Monday, October 04, 2010

Kym Kramer - Tues. Oct. 5 to Thurs. Oct. 7, 2010

Kym Kramer began her educational career as an elementary teacher and then took a position as a elementary media specialist (Gr. K-5) at Metropolitan School District of Pike Township. More recently she has worked on completing a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at Indiana University - Bloomington.

An award winning teacher and library media specialist, Kym is an adjunct professor in the School of Library and Information Science at IU-B. One of the courses that she teaches during the Spring is S671 School Media. She is an active member of AIME and ILF and is currently running for a position on the ILF Executive Board. Kym has written and published professional articles and made numerous presentations at ALA and AASL.

I'm very pleased that Kym has agreed to give of her time and expertise this semester, joining the class as a guest in these blog interactions. Learn a bit more about Kym at:


  1. Ahhhhhh....just a toe in the water. I want to make sure I know what I'm supposed to do! :) Let me know if you can hear me out there! I don't want to post much until I know this works, but tomorrow afternoon I'll give you a quick snapshot of my next couple weeks and that should give you lots of places to latch on for questions for a few days!

  2. Lee Ann Turner6:33 AM

    I'm in my second year in the SLIS program and before I started, I was an English major with basically no teaching experience outside teaching Sunday School at my church for about 3 or 4 years. What is it like working as a media specialist at the elementary level? I'm not sure what to expect since I do not currently hold a teaching license. I was thinking that I would like working in a high school library over an elementary library since I have enjoyed helping out in the youth department at my church.

  3. Kym,
    I was reading through your article "Sift and Sort" and I noticed a passage where you mentioned that you've been "fortunate" to work with teachers who were on board with your ideas. Have you ever had a teacher that was not on board? If so how did you deal with that? My fear, if I were to be in a school media position would be that teacher that had no interest in doing more than had to be done. The students would suffer and I would be left deflated by their indifference. Now I could come up with practical ideas and ways to get around this, but I would like to hear what you have to say regarding this.

  4. Anonymous5:02 PM

    I am becoming overwhelmed by the amount of reading available to me about the library media world. I am part of the listserve LM_NET that I am just getting the hang of and subscribe to the usual ALA magazines as well as several online subscriptions but find I don't have much time to read with all of the required reading for two classes. What would you suggest as the most important resources to read to keep up with everything going on in the LMS world?
    Donna Jo

  5. Kym,

    Besides getting your name out there, what other benefits do you reap from being so involved in professional associations and presenting at ALA and AASL?

  6. UGGHHHH....I hate that I can't bold, underline, bullet, and emphasize! Please read this with all the proper EMOTION I would put in! :)

    I’m a little concerned about being your blogger for the next few days since we don’t know each other well. To help you “know” me just a bit before I start spouting opinions, I’m going to put out a couple descriptions to help you get a sense of where I’m coming from and you can decide if I’m crackpot or a voice of reason.

    Profile of Kym Kramer
    • Adjectives to describe me per my teachers/colleagues/nemesises (nemisii??:

    o Energetic (euphemism for hyper—which one of my principals did us in an introduction to the staff)
    o Dynamo—possible synonyms--ball of fire, bundle of energy, busy person, busybody, doer, eager beaver, energetic person, fireball, live wire, mover and shaker, pistol, risk-taker, spark plug
    o Sparkle-Shine—my term for what I “turn on” when I need that extra umpph / also my secret weapon for annoying people who are perturbed by the personality traits described above!

    • Rabid educator: What I mean by this is what I tell my own students in the “School Media Specialist” class. There is no room for an “ok” teacher. You have to go into this profession--regardless of where you are coming from professionally right now--with the intention of being an outstanding, dynamic, life-changing educator. I certainly don’t expect new educators to walk on water when they start, but that should always be your eventual intention. No joke! Kids have no time for an average educator.

    • Vision: I guarantee without a doubt that YOU will be the only professional in your school with a vision of our profession. This can be good and bad: If you dream big and take your role to new heights—don’t worry about doing it “right” in terms of what’s expected or the way it’s been done before (god forbid!—my most detested phrase TTWWADI (“That’s the way we’ve always done it!”—Ian Jukes, look him up!) You want to be out there! The more deeply you understand OUR curriculum---information, media, and technology literacy skills—and can envision how these will fit into/intertwine/and enhance classroom content curriculum—the better you will be doing your job.

    • Persuader: I had never really thought of this until the last few years, but I heard one of my former teachers describe me as someone who could persuade people to do almost anything. I’ve taken this to heart and have really tried to live up to this—in a good way. I make sure I know our field cold—and then I’m the biggest “What if…”, “Have you thought about….”, “Could we….”, “Would you want to try ___ with me” person around—AND IT WORKS! If you are with them ON the limb, and you are STANDING BELOW THEM if they should fall, you CAN do anything together!

    • My idol: no joke, no sucking up: Annette Lamb. I used to come home from conferences and tell my husband I wanted to be Annette Lamb when I grow up—still do! I have the bracelet—WWAD?

    • Bottom line: PASSIONATE!

    Enough for tonight—I’ll try to give you a couple more snippets tomorrow! Now to address today’s posts!

  7. Ok guys---I am feeling TOTALLY hamstringed. This "tool" will not take any of my formatting!
    :( I've been typing for two hours--luckily in Word, and it hates my stuff. :(

    How can I write without bullets? How can I emote without underlines? How can you get the full Kym Kramer experience???........UGGHHH! I am going to try to re-format my original work for tonight, but you HAVE to promise me you will read this with all the EMOTION and PASSION you can muster. I am quite animated so please proceed with this in mind!

  8. And what do you know!!!!!!!!!! All my stuff I put in is now MAGICALLLYYYYYYYYY here! Onward!

    Lee Ann:
    My best advice Lee Ann is check around your state (not sure if you are in Indiana) but find out where the outstanding—not just ok, but INCREDIBLE programs are located—and GO TO VISIT. Don’t stay a few hours, stay the whole day. Since you are not sure about the age student you will like and be successful teaching, visit all three (EL, MS, HS). Specifically set up shadow dates with the media specialist where you can see lessons that have been co-planned and are being co-taught. At an elementary level, see if you can see some babies (K or 1) and some of the big kids (Gr. 4 or 5). My favorite thing in the whole world was to teach a K/1 group and then turn around and do something with the big kids because it challenged me mentally to adapt to each age group and know how to reach them and how to structure the lesson so they could understand the concepts at their developmental level. However, my favorite description last year came from a student who liked to work with high schoolers: She said little kids are "sticky"--and that they are! :) I was regularly heard to say "You wouldn't see/hear that in the tall buildings."
    My second piece of advice is to begin studying the state standards in the content areas—science, social studies, language arts, health, etc. This will help you understand what is taught at each grade level. In our Inquiry class last fall, I had a student who commented in a journal entry that she had no idea how much material was expected to be taught each year at a single grade level. Getting a feel for this curriculum will help you understand your role as the expert in information, media, and tech literacy. Your job will be to understand that classroom curriculum in order to imbed OUR curriculum into it meaningfully and creatively.

    Bottom line: Kids can sense if you don't like them. Go with your strengths and talents because no child deserves a MS who doesn't like them. :)

  9. Shawn:
    Great question! I discovered years ago that I needed “something” that keeps me jazzed—and for me that is professional reading, conferences, workshops, classes, meetings, etc. When I attend any type of PD, not only am I trying to absorb the content, I am trying to match what I am learning to my “clients.” EX: If I attended Peggy Sharp’s “What’s New In Children’s Literature,” day-long workshop, I literally would sit there with a sheet of “idea” paper for each of my grade levels---K/1, 2/3, 4/5, special areas. As she talked and shared new books and ideas, I would use the sheets to note books matched to teachers’ projects, classroom curriculum (Have I mentioned---YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE CURRICULUM???? :), nuggets of ideas, etc. More than once I left a PD with an outline of my own PD that I was going to host back at my school, a training I was going to offer, etc. I try to open my mind to all the possibilities and I leave just buzzing with options and ideas. I’ve also called former principals during a “break” at a workshop or conference just to share what I was learning and an idea I was percolating! I guess you could say these are selfish reasons to go to conferences, but honestly it’s my kryptonite! Plus, I’m such a people person I get a ton from just listening to what others are doing.

  10. Donna Jo and Jake---After my little tech snafus, it's gotten rather late (11:30), and I have a dentist appt. at 7 AM.....I'll get back to your questions tomorrow. Plus, I need to think about yours, Jake. It's a complex issue that can make or break you! ;) Talk to you all in the AM.

  11. Profile Snippet:
    You’ve heard those Jimmy Johns commercials on the radio? That’s what I sound like. You remember “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”? That’s who I picture myself as. If you read any of the Stephanie Plum mysteries by Janet Evanovich, I aspire to be a bounty hunter, but my husband seems to think that’s a bad idea since I'm only about 5'3"! Enough!

    Today’s Posts:

    Lee Ann---have to revisit this for just a minute: Forgot an important tip---you are all coming to the world of school librarians with incredible talents and experiences already. Start with what you KNOW. I can illustrate this with an example.

    When I was first a media specialist, I was coming straight from the classroom with just ½ my MLS done. As a CR teacher, I understood how kids learned how to read, and I was a fairly good writer’s workshop teacher. Some of my very first collaborations the first year were with my third grade teachers (4 of them) who allowed me into their classes to start writer’s workshops. You might not see this as a “media specialist” role, but I was very comfortable helping kids learn how to release their voices. It also tied closely to literature.

    Some things to note in this example:
    1. I didn’t limit myself to roles I thought I was SUPPOSED to do as a school librarian.
    2. I didn’t limit myself to my “room.” I started working in teachers’ classrooms and word spread of things I could/would do. (Yes, I had open access and an aide--different issue)
    3. Notice I said I STARTED here. I only did this for a year or two to get things off the ground for folks, and only for a couple weeks at a time. I moved on to other collaborative types of projects, specifically I got very involved in helping teachers use inquiry cycles, which is a natural jump from writer’s workshop, and of course most would consider much more of a “librarian’s” role.

    My motto: Think outside the box. In fact, nobody said the box was square. Push on the sides! YOU will make your identity—or limit it—with your behaviors and actions.

    Use your talents and what you KNOW when you begin.

  12. Shawn:
    Forgot this too:
    The BEST, BEST thing about the conferences are the “Big Dogs” I get to hear in real life. It’s like having a Beatles experience every concurrent session. When I attend a workshop, I start with the directory and go through the index to see who’s going to be speaking. I start scheduling myself to see the biggest names in education FIRST, because after all---they are doing the research, writing the books, creating the models and experiences that we are all reading about. I need to see them IN PERSON and learn from these sages. This has been fail safe for me!

    Some of my favorite suggestions if you are serious about becoming a TOP educator. Sorry I can't cite these properly; I am putting the titles in quotes.

    Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe—These are the Understanding by Design guys, and they are my touchstones. This is the type of curriculum planning that I ascribe to. You might check out “Understanding by Design” and right now I am involved with “Schooling by Design.”

    Robert Marzano—If you want a synthesis of some of the deepest, most relevant but still readable research on what are the “best practices” in teaching, you have to be reading his work. He’s got a bunch, but you might start with “Classroom Instruction That Works.”

    Ian Jukes---His website “The Committed Sardine” is one you need to read. First of all—he’s hilarious. But most importantly, his messages are great. He’s a techie type person who writes on 21st Century skills.

    Jamie McKenzie—I could almost say ditto here, but Jamie also writes books. One I’ve actually used when teaching this S671 class is his “Learning to Question To Wonder To Learn.” Check out his websites: or

    David Warlick—“Redefining Literacy 2.0”

    Alan November-- and his books “Web Literacy for Educators” and “Empowering Students with Technology.”

  13. This will only take 1/2 of my post at a time: Here's Part 1:

    Music Machine,
    Music Machine,
    Best ever gadget that I’ve ever seen.
    Whenever I got somethin’
    I’m thinkin’ about,
    Put something in and a song comes out!

    I think of my brain like this song—which I can’t remember exactly because I learned it when I was like 10! Anyway, I thought about your question last night before I went to bed and here’s what popped out in the shower this AM—wish I could just think and it would type somewhere!!!

    The teachers on the bus—and those you wish you could run over :)
    As I described in Lee Ann’s answer, during my first three years of being a MS I kept my “classroom” skills sharpened up and thought first as a teacher and second as a librarian. What I discovered about myself was something that transcended both “camps” and turns out to be best practice.

    I discovered I am a constructivist---think John Dewey. (Side note: This is NOT the guy who invented the Dewey Decimal System. That was John’s crazy cousin, Melvil, who you might also note is a bit OCD.)

    I believe, as Dewey did, that kids learn best by doing. Over the past 15 year I have become fervent about this belief, and I test my thoughts by asking “Whose brain is growing?” If the answer is---the teacher is doing all the work, then you have to rethink your plans so that you facilitate learning and the KIDS do the WORK! (I was pleased this summer to hear Alan November say the same thing! I felt so smart! :)

    What all this means is that back in the mid-90s when I first started being a MS, I didn’t jive with the more traditional teachers, and I did indeed have one teacher out of 25 with whom I locked horns. Several good things came out of this experience:

    1. I got VERY good at understanding the different points of view teachers brought to our collaborations. I realized I needed to FIRST start where they are and find out what they NEED to be teaching (after all, it isn’t about my curriculum at all—remember that!!!) THEN I needed to be creative in order to imbed my curriculum (info, media, and tech lit skills) into the content. I need to be the expert in my areas in order to understand how I can support children’s learning in the classroom.

    Stay tuned for Part 2

  14. Part 2 for Jake:

    2. I discovered I could work with any type of personality, but I had to be willing to adapt. (Do not read this as “give in.”) You will have a handful of teachers who are gung ho and want to jump on board, doesn’t matter where you are going as long as it’s exciting and you seem like a “safe” driver. You’ll have hitchhikers who watch and jump on for the next “ride” and they will be equally excited to catch your bus. You may even have some folks on last year’s bus schedule who won’t get on for several years—and that’s OK. You don’t ignore them—you use every chance you can to talk to them about their kids and their curriculum and ways you can enhance and help, but it will take them awhile. Eventually and/or occasionally they will collaborate with you.

    3. I realized if I was going to drawn any lines in the sand, I had to choose very carefully. Over the years, my only "line" became one of allowing kids to check out what they are interested in and not restricting them to what they can read. I've had teachers who have said "no non-fiction" etc., and I just can't let that fly.

    Then there are the folks you just want to run over. (Some of them should be run over!) Keep in mind this is a felony and it’s better to just go around them. Yes, I agree, it IS sad that their kids may miss out on some things for the year. Yes, they are at a disadvantage. However, at any given level you will likely be with kids for anywhere from 3 to 6 years. If you are building a strong collaborative culture with most of your staff and across your school, you have to look at the big picture. I will never forget an analogy Dr. Danny Callison used in my School Media class back in 1994ish: “Even baseball players who end up in the Baseball Hall of Fame don’t bat 1000.” (If Danny’s name rings a faint bell, check the front of your text for your inquiry course.) You can never co-plan and co-teach with every single teacher all the time. What you CAN do is consistently try to up your batting average and make sure that each time at bat, you do your absolute best to get on base.

  15. Ok folks, I'm outta time for this session. I'll be off until late tonight when I get back to you---Sorry Donna Jo; I haven't forgotten you!

  16. Kym,

    I find it a little intimidating not having classroom or educator experience. I'm hoping my experience in television production will help me in my career but know I cannot overlook teaching aspects of the job. Besides getting familiar with the curriculum, what other things can help me get in the good graces and be able to speak teacher "speak" when collaborating?

    Really enjoying the whirlwind conversation!

  17. Kym,

    I love kids, it's just I have a hard time speaking to the younger kids on their level. It's just like when my sister talks to me about her chemistry stuff...I know pretty much nothing about chemistry so I have a hard time understanding what she's talking about. I'm sure the little kids feel the same thing when I talk about stuff that's not at their level of understanding. It's easier for me to relate to the older kids. I haven't yet found a way to relate to the little ones on their level. Any suggestions on that?

  18. Profile Snippet:
    I’m a closet carnival organizer! What I mean by that is I have “skills” when it comes to logistics like planning events for 500 of my closest friends. As a MS I used to host an annual carnival at my school. My Jr. Librarians—usually a team of about 6-10 of them---would chose the theme, write all the publicity for the school newsletters and daily news broadcasts, invent and create the games, and then we’d sit back and host a fantastic 2 hour event that would net us about $1200. We used the money to supplement a program called Run for the Arts. These funds paid for a professional artist for each grade level, which was integrated through a “Large Scale Integration” project. The grade level teachers would co-plan with me and the other special area teachers and the artists to do a unit of study with their students. My portions ranged anywhere from a technology production piece to a storytelling event to inquiry cycles. BIG FUN!!

    Now to our posts:

    Donna Jo:
    You’ve touched on one of the best and worst parts of our job: info glut! Imagine if YOU as a highly educated individual are feeling overwhelmed how our students are feeling!? Just as you are trying to figure out some way to deal with the issue, you will be trying to help students learn how to do this as well. This is a crucial skill to learn in today's world.

    First off, I would return to my earlier comments on knowing WHO to read. Through your classes hopefully certain folks are landing on your radar and you are becoming familiar with their bodies of work. Some will be of more interest than others or will feel more important. I would keep up with them. Hopefully you will also find one or two journals that you grow to trust. I find I have to read things from both the technology world as well as the library world. Personally, as you know already, educational practice is my passion, so I keep my thumb in this pie, too.

    Keep in mind also that you can learn in other ways than just professional reading. You may find using webinars, DL events, attending conferences, going to short workshops, attending presentations at your local library or book stores, etc., are all great ways to stay in the know. In a few hours of time, you can “catch up” on things you need to know as well as get totally reenergized.

    One of the points of conversation as you take a job is to find out if you will be allowed to attend your annual state conference for your media organization. Also find out if there is a state technology organization conference. These two events can go a million miles to helping you stay above water and know what’s on the horizon.

  19. Shawn:
    Your television experience will play well with the tech side of your position. However, in order to get some street cred, you are definitely going to need to get some ideas about how to take what you are teaching and break it into manageable, bite-size chunks. The size of the chunk and complexity of the message depends on the age of your student. However, all of our students K-20 are somewhere on the same continuum, so it’s about figuring out how to teach it. Some ideas:

    Content Curriculum: Keep in mind whose content is being tested. If you didn’t get this answer in less than one second, you’ve gotta get this message: CLASSROOM CONTENT CURRICULUM IS WHAT IS TESTED---LA, MATH, SS, SCIENCE. However—and don’t miss the irony here--our curriculum---info, media, and tech literacy—is what is going to make or break a person in today’s world. So the question—and ultimately YOUR JOB—becomes figuring out how to fuse these two together. You HAVE to imbed into classroom curriculum in real-life applications. EX: I was involved for several years in a video documentary project that my Gr. 2/3 students did. I taught them how to use an inquiry cycle as they researched animals at the Indy Zoo, did a face-to-face “field note” of the animal during a visit to the zoo, and filmed their animals. They selected several clips from their raw footage. Then, they used their information to write a script that corresponded with the visual images. When we did our Gallery Night I would literally say to parents as we described the learning progressions and skills the students had used, “I don’t want to hear what a cute project this is. There is nothing cute about a video project. It’s hard work.”

    Credibility with your Teachers: Get in the trenches. Find ways you can get some teaching experience. I am pretty pushy with my students about lining up a QUALITY student teaching placement. You want to be somewhere you can co-plan and co-teach. FYI: think about this---if you are walking into a student teaching where there is a fixed schedule, i.e., the media specialist covers a “special” while a teacher has a prep, there is NO REASON you have to be fixed. You are gravy; they don’t need you in the “schedule” all the time because they survived before you got there. Let the MS keep covering the special. Push to get to co-teach even if the media program itself is fixed. And, do the co-planning before you ever get to the placement. That way, when you walk in, you can have a project lined up and ready to roll with a teacher.

    If you have NO teaching experience, I would strongly consider trying to get chances where you can do a lesson with a media specialist and teacher where you can shadow it one time and teach it with a second class. That way you can see an experienced media specialist do it, and then turn around and try it yourself with a safety net.

  20. Lee Ann—
    Final comment for the night. My first question, based on your earlier posts--and this question may seem a little rude, but honestly I just want you to think about it: If you know you are great with older kids and like them, why worry about little kids? Work in your area of strength and go for a HS or MS job. I realize you might be trying to go where the jobs are, but I’m not always convinced that creates the strongest professionals.

    As far as advice to relate to kids, I do a couple things:

    1. I talk TO them not AT them. That means I ask their opinions and genuinely want to hear it and use it. I try to empower them by assuming they can do things and give them strategies to do them. However, that requires me to understand their development level and then break lessons down into the components. You have to get really good at taking a whole skill and then thinking about all the things that are required to understand that skill. The more a child can physically be involved in learning something, the more apt it is to transfer to long-term memory—the goal!

    EX: Teaching a 5 year old how to log on to a computer on a school network:
    In today’s school environments tech departments have gone to long log-in procedures that don’t make sense to little kids, and honestly are totally developmentally inappropriate for how much they can remember at once. But, that’s the reality of a network, so you have to figure out a procedure to help them learn it.

    First off, while most K-1 babies have computer experience, few have log-on experience and even fewer really know much about a keyboard. Skills that will need to be taught:
    • What is the cursor? How do you get it on the screen?
    • Where are the numbers? (What is the number pad? What is NUM LOCK?)
    • Where is the Shift Key? How do you use it WITH another key?
    • Where is the tab key?
    • Where is the enter key?
    • Where is the space bar?
    • What’s a password? Why is it secret?

    I’m cutting to the chase, but if I try to just tell kids all this junk, I guarantee you’ll spend more of the lesson saying things like “That’s why we don’t tie our shoes to the chair leg” than you will actually get kids logged on to the network. However, if you come up with kinesthetic ways—or actions for each of these steps, in no time at all you have a series of actions that kids can do to help themselves remember the process to log-in at school. And, if they are forgetting, YOU can do the action to remind them what they need to DO. You’ve just empowered the child to solve their own problem without giving them the answer. It looks/sounds something like this:

    --Type your number (imitate typing; reading from their own log-in card)
    --Hit the Scarecrow key (TAB---it looks like the Scarecrow in Wiz of Oz; cross arms across yourself “You could go this way or you could go that way”)
    --Type your password (SHHH! Secret password---hold up your finger to your lips SHHH!)
    --Click the OK button on the screen (Click tongue, pretend to hold mouse)
    ---Twiddle, Twiddle, Twiddle (Kids twiddle their fingers in their lap until their desktop loads so they aren’t clicking on a million other things and freezing the computer)

  21. Anonymous7:53 PM

    Thanks for your response about professional reading. I guess it will be easier when I am not reading for classwork as well. I have found that LM_NET is very helpful for gathering ideas and web connections. I have found that going to conferences are great sources of information and am attending one on Pre-k storytelling next week and am very excited. Without being in a school this year I will miss out on some of the professional development that I have enjoyed the last two years. I no longer have access to the professional journals for technology, do you have a favorite site where you get technological updates?
    Donna Jo

  22. Kym,

    Your ideas are awesome, thank you so much for all your help.

    I'm curious as to how you handled open access, an aide and still managed to make it into classrooms? I currently am an aide in a similar situation and would like to get some classroom time to get some ideas. How do I go about getting permissions? Teacher first, principal, Media Specialist?
    Or is there another approach I am not thinking of?

  23. Profile Snippet:
    One thing I love about our job is the VARIETY of tasks! Now, I’m not in a school anymore, but this gives you an idea of all that you have to juggle on a daily basis. FYI: I use a plate-spinning analogy. You get one thing up and going well before you EVER worry about adding another major task. Here’s the type of tasks I have worked on this week. Keep in mind I work “half time” for my district, so this was about 5-6 hours on M, T, Th (plus a bunch of time in the evenings that I tend to conveniently forget about when my husband asks how much I worked! )

    --Met at 6:30 AM with 3 high school teachers who are going to help with a copyright campaign we have been working on for a year. They will be using their existing curriculum in Advanced Web Design, Advanced Media Technology, and Business Marketing to have their students do projects to create various messages for their peers about various intellectual property issues.

    --Created the agenda for our monthly media specialist meeting. We meet each month for 1.5 hours—all 14 media specialists together. I facilitate these meetings. We also have professional development times (1.5 hours) for the media specialists to work on topics they have chosen. I also facilitate those. Currently we are working from the Survivor topic on Advocacy. I still have to do those agendas by Monday AM.

    --Did a conference call with the Scholastic Book Fair rep to discuss an initiative we want to do with our spring event—Literacy Fair. This is a full-district event that the MS and Instructional Coaches are involved in, and we have our second planning committee meeting on 10/18.

    --Attended a building-level technology committee meeting to help them talk through some ideas for creating a survey to find out where their staff is philosophically on technology integration. This year the media program moved (backward) from full open access to a fixed schedule. Ultimately we want to get back to at least a partially open schedule in the MC.

    --Conference call with Dr. Dolak. He is the copyright guru in Indiana who has asked me to sit on a panel next week for the National Broadband Plan. I feel TOTALLY over my head and will have to do a lot of reading next week in order to have an ounce of knowledge by Friday!! No pressure!

    --Responded to your blog questions and thought lots about my philosophies!

    --Worked on the school board presentation on advocacy for 10/14. Organized and talked to the three media specialists who will represent the group. Worked with 3 other MS who are helping students prepare to speak.

    --Responded to about 75-100 e-mails each day.

    In the meantime, back in the ‘real world’ I:
    • Planned my daughter’s second birthday parties
    • Finalized the baby shower prep I am hosting for my sister-in-law on Saturday
    • Dealt with my next door neighbor who died this morning. (She was 90 and this was expected, but still sad.)
    • Went to the dentist
    • Cooked a meal for my husband’s colleague whose 34-year-old wife has cancer. (Keep in mind, I don’t (like to) cook! ;)

  24. Donna Jo
    Short answer here: I don’t currently have a favorite technology site. This is one of the areas where I have to say I have gotten much more hands-on knowledge at workshops—either from how-to or what’s on the horizon type of sessions. However, I am a member of ISTE and their materials are solid, and in my opinion their alignment for what technology skills fit at various developmental levels is accurate.

  25. TOO LONG---Here's Part 1 for Shawn
    I want to be sure I understand this question: Open access at my schools meant that the library was physically open to all students and teachers all day long. I did not schedule classes to come for check-outs, they did that as they wanted. There were times when 2 classes were there at once along with individual students from various classes, small groups, etc. I had kids who came in each day to check out books. Yes, it was busy and hoppin’ most of the time. I am not bothered by noise.

    My assistant worked 6.5 hours a day, and I worked to get her to the level where she truly handled almost all of the “clerical” duties of the library: overdues, check-in/check-out, basic records management in the database, scheduling videos on our smart system, etc. In a given year, I typically had anywhere from 20-40 Jr. Librarians. These were 4th and 5th graders who I did extensive (and picky!) training with in August each year. By September they worked in teams of about 4-6 kids/day. They worked 1 recess a week and virtually handled ALL check in and most shelving. I even tested them and put the kids who could handle and understand shelving non-fiction in those sections. My assistant DID do some shelf reading each week to be sure things were landing where they should be, but for the most part they handled the bulk of circulation.(No, I did not check in first thing in the AM. Let's face it, your kids who chronically lose things/don't return do that whatever time you check-in AND most kids will be honest about whether they've returned or not.) The Jr. Libs were also trained to run the check-out station, so they often did this for their own classes during visits and/or if they happened to be in the library when we needed help they would jump in and assist for a few minutes. I also had 2nd and 3rd graders who dusted, straightened shelves, and stamped our date cards each day. (And pet keepers who took care of our pet library rabbit, Harvey! :) Jr. Librarians were also hired to handle all of the hold requests. They identified who the book was going to, sent out pick-up notices, organized the books, and sent out reminders. They worked one recess shift a week.

  26. Part 2 for Shawn

    This allowed me to spend about 90% of my time working directly with teachers and kids. I didn’t cover preps, and it was up to me to schedule collaborative lessons with my teachers. (Along with balancing all the “library” tasks and responsibilities such as ordering, collection development, technology trainings, etc.) Although my first year at each school was not “booked solid” by the second year I literally had become the “girl who cuts your hair.” In woman-speak that means if you didn’t book with me about 2 months in advance, you weren’t going to get on my calendar--and I did sometimes double-book (although I FINALLY learned NOT to schedule much on Fridays so I could slide folks in who needed additional project support, etc. I could also use this time for other library tasks I was responsible for doing).

    The bulk of my time was spent with teachers doing units of study. My roles were based on the info, media, and technology standards. I would listen to what they wanted to teach, and I would then begin helping them design a project that imbedded my curriculum INTO their content. I booked my time with them in the place where the lesson would most logically take place. If we needed a classroom I went to them. If we wanted to have work space and access to library books, they would work with me in the library at our table area. (Keep in mind, there might be classes in there checking out, too, and that was ok.) If we were working on a technology project that involved computers I would book time with them in the lab so I could do hands-on teaching. Finally, if I was teaching something like camera skills for a video project, we would work out in our large community areas. I went where the action was and the MA kept the library open and running.

    Not sure where you are located (Indiana?), but if you are interested you are welcome to visit one of our media centers that recently won the state Blue Ribbon Award for Exemplary Media Programs to see how this might look. Feel free to contact me to arrange a shadow day.

    Permissions: I actually giggled a little when I read this. I'm sure you're shocked, but I didn't ask permission. Luckily, my very first principal expected open access and collaboration and never questioned. By the time I left him, I never looked back and continued setting the bar higher and higher for myself. I love to make the rain! One suggestion I have seen work for others is to find a good program that demonstrates what you want to do and talk your principal into going on a shadow visit WITH you. That way you can talk about the type of vision you have for your program. VISION matched with PASSION backed up by RESULTS can be a very powerful persuader.

  27. One note to clarify: the schedule I describe for myself is usually termed "flex schedule." I was allowed to "flexibly" schedule teachers, classes, groups, etc., onto my day with the expectation that I wasn't just sitting in my office eating bon-bons and reading the latest Cosmo. Often schools use a "fixed schedule" in elementary schools in order to have folks who cover teachers' prep periods according to the contract language. This means they drop the kids at the door--typically once a week--and may have no idea what you are doing or how it will relate to the classroom content unless you work way too hard to plan with each teacher on your own time (since they can never see you during the day because you both are in class!) I'm not a fan, and I don't subscribe to the opinion that it's great because at least I get to see each kid.

    I got to see my kids a lot, and more importantly I knew almost every one as a LEARNER (we had 600 kids K-5). I'll take the latter every time. This held a lot of credibility with parents when I was able to discuss their child at a gallery event and I KNEW their skills and needs.

  28. Hey all-
    I'm signing off. I will be crazy busy for the next 3 days, but I will try to check back once next Monday to see if there were any final questions I missed. I enjoyed our conversations! Good Luck!! Contact me if you are in Indiana and want to visit our prgrams.