Journal #7: VOYA Magazine

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For the purpose of this journal, I explored the VOYA magazine website (http://voyamagazine.com). This resource is an incredible asset to any school—or public—librarian, as it includes author interviews, columns regarding current trends and topics in life and literature, as well as numerous lists of books that feature a wide variety of ages, genders, religions, and races.

While exploring the VOYA magazine website, I happened upon a submission penned by Kelly Czarnecki about robotics and programming, the hottest of the hot in STEAM skills being supported by school libraries across the nation (http://voyamagazine.com/2016/09/22/tag-team-tech-october-2016/). This article reviewed several robotic and programming kits with a reasonable price point that served a variety of age groups and their purpose in supporting STEAM skills in school curriculum. This reading serves to support librarians seeking to find ways to support programming and robotics but lack the knowledge in these areas. It encourages librarians to not get lost in understanding these concepts before allowing these amazing resources to debut in their libraries.

It is articles like Czarnecki’s that motivate librarians to have courage in implementing new programs and purchasing new resources that help their students and work toward making the library a hub for the school. The VOYA magazine website is a great resource for librarians who are working to ensure that the materials found in their buildings serve the teachers and the students to increase student achievement and make learning visible.

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

“Should a Happiness Machine, he wondered, be something you can carry in your pocket? Or, he went on, should it be something that carries you in its pocket?’One thing I absolutely know,’ he said aloud. ‘It should be bright‘” (Bradbury 63).

Journal #6: Google Drive

unknownThis week, I explored Google Drive and all of its amazing capabilities (https://drive.google.com). Google Drive is a relatively simple tool to use as a storage, collaboration, and creation tech tool.

I enjoyed the fact that there is a safe place to store information instead of my computer’s hard drive. By utilizing Drive’s storage capabilities, especially if the folder is saved to the computer’s hard drive (on a Mac), one can work on the document offline and the changes will save once the computer goes back online. On the flip side, I suppose one could risk losing hard work by using the hard drive option, but if one were to connect often, it would only be minimally risky.

The experience with Google Drive revealed collaborative capabilities through Google Docs and Google Sheets. Both of these would have a place in my classroom as students could work together on both presentations and common writing tasks. The Google Forms option would be a great resource for surveys for both me, as an instructor, and students, when they are tasked with the responsibility of collecting data.

In the future, I foresee me regularly using Google Drive to help students organize their files, ensuring that there are no more “accidents” when students have an assignment to write so they do not lose it in the abyss of their computer’s hard drive. In addition, Google Drive is also a great tool for collaborating, as well as teacher commenting. I look forward to unlocking all of Drive’s capabilities in the future.

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

“Should a Happiness Machine, he wondered, be something you can carry in your pocket? Or, he went on, should it be something that carries you in its pocket?’One thing I absolutely know,’ he said aloud. ‘It should be bright‘” (Bradbury 63).

Journal #5: Booklist

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For the purpose of this blog, I explored Booklist’s website and happened upon an article in the form of an interview entitled “Sex in YA: What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why It Matters” by Daniel Kraus. This title struck me, as my students and I are exploring why books are challenged and the content that often leads to challenges (http://booklistonline.com/Sex-in-YA-What-Works-What-Doesn-t-and-Why-It-Matters-Daniel-Kraus/pid=8371023).

This article was an interview with YA authors Christa Desir and Carrie Mesrobian. These authors explored the way they depict sex in their books and their process for both writing and evaluating the purpose of these scenes. Both authors offered candid responses to author Kraus and were willing to disclose their personal backgrounds and how those impacted their writing choices.

Booklist is a phenomenal resource for both classroom teachers and librarians who are seeking to find appropriate materials for their library shelves. Not only do the articles and book reviews help educators make decisions about instructional materials, but the webinars are also a great resource for librarians and classroom teachers alike, as they cater to specific reading and classroom needs.

The content on this website is vast, as archived webinars provide opportunities to listen in on previous topics, in addition to participation in current topics. Not only are the webinars fantastic resources, but the articles offer insight into current events facing librarians and educators. I was struck by the currency of the topics listed, especially as new literature for young people is typically a reflection of the issues they face. This site is interactive, relevant, and an incredible source for both librarians and classroom teachers.

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

“Should a Happiness Machine, he wondered, be something you can carry in your pocket? Or, he went on, should it be something that carries you in its pocket?’One thing I absolutely know,’ he said aloud. ‘It should be bright‘” (Bradbury 63).

Journal #5: Wikispaces

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For the purpose of this blog, I explored Wikispaces (http://www.wikispaces.com/). This was a technology tool for which I had signed up many eons ago, but I did not ever use regularly. I enjoyed the fact that this tool provided many desirable aspects similar to iTunesU, Google Classroom, or the online student management software currently in use at our school. This space included a calendar to help students (and the teacher) organize due dates and expected learning intentions, as well as the ability to add files as attachments and create discussion boards for students to engage with one another as they digest complex ideas. The only element that I did not particularly like is the fact that I would have approve student memberships. While this step seems like a minor inconvenience, as a teacher who has access to an online learning management system that is synced with my grade book, as well as the ability to communicate with parents, I found this particular step tedious.

Overall, my experience with this tool was positive, as it contained many of the elements I regularly use with my own students. I see the success my students have with online discussion boards, as well as accessing the documents, videos, and presentation materials we use online, and I see how these elements are also available on Wikispaces. Because I have these instructional tools available on our student management system, I do not foresee myself regularly using Wikispaces. If I were to use a tech tool like this, I would most likely utilize iTunesU (if it ever becomes available on MacBooks), as it would allow me to upload an entire course, piece by piece and our students currently work in a 1:1 environment.

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

Journal #4: The Horn Book

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This week I explored The Horn Book’s website (http://www.hbook.com/horn-book-magazine-2/#_). The Horn Book online is the digital version of what began as the premier guide to children’s literature. On this website teachers and librarians can find resources on both children’s and young adult book selection, information about authors and illustrators, as well as opinion pieces about children’s literature and books for young adults.

For the purpose of this assignment, I read the article entitled “Orlando” by Christopher Myers, son of prolific young adult author, Walter Dean Myers. This article is a reflection on the shooting at Pulse, an Orlando night club. In this poignant article, Myers reflects on the importance of authors telling the stories of those who need a voice, much like he and his father do when they write stories reflecting their own culture(s).

As a resource, The Horn Book website is a place where librarians can visit to determine the relative value of a text by a particular author in his or her library. Careful consideration of one’s particular patronage can be useful when reading the various reviews and opinion pieces present on the Horn website. I could see this being a valuable resource for regular use when determining which titles would be appropriate for purchase, as well as a book’s cultural relevance in the library.

The content found on The Horn Book website is certainly culturally relevant, current, and especially useful for librarians and teachers grades K-12. There appears to be a balance between resources appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school, and I look forward to using this website this year as a teacher of high school students, as I encourage my students to rediscover their love of reading, as well as in my future career as a librarian, as I determine what books to purchase for my future patrons.

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

“Should a Happiness Machine, he wondered, be something you can carry in your pocket? Or, he went on, should it be something that carries you in its pocket?’One thing I absolutely know,’ he said aloud. ‘It should be bright‘” (Bradbury 63).

Journal #3: Feedly

technology-overload2For this post, I explored Feedly (http://feedly.com/i/my) as an RSS for library and education-related blogs. It was a simple tool to use, in that finding blogs using the search bar and the genre-specific search was relatively easy.

I loved how easy it was to use Feedly, and I see the many ways in which an RSS could simplify the symptoms of information sickness. Not only that, but Feedly provides a quick glance at what professionals across the blogosphere are focused on and are accessible in one place for readers. While the interface was relatively easy to navigate, the overall appearance of Feedly was unattractive. While that may seem secondary to content, it can be a distraction when one is used to the cool, streamlined look of many other online tools.

My experience with Feedly was fantastic, as it allowed me to really explore librarians and educators across the globe who are making a difference in both the world of library science and in the not-so-traditional classroom. Not only that, but Feedly was similar to Twitter in that subscribing to one blog within a topic lead to subscriptions of others who shared similar topics. It made blog-searching less of a chore and a more organic experience.

Eventually, when students in the English courses here at SHS are blogging more regularly, Feedly will be a fabulous tool for them to use as well, beyond the professional connections tool that it serves for me. Students can discover one another as writers and use Feedly (or another RSS site) to “subscribe” to one another and keep up with what other students are writing about.

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

“Should a Happiness Machine, he wondered, be something you can carry in your pocket? Or, he went on, should it be something that carries you in its pocket?’One thing I absolutely know,’ he said aloud. ‘It should be bright‘” (Bradbury 63).

Journal #2: School Library Journal

makerspaceI selected this journal article because of the buzz around Maker Spaces and their versatility in supplementing course curricula in a variety of ways. This article was a step-by-step guide to one library’s successful implementation of a Maker Space for teens. Not only was the type of research completed, with a timeline of implementation, included but a budget for must-have and wish list items was also mentioned.

This resource was incredibly helpful in identifying the steps necessary to creating a Maker Space in a high school library. Because it included links to the actual products purchased, as well as how much they cost and the space they take up, it was easy to see whether or not those items would be feasible for purchase in my school. It would have been helpful to visualize how the space was utilized by including pictures of the space; however, very few pictures accompanied this article. This article was originally published in School Library Journal. I am certain that I will be utilizing this resource in the future as my role of district librarian becomes a reality. Becoming a regular subscriber to this publication will give me ideas about what I can do to provide a more enriching library experience to all students at Sterling Public Schools.

From this resource, I was able to determine the materials that would be necessary for a successful Maker Space at the high school level. Up until this point, my familiarity with Maker Spaces centered on the elementary levels. It was great to see how much these types of items cost and the variety of items that can be utilized in a Maker Space. I am still curious about how this would transfer into my high school, and whether or not a Maker Space could expand on what other courses are teaching. While having a Maker Space as a creative outlet is fantastic, using that same space to supplement course curricula would make it even more effective as a learning experience. I will continue to seek more information about Maker Spaces K-12, and the materials and cost involved to make them a success.

Until we meet again, remember the happiness there is to find in this world, especially on the pages of a book.

Mrs. J

from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine

“Should a Happiness Machine, he wondered, be something you can carry in your pocket? Or, he went on, should it be something that carries you in its pocket?’One thing I absolutely know,’ he said aloud. ‘It should be bright‘” (Bradbury 63).

Jensen, Karen. “Big impact: designing the best maker space for my customers and budget.” School Library Journal Feb. 2016: 22+. Research in Context. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.