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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Teachers, Working With

Last week was another training week for me. I taught the teachers how to use the gradebook portion of Infinite Campus. Since my training (in a demo model) several features looked different. Since I do not have the ability to practice with a class, I am glad I chose to provide instruction to small groups (about 5-7 at a time). This allowed me to see the program in action with a few teachers, take notes, record questions, and not confuse the entire staff. I have answers to most of the questions I had during the first session. I am also creating a Tips Sheet that will answer most teacher questions.

This week it is the other Media Specialist's (Library Lady #1) turn with the teachers. She will begin giving book talks. She is using the Georgia Book Award Nominees for her talks. She is really good at giving BookTalks. Since our days together on a team (she taught Language Arts and I taught Social Studies) I enjoyed "overhearing" her talks with her own class. She can captivate middle school readers. I am excited that she will be in the classrooms over the next couple of weeks.

That means I will be the only MS in the MC for a few hours each day. Good thing Library Lady #2 (our parapro) will be there! The 3 of us get along well...at least I think so. I hope they do to. This past Friday, we checked out about 800 books, and had an average of 3 classes in the MC each period. One teacher brought her Social Studies classes in, and we pulled about 100 books (fiction and non-fiction) for her class to peruse and check out. They are studying Latin America. I pulled the non-fiction, Library Lady #1 pulled fiction books connected with Latin America is some way. I was told "I was in The Book" for volunteering to get the non-fiction. I knew where those books were, and they were all together. LL#1 had to conduct a search, and scour the fiction section to find the dozen or so books we had. I think my name was erased at the end of the day, because I re-shelved all the books before quiting time. It was a good day.

It's been a good, busy week. We completed our first order of books, and LL#1 created a list of AR test to order as well. We achieved a lot. Everybody is working hard, and enjoying the process of serving our kids and teachers.

We have PTO Open House this week. I hope the MC will be able to identify some family needs we can assist with in an online way. I'm ready to begin developing some resources to get our kids' attention...and their families. I'm thinking I might create a MySpace account for our Media Center. We can't get to it at school (proxy-blocking), but that doesn't mean we can't advertise our MySpace page in school. After all, we want to be where the kids are anyway. If we can't teach them to be responsible online citizens at school, we can teach them with a positive online example, in a manner they understand...right?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Great!, It's Busy & It's

What a great beginning to my new position in the Media Center. I have become known as Media Man, and the women are now Library Ladies. We're thinking of getting capes!

So, what has made it great, you ask? Several things (in no particular order):

  1. Working with a colleague I started my career with...it's a homecoming of sorts.

  2. The patience of the Library Ladies as I learn the software packages (Safari, Surpass, WorldCat, STAR, etc.).
  3. The persistence of the Library Ladies in teaching me the processes of the Media Center (cataloging new material, creating orders, placement of books to be reshelved, check ins & check outs, etc.)

  4. I'm constantly busy but not doing busy work. What is being done will assist a student or teacher. Awesome.

  5. Freedom. Library Lady #1 gave me the opportunity to meet other Media Specialist in the area, and our Scholastic representative. So she let me attend the Bookfair meeting. It was fun, interesting, and something different...translated - I learned something new.

  6. I have been given the task by our principal to train the teachers on using Infinite Campus. I have trained them in taking attendance, and this week they are learning how to set up the gradebook. I like teaching teachers, but more importantly, the teachers are seeing the Media Center as a place they receive assistance.

  7. It's Orientation Time! All of the 6th graders (and a few more students) have come in to learn about the set up and procedures of the Media Center.

  8. We are able to help with the system-wide meetings that occur in our building by helping them set up for their seminars...Computer to LCD projector hook-up, video hook-up, etc. Respect for what we help them do.

  9. The kids! They still want to know why I left the classroom, but I tell them if I was in the classroom they wouldn't see me in the Media Center. Short conversations to catch up on the summer while they look for books or at the check-out station. I have found that I will have a great opportunity to work more one-on-one with students as they look for material that is school related. I love it.

Not that I need this all the time, but it is nice...the number of "Thank Yous" from the staff, faculty, and administration...makes me think we all made the right choice in having me move to the Media Center.

So thanks to the Library Ladies and the admins for taking a chance on me this year.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Start, Off To A Good

The first three days of school (teachers only) were good. I have to admit, though, that I have been more busy this year than the previous 5 years combined. I like it though.

We are beginning a new Student Information System this year. Infinite Campus is replacing the myriad of programs we have used for many years. I have been given the charge of training the teachers how to use their parts of the program. Students arrive Wednesday, and teachers will be taking attendance using IC at homeroom and in every class. I have had 3 out of 4 groups of teachers in the training sessions. The one group that has not received training was scheduled for Friday afternoon, but the internet was down. Ironic, huh!? The obvious question/concern follows..."why do we want to go web-based with such important information if this is something that can happen?" Progress.........I guess.

I have a screen capture video available for the first training session on taking attendance. More videos will follow as training continues throughout the year.


On a separate note, I took the Praxis II test for the Library Media Specialist certification. It was at 7:30 this morning. I hate it when mornings and thinking go together. I feel good about my chances of passing. Most of my mornings and late evenings this summer were taken up preparing for this test. If I didn't make a good enough score, I don't get another shot on the Praxis since the state of Georgia is moving back to their own test, the GACE.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Journey, Tomorrow Begins My New

8:00 in the morning our school has it's annual Back To School Breakfast. It's always fun to see old friends and meet the new teachers and staff.

We will have a faculty meeting around 9:00 to have official introductions, go over the year's goals, and get a pep talk. At 12:30 I will feel like my new job will begin. I will be given training on our new Infinite Campus (IC) system. I am the school coach, charged with teaching the teachers how to use the program. IC will be used to take attendance, post grades, and many more things. Hopefully this will be a program we can stick with for a while. Over the past few years we have learned and used several electronic gradebook programs. I never liked the ones we used...too cumbersome...more features than necessary. I always used GradeKeeper. I love it. But since I am not in the classroom any longer, I will be supporting IC.

Thursday and Friday I will be training the classroom teachers on how to use the program. I am looking forward to the opportunity.

I also have several Department Meetings I want to attend. I can't attend all of them, but hopefully the two of us will be able to make an appearance at each of them. I am looking foward to really knowing what the teachers are doing in their classrooms so I can support their efforts to reach and teach our students. I am anticipating a great year...at least after Saturday...my Praxis test :-(