Its Official – Another School Year is about to Begin!

As I write this I have just (well a couple three or four hours ago) finished updating our school’s faculty AND student handbooks and they’ve been sent off for printing.  Yep, almost last minutes as always!  Hopefully, not too many errors will be found.  Time always seems to sneak up on me and summer seems to slip by so quickly.

With new beginnings logically something has to end, and for me it just wasn’t summer.  June 30th marked the end of my term as President of the SC Association of School Librarians.  I do have to say the organization has the best going away “gift” of sending outgoing Presidents to ALA Annual – this year in Chicago.  I was there with current President, Anne Lemieux, President-Elect, Diana Carr, and Past President, Kathy Sutusky.  We had a blast exploring Chicago and attending ALA events and AASL Affiliate Assembly.   My photos can be found on my Flickr account.

Since School has let out I have attended SCASL Summer Institute, ALA Annual, Upstate Technology Conference, SCASL’s Board Retreat, and one day of my district’s iPad 1:1 initiative’s 3 day training.  In between all that I had a “regular” doctors appointment for follow-up blood work (all normal!) and a neurologists appointment for my migraines (of which I’ve had 7 days of migraines and 6 days of ‘regular’ headaches this summer).  Only one very mild migraine episode since going on new medication, but vertigo symptoms as a side effect so not sure its been a good trade off!  hopefully it will taper off.  This to say that I’ve been very slack and not read a single young adult book or school related/professional journal, book, or magazine all summer.  Oh, but I been reading plenty of “me” books (in other words complete waste of time, entertainment, or as my uncle says “smut books”) and have been looking through my three travel guides to London and Edinburgh for my upcoming trip in September (Yippee!!)

More immediate excitement for both me and my students stems from the library (and most of the school) getting brand new carpeting/flooring – it looks really nice – well as nice as institutional carpeting can look! I’m told I’ll we’ll be getting paint touch ups, on the door trimmings, too!  I wish I’d taken some before and after photos.  Darn it!   The custodial staff is gonna help me move furniture back where it belongs next week.   The carpet guys did a pretty good job putting most of it where it was, but not quite where it should be – or where I want.   It will probably take me weeks to get everything else put back in place – or find new homes for things.

The computer guy(s) are working diligently to get the desktops and laptops back up and running – as not only did the computers get moved out, they were migrated from the Novell to Windows!  I don’t envy the tech guys their jobs!  We have WAY lots of computers and laptops for them to deal with and it seems every time I turn around they have to come back and tweak each and every one of them all over again!

Gonna be lots of changes for both faculty and staff to adapt to when they get back in a couple weeks!  Yep, I said it.  Only two weeks from today teachers come back!

Blind Date with a Book

On February 1st, Wagener-Salley students were greeted with a new display – Blind Date with a Book.

How it works: Students are asked to use the “dating” profile on the heart to decide if they want to take a shot at a date with the mystery book.  They were warned that by choosing to date one of these books they were agreeing to write a review of their date.  They have to read at least 2-3 chapters before they give up – and must still provide a review for why they didn’t like their date (hence why they gave up on it.)

I finished creating the display before going home Thursday, and Friday morning after only 2 hours the display was practically empty.  It was completely empty by 2:00 pm Friday!  Now, I just have to wait for the dates to be over and the students’ dating reviews!

I first heard of this display/program on the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) listserv.  Then saw this awesome post by librarian Rachel Montgomery, Teen Librarian at the Mooresville Public Library (Indiana) and was truly inspired by (and borrowed) her display’s dating profiles.  Since I didn’t have very many of the same titles, I put out a plea to some of my colleagues and Cathy Nelson came through with enough fill in profiles from previous SC Young Adult Book Award Nominee titles that I was able to create the above display.  If you want to see more photos of the display, including a close-up of one of the mystery books, you can find them on my Flickr site:

SC Midlands Summit day 2

For those who couldn’t make it to the summit, here is a Google doc for links.

The second day started with a keynote from Dr. Helen Barrett on ePortfolios.  Here website is

Next I attended Wednesday’s keynote speaker, Jamie Casup’s session titled “Chromebook Classrooms.”  While I didn’t take many notes, I was once again very impressed with his presentation.  A lot was similar to the keynote, but focused on why the Chromebook and not just here is what it can do.  I am intrigued and inclined to recommend our school investigate these as our next cart purchase.  I think they will fit in much better with the direction we are planning to take (if we also go to Google Apps for Ed) than traditional laptop/netbook or even iPad carts.

The last session I attended, as I didn’t stick around for the demo slam or lunch, was titled “Visual Storytelling” and given by Ken Shelton.  This wasn’t the session I had originally planned to attend, but my friend Chris Craft introduced me to Mr. Shelton as a fellow photographer and Mr. Shelton “sold” his session to me!  I decided to make sure I caught it on the second day.  As a budding photographer, I’m looking for ways to incorporate my photography with the classroom.  Now this session I did take notes.  Here is my “outline” on his session on Photo 5 – tell a story with five images and NO text.  Can be:

  • Journalistic (ex: use one image and crop into five separate images focusing on different elements that tells the whole story)
  • Sequential – five images that shown in sequence tell a story (example shown was from a bike race)
  • Photographic Poetry – think about an image abstractly (not literally) and tell the story of what you “see.”
  • Narrative – images tell a story with a beginning, middle, & end
  • Template for a Photo 5 is to establish:
    • Setting/Location
    • Situation “What might happen?”
    • Character(s) involvement
    • Probable Outcome(s)
    • Logical or Surprise ending
He also shared the concept of using an image and create Six Word Stories - inspired by the legend that Hemingway once won a bet that challenged him to tell a complete story in only six words.  His story:  ”Baby shoes. For Sale. Never worn.”  There is a group on Flickr that has a bunch of examples.  Here is one of mine – yeah, not the best, but okay for quick publishing here!  Photo credit: me!

Head itches. Bend, flick - ahhh, relief!

Another note I have is he encourages teachers to take photos, not just to use for classroom projects and kids, but to use in your own professional presentations (so you don’t have to borrow all the time from others!)  Remember, Google Images aren’t all copyright free.  Using your own keeps you from running into trouble later!  And of course there are places like Creative Commons and StreamlineSC where you know what you can/can’t use in your works.   He ran out of time and I really wish I’d gotten to learn some more from him.  I loved his session and highly recommend you attend if you get the chance.