Feed on

Screenshot from my Feedly account

Yesterday I worked on my #Eddies13 Nominations. Of course I had to visit my reader to see which ones stick out for me before making my nominations, looking for the profound and memorable. I have so much in my reader sometimes things get lost. That happens when there are 273 feeds there. And daily I find myself adding to the group. Usually when I add something lately, I go in and remove a few. That happens. My interests change or those in my reader have for whatever reason stopped sharing.
What RSS reader to use?

Screenshot from a recent staff development.

Today in the SLS Cool Tools Facebook Group I belong to a question was posed about preferred readers: Do any of you have an RSS reader you like? Still mourning Google Reader here.  It reminded me of earlier this month when I visited a neighboring district to spend time with them for staff development where I used a portion of our time to explore some readers. These are the ones we explored:

  • Feedly
  • BlogLovin’
  • Feedspot
  • Netvibes
  • FlipBoard
  • Zite

Taking a brief look

I had around 25 school librarian participants, so I just allowed them to group up by grade level band, with two groups being elementary. I gave them an overview of each reader via YouTube, trying desperately not to be biased (since I am a Feedly fan.) I explained that some of these were definitely more tablet-friendly while others were more web-friendly. I even shared that some of these are both web-based AND have a tablet format (like Feedly.) We watched short YouTube videos that gave a brief overview of each service, then separated into our groups to get busy using one. Here’s my playlist link for exploring the ones groups could choose.

The task

Their task was to as a group select a feed reader, and using some links I had provided, subscribe and read in the chosen reader. They were to then report back to the group their ah-ha moments regarding the service they were trying out as well as new voices they’d discovered for inspiration. You see my staff development had been titled “From Information Literacy to Information Relevancy” and this portion of the 2.5 hours was focused on how to stay relevant and on the cutting edge of everything, and I was trying to make the point that being well-read is one way to stay on top of new literacies, helping librarians stay one step ahead of their students (if possible!)

Not enough time!

While we ran out of time and never did get to the part of sharing (poor planning on my part perhaps) I can distinctly remember reactions, discoveries, struggles, and even frustrations expressed from my groups. A few in the group of 25 were well versed in using a reader, so I asked them to try a different one for the task, even if it meant moving to a different group. Half of the group was using a laptop of some kind, while the others were using a tablet of some kind.  The iPad apps were the ones that caused the most frustration, but based on my experience, one just has to give it a little time to really understand it and then channel your feeds into it. Time was one thing we did not have as a group.
20/20 looking back

I am thinking readers and finding inspiration is probably a workshop topic all by itself in hind sight.  Oh well. Or next time I’ll provide the links to the videos and reader services ahead of time, and do a “flipped PD approach” asking them to first research the reader, choose one, and then use it, all so we can have the discussion my workshop attendees missed here. Maybe at their next after school get together they can revisit this discussion on their own.
In summary

For those still looking for a reader, I leave you with these tips. If you’re more comfortable on a tablet, then you’ll probably like the ones that are showcased in my playlist with a tablet. If more comfortable on a computer, then those above that are shown on a computer screen are probably best. If you’re looking for a Google reader like experience, use my choice, Feedly, though Blodlovin and Feedspot also offer a similar experience.

So what reader do you use?

Love all these I’ve listed here!!

Time to nominate some favorites for an Eddie! I didn’t do all the categories, but it’s not required. Many of the other categories I just could not pick a single nomination. They are all good! Many of these are personal acquaintances and friends, which makes it even more special, and all are a very important part of my PLN.  There is also a “lotta” teacher librarian love here!

Screenshots of my Bests

Now please do your nominations. Here are the rules/guidelines.  To nominate your favorites:

  1. Write a post with your nominations for the different categories on your own blog (or a website – anywhere public) – here is an example of a nomination post from 2012.
  2. Send us the link to your nomination post by completing this form here

So go nominate your favorite blogs, twitterers, community sites, videos, podcasts and more… for 2013:

Here are the categories in full – nominations are open from now through Sunday, December 1st

  • Awards_170px_02Best individual blog
  • Best group blog
  • Best new blog
  • Best class blog
  • Best student blog
  • Best ed tech / resource sharing blog
  • Best teacher blog
  • Best library / librarian blog
  • Best administrator blog
  • Most influential blog post of the year
  • Best individual tweeter
  • Best twitter hashtag
  • Best free web tool
  • Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast
  • Best educational wiki
  • Best open PD / unconference / webinar series
  • Best educational use of a social network
  • Best mobile app
  • Lifetime achievement

How To Nominate

  1. Write a post with your nominations on your blog, link to them and link to this site
  2. Use this form here to send us a link to your nominations

Nomination tips:

  1. Nominate in as many categories as you want!
  2. You can’t nominate yourself ;)
  3. Nominations must be made somewhere public – your blog, a forum on a ning, a school website, etc.
  4. Even if you see your favorite has already been nominated, it is best to nominate them again
  5. Categories are competitive, and only the most nominated will make it to the voting round
  6. Share your nominations using twitter (#eddies13), facebook, Google+ and email

Add your nominations here:

Enter your nominations using this Nomination form here. You will need to complete the form from home if your School District blocks Google Forms.

Remember to be a valid URL or link it starts with http://


DISCLAIMER: Parts of this post originally appear here.

Image Attributions:
Amore a Cliche. Jackeline Roque. 12 March 2009.
Edublogs Nominations are Open.  Form the Edublogs Awards original post.
My own screenshots stitched together using fotor.com


My favorite art teacher is t it again! S. Eleazer has been scouring the library and school closets looking for outdated, discarded books. Amazing things are going on down the hall in that room, as she has cast a vision for what her sculpting class can do with our weeded library books. My collection age is (how painful to admit!) right at an average copyright date of 2000. So you know we have plenty to share with her when she and her students get inspired. I can’t wait to see how this turns out, and I hope she will allow the library to feature these projects when they are complete. Even as they repurpose, build, sculpt, and mold, it is easy to see that the students are into this project, and it’s no where near done. I can’t wait to share the finished products.



Just in case the slide set is not playing for you, click here to see the pictures of the project that is coming to life.

After such a LATE evening the night before, I slept in, missing the first session. When I arrived I went back to the E-Learning Commons to hear a PLN memnber Francey Harris leading a discussion on teaching digital ethics! Glad I got there in time to be a part of that! This is also where I reconnected withPLN member Karen Kleigman, a fellow librarian from Long Island, NY. It’s so great to see in person these people you have conversed with only in onine spaces.  

Be Essential and Convince Others You Are

I then went to Sally Mays’ and Dawn Nelson’s session “Be Essential and Convince Others You Are.” Many great tips shared and yikes, it’s going to be available in the AASL eCollab too. I went to support my friends, and it was awesome.  Loved the way they allowed the audience to be part of their presentation–lots of sharing and crowd-sourcing in this one! Nice balance and not all sit and get. There were some awesome ideas and first hand testimonials shred by session attendees.

Time for Lunch

Returning to the Learning Commons, I met up with SCASL peeps Anne Lemieux and Diana Carr, and we walked through the city to the Public Library where there was a restaurant inside! What a novel idea! Too bad for us the Kitchen at the Hartford Public Library was closed though, as it is only open in the evenings Monday through Friday, so we walked across the street to a true community market/deli.  It was fantastic, and the owner was really nice to us.  He was sharing some city demographics, letting us know we were only a few blocks from a rough area of the neighborhood, and not go any further away from the convention center than where we ate last night (Peppercron’s Grill) which was just another block away.

Time to Wind Down

Returning to the convention center, I gave the exhibit hall one more walk through, sitting in on two Exhibit Hall short vendor-sponsored sessions, one by CredoReference and one by Follett.  At 1:30, I returned to the Learning Commons to hear Joyce Valenza talk about FlipGrid, Mentor Mob and Popcorn Maker, tools I will definitely check out. We closed down the E-Learning Commons with a very informal LC Tool SmackDown, and I participated by sharing about Socrative and how we are using it in our BYOD environment. I wish I had thought to share that I featured Socrative in one of my “One Tool at a Time” PD sessions for school. Hindsight’s always 20/20.

Time to catch the bus

Cheapest transportation ever to and from an airport–$1.30 Hartford Bradley Flyer, you rock!!

This is when I had to go catch the Bradley Flyer Bus to the airport.  So sad to leave all my friends, but I had such a wonderful time!  I cannot wait for the next AASL conference, and I hope I can figure out a way to return once again.

Highlight of the Day / Lowlight of the Day

Highlight of the day: Learning Commons, and I really didn’t want to leave it today!

Lowlight of the day: Having to leave way too early.  At least I didn’t get stranded at the Hartford Airport like many of my library friends though. The weather later after I was already home turned from bad to worse, with thunderstorms canceling flights and folks camping out waiting for the reassignment of flights and what not! Silver linings!


Picture Attributions:
All pictures in this post are from my own picture feed in Flickr.


Special Thanks:

I am appending to this post a special thanks to the South Carolina State Library and Kathy Sheppard, who tuned me in to and accepted my application for a funding source for travel and attendance at this conference, the American Association of School Librarians 16th Annual Conference and Exhibition.  My funding is directly attributed to the Library Services and Technical Services Act and the U.S. Institute of Museums and Library Services.  I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity these entities have afforded me.


After a full day of sessions and connecting, I returned to the Learning Commons to meet up with Anne Lemieux, Diana Carr, Dawn Nelson, Sally Mays, and Carolyn Foote, and after dropping our bags in Carolyn’s room at the Marriott, we walked over to the Capstone Mixer at the Science Discovery Center next door. Here I got to connect with MANY old and new friends. Here I learned that Nikki Robertson was floored with my remixing of her book speed-dating idea, and loved my pictures which I still had on my phone. I reconnected with Doug JohnsonCarl Harvey, and more—too many to just name names. It was fabulous to be in that energy-filled room talking library shop and enjoying h’orderves.


A Stroll through Hartford at Night

I had RSVP’d to a Mackin Dinner invite, as had most of my group. So we adopted Doug Johnson to walk with us to the Peppercorn’s Grill in downtown Hartford. It was a very interesting walk over to the restaurant. Just look at some of the things we saw along this chilly stroll.

Top: Traveler’s Insurance Office complex – checkout the red umbrelllas! Bottom: The Hartford Public Library had a restaurant called “The Kitchen at Hartford Public Library”

Me, Diana Carr, and Anne Lemieux. SCASL represented at the Mackin Dinner!

I insisted my two SCASL peeps accompany us, as I would try to get them in. If I failed they could aways have dinner at Peppercorn’s.  I am happy to report I was successful in getting them in our group. So many friends were here! It was great reconnecting with everyone, and we had a delicious evening meal filled with fun, fellowship, toasts, and lots of sharing! For dinner, I ate a delicious veggie ravioli, and you can checkout their complete menu here.

Friends, Mackin, and Dinner! What more could I ask for?


Next Up, The AASL13 Unconference

The Unconference was slated for back at the Marriott Ballroom from 9PM-Midnight. Our walking entourage (Me, Carolyn Foote, Dawn Nelson, Sally Mays, Doug Johnson, Anne Lemiuex, and Diana Carr) arrived around 9:15; horrors we were LATE!  The planned schedule went like this:

  • Intro, outline of events, voting on conversations to organize
  • Conversation 1 – attendees choose the group they want to join
  • Conversation 2 – attendees choose the group they want to join
  • Group wide Activity “This Rocks/This Sucks”
  • Favorite Library/Tech Tool Smackdown
  • Cloding and doorprizes

Matthew Winner shares Twitter for newbies!

I joined a Twitter 101 conversation first, mainly because there wasn’t much time left before the next group, and I didn’t know what each group was discussing since I arrived late. It was interesting to hear Matthew Winner and Nikki Robertson lead this conversation. Shortly after we all regrouped and I joined the “Getting YA Students to read” group.  We had a lot of fun comparing stats and sharing how we get reluctant readers to read. I shared my upcoming Destiny Review Project with personalized book selection and my literature circles for the class studying Romeo & Juliet. Everyone had great ideas. Next up was the “This Rocks/This Sucks” and as an entire room of librarians, we were to vote with out feet by listening to a scenario and then moving to areas of the room (rocks, sucks, undecided.) The first scenario was about shelving by genre, and we had three fairly equal groups. I went with the “Sucks” folks because it would be a colossal amount of work to move 25,000 volumes in my library, not to mention adjusting records for location! But the “rocks’ group were quite passionate and compelling. There were some riveting rationales shared as moderators brought mics out for people to share reasons in support or against the issues shared.

As the “GeekTribe” member (a growing group of school librarians who are “connected” educators) or whatever we are called these days, we were asked to step up to the mic from the get go in the Smackdown as a way to encourage everyone to join in.  Here is the on the fly slideset. I say on the fly, because some put their content in well before the evening, but moderator Nikki Robertson expertly and quickly added everyone else’s content as they shared with the group.  It was awesome and I can’t wait to try out new to me tools JUST from the smackdown.


 Closing it Down
Ross J. Todd and Lyn Hay closed down the evening with a comical but often truthful reflection written in ABC order.  I walked away with a mice Mackin doorprize!  I was exhausted but filled with elation over staying the entire evening, connecting face-to-face with so many who daily have the same challenges I have, and making contributions, crowdsourcing and all.  Joyce Valenza summarized the Unconference and Ross J Todd’s ABC list with better pictures and descriptions, so please visit to see her post-unconference report too.


An SC Librarian Unconference/EdCamp/LibCamp?

I so want to organize one of these, and I really think my own school’s library and cafeteria, closee in proximity, could be the ideal place to conduct such an event for librarians. My friend Tamara Cox has said she would come and help. I’m sure I might even be able to convince some of our NC friends to come! This is really weighing heavy on my mind. I need to go check some calendars at school and see if  and when we might can make this happen.
See, I told you Day three was too long for one post!! But that long day was so worth every minute! Tomorrow I’ll share my last day at #AASL13.

Highlight of the Day / Lowlight of the Day

  • Highlight of day (part 2): Unconference, no doubt about it
  • Lowlight of the day (part 2): Some of SCASL peeps bailed long before the Unconference was done!! Not all though, as Susan Dicey stayed to the end right along with me, even making her husband hang around to be an escort back to her hotel! Yay for devoted husbands!!


Picture Attributions:
All pictures in this post are from my own picture feed in Flickr.


Special Thanks:

I am appending to this post a special thanks to the South Carolina State Library and Kathy Sheppard, who tuned me in to and accepted my application for a funding source for travel and attendance at this conference, the American Association of School Librarians 16th Annual Conference and Exhibition.  My funding is directly attributed to the Library Services and Technical Services Act and the U.S. Institute of Museums and Library Services.  I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity these entities have afforded me.


Friday was my LONGEST day of the conference, and that’s saying a LOT considering my Wednesday schedule with a 4AM wake-up call.. Since so much happened this day, I am posting this in two parts. This post will feature events directly from the AASL scheduled conference at the Convention Center.


Decisions, decisions

I had wanted to attend the Best Apps session, which is a spin off committee from the Best Websites for Teaching and Learning led by BWTL committee member Melissa Jacobs-Israel. When I arrived, wow, the room was filled to capacity with standing room only. The good news is it was video-recorded to be added to AASL’s eCollab portal, so as a member I can catch it after conference. Once I discovered this (yeah, it was published everywhere in the printed guide, which I threw away after tearing out my map of Hartford) I intentionally skipped those sessions, which changed my mind about many sessions in my schedule APP. Note to self: pay closer attention to symbols on guides, in apps, and on signs posted. The little asterisk on my phone and iPad app meant they were recorded for later. I never returned to the Marriott Ballroom D since everything there was recorded in some form or fashion for later consumption.


Snapped a photo of the sign outside the room to REMIND me they were going on AASL’s eCollab!

A Change of Plans for the Planner

I turned to the Author sessions, as many as I could squeeze in, which were not recorded. SCORE! It was a good move. For many who wonder why they should pay their AASL membership, eCollab is definitely a worthwhile reason!! I revised my schedule, and chose instead to attend the session “Authors who Skype.” It was awesome! I tweeted out thoughts from these sessions, and I encourage you to checkout my twitter feed, but I must beg forgiveness over spelling and such–i cannot fix it once it goes. <blush>  NerdProbz!! I went to the session featuring Authors who Skype. Here is their presentation. I also attended the author session “Presenting Social Issues in Teen Literature” featuring Patricia McCormick, Eliot Schefer, Cheryl Karp Ward, and David Levithan.  (I actually went to the exhibit hall to get a free signed book from Levithan for my school!)


Shusterman and Rocco–what a pair!

To reserve my seat in the suck-up row, I arrived at 2:45ish. Shortly after, SLJ’s Rocco Staino joined me there.

After a quick lunch at Panera with Diana and Anne, I returned to the Learning Commons for a catch-up session with my Minneapolis friends Sally Mays and Dawn Nelson. At 2:45 I headed over to the last author session of the day slated to begin at 3:15, which was my absolute favorite. It was titled “Boys Reading: A Focus on Fantasy.” Sitting in the front row as close as I could get (yes, the suck-up row) I sat right beside SLJ editor Rocco Staino. Rocco was the conference “author” organizer, and we had a nice chat catching up while waiting. He assured my I’m on the SLJ Summit invited list permanently, and I promised I am coming to the one in the fall of 2014. I wanted to be in this session JUST to hear Neal Shusterman. This room rapidly filled to no more room even on the floor. The entire session was run by the authors themselves, and they were as follows: Moderator, Jonathan Auxier, and panelists Jon Scieszka, Tony Abbott, Neal Shusterman, William Alexander, and Adam Gidowitz.  Glad I went to the restroom before this session, as (sorry, I know this is crude, but it’s true) I would have wet my pants from laughing so hard during the Q&A led primarily by Auxier. Neal Shusterman was actually a few minutes LATE, but no worries, they went over a few minutes, and really, I think we all would have stayed another forty-five minutes to an hour. I tried to use Twitter for my note-taking (#FAIL) but you can look for the dates of my attendance at conference (November 13-17) to see what I posted. If you have not read SLJ’s recap, definitely go read it. My description is not as nice as theirs–it was like listening to six seventh-grader twelve year-olds talking about “rainbow farting unicorns.” Apparently boys never grow up. But it was a great session none-the-less!   

Fantastic end to the formal Friday scheduled AASL Conference!


Google Pres from Authors Who Skype

Highlight of the Day / Lowlight of the Day

  • Highlight of day: Boys Read session!!
  • Lowlight of the day: disappointed that i didn’t realize I had eCollab sessions in my planner! AT least I was able to quickly adjust my plans for the sessions I would attend.   

Picture Attributions:
All pictures in this post are from my own picture feed in Flickr.


Special Thanks:

I am appending to this post a special thanks to the South Carolina State Library  and Kathy Sheppard, who tuned me in to and accepted my application for a funding source for travel and attendance at this conference, the American Association of School Librarians 16th Annual Conference and Exhibition.  My funding is directly attributed to the Library Services and Technical Services Act and the U.S. Institute of Museums and Library Services.  I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity these entities have afforded me.


I had nothing scheduled for Thursday morning as I wasn’t doing any preconferences, and nothing else really began until just before lunchtime. I decided to sleep in and make up for the day before‘s long day that had begun at 4AM. I arrived at the convention center around 10AM, catching the bus from the hotel this time. Walking is great, but I needed to understand the bus system, and yay, my backpack was LIGHT, as I only had a water bottle, notepad, my iPad Mini, and assorted sundries.

Meeting with Friends; Ebscohost Luncheon

photo (18)I first went to the convention center, where I briefly met and hung out with members of my PLN.  I talked briefly with Gwyneth about the almost 18 mos away scheduled visit to SC, and reconnected with my “Minnesota” peeps, Dawn Nelson and Sally Mays.  I didn’t stay long though, as I had a meet-up with Jean Thompson, a Follett contact over at the Hilton, and that was where the Ebscohost Luncheon I was attending was being held.  I decided despite the cool weather I would walk, and SCORE, I found a CVS and bought myself a Diet Mountain Dew, my one vice in this world. (Note to self: Time for a caffeine detox!) The meeting with Jean was informative and awesome, and finally had a face to go with someone I have interacted with only online or on a phone! The Ebscohost Luncheon was delicious. After the informative luncheon where Ebscohost had reps from some of the database offerings talk to us about what’s new, I shared with the Novelist rep how I’d recently successfully used their product with a collaborative project at school.

IdeaXchange; Learning Commons

Many friends gravitated here in the Learning Commons rather frequently!! Lots of learning, sharing, and recharging here.

I returned to the convention center via the DASH bus to attend the IdeaXchange, which was CRAZY but filled with great ideas. I think I’d like to do one of these at the next AASL Conference, so I’ll have to research that. I met up with fellow SCASL past president Ida Thompson. From there I dropped in on the AASL Learning Commons to hear Michelle Cooper show us Aurasma, an app for virtual reality. I’m interested in learning more about that one! Here I saw friends galore, including Barbara Schlidt (Horry County Media Coordinator), Wendy Stephens of YALSA fame and from ALabama, Sally Mays and Dawn Nelson, my Minneapolis friends, and Carolyn Foote, Texas librarian (who by the way coordinated the AASL Learning Commons expertly, I might add!) Actually I migrated back to the commons every time I had downtime after this, as it seemed to be the happening place for informal learning or connecting with friends!

Tony Wagner, Opening Keynote and Supper with friends

I then went to the Opening General Session that featured Tony Wagner, and his session was all about the Seven Survival Skills kids need today. After the Opening General Session, Anne, Diana and I cruised through the Grand Opening of the Exhibit Hall, and then walked to dinner at the City Steam Brewery Cafe.  Funny aside, we were able to see a little of the Clemson/GA Tech game while there. I had a FANTASTIC Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla for supper for $10, which was good since as I shared earlier, I was on a tight budget until payday Friday! It was an appetizer but plenty to eat since I’d had the huge Ebscohost lunch. We walked back to the hotels again, and I was able to get myself back to my hotel all alone when I parted ways with Anne and Diana (though Diane wasn’t happy about me walking alone–so I texted as soon as I was safe inside!)


Highlight of the Day / Lowlight of the Day

  • Highlight of day: tie–EbscoLuncheon without a doubt, followed by great connections in the Learning Commons
  • Lowlight of the day: The AASL App did not synch with my phone and my Ipad. Boo-hiss. No way to add things like the Ebsco-Luncheon or my meeting with a friend. No way to add Learning Commons stuff either. Hmmph.


Picture Attributions:
All pictures in this post are from my own picture feed in Flickr.


Special Thanks:

I am appending to this post a special thanks to the South Carolina State Libraryand Kathy Sheppard, who tuned me in to and accepted my application for a funding source for travel and attendance at this conference, the American Association of School Librarians 16th Annual Conference and Exhibition.  My funding is directly attributed to the Library Services and Technical Services Act and the U.S. Institute of Museums and Library Services.  I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity these entities have afforded me.

I promised to break my #AASL13 reflection down and not overwhelm you all with long wordy posts.  But you know I just can’t help it.  My friend Pat Hensley over at Successful Teaching recently modeled sharing session by session, and that is a great way to do this, but I don’t take notes very well.  So I’m going to attempt a daily reflection.  This is a summary of Day 1 – Wednesday, November 13, 2013.

Early flight; Friends old and new

Carrie Shoolbred, Cathy Jo Nelson, and Currie Renwick reconnect at AASL.

Because I could get a direct flight round trip from Charlotte, I had to get up at 4AM to get myself to the Charlotte Douglas Airport about 70 miles northwest of me in time for a 7:45 AM flight. Carrie Shoolbred from Jesse Boyd Elementary in neighboring Spartanburg District 7 was on my flight! I found myself standing in the Hartford, Connecticut Convention Center by 11AM, badge and registration in hand.  Our Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee (BWTL) group met up with AASL’s Jennifer Habley at 11:30 to get in our AASL BWTL session for set up purposes. After preparations to ready the room took very little time, co-member Lucy Green and I walked next door to the Connecticut  Science Center to have lunch. It was nice meeting her face-to-face for the first time after only having met in our AASL BWTL virtual meetings. We returned to do our preconference session, which I wrote about here yesterday. In our preconference session, I was able to make some new friends AND reconnect with older friends. Currie Renwick, a former SCASL member and former Spartanburg 7 teacher librarian who has recently relocated the Washington, DC area was in attendance in our preconference session.  I also have to thank the convention center for the snacks and drinks! I took several drinks and snacks back to my room so I would have them throughout the conference, and they were GREAT.


Supper and COLD walk to my hotel

The white building just across the river was where i stayed. I snapped this from the meeting room hallway where we had our preconference session (MR 15).

Reconnecting with my SC friends SCASL President Anne Lemieux and SCASL President-elect Diana Carr, we walked across the street from the convention center for supper, and then we WALKED back to our hotel in the cold and dark–across the river! Our hotels (not the smae) were across the river, but probably less than a mile from the convention center. Because mine was a little further than Anne’s and Diana’s hotel, they walked me TO the door. It was dark, and we weren’t really sure of the neighborhood, so I appreciate them taking good care of me that night, especially since I had all my belongings, including a suitcase and a laptop bag filled to the gills and weighing a ton. Those drinks from precon were making my bag really HEAVY.  I was so wiped out from my early morning flight, that I checked-in and practically went straight to bed. But I first made sure to set up my schedule with the ready to be used  conference app.


Highlight of the Day / Lowlight of the Day

  • Highlight of day: tie–Preconference Session or lunch with Lucy Green
  • Lowlight of the day: a fairly disastrous dinner service (slow waiter, mistakes, etc.) Glad I don’t even remember where we ate, but it was economical, nearby, and my dinner was just under $10, with no tip–shame on me. In my defense, our waiter should have brought my change in a manner that would have enabled me to leave a decent tip.  His fault; he wasn’t a ten dollar tip waiter, and I didn’t have anything smaller. Disclaimer: My impatience may have been due to exhaustion.


Picture Attributions:
All pictures in this post are from my own picture feed in Flickr.


Special Thanks:

I am appending to this post a special thanks to the South Carolina State Libraryand Kathy Sheppard, who tuned me in to and accepted my application for a funding source for travel and attendance at this conference, the American Association of School Librarians 16th Annual Conference and Exhibition.  My funding is directly attributed to the Library Services and Technical Services Act and the U.S. Institute of Museums and Library Services.  I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity these entities have afforded me.

Our committee was selected for a pre-conference session for Wednesday, November 13, from 1:00-4:30PM. Presenters  from our committee included Committee Chair Heather Moorefield-Lang, Melissa Jacobs-Israel, Dr. Donna Barrata (immediate past chair), Lucy Green, and myself.  The plan was to have our introductions, followed by our participants introductions, a quick explanation of the SAMR model for directing our conversations, and then a round robin speed-date style presentation as each committee member took a table and showcased three tools from each category over the 5 years this committee has existed.  WHAT A TASK!  I was so worried of course I way over prepared.

Top: Our group and speed dating setup; bottom left: Chair Heather Moorefield-Lang gets us started; bottom right – my set up, which included a small speaker bar for the videos I didn’t even use!.


My contribution: Manage & Organize Resources

I did not trust myself to be able to adequately share with a table of 8 or less using my iPad mini, so I brought my laptop (literally a brick leash!!) and even a small speaker and clicker. I pulled together my resources in a PowerPoint that included two embedded  Youtube videos, which I wound up not even using. FAIL! I should have known it would be more about my personal experiences using these tools than what I could show in a presentation. Luckily the PowerPoint did allow me to talk up the highlights of each tool, keeping me on track. We had twenty minutes or less for each table “date” and I needed every minute. Yes, I’m wordy on my blog and in person too. Here’s a link to the virtual handout I made for my three featured winners. The three I featured were Biblionasium, BlendSpace, and Evernote, and my virtual handout has my overall thoughts as well as links.

Shared with our group by committee member Lucy Green of Southern University!


SAMR Anyone?

We used what is called a SAMR Model for our conversations and keeping notes, and Committee member Lucy Green gave a nice overview to our participants. I hadn’t heard of this model for collecting and assessing skill-base and tools before, but my intern at my school really explained it well. Here’s a good online explanation with a video.  I’d love to see what everyone wrote on their sheets. Since I was leading a conversation, I didn’t really get to complete one.  At the end we regrouped to discuss the tools, and I was happy to hear one of the participants share how Biblionasium (one of the tools I shared) will be her way of managing her Battle of the Books groups and their reading.  PERFECT!!


Treasures Gained

One of our committee members (Melissa Jacobs Israel) brought us all (presenters and attendees) a treasure trove on a flashdrive that I am STILL combing through. It is a couple of years work combined, and represents the Empire State Information Fluency Skills Continuum, containing benchmark skills for grades k-12, assessments, and Common Core alignment. This document was developed by the NYC School Library Systems, of which Melissa is a part. If you’d like to have a look at it, email me (cathyjonelson-at-gmail dot com.) Melissa had the actual notebook of the contents printed, and I am not kidding when I say it was around 3 inches of material!! Thanks Melissa, for yours and your state’s generosity. Pictured below is the printed cover, a picture of the flashdrive, and my own half sheet handout


Picture Attributions:
All pictures in this post are from my own picture feed in Flickr.


Special Thanks:

I am appending to this post a special thanks to the South Carolina State Library and Kathy Sheppard, who tuned me in to and accepted my application for a funding source for travel and attendance at this conference, the American Association of School Librarians 16th Annual Conference and Exhibition.  My funding is directly attributed to the Library Services and Technical Services Act and the U.S. Institute of Museums and Library Services.  I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity these entities have afforded me.


A very natural part of being a high school librarian is being able to match books to students when they come asking. All of us feel very adequate in doing this when it comes to students who read the middle of the road popular YA books.  Over the years I have been literally to my face told I was the “techie” librarian, which in a nice way meant I’m not necessarily the one who could help readers looking for books.  It wasn’t said in a mean-spirited way, but rather meant to be a compliment. However, I took the hint–BEEF up on your YA Lit skills and be able to talk the talk; walk the walk.  So in the last two to three years I have increased my reading and really focused on paying attention to readers and their interests.  It has helped.  I’ve noticed more and more students approaching me and asking for help in finding a book.  They now say things like, “I loved that last book you suggested, so help me find another,” or “That book was so awesome, please tell me there is a sequel.” Self esteem restored!

Always looking for new ideas

I read with a great deal of interest where a fellow Alabama high school librarian, Nikki D. Robertson, shared about a “book shopping” activity she worked on with a class or two in her school. I had heard of this before, but hadn’t really given it a lot of thought.  But when I saw her pictures, I was hooked on the idea. Thanks Nikki for the pictures. They really helped me embrace the idea.  Nikki works in a high school that is large like mine (we have 2400 students in grades ten through twelve.) Considering how similar in size our schools are, I decided to give it a try.


I worked out a schedule with my collaborating teacher.  Here is our schedule and basic plans:

  • November 8 – Book Checkout Day
  • Through Thanksgiving students will be reading and then writing a book review for their book
  • December 2 – Visit class to talk about Reviews, Destiny Quest; Image citations in MLA Format; and  Animoto or PosterMyWall as book trailer or book poster project. (Yes, we are giving the students a choice.)
  • December 3 – Students visit the library to word process, copy, & paste their book review into their book’s record in Destiny Quest.
  • December 4 - Students visit the library to search for and cite images they plan to use in a book trailer or book poster.
  • December 5 – Students visit the library to build either a book trailer or a book poster.
  • December 9-11 – Students visit the library in small groups to finish, tweak, modify, or get additional help in small groups.
  • December 12 – Class presentation day! By December 12, I plan to have added the digital content (book trailer or book poster) to the Destiny Records for each book that was done.

Monumental Order!

My collaborating teacher (a teacher of a College Prep tenth grade group) had been sick all last week, so I didn’t really get to approach her about this until Wednesday, November 6.  After hammering down a timeline, I gave her the blank index cards for students to complete a profile in class that afternoon.  On the index cards, students wrote out the following:

  • Name
  • Last book read
  • Favorite book(s):
  • Favorite Movie(s):
  • Favorite TV show(s):
  • Favorite Video game(s):
  • Hobbies and interests

Yes, we profiled them

A student delivered the index cards to me during first block Thursday morning. That gave me the school day Thursday and the school day Friday through lunch to get to the task of matching a few book choices to each student in the class based on their profile. Using the suggestions of my intern and co-librarian, I began using our Destiny Quest, GoodReads, and Novelist Plus (from DISCUS–thanks again SC legislators for funding it for SC Libraries!!!) to match books to students’ shared profiles.  My co-librarian and our intern were slammed Thursday with several classes, so I really could not elicit help from them. We even gave thought to postponing the book checkout to Monday because Friday we were booked solid in the library during fourth block, their scheduled time to come view and checkout the books selected for them, and this would give me more time with help from them.  Ultimately though I decided I could and would do it.

Thank you Oregon/Stanford!

I know that header sounds silly and unrelated, but it’s not. My bedtime is generally between 10 and 10:30PM. But my guys are such huge NCAA football fans, we were tuned in to watch this game. Well, they were. I was spread out in my favorite recliner busily matching students to books, making first a written list, student by student, and making a resource list in Destiny.  I used the above mentioned resources, but there were those few students who still had different interests or just didn’t meet a standard type of book, and that made me have to work even harder. I turned to Wikipedia to learn about favorite movies and video games listed. As that game came to an end so very late here (11:30PM or so) I finalized my resource list in Destiny! Had that game been lopsided, my guys would have never stayed up to watch it, and I probably would not have stayed up working on my lists.  I would have had to postpone the class getting their personalized set of books, and this wouldn’t have happened until possibly Tuesday, if then. See, I’m leading a workshop in a neighboring district Monday (so I wont be at school) and I leave for Hartford, CT for the AASL Conference early Wednesday morning. I needed to be ready Friday.  So again thanks for an exciting game Oregon and Stanford! You really helped me.

Pulling & Packaging

I printed our resource list and engaged my two student workers first block with a monumental task. They had to pull all the listed books, then use my really messy crazy notes to make stacks of books. At first some stacks had five and six books, but as they compiled a stack for me, I gave another look at the index card and selected books, narrowing the list to three books per student. I really did not believe they would finish the task in a single ninety-minute block. 2nd block had all of us going to the arena for a Veterans Day program, and that would leave 3rd block and probably lunch for me to finish! By the end of first block, though, my two student workers had about 90% of the books stacked with the matching student index card on them.  They double wrapped each set with it’s index card using rubber bands.  I printed cute name tags, and we began tying them with a ribbon and name tags.  One of my first block workers returned after the assembly (with teacher permission) and together we finished “wrapping” the sets and preparing them for the class. They were so cute! I was determined that the appearance of the books be nice, attractive, and have the special touch of a ribbon/bow, as I felt it would show my students that I really cared about matching their interests to books.


Class Visit

Because we had a full house in the library fourth block, I decided to haul the personalized sets to my collaborating teacher’s class.  In the class I introduced our upcoming project in detail, shared some examples with them, and then set out to share with each student their personally selected books. The response was tremendous. After using my laptop to checkout their chosen book, I shared with students the books returned to the cart not chosen that were some of my personal favorite. I left the class to return to the library, and immediately had about five students from this class come in to trade out their checked out book with those I had quickly book-talked that were not chosen. LOL, I was surprised by that.

Next Phase…

After these students write their book review, I’ll be crazy the week after Thanksgiving trying to finish the project. I will probably have to elicit help from  my co-librarian and our library assistant then to really work well with this class on their image citations and book trailers or book posters. But I’m really excited and pleased at their reception of a chosen book and the upcoming project.  If you are not seeing the embedded photo slideshow from this post, click here.


Picture Attribution:

All pictures used in this post belong to me, and are located in my personal Flickr stream.

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