Celebrations, Round 1

Last Thursday, my fellow librarian, Roxanne Johnson, and I were honored  at the Georgia Board of Education meeting  as The Unquiet Library received recognition as one of two “exemplary” high school library programs for the state of Georgia.   What is the Georgia Department of Education Exemplary Media Program?

The Georgia Department of Education has designated the August 19, 2010 State Board of Education meeting to recognize three exemplary Library Media Programs.  In order to identify and highlight these programs, the Division of Academic Standards is solicited applications from schools.  Library Media Programs in three schools (elementary, middle and high) are selected for this recognition.  Library Media Specialists and GaDOE staff select the recipients based on the school’s written application, the principal’s narrative, a possible telephone interview, and a probable on-site visit.  This program is an opportunity to describe how the Library Media Program is meeting school improvement goals and improving student achievement.    The rubric for evaluating the program may be accessed by clicking here.

When I interviewed for the position of librarian at Creekview High with Dr. Bob Eddy on a cold December day nearly five years ago before we had even moved into our building, I articulated my vision of what an exemplary library program could be and the ways that kind of program could support the school’s mission of teaching and learning.    I am grateful for the opportunity and professional creative license Dr. Eddy has given me open and build the library program, a mission that is very much still in progress and a wonderful journey that has mirrored my growth and evolution as a school librarian.   There are far too many people to thank individually, but I am indebted to all the amazing people in my personal learning network, my family and friends, and my UGA network, especially Dr. Mary Ann Fitzgerald, my graduate school advisor and ongoing mentor who always encourages me in moments of doubt.

On behalf of the library program, I  would like to thank the Cherokee County School District, Principal Dr. Bob Eddy, Creekview High School faculty and staff, our PTA, our parents, and our students for your support of our program.  We look forward to our program growing and continuing our efforts to be an effective partner in teaching and learning as well as a space where your interests, passions, and talented are honored and valued!

Tammy Beasley, Buffy Hamilton, Roxanne Johnson, Dr. Bob Eddy

Oh, the Places We Hope to Go: Mapping Program and Learning Themes 2010-11 FTW!

Unquiet Library Learning and Program Themes, 2010-11

Once again, I am using Mindomo to help me pull together the swirling mass of ideas for 2010-11 that have been simmering in my mind throughout the summer.    You can see the working draft (which is subject to change and evolution throughout the next ten months) of the map that outlines the major program and learning initiatives for The Unquiet Library in 2010-11.     These goals and initiatives will take place against the backdrop of reduced staff as our district lost all of its media clerks for the 2010-11 year; protecting instructional services is our priority as is minimizing the ease and flow of access to the physical library space.

In a nutshell, here is where I hope to see the library program grow and go in 2010-11:

Media 21

This learning model will once again be the centerpiece of the program and will be the vehicle for a mini-pilot of the embedded librarian model.    Details will not be finalized until August 2, but tentatively, I have a team of four English teachers and one science teacher who are looking to scale out the work that Susan Lester and I did with our students in 2009-10. I will be writing a separate blog post outlining the goals, framework, tools, themes, and challenges of Media 21 for the upcoming year within the next two weeks;  I’ll also be outlining how I plan to grow my own instructional literacy and my past and present interests in looking at what happens next year through an anthropological lens, so please watch for that impending post.  This year, I hope to frame the Media 21 work as action research and/or ethnography to better understand and analyze student learning and the dynamics of what I hope will be a mini professional learning community.  In addition, I will also compose an additional post outlining and exploring my working conceptualization of participation literacy and its overarching influence on the design of Media 21.

eBooks/eReaders/eReading

This goal feels very much like a moving target in spite of my best efforts to approach our first efforts to roll out ereaders in a methodical and thoughtful way.   I’ll be meeting with the stakeholders who will be helping me in this process over the next weeks, but the preliminary plan at this time is to start with a small set of Kindles for circulation to students and faculty and hopefully expand the menu to include iPads and/or some other tablet device.   I want to have a mix so that students and teachers have options; in addition, I want a mix of dedicated ereaders as well as tablet devices with educational and productivity apps for learning.  The waters feel muddy as the library community grapples with digital rights management issues and the blitz of devices that are either in development or are on the brink of release, such as the Pandigital Novel. I definitely plan to continue collaboration with my personal learning network as we try to share our knowledge and criteria for evaluating these resources that will best fit the needs of our patrons.

I should also add that the initial plan is to purchase Kindles (and possibly Nooks) and to collect a considerable amount of student feedback and qualitative data from the students who use the initial set of devices.  I’ll be using student feedback and the results of their experiences to drive additional purchases and future directions with ereaders.

Gaming

The Unquiet Library will be purchasing additional board games using Libraries Got Game as one of our compasses for purchasing materials that are engaging and aligned to the AASL Standards for 21st Century Learners.  In addition, Kimberly Hirsh has been doing some cool work in aligning games to the standards as well, and her work will inform the decision making process; Justin Hoenke is another friend and colleague whose experience and wisdom I’ll be calling upon to help me develop my gaming collection.   I am also working on assembling a team of gaming bloggers who will post directly to The Unquiet Library blog and share their insights and experiences on games of their choosing.

Student Virtual Collection

I want to step up last year’s focus on student content creation while providing a virtual space for hosting student learning artifacts that they may create either in collaboration with teachers and the library or that they may create out of their own learning interests.  I feel this student virtual collection is a way of celebrating student learning while providing an archive and space to explore the evolution and diversity of student learning.

Community/Tribe Building

I’ll be exploring and crowdsourcing strategies for stepping up our current degree of transparency as well as for  inviting even more participation in 2010-11 not only from students, but from parents, administrators, faculty, and other community stakeholders.     I’m working to recruit a team of stakeholders who will be guest bloggers for The Unquiet Library blog as well as finding more ways to crowdsource library policies, events, purchases, and learning experiences that better reflect the needs and wishes of all of our patrons.  In addition, I’m working with other educators to hopefully implement more learning experiences that tap into a larger global network to connect our learning community with others outside of our corner of the world.  My goal is to get more voices participating in the conversations we’re having in and outside of our learning space in the library.

Mobile Learning and Library Services

I plan for the library to lead the way in increasing integration of mobile devices and computing into instruction while finding ways to better tap into students’ mobile devices for access to library services and materials.  In addition, I’m planning on incorporating essential educational apps into our catalog.

Bring It

Although I don’t report back to work officially until July 27, my summer has been a hive of activity and thinking although I certainly wish I could have a few more weeks for collaboration, contemplation, reading, listening, and reflection.   Each of these initiatives presents its own challenges, but I will once again use this blog space to share the journey with you in hopes that others can not only learn from my successes and failures, but  also help me problem solve the challenges along the way and inform my thinking, which I plan to keep fluid and open throughout the next school year.     I am excited to see where we’ll go this year and what we’ll all learn together!

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Learn More About The Unquiet Library at American Libraries

http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/columns/next-steps/unquiet-library-has-high-schoolers-geeked

Unquiet Library Has High-Schoolers Geeked | American Libraries Magazine via kwout

I’m delighted to share with you this fantastic column by Brian Mathews in American Libraries that puts the spotlight on what we do at The Unquiet Library!

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The Unquiet Library Multimedia Annual Report 2009-10

In the spirit of my monthly reports, I give you The Unquiet Library Annual Report in multimedia format.  This report includes:

  • An embedded copy of the text annual report (which is also downloadable as a PDF from SlideShare)
  • A video version of the year in review
  • Links to each monthly report which feature links to each month’s pathfinders, photoshows, video interview with teachers and students, blog entries for the month, the text report, and more.
  • Widgets and link to our social media streams

You can view the video in a larger view by clicking on this link.

If you have created an interesting or unusual annual report, please post the link to it  here in the comment section so that we can share ideas for more effective report formats and elements.

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Finding Their Verses: Student Poetry Reading, Collaboration, and School Libraries

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

John Keating, Dead Poets Society

English teacher Kendra Nayman, her students, and I experienced the power of poetry today with our 2nd Annual Poetry Reading @The Unquiet Library.    Ms. Nayman and I first collaborated on our poetry reading project nearly a year ago in which students immersed themselves in all forms of poetry (virtually and via our awesome poetry collection), composed poems off photographs, and then shared their poems with our poetry reading, which was recorded with Audacity, converted into a MP3 file, and then synced with the slidedecks of students’ photographs.

I find it difficult to accurately articulate the powerful experience of poetry readings and the spoken word or the joy I feel in students participating in this kind of literate community.  Students shared a piece of themselves in a way that took courage to expose an innermost glimpse of themselves to their peers and us as adults.  The themes and ideas ranged from funny to reflective to heart-wrenching, and we shared both laughter and tears.  Many students were surprised by the bubbling over of emotions that often comes with the act of reading a poem, especially one’s own, as well as the talent of their peers and the pride they felt in sharing their poetry.

I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with Ms. Nayman and her classes for two consecutive years and to be part of a learning experience that will stay with these students far longer than some ridiculous,  shallow, and artificial standardized test that can’t even begin to scratch the surface of what students should come to know through experience about poetry. I want students to know that the library is a space that supports these kinds of learning experiences and inquiry; through experiences like today’s poetry reading, the library can help students discover “we read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.”

On Monday, I will blog the LibGuides “subject guide” I will create for this poetry reading, which will include:

I will also share more about our plans to publish the student work and integrate it into our collection in multiple ways.   Until Monday, please enjoy just a sampling of the student interview videos and an interview with Ms. Nayman as well!  I believe these videos reflect the importance of poetry  in today world’s and why poetry still matters.  More videos are available at The Unquiet Library YouTube Channel.

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