Saturday, June 30, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
Came across this wiki full of lesson plans and other resources this week.
It offers users templates to create lessons and activities and then a place to "park" them so others can adapt and use them. It includes some textbook type materials on many subjects and full-text novels from Project Gutenberg as well.
Has very comprehensive FAQs covering its purpose, history (was originally Sun Microsystem's Global Education and Learning Community GELC), and how to join, contribute and use.
Subjects include the arts, career & technical education, foreign languages,
health, language arts, math, science, and social studies. In browsing thru the language arts portion, I came across an interesting price comparison chart to use with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry...comparing Depression prices with today's costs...easily adaptable to similar books or cross-curricular activity in math. Here is a little "movie" that displays information about force and motion from the science section.
Of course, Curriki (don't you just love that name!) isn't unique in providing support materials for teachers and their lessons...there are plenty of other great sources...Blue Web'N, Education World, FREE, Kathy Schrock's Guide, TeachersFirst. But it will be interesting to follow the growth of this particular format, I think.
Do yours here!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
|What Kind of Reader Are You? |
Your Result: Book Snob
You like to think you're one of the literati, but actually you're just a snob who can read. You read mostly for the social credit you can get out of it.
|Literate Good Citizen|
|What Kind of Reader Are You?|
Create Your Own Quiz
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
All agreed that the blogs are all as different as the people who create them. Personal taste and personal needs are reflected in the posts and in the blog rolls and other link lists that appear on the side bar!
A Chair, A Fireplace & Tea Cozy graphic novels list noted, but there is o-so-much more!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Outside of Tall Texans,* which is unique in that it is a one-time, invited experience, I find TASLA the most important professional development I can do for myself annually ...and consider myself very fortunate that my job description and my forward-thinking boss allow me the privilege of attending this group meeting.
This was my 4th year to attend. My first year, I think I was shell-shocked by the event. The 2nd year, I was clued into the procedure, and last year, I finally knew enough people, I felt like a qualified observer. This year, it was especially rewarding to renew the professional friendships I have with several people who regularly attend, and to make new relationships with new attendees. And I think I even shared enough information in the many conversations, that some even went hummmm at my points!
I, however, continue to be totally awed at the level of knowledge and professionalism of the group as a whole. The speakers are all so good and leave many points to ponder, but it is the informal networking over danish and coffee, a good sandwich at lunch, or a fun dinner downtown where the "real learning" for me takes place. This year, because I got to share the hospitality suite with this year's chair, I also attended two great late evening "bull sessions" where people's passions for kids and librarianship were clearly evident.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
She also gave a out a list of 13 booktalking hooks...they are not unique ideas, but it was nice to have them all in one place to review and reflect upon again.
She reminded us about 3-strike rule...if a kid is not connected with a book by three times in the library, he/she won't ask again for help!
From the book Swimming Upstream, a poetry book, she read and commented on the poem about the School Librarian. She replaces "school librarian" with her name!
Books that she is booktalking:
The Red Thread by Townley-- reincarnation, terrible dreams, past lives, a murder 400 yrs. old.
Runner by Deuker -- Chance, a runner who wants to go to college & gets a chance at some easy money. [ a review from Muller in the Middle blog, good place to read about books!]
Desert Crossing by Broach-- 3 friends on a road trip hit something with their car...a body of a girl is on the road. There is a bracelet involved also.
Hand of the Devil by Carter-- Ganges Red, the largest mosquito in the world is featured on the cover. Involves a hole full of body parts [ok JB, I think this is your book.]
Silent Room by Sorrels-- isolation room, a hood over your head, a breathing apparatus is hooked up to you and you are left there until you sign "the papers."...or die!
Dragon's Keep by Carey-- wears gold gloves to cover up deformed hand (one dragon's claw)...if you see it, you have to die. [author interview from Cynsations blog, another good place to read about books]
Peeps by Westerfield-- disgusting and gross! [author podcast]
Masquerade by de la Cruz--vampires!!! and the blue veins in their arms [BL, here's one for you!]
Bass Ackwards and Belly Up by Craft
Right Behind You by Giles-- psychological thriller. Would you kill for a baseball glove? "I set Bobby on fire..."
Buried by MacCready--post it notes
Harmless by Reinhardt-- telling lies
Another program of hers is Classic and Contemporary Connections: Paired Readings
It is geared towards librarians and language arts teachers--collaboration is a MUST with this program. Teachers wanted to solve the "tired" research project problem and the related plagiarism issues. Uses colored post-it notes to mark relationship between chosen book and classic..what is the SAME? She booktalks the contemporaries, but not the classics.
The reviews in Barnes & Noble are acceptable for part of the research about the pairings.
Shattering Glass by Giles matches up with The Lord of Flies, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, A Separate Peace
After by Prose matches up with Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, To Kill a Mockingbird. Island of Dr. Moreau
The Raging Quiet by Jordan matches up with Romeo and Juliet, The Crucible, Scarlet Letter, Color Purple
Truesight by Stahler (being blind in a sightless society) matches up with Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World
Responding to an audience question, Tunes for Bears to Dance To was taken off... the students could not get the significance and get a good classic match.
It's break time....humm, wonder that our treat is?
After a nice popcorn and Dr. P break, we had a business meeting...suffice it to say, it was business and it is done.
We all need to work together. He does recognize that Librarians often feel "left out" in the educational family. He reminded us about the 03 issues when we lost a voice at the agency. He doesn't like the present situation...the challenge-- live with the things as they CAN be, not with the way things were. He is committed to doing what he can.
Planting...where the first seed began
Cultivation...an essential ingredient...create a climate of knowledge and learning
Example: college readiness in not possible without knowledge of how to do research
Recommendations for LEAs
Latest technology and online resources are necessary parts of libraries
Use library standards to ensure school libraries/librarians assist classroom teachers in information literacy and tech apps learning.
He discussed how TEA and the State Library will work together to support school libraries under the new legislation that just passed. There is no edict in TEA that says libraries are not important and he wants to know if that mis-information is out there!
Take what we have and make it go farther..reevaluate where and how it goes in a spirit of cooperation.
"Their (children) success is our success."
He did review the Rider 88 for Library Resources...2.5 million each for 2008 and 2009 and SB923 School Library Study.
When in the TEA website...use ELA-Reading as the search term for finding library "stuff."
Question from audience:
TEA and State Library meeting is good but who will "represent" "us"--maybe we need a representative group to be there? Dr. Johnson said the idea is a good one, but they need to have a broad view. He will present the idea in the initial meeting.
Another audience comment:
Ways to keep school library informed thru the TEA website...a place to go and read what is happening, changes, etc.
Can we have something flowing so when school starts IN August, we can start working...not wait until September?
Look at the fiscal year...maybe the cycle needs to change.
Another audience member hopes that ALL the research about libraries and student success will be apart of all this need conversation.
Another audience member reminded him AGAIN in a very nice way that we WANT a voice, It is i-m-p-o-r-t-a-n-t.
And...who from TEA is going to make sure the schools are built according the standards correctly.
One more...can we connect the standards to some form of measure to give them weight in the scheme of things..where the community will now how our libraries stack up
His new word--sustainability. We have a "benchmark" now and we will make corrections and we will continue next year and next...
Dr. Johnson was hugely entertaining and made some tough stuff easy to get through. I really enjoyed his presentation and words.
He says he is "real" and really wants all of this good stuff to happen.
Oh, I really, really, really hope he IS. It will make looking towards the future so much better.
[Sideline--we have been joined by a church group and choir in the room next door--has added an extra dimension to our discussions.]
on to lunch...
Other changes that allowed the Librarian to interact included monthly meetings for professional dialog and planning feedback called "Meet and Model on Mondays" where the Librarian worked with different grade levels. Faculty meetings also had reading, literacy components—Librarian presented staff development on things like TeachingBooks.net, World Book, Nettrekker
The Librarian & principal had to meet with the tech dept to get additions like Nettrekker added. The Librarian is part of leadership team and the school has a united agenda before school starts
The principal removed the points-based reading program and she presented another way to instruct children in reading: change in library brought change in the culture of the whole school.
Teachers concerns—what grades & accountability?
Students – can I read anything I want?
Parents & community – will my child still be reading? The principal worked very closely with PTA to bring them on board...research, informal conversation over lunch, one-on-one office meetings.
What they did this year to develop the culture of readers:
The emphasis was on activities for reading for pleasure including:
Book character parade
Grant for book clubs – BookWORMS; used moms as club leaders; principal, asst. principal monitor in 4 & 5 grades
one of the book clubs is continuing in summer at B&N
Charlotte’s Web Literacy Night – stations, used passports for recording...kissing pig principal
Author visit – Rick Riordan [his blog]– even parents had a breakfast—again the whole community
Author visit – Rochelle Strauss [her myspace]…a science based experience to help with science scores….an opportunity of collaboration example
Author visit – Kate McMullan for the younger children...another collaboration opp with the teachers
Dr. Seuss Week
Bluebonnet Program – increased voting from 10% to 35%
Reading buddies – collaboration between 2nd graders and 8th graders and nonfiction books
The principal mentioned that even the kids discussed what was their "schema"-- they know the word…critical thinking skills are up (general test scores are good, but can be better!)
There was a laundry list of good results from all of this activity...more parental involvement, more dollars for the library, a five-year plan for library, student library advisory committee, Friends Group for the district level, appointment of Debra as Head Librarian for the district (which allowed for part-time clerical help at her campus)...and integrated lessons with the teachers and classes...at the teachers' requests!
ok...break time! Wonder what is in the goodie bag today?
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
An audience member asked: Do you have to ask the same question of each interviewee?
Her answer dealt with Consistency and Documentation
Check them against EEOC guidelines--don't ask an inappropriate question.
Yes, all should be asked and phrased the same way to each applicant and a set time for each.
Yes, you can ask a clarification question and a clarification question about their documentation.
An interview vs a courtesy interview--the audience agreed they knew what that was! You need signals for the team when this happens. You know the person is not going to get hired. Scoring sheets are needed as well. You can weight your scores...if one question is important to you that is ok.
On a phone reference what info can you receive? The person called must only verify dates of employment and verify title and salary at point of leaving. That is all they have to say. You can ask would you rehire, but they can decline to answer. Anymore is up to the other person and that should tell you volumes if they do not say anything else!
From Dr. Todaro's hand-out, in preparing new employees, an administrator should:
1. begin with your own organization's/ umbrella group's policies and procedures
2. stay current
3. proactively interpret content in writing
4. push HR information to employees and other appropriate groups--the employees need to get the info together and be in the know.
She suggested using the HR Guide as a starting point.
She considers HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability) her biggest problem right now in trying to stay compliant with the legal ramifications. Things like requiring personal health information is a no-no and it can't be shared. You can't forward email that has anything about health--that portion needs to be removed before the rest of the request is forwarded. You can require a doctor's confirmation to be specific. hen asking for sick leave, employees should simply ask for the time and give no details as to why. Three places an administrator can SUGGEST health info be placed--medical alert bracelet, card in wallet, or in a desk drawer/under a blotter.
Law & Legal
For those kinds of questions Librarylaw.com is available --you can get all kinds of legal information and there is a blog available as well.
Email--it is a written or oral notice? The organization has to decide. In her organization, it has been determined that an oral communication is a phone call with follow-up if face-to-face is not possible.
eeoc.gov will provide guidelines for diversity hiring wording.
If you want HR law by state, you can go to the US Dept. of Labor in the 21st Century
Important vocabulary word--do not use the word "accommodation"in asking about an employee's health concern...that moves them automatically into an accommodation mode with all of its implications.
Well, we had one of our famous breaks...cookies and milk this time and a few raffle drawings for vendor gifts...and now back to business.
Based on a question from the audience, such things as lifting heavy boxes, or using stairs should appear in your job description because you can not discuss their physical limitations during the interview. Then you ask "is there anything we need to know that might limit your abilities based on the job description?" You can verbally state the limitations as described on the job description...i.e. "can you lift the 65 lb. boxes as listed in the job description?"
Dr. Todaro spent quality time explaining all the ramifications of her document called "reasonable expectations of adult behavior." This can include style of communication, timelines and timeliness...i.e "you are expected to respond to email in a timely manner; you are expected to be at work by 8:00 every day."
Employee Behavior Problems
Age, color, ethnicity, alternative lifestyle are part of the prevention of harassment policy. Hate and sexual harassment are a part of this as well. There should be equality for all. Drug and alcohol, criminal background checks are set up by the organization based on the law.
You can require them to visit Employee Assistance Program person.
Do not fire on Fridays. It could leave them helpless over the weekend when support services are not available.
Always ask about final paperwork--do not assume sending it to the home address is ok--it may not be! there could be issues in their personal life.
As an administrator, you have to find the comfort level that works for all...there has to be a common denominator that will be good for all. You have t o let them know what are your expectations. It is their responsibility to let you know what makes them uncomfortable so that you can set the appropriate level.
Did you know about the safety kit for people who work in your library? Face masks for working the stacks, latex and non-latex gloves.
An audience member asked: "How do you handle HR themselves?" Her response included never just asking them to do something but giving them your take on the situation and asking them if it is correct info. (And it is because you have gone to the websites with the correct info!) Use compensation language for money is another way--use their language.
If you get asked: "What can I do to have a better chance with your district the next time?"
Let me tell you what are the most important interview questions are...give them a generic interpretation of the most weighted questions.
She recommended looking at the work of Richard Sweeney with regards to the workforce for millenials and genXers.
In more time with the audience, DH from District 8 said that is an initiative for this year's district conference--recruitment!
On a little lighter side, Dr. Todaro shared this and it has become my favorite new phrase of the day: We all know people who never have "an unexpressed thought." Think about it--you know what it means!
Being break time it is time for the networking. The buzz is going full force!
She hopes this new project will lead to state law change after this two-year period to make school libraries more connected to the State Library system, not just for databases, but all the various things that are going on. Under the Tex-Share umbrella there is room for all. She did say that the ILL issue that often worries school libraries is not mandatory. She does charge us as leaders to understand all that Tex-Share can do for school libraries and there is a lot!
Director Rudd states that among the people responsible for getting this legislation passed were: Representative Lois Kolkhorst from Brenham, Daniel Harper, a staffer on Senate Finance, and Representative Warren Chisum from Pampa. There are other people that may be discussed later in the conference.
As part of the sunset review of TSLAC, there will be a joint study with TEA about school libraries and their needs. When these are determined, then it will be decided which needs can be met by TEA and which can be met by TSLAC. It was brought up by an audience member that there is no "Librarian" at TEA to discuss these needs! Director Rudd stated that it will a group effort to provide the information and to make sure the correct outcomes of the study come forth.
It was asked if EBSCO has been settled as the database source? She stated it has not been decided as yet, but she did say something would be in place for the start of the school. There is also some concern about the ability to have options in what could be chosen. Timing is an essential ingredient to many in the audience for approval and training.
There is a rider for funding options for after-school homework assistance program. It will have to be looked at on how to do this and then sustain it after the initial offering. There was some discussion about it being a duplication of efforts in some locations and and maybe not the best use of funds. She did point out there are some areas of state where the public libraries are bearing the brunt of after school issues. Another topic for lots more talk and work!
One more topic...looking at students' participation in summer reading programs and effect on testing scores in reading. Only been it about a year. El Paso Public Library and the El Paso School District are working on this study. A comment from the audience....look at a public library where this is going on where there is no school librarian.
And a final audience concern...that none of the 2.5 million for databases be sued to create a bureaucracy in TEA for libraries...the money needs to stay for databases.
This was a difficult session to monitor...if I didn't get the right gist..let me know!
On to lunch....more later!
My colleague has spent the year preparing for this as part of her role as chairman of this group. And it has gotten off to a good start. Congrats LP.
Right now we are hearing a program about school book clubs. The speaker, Cris Espinoza, Librarian from LBJ Middle School, Pharr-San Juan ISD in south Texas, has already brought up one of the major points of a successful program of any kind...support from the administration, where it is the campus level or higher up! She does pattern her book club after Oprah's model where the top group of writers/participants get to go to a special lunch to discuss the book. for her school, a school whose students have many barriers to overcome, the book club has been part of the growing success of the school. Everyone is welcome-- parents, neighbors, school and community leaders join in with the kids. Some of the kids have even been featured on the local news...kids reading books making the news! How great is that!
Lottery Rose, Among the Hidden, Tequila Worm were some of the featured books. For Tequila Worm, the author Viola Canales participated as well! I wish you could see the line-up for the books...it snakes around up and down the halls. Last membership number--328!
Ok..it's break time. More later!
He sure knew how to make science a child-centered and relevant fun thing...even thru the grainy black & while venue called early TV. And he grew to meet the times.
Thanks Mr. Wizard!
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Subjects included Greek mythology, food groups and good eating habits, the water cycle, career exploration, famous Americans and their contributions, and good behavior habits. One way the group made sure the lessons were student-centered and true collaborations between librarian and teacher was to deconstruct the lesson by making lists of teacher, librarian and student responsibilities.
Everyone had opportunity to learn PowerPoint tips and tricks, how to create a Photo Story, how to work with videostreaming, how manipulate photos, how to add music, and create podcasts. A special presentation was made about the ActivBoard and all the great teaching and learning tools available with that special technology. There was lots of looking for the sign-up list to get one! The group learned how to create a rubric using Rubistar, an open source software available to all who want to use it.
"...long set of ahas as we learned all these wonderful tools."
"Don't be scared or intimidated. You will have lots of help & learn way more than you expect."
"If [I] can learn this, anyone can!!"
"Wow! How much fun is my class going to have dazzling our school with our technology pwoness!"
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
She and her students discuss both of these books, their related projects, AND bunches of other "stuff" on her classroom blog AND the students' own blog, blog, blog,...more blogs.
She also has a nice list of other class blogs...3rd-6th grades.
How much more convincing do you need?
Here's the blog itself.
These children are 6 & 7 yr olds. I think they got it.
I'm glad their teacher got it for them.
And their administration must get it too!
Of course, I AM preaching to the choir...or you wouldn't be reading this!
Monday, June 4, 2007
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Seems like quite an eclectic, interesting, talented guy. His site is called Incompetech and the tag line is "Ugly website. Brilliant content." Sounds vaguely familiar to the many descriptions often associated with another one of my very favorite websites! His humorous dig at himself already wins points with me. I have emailed him to say so and I will be interested in his response. I'll fill you in later.
And if you want to use these music files for you PowerPoint, here is what I did to accomplish that feat. Others may have a different journey for you to take.
If you want the music to play throughout the slide show, you have a few things to do in the Slide Show, Custom Animation set up.
1. Be sure the speaker image is highlighted.
2. Go to the Slide Show menu.
3. Click on “Custom Animation."
4. Under the Multimedia tab, check “Play Using Animation Order.”
5. Select “Continue Slide Show” and put the number of slides you want to play thru in the box.
6. Also under the Multimedia tab, click “More Options.”
7. Check “Loop until stopped.”
Be sure the music file is in your PPT folder (you did make a folder before starting to create your PPT, didn't you?) and........... save, save, save!