I ran across this today in my Facebook timeline, posted by a friend and neighboring district’s teacher (Yvonne Mason). It is heartfelt and honest, and I loved it enough to share as she suggested. We live in the same geographic area, so see the same kinds of outfits on our students. While she is speaking from the perspective of her classroom, most of her thoughts fit the library context as well.
Her directive was as follows: DO please share if you follow me and have a high school age child.
Please do not whine about the dress code. It’s in place to keep you from being embarrassed ten years from now when you see pictures of yourself.
Boys, the current tank top fad is not appropriate for my classroom. Dress like you are serious about school. Plus, seriously?
Girls, before you wear a skirt or dress in my room, please get a chair and sit in front of a full-length mirror. You’re now seeing what *I* see as you sit in my class.
If any bit of underwear is showing on ANYONE, rethink your choice. I do not need to know that you have on a black bra or plaid boxers. I would not put you in the position of having to know that about me.
Unless you are in fact attending a class during which you will be called upon to perform anything athletic, there is no reason to wear clothing designed to be worn during athletic activities. Just so you know, you will not EVER be called upon to demonstrate yoga, basketball, or any other sport or exercise in AP Language and Composition.
Gentlemen, I don’t care if you *did* buy a sticker so that you can wear hats/caps inside. You may not wear them during the time you are in my class.
School IS your job right now. Dress like it.
I applaud this, though I’m not sure I would make school “hat days” forbidden in the library. I totally get the classroom view of this though.
I would like to add another bullet of my own:
The room temperature is not controlled onsite. Knowing that, it might be a good idea to have a jacket or hoodie to slip on or off when you feel the need. Complaining to me will not get it adjusted. Did you notice I wear a jacket in the library almost daily? That’s because it is cold in here to me all the time.
So no, I certainly wouldn’t post this in our library, as I like for our “library expectations” to be posted as positive statements. But her letter does resonate a lot of truths. What would you add to this list? How would you say these same things?
Well it’s here. Back2School week. This week we will have a flurry of activity going on in our high school and library. Here’s a glimpse of my Monday alone!
Monday first thing, our entire district is at our school for the district wide welcome back. Recognitions take place, and yours truly made the list.
After the district “Welcome Back” event, I’ll just have time to load new rolls of laminating film and prepare for our afternoon meeting before running home to grab lunch. Thank goodness I only live five minutes from school. (Yeah, I’m going to run home to eat with my hubby–my last grasp of summer freedom, sort of….)
Monday after lunch, we have our first formal faculty meeting in the library. I’m hoping to use this time to not only learn about initiatives and plans for a new school year from our principal, but also (informally) disseminate assorted remote controls, Promethean pens, and other small items that are bagged and turned in annually, person to person before and after the meeting. But first, as mentioned earlier, I’ll be helping set up for this faculty meeting–no small feat when you consider we are a staggering 140+ in population faculty and staff wise. (Our school enrollment generally runs 2600+ kids, grades 10-12.) See the picture here–that’s the library. There is limited space not pictured to the right and left. As you can tell, yes, there will be some muscles used to set up for the meeting. I suppose we could deliver it via video conferencing, but folks, this is definitely one time face to face is best, at least IMHO. Thank goodness our maintenance staff will be rearranging furniture optimal for a meeting such as this. I’ll just be pulling screens, carts, and projectors and such.
My current read and the school list of meetings for next week.
Daily the rest of the week various groups have assorted meetings and events to attend as well, like hall meetings, department head meetings, committee meetings, and more. It’s something everyday, but that is normal and necessary. This past week, for three days, our school had back-to-school registration. Yeah, it takes 3 days. It is a fine-tuned efficient system, but with our large student body, it really does take three days, and then add on a one day make-up day scheduled for midweek coming.
Some meetings take place even before this week
Last week, before teachers returned, we as a district library group met. Our district librarians were not the only ones meeting, though. Our new faculty & staff had a meeting at school that lasted a half day or so. This meeting was to get them introduced to the administrative staff, and to go through some basic school policies and procedures. It is a tightly packed meeting with little time for extras. Then this group had a two-day meeting at the district level with all new faculty & staff for the district.
So when can I introduce the library to new teachers?
I share all the above to show that we as a library staff don’t have a chance to get in on any formal meetings that new faculty & staff have. I don’t even want to be added formally. It would extend already long meetings those folks must attend, meetings they sometimes leave feeling information overload.
Principal’s idea–have a drop-in!
How could I introduce them to the library program without making it another formal meeting? Finally I thought why not invite them to a breakfast during back2school week. I ran it by my principal and he said it was a fine idea, but to make it an optional one, and make it a drop-in event. We both felt like our new folks will be very busy this week, having spent so much time last week in meetings. So with his great advice, we are sponsoring a “Back 2 School Drop-in Breakfast” for—-now here comes the best part—new faculty/staff members AND their mentors. It’s a great way to introduce newbies to the library and let them begin that important mentee/mentor relationship.
The Back2School Breakfast Drop-in Plan
We are going to serve a variety of breakfast-like finger foods, drinks, and goodies, and offer some free young adult books and a few other door prizes, including gift cards to some local stores. At the drop-in we will provide our faculty/staff library handbook and tour them around the library, helping them get acclimated to us, the library environment, and what the library program can do for student learning. What I like best about this is while I have much I want to share, I want them to be there because they want to be there. I’m hoping the incentives to come (food, free books, door prizes) will help them decide this time set aside for them is worth their attendance. (I think I’ll add to the invitation something about bringing lamination needs along!!)
We’ll see how it goes!
So there. School is off to a bang, even before our students have returned. And I’m ready. Are you?
Lot’s of times I’ve been asked to find that just right video to use in staff development or back to school meetings, and my new friend Janelle Grahamhas met this need for me this year. It’s a year old or so but still effective for any educator who needs that “something” to grab attention and make a point, and BONUS, this one would also work in the classroom. Even a year old, it’s new to me. ENJOY! Thanks Janelle
I’m considering rendering a similar graphic in our library for a display, of course with student artwork. Yes, it’s time to reconsider library displays as I return to work in my school library this week (actually I put in two of my 205 days last week.)
(Note: if you are not seeing the image in your reader, click through; it’s worth the visit. )
Picture Credit to The Australian Teacher Librarian Network.
Remind101 is the easy solution for teachers (or other educators) to get messages out to students, parents, colleagues, and more. I have promoted using Cel.ly before, and have used it successfully. But Celly, while an awesome program, can be daunting to those not familiar with the program, texting, or messaging. Parents, administrators, and fellow teachers may balk at it due to sheer complexity.
So today I share a simpler program that is easy and might serve a need–at least until one is ready to step it up with a service like Celly.
Use it to remind students of tests or homework assignments. Let parents know of expected delays in returning from a field trip. Remind colleagues of scheduled meetings. Remind club members of the next meeting. Remind team members (and their parents) of practice times. All with your choice–the website, an email, or a text message via mobile device. No numbers are shared. Safe. Check it out. Definitely worthy of trying out.
I ran across this today and thought, wow, this could drive one of my “Bring Your Own Book” (aka BYOB) club meetings that come together monthly at lunch. I know this example is tailored for elementary, but I think with a little tweaking it certainly could work for any level.
Other ways to use this idea:
Professional Development meeting with teachers interested in YA literature (or any literature for that matter)
A library conference session introducing new and/or tried and true literature for students
That next mini grant waiting to be written (oh YES I AM too!!)
Special thanks to SC librarian Angie Enlow who shared this on Facebook. Be sure to look at the complete set of pictures below in my “projeqt” slide show.
All pictures are compliments of “pickshel” over in Flickr.
Tuesday I was at a local district’s technology conference, UTC. Our Keynote, Chris Craft, challenged us to find some new voices; meet new people and learn from them. So I met (actually through the Twitter hashtag #UTC13) some new voices to add to my PLN. SWEEEEEET! Sometimes I forget to do that.
@CathyJo, Born on Twitter April 28, 2007
It occurred to me that I take for granted everyone understands Twitter. I used to consider myself a Twitter pro. I mean come on, I have a Twitter Klout of 58 — does anyone even know what that means?? I must have signed on for it, though I don’t remember when, why, or even how it works. SHAME on me. Seriously though, I’ve been a part of the Twitterverse since April 2007, so I should have some kind of understanding of it, right? I don’t use Twitter for the Klout. No, I use it for the connections to like minded educators and tremendous learning. So I thought today I would remind people of some tips for newbies to make them begin getting those same rewards (connections, learning, and more) I get from my Twitter feed.
Twitter for the Educator –> Must Do’s
Cultivate Tweeps for your feed Follow people you know (or want to know) or who you feel are similar in feelings, values, careers, or interests. Following Justin Beiber for me would never work as one, I have no interest in him or his thoughts, and two, he would never extend my learning or joy. There is absolutely no chance we would ever interact on Twitter, and I just don’t like him. Newbies tend to follow big names like that (Bieber, Oprah, Ellen, etc.) just to have something show up on the timeline/feed. It’s sort of like filling your plate with useless carbs. I’d rather have the meat and more nutritious items on my twitter plate. Of course to each his own. Once you identify someone who really inspires you, look at their profile and see who they follow. Sometimes it’s a goldmine. Also look to see if they have created any lists. I have a list of SC Peeps. There are any number of lists you can create for yourself or check others to see if they have lists.
Build a Profile
Make sure your profile includes something about you. When I get a new follower, the first thing I look at is their profile to decide if I will “follow” back, having their tweets show up on my timeline. Since I primarily follow educators, I like to see their educational context and at least regionally where they are from. Added bonus to me is to see that we have connections, i.e. DEN STAR, ISTE Member, SCASL, school librarian, etc. Including a link to a website, wiki, or blog helps me decide quickly too. Seeing that kind of information in the profile tells me yes, I probably have something in common with them, and I usually follow them right back. A blank profile REALLY causes me to have to work or investigate them further, and I don’t always have time for that. If I do, I usually just pop over to the profile and begin reading tweets. A blank profile is a big reason I do not return the follow of a lot of new followers. While I’m on profiles, I think all tweeps should have some kind of avatar or picture. I have ALWAYS tried to use a real picture of myself. At my first ISTE conference in 2007 (then known as NECC), I was able to connect with many Twitter friends immediately because my Twitter picture was the real me, so many walked right up and called me by name (my Twitter name, CathyJo). It’s okay to use something else, but the generic goose egg is a real turn off for me. I’m just sayin’. The Twitter Profile calls for your name, your twitter handle, a bio, your location and a link. Other than your handle, all the rest is optional. I like to be able to see your name too. If you’re a teacher and want to be more formal, use your title and last name, i.e. Mrs. Nelson. But please don’t leave it all blank. If you are worried about students or parents reading your tweets, go “protected” so only your followers can read them. But know that new followers won’t be able to tell much about you to decide to return a follow when you do that. I have gone protected only for short amounts of times for different reasons in the past, but inevitably I go back public.
Find a Twitter Client
The Twitter app and webpage are sufficient for the beginner, but if you cultivate a network through your use of Twitter, you will probably need a better client to manage Twitter. If you use multiple social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and/or have multiple Twitter profiles (such as a teacher one, a personal one, etc.) these Twitter clients can make managing them in one tool a snap. There are many, but I will only speak of two that I have used: Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. I am currently using Hootsuite on my laptop, my iPhone, AND my iPad. They allow me to be a “wannabe” poweruser in Twitter. Why would I use that?? I can manage my facebook account, follow hashtags, follow specialized groups, and more! I’ve embedded a video of Hootsuite below, so watch it. You might also investigate these links from the site Learn it in 5:
screenshot of my Hootsuite dashboard Become a better user
Get the most out of your account
You can use Twitter in a variety of ways, especially through a third party app like Hootsuite. I love hashtags, and when they are tremendously popular, such as #edreform or for me as a librarian, #tlchat, I can save these to tabs in my Hootsuite client, and look at them anytime I want with very little work. I also like to read a few people who might get lost in my feeds, so I pulled them out to have a tab too (must reads). My tabs usually contain three streams, as noted in the picture above. The tabs generally stay the same, but the streams in those tabs periodically change.
I know this slideshare is “librarian-focused” because Jennifer Lagarde presented it at NCSLMA, the NC librarians conference, last October. But it does give some really good tips for new Twitter users, so definitely go through it.
Equal to or better than the paid conferences I almost didn’t get to participate in this year’s conference. It has been growing annually since it began and why not? It’s free and really does rival our annual state technology conference. The only difference that is visible is because its not hosted in a conference like venue, but instead a local high school, there isn’t really a vendor hall or a large number of exhibitors. But that’s not really a drawback as even at my state conferences, the number of exhibitors has dwindled. I do appreciate them so always try to visit and thank them for bringing content to my favorite pd opportunities. UTC had a fair number present. I know some friends who have opted totally out of the state technology conference for this one due to level of presentations (always good) and that it’s FREE. Attending our state conference incurs costs due to a registration fee and the need for a hotel room.
I learned a valuable lesson this year
When it was time to send a proposal to UTC, I got too busy and missed the deadline. I registered late to be just an attendee at the encouragement of friends. Alas since it is so popular an event and I did not respond to repeated requests for acknowledging my lunch plans (I was brown bagging so ignored the requests) I was dropped from attending. To try and get back “in” I offered to fill in if any presenters unexpectedly had to drop out. I was picked up finally as a replacement session! Yay for me, I was back “in!” My lesson: Read those reminder emails thoroughly. They had said I risked being dropped as a an attendee for not responding. Sigh.
Chris Craft, Keynote pictured by Cathy Jo Nelson
My friend is the Keynote
I really wanted to attend this year since day one (which was the only day I could attend) was featuring my friend Chris Craft as keynote. He shared and inspired us with his journey as a forward minded educator. Who knew he began as a PACE candidate? ( PACE teachers in our state are those who have a college degree outside of education, but are hired to teach while working towards SC teacher certification.) Dr. Craft has grown into a model educator who truly embodies engaged and authentic learning for his students. I feel inspired no matter my interaction with him. I predict eventually he will be a motivational speaker even at the national level, like maybe a future ISTE keynote. He already does quite a bit as a Google Certified Teacher and more on the national front. He even shared with us he has a gig in South America coming up.
Can’t beat social interaction!
My favorite part of my one day at UTC surprisingly was lunch. I sat with friends new and old who always inspire me. Sometimes the best learning at these PD events happens in the more informal spaces. My lunch mates, Heather Loy, Chris Craft, Kitty Tripp, Russ Conrath, Donna Thompson, Debbie Jarrett, Julianne Kaye, Kelly Knight, along with several others made for great conversations, all pedagogical in nature and great takeaways to apply to my own practice. Can’t beat the learning there!
But what should the focus be?
Back to my picture above. Some may have noticed my excitement came primarily from my interactions around friends and experiences and not so much from sessions. Don’t get me wrong, there were great sessions. But I’m tiring of attending sessions where I already have a solid understanding of the tool and its application, and find the focus in the session is primarily on the tool. I get that many out there still need this introductory level understanding about tools and such, and there are many tools I stlll need low level introductory type information for as well. I tolerate many of these sessions as I walk away (silver lining) with IDEAS more so than how to use a tool. I really enjoy seeing actual student samples best.
Visit http://edcampsc.edublogs.org/author/edcampsc/ to register!
This Edcamp logo brings to mind a new kind of conference that largely my contacts seem to be unfamiliar with. Edcamp is an unconference type event. It is called an “unconference” because by and large it is unscheduled until the attendees (in this case educators) come together and decide on the topics for the conversations that will happen. There is no promise of presentations that take place in a room with a projector and a screen, but rather the promise of solid pedagogical sharing of ideas through interest where ever is convenient at the site. The sessions will be focused on those conversations instead. South Carolina is having one September 7. The focus of EdCamps I’m familiar with tend to center on “the right answers” as shown at the beginning of this post above. Plan to join me in Rock Hill September 7, 2013 at Sullivan Middle School, for our state’s opportunity (EdCampSC) okay? You won’t be disappointed.
May is here and that means most students (and many teachers too) are looking forward to summer break. Our last day of the regular school year is May 31. I love that we are out before June arrives (well, not me, as I have ten more days to go beyond teacher workdays.)
Earning our paycheck…and break
No matter. It’s still a very tough time of the year to engage students. I frequently tell my colleagues we really earn our paycheck from just a few days during the school year: first day, each day before a long break, and the last few weeks of school. These are the days that really good educators separate themselves from the ones who perhaps made the wrong career choice or need to retire. So how will you fill the remaining days of the school year?
Again I say, those who can engage their students this time of year clearly are jam up teachers and educators. Which brings me to our summer reading kick off.
Unfortunately, we will stop circulating books this year on May 14. With 14 more school days, and all books being due May 21, this will be a challenge for those who are readers and USE the library. Oh, of course, we’ll make exceptions for our regulars. We know who they are–know them by name. Last week, on April 30 we had a drop-in catered breakfast for our top circulating students. These are the kids who check-out all year long and support (and probably drive) our reading programs. We had BoJangles biscuits and fellowship around books that morning from 7:30 – 8:20, the bell to begin first block. Each student selected a free book from a stock of probably 100 we had accumulated this year from Atlantis, a paperback subscription service we use. For those who stressed over their free book decision, I admit I let them take more than one. This is about knowing your students and which are really avid readers. And a reader is always extremely happy when rewarded with free books.
Ruta Sepetys signing my book at #TXLA13
Our school also promotes summer reading. Our English department annually sends a letter home for summer break reminding students of their upcoming English course “required reading.” While their lists are still under construction, there is always a mix of popular fictions and classics. There are also nonfiction options for the students who are not fans of fiction. This year’s rising tenth graders are being asked to read Ruta Sepetys‘ book Between Shades of Greyin preparation for her visit in September. We are delighted, as that is one of the books on our South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Nominee list! Each summer we promote the reading of these books. I have summer reading kick-off contest in place. I need some ideas for how to engage our readers over the summer. Send them my way if you have some.
Let the Summer Reading Begin
Just in case you’re curious, here’s our summer reading kick-off contest.
2013 DHS Summer Reading Kick-off!
DO Judge a Book by its Cover
2013 Summer Reading Kick-off Contest
WHO? Sophomores and Juniors
WHEN? May 13-24, 2013
WHAT CAN YOU WIN?
Summer Prize Pack:
Book of your choice from the DHS summer reading list and a lunch date package valued at $25 (so you and a friend can have lunch and discuss the summer read!)
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:
The library is displaying the nominated Teen Books that are in the running for YALSA’s Teen Top Ten! Before reading any of them, we invite students to come in and literally judge the books by their cover. Enter your votes IN THE LIBRARY. Vote daily!!
Do NOT vote for your favorite book
Do NOT vote for a book because you like that author.
Pretend you’ve read none of these.
Vote for the book whose design alone would entice you the most to read the book.
Simple as that! Voting takes place from May 13-24 lunchtime. All students who voted for the title with the most votes go in a drawing, so it’s really important to put your name and DATE on your ballot. Students may vote once a day each day of the contest. The drawing will be done live on the PM Announcements Friday, May 24.
Want to know more about the titles in our contest? Click here to read about them. The “projeqt” below shows the covers. Let the “judging” begin.
Found on flickrcc.net