Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mexico IB Workshop

I led my 1st IB Extended Essay Workshop in Mexico City!  It was stressful, but successful :)  A lot of planning and organizing to make sure things went smoothly.  The teachers and administrators at the school were great!  I wish I would have had an extra couple of days to stay with them.

I did get to extend my stay to visit with friends and do some sightseeing.  I have over 300 pictures.  I may have been a bit of a shutterbug.

It's hard to share my experience with students because the experience was more professional than having a direct impact in the classroom.  But I did manage to buy some Day of the Dead decorations, make Mexican flags and put up some of my photos.  I put up my favorite pictures that sort of defined my impressions of Mexico City.  I put captions next to my pictures for the students to read and let the Spanish teachers in my building know what I did.  So, I AM sharing my experiences and I hope the students will enjoy my pictures.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New EdTech Stuff to try

Some new and not so new Educational Technology.  I just shared this with my staff.

Across the curriculum:
Diigo http://diigo.com/ - online bookmarking service

International-mindedness in a nutshell via the global wombat? Just for fun. http://www.globalcommunity.org/flash/wombat.shtml

40 interesting ways to use QR Codes http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/Heather_at_Oxford-1214900-using-qr-codes-the-classroom/

Yummy Math http://www.yummymath.com/  - is a website designed for the purpose of
sharing mathematics problems and scenarios based on
things happening in the world today.

Web 2.0 Scientific Calculator http://web2.0calc.com/ - can be embedded into Moodle or other website.

Chemistry Education Digital Library http://www.chemeddl.org/
Sumanas http://www.sumanasinc.com/webcontent/animation.html
Periodic Table of Comic Books http://www.uky.edu/Projects/Chemcomics/index.html
Google Body Browser - http://www.zygotebody.com/#

Time Rime -  http://www.timerime.com/  allows users to create timelines that include text, images,
audio, and video.
History Pin - http://www.historypin.com/

Language Arts:
Visuwords – online graphical dictionary http://www.visuwords.com/

Health & PE:
Sugar Stacks http://www.sugarstacks.com/

Friday, October 14, 2011

Working in a library...

What People Don't Get About Working in a Library


I like it!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Library tid-bit's from this week!

Do you love to knit AND read???  Check out "A Knitter's Home Companion"  It's making waves in the book world.  http://mcbookwords.blogspot.com/2011/09/michelle-edwards-knitters-home.html

Get SB-CEU's through Michigan LearnPort http://www.learnport.org/

Our new Destiny Quest access point for all 3 campuses!!!  Search the IA libraries from anywhere.  http://www.iatoday.org/student-info/destiny-quest

Do your students need a Michigan E Library refresher???  This is a pretty good video.  It focuses on the Teen Gateway.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VXUCL4qs54

AMAZING DATABASE STATISTICS!!!  For the month of August 2011!!!

Total databases sessions = 19143 (Inside usage = 18497, Remote usage = 646)
Most popular databases = Gale Virtual Reference Library, Opposing Viewpoints, General OneFile

We're participating in the Letters About Literature contest again this year.  It's open to students at all campuses.  We put up a bulletin board at Central to advertise.  http://www.lettersaboutliterature.org/  Students will get a Moodle message from me :)

We now have access to some "Early Journal Articles" through JSTOR.  Journals published prior to 1923.  It might help some of our EE Students.  I'll put a link to it on our Research Database page.  Here is more info:
Here is the YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPsgt4YpE4o

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What Students Don't Know

Great article!  I feel like I work pretty hard to let students know that I am there to help them with research.  I do a lot of communicating by email and I think that helps.  But it's hard to do research like this in a public high school...  What Students Don't Know

Shakespeare Tube Map

Here is another graphic that all teachers of Shakespeare will love!  It's been in my inbox forever and I thought today would be a good day to share :)

History of Science Fiction

This image and link was shared by one of our IB Language A teachers.  I am a fan of Science Fiction and I am pretty impressed by this drawing.  I figured it was worth sharing.

Here is the original link for the image.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Open House 2011

Last night was our New Parent Orientation from 6pm -7pm and then we had Open House from 7pm - 9pm.

We welcomed the new parents and tried to answer all their questions. I gave them the run down of joining the parent list-serv, logging onto Zangle and using the IA Amazon store. I also gave a brief introduction to the library with some vital stats and how to access our resources.

As Open House started, we welcomed our returning parents and I started directing traffic. Parents follow their son/daughters schedule for the day. They visited 8 classes in just under 2 hours. It seemed like a pretty good showing. I don't have actual numbers, but the hallways were crowded and I answered a lot of questions. Hopefully we will get more traffic in the library during Parent-Teacher conferences. I am planning our FIRST EVER IA Book Fair! I hope to see a lot of book shoppers :)

Website Evaluation with 9th graders

We are finishing up week 2 at the IA *gasp* and so far...things are good. I have gotten to work 9 classes of freshmen and I'll work with the last 3 at our West campus next week. Since our students come from so many districts, I start with the basics so that all of our students are starting at the same place.

Their first library lesson was Website Evaluation. My guiding question for the lesson was "How do we determine what information sources to trust?" I have a presentation, lots of examples, some short videos and then a homework assignment. Students are asked to find a website and evaluate it according to the standards that I have given them for academic research. Our students sometimes struggle with determining if the author is an expert or not. I found this great video on YouTube this year and I think it did a great job of illustrating my point. The students seemed to enjoy it, so I think it will stick :)

I've been maintaining a orientation wiki for several years now and I've updated with materials for this year. This is the IA Orientation Wiki. It has been allowing me to collaborate with students across 3 campuses and it keeps my lessons nicely organized and easy for students to access. All good things :)

New Teacher Orientation

A few days before we started school on August 16, we held a new teacher orientation to welcome new teachers to our staff. It's usually a 4-5 hour day that ends up being information overload. There is so much information to convey in terms of IB Philosophy, IA curriculum, policies & procedures, not to mention the technology. We have about 1-2 hours to introduce Zangle, Moodle, Gale Databases, Destiny Quest, the IA Amazon Store, Discovery Education, Atomic Learning, EasyBib and Turnitin.com. So, I know that this is a lot of information to absorb...I make handy-dandy folders.

While there are a lot of accounts being set up and navigating the new software, I hope that the biggest take away of the day is that we integrate technology into all aspects of our curriculum. Integrating technology is my speciality and I look forward to working with our new teachers!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bright Young Things book review

Just finished reviewing this book today. It was a fun read!

Godbersen, Anna

Bright Young Things

Harper 2010 978-0-06-196266-0

$17.99 Grade Level: S Number of Pages: 389

VOYA Rating: 4Q 4P

Highly Recommended

The story begins in small town Ohio, with two girls having a dream of living in New York City. They make the decision to run away and try their luck in New York. Cordelia is on a mission to find her father and Letty wants to make it big as an actress/singer. Prohibition is going strong, but the availability of alcohol and speakeasies seem endless. Upon arrival by train to New York, the girls are in awe of the sprawling big city. They take a room at the Washborne Residence for Unmarried Women and are promptly kicked out for accidentally breaking the rules. Cordelia and Letty get into an argument and go their separate ways. Cordelia makes her way to her father’s house, the famous bootlegger Darius Grey, and quickly climbs the social ladder. Meanwhile, Letty gets a job as a cigarette girl at a speakeasy and keeps pursing her aspirations as a singer. Both girls are now on their separate paths. Both meet boys that they like and deal with various tragedies that befall them. Whether or not their paths cross again makes the reader want to keep reading the story.

The book was an enjoyable read. Fans of historical fiction will like fast pace of the story. The dialogue is fun to read and despite the character flaws, they are likable. The story brings to life the glamorous life of flappers, speakeasies and high society during prohibition. Bootleggers quickly climbed the social ladder because of their newfound wealth. There are elements of history, romance, action, intrigue and glamour. There are a few sex scenes, not really any detail. Alcohol plays a large part in the story, but it seems to be historically accurate.

I think that the average high school girl would enjoy this story. I also think that young adults interested in the Prohibition Era would love this book. It would be a good teacher recommendation to students while studying the 1920s-30s. It would also make for an enjoyable book club selection. The choices that the characters make are good starting points for conversation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Paranormalcy Book Review

Author (Last name first): White, Kiersten
Title of the Book: Paranormalcy
Publisher: HarperTeen Date of Publication: 2010 ISBN# 978-0-06-198584-3
Price: $16.99 Grade Level: M/S (Grade 8 up) Number of Pages: 335
VOYA Rating: 3Q 2P

Evie, 16, has been working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) since she can remember. Evie’s best friend is a mermaid named Alisha, who runs the main computer for the IPCA. Evie’s “mom” figure is her boss named Raquel. Raquel means well, but Evie begins through the story that not all is as it seems. A normal day at the IPCA is for Evie to go out on a mission and bag and tag a vampire. Sometimes she has to use her taser. Evie is one of the IPCA’s best agents because she can see through paranormal glamour. No paranormal can hide from Evie. Evie is being romantically pursued by a Faerie named Reth, that she absolutely loathes. However, the love triangle starts when Evie is intrigued by a captured paranormal named Lend. The IPCA does not know what he is, nor do they know what he wants. Evie becomes close friends with him and finds out that he is there for her. Soon, the IPCA is attacked and Evie escapes with Lend, unharmed. The truth begins to come out about the IPCA and why Evie can see through glamour.

Evie becomes a part of two worlds. The normal teen world, that she longs to be in and the paranormal world that she has been in ever since she can remember. Evie begins to discover new things about herself and she begins to fall in love. This book will definitely appeal to teens who enjoy paranormal characters. The story flows pretty well, but I do think that the author tried to cram in too many types of paranormal people. For the first book in a trilogy, it was almost too much. There are humans, vampires, warewolves, Seelie and Unseelie faeries, mermaids, zombies, gremlins, immortals, spirits, banshees, hags, witches, and a being named Vivian who is the evil one in this story. It helps to have a background in each of these creatures to make the story more understandable because there is not enough detail in the book. The ending was satisfying in terms of the love triangle, but there were many unanswered questions about the paranormals.

I would say that this book is appropriate for a high school library. There is some implied profanity, always written as “bleep.” The cover art is really beautiful and will grab readers. This book can be recommended for free-reads, school library book-clubs and would make a decent addition to a school library. I do not really see it being integrated into a formal curriculum. Students could have fun creating book trailers if they enjoy the story. I don’t think there is much that parents would object to, besides the idea of paranormal beings. I think the paranormal genre is popular right now, so it will appeal to teen readers.

Recommended with Caution

I also found a good book trailer:

Playing with Tagxedo

Just sent this info to all IA Staff

Get books (including textbooks) delivered to your door. Just like Netflix J http://www.bookswim.com/index.html It’s called BookSwim and it’s brand new.

In case you ever have interested students…Building an LGBT-Inclusive Family Library: LGBT parents in children’s and young adult literature http://blythe723.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/lgbtparents/

Web 2.0 Tools for Math Educators


Virtual Math Manipulatives for SmartBoards http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/vlibrary.html

Physics to Go http://www.compadre.org/informal/

Did you know that book trailers exist? (Like movie trailers) If you ever want to promote a book in your classroom…try here first http://booktrailersforall.com/ Most can be embedded into your Moodle page.

The JFK library has been digitized http://www.jfklibrary.org/

Friday, February 18, 2011

Now this is a cool product for school

I LOVE this idea for school! I need to get some Idea Paint for my library. The walls are really drab anyway. Now to find money...


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Interesting Science Site I just shared with my Science Dept.

It's not often that I get excited about Science sites...probably due to my humanities based brain...but this site is cool. http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/ I just shared it with my Science Department figuring that if I got excited about it, some non-science students might get excited about it :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My response to an ASCD EL article - Teaching the iGeneration

Let me preface my response by saying that I don't normally comment on articles because it takes up work time that I use for doing other things. I have a HUGE stack of professional journals that I plan on getting through...someday...I'll post a picture of it sometime soon...:) I'm going to be honest here and say that "soon" usually ends up being a few months. The only reason I picked up the latest issue of Educational Leadership is because my Assistant Principal stopped by my desk yesterday and mentioned that he would like to read EL when I was done with it. *sigh* That meant it had to go to the top of the reading pile because somebody was waiting for it. That "somebody" being an administrator....it climbed up a few more notches on my priority list. So, I read it this morning.

At the end of this academic year, I will have been co-chair of our state mandated school improvement committee. I will have planned and executed countless professional development days for a teaching staff of about 80 spread out over 3 campuses. As a public school, budgets are tight, class sizes are getting bigger and the IB curriculum is still demanding excellence from its students and teachers. Despite numerous obstacles, we are integrating technology into every course we offer, we have each and every teacher using Moodle, we have access to millions of dollars worth of academic research databases and our library is available to students 24/7.

It is a soul crushing, professional existence, to have to justify/explain my job ALL the time. Some of the academic world tends to understand my job description and I enjoy a brief sense of professional acceptance. There is not a doubt in my mind, the school librarian stereotype of the shushing, old lady, bun-in -the hair, sitting at the desk, stamping books prevails. No matter how hard I work to be a leader in educational technology, provide professional development workshops in new software and hardware, integrate Web 2.0 activities in all aspects of our curriculum - reading professional education journals that completely dismiss my role in education makes me tired. Tired, burned out and disappointed. With all the librarian blogs out there, the conferences, the magazine and journals, studies, organizations, campaigns for saving school and public libraries, librarians on Twitter, facebook, etc, etc... There is still a limited understanding of the role of school and university librarians.

On to the article:
Larry D. Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, wrote the following in his article "Teaching the iGeneration" in the February 2011 issue of Educational Leadership, "When I talk to teachers, the first comment I often hear is, "How can I find time to locate and organize all these online sources?" One answer is to use a knowledge broker—someone who helps you identify online resources. Your knowledge broker can be a techsavvy older student, a local community college student, or even a parent. Give the knowledge broker the task of identifying possible resources that you can use to support your curriculum" (Rosen, 14).

I have to (respectfully) completely and totally disagree with this statement. Why on earth would a teacher allow a non-professional to select curricular materials for students? Would we allow older students and parents to select the textbook? How do students and parents know what state and/or Common Core standards need to be met? I WISH this article would have given the advice of the time-strapped history teacher to pay a visit to the school librarian. The school librarian IS the "knowledge broker" of the school. They are the ones with a Master's degree in information retrieval, research, and 21st century technology knowledge. We also have ISTE, AASL and state standards to meet. We also have an overview of what is going on in most classrooms so that cross-curricular connections are made through us.

In the history teacher example, I believe the history teacher is the expert in content knowledge. The school librarian (Media Specialist, teacher-librarian) is the research and technology integration expert. The 2 people working together in a collaborative environment is how things are supposed to work in a school. There are an infinite number of valuable free websites out there in cyberspace. There is also a lot of garbage that is full of bias, historical revisionism, hoaxes and other subtle misinformation that the average person might not catch. There is also a overwhelming amount of information available in research databases and other paid sites that schools subscribe to. It is impossible for classroom teachers to remember all this when putting together lesson plans or setting up their online classroom management systems. That is why they work with the school librarian. To provide their students with the best quality resources avilable to that particular school.

If I was to work with a history teacher here, I would first search for an article in the History in Dispute series that I have available in the Gale Virtual Reference Library. I would post that article (which presents multiple persepctives) in Moodle. I would look in Discovery Education United Streaming to find historical footage from real documentaries. I would make sure that students (and the teacher) are familiar with the Gale World History in Context database and include a widget for that particular database in their history class on Moodle. I would provide links to credible information on sites like the Library of Congress, British National Archives, museums, historical societies, etc. I would check YouTube for relevant clips as long as the source is clear (I would not link to student projects as the information might not be 100% accurate). To integrate technology, I would propose setting up a wiki like this (yes, EVERY 10th grader at our 3 campuses did this project)


Every 11th grader did this project

integrate a Twitter feed like this (needs some tweaking, but it was my first attempt to bring Twitter into the classroom)

Make digital stories like this (I was quite proud of this student)

I could go on...
These projects happened because of the work I did in collaborating with history teachers. I think we did a pretty good job. Not only did the students get amazing technology experience, but they learned tons of history content and they learned valuable research skills while using library resources.

I am an enthusiastic supporter of all things technology. I am a supporter in having schools experiment with and implement social networking, ebooks, ereaders, research databases, netbooks, cell phones in the classroom, Web 2.0 technologies, SMARTboards, online classes, iPods and iPads and whatever new comes out. In the end, everything needs to have some sort of educational value. Students need to have learned something new and state standards need to be met. This cannot be accomplished without knowledgeable classroom teachers and certified school librarians.

I market, promote, teach, integrate, learn, write, blog, twitter, facebook, skype, yammer, attend conferences (both library and educational technology), listen to podcasts/webinars, read magazines, journals, newspapers, download apps onto my iPhone all in a quest to be connected and stay on the cutting edge. What more can I possibly do to make others understand how valuable school libraries are?

Maybe it comes down to our title? Instead of Media Specialist, librarian, school librarian, teacher-librarian -- we need to start writing information retrieval specialist, knowledge broker, educational technology integrator, knowledge processor, critical thinking teacher, Moodle Goddess.....

This particular article served as a catalyst for me and the articles I have read over the years that gloss over or ignore the role of a school librarian. I am a bit disappointed in ASCD for not consistently promoting the role of Media Specialists. We ARE the teachers with the education and certification to be the school leaders in implementing technology in classrooms around the world!

My interview on Bloomfield Community TV

So, being in a tv studio was a new experience for me. I didn't really know what to expect, but I left really impressed with the quality and professionalism of the Bloomfield Community TV Studio. I was nervous about the whole thing, but all in all, I think it turned out well and I hope that it give viewers an idea of what it is like to be a school librarian.

International Academy from Bloomfield Township on Vimeo.