Saturday, May 16, 2015

Lead The Way To "Finish The Race Strong" From The School Library

It's that time of year. You have been running strong since August. Students are ready for summer; you can sense this feeling more each day. Everyone is ready for a break! It's ok to be tired. It's ok to look forward to a vacation this summer, but it's also essential to keep going strong right up to the last day. Here are a few tips to keep the motivation up and lead the way from the school library.

1. Reflect on the great things you have done with students and teachers this year. Show short videos or slideshows of meaningful programs from this school year. Display them in the library, so students can see them. This will ignite powerful memories of learning for you and your learning community.

2. Continue greeting students and building relationships. By late May, very often students will come in making requests without saying "hello" or "good morning". Mr. Ray Borel (one of our library assistants) and I generally always follow up these impersonal requests with, "Good morning/ good afternoon, how are you?" This almost always snaps the student out of the moment and reminds them of the personal aspect of school. It also teaches citizenship/ manners. We then try to always take a moment to ask them how things are going for them (while we are completing their requested task). This may seem like a small thing, but we have noticed that these types of investments pay off big dividends! Relationships are key, especially in May! We never know the impact of merely greeting or listening to students. We might be the only adult that gives the student a voice!

3. Look for opportunities to share new materials or summer programs. We have scheduled a few of our local public librarians to come for a visit in a few weeks (Garland County Library)! The local YA librarians always do a great job advertising their summer public library programs and generating excitement with prize giveaways! If you don't have a local county or city library, try doing a Skype or Google Hangout session with a public library that is close enough for your patrons to visit in the summer. If you host your own summer programs, now is the time to be advertising your summer hours! Generate excitement!

4. Build up the teachers and administrators in your building. Take the time to listen and encourage these important adults in your building. They are tired and overwhelmed, too. We are all stronger together. If they have ideas or questions for next year, show interest and help them. Remember that you are a leader in your building. You are also an agent of change. Your positive influence will be contagious... even in May.

5. Make a decision to enjoy the final days of school! Realize that you can make a difference, even in these last days. Countdowns are fine, but keep sight of what is important! Make a difference for your learning community!

Watch this quick inspirational quote video:

Stay motivated, and have a great week!

Need motivation? Watch some of my "Motivational Monday" inspirational quotes on YouTube here!

Check out our first Makerspace Day in the library here!

Check out our first MysterySkype Session in the library here!

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Monday, May 4, 2015

How We Used Twitter And Skype To Connect With A Student Featured On The CBS Evening News

This past Sunday, a friend from school messaged me on Facebook. In the message, she had sent a link to a wonderful story on the CBS Evening News (go here for the link). The feature was about 14 year old Daelyn James from Tennessee. She had invented a dryer for her nebulizer breathing apparatus while using a Mobile Makerspace 3D Printer. She used this Makerspace while she was a patient at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. While I watched the video of her interview, I was very inspired by her excitement for creating.

I decided to show the video clip during lunch in the library the very next day. Most of the fifty students that attended were very interested in this very innovative application of 3D Printing. Our students enjoy our library 3D Printer, but they haven't invented anything with it in the nine months we have had it. They have mainly created common objects or recreated models with the printer. I knew this was an opportunity to inspire them to invent something!

I suggested that it would be really interesting if we could Skype with Daelyn during a library lunch program. Several students immediately encouraged me to contact her! I found her on Twitter and shared my business card/ school website information (so her parents could contact me). I was so excited to receive an email from Daelyn's mother that very night! She said we could Skype with Daelyn on Wednesday!

The students were so surprised when I announced this during lunch in the library on Tuesday. I took the opportunity to tell them how I used social media to reach out to Daelyn, share my professional contact info, and then exchange emails with her mother to arrange the session. I am always looking for opportunities to model digital citizenship, and this was a great example!

I had the students write the questions that they wanted to ask Daelyn in the session. We had eleven students submit great questions. I sent all the questions to Daelyn's mother, so she could relay them to her daughter.

The big day rolled around, and we connected with Daelyn on Skype without issue. The students lined up and asked their questions on the webcam. Daelyn answered like a pro. Her personality came through, and you could feel the inspiration in the room. It was so great for our students to connect with a person that had just been featured on the national news just a few days before. The session lasted for about 20 minutes, and it was truly one of the highlights this school year. I hope we can stay in touch with Daelyn, so she can continue to impact our students' with her next inventions! This is a wonderful reality of the 21st century connected classroom. Anything is possible!

As an added bonus, our local paper (The Sentinel Record) ran a photo and description from the session on the front page the very next day. Thank you, Daelyn James for making a difference at the Lakeside High School Library Media Center.

Go here to read about our first Makerspace Day in the library.

Go here to read about our student led 3D Printer session in the library.

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