Sunday, October 19, 2014

#IMWAYR (almost) & Google Login Update

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now… who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!

Our Kid Lit to YA version is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

GREAT IDEA! Check out all of the What Are You Reading? participants for title ideas.

Been a little while, no? Reading rut. Still not actually OUT of it. .. but on the road, I think. My Audible subscription kicked back on (after I set it to a 3 month hiatus) the same week as Cary Elwes' As You Wish came out. Now, grand literature it's not. But it's such fun to hear about the making of one of my favorite movies. Based on a book which I am embarrassed to say I've never gotten around to reading. Perhaps we'll need to remedy that next?

And of course the Ivan picture book. Oh, what I'd give for a pic from the days of visiting him at the B&I. I'd have bad hair, of course. That is sort of a given for the time period.

Stay tuned ... I have almost made my "dream" Google login system work. The auto-fill QR code was amazingly easy when I searched on the right terms. Right now I have all the classes sorted to send responses to separate tabs in the response spreadsheet. I'd prefer for a method I saw on YouTube where you clicked on a drop down menu at the top of the column and chose one possible response ... and then only that answer would show up. A teacher would choose their name and then only their kids would show up. Or we'd choose a grade. I think they called it data validation? Cleaner but I haven't gotten that to work yet (and now I can't find the video). So we have like 40 tabs on the spreadsheet ... a little messy but it works. Just waiting for what feels like forever on the order for the lockable iPad station. And a new custodian to apply and get the job so he or she can actually install it. Me and power drills ... well. So far we don't get along. Maybe desperation will help me to get brave. I just would prefer to not be brave FIRST on something so important as our circ desk.

Here are the library passes waiting to be used. Waiting. Waiting. If it actually works (and the info gained on classes and students coming to the library on passes proves to be useful) I'll post a how to. I already made a really ugly how to that I shared with district librarians. To put it out here it would need to be much prettier. I perhaps have too much pride in visuals. :P

So. GTA messages go out on Wednesday. I wish my video would have turned out more interesting. Tech really has changed my teaching. I've seen really cool things happen when kids and teachers try new things. Boy howdy would my colleagues from my first years of teaching Spanish would LAUGH at the idea. I would really love to go. But I keep seeing about how people apply multiple times. Hmm. Well. Would be super cool as it's just up the road and we rolled out Chromebooks on campus just this past week. But I'm not holding my breath. :P :P

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Library Field Trip

"Today was good, today was fun. Tomorrow can we have another one?"

Or maybe tomorrow I'll go back to campus and give benchmarks.
Hmmm. Which sounds more interesting. :P

Our district took half of our elementary librarians on a bit of a field trip today. The other half are going on Thursday. I was a terrible blogger today who didn't take hardly any pictures! We were a big group and I don't feel comfortable posting too much of my own kids, let alone someone else's students. So it was mostly just looking.

The first school we observed some science stations. I would love to do more hands on stuff. It's one reason the Maker movement sounds so inviting.
They read a book on the doc. camera and then moved around to different tables. They had some great weathering and erosion activities going on.

PROS: hands on! A literature component. An art component. Tech components. The kids were on task. Also everyone loved the mini iPad cases.
POSSIBLE CONS: Mess. Sand and water in lots of places. She had more physical space than we do. Would it still work as seamlessly? Also I see she still has the same ... conundrum about reading a book on the doc. camera. If you are facing the book your back is to the kids. If you are facing the kids you get a kink in your neck twisting around to read the book.

At the second school it was more to observe her management style and see little ones doing self-checkout.

PROS: seriously ... those little guys knew their ID numbers and they followed directions. Coziest space. How did they keep it so dust free with all of the little displays and decorations? I did take a pic of the bulletin board behind her computers. It's pretty close to what I was thinking about for our space if I could ever get the company to send me a price quote! I keep getting the "48-72 hours" line. Twice. Over the space of four weeks. But never any answer. I would go to another vendor but this is the only district one that has what I want! She also had some interesting "museum" type displays with research bags for teachers to check out. I would have loved to have learned more. And copied them! ;)

POSSIBLE CONS: They were only getting one. I let kids check out more books. Maybe I shouldn't. Had a discussion back on the bus about really encouraging kids to actually FINISH what they check out. Are they more or less likely to do so being limited to two books at a time versus more?

Also in both schools their shelves were pretty packed. After the past several months and changes in our space (I promise, pics of OURS will come ... there are just some things I am having trouble getting moved out and I want it to be a pretty non-cluttered photo tour!) I find myself very much a proponent of less in number but higher in quality books. Yes, people have noticed. And there have been a few books I wish were still around. But not enough to make me sorry I did it.

Then after lunch we went to Bibliotech. I haven't completely changed my mind. I still ... well. I'd still prefer to see some print books. In my jolly perfect world there are physical spaces with a mix of print and electronic available to all. But I don't dislike it as much as I did before. They are doing some pretty awesome things there in terms of community outreach. A manned kiosk in the courthouse for people reporting for jury duty. GENIUS! And while I'm not usually a fan of "modern" furniture (much more a shabby chic/cottage style) it did really work in their space. Clean colors (blue, green, orange, chrome, and black) and all so ... MOVEABLE.

I 'll admit I just stole this owl mascot off their website. Isn't he fun? Apparently he is also an AR trigger though I did not ever get straight if it was through Aurasma or Layar or Daqri.

And then we talked at the newest middle school (seriously beautiful space) about a cool tech innovation research project she does with 6th grade. I can't fathom getting the kids for as long as she says she does but they really delve into their topics and create some amazing things.

Monday, October 13, 2014


So I just submitted an application for the Google Teacher Academy. Here's my video. It's way cookie cutter and not great (some people are budding Spielbergs!) so I'm counting on the rest of the application. Chances are slim but you never know. It's for sure no unless you try. If you never hear me talk about it again that means I didn't make it. :P

Did you have school today? Kids were off but we had meetings. They ... were not super fascinating. Oh well. Tomorrow I will actually be off campus at a little librarian field trip. Our district has never done this before so it might be fun! Half of us are going tomorrow and half on Thursday.

Part of the day will be to visit the county library without books. I have been against the idea of it since I first heard. We'll see if my mind is changed.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Currently October

Linking up with Farley!

Listening ... could I be more of a fogey? And COULD IT BE ANY HOTTER? :P
Loving ... new TV show. So ridiculous but I'm still watching. When I'm awake.
Thinking ... a nap might be in order. Been going to be early all week and still tired.
Wanting ... the heavenly fall combo that is pumpkin and chocolate chip. These muffins are a decent substitute, I will say. No, not QUITE the cookie. But pretty close. Granted, also not super low fat. But less fat.
Needing ... a day off. When not everyone has it.
Treat ... I'll be lame and link to some old Halloween bookmarks. If I get even remotely caught up (though if I'm watching any TV this shouldn't be an excuse, no?) I'll want to play with new images. And maybe I'll wish I'd saved it for a TBT later on but here are some of my fave Slightly Spooky Stories.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The One Where I Ramble On About Stuff

But no #IMWAYR because I am in a reading slump. I just ... can't seem to get things together enough to stick through an entire book. Got several that I need to, though, cause of reviews I promised. Anyone else hit a reading slump? I also got a Garmin Vivofit to help with fitness/weight loss/feeling better goals. It tells me to get up and move. Contradictory, the two things could be. I guess there are always audiobooks.

The library is coming together. I'd post some pictures but ... hmmm. Funny thing. Between the 11th and the 23rd ... the day I did our fall equipment inventory and the day our computer desks came? 4 of them disappeared. SO DUMB. They are thin client computers so they're useless outside of our district network. It's just so ... odd. How? We've looked all over campus. So working on shots that go around the funny spots. Plus it's taking A LONG TIME to get things like bulletin boards ordered. Cause, you know ... WALLS TO HANG THEM ON are kind of bare at the moment. I believe I mentioned that, right? Walls? :) And 85% pretty new shelving? That matches the 15% that we already had (which DIDN'T match what we had before)? It's a lovely cherry stain.

I still look around and can hardly believe it. We still hear most of the hallway (because the walls stop about 8 inches from the ceiling. Something to do with the HVAC system. That they can't get right. We're either freezing or in a sauna). But we don't SEE IT so it's not nearly so distracting. And actually I'm told the hallway can hear ME better now. So that's something.

On a side note one of the lessons today was reading The Wonderful Book and illustrating our own scene with a new animal and what they'd do with that big red book. One example? Kiddo drew a tiger using the book as a toilet. Yes. I opened myself up to that one, did I not? First graders.

Then I read some blog post that warned against embedding Pins. And I got worried. And tired. You know how by Friday you fall asleep before 7? I live large, let me tell you. That's where the last FF went. Sleep and feeling like ... dare I? Is it OK or wrong? I'll probably go back to it cause I like making comments. But maybe not. I do want to be a good digital citizen and not swipe other people's stuff.

My beautiful Google log in that I thought was just a dream last week? I have it figured out! Almost. Well except for that it doesn't work exactly the same on my school Google login as this one. That makes no sense, either. But it's CLOSE. And really wasn't hard, once I came up with the right terms to search for.

Did you see this? I'm signing up to see if it is any good.

Long ramble. Here is a random pic of some of my house decorations just to have a pic. Nothing to do with this post.

Also a PS ... the nasa and usinterior instagram feeds are my favorite. The few of you that I know about that I also follow are fun. But let's be fair. Space and our beautiful country. They are hard to beat. Cute kids come close. As do books. And Halloween decorations.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Library Sign In with Google

Do you keep a record of the kids that come in on passes?

We do have a flex schedule where teachers attend the library with their classes. But with 3-5 class checkout is only every two weeks. That leaves us some time to do lessons w/o so many people wandering around (though it could be better now, w/the walls! Not so distracting). The kids can always come on a pass on the "off" weeks.

It's always been in a binder or notebook. That was the easiest but let's face it ... just ended up being a piece of paper. I never took the time to go back and get the "data" from it that I'd like. Who had that kind of time? And patience to flip through pages and pages counting? Plus students didn't always fill it out completely with the time.

In my perfect world this would work. But so far I haven't been able to figure out HOW.

Each class or grade would have a laminated pass with a QR code on it. Depending on how it was set up (class or grade) all the kids would have to do is scan the pass (from an iPad in a locked stand) to open up a Google form and fill in their name. Google time stamps the entry in forms so no more "What time is it? with a clock right in front of them. :P In my perfect world through the specific QR code link the class (and by default grade, or they'd have to pick their teacher from a drop down menu) would also fill in on the Google results page. All the kiddo would have to enter would be their name.

And in my really perfect world the results would populate in two spreadsheets. One class specific tab that teachers could see (whether they chose to visit the link would be up to them ... but the info would be available) with their kids and a record of who was coming and the time stamp. That way teachers could see who was asking to come and who wasn't and even if they were playing around between the library and the classroom. And a schoolwide tab so that the library could also extrapolate our busiest days and times. And see which teachers perhaps needed some chains rattled to get their kids down here on passes.

Is this too much to ask? Spreadsheets are not my forte. There has to be some kind of script or "if/then" statement. I just haven't figured it out yet! :P

PS I wonder where the QR code in the pic leads. To be honest I just looked for a CC image on Flickr. A super on top of it blogger would have an example Google form ready to go. And a freebie library pass to download.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Finally Friday Sept. 19

Heavy moment ahead then back to business. My sister and nieces (just barely 7 and not yet 3) /nephew (1 a week before the 7 year old turned 7) left today. I know I'm being ridiculous because they were only here what. 14 weeks? And they are only going what ... 170 miles or so up the road? That's better than the 300 something it was before that. I know. Ridiculous.

They just came at a time when so much else felt like it was a big fat lie. It was so good to have them. And I miss them already. The oldest one painted me this. And another one of the two of us as princesses that you'll get when I find the right place to hang it. Do I show you the whole wall here? Then you will see I am an owl nut.

That said ... whew! Busy week! Shelves! Moving books! We'll open on Monday. I can still see the kids faces and hear them whispering "OOOOOH" when they caught a glimpse of the new space. Pictures to come. I can't believe I forgot to take any during the big move. Big white double wide rolling carts EVERYWHERE.

Click through if embedded content doesn't show up in a reader.

I know this will not impress everyone but ... AAAAAAAACK!

I loved this story. I have a brother in Kuwait right now and he is going through books sent in a "soldier's" program like nobody's business.

You probably saw this but if not let me call your attention back. Awesome post! I now want to go find Ruta Sepetys. She spoke at a regional ed center conference today and it was awesome. I'd had her book on my TBR list for a while but believe you me it has been bumped up. And it's got me thinking. What is MY story?

When I forget about Google Reader I still <3 all things Googley. We're getting some Chromebooks in the next couple weeks.

I saw some of this today for the first time with my own eyes. TOO COOL. I want to try. Where to find the money and the time with the kids ...