Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dot Day

I love my teachers... they are always willing to try something new or play along with my ideas even when in true Mrs. Romine fashion, I spring it on them.  This year I heard about Dot Day for the first time.  And so two weeks ago, I sent out an email telling the teachers about International Dot Day with a link to this blog  with some ideas and said if anyone was up for doing an activity to let me know.  Some teachers took it and ran with it, planning activities to do in the classrooms, like these kinder teachers.  For math, they read 10 Black Dots and gave each kid a different number card.  They had to tell the teacher the number and count out the number of dots to make their picture.
a snowman

a car
In Language Arts, they happen to be studying beginning sounds, so the kinder idea from the blog above went perfectly.  Students had a paper with the first initial of their name and had to put dots all on the letter.

My 5th grade teachers departmentalize and one of the math teachers and I collaborated on how to use dots with their objective of two-digit multiplication.  We decided to have the kids make a drawing of two shapes.  It could be abstract shapes, geometrical shapes or 2 "things" that go together.  Some even did their initials. 
Then they had to color around the shapes for their background.  When they finished that, they took a Q-tip with paint and dotted the inside of their 2 shapes.  Then they counted the number of dots in each shape and wrote a multiplication sentence and solved the problem.  Then they made a QR code on the iPad with the answer to the problem. 
Finally they attached the QR code to their drawing and signed their picture.  
Now the pictures are ready to be hung in the 5th grade hallway for a self checking multiplication station.  




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Technology Tuesday: Tweet! Tweet!

It's official!  I'm a "tweeter"!  I have tweeted 8 times in the past week about things going on in my library.  I just decided to jump in and see what happens.

I signed up for a twitter account last April at our Texas Library Conference when I went to a session about the "Nerdy Book Club"and immediately regretted it.  While I was pretty sure that the presenters, Cynthia Alaniz @utalaniz and John Schu @MrSchuReads, were speaking English at the presentation their twitter posts were in a completely different language.  Full of @, # quick phrases and links to websites.  I could not decipher and immediately vowed never to go there again.  

But then, I came back to school in August and got curious about it again.  I opened the shunned app on my phone and searched for a few of the other librarians in my district and started reading the things they were posting.  Now it wasn't so foreign.  They were just posting about the things happening in their libraries.  After "lurking" for a week or so, I worked up the courage to create an account for my"professional" self.  Then I started asking questions to my go to girls for social media... Cari Young @myschoollibrary and Angie Oliverson (Ms.O Reads Books). (I even FB instant messaged my director on a Saturday night).  She sent me to this blog Summer Learning Series 2014.  Here Todd Nesloney @TechNinjaTodd, a principal and tech guy extraordinaire, challenges his teachers to learn something new every week.  It was great!  I loved reading his personal story about twitter and he links to some other great resources about getting started.  And so off I went...
My First Tweet
Besides informing my community about the things going on in my library, I can already tell twitter is going to help me with my professional goal to network with other librarians and teachers.  

You can follow me @laffinglibrary

Friday, September 5, 2014

Funny Friday: Like Student Like Teacher

Every librarian has probably gotten the questions, "Where are the 'good books'?" or "Do you have any 'good book'?" from their students.

But last night on Facebook, one of my TEACHERS posted "anyone have a good book to lend? I need something to read while my kids read each night!"  

My comment..."Ummmm, we have a whole library full of 'good books'!"

Now I know where the kids get it from ;)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Technology Tuesday: QR Code Orientation

Rather than stand in front of my 4th graders and show a Power Point while I bore them to tears about the different parts of the library and procedures whey must follow, I decide to have them to a QR code Scavenger Hunt for their Orientation.  I made a list of 22 places in our library I wanted them to know about... the check out desk, the biography section, the smartboard, the iPad cart, etc.  Then I made a list of 22 questions like "How many shark books do we have in our library?", "How many books can you check out at a time?", "What kind of books are in the 398.2s?".  Then using the website QR Stuff, I made a QR code with the answer to each of the questions.  Once I made the QR code, I opened an Excel document and pasted the QR code into a cell and the answer in the cell below the code.  For the actual recording sheet for the students, each number 1-22 had a "location" and a "question".  The location was where they needed to go to find the code and the question they needed to answer by scanning the code at that location.  For example: #1 Location: Magazines   Question:  How many shark books are in our library?  The code that was taped to the magazine shelf had the QR code with the answer "62" which is the number of shark books that we have.  I partnered the kids up and had each partner group start at a different number so they would not get traffic jammed - although they still did.  I also asked them to move away from the code to write the answer(since the answer was on the iPad) once they scanned it so other groups could get to the code.  All in all, it was a noisy, engaging, informative lesson where the students were actively reminded of places in our library, procedures and interesting facts and not one of them fell asleep.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Technology Tuesday: Kahoot

I changed up my 3rd grade orientation a bit this year after learning about an interactive website called Kahoot.  But let me back up a bit... a learned about Kahoot last year, but never tried it out.  I thought my teachers would love it, but needed a good way to introduce it to them.  So before we left for summer vacay, I asked them for a fun fact that people might not know about them.  When we came back for our week of inservice, we played.

Kahoot is a classroom response system for learning in a game based atmosphere. Create a free account and then let your gaming begin.  You type in questions(and/or upload a picture) and then multiple choice answers.  You can choose the number of seconds plays have to respond to the question and whether or not they get points for the correct answer and the speed of their answer.  Once it is saved you are ready to play.  Launch the game and project it on a screen.  Players go to www.kahoot.it to login in on a computer, mobile device, iPad etc.  They type in the game pin assigned to the game that is projected on the screen and then enter a nickname.  When the game starts, the question is posted for a few seconds and the answers are revealed with a color and shape assigned to them.  The same colors and shapes appear on the players devices.  Players choose the matching one to enter their answer and after the timer goes off, the answer is revealed.  

Ok so back to how I used it.  On the Friday of our inservice week, teachers brought a device to one of our meetings, I launched the game and they had a blast learning interesting things about each other.  Like our principal could do back flips on a balance beam in high school and one of our third grade teachers was an ordained minister.  Fun times, and they all were talking about how they could go back and use it in their classrooms.

For my orientation with 3rd grade, I put a question and a picture about the library.  The kids worked in pairs to answer the question within 30 sec and then I was able to elaborate a little more on the rule, program or area of the library.  

Based on the amount of cheering and high-fiving between the questions, I would say this was a success.  How do you present library orientation to your students?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

3 for Thursday: Goals

(I know I am posting this on Saturday, but I had every intention of posting it Thursday until real life got in the way.)

Every year, the librarians in my district have to submit 3 goals that we have for our library programs that year.  And I must admit, that maybe once or twice I didn't put a whole lot of thought into them.  But going into my 11th year as a librarian, I figured it was time to take my librarianship up a notch, so here are 3 of my goals.  

Goal #1:  Professional Development
As I grew to have more years in the library under my belt, I became comfortable with what I was doing in the library and didn't not feel the need to seek out a lot of "extra" professional development (and unfortunately Pinterest doesn't count as PD).  This year, I am going hunting for some new opportunities to take me out of my comfort zone as well as opportunities for presenting to my staff.   

Goal #2: Technology
The teachers at my campus all received 3 iPads per class last year and a SMART board this year.  Last year, I did a lot of modeling of iPad lessons, apps and integration and this year I want to continue to utilize the iPads as much as possible but also model advanced uses and integration for the SMART board.  

Goal #3: Networking and Professional Learning Communities
Last spring, I let my poor blog slide.  I am recommitting to blogging multiple times every week as well as networking with other librarians and teachers through other forms of social media.  

What goals have you set for yourself this year?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Goodbye Summer... See you in 42 Fridays

This is kind of how I felt this summer except my lazy time was spent reading.  I could spend all day in my PJs reading a book or two.  Unfortunately, my 14 and 11 year old have other plans.  Due to baseball, football and strength and conditioning schedules, this was my first summer not to go to my "happy place" in Wisconsin.  
My 14 year old is going to be a freshman in high school and at the Parent sports meeting in the spring, the head football coached "highly recommended" that if you were in town that your athlete attend the strength and conditioning program that was offered at the high school every day.  My husband heard the "highly recommended" part as "you absolutely, positively unless you are on your death bed will attend" and so my days were spent driving back and forth to one practice after another.  

I did manage to cram in as much reading as I could.  For my "grown-up" reading, I am hooked on the Jack Reacher series by Lee Childs and read about 6 of those this summer.  I don't know what it is about those books that has me intrigued but I am and can not get enough.  My "kids" reading included all 20 Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominees.  Of which Dead City by James Ponti was at the top of my list.  I can not wait to introduce this book to my students at school.  Zombies!!  They are going to go crazy!  

What did you read this summer?