Thursday, September 13, 2012

Want to know Smore about my library?

I always start the year with the goal of updating my website more often so that I can better communicate with my students and parents.  Somehow, in the rush of each day, this task always gets pushed to the side.  I will admit, my website was in dire need of an update, and I decided to keep it simple and informative.  I will add items for projects as they arise, but I didn't like how all of the links were cluttering my page when they weren't always in use.  So here is my new and improved Wren Middle Media Center webpage.  (But please keep in mind it is a work in progress!)

My favorite part of my new page is my newsletter!  In the past when I heard the dreaded word NEWSLETTER, thoughts came to mind of hours at the computer formatting and reformatting, typing lengthy articles and trying to get my logo positioned just right.  Those days are long gone thanks to Smore!  I learned about this website because Twitter was all abuzz with librarians across the country using this newsletter creator.  I learned about it from Tamara Cox, and you can read her blog post to check out the librarians she learned from.  I decided to give it a go, and I am in love!  It's simple drag and drop format makes it quick and easy to arrange and select a background and theme.  Simply upload your own photos, videos, links and text, and you have a beautiful newsletter that can be shared across platforms.  Embed it in your school website or blog, post it on Facebook and sharet it on Twitter.  Instantly, you will have given your library exposure like it has never had before.  I am also including a section each month with book reviews, and those books are already flying off the shelves!  Check out my newsletter, and sign up for your free account to start yours today!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Your Common Core Secret Weapon

I am so lucky to work with two fabulous librarians and friends, Tamara Cox and Monique German.  We have made it our mission to make sure that we are indispensible to our schools and our districts, and when we started hearing talk of the Commom Core Standards, we started listening closely.  Tamara invited herself to a meeting, we volunteered to lead staff development, and we started talking about how the librarian is really your secret weapon when it comes to implementing Common Core Standards.  This was the beginning of what has become a very fun ride!  Our district has started asking us for advice and help when it comes to all things Common Core, and we are happy to step up and offer anything we can provide!  We are quick to let everyone know we are not experts on every aspect of the new standards, but we are able to use our expert knowledge of inquiry, research, informational text and literature to help make the transition to the Common Core easier and less scary for our teachers.  When they come running, and often panicking, we are ready with a solution or a resource.

We presented at the Upstate Technology Conference in Greenville, SC to a group of administrators about how they can use their media specialist as their Common Core Secret Weapon.  Many were pleasantly surprised that they have a wonderful resource already waiting in their schools, and they were overwhelmingly supportive of the ideas that we offered!

We are excited to talk about how we are becoming the Common Core Secret Weapons at our schools at the TL Virtual Cafe on October 1 at 8pm.  We hope to "see" many of you there and hear about the ways you are helping to implement the Common Core into your own schools.  

Still wondering where you fit in the implementation process at your school?  The time is now!  Jump right in, and don't wait to be asked to join the party.  Bring the party to you!  You will quickly become the go to person for calming the fears of the new Common Core Standards.  You don't have to know everything about them, I certainly don't, but you can offer what you know best...inquiry, research, resources and literature.  You've got it all!

Check out this EdWeek article about the role of the school librarian in Common Core.  I think you will see that much of what is being done by librarians around the country is what we have always done, but now we are getting more attention.  We don't always crave attention, but that is what is going to make our jobs indispensable.  So I challenge you all to get out there, invite yourself to a meeting, talk to your principals and reassure your teachers.  Our time is now, and we can all work together to show the education world that we are an integral part of our school teams!

Happy planning!