This has been such a fun and engaging learning experience for not only the students, but for us as well. What we thought may only take a few weeks ended up taking an entire semester to do. The process to writing our ebooks, reading them to all local elementary school students, and reflecting back on all of our experiences has really opened my eyes to how important authentic, inquiry-based learning opportunities are for our students.
At the beginning of this project, the thought of creating an ebook with science students excited me as a media specialist, but the real excitement and eye-opening reflections came from the entire inquiry learning process throughout the semester. We were all learning together in trying something new and out of our comfort zones. The end result was in more confident students who truly enjoyed learning about science and sharing that new found passion with others.
What We Did
Teachers utilized the Max Axiom graphic novels in their science classrooms for remedial purposes for various science units, additional reading for students interested in specific topics, for Milestone review, and pleasure reading in the science classrooms. Science teachers made an effort to use the novels in class to promote science reading and literacy skills.
STAR Reading Summary for 2015-2016 School Year
As the school year is winding down, the inevitable evaluation conference looms. While others dread this time, I truly love being able to sit down and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our library program. This has been an amazing year from the start of our innovation station, our #ADUBshelfies, professional development, to the reading initiatives we've put in place to let students have more voice in our decisions to library collection development, and beyond. Below is a snapchat of the library as of Monday this week. We have a lot to be proud of! The number one is how our circulation statistics have increased dramatically since I have filled the very large shoes of my predecessor and genrefied the library and those statistics correlate with the increase of Lexile measures across the grade levels. By providing students books they want to read, asking for their opinions on our collection, and maintaining a high-interest collection of new releases in specific genres, students feel they are represented in their reading material, an essential component to encouraging adolescents to read.
One of the many key jobs under my library media umbrella is helping teachers learn and feel confident in how to use technology effectively in their classrooms to enhance the learning experiences of their students. Often, I collaborate with teachers on units and lessons in which this happens naturally. One of the many reasons I love collaborating with teachers is that in that time together, I am able to help teachers individually or in teams so I'm able to differentiate and give more attention to their strengths and weaknesses. It also helps make professional development more meaningful because we can relate the technology directly to the content they teach.
In addition to the individual attention I provide to teachers, I was also asked to lead grade level professional development sessions this year, focusing primarily on Google Apps for Education (GAFE). Over the year, we have learned how to use Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Forms, and Google Classroom in addition to the many add-ons and uses for these apps. The most beneficial by far, according to feedback from the teachers, has been Google Forms and Google Classroom. Google Forms (in conjunction with Flubaroo) has made grading so much easier on teachers, allowing them to quickly assess a students' learning and be able to differentiate the following lessons based on the assessment. I love when I can find technology that makes our teachers lives easier! The ability to work with grade levels has allowed me to focus in on grade level content to make each session more tailored and meaningful for teachers. While I think working with the connections teachers (Family and Consumer Science, Business Computer Science, Band, PE, etc.) to find meaningful content has been a tad difficult, I think we found relevant uses for each app. Most of our sessions have started with me introducing the app/learning target and then allowing for teachers to interact with the tool. This has given them time to practice with an 'expert' to help and for me to see where the teachers need more guidance, ask for potential pitfalls they see in using it, feedback on uses I may not have thought about, etc. My education crush, John Dewey, is all about doing to learn, not just being told something. It makes all the difference.
So where do I go from here? We've all spent a lot of time this year learning GAFE. However, we have a few new teachers next year who may not know the apps as well as the other teachers. How can I differentiate the professional development for teachers so that there are basic and advanced options? Could we do a flipped classroom approach? Self-paced using a teacher Google Classroom class? I will definitely need to think of an even more personalized approach, but one that does not stress the teachers out even more. Food for thought for the summer!
Check out some of my handouts for Google Classroom below.
Vote for your favorite book of the year! We've compiled a list of the 16 most checked out books of the year. Do you want your favorite to win the title of "Ultimate Book Champion" for this year? Last year The Selection won the whole competition. Let's see if it will win two years in a row or a new favorite will be chosen!
Reading enthusiast and technology innovator