Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Michigan teacher ejects student for anti-gay remarks

In Michigan school circles, we are now famous for knee-jerk administrative reactions. Considering all of the nationwide attention recently paid to bullying, the move to suspend Howell High School English teacher Jay McDowell certainly seems surprising, but the Howell Public School's proposed solution, a meeting, failed to net them the results they sought. Instead, news reports of the meeting seem to show Howell has gained infamous notoriety from Mr. McDowell's suspension. A solution: the Howell Schools would begin to change the direction of their own public relations issues, and the Howell community and Livingston County at large could change their conventional perceptions as well, by restoring Mr. McDowell's lost salary, and progressing forward with firm, anti-bullying policies.

Jay McDowell, a teacher at Howell High School is shown in Brighton, Mich., Monday, Nov. 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Librarians Save The Day! 11 Great Movies In Which They Star

Interesting snippet from the Huffington Post a few months back. Quote:
While writers might seem more glamorous, librarians are the quiet heroes of the literary world. They stand up against censorship, they uncover ancient mysteries, they laugh in the face of computerization and stop the corporate world dead in its tracks. From Katharine Hepburn to Rachel Weisz, we've rounded up films that give librarians the center stage. Remember these?

Conference Attendance: MAME 37

Some notes and thoughts on the MAME 37 Annual Conference:


The opening keynote speaker, Steven Layne, I had already seen, as he led an August conference I attended on reading. And I was falsely excited to note that there was WiFi here at the Dearborn Hyatt on this occasion, unlike the last time MAME was here.


Thursday
  1. Research and Presentation in the Digital World (Judy Hauser and Laura Cummings): "The digital world holds a vast array of tools and resources that should be tapped for research, presentation and instruction in K-12 schools. Some of these tools and resources include: Pics4Learning, MeL Databases and Creative Commons. Attendees will learn to present using PowerPoint in a new and engaging way called Pecha Kucha. Web-based presentation tools like Glogster and Voicethread will also be featured."
    • Moodle course created: "This course takes a look at digital research tools as well as different ways to do presentations."
  2. Collaboration Tips and Tricks (Tim Staal and Jodi James-Genovese):
    • Google Site and Presentation available online.
    • Manage the library calendar via Google Calendar, and use Google Forms to automate scheduling the Calendar.
    • Jenison use Google Docs for documents for grades 3 and up, and assigns accounts and email addresses for grades 6 and up.
  3. Google Apps in Action (Maryann Boylan, Bath High School):
    • Bath teachers have students take notes in a Google Document during lectures and book readings. The teacher then edits each day's notes, and shares the summaries with the rest of the class. 
    • Class-wide presentations are authored, and the safety net is the viewable revision history. 
    • Bath uses Google Forms to pre- and post-test students to test for understanding. 
    • Bath contact for developing Google Apps for Education: Doug Murphy.
I was hoping to attend Redefining The School Librarian In The 21st Century with Kristin Fontichiaro, but will have to settle for the online posting of the presentation instead.

Friday

  1. How We Did It: Writing a K-12 Information Literacy Curriculum:
    • A Clarkston school library group -- made up, incredibly, of 10 librarians -- discussion of their process writing a comprehensive K-12 library curriculum. Copies of their authored curriculum were made available for purchase for $10.
    • Information literacy programs at Troy, Birmingham, and in North Carolina were examined.
    • Foundations: Literacy, Social/Ethical/Human, Application/Productivity, Research/Inquiry, Content Expectations.
    • Teachers are the ultimate responsibility for having students meet the GLCEs, library as support.
    • Standards and tools include GLCE, NETS, 21st Century Skills, Trails Assessment.
    • Future shape of the curriculum include having students complete the MDE's 21st Century Skills evaluation, create more assessment tools, develop more inquiry learning lessons, and match curriculum to common core standards.
  2. Using Apple's Challenge-Based Learning to Build Learning Networks (Larry Baker): "Apple's Challenge-Based Learning model fosters authentic understanding and leverages technology. Students use the web for research, planning, and collaborating while seeking solutions. The media specialist's role as guide will be explored."
  3. Roundtables:
    • Librarian As H!@# -- Tech U Should Know (Judy Hauser, Oakland Schools): Examined e-readers, smart phones, QR Codes, and augmented reality:
      • E-readers: A variety available from Sony, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, in addition to Apple's iPad. Understand differing formats, and which models work with public library books.
      • QR Codes are 2D barcodes, able to be read by smart phone applications. QR Codes contain a variety of information, including links and text, and can be found on posters and signs, business cards, etc.
    • The Reading Cafe (Jodi James, Jenison High School): Statistics classes gathered survey data to determine market interest, marketing classes researched prices and vendors. Special education students work as cleanup crew. The vendor, J. Bos Vending Service, provides all service and supplies, and there is a $600/year profit.
    • Digital Citizenship: Instruction and Resources (Julie Harris, Rochester High School): A class covering digital themes of etiquette, communication, literacy, access, commerce, legalities, rights and responsibilities, health and wellness, and security, evaluation is conducted via Moodle (email for a copy of the course), credit is provided by the student's English teacher.
Closing thoughts: the Dearborn Hyatt, while gorgeous, scores severely poor for the lack of free Wi-Fi, and MAME doesn't rate much better due to their lack of foresight on the facility. And, curiously, it seems that the MAME Annual Conference returns to points with either large concentrations of school librarians (metro Detroit) or very few (Traverse City), but Lansing fails to make the rotation at all anymore.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

BOOKTRYST: Are Banned Books Really the Lowest of Literature?

A really insightful take on banned books, the current partisan political climate, the co-opting of the word conservative, and how families need to play a larger role in children's understanding. And, with a great included head in the sand graphic as well.