The new school year is off to a wild start in the media center. I've been super-busy helping students in online classes who need textbooks, doing freshman orientation Breakouts, setting up maker space projects with sophomores, and assisting our computer tech with laptop/Chromebook distribution, not to mention Smart Lunch, checking out books, organizing a school-wide Book Fair, and getting the Battle of the Books students going. Whew! In the midst of all that, I've started updating my media center web site, hence this blog entry. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not great at follow-through, especially when it comes to blogging, but I'm going to try (again) to make a stronger commitment to keeping it going. I learn so much from media professionals who provide such wonderful ideas to use with students and teachers to improve their school library media experiences. As the Mountains Regional Director for NCSLMA, I want to share my own best practices (and dismal failures!) in the hopes of helping other media coordinators in some small way. We'll see if I can actually follow-through, lol!
I recently participated in the NC School Library Media Association's yearly conference, and it was absolutely wonderful. And I mean wonder-full! I learned about virtual reality, summer themed programs to draw high school students into the library, effective ways to create Donor's Choose grants, utilizing mindfulness strategies to combat stress, and lots more. There were great keynotes and a lovely dinner with the state board members and visiting authors and working with the Emerging Leaders winners group and fun meetings with friends new and old. Every minute of each day was filled with learning, sharing, collaborating, reflecting. It was both exhausting and exhilarating.
I believe completely that providing opportunities for educators to participate in conferences and workshops away from school has so many benefits for students and staff- not just the individual who gets to go have fun. We return filled, not only with great ideas and teaching strategies, but with a lifted spirit and renewed focus. I'm a better person and a better librarian when I get back- a win-win for me individually, and for those people in my school whose lives I touch. Really. Good. Stuff.
It has been an extremely busy semester, but that's no excuse for continuing to be a blogging slacker. One new beginning for me will be to initiate a blogging schedule into my planning calendar.
What a semester! Smart Lunch changes, lots and lots of research lessons, Poetry Cafes, state NCSLMA board meetings, working with students and staff to integrate web tools...as the school year winds down, I need to take some time to reflect on successes and lessons learned. A few things immediately stand out-
There will be many more things to add. As I finish up all the reports, cleaning, reorganizing, and the seemingly endless other minutiae that the end of a school year brings, I will start a "to do" list for my new beginning to another school year this fall. But I think that list will be best contemplated on a shady deck with a glass of sweet tea and a bag of BBQ potato chips...Happy Summer!
I'm a blogging slacker for sure. I freely admit it. I own it. I'm not proud of it, but there it is. All I will say is I will make an effort to do better. Sigh...
Moving on...this is exam week and we've all been working on nothing but. In-between testing sessions, (and with the help of our awesome custodians and students), I have managed to rearrange the media center and do some weeding. I wanted to provide a better space for video production, especially as green screen is taking off here at West. I also have about 100 students every day who come to work on virtual classes offered through our local community college, and thought it was time to change some things around to better accommodate the mix of individuals, classes, and small groups that frequent the media center. So I took the conference table and office chairs out of what used to be my office in a galaxy far, far away, relocated them to a corner of the media center between 2 tall bookcases, and turned the former office/conference room into our new video production area. I also switched up the leisure reading area and small group tables. I'm excited to see what students and staff think about the changes.
I've mentioned before that this is the first year that our school has implemented the SMART Lunch model. There are 4 high schools in our county doing SL, and all 4 of the media coordinators are struggling with what to do with the media center during that time. We are going to get together soon to talk and try to figure out how to best utilize the time, space, resources, and expertise available. I will share ideas that we discuss in a future post.
More testing to come on Monday, then the new semester begins and I'll be "back in the saddle again".
Students and staff are getting used to our newly-initiated SMARTLunch schedule and numbers show that the media center is one of the most popular places to be. It makes me happy to see physical evidence (LOTS of bodies in here every lunch, every day) that students enjoy coming to the media center, I'm certain part of the draw is a comfy place to sit and chat with friends, but I also hope that providing an environment where students feel valued and accepted is one of the reasons why I have to put "Sorry, We're Full" signs on the door every day.
The new school year has begun, and this one promises to be a doozey! I can't remember a busier start to the year, with laptop distribution, over 100 students in virtual classes in the media center, new web site software to learn, our school's very first SMART Lunch schedule, and more. Research classes start tomorrow, too. Whew! I'm delighted that the media center seems to be "the place to be" and I'm working hard to be up to the challenge.. It is great to see so many returning students drop by to get books and chat. That makes me glad to be in a place where student voice is valued and encouraged. Welcome back, y'all!
I love to help teachers and students learn about Web 2.16 tools. For the past two years before Christmas, I have sponsored a contest that I call, Tech the Halls. Teachers are invited to decorate their doors using a Christmas theme showing ways they integrate technology . Our principal and AP judge the doors. Winning teachers get an extra planning period during which our school ITF, Mrs. Burkhart, and I take over for the teacher and help students work on web-based projects on any topic the teacher chooses. It is a great way to share what's going on in the classroom with administrators, other staff members, and students. It also brings lots of groups of kids into the media center for web-based learning. Win-Win, if you ask me! Here is a link to the invitation I send teachers.
Okay- I have to say that I've been sooooo lazy over the Christmas break, and I must admit it has felt really good. But now it's time to get the ball rolling with a new year and a new semester. Things are hopping!
First of all, I am THRILLED to be the guest moderator for the NCSLMA chat this month as we talk about Making Purposeful Plans. That will be a new experience for me, but it is always so great to network with other media folks and share ideas. In my little media world, I have the most kids I've ever had working on virtual classes in the media center this go 'round. We have 3- count 'em, THREE- new 3-D printers in the media center. I already have research classes scheduled for Friday. AND I'm setting up a new video production area in the media center! Guess I shouldn't have been so lazy over the break, but I'm happy to have new activities revving up. I've realized over the years that I am easily bored, so I like change, even though it can be stressful at times. Instead of "out with the old" I like to think that much of what is old can be repurposed and reused, whether it is using discarded books to make a fake fireplace (see pic to right- BTW- the tree next to my "fireplace" is my "Poet Tree" where I post poems that students write.), or revisiting research tools for students. As busy as things get with this new year, I want to be sure I don't lose sight of some of the things that I consider most important: be kind, laugh a lot, live with passion, and keep learning. Happy New Year!
I give thanks every day for the many blessings in my life, including a job that I love working with wonderful people, young and old(er). I've been a media coordinator in many places through the years, and am so happy that I am at my West High home. The students are kind and fun and creative and interesting. The staff includes me in their lessons and their lives. The administrators provide such support- AND I got to buy new books this year for the first time in a very long time. Life is good. :>) Take time to spread some thanks around- you get what you give!