VAASL 2015 by Kelly Parsons
The 2015 VAASL Conference in Williamsburg, VA was my first true professional development experience as a “future” librarian. The conference provided me with many tools, resources, lesson plans, and ideas to help prepare me for a position as a school librarian. The theme of the conference was “Librarians on the Edge” in which countless opportunities for innovative teaching and learning were provided. As a result of attending this conference I have many new ideas and resources for empowering our students as 21st Century learners. I deliberately chose a very diverse schedule of topics during the 3 day conference which included the following:
- developing and enriching collaborative partnerships with staff and students;
- integrating the most recent technologies into all facets of instruction;
- learning stations;
- developing engaging and meaningful lesson plans and activities for students;
- connecting students globally through social media
Additionally, I met some inspiring authors of children’s and young adults’ books including Laura Murray (The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School series); Kristin Levine (The Paper Cowboy, The Lions of Little Rock, and The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had); Steve Watkins (The Black O, Juvie, and What Comes After); and Lezli Evans (Rain Song, Snow Dance, and Can You Count 10 Toes?)
The sessions that were especially helpful included:
“Two is Better Than One” by Tanya Parrott and Kathy Stavros: In this session the presenters provided many lesson ideas, resources, and strategies for collaborating with teachers of all grade levels. Specific activities that support the curriculum were presented, I will share many of these ideas with teachers here at Norge. Examples included life cycles (grade 2); maps (grade 4); and identifying letters (K).
Using Stations to Manage the Library by DeWayne Harrell: This elementary librarian presented many great ways to create a variety of library stations which incorporate reading, technology, strategy board games, and hands on activities for students. I have used several of these resources already in our library, but I will investigate many of the other resources that Harrell provided.
On the Edge with the Top Ten Topics and Trends by Audrey Church: A wealth of online resources, articles, professional journals, and tutorial videos were presented in this session. Topics included Coding, Digital Citizenship, Diverse Books, Flexible Scheduling, Read Alouds, and much more. I would greatly appreciate it if we could meet to further discuss the benefits of flexible scheduling.
I came away from this conference with many “ready to implement” lessons and resources for library lessons. Additionally, I have many great ideas for collaborating with staff and students. I will spend the next few months viewing many of the other resources provided at this conference.
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