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Monday, November 2, 2009

Texting and Students..

From the Oct 29, 2009 issue of U.S. News & World Report...

Could Texting be Good for Students?

The author makes some interesting points. But then, one can argue on either side. I think texting and text-speak can be useful in many ways. I actually do like the "translation" assignment one teacher used to check for comprehension of a literary piece. A stroke of genius if you ask me.

But I'm remind of an email I received in response to a job posting that was all in text-speak. This was from an adult for whom texting hadn't been ingrained since he or she was 12 (like our digital natives today).

Sites to See

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.~~Samuel Johnson

Library of Congress Teachers’ Page
Most of us are aware that the Library of Congress is the home to wonderful resources. The question is “How do we put them to use?” The LOC has classroom materials and professional development available online to help you learn how to use primary and secondary sources in your classroom.

Web search engine that illustrates the logic of searches. It gives a graphic representation of a real-time search using Boolean logic—something our students have yet to understand completely but already get more than we do sometimes. ;)

Could Texting be Good for Students?
Let’s face it, they all text. Heck, a lot of us text. Personally, text-speak bugs me and I don’t use (ok, ok..I rarely use it—LOL). But could it actually have some merit?

Think Technology
A collection of pre-formatted graphic organizers.

History Wired
From the Smithsonian Institute, a digitized collection sharing some of the 3 million objects held by the National Museum of American History, Behring Center. To hear the recordings or view video clips, you’ll need to download RealPlayer.

The European Commission is slowly building a repository similar to Google and the Library of Congress’ “World Digital Library.” Primary source documents and digital resources specific to 27 European Nations are being included. From the Magna Carta to Mozart recordings and manuscripts.

Poe Revealed, 1809-2009
Edgar Allan Poe would be 200 this year. A collection Poe resources for use in the classroom for biography and literature studies.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'm a short TALL Texan

So...the TALL Texans retreat started today.

We're at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat on Lake Dallas. Beautiful scenery. I hear the lake itself is a little scary, but since I'm sorta anti-water, that's alright.

It's safe to say I'm overwhelmed already, and all we've done is introduce ourselves! I'm seeing people whose names I've seen all over TLC and LM_Net, and--of course--TLA. I'm excited to be here and just meet everyone.

I've already been daydreaming about my "plan" for after the Institute. I've already been pushing for some changes in the district. We're just not advocating for ourselves as effectively as we could (and sometimes at all). I'd love to be able to say that each of our librarians is seen as a leader in our individual schools and throughout the district because we are not just because we're the lone wolf on campus.

This week is supposed to be "transforming." I can't wait!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I touch the future...I teach. (Christa McAuliffe)

This morning we had our BESTT breakfast in the library. BESTT means "Bridging the Educational Scene for Teachers of Tomorrow." Our students are paired with teachers for a year or two and basically intern with them. It gives them a taste of what teaching can be about. For the most part, they can approach whichever teacher in the district they'd like to work with, but our teacher/coordinator does have a pool to select from as well.

The breakfast this morning was a celebration for completing the year. It was a thank you to the coordinating teachers for putting up with them. *grin* Each of the teachers present was asked to give one last piece of life experience advice to the students. Everyone talked about being flexible, following your passion, and remembering to listen for your calling. All excellent advice.

I was listening in, I love to hear what others tell our students because it's often good advice for me as well. One of the teachers mentioned receiving a graduation announcement from a former student whose chosen profession isn't the box she (the teacher) would've put her in. And it set me to thinking.

If I could give advice to graduating seniors (or any student) this year, I'd tell them this...

Don't allow yourself to be boxed.

We've been discussing around campus lately the general behavior of our students. I'm worried (afraid, entirely too certain?) that too many of our faculty blame the behavior on the kids. Frankly, that's just crazy.

My friend Becky trains dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, scary dogs, happy dogs, ADHD dogs, and even the ones that are lazy. She'll tell you the key is consistency. The jockey who rode the horse Mine that Bird to win the Kentucky Derby this year, said “I rode him like a good horse.” Seriously, that's what all horses are--good horses. It's the trainer, the rider, the guy sweeping out the stall that makes the difference. That's all teenagers are, too--good horses, I mean kids.

If we're having trouble with students year after year, and it's always a different mix of students, then the problem is us. We're the only common denominator from year to year.

But I'd also tell graduating seniors (and all students) that...

Sometimes, you have to embrace the box.

Sometimes. Certainly not always. But sometimes that box is the one you need to be in, in order to get out of it later on. Sometimes, climbing into the box is how you grow, or how you escape. Sometimes it's what you have to do to hear the message about where you should be and what you should be doing.

I know it sounds contradictory--"no box" but "yes box." Life is contradictory. It just is.

By the of my heroes is Christa McAuliffe. She was one of the astronauts who died in the space shuttle Challenger explosion in January 1986. She was first a teacher.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

TxLA recap

This is my library bling. I can't tell you how many people had comments that weren't always meant to be complimentary about how many tags I had hanging from my badge. Most all of those hadn't even bothered to pick up their district tag. I'm not judging. Frankly I don't like to wear things around my neck.

But maybe, next time, ask about what the tags mean. You might just find some really awesome group you'd not considered being involved in.

There will be more pictures soon. I got some ARCs signed, had dinner with some fascinating authors, and managed to have a few pictures snapped with them. It was wonderful!

The best part, though, was coming home and giving one of my students an ARC I'd had signed for her. She's a READER. Big time. BIG TIME. I was able to snag an ARC of Fragile Eternity, Melissa Marr's sequel to Wicked Lovely. I got the biggest hug and a load of questions about being a librarian from her. Makes my year!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Really nice presentation on techy ideas.

Teresa Schauer, Pettus ISD's district librarian shared it on LM_Net today. Pettus ISD's Library's can be found at . She and her students blog book reviews, too!

Friday, March 13, 2009

If you're like me, you're staying home for Spring Break this year. (I say that like I ever go anywhere for Spring Break.) BUT, that doesn't mean that you have to spend the days wishing it warmer (mid-70s just doesn't do it when the pool is still in the low 60s) and watching daytime TV.
**Note, all of the sites below are relatively local to Angleton/Houston. Except for the Bluebell Creamery, which is just seriously worth the trip for fresh Tin Roof Ice Cream.

George Ranch Historical Park
Where cattle and cotton are king!

Brazos Bend State Park
Alligators, trails, picnics…

George Observatory
Inspire the astronomer in you.

Kemah Boardwalk
Almost everything has reopened since Ike came through. More things opening and re-opening all month.

Bluebell Creameries
I shouldn’t have to explain why you should visit this one. You can also get the required pictures of children in bluebonnets as you travel 290.

Forbidden Gardens
Outdoor replica of some of China’s famous historic scenes, located in Katy.

Houston Museum District
I’ve always loved visiting museums—from the Museum of Natural Science to the Museum of Fine Arts. If I had kids, we’d play at the Children’s Museum all the time.

Bayou Wildlife Park
Over in Alvin, see the giraffes (my favorites!), llamas, rhinos, name it. From 35, turn on 517, like you’re heading to Dickinson.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What I've been doing lately...

SO..I've been looking around lately at different websites. I look for things that have an education bend to them. Or could be educational. I am, afterall, in a school library and my #2 job is to support my teachers. (If I have to explain my #1 job, well.)

Every so often, I put together a page or 2 of sites that I think can be really useful. Today, I'm going to cheat and give you my most recent "Sites to See."

Free Technology for Teachers Great blog with lots of good information. Just browsing it turned on my brain. This one an Edublogs 2008 award for “Best Resource Sharing Blog”.

Webspiration If you’ve used Inspiration or Kidspiration mind-mapping/graphic organizer software, you’ll quickly see how neat this is. It’s just Inspiration online, making it easy to work on something at home or have students work on something and send it to you. Better still, it’s FREE right now because it's still in beta-mode. (Inspiration is $69 for one computer, which means you either buy 2 copies OR you choose to only use it at home or only at school).

Chemistry Comes Alive Video collection of chemistry demonstrations from the Journal of Chemical Education. Chemistry stuff is one of my personal guilty pleasures (which makes me sound like a nerd..I need new guilty pleasures.) and this collection of videos has some violent reactions.

Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection (from the UT-Austin Library) Digital collection of maps available and links out to other places to find maps. Many are interactive.

This last one doesn't really have a lot to do with anything we do on my campus, educationally. However, we are at the top of a weight loss challenge on our campus. The winning team gets money at the end. Well, I know I have no discipline for stuff like this. I like food too much, and have more than once found myself finishing off a can of Pringles I just opened but not really remembering eating them (I guess the old saying is true, you know.."once you pop, you can stop").
Anyway, this partner site is pretty neat. With a few bits of info, it told me how many calories I should be eating to lose my goal of 2 pounds per week. THEN, I can chart every bite I take and every calorie over and above my daily routine that burn (I believe that's called "exercise"). I did share it with my co-workers in this week's "Sites to See."
The Daily Plate
My friend, Bryan, a trainer in another life, turned me on to this site. It’s really REALLY helping me with this diet thing. Check it out. I’ll even let you look at my info you want.

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