Common Core Take-aways

Over the Thanksgiving break I finally got caught up on a couple of issues of School Library Journal.  In them I noticed ads for a series of webcasts they’re doing about the Common Core specifically for librarians.  Two of the three have already gone by, but I decided to register for the third in January and view the archived ones I missed.  (The link below will get you there.  You have to register in order to view the archived sessions.  Once you register you’ll get an email with the webcast link.)

I especially enjoyed the first one with Marc Aronson and Sue Bartle.  Called Getting Real it focused especially on the shift in the CCSS to more informational text.  The second dealt with how librarians can take the CCSS and use them as a way to start conversations and collaborative efforts.  Here are my takeaways from both of the sessions:

How you read shapes how you will write

The third “C” in CCSS needs to be collaboration

We need to be talking to each other (teachers and librarians) to assure that major shifts are happening

Librarians are well poised for helping kids to be active questioners

How well do I know my non-fiction collection?

The issue for kids (in reading a text) is “Do I care?”

I need to approach non-fiction in new ways–aim, approach, point of view, voice/style

Spend more time with non-fiction elements and structures

Do the “heavy lifting” for teachers–unpack the standards and show how I can help

Less content, but more meaningful learning

Process is the emphasis;  content will be learned as a result

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Why I’m Excited about the Common Core

The more I delve into the Common Core State Standards the more I’m excited about the prospect for librarians.  Close reading of quality texts, the 4th R-research, reading across multiple texts, writing about what you read, etc. are areas where I know we can shine!  The timing for conversations around complex texts and  informational texts is perfect, too, with Candlewick’s “We Believe in Picture Books” campaign. I maintain that picture books are often the perfect choice for direct instruction of lots of literacy concepts, right up through middle school.  So if CCSS gives me more ammunition to “sell” picture books to my teachers I’m all over it!

(I have a feeling the CCSS will provide me with blogging ideas as well, and that’s another good thing!)  Please leave a comment and tell me how these new standards are impacting you.

Are you Connected?

If you are one of those people who has heard a lot about PLNs, PLCs, nings, Twitter, etc. and you’re thinking that maybe the upcoming school year is the chance for you to dip your toes in the water so to speak, there are lots of opportunities just waiting for you!  It seems like every day I get notification of at least a couple of ways to grow as a professional and to connect with others and learn new things.  Over the next few posts I’ll share a few that sound intriguing. Here’s the first, from Lisa Schmucki (lisa@edweb.net) on behalf of edWeb:

The US Department of Education has declared August Connected Educator Month, aimed at broadening and deepening educator participation in online communities and networks while providing opportunities for education leaders to work together to move forward faster.

I hope you’ll join in this celebration of how the power of online communities can improve teaching and learning. Join in a month of online events and activities, including forums, webinars, guided tours, open houses, contests, badges, and more–sponsored by more than 60 major national education organizations, communities, and companies, including edWeb!

All of our edWeb events in August will be celebrating connected educators!  Check out the calendarand join in the many special activities being held this month.  Join our community on edWeb Connected Educators to received notices about all edWeb events.

Don’t miss the Learning 2.0 Conference!

edWeb is delighted to be a sponsor of the Learning 2.0 Conference, a free worldwide virtual event from August 20 – 24, 2012 that is being held in conjunction with Connected Educator Month.  This is a great chance to participate (and present or volunteer!) in a global conversation, with educators all over the world.  Join the conversation on rethinking teaching and learning in the age of the Internet. Subject strands include changes in the classroom, student learning, professional development, school environments, and pedagogy.

See you online!

Monday PD: Two Libraries, One Voice!

Join SLJ Mover and Shaker John Schumacher and librarian extraordinaire Shannon M. Miller this Monday night at 8 p.m. EST for the Teacher Librarian Virtual Cafe.  They’ll be sharing their collaborative efforts around “Two Libraries, One Voice.”  Register here and you’ll get information about how to tune in to the live webinar.  Check out the other resources at TLNing while you’re there!

It All Started with Ranger Rick…

It’s been a rare experience for me to feel like I’ve helped  make something BIG happen in my school.  Lots of little things, sure, but nothing BIG.  Until recently, that is.  And it’s SO COOL!  Last spring I read an article in the May issue of Ranger Rick magazine called Cool Caps about the work of Michelle Stitzlein, a sculptor who works in schools to create murals using recycled/re-used plastic caps.  These come from laundry detergent, bottles of water, peanut butter jars, you name it.  Michelle and her students turn them into beautiful works of art!

I got excited about the possibilities for our school and asked my principal what he thought. He loved the idea and so did our art teacher.  Judy is part-time and is retiring at the end of this year, so she agreed to take this on as an artist-in-residence project on the days that she typically isn’t with us.

I put out a call in June for families to save caps all summer and by golly they rolled in by the thousands (in a tub outside the library door) from September through January!  I saw to it that the caps were sanitized (by our fabulous kitchen staff and their deluxe dishwasher) and then organized many a group during rainy day recesses to come and sort by color.  Soon a rainbow of  caps began to grow in see-through bins on top of the library shelves.

Judy wanted to choose an artist and technique to focus on and Georges Seurat and  pointillism  were logical choices.  Judy worked closely with Jen, a fabulous intern, to get the panels ready.   Students did lots of problem-solving for the composition, they painted, and many glued on caps.  Parent volunteers and staff members screwed the caps in place and the results are amazing!  I present to you some highlights from our version of Cool Caps!  (There are 27 slides–don’t miss the ending.  You won’t believe what our kids did!  Gives me goosebumps every time I walk by now.)

Click!

'the new camera!' photo (c) 2007, Kellan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/I have recommended AASL’s Advocacy Tip of the Day before, and in that spirit I am passing along this tip to you:

This year, keep a digital camera handy, right near the circulation desk so that you can document as much of the learning and activity that takes place in your library as possible.  Last June I found that when I was compiling my annual report  I had precious few photos to insert.

Click away all year long and you’ll have lots of raw material for your webpage, blog, Snapshot Day, monthly and annual reports, and presentations to stakeholders.

First 6 weeks: Dare to inspire!

As a group we teacher librarians model lifelong learning and continually share what we’ve learned, provide professional development, etc.  This can be challenging in an already hectic schedule and overloaded curriculum.  But this year, if you can entice your teachers to let you show them just ONE new thing, maybe it could be Ideas to Inspire.  

I learned about this site from this post by Kelly Tenkely at her blog I Learn Technology.  According to Kelly’s post, the creator of the site–Mark Warner–“invites teachers from around the world to share their inspiring ideas for using technology in the classroom.  These are pulled together as a presentation that teachers everywhere can benefit from.  Ideas to Inspire has a handy new filter tool that let’s you find the exact resources and ideas you are looking for easily.” 

The home page is a collection of well-labeled thumbnails with a ton of topics of interest to teachers.  Clicking on these brings you to a presentation that Mark put together with ideas from teacher contributors.  (Double click on the presentation to expand the image once you open it up.)

I took a look at quite a few of the embedded presentations and found some useful ideas.  Here’s a list of some I’m planning to share with my staff:

Techy Tips for Non-Techy Teachers

Ideas for Class Blog Posts

(Ways to) Encourage Pupils and Families to visit your Blog

Make your class a Sparkly Place to Learn

Interesting Images to use in the Classroom (visual literacy)

Google Earth and Google Maps

Ways to present (Internet) Research  (end-products ideas!)

Show this to your teachers during this first six weeks.  You’ll be a hero!

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