The are complexities and challenges to integrate technology into the classroom. Teachers, librarians, technology team, students, and administrators need to connect....asap.
What do we mean by instructional technology? How do we proceed? How do we give and receive training? Can we promise that we will be successful?
How can we put a new spin on activities and promotions? What one new device or information seeking strategy would you share so "researchers can spend more of their time actually using information and building their ideas?" (Matthews)
What are your top 3 goals for improving access to technology while on a limited budget?
I am proud of Jacob. Jacob is a senior and I have known him since he was an 8th grader. Jacob is an advocate for school libraries. A few years ago Jacob attended a meeting with the tech team and an administrator so we could get Kindle Fires and he help me set up the devices for students to access. Jacob also went to author visits but he wanted someone famous to visit us. So he emailed multiple famous people including J.K. Rowling. Eventually he heard back from Tess Gerristen and they now have a friendship that will hopefully last for years to come.
I have seen the power of connection and how author visits can positively impact the lives of students. I think that Jacob's initiative, determination, charisma, and ability to act upon his curiosity will serve him well in the future. I am glad that I was able to watch all this transpire.
Hayley has not had the easiest life. Her mother died in a car accident when she was young, so when her father was sent on back-to-back tours overseas, she was sent to live with her grandmother. When her grandmother died, she lived with her father’s girlfriend, who was like a mother to her. When her father came home from overseas, his girlfriend left, and Hayley lost yet another mother figure. Hayley’s father’s next solution was to drive big rigs, homeschooling Hayley while they were on the road. But the whole time, her father struggles to deal with his demons, and nothing seems to be helping. Finally, he decides to settle down in the town where he grew up, in Hayley’s grandmother’s house, for Hayley’s senior year of high school. Things are bound to get better, right?
The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is an emotional, timely tale of a daughter taking care of her traumatized father while at the same time trying to find her own path in life. The book does a great job of balancing between Hayley’s struggles at home and school while she adjusts to a normal school environment, and the typical teenage ups and downs with friends, boys, and parties. For readers who loved Anderson’s Speak, Catalyst, or Wintergirls, they will love her latest work. Also recommended for readers who enjoy Sarah Dessen or John Green.
I graduated from Cornell College in 2006 with a BA in English and Secondary Education. After a year of substitute teaching in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area, I attended the UNI Overseas Job fair and got a job teaching 9th and 10th grade English Language Arts at a bilingual private school in Manizales, Colombia. The experience was interesting and the country was beautiful, but the position was not a great fit. Upon returning to Iowa, I taught Creative Writing part time at Clear Creek Amana High School and substitute taught for another year. Still not feeling in love with being an English teacher, I got the idea from a fellow teacher to look into becoming a Teacher Librarian. I started looking into graduate programs right away, got in touch with Jean Donham, who had been my librarian at Cornell, and she helped me weigh the differences between the two programs in Iowa. My connection with Jean and the structure of the program at UNI made my decision to apply fairly easy. I applied right under the wire for the upcoming cohort, and began my program that summer. Just two months into this new world, I applied for a half-time opening at Hills Elementary in the Iowa City school district. Although elementary was completely out of my comfort zone and I had only my intro course under my belt, I was offered the job and have been here since! This is my fourth year as the TL at Hills, and last year, I was offered another half-time TL position at South East Junior High. So for two years I have spent my mornings with elementary students, and my afternoons with 7th and 8th graders!
I love being a Teacher Librarian. I love that I get to interact with students of all ages (adults, too!) about things that excite them – great books, interesting questions, new discoveries and useful tools. My favorite moment with any student is seeing when they get to that “aha!” – whether during the research process, after finally mastering a skill, or when finding the book that lights up their eyes.
I also love sharing what Teacher Librarians do. My colleagues in my district and around the state do amazing things for their students and staff. Too many people are unaware of what a 21st Century Teacher Librarian can offer to her community, so I make an effort to share what happens at my two libraries every month via newsletter and with occasional updates on Twitter. The newsletter (here and here) takes about a half hour each month to write. Snapping a quick photo and uploading on Twitter takes about 5 minutes. The benefits are more than worth the time commitment.
I have a love/hate relationship with the stereotype of the librarian. Yes, she is a master of organization and can rock a bun and cardigan, but we are so much more than that. We are not locked to our desks with a date-due stamp in one hand and finger pressed to our lips at the slightest noise. We are all over the school, making noise while teaching skills vital to students’ real lives, developing students into effective problem-solvers, and spreading the joy of reading for fun and reading to learn.