A Few of My Favorite Things – September 2014

http://goo.gl/jLEaSd 

This summer, I saw a post on Amanda Michelle’s Blog on her July favorites and I was totally inspired to do this same format on my own blog, but with tools, resources, videos, blog posts, etc. that are related to education. This is not to say that something not related to me being a librarian might sneak its way in, but for the most part, I will feature things that are a part of what I do everyday.

I recently sent out an email to my colleagues with a list of six of my favorite things (Sept. 2014 edition). I used Blendspace to feature the six things I wanted to share with them. I didn’t receive any feedback (or not yet), but I know that many have visited the link. So now, onto a few of my favorite things…

1. EdGeekCast – This is a podcast by, for and about geeks who teach. It’s a great way to learn and connect with educators from around the country. While you listen, you can tweet questions and comments to the geek-casters. Check out their site for upcoming and archived podcasts.

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I LOVE this book! I had recently read Eleanor & Park and fell in love with Rainbow Rowell’s writing, so naturally I had to pick up Fangirl. It’s a great coming of age story about Cath, a college freshman, who is learning to define her own identity. I know I’m old and my college days are long behind me, but I found myself connecting with this character again and again. I love this quote from the book…

3. 27 Ways to Make This the Best Year Ever by Library Girl (Jennifer LaGarde) – This is an awesome post to read, reflect on and put into practice…by one of my library she-roes and favorite people!

4. Tab Scissors and Tab Glue (Chrome Extensions) – I love having dual monitors to look at when I’m working, but I’m not fortunate enough to have two monitors at work. A great work around (if you use Google Chrome) for splitting your screen are Tab Scissors and Tab Glue. I first heard about these extensions at ISTE 2014 over the summer. I’ve been using them ever since. Both extensions can be added to your Chrome account by accessing the Chrome Webstore and downloading them. Tab Scissors will split the screen between two adjacent tabs, while Tab Glue will put both screens back together.

5. Exit Ticket by Barbara Gruener (@BarbaraGruener) – I came across this exit ticket idea during the #nctlchat on Twitter one Sunday night. I loved the way she featured words around the edges of the ticket to help spark her students’ thinking and reflection. I believe she gives her students print copies, but this could easily be formatted for a paperless environment. I am a huge advocate for giving students a voice and allowing them to reflect. There is so much power in formative assessment!

6. How To Use Flubaroo Video Tutorial – After a conversation with a colleague about his desire to make his classroom increasingly paperless, I came up with a solution for his desire to test and quiz his students online. We are a 1:1 Chromebook school, so using Google Drive is a daily thing for us. He was making quizzes in Google Forms, but wanted a quick, easy way to grade these and get feedback. I suggested Flubaroo, the Google Drive add-on. Knowing how busy teachers are and how hard it is to meet face to face, I decided to create a quick video tutorial on how to install and use this add-on with a Google Form. I posted the video to my school YouTube channel and then sent it out to all of the staff at my school. Video tutorials are a great way to help people learn when its convenient for them! I’ve posted the video below for you.

 

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You Control the Image of Your School

Last night, as I watched the Ed Tech Geek Cast, I couldn’t get this quote out of my head. The thought that my words and actions control the image of the school really stuck with me.

I am a huge advocate of social media and its power to connect me to people, tools, and resources. I love Twitter and Instagram and I pin like my life depends on it. The thought that my thoughts can influence how others see our school is very powerful.

It’s so easy, at the end of a long, hard day, to air frustrations online; however, this can send a negative message to students, other staff, and the community. When I think about how I want others to view our school, I realize that I want them to see its beauty as clearly as I do. I want the community to understand that our students are so much more than test scores to us. I want everyone to know that our students matter and that’s how we operate.

One of my new goals for the year is not to paint this picture, but to use what happens everyday here at CCHS to tell this story.

 

Weeks 1 & 2 of Knighthood at CCHS

After being at the same school for 9 years, the thought of leaving and starting over somewhere else scared me to death. Being the new kid on the block is never fun, especially when you have 70+ new colleagues’ names to learn and over 1000 students to get to know.

It’s been a VERY fast 2 weeks with giving out Chromebooks and servicing tons of classes. But, I have to say, being a knight has been nothing but rewarding. I love my new home; actually, I love it to death. Everyone in Currituck has been warm and welcoming. They’re happy to have me, and they’ve been sure to let me know this. This has really made being the new kid less awkward. And I have to mention that I have an AMAZING assistant who has helped me keep my head above water the past 3 weeks.

Taking over this library has been an awesome experience so far! I have inherited a great collection full of awesome non-fiction and fiction titles and tons of graphic novels, comics, and Manga. I have a corporate Amazon account, so I can order what we need and get it when we need it! Oh and CCHS is a 1:1 Chromebook school, so getting technology into students’ and teachers’ hands is not as much of a struggle as it has been for me in the past. The school itself is totally student centered; always keeping their best interests in mind. I also love that at CCHS, students are treated as the young adults that they are. They are given freedom and responsibility and are expected to act accordingly. They are given the chance to make choices, instead of having to earn that chance.

My goals for the school year have changed drastically with my move to CCHS. Of course I am still working on helping teachers and students integrate technology into learning, spreading the gospel of digital citizenship, and helping students discover their passion for reading; but with more access to resources, more freedom in my daily schedule, and an administration that loves giving students choice and thinking outside of the box, I have big hopes and plans for my programming this year! My colleague and I have already started excitedly discussing ideas we have for things to get students and staff participating in the library. From makerspace areas to pedicures to food tastings to apps and tools slams, we are ready to get the 2014-2015 school year going!

My ultimate goal this year is to create a participatory culture in the library, one that will get teachers and students into the space, without the allure of a computer lab or laptop carts…because at the end of the day, the space is just space if no one is using it!