Saturday, August 25, 2012

First Week

Students started back to school on Wednesday, and this year it has been a crazy ride.  Over the summer, our very unique library was renovated.  An extremely hard working summer crew and custodial staff fixed walls, painted, installed new windows, black out shades and carpet. 
Two days before school

Two days before school started new shelving and tables were delivered.  That meant, the day before school started was spent trying to get books unpacked from boxes and shelved in the right space. 
Yup, the day before school

We didn’t finish.
I guess many people would be in a total panic about this, but for me it’s easier to focus on what is essential: making sure the kids could come in and sit down safely and making sure that I could convey to them the information I needed to explain.  
I wasn’t involved in the planning of the space because I wasn’t hired until after, but this is what I’ve learned from the experience so far:
·         When planning on new furniture in a library measure the existing shelving space to ensure that enough replacement shelving is ordered
·         Take into consideration electrical drops for computer needs
·         Give yourself some flexibility – we now have “floating” shelving units on casters that make it easy for two adults to move the unit
·         Consider seating arrangement – how do you want your library classroom to be set up so that everyone can see the technology being used?
The nearly finished product
·         From the circulation desk, do you have a clear view of all areas of the library – if not, how can you minimize your blind spots – through the use of mirrors, arrangement of shelving etc.
·         What furniture/storage pieces will you need for student materials, classroom instruction, etc?
Understanding that some things are in my control and some are just out – really helps. By Wednesday, despite some technology snags, I’d say it was a success; by Friday, all books were unboxed and shelved (well, some are on carts because we’re short a shelving unit) technology was in working order, and I really felt like I had hit my groove. The first three days were a win.

 Focusing on things I could control, I worked hard on my introductory presentation.  As I was prepping my  this year, I decided to give Prezi another shot.  I haven’t used it since last year at this time, and I was pleasantly surprised by the changes they have made.  You can now track which area of the Prezi you are editing on the left side – similar to PowerPoint and PowToon, and it is much easier to track and re-order your paths. 

The first time I used Prezi that was the action that drove me most crazy.  They have also added a lot of different templates, which quite frankly, helps to save me a lot of time.  The feature I am most impressed with now is the ability to easily search Google and YouTube for images and videos to embed.  While I am not very impressed with the images available as free source, I really love that I can embed a YouTube video so that I don’t have to worry about all the comments, ads and potentially inappropriate suggested videos on the right side.  While my elementary students responded most enthusiastically to the PowToon, I felt like Prezi helped me convey very important information – voice levels & behavior expectations in an efficient and professional manner.  One thing I couldn’t do – change my email address! I’m at a new school, so I wanted to use my new email address to sign in, but I couldn’t.  I ended up creating a new educator’s account, but that’s okay since my old account doesn’t have much on it.

I searched Voice Levels on YouTube and found a great student-made video that explains it perfectly
 I’ve got two more school days to get things in order for checkouts, so my next big win will be to just make sure everyone leaves with a book.
What will be your win for the upcoming week?

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