Primary Immersion Streaming Resource

At a workshop Diane J and I presented at DRC, we focussed on some great AV resources Primary Immersion teachers can use in the classroom. Younger kids enjoy singing the same songs over and over, or hearing a funny story more than once. However, AV materials that are borrowed from the District Resource Centre often need to go back all too soon. The solution we presented was the mini-TFO series from Télé-Franco-Ontarienne. The show "Mini-TFO" was originally a weekly TV show that featured short clips of stories, games, songs, word-work and skills aimed at Pre-K and early Primary francophone students. Many of the clips are perfect for French language learners, and because they are available online, they can be watched anytime! Click HERE for notes and links to episodes on the site.

Digital Reading Resources

I've been going out to schools this past month and meeting teachers at lunch to talk about digital reading resources. While we have many great print materials in our schools, my hope is that teachers will begin to learn about the databases and other resources we make available. At the invitation of the TLs (who have been signing up via Doodle), I bring my laptop to their school library or lab. (All I need is a projector!) While staff eat their lunch, I spend 25 min or so demonstrating these resources and answering questions. I picked 3 to focus on this time 'round: 1) Orca Digital, 2) Tumblebooks and 3) Full-text PDF magazines available via EBSCO. Click here for the notes and links from my presentation.

URL Shortening Tip @ Smartboard Café

I went to the Smartboard Café today and met with a small but keen group. I had been asked to speak about URL shortening because I have been using to abbreviate the link addresses of my presentations. Shorteners make it easier for participants (students, teachers, parents, etc) to make note of a URL. And the bonus with, is that it also provides a QR code which offers another way to connect and communicate. Check this link to view my presentation notes:  ...or use the QR code!

BCTLA 2011 - Swiss Army TL

I presented at the BCTLA 2011 conference recently. As I thought about my topic, I wanted to find some kind of metaphor that would sum up the value of the Teacher-Librarian to the school community. This got me thinking about an old Swiss Army knife a friend of mine used to carry everywhere. The tool he used the most often of course was the blade, but occasionally he would use the screwdriver, the awl, the clippers, nail file and even the corkscrew. In some ways teacher-librarianship works the same way. There are parts of our job that we do so often, skills that we put in to practice every day, that we may forget pull out some of those extras that might make the difference to a harried student or teacher.

While many of these resources and tools will be familiar, there might be a gem that you can take back to your school community. Click here to view my links and slideshow.

More SmartBoard Ideas - Two Easy Lessons

I was asked back to an elementary school to continue our work with SmartBoards. The school has just recently received its second IWB, and is looking for ways to encourage timid teachers to jump right in.

I started with a refresher on how to set up the Board, and then introduced two lessons that could be easily adapted to almost any level. We started with Titanpad and the Smartboard and wrote some Halloween Haiku. The second lesson used a number of panorama sites to introduce a writing exercise. See my notes HERE.

Library Technician September Workshop

Using Databases in the library

I met with the 10 library-technicians to look at some of the technology tools they could share with staff and students. We spent quite a bit of time on the periodical databases, and looked at many of the features included with the EBSCO subscription. Notes from the session are HERE.

September 2011 September Teacher Librarian Mini-conference

Seth Godin spoke recently about teacher-librarians as "Sherpas" and we used that theme as our organizing metaphor for this year's RTLA kick off. We spent some time talking about how, like Sherpas, TLs support, encourage, know the lay of the land and generally make the knowledge expedition a success for the learner. We can't do the climbing for the student, but we can help the ascent be smarter!

We also spent time listening to the Colorado Teacher-Librarians as they built a case for the role they play in raising achievement (our Video Keynote) and then looked at some "lesson ready" ideas: working with "text-free" books to develop creative writing skills, and a number of tech tools that we can share with staff and students.

As usual, Ren from ULS brought a great selection of materials to peruse during the day.

Here's the link to all the conference materials that were presented.

Graphing Tablets in the Classroom

While many schools have been buying Smartboards, the cost of these devices has made them unattainable for some. The question I am often asked is "how can I get some of the same presentation benefits of a SB without the cost!" Aside from the Wiimote solution, I've been telling teachers to look at acquiring a graphing tablet.  I met recently with Math and Language teachers to investigate this solution

Using a projector, laptop and Wacom Bamboo tablet (any manufacturer will do), teachers are able to get some of the functionality of a SmartBoard at a fraction of the cost. The stylus that comes with the tablet allows for very natural writing and pointing motions and lets Math and Science teachers easily write and solve formulas on the screen. Language teachers are able to annotate, highlight and edit text with a minimum of fuss. Free software (like Sankoré) helps make this very affordable.

Here are my links and notes to the session I presented.

Mobile Computing in the Classroom

Scan to access notes.
I spoke at UBC to 3 groups of student teachers on the topic of mobile devices in the classroom. The session description was as follows: 

"While some jurisdictions are investing heavily in one-to-one computing, educators are beginning to realize that many students are already arriving in the classroom with a powerful computer in their pocket: their cellphone. How can teachers leverage this trend? Come hear about apps, ideas and strategies you can use to capitalize on mobile computing in your practice." 
We looked at availability, accessibility, policies, management issues, reference links, reading sites and formats,  to name a few. My speaking notes are HERE.

Using eReaders in the Classroom

At a recent Pro-D day, I was asked to speak about current trends in eReaders and eTexts. I reviewed for the staff what kinds of devices schools in a number of jurisdictions are using and then talked about some of the different formats of eTexts students can access. Links from my presentation are available HERE.

Social Media - ESL parents

I was asked to speak at Richmond Public Library to ESL parents about Social Media and students. The SWIS personnel we have in schools are often called on to speak to parents about computer use, Social Media and internet habits. I was asked to address the topic for a mostly non-English speaking audience.  (Here are my speaking notes.) One of the most useful resources I came across is the site. It has a great primer for parents (and anyone else for that matter).

I also came across a teacher's guide to facebook.

How to make good inferences - Reading strategy workshop

I was asked to present to the Whiteside staff on the topic of making inferences. This is a hard skill for students to master, and often teachers resort to advice such as "read between the lines" or "look for what the writer is NOT saying" without providing enough specific direction.  In this workshop, we look at a definition of inferring, discuss how images, realia and short text scenarios can help students practice this strategy.

Here are my presentation notes.