“Kindles, Nooks, iPads, Oh, My!” – SCASL Webinar

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When: January 20, 2011, 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Presenters:  Fran Bullington, Anne Lemieux, Heather Loy, Shirley Smith, and Donna Teuber

Where: OPAL http://www.conference321.com/masteradmin/room.asp?id=rsc4e9d46972ae

With so many different eReaders to choose from, how do you know what will work for you?  Join us for a discussion of how we are using our Kindle, Nook, Sony, iPad (and maybe more) eReaders.  This is an informational session for you to ask questions and/or share your own personal experience with your favorite eReader.  Not limited to SCASL members – open to anyone who wishes to participate.

Enter your name for your username and leave the password field blank.  (OPAL works best on a PC using the plug-in version.)

Taking time to smell the roses


I know, the picture doesn’t have a rose in it, but I’m very proud of this photo – taken just minutes ago while out “walking” the dog.  I’m REALLY enjoying my new Nikon D5000 camera!

This is Labor Day weekend.  Labor day “is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” (US DOL.gov)  I planned to take this weekend off –  to sit back and relax, get some reading done, and generally be a sloth!  However, I just can’t seem to turn off my work switch.  There are so many things needing to be done and/or planned for in the upcoming weeks/months.

2 Read or Not 2 Read – Midland Valley and I have finally gotten our book club blog up and running.  I’m still waiting on some last minute approval before I can give out applications to my students; however, Midland Valley introduced the blog to their students this past week.  I’m VERY excited about having our students interact and share book reviews/discussions through blogging.

Library Card Sign-up Month – September is library cards sign-up month and I, along with the librarian from the Wagener public library, have been asked to visit/speak with the middle school English classes on Sept. 22nd.   We are supposed to share what we are doing/offering in our programs.  Still not sure what I’m going to speak about, but I was specifically asked to share the library’s web page, the new blog, and other “multimedia for 21st century skills” – hopefully I’ll figure out whatever that means by the 22nd!  Wish me luck.

SC Young Adult Book Awards – The nominees for the 2010-11 SC Young Adult Book Awards have been announced.  As always, there is a display of these title in the library.  In addition, I am on the SCYABA book award committee and have been reading a bunch of new YA titles.  I’m really excited about many of them and can’t wait to recommend them to our students.  Being on this committee forces me to read a wide variety of YA titles I wouldn’t normally read.

WSHS Book Club – tentatively, the first book club will meet this Friday, Sept. 10th, during both lunches.  We will be adopting the Midland Valley book club monthly themes – September’s theme is Mystery.  Please encourage your students to join the book club.

Technology Workshops – the new Technology Committee for WSHS has been tasked to provide workshops for the next Early Release Wednesday.  We’ve come up with a proposal and are waiting for the okay before developing our workshops.   All TC members are working on finding and reviewing web resources.  Right now, we are reviewing the AASL Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning (2009) to determine which of the blocked sites we want to petition to have unblocked.  The classroom teachers are supposed to review and provide feedback as to whether or not they would be useful in their classrooms.  I’ve created a Diigo account for WSHS where I’ve begun bookmarking these and other useful or interesting links.

These are just a few of the items on my mind this weekend.  Others include: library advocacy, August monthly report, WSHS Drama Club (meets this Wednesday); Banned Book Week (begins Sept. 25th); pull-out classes begin soon; Teen Read Week (Oct. 17-23); signing up for another photography class; submitting a proposal for the SC Association of School Librarians conference, and making plans to attend the SC Title 1 (Oct. 25-27) and  SC EdTech (Oct. 27-29) conferences.

*Sigh* – I think I’ll just go read a book instead!  Enjoy what’s left of the Labor Day weekend ya’ll!

SC Association of School Librarians 2010 Conference

Screen shot 2010-03-28 at 3.28.10 PM This past week I attended the SC Association of School Librarians 2010 Annual Conference where I had a BLAST!

Wednesday, March 24th

From Information Literacy to Information Leadership and “RSS: Connecting Ideas and Knowledge” presented by Will Richardson:

I have to say these sessions were AWESOME!  My only wish is that my district administrators and tech folks had attended these sessions.  Here are a few of the things I wrote down:

  • it’s about teaching students to be participants with the information – to become experts in the process and not necessarily the tool
  • while “digital natives” know how to WORK the technology, they need to be taught how to use the tools ethically and efficiently
  • teachers first need to learn how to use the tools themselves – for their own personal needs before they begin to implement them in their classrooms
  • the tool isn’t the change, the change is connecting to other teachers/students around the world
  • we have to ask ourselves how do we get our students to synthesize and manage to go deeper into the information and not take it on face value
  • we need to teach students the ability to read in hypertext
  • we need to teach reading as collaborative – ex: using Diigo to add a note/comment where others can respond – start a conversation.
  • elementary schools need to prepare students in the ability to read not just an understanding of the words, but the method (hypertext)
  • Can we (our teachers) meet The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies?  How can we teach these to our kids if we can’t do them ourselves?  Can we: “Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally? Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes? Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information? Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts? Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments?”
  • we need to be helping our students build their own personalized learning environments
  • we need to shift to a model of connected teaching – global collaboration
  • Our school/district need to shift professional development to how to apply tools to curriculum and not how to use a tool – teachers should be made to learn how to USE (create an account, maneuver the tool, etc.) on their own.
  • Google Reader (or any RSS aggregater) is an example of ways to “manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information”

After a full day of pre-conference events, we were just too tired to go to the first concurrent session.  We chose, instead to sit down and make our dinner plans.  The highlight of the day was sharing dinner with Will Richardson, Cathy Nelson, Chris Craft, Fran Bullington, and Nic Finelli.

Thursday, March 25th

“Moore” on Primary Sources presented by Frank and Cathy Moore

This session provided information about teaching with primary sources using the Library of Congress.  I came away with LOTS of ideas on how to share these resources with my teachers, such as: resources for speeches, photos, book backdrops, lesson plans, online professional development, and much more.  However, I think I had more fun watching the two presenters interact with each other – you can tell they are a married couple!

Keynote: Web of Connections: Why the Read/Write Web Changes Everything presented by Will Richardson

Again, AWESOME!  Shhh, don’t tell, but I did get some of this as audio on my iPhone.  It’s so much more beneficial for me to record the session so I can just listen and observe, then go back and make notes.  I haven’t had an opportunity to go back and listen just yet.  I’m kicking myself that I didn’t record the pre-conference sessions.

10 Tools to a More 2.0 Library presented by Cathy Nelson

As always, informative and entertaining to listen to Cathy.  Her enthusiasm is contagious and she makes using these tools seem as easy as they are to learn/operate.

After Cathy’s session we all headed over to lunch at Five Guys Burger and Fries with Cathy Nelson, Fran Bullington, Chris Craft, Steve Reed, and Sally Hursey.  As always, these are the best times for me – talking with my peers about anything and everything.

ABC-Clio Luncheon

I went to learn about their history databases and Library Media Connection publications.  Yes, we’d already had lunch, but they were giving away $50 discount to any of their products!  I’m really hoping to get our Social Studies department to purchase one or more of their databases (I’m thinking the AP teacher could REALLY use the US History database/resources.)  Learned that the staff section has resources correlated to SC standards.  Research List feature allows teachers to create bibliographies/pathfinders for their classes/students.


Me with Alane Ferguson

Because we went to the the ABC-Clio luncheon, we missed the Meet the Author session featuring Alane Ferguson.  However, we did make it to her author signing (in fact, I was second in line!)  The lady in front wanted her picture taken with Alane, so a new acquaintance, Judy Mamroth, took their photo.  When asked if I wanted my picture taken, too, I said an emphatic no – that I don’t do photos.  Alane then says she’ll show me the trick to taking photos.  Those who were there know the story and lets just say I’m surprised you can’t see me blushing in the photo as we definitely got up close and personal!  I have a feeling that Alane has never met a stranger!

South Carolina and Thinkfinity: A SDE Partnership presented by Catherine Giddens

LOTS of resources for teacher of all grades and subjects and aligned to SC standards. Was MarcoPolo.  Has interactive activities great for SMARTboards.  Will definitely have to do some more exploration.  I also signed up for more information about becoming a trainer.  However, the real benefit for me at this session was meeting Joe Woodbury whose is going to hopefully help me find ways to get wikis and blogs available for students through SC Department of Ed and the TeacherVillage.

That evening, Cathy, Fran, and I, along with Allison Roberts (an LMS from TN) went to see Alice in Wonderland at the IMAX 3D theater just up the road.  This was the first IMAX movie I had ever seen and only the second 3D movie I’d been to see.  The movie was good, but seeing the others in those bulky 3D goggles was funnier!  Movie rating 4 out of 5 stars – weird, but good.

Friday, March 26th

Meet the Author: Alane Ferguson

Author of the Forensic Files Mysteries: The Christopher Killer, The Angel of Death, The Circle of Blood, and The Dying Breath.  I’ve been to a few author sessions before, but none has ever been as entertaining and informative as this one.  Alane Ferguson has an enthusiasm and charisma that keeps you glued to the seat in anticipation to hear what she’ll say next.  If you ever have the opportunity to see/hear her in person, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you go.  I was really excited to hear about her latest project, Dragonfly Eyes, set in Charleston, SC – can’t wait for it to come out, but it is still in the writing/development stage.  She also said there are two more Forensic Files mysteries being planned!

Introducing the 2010-2011 SC Young Adult Book Award Nominees

I look forward to this booktalking session each year.  I realize it takes a lot of guts to get up in front of our peers and speak, and that I was guilty of this when I served on the committee, but I would like to see the committee members actually present a booktalk and not READ their booktalks to us – especially if you’re going to read it so fast that I can barely understand what you are saying.  Also, on the podcasts this was a problem, too, that you could tell they were being read and read too quickly for me to catch what was being said.  [They played the podcast MP3 for those who couldn’t attend conference and actually present their booktalks.]  I gain the most excitement when you can tell the person talking is excited.  That doesn’t come across when they READ their booktalks to us.  I can read just as well as they can, so just talk to me about the book!  I am looking forward to listening to all of the podcasts when they are eventually posted.

Authors’ Celebration Luncheon featuring Cynthia Kadohata, Suzanne Williams and Alane Ferguson.

Cynthia Kadohata received the 2009 SC Junior Book Award for her novel Cracker!: The Best Dog in Vietnam.  She told us the story of going to the pound and choosing her own dog, as well as her experiences interviewing Vietnam vets who were dog handlers.  Brought tears to my eyes.  Suzanne Williams shared anecdotal examples of sharing her books with students. Alane Ferguson shared much of what she did in her session as well as read a bit from her next project, a short story beginnings of Dragonfly Eyes which will be in a Stephen King anthology called Fear coming out later this year and she says that all of the proceeds will go to Reading is Fundamental.

Screen shot 2010-03-28 at 5.17.09 PMWhile all of these speeches were wonderful, everyone was really waiting to find out which books won this year’s SC Book Awards.  So here goes:

Picture Book Award:  Wolf’s Coming by Joe Kulka
Children’s Book Award:  Swindle by Gordon Korman
Junior Book Award:  Schooled by Gordon Korman
Young Adult Book Award: Thirteen Reasons Why:  A Novel by Jay Asher

Look, Gordon Korman will receive TWO awards.  Do you think it will be possible to get him to conference next year???  I sure hope so.  I loved his Son of the Mob books.  And, of course, I hope they can persuade Jay Asher to attend as well.

So ends another enjoyable conference.  However, I do have one HUGE request to the SCASL Conference Committee for future conferences. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, EVER book another convention center that doesn’t have Wifi.  That on top of Embassy Suites, the conference center hotel, not having free wifi was RIDICULOUS.  I mean, come on!  If McDonalds can offer free wifi, why can’t the conference center?????  Unless this situation changes, I hope we NEVER go back to North Charleston for our SCASL conference.  Sorry, Charleston, I love your city, but be reasonable.  No free wifi??? Again, RIDICULOUS!