April 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Six Back-to-School Goals for Teacher Librarians | Tech Tidbits

memopad_Back2School_webLibrarians can jump-start the school year by setting some essential goals. Here, teacher librarian Phil Goerner tackles his top six objectives and lays out a plan for achieving these goals, which range from creating new maker space projects to engaging teachers in professional development.

  1. Collaborate with teachers

I think this is one of the most important parts of our jobs. I know it always takes a while to build momentum in the fall and get into classrooms. One of the best ways for me to get started is to stay organized. I have been using Google Tasks to keep my lists handy and streamline my day. It synchronizes with my school Gmail no matter what computer I’m logged into, and there is even an app for my smart phone.

I’m working on “sneaking” into as many classrooms as I can to line up team teaching jobs, demonstrate a tech tool, or just to promote the library resources. Since my students have just gone 1:1 with iPads, we are supporting our teachers who are using the heck out of Schoology for their learning management system, Nearpod for delivery of information to students, and Noteability for note-taking, sharing, and learning.

  1. Promote the library

Letting teachers and students know about the library resources is vital in the fall. We’ll be creating and sharing virtual SMORE Newsletters and using Canva graphics to promote our library resources. We’ll even print some old school–style color fliers we post for the students in their bathrooms. We call them the weekly “potty papers.”

  1. Take a lead on professional development

Wow! Who knew teaching teachers would become such a big part of our lives as school librarians? At our school, we have launched the SAMR technology model in hopes that our teachers will strengthen their 21st century skills and support student achievement in deeper ways. I find Google Chrome’s Screencastify to be a strong tool for creating tutorials to support skill-building and understanding. Record.it is a great animated GIF creator to create step-by-step instructions. We have been collaborating as a group of teachers after school during our “Tech Tuesdays” to share ideas and insights. Perhaps most importantly this fall, I am excited to spearhead the planning of edcamp Longmont, which will be held at my school using the “unconference” model. We have lots of learning planned, donated goodies to give away, an Apps Smackdown scheduled, and even an active Makerspace to be explored.

  1. Meet with clubs

For our book club, student leaders and I help all members create Goodreads accounts to share their reading. We take and post pictures of #bookface Fridays on Instagram, and set up Skype time with our sister book club at Monarch High School in Louisville, CO, led by teacher librarian Beatrice Gerrish. We also schedule movie premiere visits (Scorch Trials on September 18—are you psyched?), and we’ll be introducing our students to the Somewhat Virtual Book Club using the video from New Cannan (CT) High School (#SWVBC). That should get them off and running for the fall.

  1. Engage in making

My student leaders and I will determine our focus soon, but we are already committed to a few major projects. They are teaming with the student club Peace and Service for Africa to build lanterns with our 3-D printer and getting involved with the One Million Lights project. Secondly, we are collaborating with the local maker space in town and meeting with them during lunch on a weekly basis. We’ll also be organizing a LEGO drive to collect pieces for our middle school, where the students there are creating their own LEGO wall.

  1. Celebrate “freadom”

Don’t forget the special celebrations that kick-start our fall library world! To celebrate ALA’s Banned & Challenged Book Week (September 27–Oct 3), we are coordinating visits from the social studies teachers to attend presentations on First Amendment Rights and the freedom to read.

A highlight of that week will be Banned Websites Day, when we’ll raise awareness for Internet filtering and digital citizenship, which are especially important topics for our 1:1 school. During the week, our readers will be preparing and submitting videos in the Fifth Annual Virtual Read Out, in which students and authors post YouTube videos sharing the importance of freedom to read. What a week!

September’s activities will roll you right into October with Teen Read Week (October 18–24), homecoming festivities, and, of course, all the wonderful celebrations surrounding Halloween.

Once you have your to-do lists started, your projects in motion, and your ducks in a row, make sure to have a formal meeting with your principal to share your annual goals, request their support, and ask them for advice and resources to make things happen.

I’d love to hear what’s on your back-to-school lists.

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Phil Goerner About Phil Goerner

Phil Goerner is the teacher librarian and tech innovator at Silver Creek High School in Longmont, CO. He can be found on Twitter @pgoerner. Phil is also an adjunct professor with University of Colorado at Denver in the School Library and Instructional Leadership program.

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  1. Very good ideas to promote reading for teens. Not all school’s librarians go into that extend. Those who do that always have the teens future in the heart. Good effort. Try all source to promote reading.

  2. “Banned Websites Awareness Day” is part of the American Library Association’s efforts to STOP using Internet filtering in public schools by misleading teachers into thinking Internet filters do not work or that blocking material under the Children’s Internet Protection Act is tantamount to blocking LGBT material. Filter do well and they do not block LGBT material, but that doesn’t fit the ALA narrative so ALA does not advise teachers that filters work well nowadays.

  3. So many excellent ideas here. Thank you! I’ve found Google Keep to be an excellent to-do manager, with a few more features than Google Tasks.

    Somewhat unrelated, but free and very nifty: http://www.photosforclass.com. Finds images with acceptable permissions & automatically adds proper attribution! Found this on another blog, might be helpful for your students.

  4. Fadzli Ramly says:

    Thanks for the sharing. Should I know what a school librarian who didn’t act as a teacher / academician can support in day to day learning process? What I can think at this moment are providing the resources that useful to teachers and students, get help from the teachers to recommend what resources might be useful for their teaching.