Get Your Library Organized with Apps and Tools

moorefield-lang_heather-2Worried about that upcoming presentation? Want help with those everyday tasks in the library? In this excerpt from the archives, tech guru Heather Moorefield-Lang shares her expertise on finding the right tool to help you run your library more efficiently and impress your patrons and administrators with your knowledge and creativity.
Subscribers to SLC can read more helpful ideas like this by visiting School Library Connection.

Being in charge of others comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities. Those who work for their library administrators hope that they will be empathetic, creative, and flexible, have vision and good communication, be able to work well and collaborate, and serve the community at large (Chow and Rich 2013). There are a host of online tools and apps that can aid library administrators (and their employees) in communication, organization, presentations, creativity, and with everyday client, patron, student, and faculty service.

Presentations
Every library administrator has to call meetings, and often it would be useful to have tools to aid with presentations.

Haiku Deck (www.haikudeck.com). Similar in style to PowerPoint, this app and online presentation tool won AASL’s 2014 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning and the TIMEs 50 Best Websites for 2014. Presentations can be made on an iPad or computer. Haiku Deck makes creating presentations incredibly easy with templates, colors, and a partnership with Getty Images for a vast collection of gorgeous Creative Commons pictures. Presentations can be shared online or downloaded for free for offline presenting in PDF or PowerPoint format. (Free and Pro Levels Available).

Editor’s note: Subscribers can get more presentation ideas by checking out Heather’s article “Presentation on the Go” available online.

Organization
Just about all of us struggle with organization in one area or another. Here are some sites and apps that might be useful.

Droptask (www.droptask.com). This online site and app works in two ways. It is a concept mapping and task management tool. Users can group their workload by categories into circles and then add to them as needed. It’s a visual way to view tasks as an individual or group. Collaboration is a strong component of this site. Tasks can be shared among employees and departments, and Droptask is great for presentations as well when sharing ideas for an upcoming project. (Free and Pro Levels Available) Continue reading “Get Your Library Organized with Apps and Tools”

Planning a Free Book Night

Here’s a great idea from the archives. Subscribers to SLC can read more articles like this by visiting School Library Connection.

giftsMost librarians realize that families are at the heart of providing support for developing lifelong readers. Involving families in reading fun, activities, and training is integral to creating a strong network of readers. Families (along with other significant adults in the reader’s life) can support and promote reading at home by making reading an everyday, even casual, activity. School librarians can play an important role in helping families in the school’s efforts to support and develop readers at home as well as at school. Free Book Night is a great way to offer a special event that focuses on reading.

Communication
School librarians can play a central role in communicating information on reading to families. They can let families know what’s new in reading, how to support and build a reader, and what social reading activities are available in the school or community. School librarians can also lead the effort to host special reading events like a Free Book Night for families. This event helps readers become interested, motivated, and efficient by developing a home support network and home reading habits. It is an opportunity to remind parents of the importance of being reading role models, providing reading time at home, maintaining a home bookshelf of reading materials, participating in reading conversations, and providing moral support for reading. It is also a way for the school to promote opportunities in the community for participation in reading-related activities with connections to the library.

Free Book Night
Pre-planning: Work with administrators to set a date on the school calendar for an evening family reading event. Once the date is set, establish a committee to help and to ensure there are others on the staff with a vested interest in the project. Begin by collaboratively developing a promotion plan in order to get the word out to the community and families. Create a plan for the evening. Consider spaces needed, supplies, donations, training, and entertainment. Plan for the important components, but also think outside the box. For example, would attendees enjoy having a local sports mascot or book character in costume to greet them as they enter? Continue reading “Planning a Free Book Night”

Promoting and Evaluating Your Makerspace

preddyYou’ve set up a great makerspace. Now what?

How about taking four minutes to hear Leslie Preddy talk about how to promote and evaluate your efforts?

“Marketing & Evaluation of Your Makerspace” is a sneak peek of Leslie Preddy’s new professional development workshop, “School Library Makerspaces,” in which she shares her expertise on the how and why of having a makerspace in your school library.

 

Subscribers can access the entire eight-part workshop here.

preddyLeslie Preddy has served as school librarian at Perry Meridian Middle School in Indianapolis since 1992 and as an adjunct professor for Indiana University, Indiana State University, and IUPUI. She has presented webinars and is a frequent speaker and consultant at education conferences and events. She has published many articles in professional journals, co-created online resources for educators, and is the author of SSR with Intervention: A School Library Action Research Project, Social Readers: Promoting Reading in the 21st Century, and School Library Makerspaces. Preddy is a recipient of many awards including  AASL’s Collaborative School Library Media Award and Perry Township Schools Teacher of the Year.  She is Past-President of the American Association of School Librarians and the Association of Indiana School Library Educators. Preddy is a recent recipient of two grants for her school library makerspace from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Indiana State Library.

How Do You Assess Student Outcomes in Makerspaces in Your Library Program?

Maria Cahill asked this question recently and found that nearly a third of the school librarians who said they have initiated makerspaces choose not to assess student outcomes, and another 40% do so only informally through observation. In her One-Question Survey column below, Dr. Cahill discusses these results and encourages readers to include assessment in their makerspace programs.

We hope you use these surveys to help you reflect on your own practices. Subscribers can view our archive of past surveys here. And don’t forget to take our latest One-Question Survey, open until 10/19/2016, by clicking here.  

Ten years ago, a school librarian would have been hard pressed to find any professional articles, blog posts, email discussion threads, conference sessions, workshops, or professional development sessions focused on makerspaces. A resurging interest in self-directed and experiential learning, which goes hand-in-hand with the Next Generation Science Standards (2013), has brought makerspaces to the forefront of librarians’ attention. This latest educational trend is especially well-suited for school libraries.

Thus, we were surprised to learn that more than half of the 201 school librarians who responded to our One Question Survey, “How do you assess student outcomes in makerspaces in your library program?” had actually never worked in a school library program with a makerspace, and the comments that accompanied the “other” category indicated that an additional four percent of the responding librarians had either just launched or were still in the planning stages of designing a makerspace.

Continue reading “How Do You Assess Student Outcomes in Makerspaces in Your Library Program?”

Meet Margarita Engle, October Author of the Month

Margarita Engle has been writing poetry since she was a child. She also spent her summers in Cuba, her mother’s homeland, which sparked a passion for all things Cuban. Put those together and you end up with passionate stories of Cuba written in free verse that pull you in and keep you moving along with the flow of the verse.

margarita-engle-w
Photography by Sandra Ríos Balderrama ©

Margarita Engle’s books for young adults regularly receive awards, which will come as no surprise to those who have read her stories; her latest work, Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words, received a highly recommended rating from our reviewers. Lion Island “completes a cycle of loosely linked biographical verse novels about heroes of the struggle for freedom and social justice in 19th-century Cuba,” Engle explains. “That cycle began,” she goes on to tell us, “with The Poet Slave of Cuba, and continued with The Surrender Tree, The Firefly Letters, and The Lightning Dreamer.” Her books, then, also serve to fill a gap in children’s literature about Cuba.

These sometimes brutal and heartbreaking stories deal with an unstable period in Cuba’s history and Engle’s accounts do not sugarcoat this reality. The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano does not gloss over his treatment as a slave; The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom depicts a Cuba torn apart and ravaged by war; and Lion Island speaks to the injustice of slavery, indentured servitude, and racism. But these books also speak to the resilience of the human spirit and how one person can make a difference. In fact, when asked what she would like students to take away from her books, she responded with one simple word: “Hope.” Continue reading “Meet Margarita Engle, October Author of the Month”

Time for Teens, Teen Read Week, and More

reading

It’s teen read week and we’ve got some great ideas from our Collections Editor, Sylvia Vardell, to get your teen-aged students to put down their mobile devices, take a break from social media, and pick up a book.

For nearly twenty years now, October has been the month for celebrating Teen Read Week™ (http://teenreadweek.ning.com), a time to “encourage teens to be regular readers and library users” according to the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). This year, Teen Read Week is October 9-15, 2016, featuring a multi-lingual “Read for the fun of it!” theme to “highlight all of the resources and services available to the 22% of the nation’s youth who speak a language other than English at home.” Since 1998, YALSA has been highlighting teens and their reading for Teen Read Week and during this time the field of YA literature has truly exploded in the numbers and variety of books being published, with an abundance of dystopian fiction, science fiction, and fantasy, in particular. YA fiction is drawing the attention of mass media and becoming popular crossover reading for adults, too. Many YA books are now adapted for feature films and television programs and e-book publication of YA fiction has skyrocketed too.

Teen Programming

We have to do our part in the library to be sure young people know about all the great new books and materials being published and help them find choices that fit their interests. Fortunately, there are many great programs and strategies to try, starting with the resources available at YALSA’s Teen Programming Ideas http://hq.yalsa.net/index.html. In addition, check the reVIEWS+ Collections page for Kay Wejrowski’s comprehensive article, “Teen Promotions: Getting High School Students Excited about the Library” which is full of creative ideas. For those working in the middle school, don’t miss “Book Tasters” by Suzanne Dix (also on the Collections page) where she writes about creating a lunch club that’s a big hit with students who write reviews to promote books they love. Continue reading “Time for Teens, Teen Read Week, and More”

Coteaching: A Strategic Evidence-Based Practice for Collaborating School Librarians

moreillon_judiHave you preregistered for Dr. Judi Moreillon’s upcoming webinar on EdWeb, “Classroom-Library Coteaching 4Student Success“? Join Dr. Moreillon and our colleagues from Libraries Unlimited on October 13th at 5:00 PM EDT for an interactive exploration of strategies for identifying potential collaborative partners, electronic collaborative planning tools, providing evidence of the value and efficacy of classroom-library collaboration, and much more. The best part? Joining our EdWeb community, SLC @ the Forefront, is 100% free.

To whet your appetite we’re sharing this gem of Dr. Moreillon’s from the March 2016 issue. Happy collaborating!

The collaborative classroom teacher–school librarian model can take various forms. Educators can co-develop a library collection aligned with the classroom curriculum. They can co-plan schoolwide literacy events or promotions such as Love of Reading Week, Poetry Day, or the book fair. Educators can collaborate to plan for a makerspace or technology purchases. They can collaborate to develop strategies for integrating technology tools and resources into students’ learning. They can also coteach by co-planning, co-implementing, and co-assessing standards-based lessons and units of instruction. Of all of these collaborative possibilities, coteaching, has been shown to make a measurable difference in student learning outcomes. Continue reading “Coteaching: A Strategic Evidence-Based Practice for Collaborating School Librarians”

Sneak Peek: The Power of Makerspaces with Leslie Preddy

 

This month at School Library Connection, we’re exploring the culture of making. A Gallup poll recently found that students say they have very few opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial energy. But nearly half of America’s students say they want to start their own business or invent something that changes the world. So what can we do as educators and school librarians to make a difference?

In this sneak peek from her School Library Makerspaces workshop, Leslie Preddy explores how making can help to foster an emotional connection between students and their learning and nurture the skills self-regulated learners need. Subscribers can access the entire eight-part workshop here, where you’ll also find practical guidance on choosing the right activities, safety, and the marketing and evaluation of your makerspace.

 

 

preddyLeslie Preddy has served as school librarian at Perry Meridian Middle School in Indianapolis since 1992 and as an adjunct professor for Indiana University, Indiana State University, and IUPUI. She has presented webinars and is a frequent speaker and consultant at education conferences and events. She has published many articles in professional journals, co-created online resources for educators, and is the author of SSR with Intervention: A School Library Action Research Project, Social Readers: Promoting Reading in the 21st Century, and School Library Makerspaces. Preddy is a recipient of many awards including  AASL’s Collaborative School Library Media Award and Perry Township Schools Teacher of the Year.  She is Past-President of the American Association of School Librarians and the Association of Indiana School Library Educators. Preddy is a recent recipient of two grants for her school library makerspace from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Indiana State Library.

 

Sneak Peek: Elementary Makerspaces with Marge Cox

 

This month at School Library Connection, we’re exploring the culture of making—looking at how innovative practitioners use school library makerspaces not only to meet STEM learning goals, but also goals for ELA, Social Studies, and other curriculum areas.

In this sneak peek from her eight-part workshop on creating great makerspaces for the elementary grades, 2016 AASL School Library Program of the Year winner Marge Cox shares a few simple ideas for makerspace activities for math and social studies. Subscribers can access the entire workshop here, where you’ll find more great ideas for makerspace activities across the curriculum as well as helpful tips for assessment, marketing, and finding funding.

 

 

 

coxMarge Cox is the library media specialist at Collier County Schools in Naples, Florida. Her efforts were recently recognized when her school won the 2016 AASL National School Library Program of the Year Award. She is also the co-author of The Library Media Specialist in the Writing Process.