Saturday, March 31, 2012

No Dewey?! The Horror

My post on ditching Dewey has remained one of my most viewed posts even though it is months old. Living without Dewey is so normal for me now that I forget how unusual it can be for those just considering the idea. When Tiffany Whitehead and I presented "Be a Next Gen Librarian, Today" at the Follett New Leaf in Learning Conference we included nontraditional shelving in our suggestions. I spoke about changing nonfiction and Tiff shared her genre organized fiction area.

*Her slides are so cute! We should all email Tiff to encourage her to share her genre signs on Flickr:)

As soon as we brought up the slide and quickly shared how we implemented this concept in our libraries the room was abuzz with conversation. I think every person in the room turned to their neighbor to talk. Not sure if it was intrigue or shock, but either way I was happy to get conversations started and wheels turning. This presentation was the first full day of the conference, but the rest of the time there we had people coming up asking us more about it. Since then I've had a few emails forwarded to me sharing Dewey conversations from library associations in other states. I love that so many people are talking about it.
I believe Dewey is one of our sacred cows, which is why this topic causes such a stir. While I am very happy with the change I realize that this isn't for everyone. I'm not suggesting everyone should go out and do this today. There are many levels to this change if you aren't ready to completely ditch Dewey. You could create better signs, add genre or subject labels, or only pull out certain sections and still keep Dewey. You can adapt it to your needs.
What really excites me about these conversations is that librarians are evaluating tradition and deciding whether or not to keep, adapt, or throw out ideas that are no longer relevant to our students' needs. This is exactly what we must do to stay indispensable.
I thought it might be a good idea to start putting resources together when people ask about this so I created a topic on called Dewey Free Library. Feel free to add to the topic and share with others.
I welcome anyone with questions, concerns, and ideas about nontraditional shelving. Just don't try to convince me to go back. Ain't gonna happen!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hunger Games Celebration

I know there are some amazing parties and events going on around the country in public and school libraries, but I'm going to share my little party even though it was a small event.

We celebrated the movie release with a teacher and student costume contest. I was so impressed by the students' creativity. The student winners were Greasy Sae, a Peacekeeper, Katniss at the reaping and the Girl On Fire interview costume. The teacher winners were three Capitol citizens and an Effie. Above is my version of Effie and one of the teacher winners. They won movie posters and the Hunger Games Read poster for the teachers.

I created a book trivia sheet that the students could answer to win a Mockingjay pin. There was one student that got all of them correct. I guess my questions were pretty tough.

I set up tribute trial stations in the library during lunch. We had a camo matching game, knot tying station, edible or inedible plant game, Nerf archery, push up contest for strength, and the Hunger Games online game on the computers.

Our assistant principal also made some fiery cupcakes.

The students had fun during lunch and I even received a few hugs and thanks for organizing the party.

Poetry Picnic

I am always on the look out for poetry lessons because I have not found a lesson that really interested the students, until now. On my newest addiction, Pinterest, I saw this link. Even though this lesson was originally for elementary age students I tweaked it a bit and my students loved it.

I had twelve stations and my 6th graders really enjoyed it. My descriptions would be so similar to the original site I'm going to list each station and just include the changes I made for middle school. I urge you to visit the site where she provides instructions and links that you will need.

List Poetry-Same as original

Poetry Tag on the Kindle-I brought my Kindle Fire from home because our school Kindles are used daily in our resource classrooms.

Poetry on the iPods: Students used the Poem Flow app and Verses magnetic poetry app. Both free!

Poetry Place Mats-instead of having students weave a placemat I printed a coloring sheet of a placemat for them to write their poems on.

Origami Poetry-Same as original

Shape Poems-This was the students favorite.

Songs- I didn't need the books here. I pulled up this Fun Clapping site and they took it from there. Warning: These are Youtube videos so I had to log into the computer as me so that they could view them. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of boys that enjoyed this station.

Fun With Words: Students ignored the books, but loved playing the game, Hink Pink.

Poetry Splatter: Same as original. They love anything that lets them play on the Smartboard.

Poetry With Friends: Same as original

Poetry Websites: I used three of our netbooks from a mobile cart for students to explore these websites.

Lemonade: I did have a magnetic board and letters, but I ended up using the tiles from Bananagrams (originally in Fun With Words) because there were more letters to choose from.

Items I had to purchase: red and white tablecloths, Bananagrams, Hink Pink

If I didn't already have the book I borrowed them from the public library until I knew this would be an activity that I would repeat. I plan on purchasing several titles to have available for the future.

I'm sorry if my explanations are vague, but I think it is best if you visit her site because she obviously put a lot of work and thought into organizing this.

If you are looking for a fun activity for Poetry Month I suggest giving this a try. The students and teachers had a ball.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

#holdshelf Project

Have you participated in the hold shelf project? Blog, email or tweet a pic of your hold shelf so we can all see what kids are really reading.
Here is my hold shelf.
If you want to participate tweet a pic with the hash tag #holdshelf or email to scopesnotes at gmail dot com.

New Leaf in Learning Conference

I have finally rested and recovered from the New Leaf in Learning conference so I feel ready to reflect on the experience. This was one of the most well organized conferences I have ever attended. Every detail was addressed.
I was honored and excited to be invited to speak and thrilled to meet by buddy, Tiffany Whitehead. I believe the sessions we prepared were helpful and thought provoking.
On the first day we met up at the airport and had a great time chatting all the way to the hotel. We both enjoyed the keynote by Kevin Honeycutt, who reminded me of the impact a great teacher can have on students.
Thursday we enjoyed a delicious breakfast (just missing the grits) and shared a table with Eric Sheninger. You can't say that very often. Then after two morning sessions and another great meal Tiff and I shared our presentation, Be a Next Gen Librarian, Today. Slides and links for both sessions are here.
We had a packed house.

We made a great team sharing ideas from both of our libraries and showing off the spectacular slides that she created. The topic most discussed with us after the session was nontraditional shelving. Looks like we need to talk about this more.

Thursday night we ventured into Chicago for a little sightseeing, pizza and lots of laughs.

Friday we attended more sessions and presented our second sessions, The Embedded Librarian.

After a quick run to see The Hunger Games we headed to the airport towards home.

This conference was a great experience for me. Not only did I attend several sessions that inspired me and made me think, but I had a wonderful time presenting with Tiffany. We received loads of positive feedback and encouragement. And who doesn't need more of that? I also had the opportunity to meet people that I have followed online for a while like Eric Sheninger, Shannon Miller, Carl Harvey and David Loertscher. I hope that we have the opportunity to present again together in the future.

Sign up for information on the recordings from the conference at the New Leaf in Learning site.
Thank you Follett and all of the organizers of the conference.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

SCASL 2012: Advocacy Starts With You @ Your Library

Our state conference was held a few days ago. It was wonderful to reconnect with librarians that I normally only see virtually and meet a few new ones face to face like the super sweet, Jennifer Tazerouti, my Twitter bud, Teresa Bunner, and Randye Polk. Thanks, Randye, for the encouraging words about blogging.

Here are a few other highlights for me:

1. Presenting with Carla Nash on ereaders. As you can see from our shirts it was a Kindle Vs Nook eReader Duel. At times things got a little heated.

You may wonder who won our duel. Check out our Prezis here and here and decide for yourself. We had a full room and lots of questions. It was fun for us and hopefully informative for those in attendance.

2. I had the pleasure of listening to Donalyn Miller deliver one of our keynote addresses. And best yet, I facilitated one of her book talk session and met her in person. It was wonderful. If you haven't read her book, The Book Whisperer, you should. Really, go now and buy it! Then buy one for every ELA teacher in your building. You can see her slides from the keynote here. If you are curious about her book recommendations you can see many of them on this list.

3. Presenting with Jen Chesney and Kelly Knight on blogging. Another full session, lots of sharing with those in attendance and I even learned about a few blogs that I added to my reader. I will put our list of recommended blogs on my wiki.

Jen <span class=Chesney, Tamara Cox and Kelly Knight presenting on blogging.">

4. The SCASL Learning Commons organized by Cathy Jo Nelson. I love the Learning Commons idea and think that Cathy Jo Nelson pulled this off wonderfully. I pitched in a short talk about nontraditional shelving and Common Core. Great fun!

5. Spending time with my Anderson One librarians was rejuvenating. I am so proud of these ladies. We come from all backgrounds and experience levels yet we share, connect, and encourage each other.

Big thanks to all that helped make the conference happen, especially Heather Loy. Now I'm looking forward to leaving for Illinois in a few days for the Follett New Leaf in Learning Conference. Midwest, here we come. Can you handle two wacky, Southern librarians? Let's go, Tiff.

Monday, March 12, 2012

This Is What a Librarian Looks Like

You've probably heard about this really neat project. I decided to submit a pic to add to the blog. There were so many pictures of interesting people and places so I tried to choose a picture that might be a little unique. For my birthday a few years ago my hubbie bought me tickets to the Myrtle Beach safari. I'm a little obsessed with apes of all kinds, gorillas, chimps, orangutans and the lesser apes too so I was in heaven there. I was able to hold an orangutan, gibbon, baby tigers, baby leopards, and feed an elephant. It was amazing. Have you submitted a picture yet?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Librarians Role in Common Core

If your state is adopting Common Core then you may be hearing conversations or even beginning training on these standards. Our district recently started training by grade and subject. Where did that leave librarians? Well, I invited myself to one of the ELA training sessions and I'm so glad that I did. I knew from reading about Common Core that this was a good opportunity for librarians to build collaborations and play a role in training our content area teachers on literacy.
If you are unfamiliar with the standards I urge you to visit the site. I believe you will find that in regards to literacy skills these standards are closely aligned with our AASL standards. Just like with all standards there are pros and cons. I do appreciate the literacy components in science and social studies as well as the variety of texts pushed including works from other cultures and diversity in genres. I am a little nervous that recreational reading will take a back seat to the focus on informational text.
Regardless of our personal opinions of the standards we need to be knowledgeable and seek out ways to assist our students, teachers and administrators as we make the change. In an effort to be proactive I emailed our district librarian ally and asked her if we could be included in the training. She was happy to schedule time for us to meet. I invited all 15 librarians and 2/3rds were willing and able to attend. I am fortunate enough to have Jennifer LaGarde in my reader and read this post about her recent meeting with her district. I urge you to read her post and look at her presentation. There are lots of great ideas there.
  • At our meeting we were able to share our ideas about how we can assist in training our teachers and lend our expertise in literacy. First on our agenda is sessions we can lead for spring professional development and our annual summer institute training after school ends. Each area (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) is creating a presentation to share with teachers that highlights new and noteworthy books, fiction and nonfiction. Our hope is that we can replace some of our traditional choices for novel studies with more modern titles. A local book vendor will be in attendance so that teachers can purchase the titles if they are interested in reading them over the summer or adding to their classroom libraries. There are other sessions in the works that I will share in another post are not related to Common Core.
  • Another way we hope to assist in this shift is seeking out collaborations with content area teachers. Now that many are panicked about the literacy components it is a good time to strike.
  • Many of our teachers will be looking for nonfiction articles and texts for cold reads so I plan to find resources for them. One excellent example is this project from the NY Times.
  • Ensure that our nonfiction books are up to date and easy to search and browse. Don't forget nonfiction when we create book displays, share booktalks, choose books for book clubs or author visits. Pair fiction books with nonfiction books. My middle school buds, Monique German and Kristen Hearne, and I are working on a list for our SC Junior Book Award nominees for next year. Our list includes a nonfiction pairing, website of interest, and book trailers. I shared the document on our state listserv so that anyone can contribute so hopefully this will be a resource for all of us.
  • I created a nonfiction text features poster that I'll share on Flickr. I plan to use our poster maker and create a large print copy of this for our science and social studies teachers.
  • Collect and share Common Core resources with each other. I've started a Pinterest board just for this. It includes websites, link to the Common Core app and lots more resources.
Another idea I copied from Jennifer LaGarde is updating books with QR Codes. I plan to do this project with 7th grade after our state testing this year. I created a mock up to take to the meeting and luckily our superintendent came in to check on us and saw the book. He thought it was very creative and expressed concern over the age of our books. He said he would try to find funding so that we could update our collections. Score!
Common Core has been causing a stir on our listserv the last few days. Some librarians voiced their disappointment over the outdated recommended book lists shared at state standards training. I created another Google Doc so that we could all create a list by grade (tabs at bottom). Our collective brain should be able to create a list that fits our student and teacher needs. Feel free to add to and use if you need this.
What are you doing to prepare for Common Core? I hope you'll take this opportunity to show off your skills as librarians.