Monday, February 24, 2014

Spy School at the Library: A Program Do-Over

This is a program theme that is talked about a lot, including two other times on my blog alone. Inspired by Storytime Underground's Hack my Storytime series, I revisited my Spyology program after 2 years to see how I would approach it now!

(Also, of course I revisited Spyology, because programs based on the Ology books are always really fun. Meaning, I have the most fun planning them. And I guess the kids like them too).

At the beginning of the program, my coworkers Brooke and Linda were nice enough to write "Agent [first letter of kid's name]" on address labels so that the kids could get their code names. The girl pictured left asked for "Agent B" because she decided her name would be Brooke, too, and the entire Internet died from cuteness.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Library LEGO Checkout Club

LEGO tower locked behind glass.
Sign explains rules listed below.

When I first came on to the La Crosse Public Library team, one of my very first ideas was a stealth program where the kids would add LEGOs to a pile/bin/whatever every time they check out. Then, at the end of the month or whenever, they would have a "Big Build" party and make something out of the LEGOs they had collected.

I am SO happy that idea didn't fly at the time, because what came of it nearly 3 years later is WAY better than that.

When it was time to debut our check-out club, Brooke and I racked our brains for an hour coming up with a cool, though straightforward name. We both liked alliteration, so we were looking for a word that started with the same letter as "LEGO" without distracting from what the club was about. We both have graduate degrees AND other degrees in language-related fields and I mean WHAT WORD COULD WE EVEN USE THAT BEGINS WITH L TO DESCRIBE A LIBRARY PROGRAM.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Summer Librarian Sanity: IFLS Workshop Recap!

The only advice you'll ever need.
Sooooooooo I've made it back alive from the Great White North(er), Menomonie, WI, where I actually got to speak to 60 awesome youth services librarians for an entire morning! I know. Me, the person whose philosophy is "if you can't say it in 3 minutes it's not worth saying." BUT it was not only really fun, but it also fulfilled this part of my professional life that I've been wanting to satiate for awhile.

See, one of my first jobs was as a reading coach. I gave professional development, but it was only to my district and sometimes only a few teachers at a time when it was really short. And the for the longer PD my colleague and I enlisted the grade level lead teachers in the school and set up stations, each with its own topic, that the rest of the teachers rotated to throughout the day. Ms Clary and I were at one of the tables, but they all came to us to discuss the DIBELS scores of their classes. The point was empowering the teachers to acknowledge themselves as experts, and it was really well-received.

Actually... I should revisit this type of PD sometime.

At my next job I began writing intervention and DIBELS analysis materials, and worked my way up (ahem, "laterally moved" according to my paycheck) to writing professional development for teachers statewide. Five-hour-long workshops, in fact; however, I never gave the workshops. That was up to consultants around the state. My belief in scripts is tied directly to this job.

So, for real, getting the chance to write and deliver a morning-long workshop on my own was kind of a dream come true, or one of those "at least I can say I can talk for that long!" types of things.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Robots vs. Aliens!: Second Grade Outreach

As I've mentioned before, this year we've piloted in Grade School Menu. While I'm currently immersed in Hella Busy No Sleep, I want to make sure I don't get behind on documenting my programming and giving you (and future me) School Tools 4 Days. Luckily enough I just recently wrote out the script for the Second Grade Outreach: Robots vs. Aliens!

Robots vs. Aliens works for 2 reasons: 1) everyone has an opinion on this debate and 2) the kids decide who wins. I patterned the idea after the Shark vs. Train Story Action Pod I made, but fleshed it out into a 30-45 min program

(I feel the need to stress that if you're going to try elementary outreach, in order to get teacher buy-in you're going to have to be able to promise 30 min door-to-door. That way you can be in and out in that magical time period between lunch and math, or during lunch and recess, or after Special Areas but before the bell, when the teacher actually has the time to do a fun activity. If you happen to be scheduled on a Friday with no spelling test, however, for instance, you may be able to stretch it out to 45. Have a craft or game ready if you get that extra time.)

Here's how Robots vs. Aliens! works: