Thing 23: Makerspaces

I think the idea of makerspaces aligns itself perfectly with the Common Core Standards as well as the Information Fluency Continuum that librarians use to guide their instruction. The idea behind Common Core is that students grow up to be college and career ready by establishing a set of skills such as literacy (including digital literacy), critical thinking and collaboration. In the standards it says, students who are college and career ready demonstrate independance and use technology and digital media strategically and capably. When I think of a true, authentic makerspace, I think of all these skills. If I needed to justify to my andministration the room for a makerspace in my own library, I would say just that. In one of the articles titled “6 things to consider before creating your own makerspace”, the steps include to define the skills, knowledge and habits that kids will learn or develop in your space as well as define the culture for your space. Like Joyce Valenza said, a makerspace is not a one-size-fits-all type of space. You need to create it based on your student needs and their interests.

I think students have the opportunity to gain many things from a makerspace in their school, some including:
– inspires creativity
– fuels the imagination
– teaches kids tactile learning
– gives them a chance to do what they’re interested in as well as maybe find out other things they may be interested in
– teamwork and collaboration with their peers
– critical thinking skills
– greater understanding of technology
– de-stress from all the pressures of school

My first year at my school, it was being remodeled so we were at a temporary school. The library was moved to the old cafeteria so there is a bathroom that is not being used in the library. My custodian told me he would remove the toilet and sink and clean everything out so I could use that room as a storage space. As soon as I started researching this tool, I instantly wanted to use this space for my own makerspace in my library. It would be very small and would probably only hold three students at a time but you have to start somewhere, right?! Some of the ideas that I gathered from some of the readings was an ipad station for a mobile makerspace (including different apps where students can create: write their own music, digitally build things, write stories, etc), Minecraft, knitting/sewing/crocheting, origami, photography, book art, duct tape design, lego design, cardboard or wood station to build and poetry. The possibilities really are endless but these are the ideas that I liked the most after reading. I am meeting with one of my teachers this week to discuss how a teacher can apply to donorschoose and get things funded for your class. I plan on bringing this idea up at my next school based planning team meeting with other members and my administration. If I can get this space approved, I’d like to see if I can some of my makerspace funded and get started 🙂

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Thing 30: Final Reflection

I’m going to start with the last few questions first in my reflection because it’s the reason that I’ve done this for the third year in a row. I love that I have flexibility to complete the assignments on my own time. My daughter was born in October so I was out on maternity leave from early October until after Christmas break. I liked that when I had some time at home when she was sleeping I could do some of the assignment. One of my biggest struggles when I went back to work was not being able to find the time to do everything I used to do at work, especially after work. It was hard to find time to complete other professional development hours that were at a specific time so this was definitely a blessing this year! I also love that as soon as I get practice and master one tool, I learn another. I am constantly learning and I am able to immediately integrate whatever I learned either in my teaching or I can share one or more resources I learned about with my co-workers. It’s also a really great way to network with people you don’t see on a regular basis or don’t even know. I like that every assignment requires a blog post and that you can share them to get new ideas from other people.

I am going to combine two of the questions together in one answer because they seem to go together (How did I put what I learned into action at school and what projects did I start and what I will be following up on through the summer). I made a comment about this in my last blog post but it was something that resonated with me because the two years prior doing Cool Tools I struggled with trying to learn and implement too much in to my instruction, library and school and then I get overwhelmed. In Thing 26: taking the lead, connecting with your stakeholders, the woman in the video we watched said at the end to pick 1 or 2 tools/resources that you like and use them as best you can. I think this has been my biggest struggle with this PD because there is so much out there and a lot of it would be very beneficial to me personally and to my library but it’s just not possible to do it all. Each tool we were responsible for completing, I tried to do just what that said and only pick 1 or 2 things that I thought I could effectively use for myself and with my students and once those don’t work, I have so many others to fall back on. I think my favorite tool was the “power up your browser” because it really made me go out and learn more because I saw so many ways that I could use it. The past two months or so, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at Google chrome and everything it has to offer (docs, forms, my work drive, apps, google classroom, etc). I have not fully implemented this with my students because I want to be able to feel completely comfortable before I do. I have been playing around a lot with my work drive, creating documents and converting ones that I have uploaded into the cloud. I have practiced a lot using google classroom and plan to use this consistently with my students in Grades 5-6 next year. It is a great tool for collaboration and I can see it being highly beneficial in teaching students the research model and having them use it for notes and projects related to their research. Another tool I enjoyed learning more about was infographics. I purchased a few books that show examples of simple infographics so I can begin showing students how they work, how we can visually understand data and information and to evaluate it as well. Piktochart was really easy to use and I plan on using that next year with my students. In addition to these, I used my DIY tool to implement a summer reading program which we will finalize when students come back in the fall, I am tinkering the idea with creating a small makerspace in an old bathroom that I have that my custodian is going to redo for me, beginning to create a facebook for my library to advocate for myself and what my students are doing, slowly genrifying my library to make it easier for kids to access the books they want and plan on using quizlet and socratic apps through google chrome to review library concepts at the end of our school year.

In the next year, I would like to pursue PD’s more related to google (specifically google classrooms), how to implement a small makerspace, augmented reality and coding with students. I’ve already signed up for a PD tomorrow so I can learn more about Plickers, one of the student assessment tools from Thing 29! One of the things I would also like to start next school year is something like what Heidi Neltner mentioned in the Connected Librarian Toolkit – an “appy hour” – something short and sweet that teachers can attend every other week or month and learn about apps or technology tools they can use in their classroom.

Overall, there hasn’t been anything I didn’t enjoy witth this PD. Every tool, I was able to find some way to use it in my library or my teaching and even the things I wouldn’t necessarily use, I have shared with my co-workers.

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Thing 29: Student Response Tools

For this tool. I chose 5 tools: See Saw, Plickers, Google Forms, Quizlet and Socrative. I looked through a variety of tools but I skipped many of them that you had to pay for and chose the ones that were free but also had a wide range of options and were also easy to use.

I can see K-2 teachers primarily using See-Saw in my building because it seems to be most easily used when you have access to an ipad. I downloaded the app on to my iphone and absolutely loved it. See-saw gives you the option to create classes and add students to each class. When students are using this app, all they have to do is scan their QR code using an iphone or ipad and are immediately brought to their classroom where they can find their name. Here, students are able to upload a photo, video, create a drawing, take a picture, write a note or include a link. What I love most about this app is that parents can download the parent version and sign in to view only their child’s folder. This is a great tool for teachers to showcase student work to parents or even communite on a daily basis about different things. I see this as a great tool for me in showcasing work I do in the library and also to communicate with parents.

The next tool I checked out was google forms, specifically because I have been working a lot with my google drive the past month (working in google docs, checking out different apps to use and learning how to use google classroom with my students). It’s very plain and simple in comparison to some of the other student response tools but I like it because my students in Grades 4-6 are already working with their individual google drive accounts and it seems to make more sense to use a student response tool that can tie into what they are already using on a daily basis. I practiced creating a few questions using Google forms and when you create, it automatically saves to your google drive account. It creates a link for students to use when answering the questions you have created. I see myself using this when I want a fast response and a way to quickly analyze which students may need more help with a subject/assignment.

I looked into Plickers because I am actually taking a PD next Tuesday on how to use it in the classroom. What I like about plickers is that the only technology you need is a device for yourself rather than for every student. Plickers provides you with sheets with a code on it that teachers use to scan and a number specific to each student in your class. The sheets have the letters A, B, C, D on them so it seems like the only downside to this is you can only use this tool to creat multiple choice questions. Once you have scanned each student’s answer all the data gets entered into the app on your phone. I can see using this when I don’t want to have students get on the computer.

The last two I focused on were Quizlet and Socrative (one of the main reasons I did was because they were both google apps). I plan on making sure that all my computers in the library have google chrome downloaded as a browser so that my students can use these through the google app. Quizlet I have used before but only primarily for vocabulary cards that other teachers have created (one of the reasons I like Quizlet because you can borrow from other teachers and there is a lot out there!). Quizlet allows you to create a list of word and a description and once you have entered them it creates options for student review: matching, flash cards and a test. I would use this more for review rather than assessment. The teacher edition which is $25/year gives you a few more options: aggregate class data, no advertisements and you can add audio and upload images. The thing about Socrative that first caught my eye was the space race they do. My kids are motivated by competition and I think this feature of Socrative make them a little more interested in what we’re doing. Socrative had a GREAT tutorial and outlines how to do everything. All students have to do is type in a code that allows them to enter their clasroom and find their name. It gives you the option of an exit ticket, quick question, quiz or space race. What I like most about this is how it organizes the data onces students have answered a question.

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Thing 28: Emerging Tech: Scanning the Horizon

I thought I would be completely overwhelmed with this post but to my surprise I wasn’t. I looked over every link, spending more time on a few over the others but for the most part it seemed to address the same trends and technologies including cloud computing, bring your own device (byod), makerspaces, project based learning and mobile learning. I am familiar with all these but not all are implemented in my library/throughout our building.

In the past few months, I have attended 4 pds related to google that have addressed using chrome as a browser, cloud computing, google classrooms, google apps and chromebooks. This is where I see my library going in the next year. I remember listening to the woman discussing advocacy when we did Thing 26 and she made a really great point and that was instead of attempting to use multiple tools in your library, focus on one or two that you will use really well. Our building recently received three chromebook carts, one in each of the Grade 4-6 classrooms for the grades to share. Each teacher attended a brief training on how to use the carts and the tools associated with google. This training fueled me to attend some other PD’s related to cloud computing, google apps for education and google classrooms. I see all of these tools as a great benefit to me in the library, specifically for my students in Grades 4-6 as a tool for research and for students to work collaboratively on a project. I’ve also begun to establish some classrooms using google classrooms. It is a great way to post assignments in each class, for myself and my teachers to be working collaboratively, gauge how my students are doing and what their needs are and giving them feedback quickly. In one of Joyce Valenza’s articles, she included some statistics about African American teens and how they are more likely than their Hispanic and white counterparts to use smartphones. Google classrooms also has an app for smartphones and I feel like this is a great way to connect with my students outside of the classroom. In one of the articles it discussed a flipped classroom where the teacher’s role is more of a guide and mentor than a lecturer. A flipped classroom included resources like video lectures, listening to podcasts, and collaborating with peers in online communities which are all things I could do using google classrooms.

Makerspaces were brought up quite a bit and the article “What does the next generation school library look like?” was a really good read. It was interesting to see how the students over time were able to learn from each other how to act in their new library and to use the space responsibly and effectively rather than using it as a free space to goof off. I love the idea of makerspaces and how students learn through doing and that they are in charge of their own creations. I can see creating a very small one in my library but honestly, I’m not sure our school is quite there yet for something like this school has created. Unfortunately, time, space and scheduling implementing this and I think our school would have to make some major changes for this to run effectively.

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Thing 27: DIY

I spent a few days thinking of a project that I thought would be most meaningful for my students. This year, with the addition of 8th graders to our middle school, has been a huge challenge. Not only that, but I think the focus of most of our attention is going towards managing behavior instead of instruction. There are so many things that I try to teach related to information literacy throughout the year that a focus on the importance and a love for reading has kind of fallen on the wayside. With summer creeping up, I decided I would focus this “do it yourself” project on a summer reading program. This is my third year in the district and this will be the first year I have implemented a building summer reading program but I think it is very much needed.

I have used my Scholastic representative as a great resource. She always has great suggestions on how to get kids hooked on reading. I met with her last week about the Scholastic summer reading program and how to get it started with my students. Over the past week, I’ve gone through resources that she has given me for parents, students and how to launch a program and I have also set all my students up with a username and password so they can begin logging their minutes for the remainder of the school year and throughout the summer. I’m going to spend the next few weeks meeting with my scheduled classes as well as other students that don’t have library this semester talking about how they can log their minutes and where they can go to find popular book lists that are age appropriate for them. I have put together information to send home to parents so they can help their children over the summer to stay involved with this. I have also contacted a children’s librarian that I know in the city that is going to come in and talk to students about the public library, how to get a library card and programs that are available in the summer. I have attached the link to the Scholastic summer reading program below. I like it because it’s really easy to use by me, parents, teachers and students. I also love that students are responsible for doing most of the work by holding them accountable for minutes they have been reading. I think when they can see how much they are reading in front of them and are competing for most minutes read it will motivate them. I plan on doing a welcome back event in September when we come back to unveil how many minutes our school read and giving out prizes to our top readers.

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Thing 26: Taking the Lead: Connecting with your Stakeholders

I’m going to be honest and say that whenever I’m talking about library advocacy or learn new ways I can advocate for myself and this profession, I get super pumped! I make a list of everything I want to do and then somehow months go by and I realize I haven’t done too much so I’m glad this was a tool. I’m also glad it came towards the end of the school year because I’ve made a list of all the things I want to do this summer to start next year!

For this blog post, I’m going to list what I thought were some of the most important points from the resources/articles posted:

Webinar: Connected Librarian Day
– 1st thing you need to know before you can do anything is who are your stakeholders? (then you need to research them – what are their needs, what is important to them and then tailoring your library messaged based on their needs)
– look at your school improvement plan and know what your school goals are (I believe this is one of my strengths because this is my second year serving on the School Based Planning Team and I have also spent a great deal of time revising/editing our School Comprehensive Education Program)
– using video tools to get your message across (I am definitely going to check some of these out that she mentioned: Powtoon, Screencastomatic; I also triple starred Aurasma on my note sheet and don’t remember why so I am going to have to go back to that, maybe for the DIY tool 🙂
– I LOVE how she genrified her library and was able to increase circulation right away, right after I heard her talk about this I made some minor changes by pulling my Elephant and Piggie books and fairy books in a separate area. In just a few a days, I noticed kids were checking them out more because they were easier to find.
– some other ideas that I think I will start using is Symbaloo for my Destiny page, visual searches in Destiny. “Tuesday teacher tips” and a platform for all my stakeholders to see what we’re doing in library. I like the idea of creating a facebook page where I can post pictures/videos of what’s going on in here.
– She said at the end pick 1 or 2 tools that work best for you and use them and that is the best advice. I think people overwhelm themselves with trying to use too many resources instead of using 1 or 2 really well.

School Libraries Matter: You tube
– one of the speakers from the video said the library is the “epicenter of real meaningful learning”, on any given day when you walk into my library you would most likely see my class but then 2-4 other small groups working with volunteers. My library is NOT a quiet library and that’s the way I love it because when one of my parents or administrators walk in, they see learning going on.

10 things classroom teachers need to know about modern school libraries: 
– “We don’t know everything, but we know where to find everything” – this is how I advocate for myself to my teachers. They know that I don’t know everything but I will go out of my way to find something for you and if I can’t find it for you, I will know someone who will!
– “We’re teachers too”. I teach every day, multiple hours a day. I follow my own set of standards as well as integrating Common Core standards all while trying to target skills that are being taught in the classroom. I think some of my co-workers get and it and I think some are completely oblivious but that’s on me. My goal for the next school  year are to reach out to teachers that are a bit harder to collaborate with and showcase more student work in my library.

I think one of the things that frustrates librarians the most (specifically school librarians) is that many people don’t understand our role. Many people see the old role of the librarian (a storage area of books) and that role has completely transformed. The more visible we make ourselves by speaking and collaborating with our stakeholders, assuming that leadership and information specialist role and showcasing everything we do will make us more valuable to people.

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Thing 25: Power up your browser

For this tool, Google chrome was my browser of choice. I had downloaded Chrome on my desktop computer at work and laptop over a year ago (I think because I heard it was faster) but had never explored any of the features and I can tell you I will never go back to Internet explorer ever again, unless I have to. There was so much I learned this week about this browser  and that I was able to explore, things that are actually going to make my life a whole lot easier!

I did everything for this week on my desktop computer at work because that’s where I do most everything for school. The first thing I did was import all of my favorites from Internet explorer to Chrome because all the applications I use for work were saved there and made Chrome my default browser. I then changed my homepage to go directly to Destiny, our library catalog and changed my theme. All of these “housekeeping” items were very easy to do and anything I was unsure about, I just looked through the FAQ’s and their answers on Chrome. I spent some time looking through the menu bar (is that what the three horizontal lines are called?) to figure out the security settings which Chrome tells you everything that is recommended and how to delete browser history.

After this, I started the fun part: playing around with apps and extensions! I got Pandora as an app because I use it all the time and started looking through some recommended extensions. I got Readability, Webpage screenshot, easybib, 1 click timer, Google similar pages and Chrome app launcher. I loved readability because it allows you to clean up an article that you are reading so you are just looking at text and not all the distractions around it. It is so simple because all you have to do is click the icon and it gives you a choice to read now or later and automatically cleans it up for you. I got chrome app launcher because it launches your favorite apps from the desktop and opens them up under a separate tap in Chrome. When you use easy bib in your searching, all you have to do is type easy bib in the search box and click the tab button and then the easy bib extension opens and you can do your search. It will tell you how many times the website has been citing and if the site is credible or not. I can see showing my students how to use this when they are doing research as a helpful tool in evaluating websites. The screenshot extension allows you to screenshot the whole page, what is visible, or you can select an area to screenshot.

I do plan on exploring more extensions but those were the ones I did this week. I’m already hooked on Google chrome!!

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Thing 24: Infographics

This tool was actually kind of challenging for me. I’m not a very creative person so the process took me a while to actually think of what I wanted the infographic to be and what it would look like. The first thing I did was think about the topics I teach every year and how I could visually represent the information I want students to understand. I finally decided on the topic of fiction vs. nonfiction which is a topic I talk a great deal about especially with K-2 students. With the second graders this year, we watched a flocabulary rap about the difference between nonfiction vs. fiction. We watched it 2-3 times, each time with a different purpose. The first time we just watched to listen; then students were each given an individual whiteboard where they created a t-chart with the words fiction and nonfiction. The second time they watched, they were looking for specific examples of what each word meant to create bulleted notes. I used examples from this rap to create my infographic.

I am a very visual learner so I try to have visuals whenever I am teaching. I think you can incorporate infographics into almost anything your teaching when your trying to represent information on a given topic. This is something I could show my students after we were talking about the difference between fiction or non-fiction or I think it’s something we could have created together as a class. Examples of other ways I could use this in the library are: the dewey decimal areas, genres of literature and the steps in evaluating resources. Piktochart was very simple to use but not sure it’s free for students to use 😦

Attached is a link to my infographic. For some reason, the stars and the text in the top circle did not align with each other when posting this in my blog but did when I was logged in to Piktochart.
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Thing 22: Create a resource guide

I received an email from another librarian in the district sharing a resource guide that she had created using our district subscription to Libguides. Although we have a subscription, I had never looked into libguides until I viewed her guide with resources that support the common core texts for Grade 6. I do these resource guides all the time but in different forms, usually they are just a huge list of links in a Microsoft word document but I try and store different resources on a variety of topics so if a teacher ever needs anything, I can consult that. I loved the look of her guide and how simple it looked so I decided to create one for this topic.

The first step in creating a resource guide is to figure out your target audience. For the most part, my target audience are usually my students. Due to lack of time, I spend a lot of time gathering resources for my students to use when doing research rather than them finding them on their own (although we talk a great deal about how to choose and evaluate good resources). One unit I have done since I began working for the district is one for my students in Grades 5 & 6 about digital citizenship and cyberbullying. We do a lot of exploring using online resources, researching the topic, watching videos and learning about other people’s stories. I thought this would be perfect to create a resource guide for. Because I had a lot of the resources already saved (I added a few), the resource guide was very simple to create. I decided to use a page with basic links breaking my resources up into four different categories (digital citizenship, cyberbullying, student activities and teacher resources). I do plan on adding and editing when I get closer to teaching the unit but for now here is my resource guide: 🙂

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Thing 21: Productivity Tools

I explored a few tools this week. The first thing I looked into were the tools for helping you maintain your to do lists. I write to do lists all the time, on post it notes scattered everywhere around my desk at work, in my planner and on my phone so I thought I would like these tools. After exploring a few of them, I realized that regardless if I started using them, I would probably still continue to use my post it notes, my planner and notepad on my phone.

The next tool I played around with was delicious which I’ve heard of before. I have a word document that essentially organizes all of my favorite websites and resources I use for work. What I liked about delicious is that you can add the bookmarklet on to your toolbar and all you have to do is click “Add to delicious” and it automatically adds the website you’re looking at to your delicious site. I had a few issues with it though – is there a way to organize your websites into different categories? I know you can tag them which I did using tags like “professional development” and “bills” (personal use) but that doesn’t organize the websites when you are looking at your list. If I used this tool consistently my list would drastically grow and if I can’t organize it, I’m not sure it would be anymore useful for me than my word document. I also got the app on my iphone but every time I clicked on one of my sites I would get a pop up which I didn’t like. Any suggestions? 🙂

I tried to download evernote on my work laptop which is the device I primarily use at home and mostly at work but it wouldn’t let me. I dogettingwnloaded the app onto my phone but plan on exploring it more on a desktop computer when I go back to school. This year, I’ve been working with my students in grades 4-6 get set up with their district folders, showing them how to log in, access their folders and save documents. Although I can’t see myself using evernote with my students in library, I can see helping my teachers use this as a tool in their classrooms to save and showcase student work. I love how this can be a great tool in communicating student growth to parents.

website you

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