Erikson TECPlay Conference 2018

I was honored to be invited to speak at the first TECPlay Conference at the Erikson Institute in Chicago on April 27, 2018. The theme of the conference was the question: “How is children’s play impacted by technology?”

You know you are in for a fun conference when your name badge comes as a DIY kit with no instructions! It was fun for me to see all the different ways participants attempted to solve this simple circuit challenge.

The first speaker was Dr. Lydia Plowman of the University Edinborough, Scotland. She was sharing her research on play and technology.

I love this etymology that Dr. Plowman shared in her opening.

My takeaway from the day is encapsulated in this quote. We have to be present with our children as they are learning with technology. It is, as Mr. Rogers said a tool:

I was grateful to be invited and to learn alongside so many fantastic educators. The Technology in Early Childhood Education Center continues to do amazing work. Thank you to all of the participants and organizers of this event. I hope to have the chance to return.

ALA International Sharjah, UAE 2018 Reflection

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Last November I had the honor to be part of the American Library Association’s International Conference in Sharjah, UAE. This conference ran concurrently with the Sharjah International Book Fair. Over one hundred countries were represented at the book fair and the ALA International Conference brought regional librarians together for several days of professional development and discovery.

Wendy Garland, an elementary librarian from Dedham, Massachusetts and I collaborated for many months prior to the conference to plan and organize a variety of workshops and experiences for our colleagues in the region. A highlight of this planning was connecting our students prior to our trip to the UAE.

We both explored books about the region and had our students come up with ‘homework’ for us to do while we were in the UAE. We even read a book together about the ‘story’ of the UAE formation called Our Unity is Our Strength. We skyped together and took turns reading aloud and learning about one another. Two of Wendy’s students even taught us a few words in Arabic!

We collaborated on a pre-conference session for regional librarians that was one of the highlights of my professional career.

Our day-long pre-conference consisted of several sections. All with the main goal of connecting and networking this group of dedicated professionals. After getting to know one another, we celebrated the collective knowledge of the group. This quote reminded me of one I use to describe our library all the time: “The library is the living room of the school.” After having spent some time in the UAE, I now understand a bit more, the importance of the kitchen in the culture. It makes perfect sense to me now.

We wanted to introduce Twitter and the power it has to develop a Professional Learning Network for our colleagues in the UAE region. Wendy and I shared how it has connected us and has played such a powerful role in our own professional development. In fact, we hadn’t met until we came together in the UAE, but we had been collaborating for months prior to our meeting!

We began with some ‘analog’ tweets to get the ‘juices’ flowing.

I LOVE seeing the variety in these analog tweets. It warmed us up to explore the power of Twitter. Many had not set up accounts, but others were active and learned about tools like TweetDeck to help manage chats and explore hashtags.

We introduced Breakout.edu to our friends and had them complete a simple game to show them the possibilities. We were even able to leave a kit with one lucky winner!

There was time at the end of our day for a ‘playground’ where we had a variety of tools and experiences for all to explore. The greenscreen center got a lot of laughs and ignited some interesting ideas for integration into learning spaces.

Wendy and I taught several other sessions during the general conference as well. One highlighted Breakout.edu and we had our attendees complete a game based on The Dot by Peter Reynolds.     It was a big hit!

Another session was about how we each work to engage and excite readers in our libraries. I learned so much from listening to Wendy and from what our attendees share as well.

Our last session was about using literacy to help develop empathy All of these workshop sessions are available through the QR code or links above.

My colleague @AliSchilpp shared a Lego Travel Buddy with me prior to the trip. I decided that I would use him to help share the trip with my students and colleagues in IL when I returned and while it was happening via Twitter. The name badge we wore at the conference was a perfect spot to keep my Lego Travel Buddy!

We didn’t have a lot of free time, but when we did, we jammed as much into it as we could. We visited Mosques, ate authentic cuisine and learned about the UAE culture through several tours and lectures.

What do two librarians do when in a new city? Of course, they go to the library! We wanted to show our kiddos that the Dewey system works all over the world.

My biggest take away from the trip to the UAE was that librarians around the world struggle with the same challenges: schedule, budget, ‘that’ kid. We are a solitary and profession; often the only librarians in our buildings. We are thirsty for collaboration and for collegiality.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

I am proud to see that the hashtag #UAELibrarians continues to be used and shared. It makes me proud to see librarians of the region and the world connecting in ways they had not before. Every day I see and learn things from my new colleagues on the other side of the world. I am eager to continue to learn and grow with them.

I am immensely grateful to the librarians in the UAE, the American Library Association and my school district for helping me make this experience a reality! I not only grew as a professional, but I also gained dozens of more friends and colleagues. I’m also grateful to my incredibly talented colleague, Wendy Garland. She is such an inspiration.

If you want to take a look at the trip to the UAE through Lego Travel Buddy’s eyes, I created a book to share the experience that you can download here: Lego Travel Buddy visits the UAE

Cross Post: What is Pebble Go?

What is a cross post?

A cross post is post that will have first been published somewhere else, but will have value to a wider audience.

My fantastic new colleague, Billy Spicer, and I have created a web page for the Hubbard Woods Resource Center. We both ‘live’ there and we wanted to find a way to communicate what we are doing to our colleagues. So, when I tag a post as a ‘cross post’ it will have been published there first. I am cross-posting because it may be useful to the wider audience as well. PebbleGo is a new resource for my colleagues. I was excited to introduce it to them and use it to help our students curate digital resources for their upcoming research projects. Click HERE to access the original post on our ‘other’ blog.

“I’ve never seen them more excited! 

1st Grade Teacher after her students used PebbleGo for the first time!

NCCE 2019 Here I Come!

It’s finally here! I’ll be leaving later today to attend my first NCCE conference with my colleagues on the west coast. I am incredibly honored and excited to have this opportunity. It will be a very busy, but rewarding week.

Teacher Librarian Summit!

The Teacher Librarian Summit begins on Tuesday morning. I have the honor of giving the keynote. I’ve been working for many months to craft a message that I hope is both inspiring and challenging. The title of my keynote is, “Becoming Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.”

Here is just one slide from the presentation that might give you an idea of where some discomfort might arise:

School Librarians in Full-Time Equivalents 1999-200 to 2015-2016

And here is a slide that hopefully will encourage and set the stage for a better data set!

Teacher Librarian Panel

I’m excited to be part of a panel of four librarians I admire and am inspired by Morgen Larsen, Shannon Miller, Mark Ray, and Craig Seasholes. We’ll be talking about the challenges and solutions of being teacher librarians today!

Transform Your School Library

I’ll be co-presenting a session on Transforming Your School Library with Morgen Larsen. We will be looking at three major areas that tend to trip us up in the process of transforming our spaces: our physical collection, our digital collection and the role of making in our libraries. I’m anticipating some rich conversation and collaboration as we delve into solution making and sharing what works for us in our spaces!

Green Screen Awesomeness!

I’ll be leading one of the breakout sessions during the Teacher Librarian Summit. I’ll be exploring how you can use green screen in any subject or grade level to help your students visualize their creativity!

Frame by Frame: A Collaborative Student Voice Film Festival

I will be co-presenting on Wednesday for the first time with Shannon Miller. We’ll be sharing hor we both have used stop-motion filmmaking with our students to help them share their voice and creativity. We’ll have participants making their own films and brainstorming about how we might integrate filmmaking into our libraries.

I’m doing a book signing!

If you just can’t get enough #greenscreenawesomeness in my session, come on by the Mackin booth on Wednesday from 3:30-4:00 pm. I’ll be signing the book and you can buy it at an incredible price! Woo Hoo!

Collaboration! The Librarian’s Greatest Superpower!

I will be co-presenting a second time with Shannon Miller on Thursday. We’ll be talking about how we have collaborated with colleagues both near and far. This session is going to be one that has all of us taking copious notes and bookmarking like crazy! I can’t wait!

Hey Mom, look it’s me!

This is going to be an amazing week! I cannot wait to learn from this lineup and my new colleagues on the west coast. Next stop: Seattle!

Cross Post: Resources at Your Fingertips

How many times have you been at home and wondered, “Do we have that fantastic new book in our school library?”  Well, you can simply click on the online catalog link and search our entire catalog from anywhere.

This POST links to our current Resource Center Web Page. It is made with the old Google Sites and will be updated this summer. But for now, it continues to be a great ‘one stop shop’ for our teachers and students to access all of the physical and digital resources that we have curated in the HWRC. I’m especially proud of the fact that students can access both the district and public library website catalogs all in one place. This is an easy way to EXPAND your library’s collection without spending a penny. Plus, it provides an excellent opportunity with your public library.

Starting a new unit?  Preparing for a future study?  Look up what books you need and send us a list.  We are happy to help gather and suggest resources for you!

This post was the first of many posts about the resources that we have curated for our staff and students. Look for more soon!