Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dear Jacqueline Woodson...

You, my friend, are an incredible writer!

In every book of yours that I have read, I have found such strong, interesting, and powerful characters with incredibly authentic voices.

You introduced me to the sweet, caring, and passionate Lonnie Collins Motion, aka Locomotion, in your books Locomotion and Peace, Locomotion.

You took me back to the days of integration and the playground bully through the eyes of Frannie and the Jesus Boy in your book Feathers.

You made me fall in love with Jeremiah and Ellie (and you made me incredibly sad) in your book If You Come Softly.

You made me a champion of Lafayette, Charlie, and Ty'ree as they worked through the death of their mother in your book Miracle's Boys.

You opened my eyes to the friendship and struggles of racism of friends Lena and Marie in your book I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This.

Thanks, Jacqueline Woodson, for creating such wonderful characters for me and other readers of your young adult books! I can't wait to read After Tupac and D Foster next!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Box o' Books

I got a box in the mail yesterday. A beautiful brown cardboard box with the words Amazon.com in big letters across the side. Nothing like new books!

Of course, I ordered some unusual titles, not the usual Paula Deen cookbook or a compilation of scrapbooking ideas or picture book for my daughter. Not even the usual library media or teacher educator books that I might have ordered a year ago.

I ordered the following titles:

In between reading the usual fare of young adult novels, I hope to explore this crazy world we're living in through the books in my box o' books! I'm sure I'll be sharing my thoughts.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Technology! Take Me Away!

I survived our PC Refresh last week. Through tech bond monies, we turned in 72 old desktop computers and received 80 brand spanking new ones. Nice! Of course, that meant days of plotting, mapping, and moving equipment -- thank you, Mr. Bobby and Ms. Pat, our custodians! -- and prepping for the team of movers and shakers. We also just setup four more laptop storage carts which included 60 more laptops.

While most folks would see this as an incredible addition to our technology resources, right now, I'm seeing it as 1000 more headaches and fires to put out when stuff doesn't work the way it's supposed to work. Printers need to be installed. Virus definitions need to be updated. Software needs to be installed on specific machines in specific rooms.

When did I sign on to be the technology facilitator at my school?!

The role of media coordinator has definitely changed, even in the almost 12 years that I have been out of the traditional classroom and in the library media center. There are tons more instructional technology resources to integrate into the core curriculae. The information skills that students need in order to navigate resources and the vast amounts of information have changed my instruction as well....or sometimes that lack of instruction. (See Please Don't Google Search!)

I'm not necessarily tired of the technology itself; I'm just tired of dealing with the equipment.

With over 200 desktops and 150 laptops on my small middle school campus, that's a heck of a lot of equipment to service! In most business models, there would at least be an IT person or some sort of technology specialist in the building to keep up the maintenance on the machines. While we have an incredible group of technology service folks in our district, there's only about 10-12 folks for over 150 schools that actually come out to take care of the equipment. A handful of others perform duties and updates remotely. But at the school level, that can be an overwhelming job for a classroom teacher, media coordinator, or instructional resources teacher who also is expected to wear the hat of technology coordinator.

I think my staff views me more as their technology specialist than as a library media coordinator and teacher. When I offered to work with one teacher's classes today, he looked at me with surprise and responded, "You can do that? Teach my kids?".

I've got to reclaim my true job description: planning, collaborating, teaching and integrating the information literacy skills into the curriculum.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Going Public and Getting Organized

I haven't really shared my blog with anyone....at least not until today. I was working with three teachers on blogging, sharing some of the educational blogs out there and inviting them to search professional and personal interests to find some of the incredible entries and conversations going on about any topic imaginable.

So in a teachable moment, I shared my personal blog site with them, as well as the TriangleMommies blog site to which I contribute. One of the teachers was ready to create his on blog, trying something simple -- he came up with the I Am Awesome Blog -- and hoping to revisit blogging later on to really setup a neat mathematics conversation.

I can see the power of information and connections with blogging. There are blogs on absolutely everything out there. But filtering through the information can be overwhelming. I attended a session at the NCTIES conference last week in which Will Richardson talks about organizing your blog reading through Google Reader. It was just what I needed to feel less insane and just as informed and sparked to read some of my favorite sites without traipsing all across cyberspace. Google Reader is basically one stop reading for me. I've read my daily dose of news, my mommy stuff, and my tech talk entries without having to pull up each and every one of the sites.

I should have gone public and gotten organized sooner!