Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

There have been a lot of changes for me in the month of March. First is that I got great news for my future. However, that I cannot announce just yet until a few more things get into place.  I promise a major reveal later. After the high came the low – I lost my 93-year-old grandpa. I miss him dearly, but grateful for the time I had with him, and of course the fact he got to hear my happiness. Then came the last- surgery.

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Nurse Brid taking care of me

Now this was a very needed surgery for my ankle, removing a accessory bone in my foot and fixing my tendon.  So now I’m in a lovely boot wrap thingy and off school for several weeks.

Ok, Jamie, so what is your point?  I guess my point is that we deal with changes no matter what. We have gone through immense changes in education and in the library field.  My focus, of course is library.  When my older family look at me, they don’t get how my tech knowledge serves me well as a librarian.  They don’t realize that gone are the days where the librarian sits behind the desk, shushing students who are being even the least bit noisy.  Those libraries don’t get used.  Change is necessary

I’m proud to say that this year at my school I’ve managed to have open library time.  Now, I’m an elementary librarian on a fixed schedule.  I see 20 one-hour classes a week.  I also have several times a week where I’m at the cafe for duty.  This leaves not a ton of open library time.  So, I open my plan time to allow students, classes, and whomever wants into the library during that time.  I have seen a definite increase in usage of the library since I’ve opened it.  A lot seems to just want a bit of an escape for 5 min while checking out a new book, but if I’m that place to take a quick breath, I’m ok with it.  It’s a change I was willing to make and have seen some success.

I’ve also changed many staff opinions of a librarian.  They see me as a tech person, someone to help them when they have a question, no matter how small.  I love that.  They have really embraced me as their tech leader this year.   Sometimes I know their annoyed if I have to close the library to run and do something, but I have no choice without an aide.  But I want to help everyone, and if that means I have to step away from the library, so be it.  Most have come to understand this, luckily.  But, again, a change.

My point is that change is hard.  Changes are hard.  But with a little willingness, great things can happen with change.  Even if change isn’t what you want.

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Importing Old Posts

Yesterday I spent a little bit of my day importing posts from my old blog on my website to this blog.  Why, though?  Why does it matter?

I think it matters because I have been writing a blog for a while.  It was just hosted on my webpage, which serves more as a portfolio than a true blogging medium.  It was not the centerpiece, but buried in a link.  A prominent link, but a link all the same.  I have all of these ideas that I have been sitting on, almost hiding, for some time now, and now they are finally out in the world for more to see.  They are no longer kind of hidden thoughts, but prominently out there.  I even changed over my twitter webpage link to this one!

I think once I’m truly in a place I want to be professionally, I will combine the two, make the blog the more prominent.  The portfolio information will be there, but not play as important of a role.  I won’t need to highlight things like my education and projects so much as show off what I have been doing in my library through my blog, which I am starting to do now.

What do you think?  Am I being a bit redundant?  Should I combine things now and forget it?  Or is it smart to focus more on the blogging and leave the portfolio be?

 

Symbaloo Screencast-O-Matic

I was cleaning off my desktop today and found this edtech gem.  I’m pretty proud of it: it is reminiscent of my Instructional Designer days, and I know I worked hard getting everything right in one take.  Not an easy thing!  What could I improve on?  What else should I add for the next one?  I think I’d like to do more of these for my school at some point, for both students and staff…

Reflections on Reading Nominees

So, it is just about February.  My book nominees should be just about read by now, and I should be getting close to gearing up students to vote.  And while that will happen, I realize I will need to change the way I do things for the younger readers next year.

I think the Building Block award nominees are the most difficult.  Not for text complexity or anything, but the fact that they have to be completely read and voted on by the end of December.  That leaves very few months to get Kindergarteners learning how the library works, how storytime works, and basically overall how to act like the young students they are.

With the Show-Me nominees, I have until the beginning of March.  That is 1st-3rd graders, so that does allow both more time and more comprehension of text overall.

Here’s what I found.  If I don’t read the same book all week to each class, my plans get all messy and discombobulated.

So, first thing I need to do next year is start off with a plan.  I have a chart on my wall, thank goodness, where I know what I’ve read to which class, but I have a sincere feeling that it is incomplete.  If I actually allowed myself the time to plan properly, I would know exactly what I read to each class as I would have it planned out beforehand.  The chart is great for everyone else to see, but not so much if I’m trying to honestly keep track, as I’m not always remembering to put the stickers on (and the fact I started the chart way after I started reading, so there’s that…).

Secondly, I think I will only read these nominees during full weeks.  When we have days off and half-days, they just throw the schedule off.  Now, there is the obvious snow/bad weather day that ends up in a day off that cannot really be planned for, but if I know weather is coming the weekend before, I can change things around.

I think I want a full-out plan for when I’m reading what next year.  I have read each Show-Me, as I was a reader-selector, but I think to really plan it out better would be best.  I don’t know what Building Block books are selected just yet, as they haven’t been announced, but I think a big master calendar with what I’m reading when would be best.  That way it will be planned out much clearer, and I will also be able to plan around short weeks.  Then, maybe my poor lesson plans won’t be all crazy looking and I will actually have an idea of what I’m reading and doing.  Does anyone else do things like that?

Plickers – My Obsession

plickersHello, my name is Jamie, and I’m addicted to Plickers.  I can’t help it.  They’re so easy to use, and great for a non-BYOD school!

I was first introduced to them in my library classes.  We used them for various quick assessments to find what we knew and so forth.

Since then, I’ve introduced them to my students.  Many of them like when I pass them out, because they get to “win” when they get an answer right.  Even though I never have them assigned to specific students, I tend to watch which numbers I give to certain students to see whether they are struggling to answer or not.  We all have those students we know either gets it or doesn’t, and gives us a pulse for the whole class.

I have used them for a variety of general assessments, such as seeing how well my students understand and can conceptualize the Dewey Decimal System, library terms, and now for media literacy.  To say I love using them is really an understatement.

Website Validity/Evaluation

So, this week I am teaching my 5th and 6th graders about website validity this week.  I am extremely thankful for the resources from http://www.schrockguide.net/ , especially the collection of fake websites.  It is really beneficial to not have to reinvent the wheel in a lot of cases.  What makes me really happy is that I found the website evaluation tool I made for one of my library classes.  I think I did a decent job, if I might say so myself, and really like how it looks overall.  I am hoping my students will find it useful as well as they evaluate different sites.

If someone is interested, I would qualify this under the CC BY-ND for creative commons.  You can use and share, but please don’t change, and please credit me.

File: Becker_Web_Evaluation

My First Book Fair

first book fairSo, it is official. I am running my first book fair. This is not an easy task! Between setting up, coordinating volunteers, making sure everyone has a chance to buy but also realizing that a lot of things are too expensive for my students, staying late nightly, making sure I am adding up and totally everything, keeping records (because I feel I should), and just the whole darn thing… well, it’s exhausting! I’m proud of it though. We’ve made a little money – not a lot, but it’ll be something – and I now have experience running a fair. I’m grateful for years of retail experience and my grandfather who taught me to give change without a calculator! The biggest help was from fellow librarians in my district. One gave a lot of personal tips and tricks that I believe have made me not only successful, but have kept down the number of items and books that grow legs and walk off. Tomorrow is the last day, and I’m both happy and sad. It’s a weird feeling because I know I got more books into my students hands, made a little money to help get more books for the library, but I am really going to be happy to see it go and get the library back in order! So, I now have officially run a fair!