Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Genre Neighborhoods Are Now OPEN In Our Library!

On October 9th,  I wrote the post It's Time! We Are Moving Our Fiction Into The Genre Neighborhoods!  This is the second big change we have seen within our elementary library at Van Meter this year.  Earlier in the year, we "Ditched The Dewey" and reorganized our nonfiction into categories.  

Diana, my library associate, and I brainstormed the genre categories the fiction would be moved to and away she went on relabeling, updating the MARC records, and putting them in the new neighborhoods on the shelf.  

Today as I look around the library, I love being able to see the new genre neighborhoods OPEN and ready for our students, teachers, and school community to come and visit.  

I can't wait to see what this change will create as they browse, check out and read books within the genres they love and new ones they haven't ventured into before. 

"The Book Swap Shop"....The Start Of A Brand New Space In Our Library

Last week I wrote that we had a BIG SURPRISE in the elementary library...

We have decided to turn the small closet in the library (usually packed full of stuff) into "The Book Swap Shop!"   

After the new Van Meter Reading Committee decided to have a book swap in November and throughout the year, my National Honor Society and I committed to taking on the responsibility of coordinating, running and getting donations for "The Book Swap Shop."  

In the post from the Van Meter Library Voice, Bringing New Reading Events To Van Meter...And Something Very Special To A Little Place In the Library you can find out how this new space will enhance literacy, give our kids a space of their own, and put so many new books into the hands of our children.  It will give them a sense of giving....and also one of receiving.  It will be wonderful.  
So today after school, we started creating the brand new space.  We also decided to call it "The Book Swap Shop".  And our subtitle will be....."A Place To SPICE Up Your Life!"  This project will be done in conjunction with our "Spice Up The Shelves" campaign, which you can read about here.           
I went and bought a few fun colors....and ones that will match the library spaces.  
Two of our awesome NHS members, Claire and Caroline, came to paint.  

It was fun seeing them get the closet all ready to be changed into something not so ordinary....
into something really great!  
I cannot wait unti the NHS members, Diana, and others from the school see the new space.  

But most of all, I cannot wait to unveil the new room to the kids.  

And of course....to get them swapping books and coming back for more.  It is going to be such a beautiful space and one were we will truly be making a difference.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Backpack For Their eBooks And Other Resources Within mackinVIA

Today, for the fourth graders library and technology time, I went to their classroom for a little workshop on how to set up their "Backpacks" within mackinVIA.    
We have dozens of new eBooks added to our mackinVIA from Heartland AEA.  I just LOVE the new state eBooks that have been added.  With our 4th graders focusing on the states throughout the year, these will be a perfect match for their curriculum.  

When I told Staci Braun, the 4th grade teacher who teaches social studies, about the state eBooks, she was so excited and asked me to help her incorporate mackinVIA and the eBooks into her classrooms more.  Since we already had our library time planned, we decided it would be beneficial for me to come to their classroom and teach not just the students, but also work with Staci too.  

She was especially interested in all of the students setting up their Backpacks within mackinVIA.  Staci and I spoke to the students about being able to read the eBooks during their daily reading time.  They could pick a few eBooks and even put them into their Backpacks so they always had something to read.  The students could keep track of what they were reading and even bring it home with them since everything is online.  
Once you are logged into your mackinVIA, you can log into your Backpack in the right hand corner.  You will have three choices.  We clicked on "My Backpack" to sign in.  
You will need to type your "User ID" and "Password" into the "Backpack Login" fields.  If you have not registered for a Backpack yet, you can also click on "Register" to do that here.  
Once you are logged into your Backpack, you will see a message that says "Welcome, Shannon!"...of course with your name or number, by the Backpack.  

It is now time to find an eBook that you would like to put into your Backpack.  When you click on an eBook, it will give you two messages, "Add to Backpack" or "Read Now."  You can add it to your Backpack with the click of that one button.  
After you have a couple of eBooks in your Backpack, check it out!  Go to the Backpack again, and click on "My Backpack".  It will bring up a list of the eBooks you have within your Backpack.  
The students in Staci's class had so much fun adding eBooks that they wanted to read at school and home.  They found so many that were new to our mackinVIA and ones that have become favorites too.
You might be thinking.....

What if my students and teachers do not have Backpacks yet?  What do I do then?  How do I set them up?  Can I do this myself?  

It is very simple to set up Backpacks within mackinVIA.  

First, go to Mackin.com and to the "My Mackin" tab at the top of the webpage.  From the drop down menu, choose "My Mackin VIA" and "Settings".  
This will take you into the "Mackin VIA Settings" page.  Within this page, you can set all kinds of things within your mackinVIA.  You can manage the titles, get the VIA widget to embed into other websites or blogs, and even manage the different mackinVIA categories.

For setting up the Backpacks, you will go to "Backpack Management" and click on "Manage Backpacks."
This will take you into the "MackinVIA Backpack Management" page.
On the far right hand side of the page, you will see a blue button that says "Register New User".
This is where you can add new users.  All you need is an "User ID" and "Password".  The "First Name" is optional, but the kids do love seeing their Backpack personalized with their names, so I always set them up with their first name.  I made our user id's and passwords very simple....they are the ones that they used for lunch and to log into Destiny Quest.

It is as easy as that!
So as you can see, mackinVIA and all of the eBooks sure do bring a lot of fun and exciting reading experiences to our students.

And to add a little Backpack for keeping all of these wonderful eBooks to the mix makes it even better!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

ITEC (Iowa Technology and Education Connection) Conference...Always An AMAZING Event!

ITEC is an amazing organization that "promotes the use of technology in education by demonstrating to its members, other educators and the public, developments in educational technology and hows its appropriate use supports teaching and learning."  
 On Monday morning, I presented at ITEC.  My presentation Integrating Web 2.0 Tools, eBooks, and Apps Into The Curriculum and School Community can be found online.
You can find several of the session and workshop handouts online at the ITEC site as well.  

So check them out.....I know everyone will find something that can be taken back to the classroom, library, and school community.    

Thank you to the ITEC board and everyone else involved with this conference....I love the learning and connecting that takes place during this event every year.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bringing New Reading Events To Van Meter....And Something Very Special To A Little Place In The Library

"The more that you read, the more things that you'll know.  
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."  
Dr. Seuss, from I Can Read With My Eyes Shut

That has always been one of my favorite quotes about reading.  

When I was little, my mom surrounded my sister, brother, and I with books and connections to reading.  I grew up with a passion for reading and learning.  As I become a mom 18 years ago, that was one of the first things I wanted to pass onto my sweet daughter and sons.  And as I became a librarian and teacher, I wanted to pass this passion onto the young people I worked with everyday.  

I am constantly looking for and creating experiences for our students to connect to rich reading activities; wonderful authors and their books; and to bring their passion out into the world as they explore their own personal reading experiences and connections as well.  

When I received an email a few weeks back asking if I wanted to serve on a committee, I was excited to see that we were going to start the "Van Meter Reading Committee."  Of course I wanted to be part of this committee....It was a perfect fit!  This last Monday during our professional development day, our assistant principal Janelle Thompson passed out a cute folder to everyone for the various committees they committed to serving on. 

We did a little brainstorming on what the new reading committee could do, what we wanted to do, how we could make a difference in the lives of our young people and school community through literacy.  Over the next 30 minutes, the reading committee came up with wonderful ideas.  
The ideas were captured in the Van Meter Reading Committee Google Doc and this will continue to grow with more ideas as the year progresses.  

As you can see, we planned several really great events that everyone will love.  A reading celebration the whole day before we get out for Thanksgiving break and Family Reading/Funds4Books Night in January will be so much fun and bring tons of excitement about reading and learning to all of the young people and their families.  We spoke about R.I.F. and inspiring others to read.  
And the one I am most excited about....starting a weekly D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) time within our school.  We came up with a schedule that would stagger a weekly time each Friday, sometimes on another day if we had a vacation or professional development day. By staggering the time, D.E.A.R. would fall during different related arts times as well as every other week.  Since I teach the elementary classes in the afternoon, along with the other related arts classes, I wanted to make sure we were part of D.E.A.R. too.  

I can't wait to see EVERYONE within our school drop everything and read!  What an impact this will make.  
We have one more BIG surprise this week from the library.

I am the National Honor Society sponsor at Van Meter.  During our first brainstorming meeting at the beginning of the year, our chapter thought of all kinds of ways we could give back to our community.  One of the best ideas they had was to have a "Book Drive" or "Book Swap."  My NHS kids wanted to do something special for our younger ones, while supporting reading and learning within our community too.

So when our reading committee brought up having a "Book Swap", I told them that the NHS would be perfect to help with that project.  We could partner and take it on together.  We also thought that having a "Book Swap" every month or for special occasions, like a PBIS reward.

Soooooo that night after talking with our reading committee and the NHS, I thought that wouldn't it be cool to actually have a place we could keep the book swap, a place where books could be dropped off, and picked up to read.

And it came to me....THE LITTLE CLOSET in the library!
It's that closet that we all have....the one that is there to collect stuff like old posters, paint cans, boxes, old projectors, and other junk.  Why not turn this into the "Book Swap" place....a little book store in the library.  I couldn't wait to tell my NHS kids and the other teachers on the reading committee....They all loved the idea too.

Several of the high school kids are meeting Monday night to paint the inside of the closet and transform  it into this special new space.  There are a couple of them measuring and building shelves, a wooden sign is being constructed, and books are being donated.

One thing we are a little stuck on is the perfect name for the space.  We have thought about a name to go along with our "Spice Up The Shelves" theme, like "The Spice Book Shop" or "Spice It Up With A Book."  Someone mentioned "The Road To Reading" and another said "Book Pit."  We are going to nail down a name by Monday, so please add any suggestions in the comments below.

And as Dr. Seuss said....."Oh the places you'll go".

Just think about where we will go this year with reading, learning, and coming together as a community even more.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Check Out The New Signs In Our Genre Neighborhoods At The Library

I just had to show everyone how the genre neighborhoods are coming together in our library this week.

Diana has been very busy putting all of our fiction books into the different genre neighborhoods.  In these two photographs you can see the genre label at the top of each books spine.

And today...the new signs went up!  I love how the image on the sign matches the genre label on the books.  This is going to be very helpful for our patrons.

Tomorrow....I am sure we will be visiting more neighborhoods by the end of the day in the Van Meter Elementary Library.
P.S.  We also have a pretty BIG announcement tomorrow for the library and school.

Our new "Elementary Reading Committee" and my National Honor Society kids are going to do something within our library and school community that is going to bring a whole bunch of HAPPY and BOOKS to our young people.

I can't wait to tell you all more tomorrow.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

MEMO, Minnesota Educational Media Organization, Leads Change At Their Fall Conference

On Friday,  I had the honor to deliver the opening keynote at MEMO (Minnesota Educational Media Organization) Fall Conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  After working with the group last summer during their Be The Change Conference, I was so excited to come back and see them all again.  
You can learn more about MEMO on their website.  

I have had so much fun reading through the tweets from the conference hashtag #MEMO12.  It looks like more and more people in Minnesota are going to be using Twitter, Web 2.0 tools, eBooks, digital resources and most of all....

They are going to find one thing to change tomorrow as they go back to school with the children they work with everyday.  I love hearing that and it goes so well with the conference theme... 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's Time! We Are Moving Our Fiction Into The Genre Neighborhoods!

This afternoon, Diana and I had a little brainstorming session in the library.  You see....it is time to MOVE our fiction into the different genre neighborhoods!

Diana asked me, "So, how do you think we should organize the different genres?"  I answered, "Do you think we should alphabetize them? Or should we group together similar genres and lay them out as we want within the fiction section of the library?" 
After sitting down with the genre classification stickers, this piece of paper,  and a few of the books that Diana cataloged today, we decided to group the genres together and come up with an organization based on similarities, natural flow from genre to genre, and the popular traffic spots within our library.

As I wrote in the post Reorganizing The Fiction Within Our Library And Destiny's Visual Search, this is a big step in the total reorganization of our elementary library collection this year at Van Meter.  After we "Ditched the Dewey" and reorganized the nonfiction into categories or the "book store model", we soon knew that the fiction would be next.

One of the most popular questions that I hear each week is, "Mrs. Miller, where do I find the Realistic Fiction?  Where do I find the Ghost Stories?"  With the reorganization of the fiction, just think how easy it will be for students to find what they are looking for with the genre neighborhoods.
Diana in the middle of "Historical Fiction."  
She also worked on the books within the "Mystery" neighborhood today.  She went through all of the books within our fiction collection.  Next,  she updated the MARC record for each so the books will be searchable within each genre and put the "Mystery" genre classification label at the top of each book's spine.  The books look amazing....I just love how great the new stickers look and how easy they are to identify which genre each book belongs to.  
I love how excited Diana is for this reorganization too.  She has been at Van Meter for 18 years now and this is the first time that she has made a drastic change to the collection.

She even mentioned today that it is so nice going through each book within Destiny as she updates each MARC record.  When she is finished with the reorganization project, she will have went to every book in the library within Destiny and updated each one....This has never been done and she is finding things that she is changing as she goes.  It is like our entire collection, inside and out, is getting an update!
Tonight as I created the signage for the different genres, I made them very simple to read from even across the library.  
I also took the image of each "Genre Classification Label" from DEMCO that we used on the spines of the books and placed them next to the words.  This would give all of the students a visual as well as written words when looking for books within a certain genre neighborhood.   
And as I spoke about in the first post above the reorganization within our Destiny, I have added several "Visual Search" categories with little images of the genre classification labels attached.  

Just think how fun this will be for the students to learn about as we move into these different genre neighborhoods.  

This move within our fiction will be so well received by our school community....I cannot wait to see how it will change what the students and teachers check out, how much they read, and the excitement of finding books within the same genre that they love or venturing into a new one.