Back to School Special: Rocking the New Year!

Monday, Sept 10 8pm EST -- You're Invited!
Join yours truly, The Mighty Little Librarian Tiff, and fellow Mover & Shaker Jennifer LaGarde for a casual discussion at the TL Virtual Cafe to generate ideas on how to build school allies, support new teachers & become indispensable to admin & staff at the beginning of every school year. Featuring how Google tools (forms, docs, & presentation, and more!) interactive Wikis, and school blogs, can supercharge the library program & classroom throughout the school year. For Teacher Librarians, classroom teachers, tech teachers, admins, & well...everyone!

Reflective & Raring to Go!
Hopefully we've all had a great summer taking time & tide to reflect on our program & practice and are ready & raring to make this new school year ROCK! I know I am! My summer was super busy with the awesome ISTE conference in San Diego, camping out at my parents house in Annapolis because of the East Coast Derecho, and an amazing life-changing trip to Australia with Dr. Joyce Valenza speaking for @sybasigns to wonderfully inspiring school librarians in 3 different cities - Sydney, Adelaide, & Perth. Since I got back (& slept in for a few days!) I've been super busy working to start up this new school that I haven't had time to do much else! But it's so important to remember ALL YEAR to take time to be reflective about the great responsibility and honor to be teachers, librarians, and to have a positive impact on the lives of our kiddos and community.

My 5 Professional Goals for the New School Year

1. Celebrate reading & my readers!
Every year I try & think of new ways to inspire my kids to read and to promote the life-long JOY of reading. This year is no different! But here's an idea that's an oldie but a goodie! A few years ago I facilitated a "library collection bookfair" or a lesson called Book Pass -The Power of Choice that I had heard about at the AASL Reno 07 conference. The short version of how it works: pull all kinds of fiction & non-fiction genres & hot titles and just oppulantly pile them up on the tables purposefully messy & haphazard...inviting the kids to DIG in! The object of the activity is for kids to "shop" for books they haven't read yet and compile a list of books to read for the rest of the school year. If they've read the book before I encourage them to grab a post-it note & write a quick recommendation for other kids to read! This list will be kept on file for them alphabetized in a notebook in the Media Center and when they come next to get a book and say "I don't know what to read!" we'll refer them to their list! Read more & download the lesson and all the worksheets on our Book Pass MHMS Learning wikipage! I LOVE another & similar idea that Tiff has with post- it gotta come to the TL Cafe to hear about that!
2. Nurture & inspire my reluctant tech users
This year in my district we had a LOT of changes in our staffing & curriculum placing former Reading teachers into positions where they have to teach modules that include more technology than ever! So now I have another opportunity (ok, due to urgent necessity on their part) to coach and inspire them to step up their tech skillz! This is fantastic and challenging at the same time. It's not easy to preach to the reluctant tech user, it can be frustrating, you're not always gonna make them drink the tech koolaid, but you GOTTA KEEP TRYING! Be positive, be gentle, don't roll your eyes, stifle the snark, smile, go to THEM so they feel like they are on their turf, go slowly, & follow up with supporting & supportIVE notes, emails, & wiki and webpages! And be prepared to go through things more than once, modeling as you go - and don't for the love of all that is holy, touch the mouse or trackpad FOR them. I'm going to blog about this more - I promise!

3. Crowdsource & connect (more!) with my community
I've always tried to have a ongoing conversation with my students and community but I really want to step it up even more this year! I'm gonna post more consistently on our Facebook page, really push for more Twitter reviews (we did them in-school last year!), and put out more interactive polls and Google forms! I want the kiddos & parents to feel like they truly have a voice!

4. Crowdsource & connect (more!) with my PLN (that's you!)
This year we're gonna try and step up our game with #TLChat by making it LIVE! on Twitter! Second Tuesday of the month (depending on holidays) at 8pm EST With Join guest hosts Joyce Valenza, Tiffany Whitehead, Nikki Robertson, Linda Dougherty, Tamara Cox, Michelle Luhtala, Shannon Miller, Debbie Schiano and me to talk about a variety of topics that YOU can Vote on! More information will be shared later but let's just jump in & talk! This will be a great way for all of us to crowdsource, connect, & build our PLN! Read more at Joyce Valenza's Neverending Search SLJ blog!

5. Improve & step-up my school library EduBlog!
It was really hard giving up the school library blog I started in 2006 & move to Edublogs but it ended up being a WONDERFUL thing! But honestly, I have not taken advantage of all the possibilities & features that Edublogs provides for connecting all of our web presence vehicles together in one spot. A GREAT example of this is The Librarian's Locker from shared by amazing educator, admin, & new Canadian friend George Couros. WOW, this blog blows me away! This best practice blog inspires me to step up & mirror some of my pages on iWeb and Wikis and put the same info on our Daring School Library blog by Edublogs! It's always such an honor & pleasure to meet new & exciting educators! W00t! A great resource for this is sure to be Kick Start Your Blogging! (I'm so glad I don't have to pay for every damn "!" I use when writing!)

FREE Bonus Download!
And as always at this time of the year I create a fresh new Back to School Night (or BTSN) Powerpoint for you to download & share with your teachers! Take off our branding slides & re-save with your name & call it your own - I won't tell ;-) Just be the school hero & provide them with a custom designed communication piece to share with parents with my compliments! More stuffs on my BTSN Wikipage!
This is my Media Orientation Video for this year!

Thanks so much for reading! What are YOUR goals for this coming new year? I'm always appreciative & eager to hear from you & publish your comments!

Be AWESOME this Year!


  1. I'm doing some research about the best library oriented blogs and it looks like your blog will definitely be on my list! I love it! Great content - funny, witty, interesting and cool! I even love that you can rate things with those words.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know an article will be coming up soon mentioning your blog.

    Have a great day!


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