Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Elementary Job Alike

Elementary Job Alike Notes on Best Practices and the things we do to “survive” day to day.
Facilitator- Sandy Kelly

Promoting Reading in our schools
  • K-3 Reading Incentive Programs with a different theme each year. “Books Ahoy” – a pirate theme. Each class has a pirate ship on a world map. Students fill in a bookmark with the hours of reading read. K-1= one hour, Grade 2 = 2 hours of outside reading, the ship moves on a trip around the world. First class to make trip around the world uncovers the treasure chest with freebies inside.
  • Invite teachers to bring class to library during Drop Everything and Read time, teacher checks out books (or aide/volunteer) while library teacher conferences with students
  • Teach children to check their own books in and out
  • Encourage teachers to assist children with book selection as they know child’s reading ability, parent or teacher preferences and any special needs of the students.
  • Marian books
  • Shelf Elf
  • Old Mr. Wiggle series

Question about book limit policy, only one book, must return to check another.
  • Allow student to check out a “class” book in the teacher’s name and it must stay in the classroom to read.
  • Hold book over night for one day.

Assessment Examples
  • Scavenger Hunt-students practice research skills (done wt. Grade 3) using reference, nonfiction and one specific webpage to answer questions about Massachusetts. Before moving on to next source student fills in short “exit survey” with questions like Was this tool easy to use? Were you able to find any of the answers? Do you need help using this resource? After collecting slips compile data as a tool to evaluate success of lesson, how to fine tune and to differentiate instruction.
  • Upper grades- correct student’s “Works Cited”
  • Gr 5 – culminating project with rubric to grade completed project
  • Gr 4- rubric checklist to aid organizational skills
  • K-1 – ABC Superstars using six stations. When completed student receives a necklace with six beads
  • Student handouts: What did you learn? What are you going to do with this information? What went well/what didn’t?

This was a great discussion group. Lot’s of good ideas were shared, positive and thoughtful sharing of what works or what might work well in specific situations. I wish we all had more time to share and brainstorm our best practices…

Monday, November 3, 2008

High School Job-Alike

Facilitators: Ann Perham, Valerie Diggs, Linda Friel

Recorders: Marnie Bolstad, Morothy McQuillan, Deborah Lang Froggart

We used a “Round Robin” discussion with participants rotating between tables with three main topics centered around the question, “What makes you a hero in your school….how have you and your program survived?” At the end of each rotation, the discussion opened for “Potpourri”….any question, any offering.

Topic 1: NEASC – Preparing, surviving

  • self study is an intense year, LMS co-chair,
  • Best thing to do is to volunteer to be on a visiting accreditation team. Agreed that it is long hours, but rewarding
  • volunteer to be on a visiting committee to know what to expect as soon as you can, even if your visit is three years away; allows you to plan and change your practice if need be
  • Lots of writing on a visiting committee, but only have to do a rough draft; NEASC cleans up the writing so don’t worry
  • Serving on an Accreditation Team should be worth 2 x amount of PDPs
  • To Serve on a NEASC Team contact your principal or call Janet Allison at NEASC to be on a team
  • Try to be a co-Chair of your steering committee, be a leader for school, position of visibility
  • One school keeps a booklet of evidence (for all depts.) inc. LMC
  • Don’t write your own report; (rough draft?) but holds more veracity if someone else does it. The School Resources committee should be a diverse group
  • gather your evidence: look at standards, offer to be on a committee
  • Evidence Binder: Quantify what you are doing- collect collaborative lessons along with
  • circ stats., extra evidence including book talks, tutoring, what available for the kids.
  • never hide anything; NEASC is a library’s best advocate
  • Independent and Public schools are all under NEASC: Deli v. Produce – just different departments/divisions
  • offer library for meeting space of Accreditation Team so NEASC can see library in action and see what materials are there
  • Stick to the facts as committee will find out anyway
  • Feel judged so have policies & procedures written down; look at standards
  • make sure your principal is there to meet the team
  • NEASC best protector for Library Position
  • Library had more indicators than the other department’s standards
  • Rubric is difficult to use, but it does work
  • from recommendation library support staff may come, if not at least on record
  • Use school Professional Development Time for NEASC – great way to bring staff together
  • Try to ensure that all departments are represented on all committees
  • “I got NEASCed” on my first year; blind and stupid can be a good thing
  • Can fudge facts to show weaknesses for the ‘good’, but often schools offer data to make things look good
  • Standard - Indicators are very specific and the evidence will speak for itself
  • not about ‘you’ the committee takes a look at the ‘program’ so that library can do/be offered to do (financial, staffing, etc) what needs to be done
  • Get Statistics, etc, together ASAP “anyone can talk, but the data speaks”
  • Take lots of time to prepare

Topic 2: Great programming; Getting teens to come to the library.

  • East Bridgewater HS Sales network . Promote reading for fun and pleasure. Feb. vacation coming. Went through all great lists. Got titles from all surrounding libraries. Students came up with a name Readapalooza. Had food, music, and students could come from any class. They circulated over 200 books. 673 students. Many who don’t frequent libraries came in. So they had books over vacation. Some groups took the same title. Some difficulty getting books back as usual. They borrow from public library.
  • Quincy HS: Librarian is the biggest attraction. People gravitate to people who enjoy YA lit. Students wanted to start up book club. Lunch club started. 19 kids . Elected officers. She said she would be as involved as much or as little. Kids bring lunch and discuss book over 3 lunches and float in and out. Picked out three titles. In month meet to discuss book. Have a round table discussion according to which books they read. Recommendations from other students mean more to students.
  • Chelmsford: unrelated to books, but like to come to library. Java Room have coffee Wednesday morning. Java Room is actually a coffee shop that donates coffee and hot chocolate. Panera donates pastry. Serve hot chocolate, coffee, tea in morning and everyone comes in to chat. Kids are respectful. This goes on before school. Usually open at 7 am. Charge $1 for coffee. Build collegiality. Usually do not allow food in library, but this is special. Have a digital kiosk to put on CNN, or do digital images of student work.
  • Chelmsford: Also hold listening lunches some times kids come in and do a little bit of a play, poetry slam, choral presentation. Have big space so can accommodate 6 classes. Jazz band, open mic, teachers. Showcase student talent. Libraries can be used for other functions,. Also have alumni corner. Put book cover and plaque for student graduates who have published. Call on successful graduates. Display student artwork. Have restaurant booths in one area of the library. Very much like a coffee house.
  • Gloucester: Stagger hours so stay open later. Does not get paid extra. Miamonides stays open late, but have Hebrew School also. No union so not an issue. Poetry slam.
  • Hull book discussion group. Meet every three weeks or so. Core group. Get lunch before everyone else in line. FastPass to the front of the line and bring it to the library and discuss book over lunch. Kids pick out own books, but librarian also makes some suggestion. Million Little Pieces really grabbed them. Twilight series. Also like to get out of cafeteria.
  • Lexington Christian Academy. It is the nicest place in the school. 340 students. Anime caption cartoons. Students can add other captions. Prizes 4 $ lunch. Have Tuesday assemblies, but can get started in other ways.
  • Newton South has graphic area corner with comfortable chairs.
  • Nashoba kids wanted to start book discussion. Bookaholics Anon. Totally student run.
  • Some schools allow eating in the library and have found less mess.

Topic 3: Collection Development – Purchasing, using cooperative purchasing, weeding

Question: Does anyone use other than state vendors?

  • Follett for non-academic materials. Loves Titlewave. Use Titlewise for collection development.
  • Using cooperative buying can building collections for new schools. Already have been out to bid.Can call with questions & problems. Responsive to needs. Sometimes fill rate can be a problem – easier to go to publisher or Amazon.
  • Uses Ingram. Uses Amazon when things are needed quickly. Need to be able to pay fast or may get cut off.
  • like Junior Library Guild – a subscription service. Can return easily if processing is not on it
  • Small vendors: Pigatori easy to work with. Deal with limited # of publishers. Representatives very knowledgeable about the books. Good at recommending books. Provide free processing when a threshold is reached. Facts on File, Greenwood, etc.
  • Heinemannn, Stenhouse, Professional Development books – who handles? Best to order direct. Some use Amazon which now processes.
  • Preview companies: most don’t like. Have to pay if not returned on time
  • One asked teachers for input. Most wanted DVDs. B & T through MARLS contract. 33% discount.
  • New England Mobile Book Fair very responsive. Used to go there before coops
  • Periodicals: WT Cox and Ebsco, Magazine Subscription Service service. Amazon used.
  • Discussion on vendors that manage wish lists. Put list online. Similar to a wedding register for librarians. Good for school with no budget.

Using Cooperative Purchasing

  • list of who wins the bids is online. Good source for info.
  • love B & T. May depend on what books are being ordered and fill rate.
  • Ingram on cooperative list now
  • Moving into a new building. Boston experimenting with using BPL for purchasing. Can use their vol. Discount – 45%. Bad news – started late. Technical difficulties with an opening day collection project. B & T provided an opening day list of 20,000 titles. Many choices not good. Quincy had 10,000 – had to go through all of them.
  • Discussion of problems with new buildings. Need to provide book lists quickly when building won’t open for several years. Problem of giving advice on floor plans when advice is not taken. Better to encumber $ instead of giving specific lists. Administrators often want lists now….Prices, books, curriculum change. Problems of moving from temporary to permanent locations.
  • Discussion over assignments from teachers who don’t check on the resources available in the library. And teachers who want to “help” select books for the library.
  • Joined MARLS (MA regl. Lib. System). Bought supplies from Gaylord. Got discounts and free shipping on small order.
  • Cooperatives very responsive. Poor vendors get dropped. Helpful with ordering opening day collections. Already gone out to bid. Business managers like it.
  • trouble with fluctuating budgets, cuts
  • Any vendors from cooperative easier to work with
  • Permabound site now as easy to use
  • Need to assess fill rates.
  • Good to put book online with Ingram and check if book is in.

Question: Favorite video vendor

  • Problems: Can’t preview. Can’t return.
  • PBS videos. Get quote. Ask “best you can do?” Get a reduction. Videos hard to find. Good to check B & T and Ingram.

LCD projectors and cost of replacing bulbs.

  • keep one on hand for each projector.
  • Another school orders them when they burn out.

Weeding issues

  • getting help from teachers. Some cooperate, others don’t come
  • Need cooperation of custodian.
  • Good to have a viable collection rather than a large one with outdated books.

Pot Pourri

  • Train the para so she has value, thus harder to release
  • host a department heads lunch or a new faculty lunch
  • Tudor.com (public library subscribes) interact with a librarian? Does this conflict with our school library mission?
  • Dia “Day of the Child/Day of the book” ASSL, ALA & Reforma Collaborated with elementary librarian to High School read in Spanish to younger learners. (FOR NEASC)
  • “Teacher Web” Page: mentioned at School Board meeting. Engage with parental community leaders.
  • Get on School Site-based committee and/or Instructional Leadership Team
  • Tutoring? NHS Community Service Hours to be done in the library

Suggestions for next year’s Job Alike:

  • All agreed that they liked this model of sharing.
  • What worked: small group is good
  • Informality is good
  • How to Morph: What about a “WildCard” – one table without a designated topic
  • Or ten minutes on the end
  • One Job Alike on Sunday, one on Monday
  • One of the sessions could be this (instead of Sunday night)
  • Over lunch by level
  • Survey options ahead of time to determine topics.
  • Group liked the discussion and chance to talk with colleagues.
  • Nice to move with group.
  • Communication fun.
  • Would like breakdown of K-8 and 6 – 12.


Kathy Dubruvsky and April Graziano
November 3, 2008 @ 1:30pm

Formerly Marco Polo, Thinkfinity is a FREE online educational resource developed by content specialists, and is sponsored by the charitable arm of Verizon and some of the nations leading educational and literacy oranizations. This site is available to students, teachers, and parents.

Thinkfinity has 3 main goals:
1. To train classroom teachers
2. To develop a network of trainers
3. To align their resources to the curriculum frameworks

There are no membership fees, and it is accessible from school or home .
There are 4 main portals: Educator, Student, Parent, and After School.
Thinkfinity offers resources for Preschool through Adult Ed, but is primarily for K-12 .

On the Educator Portal, the homepage highlights
1. Specific current, relevant topics
2. A calendar tied to events
3. 21st Century Skills link

New initiatives being developed:
1. Separate entry points for educators, students, and parents
2. "My Thinkfinity" - log in to save resources and customize searches
3. Collaboration with Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
4. Thinkfinity Literacy Network ***** for Library Media Programs!
5. Interactive learning activities

Management Tools:
1. Evaluations
2. Literacy Network
3. Online courses - training for you, staff, parents
4. Sample partner site resources
5. Story mapping and organizers
Student work is displayed as you move through events
6. America on the move -
Online oral history
Gives instructions to students on how to perform interviews and gather info

Thinkfinity is provided for by the DOE (not promoted by...)

On the DOE website, under Educational Technology -- Teachers/Paraprofessionals

MassThinkfinity Partnership

You can link Thinkfinity to your homepage. This reliable, exciting, and easy to use resource is available for Library and Technology programs. The lessons are created and developed to easily be incorporated into current lesson plans. The hard work has been done for you...use and share Thinkfinity!

Info Lit: One School's Survivor Story

Laura Harrington and Gerri Fegan From West Middle School, Andover, MA
Monday, November 3, 2008 @ 11:15am

This presentation has been officially Kermit-ized (it's GREEN...no print notes. An electronic version will be available on their school's website...all of their lesson plans are online to share with you as well...
(say "hi" to Westie, the mascot...if you click on him, it's a link to Amazon.com, and Gerri has a Library Wish List posted...very cool!)

Gerri and Laura embarked on this journey to revolutionize their school Library program.
Having recently been through a "changing of the guard" administratively, these brave women developed a strategy worthy of any of the great war heroes. Show no mercy...discard anything old and outdated. Luckily, their new principal was on board (ladies, did he really have a choice???) The superintendent also was a visionary, and had made the decision to hire TWO LMS's to combine inforrmation literacy AND reading/literature. Was it possible to merge 2 programs (Library Instruction and Technology) that had been taught in isolation into a collaborative, 21st Century program that could meet the Standards and Curriculum Frameworks???

After securing their budget for Library-appropriate items, the team weeded out approximately 50% of their collection. Some changes implemented:
1. Collected resources relevant to current curriculum
2. Ensured that teachers knew that they were available and what they could offer
3. Created a Media Council - Monthly meetings for all district Library Teachers & Technology Specialists
4. Enlisted parent and student volunteers
5. Proved that Library Teachers and administrators could work together to develop new practices
6. Utilized MSLA members, list serve and conferences for expertise

The Library Program:
1. Relying on resources to get support
2. Weeding parties! let parents, students and teachers take part - they then become stakeholders
3. Buy databases instead of books - increased availability to many students at once, access at home and school
4. Give the absolute best you can give...you can't go wrong if your heart's in the right place!
5. Set up an Amazon Wishlist
6. Promote the latest fiction...ask students what they want to read, then BUY IT!!!
7. Clean and rearrange the shelves - make it attractive to entice the students
8. Ask teachers for THEIR wishlists

Media Program:
1. Discard any item that hasn't been used in >5 years
2. Don't buy VHS!!!
3. Purchase inexpensive video cameras (FLIPs) and digital cameras for student use, and buy one REALLY GOOD camera for school use
4. Ask students to use their own equipment for projects

Technology Program:

1. Treat your techies well...bring them cookies, etc.!
2. Define your role as Instructional Technologist, not repair specialist
3. Nag for software updates...the KIDS need it!
4. Streamline - discard anything not used for >3 years
5. Provide instruction and support to staff for use of technology available in the building
6. SPED support - upgrade all software
***Ask the head of SPED to authorize membership to www.bookshare.org an online audio book website. The site has fiction, literature and curriculum generated materials that can be downloaded onto school computers

1. Every student is a teacher, and every teacher is a student
2. Scrutinize all rules, and EVOLVE!
3. Make the Library calendar available to all
4. Start a FOSL (Friends of the School Library) club
5. Make sure teachers and parents know all you do
6. Develop a long range plan, and ADVERTISE it!

1. Demonstrate your financial skills to get more money- write grants
2. Purchase only new items - replace old items with petty cash
3. Make friends with local merchants
4. Encourage teachers to purchase department-specific items with their own budgets

The Faculty:
1. Collaborate - offer your services and individual training
2. Make the Library available
3. Visit the classrooms

The Curriculum:
1. Avoid "quick lessons"...create your own
2. Use the curriculum frameworks and add the MSLA and AASL standards
3. Use project based assignments to teach research skills

Research Skills:
1. Info searching
2. Summarizing
3. Paraphrasing

1. Books
2. OPAC catalog
3. Online databases
4. PB Wikis
5. Google

These ladies had much more to share, but we just ran out of time. Be sure to check out their website for more info:

The New AASL Standards and the MSLA Literacy Standards: Winning Over Classroom Teachers with this Winning Combination!

Cassandra Barnett and Valerie Diggs
November 3, 2008
Notes in Conference binder - p. 91

This all encompassing topic of both the new AASL Standards and the
MSLA Literacy Standards was summarized during this session. Both sets of standards are included in the conference binder. The major focus - Librarian/Teacher collaboration (sound familiar??? I think a theme has been identified in this conference!!!).

There are 4 major components to the National Standards:
1. Beliefs-puts the standards in context for the Library.
eg. Reading, access to resources, etc.
2. Standards - Learners will use resources and literacy skills to...
3. Strands to help set up learning experiences
eg. Habits of minds, behaviors to exhibit while they learn, self assessment strategies etc.
4. Indicators - more specific action behaviors expected

The standards stress basic skills like inquiry and the ability to draw conclusions based on content learned. Key abilities necessary for 21st Century learning also include critical thinking, social learning, inquiry based learning, and the ability to put content into context.

Dispositions in action support ongoing beliefs and attitudes to foster thinking and intelligent behaviors that are measurable. Students should be curious, resilient, flexible, imaginative, critical, reflective, and possess the ability to self-assess.

Self Assessment Strategies:
Reflections on one's own learning
Study the process of learning
Examine the products of learning
Taking a 3-dimensional view of finished product

These new standards:
Align with ths AASL National Standards
Offer overviews of grade spans - useful to share with teachers and administrators
Forthcoming: comparison chart of AASL & MSLA standards, comparison to frameworks, and learning scenarios targeting various grade levels...so stay tuned!

These new and improved standards with their additional information are designed to help Library Teachers create learning situations that create opportunities for students to think critically, and see how to use these skills in other situations and in real life. The skills that employers seek the most in future employees are the ability to problem solve and work as a team. Our common goal is to address these issues as early as possible.

COLLABORATION: The most important issue in any Library program.
1. Successful, high level collaboration models include relationships that develop over time, have shared goals, carefully defined roles, require comprehensive planning and communication. Shared are the leadership, resources, risks, control, and results.
2. Professionals will brainstorm together, develop plans, activities and assessments, choose materials and technologies to assist instruction, work side-by-side as activities occur, and evaluate the success of the unit (grades!).
3. Contributing factors to successful collaboration include environmental factors like school culture, flexible scheduling, and the LMS in the role of an educational leader. Some expectations of apathy and dissent are to be expected! Group membership characteristics should include a shared understanding and respect for one another, a complete team at every meeting, and being prepared for the possibility of things not going as planned.
Demonstrating research results that show how student success increases with collaboration can assist you in your collaborative endeavors. The use of databases can provide value to your Library.

THE BENEFITS OF COLLABORATION: Students become more involved in the learning process, creativity is sparked among teachers, modeling collaboration creates more collaboration, promotes sharing at all levels, and fosters communication among librarians, teachers, and administrators.

BACK TO REALITY: you, the Library Teacher, must be proactive in your approach...identify a teacher that you feel will be responsive.

Check out page 96 in the conference binder for a form to distribute at each faculty meeting. On the form, teachers can indicate what upcoming topics they will be covering, list any specific materials they might need, as well as anything specific they might need from you, the Library Teacher.

And lastly, in response to a cute scenario that included Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Ginger, the audience participated by offering solutions to the problem of teachers planning a project without including the library teacher. Whining to your principlal was NOT a good option!
Suggestions were as follows:
1. Jump in! Offer materials for the project
2. Email helpful websites
3. Personally deliver books and resources to them
4. Offer to collaborate, co-teach, evaluate, assess, provide a search term activity (etc)
5. Attend department head meetings to obtain connections and insight as to upcoming topics
6. Offer staff professional development on evaluating resources
7. Start SLOW! Don't be overly enthusiastic...you might scare them away!
8. Don't do the work FOR them, do it WITH them
9. If teachers would like a fresh approach, maybe they will ask you for suggestions
10. Check on the project's progress periodically, no matter how small your initial involvement is.
11. Offer brown bag lunch sessions - bribe teachers to attend by bringing food and snacks...display new materials
12. Create focus groups for the teachers to identify materials to build your collection
13. Demonstrate your use of technology...point students to a pathfinder created specifically for their projects.

Make it all about the students!!!
Make the effort...it's worth it!

Standards Survival Kit: How to Make Sense of the New AASL Standards

Kathy worked on the Learning Standards Indicators & Assessment Task Force, and was charged to develop a document to expand and support the new learning standards. Her group named the sections, creating a common vocabulary. Today, she explains the concept of benchmarks and corresponding sample behaviors in the AASL Standards. One can combine the strands to weave a unique tapestry of knowledge. It is our job to teach students how to think and how to learn. Kathy reiterates the issue that LTs should be involved in the assessment process (a common reoccurring thread in this conference). She also suggests focusing on a few indicators at a time, not everything has to be done at once. Baby steps.

Susan worked on the Standards and Guidelines Implementation Task Force. This task force developed a plan called, Learning For Life(L4L). According to Susan, "It is the context and content that we bring to learning." L4L scaffolds from Information Power. It is an essential component in developing successful students.

Thinkfinity’s Awareness Session for Educators

Thinkfinity is an online portal that contains 1000's of free material for every core subject.

Its content partners include: ArtsEdge, EconEdLink, EDSITEment, Illuminations, Literacy Network, ReadWriteThink, ScienceNetLinks, Smithsonian’s History Explorer (new!), and National Geographic Xpeditions. It also offers professional development.

The goals are to train classroom and pre-service teachers to use resources, develop a MA network of Thinkfinity trainers, align Thinkfinity resources to MA curriculum frameworks, and to help teachers locate resources to support student learning.

New features of note are myThinkfinity, where one can log
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Why is this important? Share it with your teachers. The portal leads to 55,000+ lessons and activities. Use it yourself. There's something for everyone here. Oh yeah, and it's FREE! :-)