Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Back to School 2017 -2018

Makerspace Plans 
We are going to kick off the makerspace school year in early Oct. 2017, so there's plenty of time to plan, purchase supplies, and run a few other library promotions like Scholastic Book Fair and Grandparents Day. So far I've planned two makerspace clubs, the Crafters who will work on re-cycled crafts, cross stitch, and any other crafty projects they decide to make. The Astrobots will be the other makerspace club my library will offer to students. In this club students can code, build worlds in Minecraft, 3D print and more. When students visit the makerspace with their class, they will have the opportunity to design a rock for the Kindness Garden. The Art teacher, school counselor, and myself are working collaboratively to create a Kindness Garden for students.
Photo by Georgia Sparling
While visiting the makerspace with their class, students can make a Rube Goldberg in a box. I've also seen someone create this on Twitter using Legos. I think this will be much easier for students. Last year a Chaos Tower was introduced in our Makerspace, and the only a few 4th and 5 grade students successfully created a design. Students will continue to have access to the Chaos Tower. Hopefully, with a little tinkering students will get a little farther this year by first creating a Rube Goldberg in a box.
Photo by Andrew Brown

Robotics News
The Robotics application will soon be posted for students. This year we hope to have three teams with 8 members each which means we are adding about nine spots to our team. Check-out this year's challenge. We will start meeting in the mornings and at least one afternoon a week as competition approaches in December. 

Book Cheers!

This summer I read and researched the Read It Forward book promotion where students discover a wrapped or hidden book the students are encouraged to read it, sign the inside cover, and pass it on to a friend. It's patterned after the "Pay It Forward" challenge that went viral years ago. In a Read It Forward challenge the librarian has activities to celebrate the book during the book promotion and it ends with an author visit or some type of book celebration for those who chose to participate. I'm leaning towards offering this reading promotion this year in the library, but I want to get admin, teacher and student input first. This program encourages the love of reading and empowers student voice, so it has my vote. 

This year's theme: Student Voice Makes and Difference 

Cheers to your school year!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Librarian's Retreat: TASLA Workshop

Last month I had the privilege of attending the Texas Administrators of School Librarians conference held every summer in Austin, TX. I thought it would be a great opportunity to network, since I’m an aspiring library administrator. My library director is the president elect of TASLA, Suzy Ferrell, she too thought this would be a great learning and networking experience. Since Suzy is president elect I was able to be a part of the behind the scenes action of the conference. I’ve been on Twitter and the TLC Listserv for years and certain names you learn fast in the Texas library world like Naomi Bates, Becky Calzada and others. While preparing for the first presentation a nice lady sat down next to me who looked familiar, she introduced herself as Naomi. As I took a Twitter brain break, I realized I was sitting next to Naomi Bates. The next day I realized the person sitting in the row in front of me was Becky Calzada. I had to take a stelfie. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t just misspell selfie. A stelfie is a type of selfie, Google it. I just learned about the term at this conference. See my first stelfie with Becky Calzada below. This conference included lots of library “big dogs.” It was an action packed three days full of learning and growing.

Mark Ray, library administrator of Vancouver Public Schools and a co-leader of the Future Ready Librarians progression, spoke about the changing role of the librarian and the library. Instead of being the stereotypical keeper of the books, branch out and reinvent the library to entice today’s students was a main point of the presentation. During Mr. Ray’s presentation he conveyed, as librarians we need to support effective use of technology and make the library a collaborative learning space. Instead of focusing on cornerstone library task such as collection development we need to focus on “connection development.” We need to focus on our role as a team player at our school and concentrate on the future. During the presentation, he invited the audience to visit There are upcoming free conferences coming up in various cities listed on this website and there are archived webinars you can watch at anytime.  

Valerie Gross, library administrator of Howard County Public Library System, was another TASLA presenter who left a lasting impact. She talked about branding and how we can reinvent a stronger relevant image as librarians. Instead saying programming use the term classes. Instead of saying circulation desk call it the research desk. Ms. Gross states these are relevant terms the people we serve can understand. It's fun to speak library, but it doesn't help our profession if stakeholders don't understand our library language. As librarians we need to let stakeholders know the library’s goal is academic success for all students. Valerie Gross’ library system uses the logo library = education listed below, and it is a growing logo for public and school libraries that states the message every stakeholder needs to know about the library.

There were lots of other great presenters, but these two left a lasting impression on this blogger. It is not about changing everything we do, it is about making sure people see and know what we do as librarians. It is not about isolation or us versus them, it is about working together collaboratively to encourage student innovation, creativity, and critical thinking. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

What's Trending: Librarians a Leaders

I had an opportunity to participate, and help host an amazing day. It was a blended day of learning for myself, and other local school librarians. We all know students are our future, but how are we getting them ready for their future? Part of the conference was dedicated to describing how we can become Future Ready Librarians.  Follett sponsored our keynote speaker, Shannon Miller. She gave us ideas of how we can become future ready librarians, and the importance of sharing this message with everyone in our school building and community.  As we set our goals to become future ready, Shannon has set up a Padlet so we can all share our goals as librarians.  Now, let's get moving and share our great librarian ideas.
I had the opportunity to share two presentations. The first one I shared this morning was on Take-Home Makerspace Kits. I wrote a CCEF Grant for 10,000.00 with Valerie Loper and Erin Irvine they are also local school librarians. We were awarded this grant to purchase and create makerspace kits the students can checkout and take home. Each kit includes a non-fiction book that relates to the makerspace general topic. Earlier this semester, we presented at TCEA to share our Take-Home Makerspace idea with other teachers and librarians.
The second presentation was a lot a fun. I shared how I started my makerspace, logistics of operating my space, and my future makerspace plans with two other elementary librarians. It was interesting since we all solve problems and think differently about our space.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mobil Makerspace Wishlist

Our mobile makerspace began in January. The students and teachers love it. But, I know to keep the interest going we need to add new items and circulate them, so the students don't get bored. So, I'm hoping to get these items I've put on the wishlist.
  Mobil Makerspace Kits for K-2 Proposed List of Supplies
 Stem Robot Mouse
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Makey Makey Go
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 Dash and Dot,
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 Tegu Magnetic Wooden Set,
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 Q-bits Jr,
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 Rigamajig Junior Kit,
Rigamajig Jr
Candy Construction Building Set,
Candy Construction Building Set
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 Qwirkle Expansion,
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 Keva Bot Maze,
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 Snap Circuits Rover,
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 Makedo Pod,
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 Any of these items would make a great addition, fingers crossed we will find out if we will have the funding soon.

PT A is funding the mobile makerspace  for the 2017-2018 school year. I'm so happy for our students. They are going to have the resources to help the mobile makerspaces thrive.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Makerspace Scheduling

Scheduling has been a conundrum since we started our school makerspace. The vision was to offer a space where any student could come in and explore a makerspace session. Scheduling is an issue because we can not interfere with students existing class schedule, and we can not add to the school's tight schedule. At first, we opened our makerspace as a before school club that met once a week by grade level. We also offered students a chance to work in the makerspace during the day once a week at recess. Students could choose to stay in an work in the makerspace instead of going to recess one day a week. We called it alternative recess. In the beginning this worked since few students signed up and all of the material was new so it a novelty. But after 2 years of offering this schedule it no longer worked.
Our makerspace became so popular sessions would fill up with in an hour of being posted. I began to hear comments like "I hope I can make it into a makerspace session this year," and "When will the application come out I'm going to turn in my child's application to you the day I receive it." We grew the second year from serving 75 students to 150 students. We were seeing students before school four days a week and during recess two days a week and we still were not serving 1/2 of the total population at our school.
So, this year our makerspace is open to 100% of all of our students. Instead of having before school clubs and alternative recess, one library lesson a month is dedicated to being a makerspace session. Six to eight sessions are set up and students can select from Engineering, Robotics, Re-cycled Craft, MinecraftEdu, Coding, Bloxels, Osmo, and etc. Students are able to choose one thirty min session to complete a mini-project or explore a topic. Non-fiction books that are related to the session are displayed near the table so students have access to the books to investigate more on the topic. This year students have a chance to check out makerspace kits to learn more about the topic of interest at home and this will solve the problem of not having enough time to explore a topic. Now that all students have access to our makerspace it solves the condundrum of scheduling.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Book A Day Challenge Week four

This has been a great experience reading a book a day for a four week period. I enjoyed it so much I plan on picking a month this fall to read a talk about a book a day. Our reading lives are just as important as exercising or eating healthy.