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Showing posts from December, 2012

Great Example of 21st Century Learning Part 2

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This all began a couple of weeks before the holidays, but I have not had time to get it written down. It is such a wonderful example of 21st century learning that I wanted to share. A number of teachers have talked about asking students to create infographics to illustrate data. I was even helping 6th grade math students find websites to help them create graphs for an infographic project. The teacher just hadn't decided yet what the theme of the infographic would be, so curating sites on Sqworl was as far as they had gotten. 
In the meantime, a class of juniors and seniors taking AP Environmental Science were using the start-up Infogr.am to create infographics illustrating various environmental land-use issues such as flooding, national parks, etc which they had previously researched. I heard that the students were not happy with the online software, so I visited the class to tweet out the students’ issues to the makers of Infogram. I was surprised at the speed within which I got…

Great Example of 21st Century Learning Part 1

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During the last couple of weeks before the holidays, I participated in and watched two student activities that were engaging and demonstrated the 21st century skills of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity at a level that made me proud to work at PFTSTA. I am going to tell the story of one of these examples in this post and save the other for another post. 

All the Knowledge You Need to Survive College by Allie and Tiffany
The top two students in the senior class were the only students taking Gifted Projects this past semester. In this course, they could design a project of interest to them that would carry them through the whole semester. Since they were both applying to a number of colleges, forefront in their minds was college and the process for taking the next step in their education. They seemed very confident about this process, but there was one aspect that both of them felt totally unprepared. They really thought their skills in cleaning and mending…

Students Write Impassioned Letters to Lawmakers

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I have mentioned in several earlier posts that in January the Louisiana state board of education (BESE) wants to amend Bulletin 741 that guides all school districts. My main concern with their changes to this document is the language about school libraries. In essence the document would no longer require schools to have a certified librarian on staff nor will schools and districts be required to provide a budget for library resources. It will now be only recommended, and districts would no longer need a waiver from the state to dismantle school libraries. I have written my own letter to all the BESE members, but I also asked the parents of my school to write to the BESE member who represents them. A parent sent me a copy of her letter, and I couldn't believe how supportive it was. An English teacher was so upset about these possible changes that she asked her 8th graders to use what they learned about writing a persuasive essay with logical and emotional appeals and write their ow…

Six Months of Teen Reviews

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The recent edition of SLJTeen on December 19th marks six months of reviews by the teens in Bookmarked. This is the halfway mark for Bookmarked's stint as the resident teen book reviewers for the online newsletter. It has been an interesting six months. The students' book reviews are outstanding. They really have some intriguing insights about the books that they are reading. On the other hand, every two weeks arrives quickly, and it can be like pulling teeth for them to submit the reviews to me. I know that many of them are inundated with English work that entails a lot of reading. Also, our editor wants the books to be pre-pub by at least one month. It seems the publishers are sending the advanced copies much closer to the pub dates, and often by the time that the teens read the books, the publication date has passed. However, we have been able to overcome all these trials and tribulations. I want to share with you a link that will allow you to read every review that was pub…

Help Save Louisiana School Libraries

BESE. in Louisiana, wants to amend its bulletin that guides all school districts. In so doing, BESE will allow districts to decide if a library should be staffed and if it should be staffed by a certified librarian. We need to take action and ask BESE to require a certified librarian in every school. Please read what the Louisiana Association of School Librarians (LASL) has suggested on how you can help. Click here to open the LASL plan of action.

Student Blogs for YALSA's The Hub

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A couple of months ago, one of the members of Bookmarked, the high school book group, asked me if there were some places besides SLJ Teen where she could submit book reviews. I thought about it and decided to contact the manager of The Hub. The Hub is one of YALSA's blogs and the focus of this blog is young adult literature. There are a number of librarians who blog regularly for The Hub, and I thought Kayla's writing would be a great addition. Gretchen Kolderup, the manager, agreed when she read a sample. Today Kayla's first post was published. Click here to read what Kayla had to say.

Glimpse of the New PFTSTA

The construction of the new Patrick Taylor Academy began in January 2012 and is slated to be complete in May 2013. I have been taking pictures of the changes in the exterior on a monthly basis. Other teachers have been too. I was also given some video by one of the students as she drove by the new school. I put all of this together in a video. The video below shows the progress of the exterior beginning in January and running through October. 
PFTSTA Construction Jan 2012 to Oct 2012 from PFTSTA on Vimeo
Though I have really enjoyed watching the changes as they take shape, it is the  recent interior shots that have me jumping up and down. I have never worked in a new school nor had a library space that will equal this one. The principal, Jaime Zapico, has had two hard hat tours of the interior of the new facility. Last week, she took some video just for me of the library space and the common area just outside of the library. Below is a video that I put together of those shots. 
Chec…

Policy Change for School Libraries in Louisiana

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Just last week I blogged about the importance of being an advocate for your school library and in so doing you will be an advocate for all school libraries. Little did I know that less than seven days after writing that post the need for advocacy would reach a critical point in Louisiana. The Board of Elementary and State Education (BESE), which is the Louisiana state board of elected and appointed officials, has decided that they can help reform the schools by amending Bulletin 741. This is the handbook that the administrators in all districts must use as the guidelines for managing all public schools. The title page and forward is pictured below.
Then the other day, a librarian in northern Louisiana sent out a link to Bulletin 741 with all the points in the document that BESE wants to cut. There are lines drawn through many of the resolutions, but it is Chapter 17, section 1705 that makes me sick. I have made a copy of this section for you to see below. You can click on the image to…

Librarian and Teens Review New Books

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This is a picture that was taken during the American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim in June of 2012. That's me on the right, standing with author, Ashley Edward Miller, who wrote the young adult book, Colin Fischer. I am posting this picture six months after it was taken because I wrote a review of his book that was published in the latest edition of SLJTeen. Click here to read that review and to read two other reviews by members of Bookmarked, the high school library book group at Patrick Taylor.

Voting Opened for Annual Edublog Awards

This blog, Tales from a Loud Librarian, was nominated again for the annual edublog awards, also known as the eddies. I love this award because there are so many categories of edtech nominated, and I always find some gems that I had never seen before. 
Anyway, you need to vote daily until December 9th. The awards will be announced on December 12th. Open here to find the link to vote. You can vote for this blog under the category, library/librarian blog. Check out all the other categories for some awesome resources.

Advocacy for Your School Library Helps All School Libraries

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One of my colleagues at school is a big proponent of teachers' rights and believes that the teachers' unions are crucial for good public schools. This is an idea that has gotten a lot of flak lately, but I agree with him. However, there is one point that we often discuss and always disagree. Advocacy. He is a classroom teacher and thinks that his good teaching stands on its own and that he doesn't need to prove how hard he works by talking about what goes on in his classroom. He doesn't know what I have gone through as a librarian over the last twenty years, and how important it has been to broadcast about what goes on in a school library. 
I explain to him that it is vital that librarians shout about all the wonderful activities happening in their library. I do just that with this blog, the library website, twitter, email blasts, discussions with my principal, notices in the daily memo and articles in the school monthly newsletter. Since I became a librarian, I have …