Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hour of Code

“This Rocks!” is what every teacher-librarian wants to hear during class. And when I heard it yesterday in the library I knew I had hit upon a gold mine. All I can say is Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Hour of Code! We had a 2-hour delay yesterday and I missed so many of my classes that I decided we were going to do something different in accordance with my desire to create a maker-space in the library, and Hour of Code did not disappoint. The Hour of Code people have done their homework, the students loved the angry-birds/zombie tutorial and while it is called Hour of Code I had several students do the tutorials for beginners within the 45 minutes of library class (minus book selection time). My first class was a group of 5th graders and I had them pair programming. They had so much fun that I used extra computers (read library search stations and even my own iPad) for my 6th grade classes to allow them to do the tutorials individually. And from the talk I heard in the bus line they were planning to go home and do more! How exciting is that? This is such a great beginning that I hope will continue a trend in the library. Learn what most schools don't teach and should... teaching kids to code was a big topic at Engadget Expand when I attended a few weeks ago.  Check out what Hour of Code is all about... maybe you want to try it in your library!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Games can be Learning Tools

Just read a blog post by Larry Ferlazzo in his Websites of the Day that the Smithsonian has launched it's own game site, proving once again that if learning is fun, our students will learn! There is only one game on the Smithsonian's Website right now called Shutterbugs which is also available for download but it looks like they will have more games in the coming months, looks promising especially for elementary education! There are curriculum connections and teachers resources which also provide teachers with reports on how their students are doing in the game.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lodge sings Pennsylvania

Dr. Lodge McCammon is making a series of songs about each of the 50 states of the United States that 4th grade teachers should grab onto and have their students create! I can see this project with the song in the background and pictures from the state. Either that or just take one state and make a class project. Here is Lodge's offering for Pennsylvania. Since 4th grade is the year that students study Pennsylvania here in the Commonwealth, I thought it was a good time to introduce it to my 4th grade teacher friends.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Parents Brainwashed Me!

I should be working on my assignments for a grad class but while I was checking in on my Plurk buddies someone posted the video below. I can't help it; I LOVE it so much that I had to post it here. Talk about intrinsic motivation! This young man not only gets it, he’s on his way to becoming a creative innovator! Too bad he didn’t make it to the next round of the Poetry Slam!     


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Happy Constitution Day

Most teachers would call what you are about to see a mistake. The music ends way before the pictures end on this paper slide video and I let it happen! In fact, I encouraged it. I had a mixed group of special education and regular education students in the library doing this paper slide video project to one of Dr. Lodge McCammon's tunes called "We the People." The song is about the first 3 articles in the US Constitution and it was originally intended for a kinesthetic learning activity. I originally did this the kinesthetic activity with 4th grade students but I think this paper slide version allowed the students to be less worried about their appearance and concentrate more on the content.  I did not think the special education students in the group understood what was going on but they did and they put together packets of more pictures than I had planned to go along with the music, so I let them show all of their work. The idea of a paper slide video is to do it in one take with no edits but I hope Dr. Lodge will forgive me when I edit this later to loop his wonderful song (which the kids have been humming all day!) to make this project stand out even more. I love Constitution Day. Other teachers think it is a chore to teach about the Constitution, an interuption in their schedule but for me in the library it is a joy. Hope you enjoy what my students put together in a 20 minute block of instructional time!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Information Literacy

Like other teachers and librarians I am feeling overwhelmed by the first couple of weeks of school. I found this video to show how I am feeling. I am being bombarded by media and messages and so are my students. How do we make sense out of all the messages? Where do we go to hear the truth? How do we know it's the truth when we hear it? And what do we do to change the world after we process it?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Book Care

So, I am trying to come up with a new plan for using centers for the first day of library class in my new 5th and 6th grade library. I am thinking of having my iPad and maybe one or two of the school's iPads at different stations with some of these cute library videos, just to remind students about proper book care and library rules. This is a very cute video using one of my very favorite characters, Judy Schactner's SkippyJon Jones. Judy is a local author and I love to use her books for mentor texts! And of course there is the old classic that my students have seen many times. I may have to create my own at some point but these are cute for now.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Manners in the Library!

This may be a little juvenile for my big 5th and 6th graders but boy did it make me giggle! I am trying to see what I am going to do with them for the first week of school, my old lesson of pulling the bad things like moldy books out of my Dr. Seuss Hat may not work with this crowd but I just had to share this very cute video! Enjoy!

I have an idea to put videos like this one around the library on iPads or Netbooks and have them do a scavenger hunt to find all the rules or flat out give them stations to go to in order. I may have to work on it a bit over the weekend! Getting excited about the first week of school! If you are too drop me a comment or two about what you are doing in your library to get kids excited about books and reading.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Great Websites for Teachers and Students- Get Integrating Technology!

It may take me forever to get through this list of 149 Great Resources for Teachers. And the website even has yet another link to an even more wonderful list of Great Websites for Kids that is organized not only by grade but also by topic. Since I will be moving to the upper elementary level this school year and teaching 5th and 6th grade I am working my way through the 5th grade and Middle School sites and finding some great stuff. I am also tryign to find some assessment tools on the teacher site since I will be giving grades to a large number of extraordinary students. I hope they will enjoy this year in library class. I know am starting to get excited about the coming school year!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Chloe and the Lion

Chloe and the Lion is published by Hyperion books. It is written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by  Adam Rex. The video below would be great to use as a jumping off point to discuss what authors do and what illustrators do. Chloe and the Lion is one of the Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice books for elementary students for the 2013-1014 school year. Doing a quick research report on lions would be a nice companion project to this book. I think I will have my students use the PebbleGo Database and find out more about lions. I created this worksheet to go with the information in the PebbleGo Database.

Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus by John Grandits

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If you are looking for a good book to read to your returning students, this is the one you need. Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus pits an older siblings advice against a younger sibling's first day experience. The younger breaks every one of the older sage's rules on the first day! And there is a great post on writing activities for this book here and it also has a listening guide for students to check off.  The author's website also has a foldable school bus to print out and make if you are looking for an activity to do with upper elementary students. It could also be adapted to use with younger students. John Grandits is a former Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice winner and this current selection is on the Young Reader's Choice list for elementary grades for the 2013-1014 school year. Also take time to view the book trailer. John Grandits visited Arrowhead several years ago and the students loved his concrete poems! The picture above came from here.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lisa's Lingo: Rock Stars and the Rest

Lisa Parisi is a rock start to me. I have learned so much from the methods she uses in her classroom. But Lisa is not the sage on stage. She's more of a mentor rockstar! She takes time to teach those of us that need her experience. Take a look at Lisa's blog post about rock stars that has spurred a debate on Twitter. Some of the people in the heat of the debate are some of the people I learn from the most.  Lisa's Lingo: Rock Stars and the Rest.
I am far from a rock star. I often feel I have nothing to share but there are those in my school who look to me to help them because I share. I often stand in awe of those people in my PLN who are rock stars and when they share with me it is exhilarating. When I attended my first ISTE Conference I was flabbergasted. I almost didn't talk to anyone because I was in the presence of greatness. The sessions were wonderful and I learned so much. But then I attended my first EDUCON and my first EdCamp and it was different.  It was a conversation, everyone had something to share, the rockstars and even me! So my thought is that maybe unconferences like EDUCON and EdCamp are changing the way teachers learn from one another, maybe it is more about the conversation and less about the sage on the stage.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Why I need an iPad for the library!

While I was at the Pennsylvania School Librarian's Conference I learned that Follett has an App in the iTunes store for Destiny, our library catalog system. I am one of those who downloaded it on the spot but some may be more reluctant. For those who are, I came across this YouTube video today that shows a reluctant librarian how it is done. With a mobile device, I can now check out books anywhere, even in the classrooms where I find books that teachers "forgot" to check out! I need an iPad for the library!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Creepy Carrots

Illustrator Peter Brown won a Caldecott Honor Medal this year (2013) for his illustrations in Aaron Reynolds's book, Creepy Carrots. Being a Syracuse Orange Fan, this is one of my favorite books because the major color in the book is orange. The book is very cute and is on the Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice (PAYRC) list for the 2013-1014 school year. Since it won a Caldecott Honor I have already shared it with my students so I have been looking on the web to find something new to add to a PAYRC lesson. And, I think I found it on YouTube where illustrator Peter Brown gives an inside look at his artwork for the book! I also found this picture walk through the book... a video of a picture walk... The book is not really scary and it will be perfect to read again around Halloween time and I have found a number of curricular connections. I plan to use the book with first and second grade. I did share it with kindergarten this year and decided that the humor may be a little too subtle for kindergarteners in October, so I may not read it to our new kinders this year. Although I do love this child's reading of it! Kinders may respond to it better if they hear it read by a child. Of course, Scholastic's Parent and Child review says it is fine even for toddlers: If you know of any lesson plans or have a great lesson you have used with this book, please comment below. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Please Don’t Call Me Encore

Instead of being called Special Area Teachers we are now being called Encore. Please don't call me Encore. Call me collaboration partner, call me teacher/librarian, call me instructional partner, or just keep the old term of Special Area Teacher. Because what I do in the library is not as Webster defines: "a reappearance or additional performance" or "a demand for repetition." What I do is not "extra" or simple "repetition", libraries cover 44 of the 176 new Pennsylvania Common Core Standards and you need me because it's hard to hit all 176 of those standards in your classroom in one year! Synonymous for the word encore include: Repeat, Extra, Reprise, and Repetition. As most of the teachers in my building know I don’t repeat, I may enhance but I rarely repeat what is already being done in the classroom. I constantly ask my teachers what they are having a hard time fitting into the curriculum and I tackle it using my library curriculum. Next week in my library grade two will be learning about Simple Machines, we’ve already completed a research project and presentation using PowerPoint solely in the library because there is just not enough time to do such things with curriculums packed with other things. The same is true for other grade levels. We work, we do, we create, we evaluate, we interpret, we predict, we film, we write and blog, we use technology tools, we hit the highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy in the library, we do not repeat and reprise. Please don’t call me Encore.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ken Robinson: How to escape education's death valley

Sir Ken Robinson's TED Talk... if you are teaching but no one is learning are you really teaching? Cherish and value the relationship between teachers and learners. Schools need a climate of possibility. I hope I can be a teacher/librarian that proves all things are possible because it is... what are you doing to change the climate of your school?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

e-books or print books... which to buy, rent, borrow...

The other day Karen Hornberger, the librarian at Palisades High School in Bucks County sent around an e-mail with a link to a Google Doc and asked librarians around the state for their opinion on purchasing e-books... what were the pros and cons. It was so very interesting being online with so many other librarians across the state at the same time and all of us typing away our ideas and reasons for making the purchases that we do.  Do we purchase traditional books or e-books? How do we make our decisions? How do e-books fit into the curriculum?  How do e-books fit with the new Common Core Standards?  Karen took all of our ideas and put them into a fortunately/unfortunately slide show which I am sharing below. It is up to each of us to decide to e-book or not to e-book, check out the slide show below.
Karen posted this slide show on her blog today and has promised to make this one of the conversations at the Unconference that will happen the evening before the PSLA conference in May. It is so exciting that librarians are talking about these things together! The more we talk the better informed our decisions will be when making choices with limited funds. Thanks Karen you made my day with your blog post today!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Author Alan Katz is Visting Arrowhead

We are so excited to welcome Alan Katz to Arrowhead on March 7th. Here is a little presentation I put together to give my students a taste of what they have to look forward to. Come back after March 7th to see what we think about Alan Katz's visit.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

PETE&C 2013

I just have to share this wallwisher from my sesson in iBook Author... just so you all can see what other teachers want to do with this Apple Software.

Sarah Heintzelman is the owner of this wall and was the leader of this session. She is from Centennial School of Lehigh University. She has seen people use this for portfolios as well as for digital storytelling. I can't wait to get started on my library skills iBook!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

This month our librarian's book club is reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I usually avoid this creepy kind of book but then I saw this trailer and all the comments. Everyone, or almost everyone said they enjoyed the book. And I must admit I did too until I got to the end... which is not really an ending but a jumping off place for a series! I am not sure who the actors are in this trailer but it is fun to watch. And, a movie is supposidly forthcoming (with different actors). According to comments on the Youtube video page, Tim Burton is directing the film version of the book but I don't know where that information came from. All I could find on IMDB.com was the film of the book is in development. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Night Circus

As a Librarian it is important to keep up with current literature. To this end the librarians in my district have formed a book club that meets once a month. The book that we read for this month's discussion is "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. I am also attempting to get my students to try new ways to do book reviews. To that end I created this short Voki.