Trick or Treat (with a book)

Just a quick note to share our October display/reading promotion.  It is called Trick or Treat with a Book and was “stolen” from Nampa Library.  Our library clerk found some cute reversible paper at Walmart and between us we selected titles we thought were appropriate for October/Halloween for her to wrap.  Like Nampa she added question marks; however, as the first batch quickly disappeared, she began adding more creative touches!  The most recent ones had witches, trees with rotten apples, black cats, ghosts, etc.



Teen Read Week 2014

TRW FlyerLast week was Teen Read Week (TRW) - the week we look forward to here in the WSHS library!  Every year we plan activities to host in the library during lunch around the theme chosen by YALSA.  This year the them was “Turn Dreams into Reality @ your library” and while I don’t know if we managed to turn any dreams into reality, we sure did have some fun!

Monday – “Dream Vacations”

I’ve always wanted to play around with a green screen and with some advice from Cathy Nelson I purchased the Do Ink Green Screen app for my iPad.  In addition, I purchased a green screen kit (green screen muslin, backdrop support, and clamps) from Amazon.  The activity for Monday was for students to take “Dream Vacation” or Halloween photos.  I had preselected photo backgrounds from and Learn360 for students to choose their dream destinations or Halloween backdrops.  The students had a blast!  They really got a kick that one of their Sun Drop bottles disappeared in the photos.  And another’s green shirt kept fading in and out!  I also think more students would have participated if I had been able to print them out as soon as I took them instead of having to wait until lunch was over and hand them out the next day.  Once other students saw the results they wanted to have their pictures taken, too!  Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep the screen set up as we had different activities planned for each day.  Next time I think I’ll bring in my wireless printer and mifi and see if that works.  We had 21 students and 1 teacher participate this day with 30 photos and 9 postcards made!

To see copies of our photos you can go to my school library webpage slideshow.

Tuesday – TED Tuesday

It just so happened that the 2nd Tuesday and the 3rd Thursday of the month both happened during TRW.  This meant that Tuesday automatically was our TED Tuesday video day.  This month in keeping with the theme, and to hopefully draw more student participation, I chose the video: The Future of Music: Alex Day at TEDxYouth@SanDiego.

Published on Jan 16, 2013

23 year-old YouTube sensation, Alex Day, has been called the “future of music” by Forbes magazine. Determined to break into the music world without an agent or a record label, Alex wrote and produced a song, created a music video, set out to win the UK Christmas Number One — and broke a Guinness World Record as the highest charting single by an unsigned artist — all in just 30 days! Alex shares his passion, determination and unbridled enthusiasm with TEDxYouth@SanDiego and inspires young people everywhere to “chase unrealistic goals” and not let a “bonkers world” ever stop you from your dreams. 

While I did have a good turn out of students (started with 9 and ended up with about 18 by the end of lunch–triple the number who came to the first TED day), I’m still not happy with how many students are participating with my TED initiative!  I made sure that this one was THOROUGHLY advertised both morning and afternoon announcements since the Thursday before the event.  I also talked it up to students who came into the library.  I was sure the fact that the video had to do with a musician and mentioned YouTube and Guinness World Record would draw them in….no such luck.  But I’m determined to keep trying!!

Wednesday – WSHS Idol

Wednesday was our traditional WSHS Idol (karaoke) day.  This has always been a “fan favorite” and was no exception at drawing in a crowd.  I had a packed house by the end of lunch (too many to count and no sign-in sheet!).  However, unlike years past when I could get kids to actually sing, no one really wanted to step up to the mic!!  I was shocked.  I only had five brave souls get up and sing!  And of course, they waiting until the last 15 minutes of lunch!  Part of the problem, I know, is the limited selection of songs – since I have to make sure the lyrics are clean and not too suggestive and I also wasn’t able to find any new CD’s at our “local” Best Buy this year.  I guess if I plan to have this next year (which I really think I want to retire it) I’m going to have to order CD’s online.  That said, the equipment is really old and not working great as it is, so I don’t know that I want to invest any more money into karaoke day!  Not if this trend of waiting until the last 15-10 minutes to sing keeps up – which is what also happened last year.  Last year, no one would get up and sing until after the library clerk got up and sang first!

Thursday – “Dream Monster” Bookmarks

Monster BookmarkAs I mentioned above, TRW had our 3rd Thursday of the month which is when we hold our craft day, so of course I had to come up with a craft to go along with the TRW theme.  It just so happened I already had a craft in mind for October and I “made it work” for TRW by adding the word “dream” in front!!  <grin>  I had found this activity a few years back called page corner bookmarks and had saved it as something I wanted to do at some point.  Since I started a craft day it was perfect to pull it out now!  The students LOVED it!  I actually had to write passes to class for six students who didn’t want to stop until they’d finished their bookmarks!  We had about 25 students and 1 teacher participate with this activity.

To see more examples of the “monster” bookmarks for those I was able to catch before they left the library, go to the library slideshow.

Friday has always been a teacher workday during TRW and this week was no exception.  While this is a bummer for kids in that we don’t have another activity for them, it is a blessing for me as coming up with activities for the kids is exhausting!   Overall, this was a very fun and successful week of activities.  My principal stopped in Tuesday with our Academic Officer and I was able to show them our Photo Op examples; and my principal came back in during karaoke day to see on hear our kids sing!

Model Schools Conference 2014

I was asked to attend the Model Schools Conference this year as a representative from my school.  Never having attended the conference before I had no idea what to expect; however, I was excited to attend because, hello, it was being held in ORLANDO!  Below are the sessions I attended and the notes I took along with any reflections I might have about my experiences.

Keynote: “A Recipe for School Success: Leadership, Literacy, and Laughter,” Dr. Sue Szachowicz

My only note is the quote below.  The rest of the time I enjoyed just listening to her and getting “pumped up” about what was in store for the rest of the conference.

“If your action inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

MSCDigital Badges – Laura Fleming (@nmhs_lms), Session 106

I was pleased to see that there was a session being led by a school librarian and on a topic of interest!  While she did specify that you could use the digital badging for student and staff learning, I was more interested in the application for staff development.  She also indicated that for those who might not be at the ready to jump in and create their own program, you could give teachers her site and they can earn badges through her school.  She’s also willing to give anyone who wants it her digital badge “package” if you want to use it to jump start your own program – so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel.  Simply contact her.

  • Worlds of Learning –
  • Worlds of Learning @ New Milford High School: Digital Badges in Professional Learning –
  • credits for learning:
    • in & out of school learning (community service)
    • informal & formal learning
    • earned anytime/anywhere
    • shared on websites, portfolios, resumes, college admission process, social media profiles…
  • Siloed Badge Issuers = badges can’t be shared; badges can only be displayed in the platform where you earned them. ex: Smore, Edmodo, Kahn Academy.
  • Open Badges can be shared/displayed anywhere.  Badge creation examples:
  • Job embedded coaching and collaboration for LMS
  • Badge Platform (WordPress plugin) –
  • Examples of badge earner programs that have been developed:
  • Allows participants to choose what they want to learn, when they want to learn it.
  • If you use Credly, you can design your own badges and upload to the site – for example, have your students (art students) design your badges and upload!

Nextpert, Session 112

Was a 15 minute demo session and was too fast for me to really get a sense of the program.  Also, I have to say we’ve been burned by lesson plan/standards programs in the past so I may not have been in the best frame of mind to give it the attention it deserved.  What I observed are lesson plans and assessments pre done/provided through Nextpert.

Brockton HS, Session 14

This HS was heralded as the “model” for what could be accomplished and how to turn around a school.  The keynote speaker, Dr. Sue Szachowicz, was the principal at one time.  I was particularly interested in attending to learn more about their literacy model.  Instead, the focus was on discussion how the school is organized and on faculty professional development.  This is all I have in my notes.

  • Student council meets with the principal once a week.
  • Teachers are required to do the chosen skill (designated/targeted skill that was undertaken in that year’s professional development) once a year and is scheduled by subject (documented in lesson plan – should appear in lesson plan at the designated time in the calendar year) and the student work is collected.  The work is reviewed by teachers, department heads, asst. principals and at faculty meetings.

I understand my principal did purchase the book, so I’m hoping there is more information about the literacy program in there.  Literacy/reading level is of a particular concern for us as our students have such poor reading skills – and we all agree that if students can’t read, they can’t succeed!

“Transforming a Culture,” Session #21, Al Fabrizio, Principal, Martin County High School, Stuart FL

This session made me think my school is already on the right course of action.  It was all about data and tracking student progress.  Identifying at-risk students and meeting their needs to help ensure they succeed.

  • Today’s Meet –  we were asked to in a handful of words define the term “culture”
  • Tweet at hashtag: #isitgoodforkids
  • Culture is: Heart and soul of the school. – “the way we do things around here’
  • “It’s up to me!” is the driving statement/mission for the school.  The one for this session is “Is it good for kids?”
  • Discipline Matrix – all students held accountable equally
  • Holds class assemblies
  • Student Policy Awareness Presentations w/ Student & Parent signatures

Creating Classroom Community to Motivate and Engage, Session #63, Jacob Clifford –

Confession, I had to leave this session early to meet with my principal.  There were supposed to be 10 principals and I only got to 6!!  Sorry!  This is another speaker who I’d love to hear/experience more of his workshops!

  • Engaging and Motivating Students
  • Think of your favorite class ever. What made that class so special?1.Community: The students had respect and positive attitude towards you and their peers. That class was comfortable and fun.  2. Buy-In
  • Teachers are in Sales – not teaching.  You have to sell it to you students.
  • First day give them your first lesson that is the coolest thing possible.  Not the syllabus and dos and don’ts  This way they buy into the subject.
  1. Emphasize the BIG PICTURE.    Not knowing – Pete Homes video –  If very few of our students will use the content we teach every day, what do you REALLY want your students to walk away with?  Bigger picture than the content.
  2. Acknowledge and correct their misconceptions.
  3. Give them problems/puzzles to solve
  4. Teach essential skill with experiential learning activities – (learning by doing).  Skill – mastering skills requires practice.  Don’t give up when it gets hard.  Skill – get the job done first then celebrate.  Finish strong.
  5. Make and honor a contract.  No busy work is the biggie – everything you give them is designed to support the content and skills students need to learn and know.
  6. Focus on growth and progress.  Have students pair up and complete exam correction sheets.  Posting Exam Results so students know where they fall in the class average.

Digital Artifacts, Session #110, Gregg McGough, Penn Manor High School

This was supposed to be a 15 minute session, but I could tell he could spend hours and we’d sit and soak up whatever he had to share.  He went way over his time, but I had to run to catch my next session!

  • Aurisma app – hold it over a $20 bill (back) plays music and animates.  Front just shuffles the bill.
  • Evernote – where his students take notes
  • Google Docs – where his students submit documents
  • crowdsourcing is an expansion of responsibility – Jeremy Jernigan not direct quote
  • Digital Globe –
  • First Attempt In Learning (FAIL)
  • Zooniverse –

What’s Your Mobile Strategy? – Session #47, Jim Warford (@jimwarford),

This was the session description: bolding and CAPS for emphasis is mine, not in the original description…

“What does it take to integrate technology into every classroom? In this HANDS-ON session, Jim Warford will provide the MATERIALS and RESOURCES to do just that, including DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS for using social media and a technology TOOLBOX for teachers and students.  Participants should bring smartphones or tablets to use in the session (WIRELESS INTERNET NOT PROVIDED).”

Okay, first off, no hands on, no materials, resources, detailed instructions, or a toolbox provided.  And second, this was a lecture and/or antidotal on how schools should be moving toward using mobile devices in schools.  And then to not have internet in the session room …. not good, but then since the session failed to live up to it’s hype I guess the lack of internet wasn’t a great loss except it meant I didn’t have it to distract me.  Yes, I’m being harsh, but to say I was disappointed is an understatement.  If you’re going to advertise the above, you should provide at least SOME of what you promise.  That all said, Jim Warford is an engaging and entertaining speaker and if it the description hadn’t promised one thing I might have enjoyed the session for his delivery alone.

  • TodaysMeet –

Final thoughts:

Overall, while this was an enjoyable experience, I felt that most of what I heard my school/principal is already undertaking: focus on data collection, tracking, reading/literacy development, etc.  The sessions were more of an “overview” and not enough of a “hands-on” or something for me to take back and implement in my “classroom.”  It was more of a theoretical or abstract and I guess I’m used to attending my own technology and media specialist/librarian conferences that are skills and “tools” based so this is a bit out of my element.  Or I guess it was a 50/50 split between what I’m used to and the more “abstract.”  I’m not sure I’m the best person to have been asked to attend, but I don’t guess it was a complete waste of my school’s dime!  I did learn a few things that I want to give try or at least attempt to develop this year!