Saturday, October 10, 2009

"I'll Fight You For The Library" performed by Taylor Mali

Been there!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

CSLA: What have you done for me lately?

I'm a nice guy. I eat all my vegetables. I treat people fairly. I do my homework.

And what does it get me?

For the second year in a row CSLA has scheduled my presentation on Sunday morning. Last year I even had famous library people present with me and I still got Sunday.

See, people often leave before Sunday and/or leave on Sunday.

I even have a cool topic (creating an online course for library service students).

Actually, I am looking forward to going to the conference. It's always a wonderful event. Have you signed up yet?

Monday, July 20, 2009

New job in the fall

And, after all has been said and done, I accepted that district position (subject to some changes that mostly won't be discussed here). Starting soon, I will be teacher on special assignment for online learning and library services. What does that mean?

It means that 80% of my time will be working with creating a new online learning program for my school district. With what is left, I will be working with libraries at the district level to create resources that benefit all of our libraries.

Still many details to work out, but I have decided that I am pleased with how it all turned out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

You're gonna birth my ASL Child? Surprise!

Pssttt. You. Yes, you. This is my son's new vlog. Please click on it and rate it. Oddly enough, I am trying to encourage his creating these videos. Thanks. I owe you one.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What is the future of the library?

Yes, all librarians need to watch this video. Thank you for your time.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Teaching online through the summer

I am spending the week in Morro Bay and, yet, I am also teaching a course. I like teaching online. I really do. It also helps that I have a really good group of students this session (although, in point of fact, I get many good groups of students from Fresno Pacific University).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

EXCLUSIVE - New Moon Official Trailer

Yep. If you are a Twilighter, you need to watch this trailer for the upcoming New Moon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Join me in Ontario!

I just made my hotel reservations for CSLA 2009 in Ontario, California. Don't you think it's time you did, too.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

CSLA 2009

This morning I discovered that my proposal to present at CSLA 2009 in Ontario had been accepted. The title: "Teacher Your Library Aides Online: Develop an online course in Moodle."

I am pleased that it was accepted. The presentation is an out-growth of a course that I developed for my district that is now being piloted at a number of schools and of a presentation that I gave at our local CUE Conference.

I will be talking about free ways to be able to design such courses. I don't envision this course as the sole way that you teach library service students, but as a supplement to what you normally do. For me, some days I have vast amounts of work for the students and other days, less so. On those other days, it gives the students an opportunity to improve their skills.

Also and importantly, it gives you a quantifiable way to grade the students.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

When push comes to shove...

When push comes to shove, I am a teacher librarian.

I discovered that today. Over the last few weeks, I had been offered a district-level position at my place of employment. There are people who work their entire careers to get such a thing. It sounds good in theory. My reality? It was not a library position. Yes, it is in something where I have experience and I would likely have appreciated the job in many ways.

It would have been more of a time commitment. Significantly and noticeably more. I still have three children at home (11, 15, 17). And, as I have noticed time and again, particularly recently, each with their own unique needs.

Also and importantly, I have a job that I love. I enjoy going to school every day. I like being with students. I like playing with technology. I love being in the library. For the first time, so I have been told, my school has a true library program. I am making a difference.

And that is why I'll stay.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teaching at Fresno Pacific University again

I am teaching yet another section of this same library technology course for Fresno Pacific University. The evolution has been amazing. When we brought the course online, it was a two-unit one. It is now four units and chock full of technology that students will need throughout the program. In addition to the technology, it is also an orientation to the program.

We are already seeing success from students who instead of going to the instructor automatically know which technology to use, where to post assignments (on their wiki), and how the course is structured.

It has been an interesting progression to watch the program grow. Initially, I was supposed to teach one course and then teach it again when it came around to being my turn. I have now taught it, I believe, four semesters in a row. The online program has become quite successful to say the least.

Monday, May 4, 2009

My life is never dull...

I have a meeting this afternoon. Interesting stuff afoot. I will let you know more when I know more.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Have you submitted?

I submitted my proposal today to do a presentation at the CSLA Conference in November. Some of you may remember that last year I did a presentation on how to build a successful library career and was able to get some heavy hitters from California's library world to participate. Being that it was on a Sunday morning, I was quite pleased with the size of the audience.

This year I am presenting on how to create an online course in Moodle for your library service students. This past year I developed just such a course that my district is now piloting at some of the secondary schools. My hope is that more will come onboard in the fall.

I hope that others will consider submitting proposals on the amazing things that you do at your schools and in your libraries.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Library fines and you!

I made the decision today to no longer collect late fines on books. While I understand that at some schools, this works well, it has not for me. Some of my reasons for stopping are:

  1. My very large district moved to Destiny and I don't want to have to deal with .30 fines coming back to me because we now have a union catalog. Shoot, I don't even want to deal with .30 fines at my own school!
  2. It does not increase the likelihood of books coming back. It has seemed to do the opposite. Students have said, after finally returning a book, that they didn't want to return it because they owed a fine. Remember that I am at a middle school (where thought processes can be interesting).
  3. For some time now, I have followed the discussion of fines on CALIBk12 and I have decided that I prefer the no-fine argument.
  4. Fines keep students from checking out new books. Yes, I could change that part of the policy, but, again, I have had students say that they can't check out a book because they owe money (but have already returned the book). Even when I tell them otherwise, this is of great concern.

And, yes, I know the argument in the other direction. I am not saying that it is wrong. What I am saying is that this is solely a site-based decision and, based on my site/library, it seems to make sense. I figure that I will evaluate the process in spring 2010 to see if it has made sense.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Central Valley Cue Conference

I am spending this fine Saturday morning at the Central Valley CUE Conference. A reasonably good-sized group showed up and that is always nice.

I am giving one presentation solo - on teaching online using Moodle - and one presentation - on quick research projects - with two colleagues.

So guess who shows up for my Moodle presentation? My very large district's chief technology officer. Certainly not a bad thing; I'm glad he was there. Just a little surprised.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Back Cover Words: The Skin I'm In

Maleeka suffers every day from the taunts of the other kids in her class. If they're not getting at her about her homemade clothes or her good grades, it's about her dark, black skin.

When a new teacher, whose face is blotched with a startling white patch, starts at their school, Maleeka can see there is bound to be trouble for her too. But the new teacher's attitude surprises Maleeka. Miss Saunders loves the skin she's in. Can Maleeka learn to do the same?

The Skin I'm In by Sharon G. Flake

Friday, March 13, 2009

Library Services Standards

For those of you who would like to read the document yourself, here it is (and a hat tip to Richard K. Moore over at CALIBK12 for providing the link).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

California to have school library service standards!

By unanimous vote today, the State Board of Education authorized:

"...the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop statutorily required standards for school library services, as model standards."

What does this mean? I exchanged emails with CSLA president Connie Williams and her take is:

This is truly the first step towards any number of possibilities - getting standards written and approved lays the groundwork for a wide variety of legislative actions down the road.

The devil is in the details. The standards are cool, but it is those legislative actions to implement the standards that could shape our profession in California unlike anything from the past.

Technology training for your staff, part 2

The training yesterday exceed my expectations. Thus far, our technology team has received much praise.

Why do I think that is? At least at our site (and, I expect, in many places), there is a real resistance to outside folks coming in and teaching us how to do things. Since we have local expertise, we should use local expertise. Colleagues teaching colleagues.

We had people stay beyond the agreed upon 45 minutes just to get more access to the equipment and more training.

I taught a group how to create websites. I used the templates from Scholastic. Simple and effective. I originally was going to use Google Sites, but I find it less intuitive than Google Pages and the goal was intuitive. I have a sub-group that would like to continue working on their websites. That's always nice!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Technology training for your staff, part 1

We are doing break-out sessions today for technology training. Like many sites, we have teachers of varying technological abilities.

So what are we doing today? We are offering three levels of SmartBoard training and one level of website building. We do not have a history of offering technology training in this format, but we are hopeful.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Library Limbo

Library Dominoes

I have students that would probably try to do this. :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

That's what I'm talkin' about!

Zipping around the Internet and into many inboxes these days is an article in the New York Times. In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update talks about how very different our jobs now are. It showcases school librarian Stephanie Rosalia of Public School 225 in Brooklyn. Thankfully, it's not a picture of her just checking out books, but rather teaching information literacy skills.

You should most definitely take a read! You should also watch the video.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Want one of these cool pictures?

If you would like to create one of these cool Obama-like pictures, you can find the website here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I passed the test. Now what?

I found out yesterday that I passed the School Leaders Licensure Assessment. In my state, as in some other states, there are several ways to earn an administrative credential. Typically, one needs to take courses and earn a credential or a master's degree.

However, there can be an alternate route. Pass the test and get the prize. Based on the number of people who were in the room when I took the test, this has become a popular route. How successful are folks? My guess is not very.

The test takes six hours to complete and you will write for the entire time. No multiple choice anything. There are twenty-five constructed responses. Not for the faint of heart.

I do not want to assert that I am smarter than the average bear, but I do have a series of experiences in public education that should be helpful on such a test. I am also a better-than-average writer. Now look at my test score below.

Score required: 173
Tom's score: 174

Not a particularly stellar pass. A pass, nonetheless, but it makes me wonder how much of a cash cow this particular examination is for ETS. More than several in that room of forty applicants were there for a re-take.

The cost for the test is $430. That may be the most expensive ETS test. Given that folks are trying to test out of many expensive classes, ETS knows what it is doing.

Now to the second part. Now that I have this administrative credential (or will when all of the paperwork is done), what is my plan? Should I go out and apply for every vice principal job on the planet? Are you insane? I do know that there are people who want such jobs. I would most assuredly not be one.

At this point, I do not know what I will do with it. I have a great job being a Teacher Librarian. I control my destiny for the most part. I work for a district and for people who allow me to be creative. For me, that's a great place to be.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What am I up to?

I have many things going on right now, so I have been behind in posting. Let's see, I have been:

  • Developing an online library service course for students in my district. It is an out-growth of one of my Fresno Pacific University courses.

  • Taking the cataloging course at FPU. This is, I believe, my second-to-last course in the teacher librarian services credential program (and I have not decided yet if I want to do the master's degree).

  • Teaching two courses for FPU. The first is an expansion of the course I have been teaching, but now it is three units and offers more technology. The second is that same two-unit technology course for graduate math & science students. It has been interesting to see the difference between library folks and math/science folks.

  • Helping to coordinate the recent Clouds & Clout Conference for CSLA Northern Section, Region 3.

I hope to be posting on a more regular basis from here on out.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Donkeys and Books

As I have mentioned here and elsewhere, I am a big fan of Ethiopia Reads. The BBC now has up a video showing the Donkey Book Cart they use.