Random Thoughts for the Beginning of the School Year: Part 2


I imagine you have started the school year now. I am just going to pick up where I left off last month. Here is part two of my thoughts for the beginning of the school year. I realize that it may not be possible for you to do everything on the list. I believe that trying something is better than doing nothing at all. Choose what works best for you. I have listed the October professional development opportunities below my thoughts. Do you have an idea for preparing for the beginning of the school year? If so, please share.

  1. Start thinking about how you can co-teach this year. Did you come up with some great ideas over the summer? Reflect on last year and go to teachers prepared with ideas. It is easier to collaborate when teachers know that you have a plan.
  2. Periodically host events for parents. You might be able to convert some of them to volunteers. In addition, some parents are apprehensive about letting their children check out books. Building a rapport with them eases some of the apprehension.
  3. Strategically select the dates for your book fairs. It’s never too early to plan on how you will capitalize on events for the entire school community. One year I held a book fair during open house. Another year, I planned it around the school carnival. It’s free advertising, and people are in a festive mood. If you are going to do this, be sure to request plenty of low-cost books.
  4. Brainstorm a schedule of events and contests for the school year. The earlier you advertise events; the more likely people are to attend. You will even have time to get teachers involved in judging contests.
  5. Create a survey for your teachers and solicit your principal’s help with getting responses. Don’t let the responses overwhelm you. Pick out small changes that you can implement first. Then move on to larger projects. Remember, the cliché, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Neither is a strong library program. However, small changes can have a huge impact.
  6. Put out a sign or display that tells your school community the skill that you are teaching in the library each day. Include applicable standards. We cannot continue to let other educators believe that we are not an essential part of the school community. We are not babysitters or mere keepers of books. We are experts who teach valuable skills. Remind your stakeholders of this fact every day.
  7. Get to know the parent-teacher organization president. The organizations at my schools were always extremely helpful. From arranging for volunteers, to providing every student with money for the book fair, my parent teacher-organizations helped me to be a better librarian by facilitating communication. Don’t avoid connecting with this valuable resource.
  8. Start a student advisory committee. Students know what they like. Asking them how to improve library programs can help you to meet the needs that they have identified as a priority.
  9. Become a professional development guru. Talk to your teachers and students about things they want to learn. Think about workshops that will help parents connect to the school. Technology is always of interest. You don’t have to be an expert in everything. Just share what you know.
  10. Stay visible. Get out of the library and go to the teacher’s lounge and visit classrooms. Trust me, you will learn a lot about what is happening while building relationships. Beware though. You need to separate yourself from the gossip.
  11. Contact local nonprofits because they make excellent partners. Many of them want to come to your library to present programs. Your principal is likely to love the variety of programs that are offered.

October 2016 Professional Development

Title:  Teen Programming: A Mover & Shaker’s Recipe for Impact and Success

  • Organization: OCLC Webjunction
  • Date: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
  • Description: When “Change Agent” Courtney Saldana was featured as a 2016 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, we were treated to a sampling of her outstanding work with teens, and knew that all libraries could benefit from hearing more. Learn about her teen programming basics along with practical and actionable steps for doing a teen needs assessment, creating a teen space and hosting a teen book fest. Courtney will also introduce Skills for Teen Parenting (STeP), a program connecting teens with what they need to succeed as adults and parents: how to interview successfully, dress professionally, deal with conflict and time management, care for their child, postpone or prevent a second pregnancy, and more. Expanding from local success to state-wide implementation, the STeP program embodies a wonderful example of the replicable innovation brought to the field by Movers & Shakers. 
  • Link: http://www.webjunction.org/events/webjunction/teen-programming.html

Title:  My Students Need That! Chrome Features & Extensions for Accessibility

  • Organization: TeachersFirst  
  • Date: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CDT
  • Description: Google Chrome is the “Magician’s Hat” of content built-in the browser. Google Chrome was named because the developer liked fast, and shiny cars. However, the design philosophy was content, and not chrome. Chrome has features that are designed for efficiency and ease of use. Chrome is the luxury browser of the web, and it’s dashboard rivals that of a luxury car. Explore the Chrome Web Store to learn features and extensions to support and enrich your student’s online experience. This session is for teachers at ALL technology comfort levels.
  • Link: https://events-na8.adobeconnect.com/content/connect/c1/1116418017/en/events/event/shared/1127345348/event_landing.html?sco-id=1966004579

Title:  What’s The Fuss All About? Bringing Social Media Into The Classroom

  • Organization: edWeb
  • Date: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Feeling the pressure from your administration or parent community to get on social media? Wondering what all the fuss is about? Have you signed up for Twitter, Remind, or Schoology, but are wondering what to do now? Worried you can’t keep up, don’t know where to start, or wondering what exactly social media can bring to your classroom? Students and parents are on social media all the time. It is time to join them, model for them, and reach them where they are spending their time. This webinar will define social media and explore a variety of tools that will allow you to communicate with others in your learning community and reach out to other learners or experts from around the world.

Title:  Library 2.016: Libraries of the Future

  • Organization: Libraries 2.0 & San Jose State University
  • Date: Thursday, October 6, 2016 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm CDT
  • Description: Explore some of the key trends that point toward specific futures for libraries, and engage in conversations with civic, social, and education innovators to learn more about what they think about the future, and how libraries can become an integral part of their future visions. Libraries and librarians are well-positioned to envision the future – at the intersection of information, education, technology, and community – and this dialogue will help bring our best thinking together with the exciting visions of our collaborators, allies, and partners.
  • Link: http://www.library20.com/future

Title:  Utilizing Partnerships to Expand Professional Development Opportunities Worldwide

  • Organization: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
  • Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2016 @ 1:00 pm CDT
  • Description: While partnerships have been an instrumental part of the library’s success in serving the needs of their communities, they now offer librarians profound opportunities for developing new competencies and skillsets that strengthen their careers. This webinar will highlight various examples of international initiatives that not only expand professional development opportunities for librarians, but also connect them to dynamic and globally-based professional networks.

Title:  Tech Integration Made Easy – Animoto

  • Organization: TeachersFirst
  • Date: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CDT
  • Description: Want to engage your students with instructional video? Learn how to do just that with Animoto. Transform your classroom activities by learning how to use Animoto. Engage students and deepen content area knowledge by instructional videos. Text, audio, and video bring additional context to content area instruction for your students. Use student created videos as formative assessment. Brainstorm with others how you and your students can use Animoto in your classroom. This session is for teachers at ALL technology comfort levels.

Title:  Classroom-Library Coteaching 4 Student Success

  • Organization: edWeb
  • Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
  • DescriptionRise up to meet the co-teaching challenge! Instructional partnerships are pathways to improving students’ learning and educators’ professional practice. Educators who co-plan develop more creative, engaging, and effective instruction. In this interactive webinar, Literacies and Libraries Consultant Judi Moreillon, Ph.D., will provide strategies for:
    • Identifying potential collaborative partners
    • Using electronic tools for collaborative planning
    • Determining the most effective co-teaching approach for the lesson or unit
    • Developing dispositions for successful instructional partnerships
    • And providing evidence of the value and efficacy of classroom-library collaboration
  • Link: http://home.edweb.net/webinar/classroom-library-coteaching-student-success/

Title:  Transitioning from High School to College or Employment for People with Disabilities

  • Organization: Texas State Library & Archives Commission
  • Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am CDT
  • Description: Are you familiar with transition resources for students with disabilities? Librarians will learn about agencies and organizations that assist young people, their families, and school personnel in important decisions concerning higher education or employment opportunities. Relevant web sites, online guides and articles, and access to print materials will be included. In addition, librarians will learn about topics that relate to and can affect transition, such as independent living, self-determination, mentoring / shadowing, and personal assistance services. 
  • Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4563726797249511937

Title:  Getting to Know Creative Coding Through Games and Apps (CCGA)

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 @ 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm EDT
  • Description: Would you like to introduce coding to your students in late-middle school to early secondary grades? If you are considering bringing computer science into your classroom – whether you have a few weeks or a full semester to engage students with fun coding – “Creative Coding Through Games and Apps” (CCGA) could be just what you’re looking for! Join Lisa Simmons as she provides an overview of the CCGA curriculum, which introduces programming concepts in a manner that will excite and engage. Best of all – no prior experience is required! The CCGA self-paced, online training tools, lesson plans, and more are publicly available and free!
  • Link: http://community.simplek12.com/scripts/student/webinars/view.asp?id=2520

Title:  Student-Led Game Making and Learning

  • Organization: edWeb
  • Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Explore how teachers can use student-led game-making to enrich learning. Panelists will review the protocols of game-making, types of student-made games that are well suited for schools, what makes games engaging, and how various cross-curricular content areas come alive in games. Participants will be inspired to: create-present-respond- and connect game-making to the curriculum in innovative ways that boost engagement and deepen learning.

Title:  Introduction to Digital Storytelling

  • Organization: TeachersFirst
  • Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CDT
  • Description: Promote higher level thinking and stimulate multiple intelligences in every content area with Digital Storytelling. Start with the basics and empower your students to soar. Enrich and improve student writing with digital storytelling – giving written stories voice, imagery, and power. Learn to promote higher level thinking while students develop creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills to take narratives to the next level.  In this session, we will begin by exploring ways to improve writing with story development steps and tools; discover tech tools for editing and sharing student drafts; and finally, discuss strategies for collaborative writing. Our digital storytelling guest expert, author, speaker, writer, Jason Ohler, joins us to help you begin your journey into digital storytelling. This session is for teachers at ALL technology comfort levels.

Title:  Principles of Reinforcement for Students with Autism

  • Organization: edWeb
  • Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Teachers face many challenges when working with students with autism. These challenges include learning difficulties and behavioral and social difficulties. Often these challenges impact the student’s overall success within an educational setting. One of the often misused and misunderstood tools that teachers can use is reinforcement. Reinforcement is a critical component to changing a student’s behavior in the classroom. In this webinar Nina Finkler, M.Ed., LDT/C, BCBA will give participants a better understanding of reinforcement, strategies for implementing and using reinforcement in the classroom, and specific ideas of what to use for reinforcement. This webinar will benefit any staff from pre-school to high school, including teachers, assistants, speech therapists, OT, PT and administrators.
  • Link: http://home.edweb.net/webinar/principles-reinforcement-students-autism/

Title:  Google Sheets: Project Ideas and Implementation Across Curriculum

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Saturday, October 29, 2016 @ 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm EDT
  • Description: The idea of “using spreadsheets” usually doesn’t elicit much excitement or anticipation, yet spreadsheets can be extremely versatile tools in your instructional toolbox. From math to science, and everywhere in between, spreadsheets can provide autonomy and engagement for your students – and when you add the convenience, ease-of-use, and collaborative aspect of Google Sheets, you have a true powerhouse. Join Lauren Boucher as she shares implementation and project ideas using Google spreadsheets at all grade levels. You will receive project templates and lesson resources, and will leave with a better understanding of how truly useful spreadsheets can be!
  • Link: http://community.simplek12.com/scripts/student/webinars/view.asp?id=2542

Title:  Fabulous Forms: Amazing Ways to Integrate Google Forms in the Classroom

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Saturday, October 29, 2016 @ 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm EDT
  • Description: Google Forms is an incredibly versatile, but often overlooked, free tool for both teachers and students. From basic surveys, to exit tickets, to parent or peer feedback, to auto-differentiating quizzes, forms have almost endless potential for collecting, organizing, and assessing information. In this webinar, join Meredith Martin as she takes a look at a variety of ways to use forms in the classroom to streamline your teaching and assess student learning. You’ll leave with a toolkit packed with sample forms you can start using right away.
  • Link: http://community.simplek12.com/scripts/student/webinars/view.asp?id=2550

Author: Daniella Smith

Daniella Smith, PhD. is a former school and public librarian. She is currently the Hazel Harvey Peace Professor in Children’s Library Services at the University of North Texas.

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Professional Development, Technology, Uncategorized

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