Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My PLN to the rescue

For the last three weeks, my library has been trying to win a contest through Follett learning company.  Last week, I decided to tap into the powers of my PLN and see if I could get some more votes.  I had no idea how much impact that could have on what I was doing.  My PLN has totally come to the rescue.  Though I don't suspect we will win, my PLN has helped us move from the last page of the rankings to the top of the third page.   I couldn't have done it without them.

I never realized how many people I can impact with just a quick message.  I posted a comment on the Indiana Learning Connections site, which is the state of Indiana's list-serv.  It took off.  I gained over 500 votes in one day.  For a small school of my size, that is huge.  I continued to use social media sites to add more votes.  I posted something on twitter, Facebook and google +.  Then, it all started rolling.  I had retweets, personal messages and comments.  It was amazing.

My point is this, a PLN can be a lifesaver for anything you do.  If you are a hesitant teacher and haven't started establishing a PLN, do it.  Join the millions of other educators who have interests similar to yours, you will not be disappointed.

Friday, March 21, 2014

HELP a small school out.

Hamilton Schools, one of the smallest in the state, is the only school in Indiana that is enrolled in the Follett Challenge, a grant that can award our library up to $60K for materials, tech, renovation, etc.   
Our school district has only 400 kids and some of the districts we are competing against have thousands.  It is hard for us to be able to accomplish a lot while being so small, so, I am not one to typically ask, but, if we could get some of our other Hoosier Schools and others around the nation to help us, we could perhaps earn the votes we need to boost up to the top.   Spread the word...we need to renovate our library to be handicapped accessible and safer for our kids.  We have no funds to do it alone.
If you could take a few minutes, copy and paste this link or click here Our Follett Challenge Link and click vote by email, you will receive a pin in just a few seconds, put it in the box, submit, and voila, we have a vote.  We need to get about 5000 more votes to stand a chance.  YOU CAN VOTE DAILY! Any help is appreciated! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The importance of Tech Coaches

As schools start to migrate from a classroom set of computers to a One on One environment, there are a few things that need to be considered in the transition.  The most important thing is an in-house technology coach who can work with students and staff during and after the implementation.

I have been taking part in several area technology council meetings in the tech coach meeting and I am fascinated by the many things that are coming out of schools when a coach is a part of the mix. Teachers who are rather hesitant in the implementation and are afraid of technology feel more willing to try new things when there is a coach to pat them on the back and guide them in the right direction.

A colleague of mine walked me through her process as a coach and it is impressive.  She starts off meeting a teacher and finding out exactly what is needed in the class.  She spends a little time mastering the program or app being used and then when the time comes to start the project, she goes into the first class of the day and teaches the lesson to the students and the teacher observes.  She goes tot he second class and teaches, but has the teacher help.  For the next class, she sits in back as a resource if needed but the teacher does the lesson.  When the last class rolls around, she is back in her office and only goes to a classroom when needed, which she said isn't very often. I think that is very effecient and a great process to have to get a staff member on board with technology.

Several schools are using the SAMR  (The Substiutution Augmentation Modification Redefinition) Model to help identify the needs of the staff.   The teachers are asked to complete a personal survey about their technology usage and understanding.  The coaches explore the data and make a determination about what professional development needs done, who needs what training.  It helps the staff determine what is critical to the training model and what can be left out.  After all, who wants to go to a staff development when something everyone but two teachers know is being taught again?

I have determined after hearing others talk about the models and the need for coaches that my district will have something like this available soon.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Feeling lucky

This month, since St. Patty's day is a part of the spectacle, my assistant and I decided to do a Fame and Fortune theme and focus on books that deal with that topic.  Our board, the luck of the Irish.
As many know, we are a genre based library and one of our themes is Fame and Fortune.  We highlight books there that deal with being famous; books about actors, musicians, teens with a famous family, etc.  A lot of them are girly chick lit, with a focus on LA drama, but, they read it.

We decided to pull titles from this genre and make our display relate to the fame.  We have noticed when we do these special themes, the kids are excited and they gravitate to the titles.  It has to be because the kids are seeing the front of the books. 

We are seeing the success of our program and will certainly continue it!