Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Genre Shift goes Dewey

After a great deal of discussion, consideration and investigation, I did it.  I decided to do some shifting and make the non-fiction section a more user friendly department.  And now I am going to share with you how we decided to make the change.

For starters, we selected the health section first because we found a lot of crossover amongst Dewey numbers between different topics.  There were drugs in the 300s as well as the 600s so we had to make it easier to find the materials. (That came about when a boy came in to write a paper about legalization of marijuana and I had to go to three different areas to find the books he needed.)

The process is really lengthy, but we are already seeing the benefits.   These are the steps we took to get started.

1) We walked around and collected all of the books with a health related topic. (Drugs, Addiction, Disabilities, etc.) and put specific labels on each.

2)  Each book got a Capital Letter for the topic (Ex: C for Cancer, D for Drugs, M for Marijuana)  We found that some of our areas only had one or two books each so we did some combinations.  We also looked at the topics chosen for papers.  Those were usually the ones that had a more specific letter.   We use Destiny by Follett so we scanned the book and added the capital letter in front of the call number to help us know when we look it up where it is located. (A 612 Il)  We aren't getting rid of the Dewey numbers, they will just be used in the catalog.  We decided to do this because it will help us organize the section better.

3)  Categories.  We also took the sections and made a public resource list into our Destiny Follett system.  The process is a little time consuming but we decided it would benefit the kids if they could just click and search.  We are planning to do this for every category we have. Yes, we are a little crazy, but we do this for the kids!  I anticipate having a lot of categories, but, if it makes searching for books easier for kids, it is worth it.  

4) TRAINING  We are spending a lot of time training kids to find materials through the catalog.  We migrated to Destiny in January (2012) and most didn't use Winnebago because it was hard to use and really a mess.  I teach kids CONSTANTLY to use the catalog.  I invite them to my corner in singles or small groups and go over the catalog with them.  I teach them how to search for locations.  (We are identifying locations later but fiction is done and I am showing them often how to read the location tag).

5) Signage and Advertising  I am making signs that will identify the categories.  With our genre fiction shift we had the label we used and some covers that match.  I have posters in lots of places in the library.  I am working on the same for the nonfiction section.   As far as advertising, I am posting A LOT on Facebook which links to my library twitter and I am making some posters and bulletin boards for the students to see. 

I am excited about the move and the changes.  I know I will have some frowns and disagreements from teachers who are used to the old way, but, we are in this for the patrons and the kids and if we can help them find what they need fast and effectively, it is worth the change.


Edmodo: A Simple tool for teachers

Last summer during a PD training, we were introduced to My Big Campus, but we didn't have Lightspeed so we didn't have access to the premier plan and were limited in what we did.  I started checking out other sites that offer a classroom environment on a social platform.  I finally settled on Edmodo and I am so glad I did.

Edmodo allows a school district to have a specific login based on an IP address.  You can create an account for yourself through a school and have students add your classes to the account.  Each class is available until you archive it.  Kids can log in and see a platform that has somewhat of a facebook look to it.  They feel like they are on social media.  I love Edmodo and have encouraged the teachers at my district to look into it and several have started dabbling.

Edmodo had several neat components, particularly a library that can be shared or kept closed by the teacher.  It also allows you to embed audio and video dropboxes and lets you build tests.  Some of the tests can be graded on the site so you just have to create them.  The awesome thing- they are there for the following years. I recycled several quizzes until the kids had mastered the material this past year and it was fabulous.

I love the versatility in the program.  Kids do the assignment, upload the task and voila, you can grade it on site and post a score for immediate feedback.  I am also pleased that parents can receive a code to access their child's classes.  That code works for the duration of their child's time in school. It never changes, so the first class the child joins, a code is made and the parents can get online.

From a parent perspective, I am not pleased with the changes Edmodo made for the parent's view.  It is a little harder to leave comments for a teacher and to do more than see assignments.  I think if enough parents comment about that, it will refer back to the old way.

Edmodo offers a lot of things to the classroom teacher, but one neat aspect is the connections you can make with schools outside your district. The program has several different groups created by different content area teachers to share information.  I found a French one that has offered me a few new ideas.

The program is very user friendly.  The fact that materials can be uploaded and saved in libraries for later use is fantastic.  I love how easy it is to use in the classroom.  If you are flipping your class, Edmodo is a great way to start.  It also leaves no excuses for not getting work done on time.

Just a few tips- Don't post work until right before the class.  The ultra-motivated student will get it done early and be sitting in class twiddling thumbs.  This happens particularly with quizzes.  You can make them far in advance and then assign them when needed.  Also, keep an eye on the posts.  The kids are able to chat in the system, but it isn't as open as Big Campus is for discussion.  That is one thing I wish they would develop- a social forum for discussion.

Edmodo offers several trainings to become a certified Edmodo educator.  Look into that as well.