My head is still reeling from the NCSLMA 2015 Conference. Between presenting and running the Organization’s social media campaign, I left Winston Salem exhausted – but in the best possible way. Mollee and I planned and prepared months ahead of time to ensure that we would be able to build excitement and encourage all of the conference attendees to become more active participants through social media. Our goal was to give members easy and accessible ways to make connections, be heard and learn and grow from their PLNs. After seeing all of the tweets, I feel confident that we accomplished our goal. Now the big question is, can we get members to keep up the same momentum and enthusiasm now that NCSLMA15 is over!?!
During the conference, Mollee and I tweeted out challenge questions that attendees could answer for a chance to win prizes. Since we were so caught up in following the hashtag, choosing winners and using social media to document the conference, Mollee and I rarely had the opportunity to reflect on our own experiences over the 2 days.
So now, I want to answer some of the questions that attendees were given on Thursday and Friday.
- What is the top title on your TBR list?
I have multiple books that I can’t wait to read, but I’m most excited to tear into Carry On. Rainbow Rowell is my favorite.
- What has inspired you the most so far?
“There is no textbook for modern library service. We are writing it together.” -Joyce Valenza
Everything she says is inspirational, but this statement really stuck with me. It’s so easy for us to compare ourselves to others who have more, do more, say more, get more recognition – BUT we just can’t do that, it’s not healthy. All of our libraries are different. We serve different kids. We live in different areas. We have different funding. Our philosophies of service are not all created equal. The one thing we do have in common, is that we all do what we do because of our kids.
- Share one memorable quote from #NCSLMA15.
Where do I begin!?! Everything could be a memorable quote. One of my favorites came from Sedley Abercrombie, NCSLMA President-Elect. She tweeted, “I seriously have the BEST. JOB. EVER!”
I agree 100%.
- What is your favorite resource or tool from any session you’ve go to so far?
I think it’s impossible for me to narrow this down to 1 single resource. I can say that I am most excited about all of the coding resources that I came across in sessions that I attended.
- What is one thing you’re ready to go back to your school and work on?
- Expand the library’s makerspace
- Begin a coding club
- Build a program that teachers digital leadership
The enthusiasm that everyone had at the conference has re-energized me and made me very passionate about finding ways to give all of our members a voice. I can only hope that the conference attendees will now be filled with the confidence to make connections, be heard and become a more participatory part of their own PLNs.
My friend, partner in crime, and friend Mollee and I decided we wanted to have our students collaborate again this year on a project. We’ve both been using Aurasma in our libraries and thought that this would be a great way to have our kids interact and learn from each other. We both sought out English teachers who we knew would be willing to play. After listening to their concerns/needs for their students, our project was born.
We decided to partner Mrs. Gregory’s Honors English IV students and AIG 5th grade students from Manteo Elementary School to complete a collaborative book commercial project. The idea of this project is for CCHS students to create auras (augmented reality) that will help explain and teach about literary terms/devices, summarizing techniques and the ins and outs of creating a good book commercial. This project allows Mrs. Gregory to meet her goals, as well as, the AIG teacher from MES to meet hers.
I will be co-teaching with Mrs. Gregory during the project. On the first day, we will introduce students to the project, go over the purpose, and do mini lessons on Google Slides and recording videos with Chromebooks. During the second day, I will lead the class in how to create auras using Aurasma Studio and the Aurasma mobile app.
Project Directions for English IV Students
I’m super excited to get this project under way and can’t wait to see what our kids produce to teach the 5th graders.
Before beginning this post, I would like to say that I am forever grateful for Buffy Hamilton and her willingness to share (in depth) what she does with her students. Much of the inquiry based learning activities and written conversation activities I do are based on things she has so unselfishly shared with the world! This is why she is at the top of my librarian shero list!!
An English I teacher, Ms. Page, and I have worked collaboratively to create an engaging, inquiry based project for her English I students. Over the course of the semester, her students will use themes, archetypes and issues from their self selected reading books to completed inquiry based learning. After meeting a few times to talk about the goals of the learning experience, she and I began the project on Mon., Sept. 28th with topic exploration. Students came to the library with an umbrella topic and two narrowed down topics under that umbrella. I then taught them how to utilize the databases located on NCWISEOwl.org and we let them spend some time exploring their topics. This time is instrumental in helping students create good driving questions for their inquiry because they are able to spend time fleshing out their topics and seeing what types of resources are available. The topic exploration lasted two days and concluded on day two with students mindmapping their topics. These mindmaps included the two narrowed down topics. For each narrowed down topic, students were expected to:
- Find two resources/information sources (at least one had to be from a database)
- Include three facts/interesting things from each information source
- The search terms used to located each information source
- The title and location of each information source
These mindmaps helped students to visualize their search process and will be used to formulate their driving question for inquiry.
We will continue this project over the remaining months of the semester. Our next step is formulating inquiry questions and giving them time to research these questions. The outcome of this next step will be an annotated bibliography.
I haven’t blogged since this summer. I’d like to say it wasn’t intentional, but it was. The beginning of the school year was hard – very hard, actually – for me. As thankful as I am that we are a 1:1 school, this advantage sometimes feels like a curse. The first few weeks of school were riddled with stress and technology failure, not to mention we had to be closed for 2 1/2 weeks! Not only did I have to give out 1,000 Chromebooks, I was forced to give our rising 9th graders the same devices they had in middle school. This meant hours of lugging heavy storage containers all around the library and lifting device after device as we had to alphabetize 300 of them. As if this wasn’t enough, we have major technology malfunctions; everything from updates not pushing through automatically to massive wifi failure. And the hardest part, people automatically look to the library for answers, and I had none.
When I think about the beginning of the school year and all of the stress I was under, I remember going home multiple nights in tears because I felt like I wasn’t serving my students and colleagues in the way which they deserve. Even though most of what was going on was out of my control, I internalized it all and blamed myself. This is why I didn’t blog – because I didn’t have anything good to say.
Now, looking back, I realize that in the midst of all of that bad, there were so many positive things happening. Teachers came to my aid, asking if there was any way they could help and praising me for my efforts. Students came to me repeatedly asking when the library would open because it’s their favorite place to be. My colleagues were excited to work with me to use technology and teaching practices that were new to them. In short, because I was so wrapped up in what’s wrong, I neglected to focus on all the things that were going right. The most important of these being that I get to go to work everyday and teach 1,100 awesome students who matter.
Call me idealistic, but I still want to change the world. And if it means that I have to have 10 bad days for every 1 good day, I’ll take those odds.
At the end of May, I was asked to become the NC School Library Media Coordinator Social Media Chair. Knowing that this position would hold a lot of responsibility, I asked my friend and follow librarian, Mollee Holloman, to co-chair the position with me. Together, we’re working to reinvent the face of the organization’s social media presence. We have revamped the blog with new columns and scheduled posts and created a monthly Twitter chat (#NCSLMAChat) that will begin on Sept. 24th. We are also the faces of the NCSLMA Twitter and Facebook accounts, posting relevant, timely information for members.
Our goal is to make the organization’s social media presence more participatory, by encouraging members to contribute to the blog and Twitter chats. The flyer below was used as our promotional kickoff to highlight the new changes for the upcoming school year.
I was recently accepted into the Friday Institute’s NCDLCN, which is an opportunity for me to learn more about being a digital leader at CCHS. This program focuses on four pillars: leadership and culture, content and curriculum, sustainability and evaluation and connected educators. Through my work with NCDLCN, over the course of the school year, I will have opportunities to build capacity in digital and personalized learning and acquire strategies and knowledge related to best practices in leadership, coaching and support of educators, students, and administrators at CCHS.
I am so excited to be a part of this network and all of the Twitter posts from the amazing people I’ll be working with this year are adding to my enthusiasm. This opportunity will give me a chance to do a lot of reflecting on my place as a leader in my building! Plus, Mollee was also accepted into NCDLCN, so we get to go on this journey together!!
Each semester, at the request of my former Professor, Dr. Jami Jones, I agree to be a featured guest for LIBS 6018 – Collection Development. This course is one that all students at ECU’s Department of Library Science must take. Dr. Jones has numerous webinars during the semester to feature librarians from different institutions; academic libraries, public libraries and school libraries. Each semester she asks me to speak on behalf of school librarians.
This webinar focuses on collection development within the school library setting. I prepare a presentation that outlines our school and my unique approach to collection development. I stress the importance of the collection in building an effective media program and outline my beliefs and practicing in developing the collection at CCHS. This is an awesome opportunity for me to teach and connect with future librarians. It’s one of my favorite things that I get to do each semester and I always look forward to it.
Dr. Jones is very complimentary of my presentations and always shares student feedback. Each webinar is recorded and this particular session can be found at: https://de207.sabameeting.com:443/GP/main/00000178e2ff0000014ec909c47e8f53.