Thing 21: Productivity Tools

Update from Thing 10 Productivity Tools: Every day, I still use Google Drive for lessons, professional development documentation, letters to send home to families and much more. The way I have used Google Drive has not changed. Occasionally, I will use Wunderlist. Instead of keeping the app for a more day-to-day list, I use it for long-term and short-term projects to complete in the library. Whenever a project pops into my mind, I type it into the app, then cross it off as it is completed.

Evernote

I have heard of Evernote, but I have never used the tool until the option appeared in this week’s lesson. Before, I have always used Google Drive or pencil/pad of paper to write down notes from meetings or main points from books I wanted to remember. Stepping outside my comfort zone, I created an account on Monday and have played around the tool for most of the week.

Here are some first impressions I had from Evernote:

  • I like how it has a notepad feature, and that I can separate notes from one another
  • Everything saves automatically; I do not have to worry about saving updated content every few seconds
  • Tags are available for notes
  • It did not seem user-friendly upon first using the tool. It took me a few minutes to get the feel of the website and how it works

I did not use the tool collaboratively this week; colleagues are becoming accustomed to Google Apps for Education at my school. Instead, I used this tool to take notes for a book I have to read for a Leadership Study Group. After every chapter read, I wrote down key points in Evernote. When the group meets this week, I plan to share my observations with assistance from the notes in Evernote.

Additionally, I will complete another study group about the shifts in the standards in January. We have to read another book and share central details from the text. I plan to use Evernote for this, as well. Every few weeks, I try to read a book about education or libraries to further my knowledge in these areas. Right now, I’m going through the modules for the Project Enable website, and I’m writing down key strategies that could be implemented in the classroom in Evernote. I plan to keep up with this process of writing down my observations and key points in Evernote. This tool seems to fit that need perfectly; I do not want to share these ideas on my blog and Google Drive doesn’t feel like the write tool to write down personal thoughts about the books I want to read for professional development.

*I do not plan to use this tool with students, but rather as a personal/professional tool*

Instapaper

I signed up for an account with Instapaper, and tried to use it this week. However, I did not find much use of it for myself. I do think it’s an effective tool, but so far, it hasn’t fit into my routine. When I saw an article I was interested in, I read it then and there. There were a few articles I bookmarked, but I forgot about those in Instapaper queue. I will make an attempt to use this tool for a few more days, but I’m not sure of the likelihood of it becoming a website I use frequently. You never know until you try, right?

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Goals For The 2014-15 Academic Year

Looking through this blog recently, I realized I have not written down my goals for the new school year. They are in my head, but not down on virtual paper yet. So, here they are:

  • Weed video collection, professional collection, picture-book collection and reference collection (I have completed the first two, and plan to start the picture-book collection in December)
  • Order books that support STEAM initiatives and order more non-fiction/fiction students want. Last year, it was recommended to order books from the EngageNY recommended reading list, but many of those books were not checked out, no matter how many book talks or promotion I did. This year, I am resolved to order books that support the standards, but with content that students want. We have a book-request Google form that students use
  • Differentiate lessons for each class. With an influx of new students and transfers, we have students that learn in different ways. I want students to learn, so I am stepping outside my comfort zone to teach best how students learn. This has been going well so far
  • Bring the primary grades into the computer lab earlier this year. Last year, they didn’t step foot into the lab until January. This year, we started in November
  • Match lessons to the IFC standards and teach topics that students want to learn/find exciting. I do not want to teach all my lessons to match the content in the modules. Some, but not all.
  • Provide one literary event per quarter for all students to participate in
  • Use LibGuides and new tech tools
  • Try a Digital Citizenship blended learning course with sixth-graders using Schoology

A Day In The Life: 11/14/14

In the 2013-14 school year, Fridays I did not have any scheduled classes. Time was spent collaborating, lesson-planning and organizing the library. This year, my goal was maximize the way my time was spent Fridays. Though the day is busy, Fridays are my favorite days of the week; it is spent collaborating and co-teaching. Here is what my day looked like yesterday:

7-8:30: Catalog another shipment of books that arrived at the library this week, specifically seeing if the books are Accelerated Reader or not

8:30-8:50: Check-in students on my caseload

9-10: Starting next week, I will push in with a 5th and 6th-grade social-studies class for co-teaching. Fridays, students will come to the lab/library for project-based learning. I am so excited to start this collaboration with one of the school’s special-education teachers

10-10:30: UPK class

10:30-11: UPK class

11-11:30: Catalog new books

11:30-12:10: Second-grade lunch group. The school psychologist and myself see a group of second-graders each week during their lunch

12:10-12:50: My lunch

12:50-1:30: Fifth-grade enrichment group. Students finished independent research projects, and they presented in the library for their peers

1:30-2: UPK

2-2:30: UPK

2:30-3:10: Writer’s Workshop for 4th grade. One of the fourth-grade teachers is a published author. Students love his books and started to ask me questions about this. Some even have started to write their own short stories. To answer all the questions the students had, the teacher agreed to host a workshop in the library. We had about 40 students attend this, and it was wonderful to see students engaged and happy.

3:10-3:40: Call buses

3:40-4:40: Volunteer for the walk/run after school club at school

4:40-6: Collaborate with a teacher who needs resources/websites for a project

A Day In The Life

Every so often, I receive this question: “What do you do in the library all day?” Honestly, each day is always different. They are never the same. Below is what happened this Tuesday.

7 a.m. – Arrive at school. Turn on computers and prepare lessons for the days

730-830 – Participate in a study group for Professional Learning Communities. This group meets twice a week until March

830-850 – Check-in some students on my caseload. A group of students come down to me daily for behavior goals

850-930 – My official planning period. Provide support for students coming in for book exchange, start to catalog a new shipment of books that came in

930-1010 – Class

1010-1050 – Catalog new books

1050-1130 – Class

1130-110 – Lunch, catalog new books, help set up for a fourth-grade presentation in the library

110-310 – 3 classes

310-340 – Call buses

340-415 – pull books for book talks later this week, pack up to go home