Connecticut Association of School Librarians

You couldn't go to everything, but together we can share what we have learned. Please share the good things from the conference...the great links, great books, good strategies that you learned. Let's squeeze the most out of having this conference in CT. Comment on what people post as well. They (we) will appreciate the feedback.

Also, you went to a session, but you want more. Post it here. It is a good indicator for future professional development. TIA

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Here's the link to the e-collab handouts from AASL (accessible if you're an AASL member):

You can get them if you are not a member too for what you would have paid for one night at the hotel. 70 sessions were recorded---a wealth of information.

BUT, if some of our conference attending colleagues share some good links, blogs, notes, reflections, we are all winners.

Not only was I able to attend a fabulous conference but I also presented as well!

1. My presentation was on providing  various in person and virtual summer learning opportunities.  For instance, one of our multiage camps explores a chapter book in depth.  We use the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  We use QFT (question formulation technique) extensively throughout all summer camps.  If you are unaware of it, check out The Right Question Institute (  I am setting up an edmodo group to learn more about summer camps, to view my powerpt slide, and to exchange ideas. So go to Edmodo group code: frwedn

2.  Jennifer Reed, from Newton, MA gave another great, high-energy presentation on letting students voices be heard. Visit her site:

Here is her blog:

She's a dynamo.

3. Went to the Overdrive breakfast. Overdrive is offering new customers a special: all funds will be applied towards content when signing up.

4.  Went to a lovely dinner with Mackin.  If you join Mackin Via you will have access to about $1200 of free ebooks.  It is free to join.

5.  Words of wisdom: get really competent on 2-3 apps and integrate them extensively in your instruction and with students.  Introduce a new tool at each grade level and then by the time they leave your school, they are proficient in a number of tech tools and know how to use them for a variety of purposes.

6.  Jenny Lussier and Michelle Goghan did not disappoint with their presentation on CCSS and research with younger students.  What I loved most was being affirmed in a strong emphasis on question and that it's ok to have lessons that focus on one part of the research process and that's it.  You might just have a questioning lesson and not have it have to develop into a whole research unit.  They also stressed model for the teachers, take the lead in lessons that integrate research, inquiry, maker spaces, etc. Visit their site:

7.  My roommate is from Louisiana and we originally met through LM-NET.  Now we room together at AASL. A big part of AASL is the one on one or small group chats that you engage in.  Through such conversations I learned about the following great tools: Little Bird Tales (,  great tool for a digital lesson planner (, Oxford Owl (

8.  A few items of interest I am looking into from the vendor hall: shmoop (, Facts4Me-an elementary research site, (, and LitPcik (

9.  A personal moment of joy for me was when Seymour Simon stopped at my charity's booth and I was able to present to him a copy of our Recipes and Reflections- All Because of Grace--a book in which he submitted an entry.  He held it in his hands and placed it close to his heart and said, "I do not load my suitcases with things from conferences, but THIS is getting packed because it is a gem!"    He is not only a brilliant creator of informational text, but a sweet, kind man.  Check out his latest work as he is a founding partner in:

10. Last tidbit- always volunteer at these conferences.  It is a great way to meet new people, get more engaged in the event, and give back! 


Also, learned about which would be a good companion to  (which I love:) for students to use multiple texts on an information topic.

True story: I was going through my files a few weeks ago and I came across my notes from the 2003 CEMA (yes, CEMA) annual conference. I had pages and pages of notes from Doug Johnson's talks. I emailed him to share that everything I wrote down a decade ago was still relevant today - the ultimate complement. I attended his session on Friday, and it was entertaining, timely, and relevant. Great thoughts on how to inspire (and try to measure) creativity.

Here is the link to his presentation.


I also attended Kristin Fontichiaro and Debbie Abilock's session on data, data mining, and privacy. Wow! Here is the link to that one. 


I was blown away by Project Connect with Mark Ray, Karen Cator, and others. Follett recorded that, and I look forward to watching the recording, because I had to dash off early to participate in the eLearning Commons, which was another highlight of the conference for me.

It was exciting to see a major unconference event at the national conference. Huge shout out to Joyce Valenza for organizing it! It was phenomenal - nearly 200 participants from 9-midnight on Friday night!

 The crowdsourced elements of the conference complemented the traditional presentations beautifully, giving a wide spectrum of attendees voice, and opportunities to interact, not just consume learning. Bravo to the CT and AASL teams for making the 16th conference a great experience. 

The first session I attended was "The CCSS Conversation: Highlighting 25 Website for Standards" by Kristina A. Holzweiss ( from Long Island.

She was both entertaining and very informative. Here's the most important links from her presentation: Online Presentation with all pages and links: Her web site on Common Core:

I LOVED attending AASL in Hartford. The first session I went to on Friday morning  was the Brown Bookshelf. I don't know about you, but I am always on the lookout for books that our students will see themselves in and have struggled with finding books that reflect our diverse community.

The Brown Bookshelf highlights African American authors and illustrators. The presenters, Kelly Starling Lyons and Gwendolyn Hooks, are authors themselves. They have a blog called The Brown Bookshelf and their major initiative, started in 2009, is called "28 Days Later." Every February they feature one author or illustrator for each of the twenty-eight days - "showcasing the best in Picture Books, Early Readers, Chapter Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult novels." I have already put The Laura Line, by Crystal Allen, on my next book order.

They have a blog called The Brown Bookshelf: United in Story .



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