Monday, October 27, 2014

It's All about Mindset

Today this graphic figuratively fell into my lap as I was scanning through my Twitter feed.The graphic has been tweeted and retweeted with no citation too many times, but . after searching Google Images, I finally found a reference. Lisa Damour, Teaching Girls to Adopt a Growth Mindset (Shaker Heights, OH: Center for Research on Girls at Laurel School, 2011) or 

And admins too! RT @Primary_Ed: Fixed or Growth Mindset? Great for teachers & students.

If you read my previous post, you might quickly understand why this graphic parallels my Google Hangout experience. Prior to the GHO, we gave lip service about "You know, even tech gurus have had some wipeouts when they've done webinars." And certainly I've seen that happen, but it happened to the other guy, right? 

Remember my being deflated when the Google Hangout wasn't a success? I realize now that I was a victim of Fixed Mindset Thinking. But as soon as the Google Hangout was over, Marsha and Linda were already using Growth Mindset thinking and planning for the future. Marsha asked, "When can we try this GHO thing again? After all, it's just technology, and we're geeks!" It took me a couple of hours to adopt the same thinking. 

What's best about this chart is that it reminds me of a quote from Maya Angelou. "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." So simply said, but such a powerful reminder that we do our best work when we are in the Growth Mindset. The next time something doesn't work, I'll remind myself to take a deep breath and to think of the experience as just a shallow puddle in the pathway of continuous learning.

Deflated But Not Defeated

Remember that old movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Can you visual the part when Paul Newman and Robert Redford jump into the raging river? Substitute me, and you've got an image of what I did last week.

How I got to that point is a rather long story, but the short version is Linda Gray (Youth Services Director of the Tyler Public LIbrary), Marsha Edney (Henderson HS librarian), and I decided to do a presentation on Building Public Lbrary and School Librry Relationships for the online District 5 and 7 TLA meeting/conference on Saturday morning. A PowerPoint? No problem. Using Google Drive Slides? No problem. Doing it as a Google Hangout? No problem. A recorded Google hangout? Yes. Something new to learn? Yep.

So we created the slides, met in a hangout one night to iron out some details, and then with some directions from the TLA District Chair and YouTube, I learned how to do a recorded Google Hangout. We decided it would be best if we were all in the same room so the three of us met at the Tyler PL at 9:00. We knew bandwidth would be a problem because many people were on the library computers, and there was a big Tyler Rose Festival parade downtown with lots of photographers tweeting photos of the floats; we used an Aircard to overcome that hurdle though. We had everything set  up and ready by 9:30. That included tweeting the link to our GHO (Google Hangout) and sending an embed code to the librarian who could put the link on the conference website. We waited patiently until our time to start at 10:45. At 10:42, Marsha's computer (the one we were using) decided to restart. Thus we lot all our connections, the GHO, and the links since we couldn't connect again to the original GHO). 

Panic, panic, panic, sheer panic on my part because the computer didn't work fast enough for us to make the 10:45 start time. When were were finally up and running and connected to a new GHO, it was 11:00, and we were not broadcasting any audio. Panic again. So we aborted that one. Our allotted (alive) time was up so we decided to create another GHO and record it. We did that and sent the embed link. So it's now posted on the conference website.

When we crawled out of the raging river (remember the earlier reference to Butch Cassidy?), Marsha and I had a two Margarita lunch...something I very rarely do. But we had earned it, right? After the adrenalin rush of panic and disappointment and the calming effects of a Margarita, I came home and sat in fetal position on the patio for a couple of hours. I needed some time to overcome the disastrous morning experience (at least it was devastating to me at the time.) Lots of lessons learned.

So, the end to my adventure but with many lesson learned. After a while I was deflated, but not defeated. I tell you of my epic adventure because the learning never stops for me. While I'm not a fan of the term "lifelong learning," it's true everyone is a lifelong learner, and they don't stop unless they are comatose. In my opinion everyone learns something every day either by design or by accident. Will I do it again? You bet. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

STEM and Libraries

Much has been written about STEM and the classroom and STEM and the library, but I want to share a gem that I accidentally ran across yesterday. Oh my goodness. It's a perfect book for the elementary librarian in October/November. If it's not in the library right how, you should order it on speed delivery. Why is it so good? 

  • Elementary level, preK-3
  • Seasonal, but not Halloween or Thanksgiving specific
  • Good Read-Aloud
  • STEM-appropriate, without shouting STEM
  • Skills: Estimation/Prediction, Counting by 2, 5, 10s, Working with Cooperative Groups
  • Makes a great science experiment or survey question from which statistics or math problems could be generated
  • Easy to align with Science and/or Math TEKS for each grade level
  • It's a RIF book with an accompanying webpage. 

  • If you read my previous post, you'll understand that I think this book would make a fantastic library lesson and so easy to align with TEKS objectives. While librarians for young children like to read seasonal books, this one would be perfect for all the reasons listed above. You might not want to teach or reinforce TEKS objectives, but look how easily it can be done. Easy peasy.

    TEKS/STAAR and Librarians

    Last week one of my graduate students said her campus was STAAR possessed and data driven, and that she didn't want everything she did in the library to be directly related to the test. My first reaction was, "I agree." But upon reflection, I don't agree. Here's why.

    1. This librarian is the first real librarian on this elementary campus in many years. In fact, the library catalog is still a card catalog, and the circulation system still uses cards and pockets. She has convinced the district to buy an automation system, but she must input all the records by hand, meaning she'll have to type everything into the MARC records herself.
    2. She is working very hard to prove her worth to the principal by trying to reorganize the room, upgrade the collection, manage AR, provide other reading promotions such as author visits, and see every class in rotation. 
    3. Committed to providing more than just book checkout during "library time," she has been reading a lot of stories to her students and talking a lot about the importance of reading and acquiring AR points.
    4. Clearly she is working very hard, but what tangible/documentable proof does she have that she is a real part of the STAAR possessed team and that she understands the principal's vision?
    5. I'm convinced she needs to tie everything she does to TEKS and STAAR. There's even a TEKS objective that can be aligned with AR. Check out the ELAR TEKS for a specific elementary grade. level. Example: 2nd grade ELAR -110.13 (b) (11) Reading/Comprehension of Text/Independent Reading. Students read independently for sustained periods of time and produce evidence of their reading... 
    6. And how about last week's author visit? Easy peasy. 2nd grade ELAR - 110.13 (b) 29 Listening and Speaking/Listening. Students use comprehension skills to listen attentively to others in formal and informal settings.... Students are expected to: (A) listen attentively to speakers, ask relevant questions, and make pertinent comments.
    7. And for every story read, I would find an appropriate TEKS objective, not limiting myself to ELAR TEKS. Social Studies, Science, and Math provide a gold mine of opportunities for aligning the library to the classroom and the TEKS.
    8. Even if the librarian is not required to write formal lesson plans, she/he should create a simple lesson plan template to be used weekly that lists each grade level with a one sentence description of the lesson and the TEKS objective cited as I did in #5 and #6. I don't think citing the number is sufficient.

    Monday, June 30, 2014


    In my last post, I talked about finding an app ( via my Twitter PLN that has really been a time saver. Now I've learned of another. It's TweechMe. What's so great about it? Well, it's a mobile app that works like Remind (aka Remind 101) except it sends automatic text messages to remind me of upcoming twitter chats. Although I've used TweechMe for just a short while, it is well worth the 99 cents it costs, and it's really convenient for those of us who tend to forget chats unless reminded. 

    Besides the blogs listed on TweechMe, I think you will also be interested in Richard Byrne's 10 Twitter Chats Every Teacher Should Know.  

    Friday, June 6, 2014

    Serendipitous Learning

    'Serendipity' photo (c) 2009, Eden, Janine and Jim - license: reward of serendipitous learning can be so...well, rewarding. It has been about a week since I looked at my Twitter feed. Luckily last night the first tweet I read was from Jan Hodge, Library Coordinator from Crowley ISD, and a new team member for #txlchat. She was participating in #moedchat, and I decided to lurk for a while and read what Missouri educators had to say about blogging. 

    Linda Dougherty @ljdougherty tweeted a blog feeder that I was not familiar with.  Bloglovin works on my iPad, iPhone, and computer. Basically, you create a list of blogs that you want to read, and once a day you receive an email that gives links to the blogs that have been updated. While I've only been a member of this app for about an hour, but I love being able to look at all the updated blogs in one list on 3 different devices.  And the blog feeder is especially important to stay updated on those bloggers (like me) who don't see to post very often. 

    I must confess. I also have an a Feedly account that I haven't used in a while. It seems a little more complicated, and I'm pretty sure there is no daily email reminder. Possibly I don't use Feedly because of the lack of the reminder.