Sunday, April 17, 2016

Raspberry Pi

Our Makerspace kids have been messing around with our new Raspberry Pi 3.
We have a student that brought a Raspberry Pi and we have one, so there is lots to explore. 
These are amazing little machines!

We needed a Mini-SD card, power supply cord, ethernet cord and HDMI cord. 

One of the first things they did is download the Raspbian operating system 
They also are exploring operating systems:
- Midori is a lightweight browser that works nice
- Light Firefox is supposed to work as well
PI installs the OS on the Raspberry Pi
The kids love messing around, installing and re-installing operating system and exploring things.  
It needed a case, so they printed one on the 3D printer. Nice
3D printed case

Great Gatsby companion book project and booktalks

One of my English teachers gave me a challenge for some booktalks.

After her class read The Great Gatsby, her goal was to have them read a independent novel that would also show the themes of the great Gatsby before the end of the year. This, I discovered was a tough thing.  So, if any of you have suggestions...I would REALLY like to hear them!

My clerk and even our Parent volunteer began to hunt. we found classic read alikes (which wasn't really what we needed.) We searched by themes in our library catalog Destiny. I had used to remind myself of the themes.  We were using those as a guide to try to find books with those themes.

I thought- surely some great teacher or librarian has already done this and posted. We found a few sites with suggestions, but no one site with 30 independent novels. :(

With thanks from my english teacher wife we came up with some. She suggested we use the them of the American Dream, or the American Dream gone bad. This helped tremendously, but often I still didn't see the tie in.

I wouldn't say we were tremendously successful in finding perfect books (but to be honest the kids didn't really care to much...they just wanted the romance, or the action or the money/power).  Here is the list of books we came up with ...with teasers posted (by the publishers) on GOODREADS. Take it with a grain of salt...sure could use some suggestions and ideas. We were a bit limited by our I'm looking to beef that up a bit.

As far as presentation, I had a idea. The book club and I just attended the Colorado Teen Lit Conference where the kids and I went to a session Judge the Book By the Cover with  Catherine Boddie (@CatherineBoddie) and Bridget Kiely (@ALDBridget) from Arapahoe Library District. They did this cool thing modeled after ideas they got from where you rate the book by it's cover. They set images of books up side by side in a preso.

So, I attempted (lamely) the same thing. We put covers of books (see my preso) on the screen and the kids judged them. In some cases I had them choose the best cover and I told about that one first. In other cases I booktalked one of the books and they had to choose which one was the right one.

It was just a different way to do a booktalk. I liked the potential of this, but the combination of me rushing to get this done in time and an then presenting to a 7:30am quiet class of underclassment gave it a lackluster finish.

Oh- I almost forgot. I found some really cool resources on the Gatsby Curated by Stephen Cunningham and was blown away by the #6 The Roaring 20's Sound Museum with amazing sound clips, newsreels and stories from NYC in the 1920's. 100's of hyperlinks you activate when you hover over them. We've GOTTA use these next time we teach Gatsby! 

Friday, April 01, 2016

Other stuff happened 2015

NAO robot challenge in June
  • met weekly at Innovations Center 
    • with Alderbaren
    • practicing on own with other students and Innovations Center staff
  • competition in Stewart Auditorium 
    • 4 games, I think we did 3
    • trophies and mini-Nao's for competitors
Edcamp Longmont
  • planning committee meets in spring, and late summer
  • food, PD credit, prizes etc all worked out ahead of time
  • 60-120 folks preregistered, over 100 folks came
What has been going on?
Well, this year has been our Makerspace. Here are some highlights!

  • purchased Sphero, Cubelets, Snap Circuits, and more from Donors Choose
  • Wrote grants and purchased a MakerBot 2 3D printer
  • had an opening party after school
  • started meeting about every week after school

Makerspace fall

  • met every Tuesday lunch
  • started meeting every other Friday
  • Dixon Dick joined us every Tuesday
  • Implemented the Box Project idea for
    • 3D printer
    • green screen
    • makey makey
    • sphero
    • BB8 sphero
    • circuits
    • moss/cubelet robots
  • classrooms use green screen and audio booth
  • One Million Lights
    • visit Preston MS for ideas
    • soldering station
    • refine the lends and base
    • learn about printing your own circuit boards

Lego Drive for Longs Peak

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Collaboration: Digital Photo Style

A few weeks ago, my digital photo teacher came in very excited and concerned. 

In the past his students had used Voicethread as a way of posting student work and then doing some peer reviews in an a semi-private space. Since 
Voicethread has recently been upgraded there is no way you post to it privately without paying the fee.

Since it wouldn't meet his needs for their Monochromatic Color Review NEXT HOUR
what the heck was he going to use instead?

So, I did the thing I learned during all those literacy coaching training sessions- I listened. He explained the assignment as my mind researched for a tool or technique we might try to get him out of this jam. *Note to self: coaching strategies might be another good topic for blog post*

We tried Wallwisher (now called Padlet) and discovered student’s could put their digital photo assignments there, link to their pages using google, and then post comments right on the page. The teacher said it turned out wonderful and that the photos had better graphic quality than before. The students were focused and had constructive peer comments and good classroom discussions. 

A week later I was listening to The Tech Chicks podcast and they mentioned I told my photo teacher about this and he used it for his next assignment STREET PHOTOS and was overjoyed.

It works like a giant bulletin board and created spaces for individuals to post their photos, they could post their photos and other students could comment. The whole board could be private (with personalized access) and the quality of the photos was strong. In fact, they were actually thumbnails and students could double click to see larger versions.
Turns out folks are very responsive too- my teacher had some good suggestions that they responded to right away and initiated some changes based on his feedback. That was cool. 

I had always used applications like Wallwisher, Lino and for brainstorming or debriefing. I'd learned about them in workshops or online presentations....I'd never  thought to use them in this format before.

I'm so glad I have a "bag 'o tricks" that I can pull ideas out of. But I'm even happier to work with such genius teachers that can use tools in creative and innovative ways that really help students.

My peers make sure me look so smart!

Felix the Cat - c/o Joe Oriolo

ACT Grab 'N Gab plans to promote Libraryland!

*note- I had this stored in DRAFT mode since last year...but updated this reminder so that I could be ready for the ACT date! Read on fearless readers!

Last year, upon completion of TCAP testing I invited all the staff up to the library for a kind an open house we called Grab 'n Gab!

I sure missed it this year, but we have one more change. April 24th after ACT testing we'll have another long lunch where I can showcase of materials that we offer teachers that they don't normally see. We'll have district book sets like HS poetry, Forensics, audio books and DVD's playing. We'll have Cyberbully lessons, Plagiarism and research presentation outlines available. There will be SLJ and Booklist set out for teachers to review & select books for purchase.

I'll need to order snacks: mini-cheesecakes, cream filled strawberries, chocolate truffles and drinks. I'll have brochures for the Colorado Standards: 21st Century Learning Skills. I've got an old book scavenger hunt that a student teacher made for every subject area that I'll upgrade (yes even including PE and math). Lastly- I'll find some cheesy prizes.

Mostly, we'll have opportunities to share some good with a wide variety of folks and departments. I'm hoping that many of our dispays and resources will be imeadiately booked or better yet go straight into teachers classrooms. Maybe I'll pick up some new work...let the planning ensue!

Many thanks to my friend Kim for letting me copy her idea from years ago.
Looking forward to a fun day! ~guybrarian

Friday, September 16, 2011

The winds of fall challenge my library role

For the 3rd time this week I heard that our budgets will probably be cut again by up to 25% next year. I also have heard principals are questioning the value of keeping librarians in the face of all these cuts. They ask the why keep a librarian if they can get a full FTE classroom teacher that make more of an impact on kids?

My neighboring district to the south who has district employed/building specific librarians have already cut 1/2 their HS & Middle School librarians and just this year cut 1/2 their elementary librarians. Other districts are headed the same way. What does a half time librarian look like? Well, due to equity discussions- one librarian often serves two schools (sometimes a few days in one school then another, sometimes full weeks).

I'm really curious how effective I would be if I was only 1/2 time in a school? If a teacher is collaborating with me and gets behind in curriculum, maybe I can't float back and forth. How can I build relationships and trust so that I can collaborate if I'm only part time?

Perhaps a bigger issue is what is the role that librarians or teaching/collaborates will be playing in their buildings in the future?

Will we be Learning Specialists who focus more on professional development and 21st century learning standards as Allison Zmuda, Violet H. Harada suggest. Will we be developing a Learning Commons or instructional Facilitators as Koechlin Luhtala and Loertscher suggest? (February 2011 page 20)

I think if we are really going to be an active part of the future learning for our schools, we need to play an active role in the change that is coming. There may be some parts of our jobs that it is time for us to let go- perhaps some carry over from the "old librarian model". I'm not sure what those are, but I wonder what things we aren't willing to let go that might hold us back from serving our staff and students? Are you willing to give up reading picture books? Book talks? Being the sole coordinator of your collection development? What things keep us from being able to collaborate with teachers, training staff, work to support student achievement and 21st century learning skills?

Hmmm. Lots of thinking for a Friday am. I would be very curious to hear your thoughts! What will the new role look like? What can we do to best help kids? Thanks for your help!