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Archive for the ‘CCLS’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Live From Olympia

did-earthquake-destroy-ancient-greece-670x440-130426Project Inspiration: Students are fascinated with Ancient Greece and I thought it would be interesting for students to take their inquiry questions and interest video-making and combine it into a collaborative project.  This project could be for grades 6 and up depending on the curriculum.

Essential Question: What if we lived in Ancient Greece? What is the importance of Ancient Greece to us today? What can we learn about ourselves from the Ancient Greeks?

The Situation:  A film crew has been transported back in time to report on Ancient Greece.  It is your job to do research on an aspect of Ancient Greek life for the film crew.  You are also charged with creating the scripts the film crew will follow when they go live with a new program called: Live From Ancient Olympia.

Note: Prior to beginning the actual project students read some ebooks  (Rosen Publishings Interactive eBooks on Ancient Greece) on Ancient Greece to get perspective and background information.  These are fantastic ebooks that are simotaneous use with are my favorite!  Timelines and keywords defined.  There are so many resources.  Full Disclosure: I am good friends with one of the reps.  But it is still an awesome resource and there are no other eBooks out there like it.  The key to the success of the project is organization and the use of  jobs in each group.  The project began with the Marshmellow Challenge to get students to begin to work together and think about each person’s strengths.

Each group includes:

  1. Manager—keeps group members on task; communicates with teacher; provides leadership
  2. Reporter—keeper of all records; manages paper; tracks “who’s doing what”
  3. Techie—manages the group’s technology needs; knows how to use the technology or is willing and able to learn new technology as needed for this project.
  4. Archivist—organizes found stories, photos, and artifacts

Each class (of 4-5 groups) work on one news broadcast.  Therefore, in each class there was one video editor, one camera person, and two anchors.  This worked extremely well for creating the video.  Not all students are interested in video editing and it can be time-consuming so those students interested in the process can be involved.  The feedback from the students was overwhelmingly positive.  They enjoyed the process and learned a lot.

You can see some examples of the project here

PostHeaderIcon PBL & Librarians

Wordle on Project Based Learning

Image Source: http://bit.ly/1sYAhVL

I have had quite a few teachers collaborating with me this summer.  It is the first time I have been 4 years in the same place and it is pretty exciting.  I have a good idea of who I will be connecting with and what my year will look like.  Of course the projects are always changing but I am feeling great.

Librarianship in schools and really anywhere is all about collaboration and innovation.  If you are not changing you are sure to loose your position and (gasp) perhaps the library itself.  We all have seen the results of libraries that have lost their librarians.  It is true sadness.  Project-Based Learning is a door into something oldish and new again.  What is PBL but authentic inquiry-based experiences.  We are experts in inquiry.  In fact when I first started working on PBL I thought I was doing it wrong because it came so naturally to me.  Of course there were a few new buzz words and techniques but overall it is a inquiry experience.

I decided to take the 4 day training in PBL at the end of May (very scary with so many projects going on) but I felt I needed to be a leader in the conversation.  The only way I could do that was to have the information for my teachers who were going to be struggling as to what this “new” PBL learning meant.  Luckily we have a very supportive BOCES (regional information center of sorts) who gave us  an amazing amount of training and experience (@Pshaw63 @joanne_keim @dpawlewicz).  I walked out of that training ready to go with a project.  In fact I put the project into practice in June. I know crazy crazy.  But I really wanted to try it out.

Impressions:  Students were extremely engaged.  A big part of the process is voice and choice to make the experience authentic.  Another thing I did was to make the groups myself.  Students did work in groups of 2 but they did not choose the groups.  This made a big difference.  I tended to put students who were troublesome together and boy let me tell you they really did amazing things.  They no longer could depend on the “good” student to do the work for them.  Also by putting “good” students together I could focus my time on those students that needed aid and help.

Suggestion:  Join the conversation.  Do not be afraid to connect with your teachers outside the library.  It is really about the students and I will do just about anything to help the students grow and innovate.

PostHeaderIcon Marketing & CCLS

Although the Common Core is here to stay at least for now it is more important that every for librarians to continue to market themselves.  We have Common Core and inquiry-based learning written across out foreheads.  AASL’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner was in effect long before Common Core was a glimmer in the distance.

I have found it effective to use the students who have ownership of the library.  I have created videos about how the students use the library for the school board.  I also attend as many professional developments with the teachers that I am able so I can talk in their language.  In New York especially with the rise of the required research paper this falls in the purview of the librarian.  Even if you cannot directly collaborate with the teachers providing resources and being available is key.

Create an online newsletter that is sent out monthly to the staff.  Include tools the teachers can use to make CCLS compliance a little easier.  MailChimp is a great free website to use for professional looking newsletters.  If you have less than 2000 subscribers and less than 12,0000 emails per month then it is free.  Presenting at Faculty Meetings even if it is a 1 minute website highlight or a new database that can help teachers find primary source documents.

“MailChimp is an email marketing service provider, founded in 2001. It has 3.5 million users that collectively send over 4 billion emails a month through the service.” (Wikipedia)

Once you have the newsletter setup it is very quick to just add information when you want to use it.  In fact I plan to use this monthly for my own school.  I was excited to find it because I had been sporadically sending out information to staff as I came across it.  To have a regular information source for staff is important.

A good article on getting to the heart of the Common Core Learning Standards.  Barbara Stripling and  Diane Ravitch mentioned.  Don’t be an island onto yourself.  Use the resources around you.

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