STEM In The Library’s Makerspace

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Thanks to the encouragement of Mr. M, the school’s principal, and a grant from BOCES, the school library received several supplies to foster and promote STEM in the library’s new makerspace.

The makerspace team solictied one high flyer from each class. Each teacher sent a child for the first makerspace class and a challenge was issued.

img_2340

Children were split up into 2nd and 3rd grade teams. They read the challenge and the rest was up to them. One group disagreed on how to best solve the problem. Teachers did not intervene,  but rather let them solve their issues on their own. The group that had the highest tower was the group that worked best collaboratively. They respected each others’ opinions, discussed rather than dominated among themselves and worked well as a team. And it was a 2nd grade group!. See the highlights below!

img_2339 img_2341 img_2342 img_2355

Skype Without Boundaries

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Just last week I connected a 2nd grade library class with a high school reader in Arkansas. Fellow school guybrarian extraordinaire, Stony Evans, in Arkansas asked to Skype. We had planned last year to Skype and connect our schools, but the school  I was at frowned on using technology for anything other than typing games and testing children. This year is a whole new ballgame.

 

 

img_06041img_05971 img_06021

 

Angel, Stony’s student, read aloud to Ms. Maldonado’s 2nd graders. They were thrilled that they could see and hear a person far away in another state and as a live feed.  Prior to Angel reading, Stony gave our students a tour of his library and quickly walked outside so they could see how hot and sunny the weather is in Arkansas, much different from the 48 degree cold day we were experiencing in a suburb outside of New York City.

Consider using Skype to learn and teach without boundaries. Skype even has a translator app that will translate many languages quickly and efficiently so classes can connect and learn more about other countries, customs and people.

Families That Read Together Succeed Together

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Continuing in my new school’s tradition, I am leading the monthly book club established by my predecessor. The book club is a family engagement piece that requires both an adult and child to be present for all sessions held once a month in the evening. Families receive a chapter book to read together and then come the following month to participate in accountable talk, do literacy based activities and just bond in general with their family.

 

Nowadays, adults are so busy working and have little time to spend together. Family book clubs are a special time away from the hustle and bustle and will become memories for our children to cherish when they later grow up. For the first meeting, even though the book was just being given out to be read, parents and children used joint memoirs to create into shared books . Story lines were continuous even though parents and children alternated illustrating and writing each page.After the presentations of their created books were done, many parents came up to thank me for having had fun and reading at the same time, something they did not think was possible.

As the old saying goes, ” Families that read together succeed together.”

 

Nick Vianna Author Visit

Tags

, , , , , , ,

The new school year has started and gone so quickly. After having spent the last year in a city district that frowned upon blogging, innovation, edtech and grant writing, I am overjoyed to finally have found a home where I can be the educator and school library media specialist I have always dreamed of being. Suddenly, I remembered I should be blogging all the great things happening in the LMC …….I’m no longer stifled like  last year.

All the 2nd and 3rd grade children were so excited to have author and illustrator, Nick Vianna, visit for an in depth look into how he creates his wonderful stories and eye catching artwork. Nick brought original artwork, led interactive sessions and truly excited our scholars. It was motivating to hear such depth in questions being asked by scholars.

img_2247

To learn more abut Nick Vianna or have him visit your school, he can be reached at Iwantawhale.com .

Minecraft in Schools

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Last week, I was so blessed. I was blessed to be supported by a principal who understands the importance of professional development. I was blessed to be part of a cohort of NCCE and Microsoft Innovative Educators that continually push the envelop and seek greater challenges. And I was blessed to be able to receive Minecraft in the Classroom training in order to facilitate change and empower student voice.

minecraft_-_bing_images

Minecraft is an amazing new tool that engages students and makes learning fun and stimulating. Too often, I have heard that that “school is boring,” or “we never get to talk about important things- only what the teachers what us to talk about.” Some teachers think Minecraft is just a game. But it is really so much more. While part of Minecraft is game creation, it also facilitates transdisciplinary learning with the right planning and incorporation of the curriculum. While some may dismiss game creation as a catalyst for learning, look closely and you will see children’s lives change for the better through it. They learn to work through problems and not give up.They develop confidence and the ability to articulate their thoughts and ideas as they scaffold teaching others. Minecraft teaches resilence, persistence and critical thinking  as children are engaged, motivated and ready to learn.

Consider adding Minecraft to your library or classroom. You won’t regret it!

The School Year in Review

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

This past school year has been a learning experience. Leaving NYC DOE last year and entering the Westchester County school system was a gateway to better understanding my strengths. I was able to bring in many different authors for author visits,but it took quite a bit of persuasion and conversation getting this approved. While many educators understand what a future ready school library looks like, not all administrators do, unfortunately. However, you can see for yourself how inspired the children are bu author visits as it helps them better understand the writing process and appreciate reading!

IMG_6126IMG_6123IMG_61192015-11-18 14.07.12

I had a chance to hear CeCe Bell, author of El Deafo, speak and detail her life experiences at a NYC School Library Exploratorium. She values school librarians, as do many authors, and is a reminder of why we do what we do. El Deafo is her true story of dealing with a hearing disability in school. This was particularly empowering as I had two similar students gain cofidence by this book.

IMG_5986

I never realized how much professional development I received as a NYC teacher. NYC DOE invests heavily in their teachers and  I always took it for granted believing it was the status quo of all school systems.

While I have had to find webinars and read a lot, being a Microsoft Innovative Educator has been a tremendous asset. Twice a month Microsoft provides live Skype online PDs. If you miss them, they are also available as a recording. These webinars are led by Microsoft leaders and by teachers in the field that have been creative in their teaching practice with the use of technology.

Screenshot_1_25_16,_7_59_PM

Additionally, partnering with Microsoft has helped me grow as a leader in ways I never would have dreamed off.  They have quickly made me comfortable with being uncomfortable. I have been encouraged to present professional development on e-Portfolios not only on a local level, but also at a state and national level. This year I presented at the NYLA (New York Library Association) Annual Conference, the AASL (American Association of School Libraries) Conference, two PD sessions for NYC DOE school library meetings, one for SWBOCES Exploratorium and an Ignite session at the MIE Annual Conference.

Lastly, Microsoft has fostered collaboration and communication witheducators all over the world. A panel session of best lessons was held and teachers were inspired by each other. This gave new energy and ideas for all participants. Thank you Microsoft for all you do in supporting education!!!

Library_Media_Tech_Talk

 

 

 

 

ALA Scholastic Publishing Award

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

I am extremely honored by the press release below. Thank you Scholastic and ALA!!!

ALA Scholastic Library Publishing Award

Tracey Wong

February 16, 2016

For Immediate Release:

Tracey Wong, a school library media specialist for the Daniel Webster Magnet School in New Rochelle, New York, has been selected as the 2016 recipient of the American Library Association’s Scholastic Library Publishing Award. This special recognition is given annually to the librarian whose “unusual contribution to the stimulation and guidance of reading by children and young people” exemplifies achievement in the profession.

It is with pleasure that the 2016 Award Jury recognizes Tracey Wong for her important and creative achievements in the field of Library and Information Science said Judy Nelson, chair of the Scholastic Library Publishing Award Committee. Tracey deserves this honor for her ongoing commitment to incorporating the interdisciplinary use of technology to promote transliteracy ( the ability to understand and communicate or be literate across all communication platforms including but not limited to sign language, speech, reading, writing, mass media and social media) to support and advance low level readers and English language learners. Her libraries have become centers for reading, writing and exploration for not only her direct students, but also for their family members who often have no access to technology in their homes.

Wong received her Masters of Education degree in School Library Information Technology in 2012 from Mansfield University. She also holds a Master’s of Science in Reading from Lehman College (2004) and a Master’s of Science in Teaching in Elementary Education from Pace University (2003). She was named one of 11 Microsoft Innovative Educator Regional Experts for 2015 – 2016. She holds several additional certifications including the Graphite Accelerated Educator certification, the PBS Innovative Educator certification and a Reading Recovery certification. She has utilized the knowledge from each of these disciplines to creatively serve her inner city students. She has authored several articles and presented trainings on how to obtain grants. While new to librarianship, her efforts throughout her career have been directed to supporting literacy and encouraging reading by children and young people.

Wong was nominated for her unique ability to build alliances and partnerships throughout her community, her careful attention to grant and funding opportunities, and her dedication to students and their progress across multiple literacies. From yoga practice in the library to a scholar-created community garden, all combined with introductions to research and reading resources, she has engaged the whole child in active learning. In the 2013 article “Grant Central Station” in New York Teacher, Wong’s work was described as being like a” traffic cop directing students, teachers and parents in and out of the school library where she hosts around-the-calendar celebrations of books and literacy, highlighting and tying books to national holidays, authors’ birthdays, ecology, technology and anything and everything she can think of to entice young readers and enrich the curriculum.” Wong’s expressed goal has been to “make reading fun and cool and to make the library a hub of activity and a center of learning and collaboration”. In three years she obtained just under $1 million dollars in program funding, resource’s, technology and learning opportunities for three different NYC Department of Education schools to support this goal.

Members of the 2016 ALA Scholastic Library Publishing Award Jury are: Beth Gallego, Los Angeles Public Library, David Wang, Queens Library, Megan Egbert, Meridian Library District, Elizabeth P. Dumas, retired school library media specialist, Judy T Nelson (chair), Pierce County Library System.

NYC DOE Supports Innovative Teaching

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Recently, I delivered several Redefining Learning PD sessions for NYC DOE educators. Teachers were thrilled to discover Microsoft’s OneNote and Class Notebook. Part of Office 365, Microsoft has made technology free, accessible and is helping to equalize the playing field in education. Teachers no longer need to stress over xerox copies and handouts being completed in time. Paperwork does not need to be carried home for scoring as all notebooks are stored in the cloud.  Digital notebooks are created and quickly duplicated for different subjects or classes. Teachers can insert Word documents, multimedia content, screenshot on the fly with date and website references, insert audio recording / explanatory feedback for students. Additionally, emails, parent contact info, notes and tags make organization a breeze. As more and more learning environments are going paperless, Microsoft is supporting teachers’ learning by continual workshops, webinars and teacher led tutorials.

NYC DOE teachers and school librarians participated in several different Redefining Learning sessions. They discussed how administrators need to allow teachers to be more creative and in turn teachers need to allow students to be more creative.  By releasing some structure and turning the reigns over, innovation can truly take place. Creativity will not be stifled.

2016-02-23 15.33.19

 

As a partner in education, Microsoft realizes the value of fostering collaborative learning environments among scholars and staff. Being digitally organized, educators are able to deliver curriculum more effectively and work in a time efficient manner. Lessons are interactive and transliteracy skills are promoted in order to foster future ready skills for scholars. For U.S. students to be able to compete in a global economy, they need to be technologically fluent as they lean towards greater creation rather than consumption. Microsoft encourages greater creativity through its various Office 365 tiles like Sway, Yammer and OneNote.

To learn more about the power of OneNote, please visit http://www.onenoteforteachers.com.

Kate Klise

Tags

, , , , , ,

IMG_0498

We are so fortunate to have a supportive PTA. Our author visit by Kate Klise in December was funded by the PTA. The PTA in this district supports literacy, learning and truly believes in making education stimulating for the children. Students in the school were particularly enamored with Kate Klise’s nonfiction book, Stand Straight Ella Kate, which detailed the troubles and also the glory of growing up as a giant in the early 1900’s. Kate also wrote Little Rabbit and the Meanest Mother and other engrossing picture books that the children could not get enough of.

Kate had children create a story for the audience and  also taught the learning community plot action with a culminating “ah ha moment.” The literacy coach liked the mini lesson so much that she even emailed the template Kate shared with us. Kate Klise was a pleasure and an inspiration to have. She encouraged teachers in their own artistic endeavors.

If you have never had Kate Klise visit,  I highly recommend it!!! Her energy is contagious and it was truly the best author visit ever.

IMG_0510

Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Regional Lead

Tags

, , , , , ,

Screenshot_1_25_16,_7_59_PM

Recently, I was so honored to have been selected as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Regional Lead for the Northeast for the 2015-2016 school year. In the  United States, 11 educators in total were recognized for leadership, outstanding contributions and for creating innovation and fostering collaboration in learning communities. As  regional leads, we will help

  • build educator capacity to improve educational communities through technology use
  • collaborate with other MIE in the U.S. and globally
  • model effective use of the Microsoft Innovative Educator Program in learning communities
  • advocate for training, conferences and educational events to build the capacity of other educators

I am so thrilled to have become a part of the Microsoft Innovative Educator program. Microsoft has pushed me to become a better teacher and forced me to go outside my comfort zone. By doing so,  I have grown both personally and professionally. In the past year, I have done things I never dreamed of. I have attended national conferences. I have presented to esteemed colleagues and highly respected education professionals. I have honed my craft and fine tuned my technological savvy.

Thank you Microsoft for helping me develop into a stronger teacher! Thank you Microsoft for supporting innovation in public schools, promoting e-learning and collaboration and for fostering global communication through Skype and community partnerships!