My Edublog Nominations

It’s time to make our nominations for the 2011 Edublog Awards!

It’s basically impossible to pick just one person for most of these categories, but after much thought and consideration I’ve compiled my list! I’m so honored to have these individuals as part of my PLN and I’m so thankful for the contributions they continuously make to the education profession.

Best individual blog:  Joyce Valenza – Neverending Search

Joyce’s blog is the perfect balance of sharing valuable information and inspiring calls to action. She’s the fearless leader of our Geek Tribe and I’m so grateful that she continues to push those of us who follow her blog to grow as professionals.

Best group blog:  Tiffany, Shannon, Eden, Jennifer – Story Snoops

Story Snoops is a great resources for parents, teachers, and librarians. Not only do they have an incredible database of book reviews, but these four moms also co-author a fabulous blog! I use this blog to make so many book recommendations to my students (and book purchases!).

Best individual tweeter:  Steven Anderson

Steven is THE MAN on Twitter. Such an amazing sharer of the wealth of knowledge that he has on all things ed tech. Plus, he’s just a really nice guy!

Best new blog:  Tamara Cox – Eliterate Librarian

The day that I discovered Tamara’s blog was a very important day in my career! The more I read her blog, the more I knew I had found my library soulmate. She graciously shares amazing ideas on her blog, and her passion for her profession definitely shines through. I look forward to reading her blog and calling her my friend for many years to come!

Best ed tech / resource sharing blog:  Richard Byrne – Free Tech for Teachers

Honestly, Richard’s Free Tech for Teachers blog needs no explanation. He’s like the ed tech blogging Superman. This is always the first blog I recommend for teachers to follow.

Most influential blog post:  Gwyneth Jones – Lady GaGa Librarians Unite!

This blog post by Gwyneth Jones was by far my favorite and most influential of the year. It caused a bit of a stir (*evil grin*), which made it even better! In the words of Gwyneth — it’s time for us, as school librarians, to start acting more like Lady GaGa and less like Lady Bird Johnson!

Best twitter hashtag:  #ISTE11

ISTE conference time is the most wonderful time of the year! And the hashtag that belongs to the event is the best!

Best librarian / library blog:  Gwyneth Jones – The Daring Librarian

I’ve got so much love for the amazing, FANTABULOUS Gwyneth Jones! I’m talking oodles and oodles of love. Not only does her blog share the best of the best when it comes to ed tech and library goodness, but the tone and personality of her writing is what keeps us all coming back for more! Gwyneth’s blog truly gives you a sense of who she is and what she’s about — completely genuine and in my book THE BEST!

Best School Administrator blog:  Eric Sheninger – A Principal’s Reflections

I have so much admiration for Eric Sheninger and the advocating he does for social media in schools. He’s a stand-out to me when I think of proactive, forward-thinking administrators.

Best educational wiki:  SIGML Wiki

ISTE’s SIGML (Special Interest Group for Mobile Learning) wiki is fabulous! It’s beautiful! It’s clean! I love it! It inspired me to build better, fancier wikis…yay!

Best open PD / unconference / webinar series:  TL Virtual Cafe

The TL Virtual Cafe is such an incredible FREE PD opportunity offered every month! Participating in this terrific webinar series has helped me to grow so much as a teacher-librarian and it always leaves me refreshed and full of new ideas. Our Geek Tribe is so giving… having so many willing to share makes for something really great!

Lifetime achievement:  Joyce Valenza

Joyce is the queen of our tribe. She’s brilliant and inspirational. She’s an incredible leader and fabulous speaker. Joyce is also kind, generous, and a great collaborator. With everything that she has done and continues to do to push our profession and education forward, she completely deserves to be recognized!

White House Petition for School Libraries

Come on people. What the heck is going on here? It’s time to pull ourselves together.

Joyce Valenza, Jennifer LaGarde and Gwyneth Jones have posted about it. We know that properly staffed and stocked school libraries really do make a difference in the lives of students. I’m not rehashing all of that, because – DUH! – we already know that. Despite this, the flippin’ petition still doesn’t have enough signatures. It’s time to get it together, people!!

This is what we are going to do: set up a petition station at your big Thanksgiving bash. I will be taking my laptop with this cute little sign I made and STRONGLY encourage every single person there to sign the petition:

PDF Here: SupportLibraries

I invite you to print it out and do the same. You could also use this QR code and have people get to the petition that way:

I think that setting up a station and having people do it right then and there would be the most effective way to make this happen. And we have GOT to make this happen!

If you plan to join in and set up a station at your holiday dinner, leave a comment! PLEASE! I’m begging you…let’s make this happen!

EDIT: Here’s the link to the petition!

Wiki Redesign

This weekend I finally dove into a task that I’ve been wanting to get after…wiki redesign!!

First, let me say that I absolutely love Wikispaces. The wikis are very user friendly and they even give perks to educators!

What my wikis were lacking…genuine cuteness. I mean, I’m all about the cuteness and I REALLY needed to fix up my wiki. I was inspired by SIGML’s Wiki which is so nicely done! And their great designer, Victor Fitzjarrald, has created a great Wiki Design tutorial. Score!

So I spent Saturday getting cozy with Photoshop and CSS and put lots of work into our SIGMS wiki.

Check out the SIGMS Wiki here!

Then I was hooked. My presentation wiki was much overdue for some TLC. Our state technology conference, LACUE, is coming up and I’ve got a presentation that I’ll be working on for that…so it needed a extra cute home.

Check out my Presentation Wiki here 🙂

I think the buttons are what really make the new look pop — those were created in Photoshop. According to my husband (who does graphic/web design), I know just enough Photoshop to mess things up. HA! I fixed things up 🙂 So proud of myself!!

I was inspired a second time this week by the absolutely FANTABULOUS Gwyneth Jones! Yep, that Daring Librarian is uber inspiring! She posted about Dropbox, which I finally took advantage of last week. I grew to love it so much, so quickly that I created a Tech Tuesday video about it:

 

AASL11 Reflection

My first AASL conference experience was amazing! I’m on my way home after four days of learning and connecting. My mind is full of ideas that I’m ready to take back to my teachers and students; my heart is full of love for the amazing tribe that I am blessed to be part of and the relationships that have grown within our amazing Geek Tribe!

I was able to spend lots of time with teacher-librarians that I follow (okay, stalk?) and it’s just so fulfilling to be able to spend face-to-face time with the people who support me directly and indirectly as a school library professional. I mean, lunch with my the FABULOUS ladies that are Gwyneth Jones, Joyce Valenza, Shannon Miller, Cathy Jo Nelson, Brenda Anderson, Andrea Christman, Kyra Kreinbrook, Carolyn Starkey, Jennifer Nortrup, and others — YES, that actually happened!!

I think the conference really had a laid back, comfortable feel for me. A time for great conversations, sessions with wonderful new ideas, and just hangin’ with my peeps, yo. From beginning to end it was BEYOND amazing!

I’m so thankful that I was able to receive the Bound to Stay Bound travel grant that allowed me to travel to Minneapolis for AASL. Plus I got to meet a super cool new friend — thanks Autumn for being a great roomie! I also have oodles and oodles of love for my mentor (what what!) Gwyneth Jones who really looked out for me and introduced me around throughout the whole event. Between Gwyneth and Joyce, I definitely felt the love and appreciate their generous, giving spirits! Honestly, I’m one lucky girl!

Some of the ideas that I’m excited to try at CMS that I learned about in great sessions:

  • 23 Things (although I won’t be doing quite so many “things”)
  • Bookmark Contest
  • Reading Lunch (not sure how to work this in against the xbox, but I’m going to try!)
  • Battle of the Books
  • More partnerships with our local public library
  • Branding for next year when we move into the new school

Those are some of the ideas that I’m most excited about. I also can’t wait to get home and start sifting through the resources, recorded sessions, and all that good stuff on the AASL Virtual Conference page.

Here’s a little Animoto video with a few of the photos from this weekend! I can’t wait for everyone to put up all of their photos on Flickr to relive the fun! 🙂

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Duh! Common Sense Curriculum Rocks!

If you haven’t really looked at the Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum by Common Sense Media, you need to get on that. I’m passionate about advocating the need for students receive instruction that helps them to develop their digital literacy skills. But with my teachers having so much pressure put on them to raise test scores and cover their curriculum (I’m not touching that one today), asking them to add something else just seems cruel.

A few weeks ago, I really started digging into the curriculum that has been created by Common Sense Media. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I wanted to find a reasonable way to start integrating these ideas into the lives of my students. The 6-8 curriculum has a total of 28 lesson plans that are extremely well written and have lots of great discussions and activities laid out. SCORE! I talked to a few of my fabulous ELA teachers and they definitely see the worth in this, so we decided that the best way to go about this would probably be to incorporate activities in during their library visits. My long-term goal is to develop this into sets of lessons that integrate well into the content/concepts they are learning in ELA and split the lessons among the three grade levels. I’m not one to hammer myself down to some seriously structure schedule, but I think I will be able to work and tweak things so that over the course of their time with me, students will get to experience most of the lessons in this curriculum.

So I started going through the lessons, adapting them to make them my own, and creating slideshows to guide the discussions for each topic. The more I get into this curriculum, the more I love it. It’s so well done!

So I’ve been DYING to try out one of the lessons, and today was the day! I had two of my 6th grade ELA classes scheduled (the other two will come in tomorrow) and we covered the lesson called ‘Safe Talk Online.’ What an awesome day of conversation! It was so interesting to see how the kids reacted to the different scenarios. I was really surprised at how cautious they were about the idea of talking to people they don’t know online. It’s definitely been drilled into them to be safe, but I think more of these discussions will lead them to a way of reasoning that will make them smart about their interactions. I can’t wait to do more of these lessons — I think it’s really going to give me a feel for what our students need to learn about, be aware of, and get more exposure to in the world of digital citizenship and literacy.

Common Sense has free curriculums available for elementary, middle, and high school settings. You can also order the entire curriculum on a flash drive for $25. They have supplemental videos, activity materials and everything! Their stuff is all Creative Commons licensed, so I’m planning to post the presentations that I’m adapting onto SlideShare at some point soon. AWESOMENESS!!

Here’s one of their videos to give you an idea of what their curriculum is about:

Genre Shelving!

I’ve been planning to genre shelve for a while now. Last year I started the project of color coding books by genre. Over the summer and since the beginning of the school year, I finished up with the color coding. I ended up going back and breaking Mystery/Adventure into their own separate categories, which was definitely a good call.

I have a volunteer grandmother who is GREAT! She’s a retired teacher and she’s willing to work on those monotonous tasks that I never seem to get around to doing. Last week she started going through and changing books in the catalog so we’ll actually be able to find and track books by genre. I’ve decided not to change the spine labels since they’re color coded and that makes for VERY easy shelving. I do want them changed in Destiny, though, so students will know which section to search. So instead of FIC COO for Caroline Cooney’s books, it will be F M COO to signify that it’s in the mystery section.

I was planning to wait on re-arranging until the move this summer. I was going to go through and box up by genre. It all made sense. Alas, patience is not my virtue. Not by a long shot. Seeing all of my genre stickers just DYING to get together with their brothers and sisters made me impatient. So at the end of last week, I decided I couldn’t wait anymore and I started moving things around…

 

Movin’, movin’, movin’….

 

So I just started moving things around, because I’m a spastic nut. I decided it was time and I WENT! My BFF and wonderful 6th grade ELA teacher got a little nervous when I told her I just started moving things. She’s a planner and list maker. I make her anxious sometimes! So at dinner we did a napkin diagram to make plan for the arrangement…

She moved her classes to the library the next day (which was last Friday) and helped me stay sane and get things in place. We ROCKED it and everything is now arranged by color! SCORE!

It was EXTREMELY dusty, so I used my handy pink and zebra print duster.

This experience was not without its moments of overwhelming stress. A teacher snapped this picture of me having a minor panic attack in the middle of my crazy move!

In the end, though, it all worked out beautifully. BEAUTIFULLY! I even created these snazzy genre signs, which was an idea stolen from my pal Tamara Cox, who used Wordfoto to design her shelf signs as well.

Check ’em out! I’ll be posting them on my Flickr account very soon so you can grab and use them if you’d like!

 

So far, the students are LOVING this new arrangement! I think that it’s really going to enhance their browsing experience. I think it’s also going to help me tremendously with collection development — I’m already noticing what areas need more attention.

Now, to decide if I’m going to rearrange the nonfiction section, too…

What a week!

It was quite the week for me and it’s taken me all weekend to recover. It started off with a bang and the AMAZING TL Virutal Cafe webinar where I was incredibly honored and lucky to present with the AWEsome Gwyneth Jones! What an experience!! It was my first webinar and I’m going to mark it down as a success. I talked 500 miles a minute and my spastic/ADD way of thinking and talking was surely apparent, but I had fun and I even think some people found something they’ll be able to use this year!

Here are our slides from the presentation:

You can also see more from our preso, including the archive of the webinar! That’s right, you can watch and listen here!

All of these fabulous opportunities that are coming my way lately would have NEVER happened if it weren’t for SIGMS. My first ISTE conference in 2010 changed my career (and my life!) and I would be lost without SIGMS which has helped me to connect to those in the Geek Tribe.

This summer at ISTE11 when Maureen Sanders-Brunner, the SIGMS Chair-Elect, asked me to serve as her Vice-Chair I knew it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I’m very excited that I will be participating in the webinar this Wednesday, September 21st to kick off the 2011-2012 school year for SIGMS! We have a great group that will be sharing their experiences with SIGMS and how getting involved can help you with your own professional growth. Hope to see you there!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? I hope not, because I’m also co-presenting the October TL Virtual Cafe webinar with my library BFF/soulmate Tamara Cox!!! I’m telling you, when I first started reading Tamara’s awesome Eliterate Librarian blog I knew I had found someone that approached her position as a new TL with the same passion, gusto, and enthusiasm as I do. On Monday, October 3rd, we will be sharing the ways that we have worked to make Professional Development opportunities for our teachers that are different than what they are used to receiving.

Okay, so I know this is a mammoth post, but I also want to pop in last week’s Tech Tuesday video with Tiff in case you’re interested. This week’s tool: Tagxedo

September: Library Card Month

September is Library Card Month! I am blessed to live in a place with an incredible public library system. Not only did the East Baton Rouge Parish Library give me my first job through high school and college, but it also provides it’s patrons with TONS of AWESOME resources. They’re great about ordering books that you request, quickly sending books and materials from other branches, access to numerous databases, and even free downloads from Overdrive and Freegal Music. This is definitely stuff that my students (and teachers, for that matter) need to know about!

SO we are doing a big push for students to get and use library cards! I’ve covered the school with fliers and posters, ELA teachers are offering bonus points to students that show their library cards, and I’m encouraging students to send me pictures of them with their cards to feature in the library and on our Friday videos. FUN!

To get them excited and aware of all of this, I (of course) made a video:

I also have a little clip that they’ll be watching with a message from the librarian at our local library.

How are you promoting Library Card Month with your students?