Saturday, October 30, 2010

The book fair was a huge success, but boy, am I glad it's over. Read the report at

Friday, October 29, 2010

The book fair is 2 hrs. and 10 minutes until its conclusion.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One week from today, friends, we will wake up to media free of derogatory campaign ads. For a while.
One week from today!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Had a good first day of the book fair. Bring on Day 2!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Laugh of the Day: Kindergartener Zoe looks around the book fair and asks, "Mrs. Martin, are you SURE you want to have a book fair?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Internet being down makes for an interesting day of research.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Busy day: 3 4th gr. social studies classes, a 2nd gr. reading group, two checkout periods. Whew! I love it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

First research class with Mrs. Henderson's social studies classes went well. Two more at 10:00 and 11:15, with 2nd grade RTI in between.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New posts to detailing conference sessions I recently attended. More in store this week with CRSTE conf.

CRSTE Keynote: Alan November Says Empathy is Our Most Important 21st Century Skill

Alan November presented this keynote address on empathy as a 21st Century Skill.  November has written extensively on web literacies.  A former social studies teacher, November heads his consulting firm, November Learning, which custom designs professional development for educators.

November postulates that empathy, particularly global empathy, may be our most important 21st century skill.  He cited conversations with human resource managers who stated that the most important skill his people working abroad need is the ability to understand and work effectively within the culture he is assigned. November feels that this can be achieved by exposing our children to alternative points of view.  An example of this would be exploring the Vietnam War, which the Vietnamese call the American War, through the eyes of the Vietnamese or the American Revolution through the eyes of the British.

I don't disagree with November's thesis, nor do I doubt the necessity and virtue of seeing all points of view.  I certainly think empathy is essential and could even bring about something as miraculous as world peace.  However I think November's approach to viewing history from the opposing point of view would be received as kindly in some communities as Darwinism and sex education.  Educators must be selective in how they proceed. Maybe that's just election year cynicism talking.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of this session came from the input of a session attendee named Samantha who has recently taught units on empathy with her sixth and seventh grade students.  She held a parent meeting prior to beginning of the unit and explained what the unit would entail.  Parent support was extremely positive.  Samantha explained that her next unit was on cyberbullying; a student asked "If we have empathy for him, why would we bully him?"

I really appreciate that sessions such as these can be used for TIS renewal credit.  I think West Virginia's entire professional development plan for teachers should be reworked to include these opportunities in lieu of some of the other face-to-face workshops we must attend.  Exposure to a more global view of education would certainly expand our thinking about how we will present our curriculum.

CRSTE archives its recordings for anyone to view.  To find the archive,  for this session keep checking the CRSTE Global Symposium site.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Library Apps for Hand-Held Devices

SRO was the seating arrangement for this morning's first session, Library Apps for Hand-Held Devices  The session was presented by Penny Pugh, Head of Reference at West Virginia University Libraries. The focus of the session was the ways in which WVU has implemented these applications for their patron use.

Pugh cited a Pew's Mobile Access Report that was released in July 2010.  Not surprisingly, study revealed that mobile Internet usage has grown by more than 8 percent from 2009.  The study also cited that people who are making the most of their cell phone features seem to be African-American and English-speaking Hispanic-Americans.  A great number of this growth is among 18-29 year olds with income of less than $30,000.

I am very much in favor of providing any service that increases my library's usefulness to its public. In 2008 I attended Pugh's session on WVU's Ask-a-Librarian service, and upon my return home, I set up my AskMrsMartin AIM account.  This account was not used until I created my own wiki with the AIM widget embedded.  Since that time, the AIM account has been useful to teachers, students and parents, who all use the service to contact me.  I love that I can be accessible to more people than ever.  It is only natural that I should consider the some of the directions that Pugh indicated a mobile presence might take.

The easiest mobile strategy to embrace would be that of an SMS service.  WVU Libraries have embedded cell phone numbers in its MARC records, allowing students easy access to librarian interpretation.  Pugh told the audience that Yale purchased an iPhone to be passed among reference staff members.  While, this approach was deemed impractical for WVU libraries, it could work nicely for Brookhaven.  The main obstacle, of course, is funding.  Perhaps a pre-paid service could fill this need.  Perhaps a cell phone provider would be interested in piloting the service.  With the current ban, if unofficial, on cell phones in schools, this may not be the best route to take, simply because students would have limited access to the service.

I know that I use my laptop less and less.  I only keep a desktop at work for the convenience of a substitute.  More and more I am using my cell phone as a main computing device.  I makes sense to make our resources available in a popular format.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Had a great first day at the Conference. Wonderful tour of the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Was I scared? No, but it was fascinating.
REALLY looking forward to the WV Library Association conference later today. Hope to see good friends!