Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Shout It Off the Rooftop!

I am not a "look at me" kind of person - that being said, I have to stop and write about what an incredible couple of months November and December have been for me. I need to memorialize this, cause I am so busy all the time and I want to stop and really think about what I have accomplished. Let me start out by saying that 2009 was horrible. I had surgery and missed a half a year of school. I gained a lot of weight and was all around miserable. Now flash foward to the start of the 2010/11 school year.

First, I lost the weight, which for me was a big accomplishment. I'm by no means skinny (LOL), but I am at least comfortable in my own skin. OK, enough about that.

More important - In November I was invited to the SLJ Leadership Summit in Chicago. That was such an honor. I came back from that so inspired. I loved hanging around with superstar librarians and others - like Wendy Stephens, Joyce Valenza, Cathy Nelson, Gwyneth Jones, Rocco Staino, and Kathy Parker. I learned a ton about ebooks and ereaders. I even found $200 in cash on the floor of the hotel and apparently donated it to School Library Journal.

Also in November - I was asked to teach a course at the graduate library school at Long Island University next Fall. I wrote a mini-grant to get NookColors for my library and another to get 7 iPads for my school. Haven't found out yet about the NookColors. We are getting the iPads and I am happy I was part of making that happen!

In December I found out that my application was selected to participate in Project Enable in Syracuse this summer, along with Adam Dugger (gen ed teacher) and Amy Thomas (special ed teacher) in my school. We are representing our area for elementary.

I also applied to BrainPop to beta test integrating BrainPop with Google Apps for Education. Our school was selected. This is an awesome opportunity and I expect some good-looking BrainPop swag (hahaha). Seriously, though, there will be a benefit to the district. My Google Certified Teachers Group is the most fabulous network and the opportunities that come through it are amazing! I also have a great partner at work, Noel Forte, our tech integration facilitator, who is always open to diving into new opportunities in a very calm, organized way. We make a good couple.

I also was invitited to give a Google workshop in Florida by the Northeast Florida Library Network and will be giving a 2-day workshop in January to the Southwest Florida Library Network. And yesterday I started teaching a professional development course on Google Apps in my district. Oh, and did I mention that my fabulous father bought me an iPad for Chanukah, because he "is so proud of what I have accomplished." I am a very grateful daughter.

Yesterday I found out that my proposal to ISTE 2011 was accepted. What a way to end the year! I have to be honest that I am a teeny bit nervous about presenting to the big guns, but I have learned so much from them, it's my turn to give back to our school library network! They have scheduled me for Wednesday afternoon, which is not so great, but, whatever! I'm just thrilled to have this opportunity.

Like I said when I started, I don't like "look at me" - but then I was thinking about it, and as a school librarian, we can't be shy about shouting out about what we accomplish. We need to let the world know, we need to let our principals and administrators know. We do great things. We need to shout it off the rooftops!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gotta Love It

With all of the media bashing of school librarians lately, I had a week at work that kindled my spirit. It was a crazy, busy week - and I am drained - yet, ultimately, it was amazingly rewarding. The week started with writing two grants - 1 for iPads and 1 for NookColors. When we get those grants (and we will get the iPad one for sure) - I will know that I had a hand in bringing new technology to our school. That makes me feel good.

Yesterday I introduced my fifth grade classes to our new project - one based on the Picturing America artwork that my library received from the NEH grant. We started with a great lesson I found in Library of Congress on Analyzing Visual Images. It was totally a higher order thinking lesson (my favorite kind!) and it was just cool to see their brains open up as we made our way through the lesson. In the morning, before they came, I hung up a lot of the artwork in the hallway - and it got people talking.

One part of the lesson was analyzing an Ansel Adams photograph of Manzanar, the Japanese internment camp for Japanese-American citizens during WWII. We spoke about the historical context of the photo, the perspective, emphasis, and message of it.

Later that day, after school, my Book Bunch Club met. Here's what was cool: one of my 5th grade girls was so moved by the story of the internment camp that she asked me to help her find a book about it. I pointed her to Weedflower, a fantastic historical fiction book. Connection! Gotta love it.
Even better was hearing the kids in the club talk about how much they love to read and how happy they were that we were meeting. I don't know, it just made me feel good to listen to them chat with each other about books they love, about being able to meet like this. 10 year olds. Gotta love it.

Finally, I find myself being pulled into advocacy on a more intense level, lately, through my local and national library networks. I am glad. But I also feel like I am spreading myself very thin. Very. And when I come home from work I am spent. I am beta testing for Capstone, Google Apps/BrainPop. I am teaching professional development and developing syllabi for Library graduate school. Not to mention the million other things I do at work. I love it - but I am tired.

One more thing, if anyone knows any school on Long Island who is looking for a GUIDANCE COUNSELOR, please let me know! My daughter needs a job! Seriously!