Last week was the South Carolina Association of School Librarians Annual Conference. I have always enjoyed attending this conference. I think the only one I’ve missed in the past 15 years was the one where I was literally giving birth! It is so refreshing to spend time with those who do what you do and who “get it.” I went to excellent sessions by John Schu (how can you go wrong with Mr. Schu?!), Colby Sharp, and Kitty Tripp. Kitty was actually kind of new to me…I have been following her on Twitter, but was not really aware of who she was. I LOVED her sessions. Schu, Sharp, and Tripp are the sort of folks that you just need to be in the same room with sometimes. Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious.
I have been in Mr. Schu’s sessions before. He reminds me of Judy Freeman, in that he talks about new books and shares with you what he is reading. Some of the things I picked up from him this go around were:
-GIVE BOOKS AWAY! I do this, but not as often as I should. Beginning in July, I plan to start hosting some sort of book giveaway. On this blog, on FB, on Twitter….I haven’t figured out the specifics, but I need to start walking my talk!
-GIVE BOOKS AWAY! I just said that, right? BUT, what I mean this time is, give books away purposefully. For example, to my USC students – they are pre-service teachers and Mr. Schu said that Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de Le Pena is one book he feels every pre-service teacher needs and he’s RIGHT. Just like I make them purchase The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller for this reason (I feel that every teacher needs copies of these books), I should have them leave my class with a picture book and/or novel that I feel should be in their classroom. Brilliant. I will start doing that will this semester’s class.
-SKYPE/HANGOUT! I have had authors “visit” my students via Skype or Google Hangout. BUT, what John does is HE is the one doing the visiting! He is no longer in a school library of his own, so he gets his read aloud “fix” by Skyping classrooms and libraries and reading to them and sharing great books with them from his living room (or where ever). Here’s a secret…I am staying home with my kiddo beginning next school year and will not be able to share great books and read aloud with students of my own anymore…this could be a way I can continue to do this. So, if you are ever in need of a reader for a special event or just want to talk about good books, I’m your gal 😉
Colby Sharp was, of course, awesome. What I took from his session was that his school has a true love and devotion for what they do. All of them. One smart thing they do is have “lock ins,” where teachers man rooms set up with fun stuff – board games, karaoke, LEGO, movies, etc. and parents drop off their kids to have fun at school. They pay to drop them off and then they have 3 kid-free hours where they know their kid is being well loved and cared for and the school apparently makes lots of money doing this. I also learned that Sharp has a book coming out that sounds SO AWESOME, I cannot wait to read it!
Kitty Tripp was fantastic. She is a 3rd grade teacher from South Carolina who now lives in Texas. She shared resources about coding and robotics. I went to her pre-conference session on Wednesday where we played with Sphero, Ollie, Ozobots, and other robots. I also went to her session on Thursday about PLAY (something I am all about!). I loved her energy and that she wasn’t a librarian. So many times, I think, classroom teachers don’t think that things like coding, makerspaces, robotics are for them…they feel (I think) that they don’t have time and that those sort of things are more for folks like me, the school librarian, who might want to include it into a program instead of into lessons. She proves that you can use these tools in a classroom. LOVE IT!
What inspired you this week?