Saturday, March 13, 2010

School Libraries Need Your Support!

You would have to be living on another planet right now not to know what a dire financial state our public education and school libraries are in in the United States. In my state of California, which should be among the very most prosperous, education in general, and school libraries in particular, are at dire risk. Many of our best teacher librarians could be joining me in the classroom next year, leaving their libraries without adequate staffing. Our students are our future, and they cannot afford to lose their library programs and information literacy instruction!

Please support the campaign launched by CSLA members Marie Slim, Tom Kaun, and Pat Nelson to fight for the survival of school library programs. Buy or make and wear buttons, and visit Jackie Siminitus' Library Advocate blog posting for ideas of what you can do. And, if you are in or can get to Southern California, be sure to attend the CSLA Southern Section Workshop on March 27 at Palms Middle School. We need you there, and I promise you will come away enriched with all the practical ideas that will be shared by keynote speaker Stephen Krashen, our great lineup of concurrent sessions, our exhibitors, and at our first-ever Web 2.0 Tools Smackdown. Check the workshop wiki for all the details, then register today.

Two milestones passed!

Since my last posting, I have passed two milestones, the State Writing Assessment and my CUE presentation.

My students completed the California State Writing Assessment for Seventh Graders! What a relief! I am excited to be able to turn class attention to some activities other than writing. We basically spent two months focusing entirely on writing prompts and grammar. Now, I feel like we can return to a more balanced curriculum.

I am also relieved to have my CUE VoiceThread presentation behind me. Here's a download link to the handouts on the CUE Community Forum. I am extremely grateful to everyone who came and supported me doing it and gave me positive feedback. Although I have presented before, I never had at CUE, so that was a new experience. I learned a lot! Unfortunately, I had major Internet and computer issues, and wasn't able to go through nearly as much material as I intended. Next time, I need to prepare by downloading all the material I am planning to demo so I can work offline if necessary. One of the great CUE sessions I attended was on screencasting by Robert Craven. I could make screencasts of my online demos as a backup if I have problems with my live demos.

As I always do at a conference, I came away invigorated with many wonderful ideas I want to apply in my work with my students. I am especially keen to apply some of the storytelling techniques I learned about in Steve Dembo's session on "Storytelling for the YouTube Generation." I have also been intrigued with his use of Prezi ever since I saw a video of his NECC presentation, but I haven't had time to try it. I plan to put that high on my "to do" list for my next presentation. I just need to find a session on how to make all the grading go away. :)