Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Head is Swirling

I stumbled upon a great math/art/science YouTube channel by Vihart that has dazzled me.

Flocabulary is also awesome if you don't already know about it.

And the possibilities of iBooks author? Wow, my head is spinning.

Notes from an Apple Presentation

Below are my notes from an Apple presentation: 

Apple TV is a device that sells for $99.  It can be used to connect an iPad to a projector allowing the teacher to be free to move about the room.  An HDMI cable is needed to connect Apple TV to the projector. Apple TV is for home use too.  Use it to display iPad content on your home TV.

iBooks Author – This is not for iPad, only for Mac. However, iBooks Author allows users to create course content with embedded multimedia that can be pushed out to iBooks on iPads. Users can even drag and drop a whole keynote (PowerPoint for Apple) presentation into their book. WOW. 

iBooks 2 - Be sure to upgrade to iBooks2. Users can highlight content and create notes. Some books enable the notes to be put into flashcards. 

Did you know that all iPads have accessibility features that allow users to be able to make the iPad read to them or add closed captioning to videos? I have been playing with this feature and find it is not super easy to use, but impressive. 

Download the free iBook titled Life on Earth to explore the amazing features of the text books. I have downloaded all of the free samples of the textbooks. They are stunning. Not at a one to one school? No iPad lab? I think there are benefits to just the teacher having an iPad 

iTunes U – wow. Free courses! I knew about iTunes U already but did not know about the difference between courses which are spiral bound and collections which are not spiral bound. I also did not know that these courses came with video, audio and image content that teachers may find useful.
There is an iTunes U course Manager which is web based. Already K-12 institutions are publishing course content to iTunes U. People and institutions who want to publish should check out the apple site.

Friday, March 16, 2012

What I Learned at the SCASL Conference

I went to the SCASL conference this past Thursday and Friday. The conference was awesome. It was time and money well spent. I am up to my ears in technology at school and I have been neglecting the book part of my job. I chose to attend sessions without a technology focus as a librarian-chakra balancing prescription. I think it worked.  Here are a few of the tools, ideas, tips and tricks that I will be returning to and sharing with my fellow teachers.

At the Reimagining Education @ Your Library session with Janet Boltjes & Valerie Byrd-Fort:
  • Check out the Bud the Teacher Blog. Wow. (I needed a Kleenex for his provocateur video.) The post the presenters featured, Safe Places and What is Yet to Come is about School Libraries. I think I may have to dedicate a post to this article. Powerful Stuff.
  • Reimagine Ed, coolness! Check it out. 
  • Libraries need to be the place where students go when they want to create something.
  • Improv rules can help you. The ones I learned about at this conference are: 1. Listen, 2. My idea is good, your idea is better, 3. Say YES, AND. 4. Ask What if? 5. Agree.  (Game Changer!)
  • Marker boards as creative spaces in the library
  • A stage in the library? Hmm. Cool idea.
  • Must get furniture sliders!

At Martha Taylor's session, "Feeling Overwhelmed? Apply the KISS Principle"
  • A way to practice citations with class check outs or orientation is to have students create simple citations of one of the books they are checking out. Put names on the citations slips, use them in a drawing.
  • Book citations can be exit slips
  • I need to be using student and teacher evaluations for every unit I teach with one of my colleagues. This documents what was taught, and the results, and gives feedback for improvement. I can see where this would be very helpful for advocacy efforts. (instructional evidence)
  • After working with a class, look at students finished products and determine the percentage of students who used high quality sites in their research. (instructional evidence)
  • Provide a generous circulation allowance for non-fiction items. 
  • Check out those live scribe pens.
At "Research, Welcome to the Big Easy" with Connie McClanahan & Denise McDougal
  • Think about offering a proofreading service to my students. Require papers to be submitted 24 hours in advance. At least offer bibliography checking.
  • Try starting with books first when researching because the information is limited and not as overwhelming. This will help students select a focus and refine what they want to discuss in their paper or project. 
  • When collaborating with teachers on class research projects we must teach the research process.
  • We need to go back to "old school" style research projects and require note cards to discourage plagiarism.
  • Copy four note cards on a piece of paper to eliminate the lost note cards problem.
  • Consider limiting students to one sheet of paper per source.
  • Students can cut up the paper and organize note cards into topical sections when writing.
  • Check the source cards and then let students go on to the next step.
  • I think I'll use these suggestions with my "mini research paper" and see what happens.
At Dr. Berkowitz's Keynote, "Change or Start Looking for a New Job"
  • We should discourage overuse of  topical research.
  • Librarians should keep a lesson plan book.
  • Document and report the student work that was done in the  library.
  • Use assessments to evaluate successes of instructional strategies. 
  • Programs should be defined, predictable, measured and reported
  • "We teach success.", "We teach process."

Donalyn Miller's Keynote - check out the slide share. How do you get your students to read over 6,000 books using no extrinsic motivation (grades, AR, incentive parties)?

  • Dr. Shannon's introduction of Donalyn Miller made me cry. 
  • Donalyn Miller is coming out with a new book called Reading in the Wild!
  • Great idea, have students make signs at the end of the year with the number of books they have read.
  • Krashen - The single most important factor in reading skill is independent reading.
  • University of Oxford study - Reading books is the only out of school activity for sixteen-year-olds that is tied to getting a managerial or professional job.
  • Reading fosters empathy
  • We need more reading time beyond SSR. 
  • During SSR, everyone needs to do nothing but read . That is not happening.
  • Allington - higher achieving students read three times as much as lower achieving students
  • To carve out more reading time: eliminate bell ringers and fast finisher activities, make explicit reading plans.
  • We must increase students access and exposure to books. Don't look at classroom libraries as threats. 
  • Reading doors - great idea. All faculty makes one showing what they are reading.
  • Donalyn Miller helped create the Nerdy Book Club! Look for my post in April!
  • I need to read The One and Only Ivan. ( I needed a Kleenex just listening to her talk about it.)
  • I also attended one of her sessions and met a couple dozen new books that I can't wait to tell my students about.

Friday, March 2, 2012

What this Librarian Looks Like

This is the photo I submitted to the This is What a Librarian Looks Like  blog project.  Bobbie Newman and Erin Downey Howerton are "challenging the librarian stereotype one post at a time."  I really enjoyed looking at the pictures on the site and I bet you will too. I have yet to spot a bun I tell you! I am proud to be included among such a lovely group!

Middle School Teacher-Librarian Jennifer Tazerouti is ready to assist students and teachers with their information and technology needs at Sims Middle School in Union, South Carolina. Check out the SMS Library Blog at:
The librarian also keeps a professional blog at: