Another “e”-vent!

Where are you in the transition from building a collection with mostly print materials to one with more “e” materials?  If you need help and are interested in what others in the field are saying and recommending about this shift, check here for a day-long “e” conference coming in October.  This is the third annual E-books and Beyond conference sponsored by MediaSource (the folks who bring us Junior Library Guild, SLJ, Library Journal, and the Horn Book) and offered at a low-cost for your professional development.  Team up with some of your librarian buddies, go off-site for a day and learn together!  Site licenses are available, as well as early bird discounted registration.  (Do it soon, though.  You only have ’til the end of August.)

More information about specific speakers and sessions is available here.

Image : ‘Show Me Your Library Card – downloadable+audiobooks+and+eBooks

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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!

Summer PD: Join Google’s MOOC!

Google recently announced an opportunity you may be interested in.  Become your school’s expert on Power Searching in Google by joining their MOOC (massive, open, online course).  The class will consist of six 50 minute sessions, some of which are interactive. The  course is free and if you complete it all Google will issue you a certificate.

Registration is open now, and the first class will be rolled out on July 10.

Been there, done that, didn’t like it

I’ve been timid about writing this post.  Or rather, I’ve not wanted to share it with a wide audience lest I be considered old-fashioned,  “old school,” or whatever similar label I could conjure up.  You see, on the heels of presenting at Vermont’s Dynamic Landscapes conference last week came an email appeal for proposals for the fall 2012 conference and I think you can count me out.

Why?  Because as much as I enjoy sharing through presenting I was not prepared for the lack of interaction I experienced last Friday.  There were probably 12-15 people in my workshop and during that hour I think maybe two made eye contact with me.  The majority were on one device or another, seemingly disinterested.

I probably shouldn’t have been surprised;  this was largely a tech conference after all.  And, to be fair, there were technology glitches (my worst nightmare and no I.T. support in sight!)  But I still had plenty to share, and truly we could have had some great discussion instead.

This is not sour grapes.  Honestly.  I’m the last person to be anti-technology.  I get that we are in a connected world.  Heck, I’ve spent the last five years re-inventing myself as a librarian and trying to learn all I can about how to harness the power of web tools to facilitate and enhance learning.  But after spending many hours preparing a presentation it felt like a lack of professional courtesy to be looking at attendees looking at keyboards.  When I attend a presentation, even if I bring along a computer, I try to engage with the presenter and connect as a person.

Help me out here.  Am I totally off base on this?   And for those of you who present a lot–if this is the new reality, how do you deal with it?  What am I missing?

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!

Marty Mcguire

Yesterday marked the (fun!) end of a blogging book group with two students from my school and eight from four other schools in our region.  We all read Kate Messner’s book Marty Mcguire and used a blog for students to answer and ask questions and reflect on their reading.  (Each Sunday night, one of the librarians posted the prompts for the week.  We shared the work!) A great discussion guide for the book is available from Scholastic  if you want to introduce some students to this spunky character!

Because they were second and third graders there was a bit of a learning curve with the features of the blog and the mechanics of posting comments, but they learned quickly.  I dare say my students improved their keyboarding skills somewhat just from the twice weekly practice for this project.

To make the project’s culmination more special we agreed to meet face-to-face at one of our schools to Skype with the author and enjoy a celebratory lunch (complete with frog cookies!).  Kate Messner was a wonderful author to Skype with.  She was enthusiastic, pleasant, and “real.”  She wove great comments into her chat about writing and how students might think about their own creative process.

Both boys and girls enjoyed the book and are now excited to read Marty Mcguire Digs Worms, the sequel which came out a few weeks ago.  Kate Messner has posted links (think compost and worms) to accompany the second book on Pinterest.

Thanks to LibraryStew for planting the original idea in my head!

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Working with Student Writers

 

Last week I had the honor and privilege to serve as a judge of student writing at our local PBS affiliate.  Each year PBS sponsors a contest for writers in grades K-3.  (It used to be the Reading Rainbow Writing contest.)  Kids create illustrated stories either at school or at home and a winner and runners-up are chosen for each grade level.  Every other year there is a national contest and local winners are sent to the national competition.

I was part of the team that judged the second grade entries.  We were the busiest by far, with probably close to 100 submissions.  I worked with a couple of veteran judges and thoroughly enjoyed the process.  It made me realize how much I miss working with student writers on a consistent basis.

Add to that experience a website someone shared with me a few days ago and my wheels are turning for next year. Studentpublishing.com allows teachers to manage and monitor student writing projects which eventually get published and bound (softcover) for free.  (You must agree to send home order forms for parents who might want to purchase an additional copy, but there is no obligation.)

Here’s a blurb from their site:

Make every student feel like a published author with FREE books! Each student will receive a free paperback of their own story and illustrations. Books include 12, 16, 24 or 32 story pages, plus title, dedication and “About the Author” biography pages featuring the author’s photo.

Use StudentPublishing®.com’s fun and easy web based book-making tool which is specially designed for schools (No software download or installation required) or use our new PDF upload tool to easily import work students may have already completed. The advanced administrative features generate unique usernames and passwords for each one of your students who log-in directly to their stories while you can edit and monitor progress from your Teacher account. The online illustration tool includes hundreds of paintable backgrounds and stickers which can be used with free-hand drawing tools, or uploaded photographs and scanned in hand drawings. If your students already have written work, use our new “PDF Upload” function to bring their text directly into his or her book.

A testimonial by the colleague who shared it with me convinced me to take a look.  I’m sold on giving it a go with some students– maybe in a recess writing club?

Another thing…turns out this site is a sponsor of the PBS writing contest.  Proceeds from books that do get purchased help support that program.  Serendipity at work!

If you have used this site with kids, please share your experience in the comments!

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