Endings and Beginnings

June 9, 2007 - 2 Responses

 Empty Lockers
Our older students have finished classes and will only be back for exams. The seniors were very emotional on the last day, as the reality of leaving a familiar environment for the wide world finally hit home.

We will see some of them on their first college break next year; some will stop by to update staff members and favorite teachers on how their lives are progressing.

We’ve given them what we hope are the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful life. We wish them well. We’ll miss them all.

Interlude

June 9, 2007 - No Responses

Exploring
An experienced teacher made a comment at the MS/HS awards assembly about being more mature than the preceding presenter. The remark was not meant to be derogatory, but the younger staff member was unsure how to react.

A few tongue-in-cheek e-mails settled the “issue” amicably:

“Dear Ms. X,

It has come to our attention that you felt denigrated by the insinuation that you are not “mature”.

Please bear in mind that “immature” is not the sole antonym for “mature”. Other, more positive interpretations might include

“youthful” or “still developing”.

Those who have not yet reached maturity are evolving, changing, moving in new directions; not rigid, fixed, immobile.

We congratulate you on your non-mature status and wish you well in your dynamic life!

Sincerely,

The Word Police”

I like the term, “still evolving,” as in, not being stagnant. Thanks ladies, you are the best! Have a great weekend.”

Pebbles in the Path

June 8, 2007 - No Responses

Saratoga Pathway

This was intended to be both a personal and professional blog. I’m finding it difficult to be candid, articulate, and PC all at the same time! Since I’m too busy (aren’t we all) to split this online journal into two separate threads, I’ll have to do the best I can. I’m not sure how other bloggers strike a balance between entertaining and erudite…it must be a talent that comes with experience.


Moving Forward

June 6, 2007 - No Responses

Sailboat - Key West

Good news on two fronts: my MS/HS Principal told me that the Current Events students will most likely be allowed to have school e-mail accounts (the responsibilities of a good digital citizen will definitely be one of our first discussions!). Also, the District Superintendent has requested that I do a short BOE presentation, focusing on the goals of the Library program, in August or September.
These topics intertwine, as do my duties as a K-12 SLMS. If I can effectively convey this to the Board, it may well open the door to further integration of technology and information literacy skills within the core curriculum.

Perhaps the students themselves could appear before the BOE later in the school year to explain what and how they’ve learned. Our young adults would surely be very effective advocates for the technologies of what will be their future!

Meanwhile, back in the LMC

June 5, 2007 - No Responses

lmc.jpglmc.jpglmc.jpgLMC                     

Library Media Center/SLMS responsibilities:

  • weed and update Elementary non-fiction, particularly Nations of the World and Biography
  • instruct teachers in database use
  • share interesting sites
  • introduce information literacy and web2.0 terms and tools to staff members
  • keep updated on the Social Studies research project for grades 6-12
  • read some of the news fiction, particularly in the YA section
  • work on a new Library Webpage
  • update BOCES Plan of Service (yearly)
  • fulfill BOCES SLS Liason duties
  • inquire about processing Inter Library Loans through our automated system
  • investigate the feasibility of extended LMC/Computer Lab hours
  • create chances to collaborate…be a Presence!

Advocating for web2.0 tools

June 5, 2007 - No Responses
  • spoke to a few students interested in taking the Current Events class next year
  • requested e-mail accounts for the participants and offered to explain and/or demonstrate educational blogs to the BOE
  • set up a class blog, with a few questions to stimulate class discussion (if necessary, I’ll type in all the comments myself and add the students’ initials) at cardinals.edublogs.org
  • need to set up another Google Reader account for news feeds, as a demo for students
  • set up a new Google Document also or show them one of mine?

Note to self: Be sure to read Will Richardson’s “Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts…”
soon!

First Steps

June 4, 2007 - No Responses

Yankee Warm-ups

Today I opened a new Google Document for the Current Events course. So far it contains lesson plans and news links I’ve found online, and a few educational blog postings (Joyce Valenza, David Warlick, etc.) on related topics, like student blogging and its potential for learning.

My next task will be to set up a model news feed in Google Reader. If the students are given e-mail addresses, I’ll have them open their own Reader accounts and choose what sources to include from the lists I’ve already bookmarked.

I requested that our class be located in the High School Computer Lab, which has the most up-to-date computers and an LCD projector. The Guidance Counselor promises to do what she can to help.

I’ve contacted the District Technologist, the Superintendent, and the High School Principal in hopes of getting my students e-mail accounts. This may not be possible, so Plan B is to have the DT create a class account for us. It wouldn’t be nearly as effective, but we’ll work with what we can get!

This is quite a departure from my comfort zone, scary and exhilarating at the same time .

A Challenge and an Opportunity

June 4, 2007 - No Responses

Yesterday I received my tentative teaching assignments for next school year (in addition to my duties in the LMC). I am now scheduled to instruct a mixed class of high school students in current events. I don’t have any details yet, but the high school principal said this scheduling is a direct result of my advocating for more 21st century fluency skills in our district. My hope is the students and I will explore – and master – things like podcasts, blogging, etc. The first hurdle will be to secure student e-mail accounts, at least for those enrolled in my class. If this can not be supported by our district technology, I’ll funnel everything through a class account.
I visualize this course as a combination of a traditional current events class (emerging issues, world economy, geography, politics, etc.) and library skills instruction (plagiarism & copyright, fact vs. opinion, media “genres”, effective research). Setting the kids up on Google Reader, would be one of my first steps. Blogs, a wiki, podcasts, video clips, might follow. A Zoho notebook publication would be the perfect culminating project. Or, perhaps, a videotaped news show.
If we are successful, I anticipate having my students function as instructors for other students – and teachers.

This blog will serve as an online professional journal, a repository for odd ideas and quirky facts, and a public diary, of sorts. I am, most definitely, a “Stranger in a Strange Land”.