Monday, September 2, 2013

Let's Get Excited! Big Plans for the New School Year

Here are some things I am excited about this school year.  

1. My new orientation video. I was looking for a way to freshen up my sixth grade library orientation spiel, so I made this video. You only get one chance to make a first impression! The response of the students really made me glad I did. You can make your own video at GoAnimate! There is a free version and a paid version. I wanted my library pictures to be in the backgrounds, so I signed up for a paid account. In addition to the students really loving the video, it helped me not to be so tongue tied after repeating myself for four days straight. The video also helped me remember to hit most of the points I needed to and not leave anything out. This is also convenient to use for new students.   It's not perfect, and I will be tweaking it to re-use next year. Since the students enjoyed the video so much I may create other videos. Check out Go Animate at http://goanimate.com/


2. The Super Reader Card. Instead of a full page reading log, students will use a business card to record their titles. The reading program last year just did not bring in the participation I want. I think something like this will generate more interest and give the reading program a coolness factor. Plus, I am adding a level-up feature where students who fill up the first card get a new different looking level two card which get more rewards and privileges. Eventually, at the end of the year, our level four card holders will qualify to go on a special field trip to Barnes & Noble and the awesome Spartanburg Public Library where they will have activities waiting for us! I am thinking of more ways to use the card. One of our ELA teachers saw a classroom incentive card and thought the card concept would make a great idea for our reading program. Our students have lanyards and ID badges. Hopefully students will find that these cards will conveniently slip into their ID badge sleeves. 
3. Divergent Book Club and Hunger Games Hype. I have plans for a Divergent Book Club for my 8th graders. Although it looks like the movie may be a bit more edgy than the Hunger Games was. I love using the movie trailers to fuel reading hype. 

4. School Wide Read Aloud. We are reading The Running Dream as our school wide book. Last year we read Wonder and Schooled and had fantastic response from our students and teachers. 

5. Technology Club. Last year we took a group of students to present an iMovie workshop at USC Upstate's Inaugural QEP  Technology Symposium. The students got rave reviews and really enjoyed the experience. They were really excited that they were teaching university professors! USC has some amazing things going on taking technology integration to the next level. Many teachers are using social media to meet their students needs. It was awesome to be a part of this symposium. Hopefully we'll be taking our show on the road again this year. Someone once told me that students should be a part of all professional development for teachers.   I have always believed in this and tried to involve students in the trainings and presentations I do at school whenever possible. After this experience I am even more convinced that students belong in the PD picture. Where technology is concerned, students are definitely  an advantage. Here are some of the Tweets from our day at the QEP Symposium. 



 In addition to these five things I am also very excited that I have fixed the "broken" iPad lab which would not sync with Apple Configurator. After hours on the phone with Apple Tech Support I researched the problem and fixed it myself!  AND - I successfully loaded that laminator with new film without jamming up the machine.

The year is off to a great start at our school library.


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