Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Don't Hate School . . . but Summer Will End

A friend recently shared a blog post with an article titled "I Don't Hate School, I Just Love Summer!" I'm not sure that I have "loved" this particular summer as it has been so hot. My summer morning walks started earlier and earlier in the morning as I attempted to find a "cool" time of the day. I failed to keep my flower beds tended and weed-free as I usually enjoy doing. According to weather history, we have not had such a hot summer since 1980. Triple digit temperatures on a daily basis! Without the assistance of a water sprinkler system, the yard would be yellow and dead long ago.

As a school librarian, I am not paid for summer work. However, I appreciate having summer time to work on and possibly complete work that I do not have time to pursue during the school year. Even though I have an assistant at each site, many projects remain in some stage of being completed. Part of this is that we are busy doing our business: serving our patrons. The other part is that my assistants do not always share the same time frame or priority level to complete the project as I do. This is not always their fault. When a teacher reports that AR is not working on their classroom computers, my "to do" list is cast aside to assist the teacher. As it should be. So part of my summer is spent trying to follow up on these partially completed projects and hopefully completing a few or at least taking them to the next stage at each school.

Another part of summer that I appreciate is having the time to read and consider edtech resources and posts. This is a time where I can sit and enjoy my cup of coffee as I follow up on RSS feeds and catch up on Twitter posts. I have time to explore and test edtech tool suggestions or simply read and reflect on blog posts.

This activity has become a common feature of my summer breaks since I started my "Summer Quest" a few years ago. I started then with "23 Things" to try to become more familiar with Web 2.0 resources for education.

This summer I explored and found several edtech resources for myself and to share with teachers which I listed in my last blog post. I am very excited about livebinders and Symbaloo and sqworl for the organization of similar online resources. I am still waiting for a teacher to get on board with me on Wordstash which I think will be great for academic vocabulary. And of course I am so pleased to be allowed to use Edmodo with my gifted/talented class this year.

So it isn't that I hate school but it is more about losing the time to follow and explore this wealth of online resources. I may have a brainstorm to write something notable about a web resource I stumbled over or utilized during the school year, but more likely than not, my time to share in blogging will end for now--just like this summer of endless heat will finally come to an end.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Quest: Not Finished yet Not Failed

August is here and that signals an official end to the summer for me. Now is the time to get my head focused to get in the game of school!

Google docs was the focus of my quest this summer. I have done some reading but have not progressed to the application level of this quest. This is largely due to the need to gorge on Edmodo as I will be using it with the gifted/talented students this year. I'm thinking that Edmodo will achieve several of the reasons I was looking at Google docs (at least I'm hoping so!) thus I diverted my attention to Edmodo midway in the quest. I appreciate that Edmodo posts to my Google reader. Although I'm still subscribing to the email notifications, I can use that strictly as a "notification" and know that the information is stored to read later on my RSS.

Although I possibly "failed" my initial summer quest, I have found some wonder sites to share and use in the coming year. Standouts at this time include: WordStash (vocabulary building); LiveBinders (organization of URL folders); Symbaloo (visual bookmark organizer); eyeooo (visual URL comparision) ; Digital Vaults (resource for history documents); Dipity (digital timelines); Museum Box (research project organized in a box); and of course, Edmodo! I am indebted to the blogs and tweets I've read from the tech experts this summer!

Maintaining/teaching at three elementary school libraries pretty much keeps me on my toes, even with full-time assistants at each building. Thus this pretty much marks the end of my blog entries until next summer's quest. I want to end this quest with a "poster" that I found in my RSS feeds--an interesting graphic to promote the understanding of the educational role of the school librarian as I strive to serve my patrons with the best I can offer. Thank you to Jennifer LaGarde for posting this on the YourTeacherLibrarian wiki.