy in my K-5 collection. For that child I put Peter and the Starcatchers in his/her hands, step back, and watch the magic happen. You just know that Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, for all their adult accomplishments, still remember the magic that being a child is all about. And here again, is a book that parents and teachers can enjoy too.
So, that's my top five recommendations when I'm asked that age old question, "Do you have any good books?" Have you read them? What do you think?
Friday, August 31, 2007
So I decided that once a month I would introduce the students (through a mini lesson) to a famous artist, composer, musician, or performer. This past week was my first venture into this project. My choice to start.... Beethoven! And what serendipity that he made the news a couple of days into the week (http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/discoveries/2007-08-28-beethoven-doctor-death_N.htm?csp=34 ).
I see all grade levels during the week from K to 5th and tailoring a lesson to appeal to that broad of an age group is not something I try too often. But I had committed to this project so I forged ahead. I started out by asking if they knew who Beethoven was. It was not surprising to get the following answer from almost every class, "Beethoven's a big slobbery dog." I shared some brief facts about Beethoven and then I played Beethoven's 5th Symphony and asked them if they recognized it. Most of them had heard it before (it's in Disney's Fantasia). We talked about how he could write music for so many different instruments. And then I played Moonlight Sonata (my favorite). I told them that I thought it was a very sad piece of music.
I finished up with the very funny "Beethoven's Wig" by Richard Perlmutter. If you have never heard or seen this book/cd, I highly recommend it. I ended the lesson by asking them what they thought of when I said Beethoven now and no one said a slobbery dog!
The best review of the week I got was an email from the mother of one of my third graders. "Yesterday Kent got home from school and could not stop talking about the music he heard in the library. Could you please let me know what you were playing so I can try to find it for him?"
Next month...Georgia O'Keefe!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
But what now? Where do I go? It was nice to have some with the map in their hands, someone who could be the GPS voice telling me to turn here and that there's a rest stop there.
I decided to take a look at the folks who have also completed the experience to see what others have discovered along the way and what I can use.
My first stop was at http://slimlibrary.blogspot.com/ . I was pleased to see an entry about Voice Thread. I have just heard about this tool through our district technology wizard who is holding a workshop on it this month. Of course I travelled to the Voice Thread site to explore (http://voicethread.com/ ) and after spending some time there my mind started racing with ways I could use this in the library.
One of my challenges as the Library Media Technician is being in two places at once. I immediately thought that I could use this to create a lesson a teacher could use in the lab while I was in the library. It's the next best thing to cloning yourself!
I also thought about the research reports our fifth graders do each year. I have seen great students who are well prepared but, who fall apart when they do a power point presentation. Voice thread would allow them to record their presentation.
I have a child in kindergarten this year. What could his teacher do with voice thread? Well, they have been studying sunflowers and painting beautiful pictures of them. (This is the one he brought home today!) She could scan the paintings and then record the children telling about sunflowers.
First graders at my school learn a poem a week. Take a picture of a different child each week and have him/her recite the poem. It would make an amazing Open House presentation.
In the library I can invite students to create digital book reviews and use them as commercials when classes visit.
Now I can hardly wait for the Voice Thread inservice. My mind is still racing. Thank you, Slim Library ( http://slimlibrary.blogspot.com/ ) for this find!
Monday, August 27, 2007
I have enjoyed this experience and reccommended it to those I work with. I have introduced several of the tools to others on my school's staff and plan to continue to do so. I've used the things I learned both professionally and personally to enhance projects that I'm working on.
My favorites? del.icio.us has made my life so much easier. And I even got my family hooked on using it. Now, no matter what computer I'm using, I have access to my favorite sites with ease. Flickr and the image generators have been so much fun and a very easy way to share pictures. Zoho will also be something I take to the teaches as an option for students.
I liked the format that CSLA used for this "course". I think for me, dividing it up into 10 or 12 weeks would have made it seem less rushed but I did take a few weeks off here or there. I think one of the big plusses for me was the work at your own speed format.
I'm going to keep my blog going. One of the benefits for me personally has been to remind me how much I enjoy the writing process. It has been fun reading the comments left by others too.
I would definately "sign up" again if you offered a second trip down the 2.0 road.
My one word summation ... it was a "trip"!
My family used to camp a lot. My dad, a fan of the old time radio broadcast, would bring along a cassette recorder and we would sit around the campfire or in the tent and listen to "The Shadow" and "Mystery Theater." I loved them. Audio books are reminiscent of those old broadcasts. And, depending on the skill of the narrator, they can be just as theatrical.
They are also a great resource for that reluctant reader, the ELL student, and the struggling child. An audio book reveals the magic of J.K. Rowling and Cornelia Funke to the 5th grader who is still at a third grade reading level. It lures a child who only checks out Goosebumps books to the worlds of Poppy & Rye and Henry & Ribsy. And once you've got them...you've got them!
eBooks are another story. I checked several different eBook sites. I noticed The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards on eBooks.com and it made me a little sad. This was a book I truly devoured and I thought how much I enjoyed turning those pages, carrying the book around with me and passing it along to a friend that I thought might also enjoy it.
You trade that away with an ebook, I think. I want to feel the cover in my hands, see it sitting on the table silently urging me to finish the task at hand so that I can pick it up and see what's going to happen next. I found one of my childhood favorites at Project Gutenberg, Five Little Peppers Grown Up. ( http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=7498 ). The good thing I can say about an ebook is that you very well might find a book that is out of print. But still, I'd rather find it in a used book store or on ebay.
So if I was casting a vote, audio books would be the hands down winner. (I know there are eBook fans out there...I'm just not one of them.)
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Podcasts are an useful tool in the classroom and the library. It opens up the world to students. A podcast can bring an author into the library when the budget can't.
I found a storyteller named Mr. Howerton who tells Kipling's Just So Stories. He has a great voice. As I listened I instantly thought of one of our third grade teachers who uses fables and trickster tales throughout the year. I will be sharing Mr. Howerton's site with her soon. I subscribed to the RSS feed for this site. It's located at http://mr_h.podomatic.com/ . This was found in the Educational Podcast Directory. In Podcast Alley I found Learn Out Loud which has Aesop Fables podcasts. The site for this is http://feeds.feedburner.com/AesopsFablesPodcast .
Even though Itunes has been around for a while, I think the use of podcasts in the classroom and library is still in its toddler stage. There is a great potential here for distance learning. I think the classroom experience for students who are homebound or hospitalized could be enhanced through a podcast.
On a more personal level, what a great way for grandparents who live far away to read a nightly bedtime story. Or for a parent who is out of town to share that favorite book with a child.
I am not a You Tube newbie. I have explored it before. One of my favorite finds was a video of Kristin Chenoweth singing "For Good" from the Broadway production of Wicked. I love the variety you can find on You Tube and I have even thought once or twice about posting my own video contribution, but I haven't been brave enough to follow up on the thought yet.
One of my favorite components of You Tube is the "Related" side bar that leads you to other videos on a particular subject.
I chose this video from an old (vintage?) Reading Rainbow episode. Aside from the obvious dated styles it is fun and offers a great message. Hit play and "check it out".
I enjoyed the "Grand March of the Librarians" more than "March of the Librarians" but I am going on an intense exercise program before the CSLA conference in November. Are we all really that physically out of shape? I definately want to be one of the "hipsters" and not a "tote puller".
Friday, July 27, 2007
All last year I had a poster (compliments of Compass Books) taped to the wall of the checkout desk. It was a map of the world. My students loved looking at it. Because we are a year-round school, our very well travelled staff take many interesting trips during the year. I thought it would be fun for the students to see where we were going so I asked the teachers to take our school mascot, Lightning the Leopard, with them. I went on EBay and purchased several small beanie type leopards. I chose this size because they could be packed and take up as little amount of room as a pair of socks. I asked the teachers to take digital pictures and send them back to me. I moved the map to a wall and I'm adding the pictures as they come in. When I learned about Slide I thought it would be fun to try.
So far Lightning has travelled to New York City, Seoul Korea, Russia and Australia.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I have learned so many new things but I wanted to limit what I imparted this first time so as not to overwhelm.
I began by explaining del.icio.us and shared my personal experiences with it. As I mentioned earlier, the teachers received laptops that day and several of them mentioned that they had not been looking forward to redoing their bookmarks. When they learned that del.icio.us could keep track of them they were thrilled. One teacher did express concern about anyone in cyberspace able to see what you tag. The "do not share" feature was very welcomed.
All of our teachers are required to maintain a website and our district uses TeacherWeb. We've been using this for about three years and I spent some time going over some tips on working on their pages. http://teacherweb.com/CA/Laurel/SchoolHomePage/SDHP1.stm
The last part I tried to fit in was tips on their Ed1Stop pages. Our county portal had just discontinued linking to BrainPop for a variety of reasons and some time was spent on discussing alternatives they could use. We use United Streaming Video and Groliers Online and I talked about those features as well.
In upcoming staff meetings we will spend a little bit of time on mini lessons. First up is teaching how to use the calendar option and reminder feature in Microsoft Outlook. Also, in the near future I will be sharing image generating with the fourth and fifth grade teachers and brainstorm ideas on how they can use them in the classroom.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
In my library I think this would come in handy as a place for students to post comments about books they are reading. A digital book club could spring out of a wiki. They would be an excellent vehicle for GATE students.
Another suggestion might be for the California Young Reader Medal committee to establish a Wiki with this year's choices and open it up to students and educators to respond and comment. Teachers and Librarians could submit suggestions (because you know we all do it differently) and the students could offer their opinions on characters and plots. Authors and illustrators could also be offered a platform through a CYRM wiki.
On a side note . . . I held my technology lessons with teachers at our opening day inservice (our students returned to school on July 11th!) and their favorite item was Del.i.cious! They all were receiving new laptops (courtesy of a very supportive principal) that afternoon and the idea of "portable" bookmarks" was a hit. At today's staff meeting it was heartening to see each of them with her laptop open and taking digital notes. Along with our site technology rep and the district technology educator we will be doing a mini tech lesson at every staff meeting this year. Like I wrote before .... we have a very supportive principal!
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Because of this adverse opinion, I really felt that I needed to visit all of the samples in this exercise and give it close scrutiny. I think I was looking to validate my prejudice. My opinion of their value in student research has not changed. But now I can see that there is a place for the "wicked" wiki in the world even if it isn't my world.
The slide show created by Meredith Gorran Farkas, Norwich University, is an excellent tutorial for those wanting a clear picture of what a wiki can be used for. She also sums up, in the very first slide, the pros and cons. If you haven't already looked at it, I recommend you do (http://meredith.wolfwater.com/cil06/).
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
This isn't one of the "things" but as I delve into this process I am trying to find ways to use what I'm learning at my school site. I would like to set up a blog site for my schools library. My dilema is that, even though I really like the ease of blogger.com, the "Next Blog" feature makes it inappropriate for student access. One suggestion from a trusted district tech guru was www.imbee.com . I would love suggestions of any others.
(The photo is our school mascot on a visit to NYC and the library!)
Thursday, June 7, 2007
In the OCLC article by Dr. Wendy Schultz (To A Temporary Place In Time) there is a quote I love. "Libraries are not merely in communities, they are communities: they preserve and promote community memories; they provide mentors not only for the exploration of stored memory, but also for the creation of new artifacts of memory."
Our students are definately digital natives. We need to provide libraries that speak their language and materials that appeal to them while, at the same time meeting the needs of curriculum and learning styles. But we can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. So the task for school library staff is to embrace the features of 2.0 while continuing to encourage (and sometimes even coax) books into the hands of children.
What will my school library look like ten years from now? My hope is that it will still be filled with children eagerly reading...delighted faces discovering exciting new worlds on the printed page AND the computer screen.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
I am attempting the "claim your blog process" so here goes:
I peeked and saw that I was able to successfully add the favorite button. Whoo-Hoo! I finished the process, created my bio and added a new photo.
Tagging was new to me and I certainly like the aspect of being able to set them up to meet my individual needs. I have used del.i.cio.us quite a bit and have already told others about it. I am planning one of the inservice sessions for the teaching staff when they return in July and tagging is at the top of my list of things to share with them.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Personally, I have already been using it. I use several different computers (at my desk, in the lab, my laptop, my home PC and one at family's business) and have often searched for something I have bookmarked only to realize it wasn't saved on the particular computer I was on at the time. This feature has already saved me time.
Setting up an account was fairly simple and after rereading the directions (novel concept!) I found the icon on my tool bar and all was good.
I enjoyed peeking into other people's bookmarks and found some interesting and useful sites. Thanks for sharing this great time saver.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Moving along to week 6...
Monday, May 21, 2007
I also joined a Library 2.0 group on Ning. I didn't see anyone else who appeared to be an elementary library worker there.
One thing that I am a little wary about is giving too much personal information out, including my email address. Both of these experiences required listing my email address. I felt like I needed to create a new email address just for these "accounts" so I signed up for an additional Yahoo email.
It was nice to have the "play" activity prior to this one. I'm looking forward to moving on to something else.
Thanks for the "recess".
Friday, May 18, 2007
I created my reader in Bloglines. The feature that appealed to me the most was being able to set up playlists that were customized. I'm still sloshing my way through using it, but I can see the wisdom of having all of my news sources in one handy location. As far as using it in an elementary school setting, I could see the value of setting up specific playlists that tied into a certain unit of study. But, like most of the internet, there would need to be definite adult supervision.
I did a little sleuthing using the various tools and found that the Google Blog search and Feedster were my favorites. I think one would have to limit their search time because you can certainly get carried away with the many avenues the searches open. I have already added several sites to my Blogline and will probably need to do more.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I do have a concern with Flickr in the elementary school setting. I came across several images that would not be appropriate for students. We do not let students use any image sites (i.e. Google Images) because we have had some near catastrophes in the past. At the elementary school level we will most likely limit it to staff only. However, it is a great resource for photos to enhance lessons and teacher produced PowerPoint's.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I love working with photographs and manipulating them with graphic tools. One of my favorite things to do is take a color photo and use a sepia or antiquing tool. That's what I did with the photo of my desk (which, by the way, is organized in it's own unique way) that I uploaded onto the blog. I used the blog tool to do this.
I also marked it as public and used the tag School Library learning 2.0 as instructed but when I do a search of that tag I am told that Flickr gives up and can't find anything. I can find the picture on my account and it shows the tag as schoollibrarylearning20. Several attempts to change it have proven fruitless so any assistance will be appreciated.
Also, I have a question. Is there a School Library learning 2.0 on Flikr that we should join?
I took a peek at the blogs of others and enjoyed every one's photos.
On a side note, this online learning opportunity was discussed yesterday at our district Library meeting. I tried to encourage the other library personnel in my district to join me on this journey. I am at one of only two year-round schools in our district. Everyone else is wrapping up their school year this month so I am hoping some, if not all of them will jump on board.
Friday, May 11, 2007
The next step was naming my blog. I wanted to keep a little privacy so I didn't want anything to personally revealing. Road Reader is a homage to my school library theme, Driven To Read. I have decorated my library with a car theme, complete with a road that runs all the way around the room on the walls. The road has whimsical cars created by my friend and our school artist in residence. My students love the real tires I have up on the book shelves as well.
I also chose it because as a child my family took a lot of road trips. I always had my nose stuck in a book . . . usually a Nancy Drew mystery . . . oblivious to the scenic wonders my parents tried to expose me to.
I register and was away from my blog for a while. I was pleasently surprised to find a comment from the program moderators waiting for my when I returned.
The final step was creating my graphic alter ego. This wasn't as easy a process. Too many choices and none seemed quite right. It was kind of like shopping at a store you don't like. When I finally resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't creating my identical twin it got easier. Putting her on my page was very easy using the directions provied in Thing 3.
So, I have completed the first two weeks and I have a real sense of accomplishment. I'm looking forward to Week 3.
As I listened I was already thinking of what my goal for doing this is. I think the goal I want to set is to become comfortable to the degree that I can teach using some of these tools to the teachers at my school site.
My biggest obstacle is definately going to be time.
One frustrating item is that I was not able to open the attachments that accompanied the presentation. I did email the creator of it to ask if there is another way to get them.
May 11, 2007
I attended The Chocolate Tech Affaire Technology Workshop this week at the CCCOE and then received the email today about the School Library Learning 2.0 . So, I am ready to dig in and blog away.
The initial setting up of this blog was very easy. Now I just need to see if I can keep it up and if it is worth the time and effort. I love technology and I love sharing what I learn with other staff members, as well as learning from them.
I consider myself a "lifelong learner". I love learning and finding out new things. One of my favorite things is to hear about something and then seek out more information on that subject. For example, if I read or hear about a movie based on a real event, I immediately look up what the real story is. It's like a treasure hunt to me.
And so I am setting off on this CSLA School Library Learning 2.0 road and looking forward to what I'll find along the way.