Summer Update For The Library Media Center and Life in General

Looking back on some goals for the summer, there has been some excellent progress in many goals I have made. Here is where I am for goals:

  • Move into new apartment and get settled: All set with this. The move into the new apartment was accomplished in two days for moving, unpacking, cleaning and shopping. The new apartment feels like home, and the view of the courtyard is significantly improved over the view of a parking lot. 
  • Label genres for the Dewey-free fiction chapter book section of the library and move to appropriate shelves (All the categories have been labeled in the catalog and the section weeded over the past few months). Last week, I moved all the fiction books to the spots on the shelves. I made a color-coded chart, and now I only have to put the stickers on the books. This should take about half a day to complete. 
  • Prepare and implement the beginnings of a makerspace. I have a list of items to buy and am currently building a webpage to go along with the space. I need to make a newsletter for students, teachers and school community about this. 
  • Tie half of the IFC standards to the curriculum map for PreK-6. Still working on this one. I will be collaborating with teachers later in August. Once I have an idea what teachers want to work on, this will be easier. 
  • Jazz up the library’s website with a new theme and pictures of new library space. I have updated the look of the site, as well as the content. Still need to add new pictures, but the library needs to be cleaned. Once that is done, pictures go up. 

Next week, I am going on vacation to Boston and Newport. I’m so excited to see all the libraries, museums and cultural centers these places have to offer. Also, I am completing another MOOC through Coursera: Copyright for Librarians and Educators. I’m liking this online class so far. 

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Impressions of Schoology: Part 2

A few months ago, I wrote an post of my thoughts on Schoology. So far, the site has lived up to expectations. It is social and intuitive. Everything is where you think it should be. It feels good to be back on a LMS like this.

For about two years, I was a grad assistant for Blackboard, Coursesites and the instructional design department for my program. I loved assisting with tech questions, having to think outside the box to make something work and come up with solutions. I loved helping teachers and students learn to use the tools in online and face-to-face settings. Now, there is the opportunity to do this again with Schoology at my school. 

After training and tinkering with the site, here are the answers to my initial questions:

  • What browser works best with this? All browsers, even Internet Explorer. I still prefer Google Chrome, though.
  • What grade levels could this work for most effectively? Will my younger grades understand what’s happening? This site is recommended for effective use with second-grade and up. I do wish the site had a more kid-friendly feel for students in second-grade and below.
  • How can I use this site to enhance the library and my specific classes? So far, I have developed a 5-week course on digital citizenship for my sixth-graders. I also have a blogging introduction course for my fifth-graders and plan to make Iroquois and colonial life collaboration courses. Who knows what else?
  • How can I use this for collaboration with PLC and PBL? I have made two groups so far: Assessment information and Lab/Cartridge/Laptop directions for the staff at my building. I would also like to use this for a collaborative site for the other LMS in my district.
  • Can I migrate content between courses and copy another course into a new one? Yes! Like most LMS, Schoology has this capability, as well. 

Using Google Earth For Field Trips

A few days ago, I attended a workshop that explained how to use Google Earth in the classroom. Since that day, my mind has been going as how to use this tool during library special.

Students will be able to go virtually anywhere in the world with Google Earth, but I’m trying to figure out how to make students appreciate this tool.

I completed a guinea-pig lesson with Google Earth with fifth-graders at the end of the last school year. Students wanted to explore nearby towns and wanted to see where the local grocery store was. They did not seem interested in exploring other parts of the United States, let alone overseas. Students did not even know what country they lived in.

Maybe I did not have a strong approach to this tool or maybe the students were limited with the knowledge there is more to life than their hometowns. Perhaps a mistake was letting students have free choice, besides the assignment. I have revamped this lesson plan for the fall in how I will teach it and what the assignments will be, and I’m hoping students will be more enthusiastic this time around.

Here are are lesson ideas I want to incorporate for the next school year for Google Earth Tours:

  • Students read Peter Pan. A tour of London and places mentioned in the book. Include Big Ben, Kensington Gardens, etc.
  • Ancient Roman monuments. In collaboration with a social-studies teacher, students will complete a tour and then select a monument to make into a travel guide. We did this project last year, but I would like to include the Google Earth tour to help students more easily select a monument
  • Ancient Greek monuments. Students complete a unit about Ancient Greece and will look at monuments
  • Students learn about reading, literacy and libraries in different countries. Look at these cities and countries in a tour
  • So much more