Sunday, September 27, 2009

Nancy Dickinson "Author Visits" Sept. 27, 2009 LM_NET

I am glad to see that people post good experiences with authors. This particular post recommends Dianne de las Casas. Our students have enjoyed Roland Smith so much our LMS tries to get him every other year so that all our students see him once. His books fly off the shelves because he is so inspiring, I think. Students really love having that personal connection with an author and I have seen students start reading just because they heard him talk about a book. I have also experienced a less-than-fabulous presentation by some others. Author visits can be so rewarding for everyone involved but they cost quite a bit. It is really dissappointing to use precious funds and instructional time for an unimpressive "assembly" where the kids have tuned out within minutes. I am a huge proponent of author visits and I will always advocate for them as an LMS. I just need to do the research and make sure the response is "I want a book by..." and not "whatever you paid for that it was too much."

jessica munich "Teachers stay during library time" Sept. 27, 2009 LM_NET

My building now uses flex scheduling for library access so whether or not to stay with my students is not an even an option. I have worked in an elementary setting where my students went to the library every two weeks. It never occurred to me to leave my students in the library. Generally, students behave better when their own teacher is present. One hour every two weeks is simply not enough time for a teacher-librarian to establish that relationship. Of course, an LMS will have classroom management skills but I would not want her/him to be focused on management or discipline instead of the content and skills of the lesson. I agree with Jessica and her principal that this should be required of teachers.

That being said, her problem is one I do not envy. Teachers, I know this because I am one, tend to resist change. We, who should constantly be trying to improve, like having things "just so." We don't get a whole lot of personal time so taking any of that time will meet with resistance. Jessica has the support of her administration, which is ultimately important. She also says she will make her expectations very clear. This is a good idea. When it is presented as "this is our goal," "I will do this," "you do this," can't very well be argued. Of course, teachers will argue anyway, but they will eventually run out of steam and start using the time productively.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Reflection about that meta-reflection?

My favorite Unquiet Librarian reflected over her semester so far in this post. I am really learning that "reflection" is one of the most necessary steps in education. I have always had my students explain their processes and verbalize their own strengths and weaknesses with topics. I am not so diligent in my own processes, however. I love that she posts her reflections because not only is she learning from her experiences but I can learn from them as well. I love Web 2.0!!!!

The Best Time to be a Librarian???

Joyce Valenza wrote this article about how great it is to be librarian in our information/interaction-rich society. I am often torn when I think about leaving my classroom for the library (a much larger classroom). I get excited about the possibilities and I am energized by all the resources and skills I learn in my classes. On the other hand I get overwhelmed and anxious when I see how much is demanded of teacher-librarians and how many jobs are getting cut every year. I like to see that it is possible to make the job relevent and enoyable at the same time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Magic Books

Doug Johnson wrote this wonderful post reflecting on intrinsic motivation and the need for libraries. I just turned in my Budgets project which I put together with this in mind. It seems that every year I find more and more students who hate to read...some of them are poor readers so they are constantly frustrated...some are excellent readers who, for whatever reason, associate reading with very negative experiences. The former group need a VARIETY of books at their level from which to choose. Librarians have to make sure their collections are filled with materials that have age-appropriate themes and content but vary in reading level. Even more, the librarian must be available to know the needs of low readers to spark that internal fire with materials that will not cause further frustration for the reader. The second group also depends on the expertise of the LMS. These good readers are uninterested and have already decided that every book is boring and that reading means being bored. The LMS has the challenge of finding that illusive book, or some kind of material, to begin the process of changing the child's perception of reading. Librarians are simply SO important for this, from developing the collection to working with students. I do my best to help students in my class find these magic books but I do not have these expertise that the LMS does. I will, though, eventually.

Twitter may save your life?

The Unquiet Librarian links to an article by Patricia F. Anderson about how Twitter or other technology could have helped in the aftermath of September 11. I never thought about this before. The discussion about whether, or how much, or how to use social networking media and Web 2.0 as learning tools is ongoing. The importance of teaching media literacy is evident, but seemingly slow in coming to many schools. We know students need these tools to succeed in academia and the work force, but do we ever think about it possibly saving their lives? We teach small children how to call 911 and set alarm codes at home. Every teenager has a cell phone, often BECAUSE of safety reasons. In this light, it seems that every child has a right to know how to use these kinds of technology. We must be teaching this in every school. It may not be easy, but LMSs have an obligation to convince nay-sayers that Web 2.0 belongs in schools.

Susan Grisby "Media Clerk Interview Question" Sept. 11, 2009 LM_NET

This post brought up a lot of issues for me as I think about becoming a LMS in upcoming years. I would clearly want to be a part of the hiring process for an assistant but I would have similar concerns to Susan's. How does one find out whether someone will actually be a good fit for the position. I know administrators deal with this all the time, but I am not a principle and have no desire to be one. I look at my current LMC staff and don't know how it would run if our LMC paraprofessional was not there. She knows everything - I'm not kidding. Without quality help, I don't know that I will be able to handle starting as an LMS. I worked one year in a building with a brand new LMS whose part-time assistant did nothing more than check-out and occasionaly reshelve books. This resulted in a very poorly run LMC where my students did not enjoy spending time and where they learned very little. I know it will be a struggle to make the transition from the classroom to the LMC and my worst nightmare is not having someone who already knows what's going on.

David Lininger "The Copy Police" Sept. 11, 2009 LM_NET

The title of this post caught my eye immediately. There was another post recently about teaching students about plagiarism and copyright. This is such a difficult task for teachers and librarians both. I get so frustrated trying to convince my students that it really is not okay to steal other people's ideas. They seem to be more willing to not copy from books but there truly is an attitude that anything on the Web is "free." "Who will know?" "I'm not making any money off of my paper or anything." I like articles like this one to use as "back up." It is not just my crazy teacher/librarian telling me I can't really IS a big deal.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Perfect timing

I was reading some recent posts on my favorite library blog, Blue Skunk Blog, and saw this. Which took me on a little rant to my boyfriend about how absurd it is to be unhappy by constantly dwelling on horrible things at work. Those of us who work with children every day have the fewest reasons to be unhappy and complain because we truly have the BEST job in the world! Since I am a fabulous multi-tasker, just as I was saying this I came upon this post by the Unquiet Librarian. I don't need to keep ranting...just read this...all the way to the bottom.

G Lehman "Audio Book Help" Sept 2, 2009 LM_NET Posting

I love listening to books on tape and am becoming a huge fan of using them in school. Students that are reading on level either already know how to enjoy a story or need some convincing that books are actually fun. Audio books seem more like entertainment than work and they can help convince those kiddos. Lower readers need even more convincing that books can be fun and this may be the encouragement they need. While they develop their skills they can still enjoy the stories and learn literary concepts.

That being said... my school has quite a collection of audio books on cd but last year added numerous mp3 players to the collection. During PD days before the school year, several para-professionals were enlisted to read a variety of books - selected by teachers - and record them on the mp3s. Although the equipment is cataloged and circulated through the library, it was the SPED dept that requested the funding and "got it done." The more I think about it the more I realize that most of the technology - equipment and programs - in our building were acquired due to district initiatives or specific department efforts...not due to the LMC staff.

Patricia Scanlan "Anger management" Sept 3, 2009 LM_NET Posting

I walked through my LMC the other day before school where my LMS and a vendor were going through new titles available. Since she knows I am in this program and often tax her brain about library "stuff" she stopped me and asked if I had a few minutes to look at some titles with them. I did not, unfortunately, but I did notice a new non-fiction series dealing with emotional health. One was dealing with anger management and the comment was made that it may not be appropriate for a 5th and 6th grade library. I was somewhat surprised. I suggested that it may still be a worthwhile title to put in the staff resource area, at least. I was pressed for time and had to leave, but thought about this for a while. The entire series looked well done and had good reviews. Why would this particular title get put under such censure? Spend one day in my builing, or any intermediate school, and it becomes obvious that this issue certainly applies to this age group. I deal with children with anger problems on a daily basis. It is a topic covered in class counseling sessions. Why was it automatically set aside as inappropriate? Here, Ms Scanlan is asking for recommendations (granted, for a HS) and our book is being hidden or perhaps rejected entirely. I am baffled. My parting comment was, "You know me. I am all for 'all books on the shelf'."