Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CSLA 2009 Conference Thanks

The CSLA 2009 Conference has now come and gone, and my duties as conference chair, other than a few wrap up items, are now over! We should have the evaluations and online handouts out to attendees by early next week. Be sure to also check our conference wiki for links videos, slideshows, and more assembled by Marie Slim, our terrific Social Networking Chair.

The conference provided a HUGE self-esteem boost for me, both getting to hear so much positive feedback about the conference as conference chair and winning the Technology Award sponsored by Follett Software! I have also taken note of all the comments I heard requesting improvements in the future and will pass them on to the next committee.

Please excuse this duplication below of my posting in CALIBK12, but I want to reach people in as many ways as possible to thank all the countless people who contributed to the conference's success.

While the conference is now over, I feel confident that the knowledge, great ideas, and camaraderie we gained from it will last us all long into the future. In addition to outstanding selection of general and concurrent sessions and terrific exhibitor offerings, we had a number of firsts --our first Book Cart Drill Team Competition, the world premiere of John McGinnis' "Library Follies," the MTV "Meet the Vendors" Scavenger Hunt, our first "Brag" session at the membership forum, live poster sessions, and the LAYAPALOOZA game show.

It all happened thanks to the hard work and support of so many people:
  • Rosemarie Bernier, our wonderful new president, whose vision and wisdom set the theme and tone and whose hard work never stopped
  • the outstanding conference committee members who worked long and hard both in planning and during the conference
  • the CSLA State Board and the Northern and Southern Section Boards who supported the conference in so many ways
  • our office staff who went the extra mile over and over again
  • all the terrific presenters, authors, and illustrators who attended and so generously shared their wisdom and enthusiasm with us both formally and informally
  • all the CSLA Committees that sponsored events and sessions
  • the many loyal exhibitors who shared their products and support with us
  • all the many attendees who came and supported our organization and volunteered in so many different ways while they were there
Thank you all for being there and making it a conference to remember!

FInally, I would like to thank Rosemarie for offering me the opportunity to serve as this year's committee chair. It was a true honor and privilege.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Keeping Busy with Blogs and My New Computer Rotation

While I have been furiously working away on the last fazes of the conference planning in the evenings and weekends, my classes have been busier than ever.

With just one or two exceptions, all my students have their individual blogs going. They have done their first posting about creativity. Their second posting is due tonight. Some of them were away for three days last week for an honors trip to Catalina. Those students are writing about that experience. The rest are responding to a choice of prompts about a recent book. The assignment also calls for inserting an image reflecting the post. I used that component as an opportunity to teach them about Creative Commons, how to find Creative Commons images at, and how to create a link back to the flickr page to give credit to the creator. I'm looking forward to reading the posts. Only problem is that I don't even have the creativity posts graded yet! Grading is definitely the hardest part of this job.

Another change in the last month is that, due to budget shortfalls and less than expected enrollment at my school, one of my five language arts classes was eliminated and most of my students disbursed to my other four sections. I am now also teaching a sixth grade computer exploratory rotation in place of the fifth language arts class. While I hated seeing my fifth period class eliminated and my other class sizes grow, I am excited about the computer exploratory class. I had a curriculum all ready to go: CSLA's Middle School Learning 2.0 tutorial! I had tried promoting this "beta test" adaptation of CSLA's highly successful SSL 2.0 and Classroom Learning 2.0 tutorials last spring in the library. And, my friend Sheryl (see the October 5 posting) has been using it as the basis of the computer class she is teaching at my neighbor school with great results. I had my first round of students for just 3 1/2 weeks at the end of a rotation, so they only had time to get their feet wet with blogging. Nevertheless, they really enjoyed what they did. Here's my "cover" blog with links to their blogs. Last Monday I started a 10-week round with a new group of students, so we will have lots of time together to work on blogs, and I will also have a chance to incorporate lessons in various information literacy skills.

To introduce my students to the what they will be doing with their blogs, Sheryl and I had a "webinar" using Elluminate* and Skype* between the two classes. Several of her students, who are now a few weeks into their rotation, walked my students through their blogs and what they have most enjoyed working on. Both sets of classes loved it. :) My kids can't wait to be the demonstrators in December when Sheryl has new students starting her class.

* You can get a free Elluminate vRoom for up to three people through That worked fine for us, since we were at just two sites. We used Elluminate to share our browser screens with each other. We could have also used Elluminate's built-in audio, but when we experimented in advance, we found that the quality of both the video and audio on our free Skype accounts was better. We want to learn more about Elluminate in order to take advantage of more of its features and may figure out how to tweak that. In the meantime, the Elluminte and Skype combo worked very well for us.

It's almost time for conference!

CSLA's annual conference is just around the corner! If you haven't registered yet, it's not too late to come and do so on-site. Check out our website and wiki for all the details. You can also start following the conference on Twitter at csla2009. What you learn in the sessions you attend will more than pay for your conference registration. For example, sign up for Sandra Yoon and Sarah Baron's "Successful Strategies for Grant Writing" workshop on Thursday, and you will come away with the tools you need to get your school or district a grant to support your library programs. I look forward to seeing you in Ontario November 19-22!