Upcoming Knowledge Quest Webinar

I am very honored to be a part of the September/October issue of Knowledge Quest, the professional journal of the American Association of School Librarians.  The theme of the issue is Participatory Culture and Learning and my article Opening the Space:  Making the School Library a Site of Participatory Culture can be found on p. 8.  This article was a joy to write, even though it took hours and hours to create.  I hope that the article inspires other school libraries to think about how their programs can embrace participatory culture as well.

If you would like to know more about the article and our Barrow Media Center program, I invite you to attend a webinar that I am presenting this Tuesday, October 9th, at 7PM EST.  I will expand upon what I wrote in the article as well as offer pieces that didn’t make it into the text.

The following October webinar is FREE to anyone wishing to attend. Members and non-members are welcome to register!

kq headphones iconOpening the Space: Libraries as a Site of Participatory Culture
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
7 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. CDT/5 p.m. MDT/4 p.m. PDT

Participatory culture is grounded in low barriers to artistic expression and allows students to be creators of content as well as pass on their experiences and knowledge to others. The Barrow Media Center is a site of participatory culture through elements such as student book budgets, collaborative projects that culminate in student product creation, opportunities for students to showcase their creations to others in a variety of ways, and students taking leadership in teaching one another how to use technology to create. This year, developing the participatory culture of the library is a specific goal that has been made public to all students, teachers, and families in the school and all members of the library have been invited to find their place in the library and make things happen. This webinar will explore participatory culture and how the library can be a space of participation.

Andy Plemmons is a school librarian in Athens, Georgia.  He teaches students in PreK-5th grade at David C. Barrow Elementary.  The participatory culture and collaborative projects of the Barrow Media Center are regularly featured on his blog Barrow Media Center

Register by clicking HEREThis webinar is FREE to anyone wishing to attend.

Storybird with Kindergarten

Mrs. Kelly Hocking’s Kindergarten class has been hard at work collaborating with me in the media center on writing stories from art.  This idea was initiated in their classroom, and Mrs. Hocking asked me how I might support their class in doing this exploration using some kind of technology.

To start, I showed the class Storybird very briefly.  Storybird offers collections of artwork that inspire stories.  You select images from a collection and add your story.  Then, you publish your digital book to the web.

We spent the remainder of the first session looking at a wordless picture book under the document camera.  We used Andy Runton’s Owly and Wormy: Friends All Aflutter.  On each page, we asked ourselves who is in the picture?, where are they?, and what are they doing?  We split into 4 groups to look at even more wordless books in a smaller setting.  The classroom teacher, paraprofessional, special education teacher, and EIP teacher all supported a group.  I rotated between all 4 groups and took over groups if the teacher needed to give a particular student more support.

A couple of weeks went by where the students continued to use wordless books in their classroom to practice telling stories from art.  When they returned to the media center, I did a whole group modeling of how to use Storybird.  We looked at features like how to add a page, how to drag and drop a picture, and where to type the words.  We also talked about putting together a story and how you have to think carefully about which picture makes the most sense to come next in the story.  Finally, we talked about how to go back and re-read your story and make changes if needed.

The final lesson was back in small groups in the media center.  Each group had the same adult leaders and a laptop logged into storybird.  Each group had a different account.  The adult facilitated each group in creating their own storybird, but the students were expected to interact with the technology and construct the story.  The adult did most of the typing while the students selected pictures, typed limited text, and added pages.  Even in small groups, it was a challenge to maintain focus, but each group completed their story in our 45 minute time block.

These students are the only students in the school to have used Storybird, so they are now available to show other students and teachers in the school how it works.  I look forward to trying this again with many more classes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Read their Storybirds here:

Dragon Bat Girl Attacks Creepy Girl

Super Lightening Boy Saves the Day

The Party

The Happy Fairy and the Five Birds

Game On: Gaming in the Media Center

Enrichment clusters have kicked off again and this year our clusters will meet 14 times across the entire school year.  During enrichment clusters, teachers offer topics on a variety of topics.  Students self-select their top choices, and then they are assigned to one of their choices.  The clusters are student-driven, so although the teacher offers the topics, the students are really the ones that make the decisions about what takes place.  During clusters, students are expected to make a product, service, or performance related to their topic and they also showcase their learning at a cluster fair at the conclusion of clusters.

This year, I am offering gaming in education as a cluster.  We now have an Xbox with Kinect in the media center thanks to profits from last year’s book fairs.  This gaming system will be available to all students in the school, but my cluster will specifically look at how this system and others can be used in education.  Our cluster is made up of 14 boys in grades 2-5.  We had an overwhelming response from boys, so it was decided to keep the cluster all male.  I definitely don’t want the girls to be left out, so we’ll be looking at ways to create opportunities for girls as well.

Today, the boys introduced themselves and shared their own experiences with gaming.  We named a few ground rules we should consider as we play video games in the library.  Many of these ground rules had to do with safety such as no body contact with others and keeping the gaming area clear.  We also talked about what it means to take turns and how we handle the adrenaline rushes we sometimes get when we play games.

Students each had a chance to play Xbox sports.  We chose a mini game of soccer to give every student a quick chance to play.  Then, we met back together to discuss how we handled our ground rules and what we need to remember for next time.

I have a couple of students who are already excited about the possibility of other kinds of gaming, specifically Minecraft. There are several schools who use Minecraft in education, and I think the boys that are interested in this are going to do some great things over the next 13 sessions.

At the next cluster session, we will Skype with the busy librarian, Matthew Winner, who already is well-established with gaming in his library.  He will share his expertise and students will have a chance to ask him questions.

I’ll post more as things develop.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Regions of Georgia Commercials

For the past 4 years, I’ve collaborated with 2nd grade on a Regions of Georgia center rotation.  We usually setup one center for each region of Georgia and the teachers and I lead each region.  Over a several days, the students rotate through the stations, and the main goal has been for students to gain more understanding of the regions.

This year we decided to try something new.  As a culminating project, students were placed into groups in every classroom and assigned one of the regions of Georgia.  The goal was for students to work together to create a commercial advertising their region.  They included things like land features, attractions, animal life, plant life, and persuasive reasons to visit their region.

Once scripts were written and a few props were made, students came to the library to record their commercials using the iPads.  Our temporary media center has several small rooms attached to it, so 3 groups at a time were able to record their commercials.  We used students to do the actual filming as much as possible, although a few student teachers and the classroom teachers did some of the filming.

Since our district decided to open Youtube to both teachers and students, uploading the videos took a matter of seconds rather than the hours it took when we would have to download the videos onto a PC, convert the videos to WMV, and then edit the videos in Movie Maker, and upload to Youtube at home.

Instantly uploading the videos also allowed me to show the next classes what the previous class had done.  As they watched videos from their peers, they critiqued them by thinking about what they would congratulate the class on and what they would want to improve about the videos if the groups had a chance to record again.  This surfaced a lot of the reminders that I would have given anyway, but it meant more coming from the active thinking of the students.

This was 2nd grade’s first time using the iPads to film.  It certainly wasn’t perfect, and there were many logistics that could have been better.  However, overall I would call it a success that will hopefully inform the future video projects we do together in 2nd grade.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Take a look at their work below.