Sunday, December 26, 2010

Looking Back & Forward

It seems that each year goes by faster than the last. In looking back on 2010, I count myself very lucky that, despite how quickly the year went, I have a lot of positive memories:

  • Classroom Teaching and Blogging: Although it wasn't the position I chose, I truly enjoyed my year in the classroom with my 7th grade Language Arts and 6th Grade Computer Exploratory students during the 2009-2010 school year. The highlights for me, and, I think, for my students, were 1) my read alouds and booktalks and 2) my class blog and all the students' individual blogs. I learned so much and enjoyed meeting (both online and live) new blogging friends around the world. It was bitter-sweet for me to leave my classroom, school, and my class blog target="_blank" this fall.
  • CSLA: While I take advantage of all the professional development opportunities I can find, CSLA has always been my #1 source of professional guidance. I know that I couldn't be the teacher librarian I am without what I learn from CSLA conferences, workshops, publications, networking, and the friendships I have gained through this organization. I feel so fortunate that I was able to serve as CSLA Southern Section President during 2009-2010, and am now continuing on the Southern Section and State Board as 2010-2011 Southern Section Past President. Some highlights of the Southern Section year were our first-ever webinar target="_blank" on Web 2.0 Tools for Learning with Super TL Joyce Valenza, coordinated by our own tech guru Marie Slim, and our March Workshop at Palms MS, which featured keynote speaker Stephen Krashen and our first-ever Smackdown. And, thanks to lots and lots of hard work by many, many CSLA folks, the California State Board of Education passed the Model School Library Standards in September. This is wonderful news, and I know all of us need to work to promote and implement these standards in every way we can.
  • Teen Learning 2.0: This self-paced tutorial authored by Connie Williams and the CSLA 2.0 Team, served as the curriculum for my 6th Grade Computer Exploratory Class last school year, and I also wove each of the activities into the various blogging assignments I gave to my 7th grade Language Arts students. Along the way, it was helpful and fun to compare notes with Sheryl Weiss, who was also teaching a 6th Grade Computer Rotation class at her school. The students especially enjoyed when we held Skype/Elluminate sessions to share with each other. After using the tutorial throughout the school year, Sheryl and I offered to do an updated version based on our experiences. CSLA is now promoting the new tutorial. Please give it a try with students and promote it to others! 
  • New Job: After submitting lots of resumes and getting more than my share of interview practice, in August I was offered the position as TL at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach. My "to do" list gets longer every day, but I love my new job! I feel so lucky to have joined a very supportive staff and a great school and district. 
  • CSLA 2010 Conference: As always, the annual conference in November was incredibly energizing for me. I came away with lots of great new tools, knowledge, and ideas. I also had the pleasure of participating on a Smackdown panel with the super team of Marie Slim, Deb Stanley, and Janet HasBrouck, and in a session on Teen Learning 2.0 with Sheryl Weiss. On my own, I also did a session on VoiceThread

I'm a nut for new web tools, so I am constantly bookmarking new discoveries I hear about through Twitter, blogs I follow, and leads from groups. All too often, though, I don't really have the time to try them all out. A few tools I did get to play with and have worked to incorporate into my "repertoire" this year include:
  • - many of my students enjoyed using this for an assignment after they read The Giver. There were some issues distinguishing the free and paid content, but it's definitely a fun site for both students and adults.
  • - I made an online library orientation with this fun movie-maker, and plan to use it for more.
  • - After experimenting with a wiki as my library website, I changed gears in November and built a new website using Weebly for the first time. While it won't let me do everything that a full html tool does, I'm quite happy with it and enjoy how easy it is to use.
  • - I saw my first Prezi while being a remote attendee at NECC in 2009 and sitting in on Steve Dembo's Top 10 Web Tools presentation. I was blown away by how engaging and flexible it is, but didn't really get to play with it until my fellow teacher Jani Nelson and I used it for a wrap-up review of our school's EETT grant activities last June. Since then, I have used it whenever I can for presentations. I like how it frees me from the sequential nature of PowerPoint, helps me avoid getting caught up in long bullet lists of texts, and allows for very effective zooming in and out of layers of content. 
Just as there's always something new to try, a few tools I have used and loved disappeared this year. I had become a big fan of, and was very disappointed to learn that it was purchased by Facebook and would be discontinuing. Although I had tried Google Reader a few years ago, I was devotee of Bloglines, and was crushed when I read it was discontinuing. Fortunately, that decision was reversed, and Bloglines is still available, but by the time I learned that, I had made the transition to Google Reader and decided to stick with it for the time being. I was also very sad to see Delicious announce it was discontinuing, although I've been a fan for some time. I guess the lesson here is to always back up content and never become too dependent on any one tool.

Some plans and goals for 2011:
  • Build my new library website, especially the reading and pathfinder areas. Please help me with suggestions!
  • QR Codes and Signs: I currently have one QR code on my library website that takes users to my mobile site, but I plan to create a lot of new, engaging signage for my library this coming year and to include QR codes with these signs. 
  • Build video skills. I would like to add a lot of videos to my library website, and want to experiment with a variety of different types of video.
  • Get students at my school doing the Teen Learning 2.0 tutorial. 
  • Present at CUE 2011 in Palms Springs in March. I am looking forward to working with Sheryl Weiss on a Teen Learning 2.0 session and with Jani Nelson on a Prezi session.
  • Present professional development sessions for my school and district staff. I've volunteered to do after-school sessions on Classroom Learning 2.0, Copyright and Creative Commons, Prezi, VoiceThread, and Google Docs and iGoogle.
(Avatar from with thanks for Gwyneth Jones, the Daring Librarian, for the idea.)

Wishing everyone out there a happy, healthy New Year!


  1. Love the beautiful avatar! Hope to see ur CUE 2011 sessions! So glad u r back where u belong!

  2. Jane,

    Great post. I always enjoy reading what you are up to and what you have done. Thanks for the mention. Working on Teen Learning 2.0 with you was fun and I look forward to presenting again at C.U.E.

    Happy New Year -