Librarian Blogs

So I have a new guilty pleasure, other than pinterest:), Librarian Blogs. I have been following some Education Blogs for a while now but compared to librarian ones, social studies teachers are just not as interesting. However, maybe that is because they are new to me and as a relatively new comer to the world of librarians, every idea is new and something to file in my toolbox. New ideas in social studies are harder to come by. Anyway, I digress.

The first blog I would like to share is one that has been showing up in my Facebook news feed for a while through MASL, although to be honest I haven’t taken the time to actually read it until recently. The Busy Librarian is authored by an elementary school Media Specialist located close by in Ellicott City, MD. His profile does not give a whole lot of information about him and he is not a “big time blogger”. However, I enjoy his writing style and the fact that each of his posts gives you something to do. His blog seems to be mainly a professional development blog. His most recent post SLM 2012 Shelf challenge, has a great idea to help celebrate School Library Month by taking one section of your collection to become very familiar with over the next month and then chart it in a Google doc. I think this will help to only learn a section of your library better, become better acquainted with the section and practice using Google Docs if you aren’t familiar with it. Another great post is on Graphic Novels. This post specifically target Elementary School but it gives some great advice on promoting Graphic Novels. I like the idea of cataloging them by their topic not just 741.5 as a graphic novel but also labeling them graphic novels and grouping them together. That way you can always change how you organize them.

The next blog that I’d like to share is The Daring Librarian. The author of this post is not only local but also quite well known in the field of school librarianship and technology. Gwyneth Jones is a local librarian and I also had the pleasure of taking a class she instructed for technology education almost 10 years ago. To be honest at the time I wasn’t aware of whose presence I was in but she was a great teacher and one of the only ones I actually remember the name of almost 10 years later. Her blog is very busy and not meant for a person with focusing issues but it has a lot of amazing ideas. It also seem to mainly deal with using technology lessons in a library setting. Her blog is also a little intimidating in all of the awards and even the creativity she uses by her cartooning. She posts many of the presentations she has done and gives lots of information for you to replicate the lessons. For example, if you didn’t want to do a Google+ lesson you could still do the QR lesson. I also loved the post 10 Super Geeky Tips for the New Year. Some of them were things I had heard before but I found it interesting that it mentioned improving your digital footprint, especially since this was a topic we just discussed in this class. With this in mind she also suggests buying your name. I had never thought it would be worth it but maybe worth it to make sure no one else does, especially when thinking of your digital footprint. At first I found the comic book format a little difficult to follow but after a while the comic Gwyneth Jones grows on you.

A third blog that was recommended to me by my school librarian is Joyce Valenza’s NeverEndingSearch. Valenza’s blog is hosted on School Library Journal’s site. She is a high school librarian and technical writer. Her blog is not flashy and does not have many bells and whistles but she does blog a lot of great ideas. Again, this blog seems mostly geared to professional development. I first was drawn to an older post from last spring about Sync audiobook program. I have become a big fan of audio books, since I have a 30 minute commute and took literature classes, so this sounded really interesting to me. I think Audiobooks could be appealing for many young adults especially since you can now just download them right to mp3 players. This idea of offering free downloads and pairing current books with related classic titles is a great idea to help students make connections between old and new books. I also enjoyed her post on Reading Under the Radar . This post didn’t necessarily share anything new but it discussed how technology, including web 2.o has changed the reader/author relationship. I had never realized how this would change the way kids read and their involvement with books. Being able to interact and share online takes reading into the next generation.

A final blog I found that I thought would be helpful to follow is a book review blog called The Ya, Ya, Ya’s. This blog is written by three different YA librarians. They both positively and negatively review books and according to their policy they aren’t paid for any reviews. I liked the aspect of having 3 different authors and the sheer amount of reviews. I think keeping up with all of the new books that come out will be difficult enough and any help I can get finding new good books would be appreciated. The post “Books I’m Most Looking Forward in 2012“was organized well. I liked that they included the release date and a little about the book. It made it very easy to find books to also add to my own reading list. They also had a good post that discussed predictions for the award winners and then a follow-up post with the actual winners. I like the way that they seem to write honestly give a lot of information but are not too wordy. It makes the blog informative but not over intimidating. I think this blog will really help me find new books for me to recommend to others.

Incorporating Blogs In the Library – Blogs can be a great way to share what you are reading and give recommendations to students. You could also do a “what’s new” blog to share new programs, advertise new books, or give information. Most of the library sites I visited share lessons and professional development ideas. One other idea is to have a virtual book club. You could choose a book and pose questions for students or staff to respond to this type of blog might be best to keep private and just give invites.

Bringing Others On-board – One way I have found is to present information in the format you want people to use. In other words, use a blog to post the presentation, videos, and links if you are going to introduce blogging.   This forces people to use the format.  Just don’t forget to cite your sources and get permission if needed. Another, thing I’ve learned is to give time for people to create and play with the tool or site while they can get help and get comfortable with the tool.

Professional Development– Blogs can be a cheaper, more time efficient, and differentiated way to meet individual needs and wants as a tool for professional development. The trick is in find a blog that is professional, accurate, frequently updated, and at the level of expertise that is needed to grow but not overwhelm. A blog could even be set up by the schools professional development team to make sure people received specific information. As money and time become more precious, I think we’ll see more of our professional development done in a social networking framework, like blogging or vlogging.

Works Cited

Jones, G. (2012, February 20). Daring Librarian, The. Retrieved March 17, 2012, from http://www.thedaringlibrarian.com/
Valenza, J. (2012, March 21). NeverEndingSearch. NeverEndingSearch. Retrieved March 21, 2012, from http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/neverendingsearch/
Winner, M. (2012, March 20). The Busy Librarian. Retrieved March 17, 2012, from http://www.busylibrarian.com
The YA YA YAs. (2012, March 21). Retrieved March 21, 2012, from http://theyayayas.wordpress.com/
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Educational Blogs

I agree that blogs can be an excellent source of professional development.  As a social studies teacher I am pretty lucky that generally the internet is a playground of content for us.  However, the downside to so much online content is that it can be overwhelming to sort through it all.  One way to do this is to subscribe to an educational blog and let them do some of the sorting.  For example I have recently started following World History Teachers Blog.  This blog is a combined effort from high school history teachers to share online content and technology.  I have fallen in love with this blog and have found many new ideas including you tube videos by John Green(one of my favorite authors) that summarize most of the units I teach in Ancient History, http://worldhistoryeducatorsblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/amusing-look-at-indus-river-valley.html.  These videos have been a great way to preview and review the units I teach, and John Green is so funny that the kids love it. Nothing is better than students learning despite their best efforts not to.  Besides giving specific content, it also includes links to other sites that have content that would be helpful to educators, For example one post discusses the website WatchKnowLearn.org. The post, http://worldhistoryeducatorsblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/educational-video-search-engine.html includes some background on the site, how the link was found, and even gives a link to a specific video list.  I think the fact that I just  got lost on this blog for the past hour shows the wealth of information available on the blog.

 

Another Educational Blog, The Dream Teacher, is written by North Carolina’s teacher of the Year )08-09.  It seems to mainly be an inspirational musing blogs. One, that I think on some days I could definitely use.  Two blogs had me in tears, one was a letter to a student who ended up in correctional facility, http://thedreamteacher.blogspot.com/2012/01/letter-to-youth-correctional-facility.html and one where she describe missing the students now that she is no longer in her own classroom, http://thedreamteacher.blogspot.com/2012/01/identity-crisis.html.  Both of these posts hit on the reason why I and  many of us  became teachers in the first place.  In a time where I am feeling undervalued and disrespected, a little reminding can go a long way in rejuvenating me to get back in there everyday and do what is best for my students.  See, even I am talking like a cheerleader now!

 

Another blog I found interesting was Free Technology for Teachers.  At first this site seemed just another site filled with more ads than content but as I continued looking through posts I found some great ideas.  The site has won awards for best resource sharing site by Edublog and the author  is a teacher  and also writes for School Library Journal’s “Cool Tools” column.  First, when I was reading the “about” section of the blog I came across a nifty tool called VisualCV. It seems to basically be an online resume.  The author of the blog’s is located here http://www.visualcv.com/richardmbyrne.  The blog is also organized into pages that help you to find more specifically what you are looking for. I found this resource for Facebook Historical, http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/08/historical-facebook-facebook-for-dead.html. It seems to be taking the attitude of  “if you can’t beat them, join them” when it comes to Facebook.  This would be a great review project.  I also like the fact that after  every post, the author has a comment about how to use the resource in the classroom. This would especially be helpful for technology ideas because sometimes tools are cool but how you would actually use them can be mystifying. The combination of lesson ideas, links to websites, and free downloads make this a “target rich environment” (Maverick, Top Gun – for all of you non Top Gun fans).

 

This last blog I found interesting since I have recently started teaching the Highly Abled Learners at our school.  Unwrapping the Gifted Child is written by a gifted education teacher that teaches k-12. She offers her thoughts on the gifted child and updates on what is new in the world of gifted education.  I was initially intrigued by her post about shirts she has found that demonstrate her beliefs in gifted education.  Some of the shirts and quotes were quite amusing and thought-provoking, http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/unwrapping_the_gifted/2012/02/get_your_geek_on.html.  She does not seem to post as often and her posts are pretty long, but offer resources as well as musing.  She has a post to webinars(http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/unwrapping_the_gifted/2012/01/its_webinar_time_again.html.  Again, though one problem is that it is a bit overwhelming, with a lot of suggestions all in one post.  Although, this Blog would be worth subscribing too. Its infrequency would not make a must for someone.

 

 Incorporating Education Blogs in the Classroom.  When utilizing Education blogs I think that by using the resources you found on the blogs would be the first step to incorporating them into the classroom.  I would also advertize to my students that I got the idea from a blog.  If they hear it often enough they might start to realize that there is something useful to the Internet besides games.

 

Spreading the Word. I would share blogs by sending teachers links from blogs that might be helpful to them.  This is where I have found some of the blogs I have followed.  I could also send out a weekly blog highlight email but to be honest teachers get so much email it would probably be deleted/unread by most.  I think the most effective way would be to just make sure the blog gets credit for ideas you have and resources you use and recommend.  I think eventually people would start checking them out just from hearing about them.  From there, it isn’t long before teachers begin to realize that they also have some great ideas to share.  A simple professional development session would be necessary to show them how easy it is to blog and voila you would have a school of bloggers. Okay well maybe it won’t be that easy but every quality new blog is a step in the right direction

 

As Professional Development. In today’s world of budget cuts and teacher time being a high commodity,   a blog offers a great way to share staff development.  Teachers can access them at their own time, and it can be multimedia based so it is engaging and differentiated. For example, if I already know how to set up a blog, I could visit the post on improving your blog instead.  Blogs are also is available for teachers to go back and visit over and over again.  It is social through the commenting that is available, as well.  Online Professional Development may be the answer school systems are looking for to keep teachers up-to-date in an ever-changing technological world

 

Works Cited

 

Byrne, R. (2012, March 21). Free Technology for Teachers. Free Technology for Teachers. Retrieved March 17, 2012, from http://www.freetech4teachers.com/

 

Fisher, T. (2012, March 7). Unwrapping the Gifted Child. Retrieved March 17, 2012, from http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/unwrapping_the_gifted/

 

Franz, F., & Coe, G. (2012, March 17). World History Teachers Blog. Retrieved March 17,    2012, from http://worldhistoryeducatorsblog.blogspot.com

 

Rigsbee, C. (2012, February 26). The Dream Teacher. The Dream Teacher. Retrieved March 17, 2012, from http://thedreamteacher.blogspot.com

Welcome

Hello,

Welcome to my blog on resources for a library, education, and technology.  I am a middle school social studies teacher that teaches Ancient World History and Medieval World History, likes to incorporate technology into my lessons, and am studying to be a School Librarian. With that in mind most of my posts will relate to those topics, although I might also find something to good to pass up on.