Thursday, December 19, 2013

Swan Song in SLJTeen

Click here to read my article
Click here to read all five teen reviews
It has been a great run, but the December 18th edition of SLJTeen was Bookmarked's last contribution to the twice a month newsletter. I was pleased that we could end with a bang. The students submitted five reviews, and I wrote an article to say goodbye. In the reviews, you will find a student reviewed Noggin by John Corey Whaley; the same book that I reviewed in the December 4th edition. I hate to admit it, but I think that Vy nailed it better than I did. Click the links above to read the student's reviews and my swan song. 

Click here to read my review of Noggin

Early Christmas Present for the Library

BEFORE the holes were drilled in the counter
AFTER the holes were drilled in the back of the counter fro the cables and cords
Patrick Taylor Academy moved into the new building in Avondale at the end of July. School began on August 9th. The classrooms were ready before the library, and I couldn't open the library until August 22nd. Even then, there were still finishing touches that were not completed. I have been waiting since August for holes to be drilled in the counters for computer cables, shelving in the storage room, electrical outlets to become live and stool height chairs for students at the computer counter. Having the cables and electrical cords hanging in front of the counters looked ridiculous and also were a safety hazard. Wednesday, two days before our winter break, the stone man and carpenter came to drill the holes in the counters with the student computers and my circulation desk. I can go on break a happy camper. See for yourself in the photos above and below. 

The black grommet is the finishing touch

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Evaluation Done & I Hit Every Section on the Librarian's Rubric

I have been teaching for over 30 years. You would think that I would not get nervous about being observed by my principal. She has certainly popped in the library many times while I was teaching a class. However, having a formal teacher evaluation did make me a bit jumpy. If you would like to read the rubric used to evaluate school librarians in Louisiana, open here.

To plan for this event, I knew that I had to do a collaborative lesson with one of my teachers. I selected the biology teacher because we have worked together before, and she was going out on maternity leave. I knew that having me work with her students for two 90 minute periods was not going to eat into her teaching time. Together we decided to do a project on human diseases. Last year, after her students completed the Louisiana end of course test (EOC), they told her there were some topics on the test that were not covered in class. How technology is used to diagnose and treat human diseases was one of those areas.

We first talked about what kind of product the students would produce. The students in groups of two would create a brochure describing causes, pathogen, chain of infection, symptoms, treatment and prevention as well as technologies used for diagnosis and treatment. The teacher and I selected 8 different diseases with different characteristics, so the students could share their findings. Since I wanted the students to research electronically in reference books and websites, and I wanted them to visit sites that offered accurate and reliable information, I created a Livebinder that they would use for this project. See the Livebinder embedded below.

Click here to open this binder in a new window.

Then I created a pathfinder for the students to use that would lead them through the different resources for all the required information. The pathfinder is embedded in the Livebinder on the first tab, and you can download it. Within the pathfinder, I asked students to look at authority, currency and accuracy of the various websites. 

I knew some of the weak areas that the students had in information literacy. I had given them a pre-test on Trails to assess their skills. I developed a short list of high level questions that would help them with these weaknesses. I know that many teachers get points counted against them during their evaluation for not having high level questions in their lesson. I was worried that I would forget my good questions. I created a script of questions, typed them in Evernote, and then used my iPad mini with Evernote open to the questions, so I would have them at my fingertips. 

Students working on their brochures
The lesson began with the questions. Then I went through the Livebinder tab by tab very quickly to explain what the students would find under each tab. Then the students began the pathfinder. I circulated around the room answering questions, asking questions and helping the students with their searches. Then the next day the students returned to the library to take the information literacy post-test and complete their brochures. What a nice holiday gift to have this behind me. The lesson was very successful, too because the teacher remarked that she plans to use it again next year. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Gig as Teen Reviewers Soon to End


Click the above image to enlarge and read
I hadn't read the amazing description about me that Dodie had written in this week's edition of SLJTeen until I received an email from a fellow librarian. She was sending me kudos about something that I hadn't even seen. Dodie, you had me floored. I just don't think of myself in that way. I do what I do to provide the best library program that I can physically do for the students at Patrick Taylor. The fact that I love it is a big plus in my book, and I realize this is not a given. It also helps to have supportive administrators, faculty members and parents, too. 

12413landrypark Teens Review 17 & Gone, Landry Park, and Whaleys Latest
1241317andgone Teens Review 17 & Gone, Landry Park, and Whaleys Latest

The students were a little light this week with their reviews for SLJTeen. So Dodie and I had an opportunity to wax eloquent about some books that we have been reading. Though I write in this blog regularly, which means I am published on the web, it still gives me a little thrill to see my own byline in SLJTeen. Read our reviews here.

12413noggin Teens Review 17 & Gone, Landry Park, and Whaleys Latest

Friday, December 6, 2013

Presenting at LACUE 2013

I am not going to bore you with the stress that I have had over the last three weeks. Just suffice it to say that life can hit you with some very difficult curve balls. What makes it nice is to have a collaborator who watches your back. In September when I decided to present at the annual conference for the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators (LACUE), I had no clue that time would get away from me. Kelly Maher and I have presented together before, and we planned to do it again this year. I like working with Kelly because we are very different and each of us are able to make unique contributions to our presentations. So I am writing this and offering a HUGE shout out to Kelly for probably pulling way more weight on this presentation than I did. I really appreciate it because I think that we nailed it. 

This time around we wanted to inspire, share some of what we have done by telling stories and introduce some new web tools. We wanted to emphasize that most of the projects assigned can be accomplished across platforms. Patrick Taylor Academy is a 1:1 laptop school, but many of the programs that we use are also available on phones and tablets and different operating systems. We see the writing on the wall and don't believe that schools will be able to afford to continue purchasing electronics for the students. We think that bring your own device (BYOD) is going to be the next big thing in education and ed tech. If we set up our projects and assignments to make it easier for students to complete on a myriad of devices, then we are providing students both choice and a way to accomplish tasks more efficiently for the individual student. 

Kelly and I are Armed and Ready

We titled our presentation: "Be Armed and Ready for the Next Evolution in Educational Technology." You can find all of our resources on the wiki that we created here: Check out our links, you will probably find something that you haven't used before. Hopefully, I will have an opportunity soon to look at all the new tools that I encountered during this conference, and when I do, I will share with you on this blog.

As part of our presentation, we showed a short film of two students from Patrick Taylor Academy talking about the importance of technology in their lives. You can view the video below. Please note the problem solving that Paris had to do to overcome the lack of Internet access at home. You

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