Saturday, August 29, 2015

Makerspace... I got the OK... Now I'm Freaking Out!

Welcome back to another school year!  We finished the first week and I have finally come up for air. Over the summer, my district offers a "Librarian Re-Boot Camp" where we can attend PD and brainstorming sessions.  One of the sessions I went to this year was about makerspaces and it got my wheels turning again.

I have been intrigued by the idea of makerspaces for a while, and even tried a sort-of-makerspace last year with 5th grade (see post), but I have always struggled with the logistics of it at elementary school.
     When would students come?
     Who would come?
     How would I manage it?
     How would I keep it supplied?
     How would I monitor students and continue my regular lessons and checkouts?

I get the idea for middle and high schools where students have study halls or lunch periods, but I just couldn't wrap my head around it for elementary.

So after the session at Re-Boot Camp, I decided just to stop making excuses and just figure something out.  My school has school-wide interventions from 8:00-8:30 every morning starting in mid-September and while I have always had a 2nd grade reading group, I thought this might be the perfect time to implement the makerspace.  I could offer each grade level a week at a time and each class could send 4-6 students per morning.  By the end of the week, hopefully every student in the grade would have made it through for at least 30 minutes.  I am also going to give each teacher some sort of pass for 3 students to come down during the day if they have some time and want to continue working in the space.  

I wasn't sure what my principal would think so I wrote up a proposal and emailed it to her before we started back in August.  I also wanted to make sure this was going to be seen as a valuable addition to our school so I proposed that I would offer STEAM activities and supplies in the space.  

Well, she loved the idea and gave me the go ahead!  And while I am excited about it I am freaking out a little (ok, a lot) trying to get ready to really put it into action.  

I have been searching twitter, pinterest, blogs and any other sources I can find about makerspaces and it is starting to come together.  I will add more posts as I get more things figured out.  If anyone has resources or suggestions for activities that they love in the makerspaces, ways to manage the space, how to fund the space, or any other tips they want to provide, I would love to hear them!  

Monday, August 17, 2015

A True Librarian

Summer is over and it's back to school.  I've been reflecting for the last few days on my job as a librarian and what my goals and visions are for this school year.  As I have been thinking about this, a question popped into my head... What is a True Librarian?  I tried to think about the job description and how I would answer that.  I came to realize that there are many types of librarians and that I do not fall solely into any of these types.  At any given moment, I can be one kind and then the next moment be another type.  Many days I am a combination of more than one.  Sometimes I stay in the role for a while depending on my goals for the year but other roles sneak in and out depending on the moment.  And sometimes I can be all of these in the space of just one day.

Booky Barbara - Barbara is the book-lover of all book-lovers.  She knows every single picture book or chapter book in her library and has read them all.  She knows the exact book to point kids and teachers to at any given moment.  Her days are filled with classes coming in for story time and she is the ultimate read-alouder.  The students are mesmerized when she reads because of her changing voices and facial expressions.  Barbara is a true librarian.

Curriculum Cathy - Cathy knows the state standards for every grade level like the back of her hand and every lesson that she teaches supports at least one of those standards if not more.  She loves to create new and exciting ways to reach the students in whatever lesson she is teaching.  Teachers come to her for book suggestions for teaching certain ideas and she can point them to multiple titles in a matter of seconds.  Cathy is a true librarian.

Technology Tina - Tina is the technology-guru on her campus.  She can troubleshoot technology like nobody's business.  She just has to walk into the room and whatever technology problem was there is fixed, bam! just like that.  She also integrates technology seamlessly into her lessons and teachers come to her when they want an idea for integration.  She knows about the newest things going on probably because she tweets, skypes, follows blogs and participates in education chats. Tina is a true librarian.

Information Irene - Irene knows the answer to any question that is asked (and if she doesn't know she can find out).  She knows where to find answers and she loves to teach the students how to search for themselves.  You can often find Irene by the computers or on an iPad talking to students about keywords or directing them to the library databases to find their answers.  Irene is a true librarian. 

Programming Peggy - Peggy is the ultimate actress.  She loves to dress up and get "into character" for different activities happening in her library.  She loves planning for author visits and story-tellers and always has some kind of reading challenge going on.  She figures out how to interest kids in reading through her programming.  Peggy is a true librarian.

I know there are many more hats that librarians wear depending on their library, students, administration, etc.  Do you identify with these or do you have a different definition of a true librarian?