So, better late than never?
The IdeaLab has always been my favorite part of AASL because it gives you the chance to see projects in bite-sized, manageable pieces, and it's where I get my best, immediately implementable ideas. The conference sessions are also amazing, but I look to them for long-term, big picture stuff. I didn't love the new electronic format of this year's IdeaLab because it felt more sterile, but there were still some great presentations.
My main takeaways:
Investigating the Holocaust
This is an online museum created by teachers at Sierra Middle School in Parker, CO. The "museum" was meant to help students contextualize the Holocaust as they read the Diary of Anne Frank. Each "exhibit" was a different webpage linked from a master site, and included sites like the Anne Frank House website, the Holocaust Museum, and others. The project is a blended learning initiative, and the website is free and open to anyone to use. You can check out the exhibit here.
Bee-Bots are a great, fun way to introduce coding to young students in the growing realm of toys that infuse robotics and coding together. The nice thing about the devices is that they do not require any computer/smartphone/iPad to operate - kids program the bot directly and set it to go. I loved the creative ways in which this school is integrating these robots into teaching and learning - asking students to program the bots to identify sight words, count by 10s, or work with image recognition. Click here for the librarian's Symbaloo of resources for Bee-Bots.
The Link Ladies
I never quite got what this presentation was about (see complaints about digitizing everything), but the presentation turns out to have a lot of useful apps to support teaching and learning, some of which are old favorites, and some of which are new. The basic idea is that apps can help the library integrate with subjects across the curriculum. Presentation can be found here.
Mixed Media Poetry
This was perhaps my favorite station of the whole room, the one where I immediately envisioned myself coming home and getting this project going ASAP. The library teacher in question took the book "Stardines" by Jack Prelutsky, read the poems with her class, then had the kids write their own poems and illustrate them using clipart and the ActivBoard. The results were hilarious and wonderful. I cannot wait to do this project.
Montgomery County School Library in the Virtual and Physical Realm
Montgomery Country Schools in Maryland is an enormous district that has developed some great resources for districts looking to bring their libraries into the 21st century. To do so, they looked at their libraries' physical and digital presences. In the physical realm, they created a handy checklist to guide libraries transitioning from more traditional to more flexible spaces, and they did the same for their virtual presence. What I really liked is that they allowed for differences in website platforms, but settled on requiring certain standard information to be listed on each website for user-friendliness. They've done a wonderful job.
Legos in the Library
This was a decidedly simple, yet fun idea - a librarian has begun a wildly popular Lego club for kids after-school in her library space. Each session, the kids have a theme or challenge they must complete so that there is some structure and a purpose to guide their building. I would love to try and adapt this into an ongoing challenge in my library - the only question is logistics...
My name is Ms. Bery. I am a PK-8 library media specialist in the Boston area. In addition to being a certified school librarian, I am also certified in instructional technology, and have a strong interest in exploring and integrating technology in new and exciting ways in the classroom.
I am also a 2016 PBS LearningMedia Local Digital Innovator, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts School Library Association's President's Award.
Check out the Sandbox for apps and websites I've found useful in supporting student learning and creativity. I also review children's, middle grade, and young adult books on Instagram.
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