Monthly Archives: September 2011

First Edition!

So I just wrote about writing a newsletter and here is the first edition.

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Kordek’s Korner: Newsletter

Another item I am going to do to share information  besides writing on this blog  is to write a newsletter for my building.  The newsletter is a quick way for me to share information with my colleagues in a manner that will not add any additional work or time into their day.

Currently I am going to try (keyword try) to make this a biweekly newsletter.  When I finished the first edition I thought I might be able to do it weekly, I haven’t even started the second one and debating about making it monthly instead.  I am going to give doing a biweekly edition a good old fashion try before I decided about how often it is going to be published.  The reason I originally decided on biweekly is that there are so many resources and I want to make teacher aware of them in a timely manner to their lessons and curriculum but I don’t want it to overwhelm me or them either.  So for now it will be biweekly.

I want to keep the newsletter to one page (front and back) so it is a quick read. The main focus is technology and literature.  Sometimes there will be a variety of small recommendations that go along with curriculum or what I think teachers should be aware of.  Other times there may be a focus to the issue such as a curriculum topic, specific technology, or all literature.  (Already have some issues brewing in my head.)

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Library Gremlins

     The first week of school every year begins with the reviewing of library manners, rules, book care and such.  With K, 1, and 2 there are great stories that can be read to them to review these items such as What Happened to Marion’s Book or Mr. Wiggle’s Book.  3rd and 4th need something different.   By this time students do not need a teacher directed lesson but a way to demonstrate their understanding.  Every year I am trying to find a new way to demonstrate their understanding, sometimes they work….sometimes they don’t.  This year with my 4th grade students I tried something new and both the students and I really enjoyed it for reviewing how to keep books neat and organized on the shelf.

Right before class begins gremlins (aka me and my para) go through the library and make mistakes on the shelf.   This part takes a little work to think of different things that students do wrong that you want to make them aware of and to get enough.  When the class arrived  I divided them into teams by their tables so that there was about 3-4 people on a team.  I explained to students that they are going to working together to find the mistakes in the library and take a picture of the mistakes.

The groups searched the library two tables at a time because I only had two cameras but this also kept the shelves getting to crowded with students.  Each team took the number of pictures for people on the team so everyone had a chance to use the camera.  After they took the picture they put a stick note on the spot so that no one else was able to use that mistake in the class.

It was  interesting to see what students think are problems and what are not.  They missed some of the obvious ones but found ones that were not even mistakes They will made good teaching points when we reviewed the pictures.

A part that I need to teach next year is how to take the pictures, students usually took a close up picture of the problem instead of a wider shot to actually see what was wrong or they were blurrier.

The students did a really awesome job of working together and sharing the camera.  They did not argue over who got to use it or yelled at each other when they found a mistake.  The only big difficulty was keeping students in their seats when it was not their turn because they wanted to help the other teams which is a good problem.

I will definitely be doing this again with small tweaks to make it better.

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Time

It is true the longer you teach the easier some things get but the more you want to do.  I find as I start this year that items I struggled with when I started are getting much easier.  I am able to easily plan lessons, choose books, and determine the order to teach lessons.  I know the teacher’s curriculum better and can start predicting when they are going to need certain materials.  I am starting new initiatives such as mystery teacher readers, mystery student readers, library clubs, and Science Fair (Yes it is the odd ball item but I love it).

But as these items get easier,  I started noticed things I am not doing.  I have noticed that through my scavenging through blogs, attending workshops, and reading articles that I have a wealth of knowledge to share but no way to share it.   That is how this blog has came to be.

It has taken me a few months to finally start this blog.  One factor was time but the silliest item that had me stuck was the blog title.  I could not find one that made me excited or motivated to start until the start of this school year.  Sometimes the simplest items are our largest stumbling blocks.  I overcome my hurdles and excited to start.

This blog is a way for me to start share my findings and musing with my fellow colleagues and anyone who happens across my blog.  I will be posting about projects/activities I do with my students, technology I use or teachers can use, and just general library musings.

My long term goal to develop connections through Professional Learning Networks (PLN) so I can share what I know and learn from others.  This is just my first baby step into all that is out there to explore who I am, who I can be, and what I can still learn.  Wish me luck!

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