Monday, May 9, 2011

NY State SLMS Conference 2011: A reflection

On Friday I presented at the New York State SLMS conference, "Learning for Life." Many materials from the conference are available online through the conference wiki. If you'd like to access any of the resources I discussed in my Session II presentation, "Technology and Web 2.0: A Smorgasbord of Engagement Ideas," you can find them here.

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It's always wonderful to leave a conference with great new ideas. These were my two highlights from this weekend:

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  • Susan Cambell Bartoletti, author of They Called Themselves the KKK and Hitler Youth (among other things), spoke at Friday's lunch. Because I'm currently obsessing about the new Common Core Standards and their focus on "informational texts," I was DELIGHTED to listen to this non-fiction author speak about her work. Her presentation was insightful and funny, but it also did a wonderful job reminding me that non-fiction books can be incredibly engaging. English teachers -- don't despair! With authors like Susan Cambell Bartoletti, you'll have plenty of options for hooking your readers with informational texts.
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  • I also really enjoyed Buffy Hamilton's session "It's Time to Get Unquiet: Inviting Student Participation in Your School Library Media Program." Buffy is the "Unquiet Librarian" and works as a school library in Georgia. If you don't already follow her work in the field of school libraries, you should! She's a wealth of information and ideas. Buffy discussed a number of toolkit items, many of which we regularly use, including blogs, polls, and Google Forms. Although I'm familiar with all the technologies, she helped me think about using them in a new way that encourages student participation. I really need to work on giving stakeholders a bigger voice in the management of our library program, and focusing on participatory librarianship will force me to do so. As a result of her presentation, I've allowed students to comment on our library's Facebook page. I had previously disabled the commenting option, but doing so sacrifices a valuable opportunity for student participation. So, even though it still makes me nervous, I'm going to allow it. I also plan to post polls and surveys on the Facebook page to so I can get student opinions before making decisions.
Any other ideas for implimenting "participatory librarianship" as described by Buffy Hamilton? I'd love to hear them!

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