Wednesday, April 23, 2014

School Library and Poetry Month

Besides being School Library Month, April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate School Library Month we have been creating green screen book reviews in the library. Then during one class a funny thing happened on our way to recording our book reviews. A fire drill. We did not have time to record our reviews but thanks to my friends at EdTech Chat 'n Chew my students had another option. I told them about a global poetry project they could take part in and they decided they were going to take part in the 60 Second Poet Project. My students used their book reviews and created and recorded short list poems found from the words within their book reviews (Found List Poems- a plan B that worked for my students and they enjoyed). Can't wait to see how those videos are weaved into those from around the world tomorrow in honor of Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Friday, April 18, 2014

In Library Flip... can it work?

My mind is officially blown! A member of my PLN (Professional Learning Network) posted this link from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning the other day but I have not had time to read it until this morning. It is about flipped learning. I have taken many trainings and read the authorative book (even got it signed by Aaron Sams) on the flipped learning concept and I am all for it. I have to deliver the same lecture 32-36 times in a cycle. I see 800 or more students in a 6 day cycle (give or take the ones going to music lessons, absent, leaving early, etc.) so I am all for recorded lectures or book readings for those that can't be in class. I have even recorded a few "how to use" videos so my students can go to them on our wiki whenever they are using the resources in question. But until today I did not see the full potential of the flipped concept in my library. I knew I wanted to introduce the idea of a maker space, make room for students to create (videos, podcasts, poetry, etc.) without driving myself crazy,  but in my mind there was no time to do this and still allow for book selection. But today my eyes were opened and I think I am going to try one or more of my units this way for next year. I just need the summer to figure it out and get excited about teaching again. Right now, like many other teachers I am burned out! Watch the video below from Cult of Pedagogy and please leave a comment to give me some ideas on how you use the flip and what you think about this idea!

This would also give me more time to help those struggling readers! I have been thinking of getting some Wilson training and indeed this library class configuration may help. I could even have one station where students come just to read when they are finished with everything else because they are given so little time to read anywhere else in the school day. I really think I am onto something here! Your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dyslexia & Rewiring the Brain

I have Dyslexia. According to the Reading Rockets webpage I am like up to 15% (some 43 million) of Americans who suffer from this reading disorder. That is one of the big reasons I became a librarian. I want to help others like me know there is hope. Sometimes I need to listen to books rather than read them, other librarians have pointed out to me that listening to books is cheating. Some people have even called me lazy. It got so bad at one point that I stopped reading all together. Don't get me wrong, I can read but I read very slowly so that I can understand, and I re-read things several times for total comprehension. When I read, I actually hear the words in my head. Now Neurologists are using MRI's to watch people's brains as they read and are learning a lot about the brain and the sound centers of the brain.  For example one study showed that there are slow sound processing centers and fast sound processing centers in the brain and which part of the brain we use can determine if we have reading problems or not. Other studies are just starting showing that the brain can actually be re-wired and dyslexic children can improve their reading comprehension. Take a look at this video called Rewiring the brain and if you are dyslexic like me, have hope and don't let anyone put you down for listening to audio books! And, if you are a librarian, don't hesitate to offer an audio book to a student who just may need one to re-wire their brain and instill in them a love of reading!