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School Libraries

Cool Tools for Schools 2015-16 Concludes

And it’s a wrap on another year of the Cool Tools for School online workshop!

This year we had 65 active participants from 15 regional School Library Systems. 45 participants completed the program and earned a Professional Development hours. 590 PD hours were awarded and on average, each PD hour cost $11. Not a bad return on investment.

Hard to believe that this is the 8th time that we’ve run this program for K12 librarians and classroom teachers since 2011.  In that time we’ve had over 700 participants.

We’re already committed to offering the workshop again this coming year and hope to see the project expand as we welcome our first out-of-state group of school librarians this year.  See you in the fall!



2016 School Library System Tech Retreat

Rensselaerville Photos

This past weekend, 20+ school librarians from the Capital Region of NY gathered in Rensselaerville at the Carey Institute for Global Good in the beautiful Helderberg mountains, for a weekend of learning and lots of laughter.

Saturday was a full day workshop on annual reports. (Can you imagine giving up your weekend for this? I promise, I tried to make it as fun and useful as I could!) In the morning we looked at a lots of annual reports and focused on ways to gather and present data in a meaningful way. (more…)

Cool Tools for School Online Workshop

Once again, we’re offering the Cool Tools for School online workshop. This year there are 14 NYS School Library Systems offering this to their school librarians and in some systems, other school staff as well.

Last year we increased the number of lessons to 30. And this year, due to popular demand, we’ll have 40 lessons. Which means there are people who are doing this workshop for the 4th time. Wow! They deserve extra credit!

This first lesson in this year’s newest Cool Tools track is Thing 31: Evidence Based Practice, and was inspired by conversations that started at a recent workshop by Jennifer LaGarde on creating more effective annual reports and collecting more meaningful data. And also by the work of Ross Todd, Lyn Hay and Joyce Valenza (among many others!) on Evidence Based Practice.

Some of our participants asked us to put together lessons that would give them time and resources to think about using Evidence Based Practice (EBP) to help improve their library program and help them show how they and their library’s services help students succeed.

We’ll get them started over the course of two lessons, the first one serves as an introduction to Evidence Based Practice (EBP) and the next one will cover tools and ideas for collecting data. Up for the challenge??

Webinar: Helping Students Make Good Digital Decisions with Digital Compass

Free webinar on Wed April 29. Helping Students Make Good Digital Decisions with Digital Compass

Digtial  Compass

Join Common Sense Education for a webinar to celebrate the launch of their newest free education resource, Digital Compass. Based on the concept of “choose your own adventure” books, Digital Compass guides students in grades 6-9 to learn the fundamentals of digital citizenship through animated, interactive experiences in which students choose several different paths for each character. Students explore digital dilemmas, making good (and not-so-good) decisions, and trying out possible solutions through stories and mini-games – all without risking their real-world reputations. Digital Compass is available at no cost as a web-based interactive, and will be available soon as an iOS app, Android app, and Edmodo app.

Join Common Sense Education’s Kelly Mendoza and Brisa Ayub for this live, interactive presentation and learn how you can implement Digital Compass into your own digital citizenship program. Get involved now by following Periwinkle, one of the characters from Digital Compass, on Twitter at @whereswink. Start sharing her great #digcittip recommendations with your class today!

Terrific “The Fault in our Stars” Readalikes Thinglink

Terese Brennan put together a terrific “The Fault in Our Stars” readalikes resource making clever use of  two free tools – SoundCloud and Thinglink.

Terese used SoundCloud to record short book teasers for readalike books that were in the school library collection. Then linked the audio files to book cover images in a Thinglink thing.  (What are thinglink things really called??)

From there she embedded it on the Cambridge (NY) school library’s LibGuides page.   And it was easy-peasy for me to copy the embed code to include it below. Nice work Terese!



Technology Retreat for School Librarians

Coming up this coming weekend – a 2 day Technology Retreat for School Librarians with a great group of people at one of my favorite places, the beautiful campus of the Carey Institute for Global Good (formerly the Rensselaerville Institute) in Rensselaerville, NY. This wonderful ‘away from it all’ location in the Helderbergs is the perfect setting for lots of learning, sharing, collaborating and laughing to take place.

Jen Cannell and J’aime Pfeiffer have organized this weekend for their school librarians. Melissa Jacobs Israel, Lisa Rudd and I will all be presenting sessions. And I’ve heard rumors of some sort of evening talent show or competition? No doubt a good time and lots of learning will be had by all.