Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How Many of These Thought Leaders Do You Recognize?

In his August 29 post to the Blue Skunk Blog, Doug Johnson posted a list of 72 leading thinkers in "libraryland." How many of these leaders do you recognize?

  1. Alice Yucht
  2. Amy Oberts
  3. Anita Beaman
  4. Annette Lamb
  5. Barbara Jansen
  6. Barbara Stripling
  7. Bob Berkowitz
  8. Brenda Anderson
  9. Buffy Hamilton
  10. Carl Harvey
  11. Carol Gordon
  12. Carol Kuhlthou
  13. Carol Simpson
  14. Carolyn Foote
  15. Cathy Jo Nelson
  16. Chris Harris
  17. Daniel Callison
  18. David Loertscher
  19. David Warlick
  20. Deb Levitov
  21. Deb Logan
  22. Debbie Abilock
  23. Diane Chen
  24. Diane Cordell
  25. Dianne McKenzie
  26. Donna Baumbach
  27. Doug Achterman
  28. Ernie Cox
  29. Fran Bullington
  30. Frances Jacobson Harris
  31. Gary Hartzell
  32. Gail Dickinson
  33. Gwyneth Jones
  34. Heather Loy
  35. Hilda Weisburg
  36. Jacquie Henry
  37. Jamie McKenzie
  38. Jeri Hurd
  39. Jim Randolph
  40. Joyce Valenza
  41. Judi Moreillon
  42. Judy O'Connell
  43. Karen Kliegman
  44. Keith Curry Lance
  45. Ken Haycock
  46. Kristin Fontichiaro
  47. Laura Pearle
  48. Laurie Conzemius
  49. Leigh Ann Jones
  50. Leslie Farmer
  51. Lisa Perez
  52. Marcia Mardis
  53. Mary Alice Anderson
  54. Mary Ann Bell
  55. Mary Ann Fitzgerald
  56. Mary Woodard
  57. Mike Eisenberg
  58. Nancy Everhart
  59. Nicola McNee
  60. Patricia Carmichael
  61. Rob Darrow
  62. Rob Rubis
  63. Ross Todd
  64. Sandra Hughes-Hassell
  65. Sara Kelly Johns
  66. Shannon Miller
  67. Shelee King George
  68. Stephen Abram
  69. Stephen Krashen
  70. Susan Sedro
  71. Vi Harada
  72. Wendy Stephens

Granted, there are some names on this list that I don't know, but I posit that if you aren't familiar with most of these leaders, you need to step up your professional development efforts.  This is where a statewide or local PLN could be beneficial, as it would be inefficient for all of us to follow everyone.  What do you think?

If Andrew Clements Had Waited Ten Years, Would Frindle Have Been Written?

Andrew Clements wrote Frindle in 1998.  It is the story of a boy who tried to get out of  homework and a teacher who loved words and dictionaries.  If Clements had waited ten years to write the story, I wonder if Frindle would have ever been written.

Today's Dominion Post was one of the many news outlets that reported the Oxford University Press may discontinue its 130-pound Oxford English Dictionary in favor of its online subscription version.  The fact that the OED as I have come to know and revere it will soon be no more is not news I can readily dismiss. Long the final authority in proper English usage, the OED to me represented to epitome of everything a dictionary can and should be.  If it was not noted in the OED, it was not worthy of my attention.

It is amazing how things have changed in the past decade.  Dictionaries, once a mainstay of any reference collection, are barely consulted.  Truly, I don't lament the printed dictionary's demise.  Online dictionaries offer ample definitions.  Usually all one has to do is right click on a word in a subscription database and the database will pronounce the word and display a dictionary entry.  Google will provide the definition of a word if the word "define" preceeds the word in its search box.  Why do we need anything else?

I never thought I would see the death of the OED, although it will live on in a digital format.  Apparently the online version still receives about two million hits per month.  Certainly, the annual price, $299, is not excessive.  Still, I wonder who the subscribers and users are.  My guess is members of the academic community rather than those of us in the P-12 environment.

Back to Frindle:

Prior to the beginning of the school year fifth grader teacher Mrs. Granger sends parents a list of "acceptable" dictionaries they might buy for their students. On the first day of class Nick tries to trick Mrs. Granger out of assigning homework by asking her a question about the origin of dictionaries.  Being no first year teacher, Mrs. Granger sees through Nick's ruse and assigns him - only him - the task of researching dictionaries and reporting to the class the next day.  Although initially stunned to be outwitted by a teacher, Nick is hooked by what he learns about the history of dictionaries and creates a social experiment to create a new word for pen -frindle. A war of words between Mrs. Granger and Nick ensues, until finally, seventeen years later the word frindle appears in the new edition of  Webster's College Dictionary.

Seventeen years from 1998 (the date of publication) is 2015.  Will we still have print dictionaries then?  I certainly doubt we will have them in 2025.  So if Andrew Clements had waited ten years to write his story, would he still have the same story to tell.

It would be nice to know what Mrs. Granger's reaction to electronic media is.

What I really want to know is how much longer Frindle will be relevant to our students.  The thought saddens me.  It's a great story.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Open library night. So far 11 kids and nine adults. AlsoI am trying to work on blog posts. Still in shock about demise of OED.
Tonight is the first Open Library Night of the school year. The library will welcome students and parents from 4-7 p.m.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just constructed what may well be the world's ugliest apple pie. Loretta Lynn would be terribly disappointed.

Really Random Thoughts

  1. I am thrilled with the reaction students, teachers and parents have had to this year's Accelerated Reader Theme, Reading Rainforest.  This is very gratifying to me, since I have never considered myself an artsy person.  
  2. I am excited that Christina has given my her old  Cricut.  It is wonderful, kind of like an Ellison machine on steroids.  I used her new Cricut to make the die cuts for this year's reading theme.  
  3. The first week of school was pretty good.  It would have been excellent if we did not have to deal with the new meal program.  I am sure there are lots of beneficial features   in the new program, but in terms of data-entry efficiency, the old system was better.  (There, I said it.)
  4. I still haven't decided about the first training session for library media specialists.  Let me know what you want.  Teachers could come to these, too.  There are a lot of cool things I have learned this past year that could make life easier and information more accessible.
  5. It's gonna be a great year, Tater.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Looks like a beautiful day ahead. Have a good one!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Feeling Very Productive

Wow!  I have to say that I feel very good about today's professional development for Monongalia County's library media specialists. Wow!  I don't think I have ever felt this good after a day-long meeting, especially one that ran over the end of our designated work day. Wow!

I was pleased by the combination of library media specialists and technology integration specialists in today's meeting.  Although our job descriptions differ, we share overlapping roles.  Certainly there is ample need for sharing support for integration of resources in each school.  By bringing us together, county technology director Nancy Napolillo highlighted our shared and complementary responsibilities.  Unfortunately, time did not permit each school's library media specialist and technology integration specialists to collaboratively plan for the upcoming year, as Napolillo had envisioned.  Hopefully the common ground broached today will encourage further collaboration as the school year proceeds.

[Just as an aside, isn't this great?  It is as if we are no longer isolated in our buildings.  I am sure our TISs will appreciate a collaborative approach to meeting our common goals!]

What was on our common agenda?  The National Technology Plan, reading promotion, copyright issues, acceptable use and cyber safety, EdLine, Discovery Education, Thinkfinity.  In other words, library issues.  No piece of information shared today was irrelevant to today's library media specialist.

The afternoon session was only attended by library media specialists.  We discussed ebooks, our online reference sources and looked at ways of editing our Destiny webpages.  We discussed how we could implement Destiny Quest as a substitute for book reports and looked at how we could enable our database to give students review writing privileges.

Our afternoon concluded with a discussion of resources to use to build our professional learning networks.  We discussed Elluminate and Classroom 2.0, Teacher Librarian Ning, Elementary Library Routines wiki, and TL Virtual Cafe.  We discussed how we can learn together and made plans to inform future library professional development sessions.  Nancy Napolillo stated she would test the waters as to official support for our staff development efforts.

I am so excited.  We have so much to learn and so much to teach each other.  I can't wait to be in touch with my Monongalia County Library Media/TIS tribe!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The First Day Back, 2010=2011

It feels good to get the first day of the year out of the way.  Today's agenda consisted of a very long faculty meeting, composing a new Glog for my webpage and the Destiny page, and lots of decorating.

Of course the best part of the day was seeing all the wonderful people I have not seen in months.  Over an unexpected breakfast provided by the Boosters Association we visited, catching up on the summer's events.  We made new friends and promised to guide the many new teachers. Together we all built a path for the new school year to take.  By the end of the day many teachers had set their schedules for the year.

I wish there were somethings teachers did not have to deal with during these first few days.  I watched as teachers unboxed new textbooks and roled their classes' supplies down the hall.  I shared the library with a crew of paraprofessionals who assembled the back to school packets for all the students.  The teachers' and paraprofessionals time would be much better spent preparing for instruction rather than performing these clerical tasks.  Alas, such is the life of the busy elementary teacher and his aide.

One thing this teacher-librarian would prefer not to deal with is the back-to-school headache and sinus congestion caused by the overheated laminator.  Such is the life of the elementary school LMS.
I regret to inform myself that my kitchen is out of key sandwich ingredient, bread, and dangerously low on Oliverio Red Hot Peppers.
And so it begins. Welcome, 2010-2011 school year!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Bugs. There seem to be an extraordinary number of them this year. If I were an orthinologist, I would find this fascinating. It is simply annoying.

While the winter was quite wet, the spring seemed especially dry. Starting in March the temperatures seemed warmer than usual. I would have projected that the dry conditions would have deterred the propagation of these critters. This projection is unsubstantiated by evidence.

Despite the diversity of insects we've seen this year, there have not been the many mosquitoes. Also absent are the large numbers of wasps we have seen in past years. So far this year Dan has only encountered one swarm. The horse flies, however, are thick. Despite the bugs, today is quite pleasant. It is warm, but there is a nice breeze blowing, promising the afternoon showers to come.

Those showers should keep the insects at bay. Or breed mosquitos.

Suzie Martin, NBCT

Posted via email from suzimartin's posterous

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What Would You Like to Learn?

This past year has been a fantastic one in terms of professional growth.  I have learned so much and have in turn helped spread some of what I know to others.  Most importantly, I have implemented ideas, strategies and technologies that make me much more effective at my job.

In years past I have heard lots of moaning that school library media specialists don't have staff development sessions that meet our needs.  I think this is very justified, even in a county that has many library media specialists such as Monongalia County.  The great news is that now we have more options to take charge of our own learning and to cut down on the isolation that we face in our daily professional lives.

I think we have a lot to teach each other, as demonstrated by the notes sent to this blog by Vicki Smallwood, Leigh Ann Hood and Sandy Wiseman from the WV State Technology Conference.  I propose that we develop our own learning communities and share what we know, helping each other and ourselves.  I am willing to lead some sessions and be a hostess, but perhaps we will need to find hosts or hostesses in other areas of the state that are more geographically equitable. 

I have posted a survey in Google forms.  Please take the survey and let me know how you feel about forming an informal professional learning community. I think we need each other.  How about you?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Brainhoney by Anne Meadows

Sandy Wiseman reports from the West Virginia State Technology Conference:

Anne reviewed the purpose and benefits of Blended instruction.  Experts predict that by 2012 5% of instruction will be blended and by 2019, 50%  will be. You should use blended delivery to teach content that students need to review a second or third time, when you need to differentiate instruction, to cover material you don’t have time to present in class, and to provide additional practice.  A learning management system is necessary to organize blended delivery.   The rest of the session provided practice using a free system called Brainhoney.  It does have a paid version with more features.  Session participants then had hands on practice creating a Brainhoney account, exploring features, and adding content. 

Digital Storytelling – Adam Fresel

Sandy Wiseman reports from the WV State Technology Conference

Adam provided tips on how to use Photostory 3 to do digital storytelling with students at all levels.  In Photostory you can batch upload pictures, you can easily arrange pictures once they are uploaded, and you can add titles on top of the pictures. 
  • ·         Write the story first
  • ·         Use story boards to help students organize their thoughts.  You can find free examples on the internet.
  • ·         Using your own photos eliminates copyright issues
  • ·         You should allow student time to explore the software before working on their project
  • ·         Older student can use cell phones to take pictures and email themselves the pictures
  • ·         Allow students to work together ; you can randomly group them by dealing a deck of cards
  • ·         When students are taking their own pictures make sure you check permissions before posting any work

Bridging the Presentation Gap – Angie Urling

Sandy Wiseman reports from the WV State Technology Conference:

Angie reviewed the use of Glogster and Animoto to create student projects.  She showed a funny YouTube video called Death by PowerPoint to start things off.  Glogster creates interactive posters and Animoto uses still pictures to create music videos.  Both are free and educator accounts are available. Information from the presentation can be found at: http://sites.google.com/site/urlinggap

Meet The iPod Family

Leigh Ann Hood reports from the WV State Technology Conference:

iPod in Education with Dave Marra

Meet the iPod Family

Shuffle-music only
Classic-really large capacity 160GB
iPod nano-built-in video camera 16 hours of video; built-in mic and speaker; voice memos, spoken menus for accessibility
iPod Touch- built in Wi-Fi; built in web browsing, e-mail, 3rd party apps
�� built-in accelerometer (changes screen from landscape to vertical); safari web browser; 15 built-in apps; wi-fi locator, weather, calculator, photos; Apps for every grade and subject area (Apple in Education-search by subject and function (www.apple.com/education/apps)

32GB/64GB-different electronics.� 50 % faster, built-in headphone, voice control, built-in Universal Access (voice over, screen zoom, white on black text).� www.apple.com/accessibility

Introducing iPad
Design-tablet computer
LED-backlit display with IPS Tech can be seen from many angles
Precision Multi-Touch technology
.5 inch thin / 1.5 pounds light� includes 30 pin Connector and Speaker
Battery lasts 10 hours
Built-in Universal Access (see above)

iPad Apps
App Store-260,000 Apps
17,000 in Education Store
Examples:� Nat Geo World Atlas, MathBoard, Shakespeare Pro, English is Easy (ESL), Quick Graph, Proloquo2Go, On-Track Time, Money and Fractions, eClicker (also for iPod Touch), Star Walk, The Elements (video of every single element).

Access iTunes U-for colleges and universities; prof create podcasts of their lectures.

iBooks:� free e-book reader
60,000 books on iBookstore
30,000 books for free on public domain
Books are voice over ready supported 7 languages

iWork for iPad-Keynote, Pages, Numbers; compatible with Microsoft and can be exported back to Microsoft.� 3 different purchases on App Store for $9.99 each.

Friday, August 6, 2010

e-WV: the online West Virginia Encyclopedia

Vicki Smallwood reports from the West Virginia State Technology Conference:

e-WV:  the online West Virginia Encyclopedia
presented by Ken Sullivan, Executive Director, WV Humanities Council

The WV Encyclopedia is online.  It should be available to teachers and students on September 13.  This has all of the articles and pictures from the book and will be updated daily by 2 full time editors.  This is an interactive website that houses pictures, audio & video clips, and an events calendar of what’s happening in our state.  It will offer transcripts of the videos.  It also offers a feature that lets users request that articles be updated or new topics added.  These suggestions will go to the editors for review.  Quizzes can also be found on the site.  The quizzes would be a good starting point for a scavenger hunt through the encyclopedia.

Check back on September 13 and see all of the cool features for yourself.   The site is www.wvencyclopedia.org

WV Teach Conference: Live Video with Ustream

Vicki Smallwood  and Leigh Ann Hood report from the WV State Technology Conference: 

Vicki's Report:
World’s Easiest Podcasting and Live Video
By Joshua Ratcliff, TIS, Cabell Co. Schools

Joshua told us how he uses Ustream to send a live video feed from his classroom.
The session can also be recorded for students to play back later.  He said he uses this when he has a planned absence – the sub can play his recorded feed and it’s almost like he’s in the room.  The students see him doing examples of the assignment – he doesn’t have to rely on a sub that may or may not know algebra. 
Students who are absent can see what they missed by watching the video.  He doesn’t have to keep teaching it over and over to each student who missed it. 
Parents can also watch the lesson in order to better help their children with homework or to just see what they are learning.

To learn more about Ustream go to:

click on Ustream notes

Great Ideas For Getting Teachers Excited About iPods

Vicki Smallwood reports from the WV State Technology Conference:

Great Ideas For Getting Teachers Excited About iPods
Presented by Libby Jarom & Tina Sulsona from Harrison County

They discussed how they incorporate the use of iPods into the curriculum and what they did to get fellow teachers excited about using them.  Can you believe they held a sleepover at school and that their colleagues actually attended?

All of their iPod resources can be found at
Genealogy quest somewhat successful. I can write more now.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mark Moore: What 21st Century Teaching and Learning Looks Like

Leigh Ann Hood reports from the WV State Technology Conference:  
Department of Education specialist Mark Moore presented a session demonstrating the essence of what 21st Century teaching and learning should look like.  To sum it up: the learning is active. Below are Leigh Ann’s notes from this session.  (Anything in parentheses is my addition to the notes.)

Moore stated that what many people think is a 21st Century learning scenario in fact is not.  The following are examples of simulations and activities that require deep thinking skills.

Power Up Game (http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/interactives/powerup.html) :  Collaboration, Team Work, Civics, Science, Math, Problem Solving,Critical Thinking.  Teacher works as a guide.  Engaging.  (I have used this game with a 5th grade science class and with a third grade class.  Both groups were totally engaged.  This could be modified for use with classes through high school, as the issues are very complex and the thinking skills can be progressively intensified with the age level of the student.  Check out my 5th grade project page for this game: https://askmrsmartin.wikispaces.com/Energy+Links+for+Mrs.+Lowe%27s+class .)

Intel Thinking Tools Ranking etc.  Decide which animals are most like humans?
Dolphins:  Play and Communicate
Bees:  Society, Royalty, Defenders, Workers
Venus Fly Traps:  Eats meat
Primates:  98% DNA with us.

Gang Warfare:  Block out on the floor squares.  Fill the squares with people.  Names are
Good Boys(Great Britain), Franks(French), Bears(Russians), Germs(Germany), Waffle(Belgium), Food(Austria-Hungary), BS(Bosnia-Serbia).  A way to teach World War I beginnings without the kids knowing what they’re doing.

Mock Trials:  Fairy Tales (Jack and the Beanstalk on trial for murder).  Have a trial between
schools.  Use third school as jurors.  

You can make and launch rockets for approx. .75c

Assessment:  Get away from papers. 

Move toward demonstrations, projects, building things, etc.

Building a Sod House:  Game and primary source documents from Smithsonian.

Mark Moore will pay for Thinkfinity and Intel training if you call him about it.

Sean Tuohy: "Turn Around"

Leigh Ann Hood reports from the WV State Technology Conference:  

Sean Tuohy: In a Heartbeat

Sean talked about being careful how you value people. His book centers on how life can change in a heartbeat to families just like yours. It can be summed up in the two words his wife uttered when they saw Michael Oher walking past them on the street: "Turn around." Those two words can make a difference in a person's life.

Sean discussed how Michael had gone to eleven different schools in nine years and for two years didn't go at all. Academics had no value to him.

Teachers are one of the most giving professions. Technology is wonderful unless you fear it which is how unknown students and people can be as well.

Sean felt that although the director of the movie got the story, most of Hollywood by their questions didn't. His family feels that the power of a cheerful giver is what life is all about. The people who sat in the theaters got it by putting themselves in the movie as givers. Most people's favorite time of the year is Christmas, and  Christmas all about giving. It is the only time of year when people are cheerful givers. If giving makes us so happy, then why do we quit? His family got to give everyday cheerfully.  Michael got a house, the Tuohys got Christmas.

 If every household in the US adopted one child, there would be none left to adopt.

 People want to make a difference.  The kids are watching, so give with a cheerful heart. He then quoted 2 Corinthians passage about how one shouldn't give grudgingly.

The power in a cheerful giver is because the recipient can tell whether it is cheerful. Michael never had to ask for anything; it was given cheerfully.  Michael also has in incredible ability to forgive and doesn't have time to be mad about his past.

Sean reiterated his main points again-turn around and give cheerfully.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

From the WV Technology Conference: Podcasting

Leigh Ann Hood presents these podcasting resources and tips:

2010 Statewide Technology Conference
Introduction to Podcasting (Monday, August 2)
Audacity for Windows (visit http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/ for downloads for other platforms)
LAME MP3 encoder for Audacity for Windows (visit http://lame.buanzo.com.ar/ for downloads for other platforms)
Project Files
FreePlay Music (podsafe music)
FindSound (sound file search)
Podcasting and Education (from Shambles)
Small Business Podcasting Kit (great for education too!)

New Audacity finds the Lame files by itself.

Effects in Audacity are cumulative.

You can mute previous tracks while working on others.

Microphones should be in front of your chin.

Do not stop if mistakes are made.� Just edit out mistakes.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Elementary Library Routines Wiki: A Godsend for Newbies

Monarch Academy librarian Keisa Williams is a Twitter user.  Early this summer a conversation with fellow Twitter users led to her creating a wonderful resource for all elementary library media specialists:  The Elementary Library Routines wiki.  Though only in its infancy, this site has grown quickly, as many experienced library media specialists have contributed their routines and management techniques for the greater good of the profession.

I contacted Keisa last week to ask her if she would share some of her motivations for creating this wiki.  She replied:

This wiki was created after I shared my procedures with another librarian. (@lovemylibrary). She urged me to share it out on Twitter. I decided to create a wiki, #1 because I love creating wikis and #2 I wish I had a resource like this when I started out.

I populated the wiki with all of the ideas that I worked out with my instructional coach during my first two years of practice. After a while, I asked a couple other librarians to share the admin role with me. They all added their expertise and it took off from there.

Just this week I used the wiki to create my own beginning of the year “to do” list. This is my 5th year at Monarch and I had never gotten around to making this list. This year, I was able to start with 2 lists that were shared on the wiki and tweak it to fit my own needs. This is the kind of sharing that I hope inspires my teachers to create their own wikis. I introduced them to this wiki at our staff retreat. I think I sold most of them on the idea. I can’t wait until they create their own J

I urge all elementary librarians to not only look at this wiki, but to join the wiki, engage and share your good ideas.  Through collaboration such as this, we and our profession become stronger.  Thanks, Keisa and co-administrators Catherine Trinkle, Regina Hartley and Jamie Camp for the work you continue to do for us.

Throw Away Your Writing Roadmap Materials: It's Gone!

Leigh Ann Hood Reports from the WV State Technology Conference:

WV Writes replaces Writing Roadmap.  Training on the new site will be forthcoming.  The site has 
34 passages from 2008 Westest 2 Online Writing and 196 grade-level shelf prompts
Like Acuity it is aligned to the CSO's.  It is also customized to the WV Writing Rubric.
There are different URL's for teachers and students, but the students entry info
will remain the same.  Throw away everything to do with Writing Roadmap because
it is gone.

The presenters of the workshop stressed that students should not be given grades on their WV Writes entries.  For example, an assessment result of 4 in WV Writes should not be converted into a daily grade for writing.

Leigh Ann