Sunday, September 20, 2009

PLN questions..moving from me to others...

I finally had some time to catch up on my Google reader blogs and twitter feeds.
It's been awhile.
It ticks me off that I let it slide. Because, each time I spend time reading I find new ideas and get recharged.

It makes me amazed...

There are so many different ways to broaden my horizons. So many different people for me to learn from. So many different sites for me to read. And yet for a long time I was content to just stay in my own world - following my own colleagues.

Through my classes, my internet searching and my reading my horizons have continued to grow. do I convince others of the importance of using their precious time this way?

How can I use my role as librarian to share and encourage? How can I be an advocate for this type of professional development?

As I ponder that movement I want to share a few of my findings tonight...

One of my favorite blogs is the CoolCat Teacher Blog. She has such excellent posts...
This one is on some if the things to remember when you start the new school year...they are not earth shattering - but they are realistic and things you can do right this minute. I like that!

I also worked on my twitter account.

I wanted a different background and was able to figure that out.
I also found a mashup list ... of educators and librarians to follow. I spent way too much time cruising between these twitter pages and the blogs they belong to.

And I think I came up with the beginnings of an idea. I need to start some type of newsletter - or web-based info page with sites that would be of interest to the teachers I work with. I think...
It's at least a start.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Middle School Library Video

Orientation video

Made using Animoto and the educator's account! Lots of fun and very easy to do!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

you just never know...

When I got to the other district where I work today - their school life was in a bit of a tizzy...
Yesterday afternoon the computer that controls the bells and the intercom had suddenly forgotten it was part of the network.
So - there were no bells.
There were no intercom options.

I spent the first hour + on the phone trying to figure out what in the world we could do to solve this.

It eventually was solved - for today.
I wish there was a clear and plain solution. Instead, we think that some of the internal parts of the network are just plain dying...

This is when things got interesting. One of the switches had orange lights blinking - I took that to mean something wasn't working. My tech director told me that I had to unplug that switch and reconnect to see if it helped the problem.

What if it never comes back on??
What if I am the cause of that...

But, I didn't create the network,
I didn't create the cabling problems,
I didn't create this aged equipment predicament.

That is what I need to start learning...I am not the cause of this. And who really cares who is the cause - that doesn't solve one single problem. Instead, I need to focus on ways to be part of the solution.

So - I was brave and I pulled the plug and nothing crashed down on me, no sirens blew and no computers exploded in smoke.

Nothing was fixed either.

And that's when things became even more interesting...

There was a person almost 100 miles away who had several switches to donate to us - we just needed to go and get them. It was decided that taking a road trip today and picking up the equipment was the best use of our afternoon.

It was a BEAUTIFUL trip - through the rolling countryside with the changing leaves of the grain fields flying by the windows and the blue sky framing everything above.

So -what did I learn from all of this.

There are many times where the hard and the good walk side by side.

I am learning and growing into a different person
- one who is part of the problem solving team. (There were times this morning that I actually made suggestions and some of them worked!!)
-one who other people listen to because they think I know... and I do...

Wow!! I guess sometimes you do know!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I taught my first class today...

Today was a big day for me because I taught my first class...
That sounds like more than it actually was...

Actually I taught part of a class today about databases and plagiarism.
Sound exciting? That is about how excited the kids were too...

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time creating a brochure of the steps for using the different databases that we have..

I also edited a PowerPoint about plagiarism. This was one that had been taken from Purdue's OWL writing lab by my predecessor. I made changes and gave credit to Purdue. That seemed important since it was about using someone else's work.

Then as I got started presenting I just sort of rolled...
I wasn't nervous. That surprised me. Instead, I felt confident and like I knew my stuff. And I did now my stuff...

So - how did I do?

Don't really know...but that's ok.
It's a start and that makes me excited!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

a weird thing happened on the way to my blog design...

I was busily trying out new looks for my blog. Surfing, cruising the web and downloading an assortment that I really liked. I had tried out several different ones and had settled on the new look when my 13-year old and three of her friends came in to see what I was doing.

I showed them the options I was thinking of using, starting with the design that I had decided on.
They hated it! It was very stark and simple with a large @ key at the top and a chain hooking that to the side. They were appalled I wanted a chain in my title. I hadn't even really thought of that.

I showed them the other options and they unanimously decided on this design. Not, even in my top three choices.

So, why am I giving in to my daughter's opinions? Why do I even care?

It intrigues me what each of us focus on. I liked the simple lines and sparse design. They liked the colors and the movement of the watercolor design.

How does this all fit in to my library thoughts? I am interested in the different perspectives we bring to book choice. I know what I like and why and I seem to believe that every one should/would/must feel the same way. But, each of us have that same thought process. So, how do we help one another?

I think I need to be reminded in a million little ways to listen first and talk second.
To pause and listen.
To slow down and pause and listen and then talk.

And in the pause and the listening I need to be sure that I will actually hear and not be so preoccupied with my own thoughts that I won't even hear.

To new blog layouts, 13-year old daughters and the wisdom of listening!!!
Happy Sunday afternoon!! :)


Now that I am in the midst of the library - I am finding I have less time for some of the things that I really love. I sincerely hope that is a passing trend. I haven't picked up a book to just read all week. YIKES!!!

I remember a conversation I had with a public librarian many years ago. She came over to talk to me as I was loading my arms with another round of books from the new book display, the first thing to greet you as you enter the library. I had been steadily reading my way through the current stock of books - and was looking forward to new titles appearing. I remember the wistful tone in her voice when she asked me what books I had especially enjoyed and which authors I preferred. I asked her the same.

Her answer is what brings back this conversation..."Well, I really don't have time to read anymore. Everyone seems to think that is all librarians do. Ha!"

I'm sure our conversation continued on -I am always ready to tell someone about my current reading favorite. But, I have come back to the sadness in her voice and the matter-of-fact tone. How could a librarian, a lover of books, surround herself in a world of books and not have enough time to read?

I was thinking of that this week as my life has filled up with all the other things I need to do. Since my title has changed from teacher to librarian, reading has sort of moved from pleasure and escape to a 'have to.' Not like laundry and cleaning out the refrigerator - but more like checking emails on the weekend or making the rounds to say hello to all the staff members after a holiday. I like doing those things, they are necessary and important, but there are other ways I would prefer to spend my time.

I WON'T let reading get to that place in my life.
I absolutely can't.
Reading has been too important a part of who I am.

But, my book recommendation blog has been stuck since the middle of summer. The stack of books by my bed has not moved an inch - except to be bumped by the vacuum cleaner.

I don't want to add reading to my to do list. I want to believe that this week was a blip, a momentary hiccup to remind me of my priorities. I am so ready to crawl back into the world of a book and relax.