Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TL News Night

A few weeks ago my long time mentor and friend, Sharon Gullett, expressed that she would like to see me create a video podcast for school librarians. What a great idea!  I knew just who to call.  My talented friend, Nikki Robertson, would be the perfect person to help start this new adventure. In a few days we had a title and direction for the show, an awesome team of librarians, and guests for the first broadcast.  This little dream had become a reality-FAST. 

Monday night was the inaugural broadcast.  We welcomed guests from the New York Association of School Librarians.  Hearing their story of cutbacks, lost positions, and massive budget cuts rang all too true. Librarians across our great nation are losing their place in our libraries. Now is the time for us to become leaders in our libraries, schools and communities. I admire school librarians because I know the love and dedication we have for our students. We do make a difference!

Our next broadcast is October 21, 2013. Please join us as we highlight the Texas Library Association and discuss librarians as leaders in our changing world.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cool Tech Tool: Blendspace


You may have previously heard of Edcanvas. Now it has a new name Blendspace.  This cool tech tool allows you to add content from YouTube, Google, Vimeo, Dropbox, GoogleDocs, files from your computer, and much more onto one page with one link to share.  Teachers can create easy to access lessons and tutorials for their students. Quizzes and documents can be added seamlessly.  Teachers can create classes in Blendspace and have their students create accounts.  Those students can then be added to the correct class. Once finished creating the lesson, you can play it, and share it with others. Blendspace lessons can be shared on Edmodo, Facebook, email, embed code, QR code, or you can share the link with anyone.  A searchable gallery of lessons is also available on Blendspace. If the author allows, you can copy the lesson and edit it. Play the video above for a quick tutorial. Create something awesome!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

If you give a student...


     I have always loved the book series If You Give a Mouse a Cookie written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond.  Once my son came along, it warmed my heart to see him fall in love with this book series too. His personal favorite is If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Reflecting on the magic of these books, helped me realize the whole journey begins with If.  What a magical word.  Anything is possible with If.
     Students walk through our doors everyday ready for If.  What if this is the day I succeed,  create a masterpiece, go on a real life adventure, or learn something wonderful?  What could our young people accomplish if we, as educators, gave them...RESPECT, SUPPORT, HONESTY, FREEDOM,  and SAFETY . What Ifs could they dream and accomplish?
     I always want my students to know I value them, and they have great worth in my book. Above all, they matter to me.   Respect is an amazing trait to model for young people.  If you respect them consistently, they reciprocate, and they pass that gift along to their friends and family.
     Students arrive at our school every morning. Some are ready for a new day, and some are not.  Our students have diverse backgrounds, and no one student's circumstances are the same as another.  What I can give is my unwavering support. I am never too busy that I cannot stop and help a student.  Support can come in many forms.  As a classroom teacher I sent postcards to students' parents.  I would describe something great their child accomplished in class, a good deed the student performed, or how much I enjoyed teaching that young person.  I never really thought twice about it. I just sent them out and forgot about them.  Years later, a student came up  to me and thanked me. The student said his family still had that postcard hanging on the wall of their house. Wow! Now that student is all grown up and works in my school district. It is his turn to pay it forward.
     One of the best gifts educators can give and receive is the opportunity to get connected with students. Our young people are amazingly talented, humorous, creative, and gifted with no preconceived notions about what can be accomplished in life. Students want educators to be 'real' with them. They want our honesty. Students deal with tough issues in this day and time. I hope all my students know they can come to me when they are in need. I cannot always help them myself, but I can always get them help.  School counselors are an amazing resource, and they are trained to deal with tough issues.  When students know you truly care, they will share their accomplishments, disappointments, goals, and dreams.
     When possible, I always allow students to make their own choices about learning.  Who does not like freedom? Students will take ownership and invest in the learning process when they feel empowered. Student choice also creates a more authentic learning environment.  Students learn in many ways, and I admire those who respect that fact. Not everyone learns like me, and I never want to force my learning style on others.
     As I focus on giving young people respect, support, honesty and freedom, I remind myself that student safety is paramount. If I do not provide a safe and secure environment, then no learning takes place. Safety is a basic necessity and must be established first.  Once students know they are secure, respected, and supported, our young people can begin to dream. As I start a new week,  I am focusing on a small, magical word...If 

If you give a student RESPECT, SUPPORT, HONESTY, FREEDOM, AND SAFETY, they will rise, and rise, and rise.....How far?  As far as he or she chooses.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ready to Collaborate? Join the AASL Conference Ning!


As school librarians, one of our greatest resources is our ability to collaborate with fellow professionals in our field.   The American Association of School Librarians is helping to facilitate collaboration by asking all school librarians to join the AASL Conference Ning.  Even if you are unable to attend the AASL Conference, join the Ning to share ideas, resources, and develop professional relationships with fellow librarians.  As Helen Keller once stated, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Please take a few minutes to visit the AASL Ning and join today! http://ning.aasl.org/

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

#TXLchat is Back!

Welcome back to a great new school year!  The new season of #TXLchat starts at 8:00 p.m. (CST) on Tuesday, September 10, 2014.  We will discuss back to school ideas, resources and more.  #TXLchat is expanding to an hour long chat this year on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.  We have an expert group of librarians serving as moderators who are professionals in the field of library science.  

                                               Sharon Gullett      @sharongullett
                                               Marsha Edney      @EdneyLib
                                               Naomi Bates        @yabooksandmore
                                               Sue Fitzgerald      @sue_fitz
                                               Sandra Carswell   @ sandracarswell
                                               Sonja Schulz        @sonjaschulz
                                               Michelle Cooper   @_michellecooper

Join us for library resources, great ideas, special guests, and more to help you and your library this year!