Sunday, December 20, 2009

Great Advocacy Tips To Consider

An interesting presentation full of school library advocacy tips appeared in my Google Reader this morning. It is shared on docstoc , and created by some Canadian colleagues, I believe. Frankly, I do not know how the person who shared it on docstoc is associated with the creators, and assume that it was meant, by the creators (Sharon Armstrong & Valerie Bureau), to be shared. I hope that Armstrong or Bureau will notify me here if this was not their intention.

This presentation outlines dozens of interesting ways to advocate for your school library program--practical ways to use data, schedule creatively, and meet student needs in the less-than-perfect situations that many of us find is our reality! Well worth a look!

keep -

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

K12 Online 09 is Here!

It's time again for the K12 Online Conference to begin! I can't wait! This is one of the most useful and exciting conferences around--and it's FREE! Thanks go to Wes Fryer and the many conveners that have put in so, soooo many hours making this conference happen! It is a lasting and significant professional learning experience for so many of us all over the world!

Join the sharing and learning, starting Friday, Dec 4! ( Schedule is here.) Until then, enjoy Kim Coffino's thought-provoking PreConference Keynote presentation, Going Global: Culture Shock, Convergence and the Future of Education. Be sure to join the discussion, sharing and learning on the K12Online Ning as well!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sir Ken Robinson on The Element

I discovered Sir Ken Robinson through my PLN a couple of year ago, and he is one of the people that I most love listening to and learning from. What a mind he has. I would love to hear him at a conference one of these days. He's very eloquent and always makes me think differently about the world.

The video below supports his latest book, The Element, and in it, Robinson explores what element it is that elevates us to greatness. He contends that those who have a passion for our job are the more successful and fulfilled. Our task as educators is to connect our kids to their passions and engage them through those passions. Sounds a lot like a differentiated modern classroom to me--a goal/dream for many of us.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Online Curriculum--is It Improving?

From a link in Wes Fryer's post today, the following video from Dr. Jose Bowen of SMU really hit home:

Online multimedia tools (podcasts, videos, slideshow tools) enable professors to deliver lectures online and, in turn, facilitate authentic learning through discussion and exploration in the face-to-face setting. What an inspiring vision that is! How I wish that this kind of leadership and vision proliferated in today's schools and universities!

I envision a totally online classroom being successful with this model too, if discussion boards are adequately facilitated by interested and skillful faculty. Unfortunately, in my recent online grad classes at a Texas university certainly did not engage me in this way. I'm wondering if most online courses--both 9-12 and university--are so poorly designed.

My daughter, a sophomore in college, is currently living the nightmare of poor online curriculum design, and it is such a shame! This summer, she has taken both an online German language, and a political science class to satisfy degree requirements at her university. They have both been horrifically tedious for her and I would dare to guess that very little authentic learning has taken place--it's been more about us paying for the course and her checking the course off her list. I daresay no meaningful learning has taken place, although she has earned A's in the classes. Very frustrating in a time when an engaging and community-enhanced curriculum could have provided a rich experience.

Her current poli sci course literally consists only of reading a chapter from the breathtakingingly expen$ive text, and taking a 20-question online multiple choice quiz over it. Repeat--for twenty chapters! To be fair, the professor has tried to provide some relevant contemporary content to the course by assigning several extra credit readings (even John Stewart's America) and Frontline videos. She's really enjoyed those, and has wanted to talk about them--fortunately, she has her father and me! There is absolutely no collaborative element to the class, and unfortunately, the interesting, contemporary content serves only as extra credit--how many of the students don't even bother to do the extra credit, much less discuss it with someone?
Watch video/take quiz/get extra points. No discussion or exploration of the subjects at all? Can't we do better than that?

Are most online courses utilizing the multimedia and collaborative tools in the way that Dr. Bowen encourages at SMU, or is my experience and that of my daughter the norm? Are more engaging programs on the rise, I hope?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

25 Ed Tech Leaders to Follow

Wow! Thanks Lisa and Liz for a great list of Ed Tech Leaders to follow! This will be a great resource when colleagues ask questions like "but who do I follow on twitter that will give me good information and not junk?" Great list!

Of course, I'd add Liz Davis (twitter: @lizbdavis ) and Lisa Thumann (twitter: @lthuman )to the list!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Public Schools vs Public Libraries

Mac Thecaster is a young video life blogger, and the following piece is an articulate and engaging argument for intellectual freedom & how the library respects and encourages it.

I found this video through a new twitter friend, @WillSwartz , who first embedded this on his blog.
It's over 2 years old, but I'd never seen it. What do you think?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Favorite Picture Books

I discovered a new school librarian blog today through a new Twitter contact! The blog's called Top Shelf, and it had some interesting posts! Check it out!

One of her recent posts listed her Top 10 Favorite Picture Books, and that's a meme that I just couldn't pass up! Here are mine! My favorites today, that is. I'd probably give some different answers on another day..

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
I remember checking this book out just about every week of 1st grade! I loved it sooo much that I even bought a lithograph of one of the illustrations a few years ago. It is a seminal piece of children's literature, and the quintessential picture book, IMO.

Animalia by Graeme Base
I loved this intricate picture book so much the first time that I saw it, that I bought a poster set and hung it up in my middle school MATH classroom! The kids were captivated by the illustrations! I may have been a librarian even then, and I didn't know it!

My Big Dog by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
I just LOVE Merle the cat! This is a sweet story of home and belonging, and acceptance! I think this team (Stevens and Crummel) is one of the treasures of today's children's literature--any of their picture books could have made my list. I love My Big Dog the most though!

Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O'Malley
My students absolutely love this silly picture book told in 2, very distinct, voices! Kevin O'Malley visited our school last year, and I don't think any of us will forget it soon! What a character he is! Even before his visit, I couldn't keep our multiple copies of this book on the shelf! It's a hit with teachers, boys, girls, primary-aged and intermediate kids! Check it out if you haven't already!

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith
What kids don't love this silly collection of fractured fairy tales! It's a perennial favorite in our library!

Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport & Bryan Collier
Not every single book on my favorites list is a silly one! Martin's Big Words is such an affecting work, and I see something different in it every time I share it with students. Wow! This is what makes children's literature exciting and amazing!

Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore! by David McPhail
This picture book just makes me laugh to think about it. That Elvis pig is just a hoot! McPhail's use of a black background just makes the story come alive. I love this one!

My Dinosaur by Mark Alan Weatherby
I love this quiet story of imagination! I love that the main character, who love-love-loves her dinosaur friend, is a girl and not a boy. I love the soft illustrations and the small details that keep kids interested. Notice the wallpaper in the girl's room, the dinosaur's eye peeking in the window, his shadow falling across her lawn! I also love that my students applaud when we finish reading this sweet tale. Lovely.

Click Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Cows that type are just plain enjoyable!

The Rainbow Goblins by Ul De Rico
Maybe slightly heavy-handed, as far as the storyline goes, but I have such sweet memories of reading this book over and over to my nephew when he was small! He reads it to his daughters now...The illustrations are stunning and unique.

What are your top 10 picture books?
Tag them with top10picturebooks! It'll be interesting to see people's picks!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Seems Familiar

Under the heading of "the more things change, the more they stay the same..."

What do Ben Franklin and Matt Drudge have in common?
Yesterday's pamphleteers = today's bloggers. Interesting take on mass communications!

Watch CBS Videos Online

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Another Wow!

Yet another amazing application--this time, an iPhone ocarina (flutelike instrument) orchestra! Stanford. Asst. Professor Ge Wong created an iPhone app that turns the device into an ocarina--the player blows into the microphone and moves fingers as if on a wind instrument to make music. Wow. Further, he demonstrates another app that links players all around the world.

Dr. Wong makes some interesting points about these technologies bringing musicians from all parts of the world together--flat world in evidence.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Michigan: 21st Century Media Center Video

The importance of the media center to student achievement is highlighted by the Michigan Library and the Michigan Association for Media in Education in this video, just posted to YouTube.

Hooray for you, Michigan libraries, for being proactive in stating your case in this difficult economy--and on YouTube too! You've given libraries and their supporters a tool to use in discussing the true importance of dynamic school libraries to student achievement, which may, in the end, help save some library programs!

Are there videos such as this available from other states, I wonder?