I was fortunate enough to attend the NYLA SSL Conference again this year as a Laura Wedge Scholarship winner.
It is an honor and a privilege to share and learn from my colleagues across the state. I always come away with more ideas than I can implement in a school year. This year was no exception. I had so much difficulty choosing which workshops to attend.
I was so impressed with the librarians at the Localvore WORKSHOP I attended. Librarian Gail Brisson and special education teacher Melissa Bryant collaborated to create a monthly teacher luncheon totally grown, cooked and prepared by the self contained ISS students. I was totally overwhelmed with the extent of the student involvement, from creating an entire vegetable garden with materials donated by Cornell University.
I also attended the Copyright and Fair Use workshop by Jim Belair, SLS Director and Anne Dalton, Esq.
They simplified the teaching exemption to the Fair Use Laws by reminding us 1: it must be tied into teaching, don’t show a movie without a lesson attached, 2: material must be from a legal source, don’t use something you found on Youtube. and 3:it must be shown for display and performance only, not a money making opportunity. Keep a record of the questions that you presented with the film to show that you were using it for teaching purposes. They shared 2 excellent resources created by ALA: The Fair Use Evaluator: which will help you justify the material you showed as fitting under the fair use exception and the Digital Slider which clarifies when copyright laws expire.
Programming Made Easy was another workshop I attended which gave me some fast, practical ideas for programming in the library. Some of the ideas explained and demonstrated were a Battle of the Books competition run by different middle schools in the area and culminating in a competition between the schools, a family reading night, coffee house days and poetry slams. I was excited by the comments of the librarians about how the students look forward to the events from year to year and begin requesting specific programs as early as September.
Some of the resources are now available online. More are to be added shortly.
I thank NYLA SSL for giving me the opportunity to attend the conference through the Laura Wedge Scholarship Award.
I encourage all my fellow New York State school librarians to become members of NYLA. The dues are very reasonable and open you up to exciting programs and resources. It is very easy to remain isolated when you work in a specific school, but when you become part of a larger organization, you grow your network of professional contacts and are able to learn and grow exponentially.
This is my latest newsletter. I created this with Smore.com.
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I recently attended the Fall New York City School Library System Conference at Citifield. We were fortunate to hear from Barbara Stripling, former president of A.L.A. One of the most powerful things she told us was to lead from the middle. “You are more powerful than the principal and your colleagues.”
It is so encouraging to remember how important we are as librarians. I also heard Dr. David Loertscher, creator of the School Learning Commons website. As librarians, we have to make it happen. The whole world shifted with the creation of google. It is our job to bridge the gap, collaborate with teachers and help them create and empower our learning communities.
Finally, we were so lucky to hear Sharon Draper, winner of the Coretta Scott King Literary Award, five time National Teacher of the Year Award and author of Tears of a Tiger, Out of My Mind, and many other books for teens. She told us “don’t just tell me about your story, write the book.” She reminded us of the need for diverse books and how there could never be enough books for the diverse student body around the country. Her advice to new librarians: “read 100 books, then read another 100 books, so you are always ready to find the perfect book for the child who says ‘I don’t read books’.”
I promote my library using the platform smore.com. One of the great features of this platform is that I can follow the analytics. In this newsletter, I promoted hstory, a great website for students to create their own timelines. I also highlight famous author birthdays each month and tie it in to our collection. Read the newsletter online.
English Language Learners comprise over twenty percent of our student body. There is a strong emphasis under the common core to differentiate learning by providing students with the best resources to meet their needs. Below are some resources we use to reach the English as a New Language Student.
News in Levels: Breaks down news articles in 3 levels, each article has a reading, listening, writing and speaking part. Cite can be searched.
Newsela.com: Articles are categorized in 8 different subjects, each article is written on four different lexile levels. Other features are text sets about different topics, editor’s favorite choices and most loved of the month.
We also subscribe to the ELL Database by Ebsco. The database has articles on a variety of topics. Each article has difficult words defined within the article. There is also a translate feature and a reading feature. Read a sample article about Attila the Hun.
Some databases offered to our library from NOVEL also have translate and read aloud features which can help the English Language Learner. For example, Gale Opposing Viewpoints translates the articles into twelve languages.
I recommend you explore the databases you already subscribe to. See if they offer a read aloud feature and a translate feature. If they do, market these features to your English as a New Language Learners.
I recently started a newsletter at Flushing High School to inform staff about recent updates and websites which are useful to teaching. I am using smore.com to publish the website. I like it because I get analytical updates which let me know how many people looked at the newsletter and where they viewed it. It is also easy to use and format. Here is the latest newsletter: Flushing H. S. Library Newsblast. Enjoy!