Connecticut Association of School Librarians

I was at the Massachusetts School Library Association conference and the CASL/CLC mini conference last week.  They were great professional learning opportunities and a chance to network with fellow colleagues and administrators.

#MSLA13 notes:

Barbara Stripling, ALA president-elect, gave an inspiring talk "Whose Life Will You Change Today?"  

  • change in a positive way not through taking something down
  • take risks and learn something new, take a leadership role
  • make the thinking process visible, show students and staff in real time or online
  • time as the obstacle for good instruction  (I see that all the time when observing instruction.  We don't give the students enough time or rush them.  Good instruction does take time and our industrial, educational model puts a great deal of pressure on educators to cover everything rather than advance deep learning and understanding
  • collaboration is fundamental, and that it is hard even when people are willing.  Don't use collaboration as a "skirt to hide" or an excuse but to continue do our job to the best of our ability.  
  • teach by the side and provoke thinking & doing.  (Stripling mentioned a few strategies that I thought would interest you: a Souper lunch for a chew & chat; iStaff where students give input on what to do in the program; and mobile librarian.  All three of these ideas are in actual use in districts.)  
  • the growing importance of virtual space and cited Loertscher’s Learning Commns concept.  She talked about   
  • LMC as a thinking space for civilization, a 3rd space that allows for curiosity, creativity & innovation, a mashable space..  
  • Stripling also shared the term ZPD, the zone of proximal development,  "it is the range of abilities that a person can perform with assistance, but cannot yet perform independently." We work with that all the time!

Pam Berger was another great speaker at the #MSLA13 conference.  She gave great examples of using primary documents in social studies. She emphasized that we should design learning experiences that demand students' questioning and interaction.  It is important that you demand that students think and use information not just cut & paste from the encyclopedia.  Make it relative.  Some of the tech tools that were discussed: tagxedo (a word cloud with shape) and for the younger students abcya.  Tagcloud for the iPad creates wordles as well.

Richard Byrne, freetech4teachers, had a good quote that goes along with our discussion on collaboration, "Sharing leads to sharing and sharing leads to discovery."  He also talked about spending 15 minutes a day to check in on your PLN.  

I picked up a few things in the concurrent sessions:  Nearpod app is an amazing version of PPT;  a high school site to visit BAA/Fenway; an absolutely awesome elementary site to visit Pine Glen LTC--check out how they use social media and blogs.

They ended the conference with an administrator panel facilitated by Barbara Stripling.  Barbara asked each panelist for their vision of the school library.  This is what they said: personalized instruction, good leader, extension of classroom, learning commons, LMS still in love with learning, principal models working with LMS, shares books with principal.  What kind of leadership role w/ CCSS: part of curriculum teams, willing to take risks, create & publish, digital citizenship, knows school community and transforms smoothly.  Interesting.

CASL/CLC mini conference #ctcasl notes (handouts & PPTs on the CASL website):

  • L4L : Strategies for Success - to succeed you need a long range plan, the AASL Planning Guide will lead you through that process of assessing your current status and creating goals for your program for a nominal start up fee of $40 and annual renewal of $20; to succeed you need an instructional plan, the free AASL Lesson Plan Database allows you to easily add our national standards when creating a lesson plan with a simple click; submit your lesson, be nationally vetted by AASL, receive CCSS alignment and a logo that you can display--priceless; as we all add our best lessons, the database becomes a richer resource of good practice.
  • Evaluation of SLMs with Mary Ellen Minicheillo - great discussion of what we are experiencing; check the CASL Ning Evaluation forum and the CASL website for handouts
  • Embracing the DAOW (digital, art, oral, writing) with Barbara Connery - they are doing a wonderful Literacy program at the James Morris School in Woodbury!!!  We do a Literature Week reading motivation in our district and I would definitely enhance it by migrating to this Literacy model after participating in this session. The first year they did Lincoln, the second Amelia Earhardt, this year Mohammed Ali and next year the plan is to focus on Sandra Sotomayor.  Awesome learning and creativity!!!
  • Common Core with Michelle Gohagon & Jenny Lester - great elementary K-4 resources and strategies; presentation link; great use of tech tools - weebly, wix, scribble press app, iMovie, Little Bird Tales app, Puppet Pals app.

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