Sunday, October 31, 2010

Big MAC Takes the Prize!

And the winner is...

Congratulations to the MINC-P team for a fantastic Halloween Mac-Tober Contest entry! Their McDonald's-inspired "Big MAC" won the most votes from our esteemed panel of judges (and it also won them a bag of tasty treats).

Now, what to do about feeling so hungry...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Mac-Tober Contest

When things feel a little too busy at school, it's time to liven things up, raise some spirits, and have a bit of fun. In our case, a number of old and near-obsolete iMacs in our school are about to be replaced. Teachers are fretting over the planned replacement in addition to the typical woes of a busy school year, so what better way to lighten the mood than to "repurpose" our old iMacs for Halloween-themed contest?

Franken-iMac (Example)

I didn't set many parameters, though we could have established detailed judging criteria for creativity, ingenuity, best idea execution, and all-around stellar performance. Instead, the only rule was to be the judge's favorite (the judges here being a group of library media and technology personnel from outside our building).

And so I present to you this year's entries. Comment on your favorite. I'll share the results on Halloween.

Big Mac (MINC/PreK)

MacFlurry (Kindergarten)

Do-Mac-Un (1st Grade)

Mac Facebook (2nd Grade)

Mac Potato Head (3rd Grade)

SuperMac (4th Grade/GT)

Mac-O-Lantern (Related Arts)

Mac-and-Cheese (Front Office)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Changed Man, Grading Man

Are you using Engrade yet? You know, the online gradebook and so much more?

"Engrade helps teachers manage their classes online and connect with students 24/7. It's truly free, private, and unbelievably easy to use - so join over 1.5 million members and start using Engrade today." (from website)

Students in our county receive a grade in Library Media. Collecting grades for four hundred K-5 students is, at times, overwhelming. Luckily, our GT teacher recommended using Engrade for its ease and accessibility. I spent a couple hours setting up my nineteen classes with students first and last names and their student ID numbers. Adding assignment grades was a breeze. They've also got a bunch of other useful tools for keeping attendance, building flashcards and quizzes, uploading files that can be accessed by students and parents, and plenty more that I'd love to check out if I get a break from all the busy.

And speaking of busy, I've got some papers that will unlikely grade themselves as the end of the quarter marches closer and closer.

Fight the busy. Conquer the clutter.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Survival Mode

MASL's annual conference concluded with a prized opportunity to hear Melanie Watt, author of Scaredy Squirrel (Kids Can Press, 2006) and Chester (Kids Can Press, 2007), speak about her craft and experiences writing books for children. She may be somewhat of a scaredy squirrel herself, but her quiet charm and loveable characters make it impossible to avoid the spotlight.

The conference also featured sessions on advocacy, arts integration, book promotion for boys, digital literacy, and common core standards, among other relevant topics. And herein lies what I love about professional conferences: the opportunity to hear someone else's great ideas and practices, to be inspired by the impact they are having on student learning and public perception of our profession, and to adapt their resources to meet the needs of my students and staff. We should never stop asking ourselves, what part of this presentation is relevant to my philosophy, my approach to teaching, my skill set, my aspirations, that I can apply to improving my program and my ability to lead others.

I shared a presentation I called Snotty Noses, Swarming Bees, and the Knuffle Bunny: How I Survived (and Succeeded) My First Three Years as an LMS. Most relevant, I hope to those who attended or those who will view the Prezi above, is that success in the field of library media is not always tied to implementing the newest technologies, trends, or gimmicks. Rather, there is exponential value in reflecting on practice, recognizing strengths, and networking/resource-sharing to improve weaknesses.

How we take these new tools and skills, and how we adapt them to meet our unique needs and abilities, can certainly make our lives a little less busy and our jobs a little more effective.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ReadWriteThink to the Rescue!

The International Reading Association and NCTE run an outstanding site called ReadWriteThink. Each day, thousands of teachers access this website's outstanding resources, including printouts, lesson plans, and online professional development. But the real gems are the student interactives, interactive tools for engaging students in online literacy learning .

Of particular interest:
- Comic Creator
- create 1-, 2-, 4-, or 6- panel comics from a library of characters, backgrounds, props, and text bubbles
- Book Cover Creator
- create a full book cover including front and back cover or a full dust jacket
- Bio Cube
- great summarizing tool to organize information about/develop an outline of a person whose biography or autobiography a student just read

I also really appreciate how nice these resources print out. The International Reading Association is truly handing out gold in the form of outstanding resources.

Save some time and don't miss out!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another Busy Day.

This is a blog for busy librarians.

For those of us who feel, well, overwhelmed.

It's a place of comfort and, hopefully, a source of inspiration.

Here you will find the opportunity to interact globally and to impact locally.

We'll synergize moments, ideas, and activities that will enable us to become more effective librarians, more efficient in our libraries, and more energetic with our students, without feeling like things are careening out of control.

So, let's get busy!
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