Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pinterest Show and Tell

Today I was trying to come up with a few new ideas for professional development sessions that I could lead as part of our Tech Flex program.  As I wandered around online looking for ideas I remembered seeing something called a Pinterest party. Pinterest parties usually involve women bringing a dish made from a Pinterest recipe and materials to make a craft from the site. Some parties let people trade so they leave with the materials to make a craft, while others allow you to make a craft during the party. I have seen tons of teacher crafts on Pinterest, but I thought requiring teachers to bring materials would be too much for the large number of people that will be in attendance.
I love sessions like Appy Hours and Smackdowns, when participants share tools, so I thought I could apply that model to Pinterest. So my idea is to have a Pinterest Show and Tell.

I'll start the session describing Pinterest for those that may not be using it yet. Then I'll share ways that teachers can use Pinterest, boards they might want to follow, and share a few of the best ideas I've seen and tried. Then the sharing begins. Teachers will send pictures of projects they've tried ahead of time so I can display them or bring the project with them to show the group. I will invite everyone to share their Pinterest account names so we can connect with each other and create group boards.

I think this will be a fun session. I'll write another post to let you know how it goes. Right now it looks like I'll be doing this at the end of September. If you have a Pinterest Show and Tell I would love to hear about it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

PD With Two Snaps and a Twist

Any In Living Color fans out there? Anybody? Maybe its just me. You may remember the PD With a Twist session I was lucky enough to present with Tiffany Whitehead. I presented a modified version at the Upstate Technology Conference with my buddies, Kristen and Monique. The librarians have become a major force in offering professional development for our district and we have done several unique programs, many of which are mentioned in the presentation. This year we were asked by our district office to put together more professional development options for our teachers.
Our 21 Things program was extremely popular last year so we wanted to do another self paced option. The only downside to self paced courses is a lack of face to face time so we wanted to have a more traditional option as well. Luckily I found inspiration from my PLN. I'm excited about what we are working on and feel that it steps it up even more than what we offered last year.
Our two new programs are Tech Flex and Level Up Tech Quest.

Tech Flex
I attended an AASL Webinar called "Tech Flex: A No Cost Staff Technology Training Program Organized and Guided by the Librarian" after seeing it advertised on Twitter. The webinar was presented by the librarian and assistant principal at Peter Township High School. They shared their Tech Flex program here. I was inspired. Kristen, Monique and I worked on a similar program. The flyer is below, designed by the talented Kristen Hearne. We are still putting the wiki together and hope to have something similar in organization to the TL Virtual Cafe wiki. Teacher presenters will receive a badge to add to their web page that says "I flexed by tech" and receive additional renewal credit hours.

Tech Flex Flyer
View more documents from khearne

Level Up Tech Quest
My PLN came to the rescue again for this idea. I'm participating in the Level Up Book Club this summer. During a Twitter chat, fellow book clubber and librarian, Aimee Bartis, mentioned a gaming professional development course in the works at her school. I had already been brainstorming a reading program with a gaming model, but had not considered it for PD. This was great! Using ideas from the book and the gaming aspects of the book club we came up with a professional development gaming program that would work for our school. Check out the flyer below. Our wiki is under construction, but you can see it here. To see the other ten challenges, click on Pages and Files. We're only putting the pages in the navigation tab when we begin that challenge to keep our teachers together as we progress through the year. We're going to use badges in Edmodo to reward our participants after each challenge. You can see the other details on the wiki and flyer.

Level Up Tech Quest Flyer
View more documents from khearne

I originally wanted to wait until the wikis were complete to blog about the programs, but I thought these ideas might inspire some of you so I'm sharing everything in its is current state. I wanted you to have time to think about it before school starts. I was inspired by others and hope that I can pass it on by sharing here. I would love to hear about the PD programs you are working on and if you try something I've shared here please let me know. My administrators are very impressed when our ideas spread. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

RSS Reader Clean Up

My family will be traveling soon and there will NOT be internet access. Two whole weeks! I'm both nervous and excited about this. Who am I kidding? I'm completely nervous and unsettled about this. Maybe that is an indication that I need to get away from my social media habit for a while. I think I'll be fine without most sites for a little while, like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. There is no way to keep up with everything that goes on these sites so I think I can just pick up right where I left off when I return to civilization. I am most upset that I will not be able to check my reader for two weeks. I read so many blogs that I think there will be hundreds of posts waiting on me. I know that I can click "Mark all as read", but I NEVER do that. I might miss the next Comic Life Tutorial from the Daring Librarian, the awesome library program created by Jennifer LaGarde, the update on Tiffany Whitehead's new library or the best middle grade novels from Mrs. Yingling or Mrs. Readerpantz. I can't let myself skip them.
My solution was to take this opportunity to clean out my reader. I often read blogs on a mobile device so unsubscribing isn't very easy and I just put off cleaning out those that I lost interest in. Today I finally took care of it. I ruthlessly weeded my feed and even dumped a few blogs that are well loved in the library world. I kept the blogs that genuinely inspire me, motivate me, provide practical and useful ideas, and support middle grade collection development. If you didn't make the list. I am sorry! You're probably not reading anyway though:)
These are the blogs that I'm keeping:

Book Review Blogs:
Amity Middle School-Bethany Book Blog- Love this blog because it is geared towards middle school and they share a wide range of books, including YA that is still Ok for my kids.
BookTalk: KidsRead: This blog is maintained by the King County Library System in Washington. They have an adult and teen section as well, but I read this one for middle grade books and books for my young son.
Story Snoops Blog: This blog shares great lists of books based on theme, suggestions for promoting reading to your kids, and it is a non-library perspective. The bloggers are moms and I like having that perspective on reviews.
GreenBeanTeenQueen: YA book reviewer. Love her YA movie news updates.
Guys Lit Wire: Reviews of boy friendly books. Not always Ok for middle school, but I feel strongly about providing materials for my boys so I appreciate this blog.
INK: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids: Started following this blog because of the Common Core standards. NF authors write posts about research, their books, school visits and more.
Miss Christine: Middle grade book reviews from an Iowa librarian.
Mrs. Hill's Book Blog: Middle grade and YA book reviews.
Mrs. Readerpantz: Love this blog. She includes a Bottom Line, Readalikes and Content sections to her reviews. Also shares program ideas, top ten lists and more. If you are in middle school you must read her blog and...
Ms. Yingling Reads: Middle grade reviews. I like that she shares the strengths and weaknesses of each book and she often picks boy friendly books.
Talking About Teen Books: YA book reviews.
Teach Mentor Texts: Reviews of all levels of books. I really like that they give you the age range to read alone or with teacher, complementary books, reading and writing strategies to address, writing prompts and topics covered for each review.
The Nonfiction Detectives: Two librarians review nonfiction. Another addition for me since getting into the Common Core standards.
YA Love: YA reviews, but many are Ok for middle school.

The Life of a Librarian:
Better When Read- I like this blog because she is new to the profession, just finished her first year. She shares her challenges and thoughts as she begins her career (sounds like me:).
Library Displays: This blog shares displays ideas. A weakness of mine.
Love Chapter Books: Kelli Beason just started blogging and I found her blog after she commented on one of my posts. I like what she has written so far and look forward to reading more.
Mighty Little Librarian: I just <3 Tiffany Whitehead. I'm sure you do too. Great ideas for middle school, technology, and libraries in general. Reading her blog turned into a friendship that I hold dear.
The Busy Librarian: I "met" Matthew Winner through the Level Up Book Club. Can't believe I didn't know about his blog before this. Great stuff here.
The Daring Librarian: Gwyneth Jones' blog. Really...don't you read this already? Of course you do.
True Adventures of a High School Librarian: Nikki Robertson's blog. She is a co-founder of EdCamp Atlanta. She also has a great Pinterest collection that you must follow. Can't wait to meet her in ATL.
TLT: Teen Librarian's Toolbox: You should follow for the graphics she shares, but stay for the great ideas and content.
Try Curiosity: Elementary book talks and lessons from a librarian at an international school in Hungary.
Watch.Connect.Read: John Schumacher's elementary blog. Love his Newbery Challenge videos, book trailers, author interviews and passion.

Carolina Librarians:
Auntie Librarian: Jennifer Tazerouti's blog about her middle school library. She has an infectious attitude.
Cathy Nelson's Professional Thoughts: Cathy's blog is widely read and rewarded so she doesn't need my endorsement, but I love reading fellow SC librarian, Cathy Nelson.
Dear Diary, my teen angst has a book count...and a blog: The book review blog from Jennifer Chesney. A high school librarian that I am proud to work with in my district.
Informania: Fran Bullington has to be one of the sweetest people ever. She shares her thoughts, ideas and concerns about librarianship here. She is my advocacy guru!
It All Started in the Library...: This is my buddy, Lorena Swetnam's blog. She is a middle school librarian in SC. She just started blogging this summer and I've already learned from her. You should too.
Knight Reader: Kelly Knight is a voracious reader. She reviews YA books here but also has a Knight Reader Junior now that she is an elementary librarian. And one of the coolest blog names ever.
Tech Tips and Timely Tidbits: Our state organization's president, Heather Loy, blogs here. Love keeping up with her adventures and ideas.
The Adventures of Library Girl: Jennifer LaGarde's awesome, award winning blog where she shares programming ideas, advocacy ideas and more. I signed up to present at NC's library conference so I can meet her! Surely you already read this!
The Candid Librarian: Jennifer Northrup's blog about her middle school library. Can't wait to meet her soon and hang with her at the NC conference.
The Librarian in the Middle: Kristen Hearne's blog that mixes book reviews and technology. I love this concept and I'm privileged to be able to work with Kristen in my district. One of my favorite librarians on the planet.
This Space Reserved: This spot is reserved for Monique German. She is a middle school librarian in my district. I've mentioned her in blog posts before. She has spectacular ideas, an upbeat attitude, and she almost never tells me I'm crazy even though she probably thinks it:) Kristen and I have encouraged her to blog and she is such a perfectionist that she is still planning it out. Can't wait to add you to my reader one day, Monique:)

Librarianship- Big Picture:
District Dispatch: This is the ALA Washington Office's blog. They share legislation and other national issues related to librarianship.
Blue Skunk Blog: Doug Johnson's blog. His posts make me think and often laugh at his snarky sense of humor.
Neverending Search: Joyce Valenza's blog. I think it is a requirement to read this to keep your license.
Not So Distant Future: Libraries and technology. What more do you want?
The Book Whisperer: I'm putting Donalyn Miller's blog under this heading because I think her ideas and advice about literacy are so important. If you haven't read her book. Go now!
YALSA blog: Official YALSA blog. Great for Tweets of the Week and App of the Week.

Free Tech 4 Teachers: If I had to only chose one tech blog to read this would be it for me.
Toys to Tools: Liz Kolb's blog about using cell phones in education. This is my favorite tech topic so I love this blog even though she doesn't always post very often.
I Education Apps Review: App reviews by educators. I'm always on the look out for more apps.
Learning in Hand: Tony Vincent's awesome blog on all things Apple. If you have Apple products at home or at school you should look at his site.

Just Because:
Daily Infographic: As the title describes they share one infographic each day. I really like infographics. I learn something every day and sometimes they are directly related to reading or education.
J's Everyday Fashion: I found this blog on Pinterest and started following because I am fashion challenged. I would wear a uniform if I could. She has cute fashion ideas and they are affordable.
Level Up Book Club: I'm participating in this book club so I'm dutifully reading and completing my book club assignments:)
Nerdy Book Club: If you're reading this you are a nerd. You should join the Nerdy Book Club and make it official. Book reviews, book promotion, reading lives posts and more.

I know what you're thinking. I thought she cleaned out her reader! Well, I tried to warn you that I like to read blogs. Now you see why I'm panicked about a two week hiatus. I hope that you find a few blogs that you like from this list. What am I missing that I MUST add?
I was reminded how wonderful the librarians are in my district and state. Look at that list! Wow. You're right, Cathy, we need to give a blog award from our state organization.