Planning for ISTE Live 2023: The Top 3 Reasons I'm Attending My TENTH ISTE Conference!
ISTE Live 2023 is right around the corner, and I can't wait!
As a Future Ready Educator, there are few experiences that rival the excitement and anticipation of attending an ISTE Conference. This year, as I prepare for ISTE Live, I am bursting with enthusiasm, eager to embark on a transformative journey of connection, learning, and advocacy that will mark my TENTH year attending!
Here are my top 3 reasons why I am looking forward to ISTE Live 2023:
What's your top reason for attending ISTE Live?!
May the 4th Be With You!
April is National Poetry Month, and as a secondary school librarian, it's the perfect time to celebrate the beauty and power of language with your students. Poetry has a unique ability to inspire, provoke, and captivate us, and as a librarian, you have the opportunity to spark a love for poetry that could last a lifetime. So let's explore some creative and exciting ways to make National Poetry Month a memorable and engaging experience for your students!
National Poetry Month is a wonderful opportunity for us to promote literacy and inspire a love for poetry in our students. By incorporating some of the ideas and examples discussed above you can create an engaging and interactive space where students can explore the world of poetry and express themselves creatively. So why not challenge yourself to try one or more of these ideas and make this National Poetry Month the best one yet? Whether it's through displays, workshops, performances, or podcasts, there's no limit to the ways you can celebrate poetry in your library. So let's embrace the power of words and encourage our students to do the same.
Happy National Poetry Month!
Resources and Links
Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 29th. Create your own Haiku with Adobe Express!
My favorite YA books told in verse:
Host a Poetry Slam - we have hosted one each year!
Poetry Walk Example
Fostering a Sense of Belonging: Inclusive Practices for Social-Emotional Learning in School Libraries
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) in schools. Social-emotional learning refers to the skills, attitudes, and values that enable students to understand and manage their emotions, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. School libraries are uniquely positioned to support social-emotional learning by providing students with access to diverse resources and creating a safe and welcoming environment.
Below are just a few examples that explore how we can foster a sense of belonging in school libraries through inclusive practices for social-emotional learning. This blog is meant as an introduction, but if you would like to learn more about embedding SEL in the library, please consider listening to my podcast episode with School Librarians United, read my article with Perspectives in Reading, or try out activities with Microsoft Flip outlined in my blog article here.
Barriers to Inclusion in School Libraries
Before we can explore strategies for fostering a sense of belonging in school libraries, it is important to understand the barriers that can prevent students from feeling included. Barriers can include:
2 Strategies for Identifying Barriers
Ideas for Supporting Social-Emotional Learning in the School Library
Offer Diverse and Culturally Relevant Resources
One of the most effective ways to support social-emotional learning in school libraries is by offering a range of resources that represent diverse perspectives and experiences. This includes books, resources, programming, how we display books, book recommendations, and even pictures on flyers that celebrate different cultures and traditions and perspectives. By providing access to diverse and culturally relevant resources, school libraries can help students develop empathy, respect, and a deeper understanding of themselves and others.
Tip: Consider collaborating with a local community group or cultural organization to bring in guest speakers or to organize events that celebrate diversity and inclusion. Here is an example of my monthly program planner that helps me plan out these events.
Another way to embed SEL in your school library is through student-led programming. We have a Student Library Board that assists and leads in all aspects of our program. I have seen SEL supported through:
Tip: Use your MakerSpace to coordinate student-interest based MakerCare (or Compassionate Making) programs. For example, we sew blankets for cancer patients with our health care students and our volunteer students sew 'Huggers' for children in domestic abuse shelters to help ease their worries.
Create Safe and Welcoming Spaces
School libraries can support social-emotional learning by creating safe and welcoming spaces where students feel comfortable and supported. This might include designating a quiet area for students who need to take a break or practice mindfulness, or creating a cozy reading nook with comfortable seating and soft lighting. By creating a safe and welcoming environment, school libraries can help students feel valued and supported in their emotional and social development.
Tip: Create a sensory corner with comfortable beanbag chairs and soft lighting for students who need a quiet space to relax and regroup. Include activities like coloring or puzzles as a way to help students de-stress and unwind. Here is a list of items we have in our mindfulness corner.
Collaborate with Other Departments
Instructional Partnerships are an essential part of any school library program, so consider partnering with other school departments to promote social-emotional learning. This might include collaborating with the counseling department to offer resources on stress management or working with the art department to create displays that celebrate diversity and inclusion.
Tip: Consider hosting an art show or display for Women's History Month that showcases how we perceive empowerment or host a poetry slam for Black History Month and collaborate with your English classes on how poetry has been a powerful tool for expression in the Black community. Host a book club with the counseling department or collaborate with the technology department to create a social media campaign that promotes positivity and kindness.
Build Relationships with Students
Finally, the most crucial in fostering a sense of belonging and embedding SEL is building relationships with students. Library staff should make an effort to get to know each student and understand their individual needs and interests. This can help students feel valued and supported, and can create a sense of belonging in the library.
Tip: Train the library staff might on how to ask students about their favorite books or hobbies, or create a suggestion box where students can request specific resources or programs. We have added a 'Tell us your pronouns' and 'please disturb the librarian' signs.
Fostering a sense of belonging in school libraries through inclusive practices is essential for promoting social-emotional learning and creating an inclusive environment where all students feel safe, supported, and valued. By implementing strategies such as book clubs, collaborative efforts, support for mental health, and MakerCare activities, school librarians can provide students with opportunities to connect with peers, express themselves, and build a sense of belonging in the school community. By identifying and addressing barriers to inclusion, collaborating with teachers and counselors, and implementing successful initiatives, school librarians can create safe spaces for students to learn and grow, and support their social-emotional well-being. Through these efforts, we can foster a culture of inclusivity, promote social-emotional learning, and ensure that all students have the support and resources they need to thrive in school and beyond.
Adams, J. M. (2019). Supporting Social Emotional Learning in the Library. Library Technology Reports, 55(2), 1-42.
García, E. E. (2021). Leading with equity: How librarians can support inclusive social-emotional learning practices. School Library Journal. Retrieved from https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=leading-with-equity-how-librarians-can-support-inclusive-social-emotional-learning-practices
Kaplan, L. S. (2019). The role of the school library in promoting social emotional learning. Knowledge Quest, 47(3), 10-15.
Let's create and celebrate a nation of diverse readers. For Read Across America, let's look at inclusive texts that share our nation's greatest quality - diversity and inclusivity.
Are you a school librarian or teacher? Take and tweak the poster above for your needs
New Orleans grew on me this week! It's amazing what a week of networking with passionate educators, trying amazing food, and sparking ideas to help your school will do for you. FETC 2023 was the best one yet!
From presenting on and advocating for creativity in schools, to learning new strategies for professional learning, to exploring New Orleans, this past week has been one for the books!
Here are some of my takeaways:
Did you go to FETC? I'd love to hear your biggest takeaway in the comments!
Keep scrolling for more resources from the week.
My Presentations at FETC
*Made with Adobe Express. Learn more about Adobe Express here!
FETC Mega Share (from Eric Curts)
Click here for direct access.
When I taught computer science with 2nd graders, I absolutely loved Hour of Code. It was a time of year where I could get every teacher on board with coding with easy, beginner level lessons using Hour of Code's website. It was (and is still) one of my favorite programming events for the library. This was about 8 years ago now, and I think I have grown in my understanding of computer science and the many ways we need to think about it's embedded nature in our lives, the good and the not so good.
My approach to Hour of Code now is not just an introduction to coding in a fun way, but also a way to open conversations to the larger impact of computer science education. The ways computer science and technology are applied in our daily lives, in the real world, is a crucial aspect of learning CS. We need to be able to help students understand the challenges or problems people face around the world and inspire this generation to think deeply about the ways CS can help in solving those problems in order to create a more equitable and sustainable world.
If you also believe in the idea that with great power comes great responsibility, I hope you'll join me in a cross-over of Teaching the SDGs and Hour of Code this week for Computer Science Week! This week can help empower students to be a source of positive change as they think about the ethical responsibilities surrounding computer science. Let's help them to think critically about how CS can solve problems on a deeper and larger scale.
The Padlet below is linked to activities for the Hour of Code (or longer) you can adapt for the different SDGs. It is collaborative, so if you have additional activities or ideas, please share for the collective good.
Our library is the heart of the school, figuratively and literally. With two main floors and 6 different entrances, I often feel like I am managing my own two floor Barnes and Noble. It occurred to me after our first year managing a library at a STEM academy that I needed to change how we display books and engage our students more.
Between our Student Library Board, my amazing para, and myself, we were able to revamp different elements of our readers advisory program and our displays. This has led to over 100% increase in our book checkouts this year compared to last year (including physical and virtual books). The main changes we've made:
I'm going to write a series of blogs that explain the changes we've made. This particular post will focus on something you can take and implement TOMORROW. Just plug in your own books or QR codes to Sora and you're ready to go. I have always offered read-a-likes through natural conversations and our social media channels, but we've just amped up how we use them to do displays.
Read-A-Likes and Curated Book List Templates
Banned Books Week 2022
Are you looking for a Banned Books Week lesson for 2022?
Here is a self-paced lesson for middle and high school students:
Or share the Top 10 most challenged books directly with students:
Idea Toolbox - #Fliphunts!
What is a #Fliphunt?
Originally created by the wonderful Kathi Kersznowski, #Fliphunts are a digital scavenger hunt using Flip! You create tasks and then students complete the tasks by creating video responses on Flip. There are so many ways to adapt this for back to school introductions, content in the classroom, or even professional learning.
How do I get started?
What would this look like in Flip? Here's an example I just setup for our library orientation this year.
What considerations should I take into account when creating the #Fliphunt?
Do you have templates to help me?
Yes. Yes, I do! Feel free to take and tweak for your needs. Just make sure to attribute correctly when sharing with others. 😉
I hope you have fun making your own #Fliphunt, friends! If you have questions or ideas to share, I'd love to hear. Drop them below!
Advocating for Student Voice in Metro Atlanta & Beyond
MIE Expert Since 2018
MIE Trainer Since 2018
Flipgrid Student Voice Ambassador since 2016