Using Google Docs for Submitting Requests

Google Summit LogoI’m still having fun playing with the Google apps I learned about in last week’s #GAFE Summit, and one of the ideas that experience sparked involves using Google Docs to coordinate purchase requests from the teachers in my school.  As the media spcialist, I value their input as I decide what resources to order for the library but it can be difficult sometimes to keep track of all their requests.

In the past they have emailed me or written me notes detailing the subjects they cover and the materials they need to support the curriculum.  But now, the collaborative element of Google Docs will make it possible for them to submit all their requests in one online document.

Here’s a sample of what I envision the Purchase Requests Doc will look like.  (Click the image to enlarge.)

Purchase Request

Anyone with whom I share the link to the official document will have editing rights, so all the teachers will be able to add their requests themselves.  Each grade level will be assigned a different color so that I can see at a glance if one grade is over- or under-represented in the ordering process.  And I can respond to their requests to let them know I have added items to my order, or that we already have the resources they need.  This will also serve as a reminder to me to notify the appropriate teachers once the new materials have arrived.

I also do most of the technology troubleshooting at my school, so I may create another Doc for teachers to use to submit any tech problems that need my attention.  I could use Google Forms for that, but I think having all of the requests in one place would make a powerful statement about how much of my time is spent keeping the technology working.

If you are already using Google Docs to coordinate requests, I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions.  Please leave a comment, or tweet me at @LibraryLoriJune

 

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A Perfectly Messed Up Story

To celebrate my day off from school today, I visited a big bookstore to spend a few happy hours in the picture book section.  (You did that too, right?)  Among the many delightful titles I examined was one that immediately stood out as a great read-aloud for my library classes:

perfectly messed up story   A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell

Little Louie is so excited about the story he wants to tell, but when first a jelly blob and then a peanut butter glob land on his beautiful pages, he is outraged that someone is being so careless with his book.

Page from A PERFECTLY MESSSED UP STORY by Patrick McDonnell

Page from A PERFECTLY MESSSED UP STORY by Patrick McDonnell

Orange juice stains, fingerprints,scribbles — keep calm, Librarians! — will no one respect Louie’s story?  He eventually comes to realize that we can enjoy books (and life in general) in spite of any imperfections that intrude.

McDonnell (winner of a Caldecott Honor medal for Me . . . Jane) has created a thoroughly charming character in Louie, and there’s no doubt that as a librarian I have found a soul mate in him!  In Louie’s own words: “We need to show some respect here. Books are important. They teach us stuff and they inspire us.”

And I love that I can use this book to share three different messages with my students: 1) Please take care of your library books!, 2) Even if someone else didn’t take such good care of a library book, you can still enjoy the story, and 3) Don’t let a little “jelly” spoil your good times.  (In that respect it reminds me of Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin!)

No wonder this book received a starred review from both Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly!  And right now you can purchase it from Amazon at 30% off the cover price.

What book(s) do you use to emphasize book care with your students?  Tell us about them in the comments!

 

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What is STEAM and How Can You Support It In Your Library?

I had the opportunity to participate in a great twitter chat Monday night dedicated to discussing ways librarians can support STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) in our schools.

Working at ComputersSome of the ideas that were shared include:

  • facilitating computer coding sessions for students
  • stocking library learning centers and Makerspace areas with building materials (Legos, K-nex, Little Bits, etc)
  • displaying student art in the library
  • providing “maker” books for students (Lego idea books, duct tape projects, Minecraft manuals, origami instructions, etc)
  • donating weeded library books for project components
  • hosting themed maker sessions that are tied to the curriculum
  • sharing creative writing tools like Storybird for non-fiction writing
  • designing 3-D printing projects tied to the curriculum (i.e., math students printing geometric shapes such cylinder, cone, etc)
  • using rap, hip hop, and other types of music to memorize facts
  • sponsoring a Minecraft club
  • offering creative writing workshops for students
  • creating a collection of nonfiction graphic novels
  • leading a themed Genius Hour project tied to the curriculum
  • using Skype or Google Hangouts to connect students with other classes or field experts

You can find an archive of the entire STEAM in the Library chat here.  Please follow #tlchat (TeacherLibrarianChat) and #tlelem (TeacherLibrarianElementary level) on Twitter for new inspiration every day, and tweet those hashtags to share your own library successes!

Are you doing something different to support STEAM in your school?  Please share it in the comments!

 

 

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First Day with First Grade

I saw the first 1st grade class of the year on Friday, and we had a great time together! I like to mix it up with them because if we spend too long sitting still in one spot they either get the fidgety-wigglies or they fall asleep!

mr. wiggles bookWe begin by sitting on the story rug while I read Mr. Wiggle’s Book by Paula Craig, and we discuss all the things that make Mr. Wiggle sad when people don’t take care of books. Unfortunately the book is out of print now, and the prices on Amazon (at the time of this posting) are ridiculous! If you have a copy of the book, it’s a great introduction to book care for younger students, and it leads right into a fun song.

Wwhaddaya think of thate talk about what we see on the cover of the book — Mr. Wiggle wearing his reading glasses and “holding” a book — and then I introduce them to These Are My Glasses from the CD Whaddaya Think of That by Laurie Berkner. We then sing the chorus together a few times, using simple motions to act it out, and the kids love it! (By the way, when you order the CD from Amazon, you get the mp3 version free with your purchase.)

2-Mr. Wiggle0003

Mr. Wiggle is sad when you throw your library book.

Then we move to the library tables and review book care with a Mr. Wiggle powerpoint on the Promethean board. Finally, I hand out drawing paper and crayons and ask students to draw a picture of Mr. Wiggle, and a picture of something you should or should not do when borrowing a library book.  We talk about the “No” symbol (at the end of the book, and on slide 8 of the powerpoint) and they feel extremely sophisticated when they use it on their Do Not drawings! 1-Mr. Wiggle0002

If we have time, I allow volunteers to share their pictures with the class. We then practice the song one more time so they can sing it for their teacher when she picks them up.

I love to hear how indignant the kids sound when they tell me about things that are bad for books. Most of them take book care very seriously, which is just the way I like it!

 

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Keeping Busy

Reflect

 

Whew, it’s been awhile since I took time to reflect on what’s going on in my library!

My principal put my library on a flexible schedule last year, after five years on a fixed schedule, and I’m thrilled with her commitment to keeping it that way.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to find that nine weeks into year two, I’m still figuring out how to squeeze in everything I want to do!  In the past, I planned six projects per week (one for each grade level at my K-5 school) and out of necessity ran the library on autopilot while I taught six Library classes daily.  Now, I’m usually working on six projects PER DAY as I collaborate with teachers, plan special library events, manage our school website, provide technology training, and continue to see classes for story time and research projects as needed!

Having the freedom to try new things with teachers and students is both exhilarating (so many ideas!) and frustrating (still not enough time!) in equal measures.  My primary concern right now is making sure that the activities I’m scheduling are not just cute and fun, but are providing real interactive learning opportunities for the students.  Working with teachers is crucial in supporting the classroom curriculum and addressing the common core standards, and planning time is something they don’t have enough of, either.  Fortunately we were able to add a Curriculum Coach to our staff this year, and she and I have been putting out heads together to figure out how we can best help teachers align their content with the standards, and integrate more technology into their lesson plans.

NetworkedTeacher
Frankly, I blame a lot of my problems on social media.  My PLN has expanded in the last two years from just reading blogs to following tweeps on Twitter and  pinners on Pinterest, and participating in monthly webinars hosted by TL Cafe, School Library Journal, and various other providers.  Consequently, I’m exposed to more great ideas than I have time to try!  Curse you, PLN, for thinking so creatively and sharing so generously!

So, how do I eat the elephant?  One bite at a time!  When I’m discouraged at the end of each day by how many things didn’t get done, I have to remind myself of all the things I did accomplish.  Toward that end, I started a Project 365 photo journal, but I have to admit that I’ve been too busy to keep up with it.  Do you have any tips for staying positive when things get hectic?  Please share them in the comments!

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Alec Couros via Compfight

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Library Advisory Team – My Partners in Literacy

So thrilled to have my 2013-2014 Library Advisory Team in place!

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I can best keep the lines of communication open with the teachers in my school, and I believe that an advocacy team will be the most effective way to do that.

I shared my main reading goals for the year in a previous post, and next Monday I’ll be discussing some of those plans with my new team so that we can decide on the best ways to implement (or modify) them.

Thank You!Thinking about starting your own advisory group?  Click here for more details about my program.

I’d love to hear how you are working with teachers in your school.  Please leave a note in the comments sharing your advocacy program!

p.s. There were codes inside the bags of candy bars I bought to enter online so that the candy company will make a donation to RIF!  How cool is it that?!

 

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Pinterest Updates

PinterestHave you ever gone to Pinterest to look for a specific idea, and then two hours later looked up from your computer screen wondering where the time went?  Of course you have!  That’s what Pinterest does to people!  It sucks them into a beautiful fantasy world where anything is possible if you only have the right kind of glue.

Well, this year I’m getting the right kind of glue, and I’m putting some of these fabulous ideas to work in my library!  I spent some time yesterday creating a new Pinterest account solely for my professional pins using the name LibraryLoriJune, which is also my  Twitter handle, and made a new board for each type of pin I’ve saved.  Categories include Library Management, Book Extenders, Book Displays, Tech Tools, and (as of this writing) fourteen others.

I have been using Delicious for over five years to organize websites (2,312 links as of this morning!), and it’s still my go-to bookmarking resource, mainly because 1) I can assign searchable tags to my bookmarks and 2) Delicious is not blocked at school by our extremely tight filters.  But Delicious does not have the visual appeal of Pinterest, nor is it as widely used by the kinds of people I want to get ideas from, so now that Pinterest has been unblocked for teachers in my district (yay!) I want to start using it more.

Are you on Pinterest?  If so, please leave a link to your boards in the comments so that I can follow you!

 

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