Posts tagged Audrey Church

2016 VAASL Conference

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img_2133What a fun and informative few days. I knew of Mr. Schu before going to VAASL but I had never had the pleasure of hearing him speak. On Friday he was one of the many presenters so I thought it would be fun to go see what all the hype was about. I must say I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who loves children’s literature so much. He truly brought the books to life and made my reading list that much longer.

I was torn on which session to choose for my last one but after hearing that Audrey Church’s session was a conference favorite for the past few years it was a settled. We were flooded with so much information and I was introduced to new topics I had never heard of before such as ESSA. Good thing I went since I was the lucky recipient of Dr. Church’s new book. There’s nothing like leaving the conference with a prize!

VAASL 2016 in Norfolk

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As this was my first conference for school librarians, I was amazed at all the great information I took home in just one day.  While my friends and family teased that this would be a conference of “Shhh-ers” and that I’d learn how to better dust the library shelves, what I actually found was a diverse group of personalities from around the state brought real-world ideas and solutions to school librarianship issues.  Our own Dr. Audrey Church (School Librarianship Program) spoke during the keynote ceremonies as the current President of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). Keynote speaker Dr. Rob Fuhrman, a principal from Pennsylvania, gave us “10 principles for creating a reading culture.”  In the many breakout sessions I attended, I came away with real-world strategies for bringing the VA Readers Choice books into library lessons, book ideas for boys who are reluctant to read, ideas for professional growth in our careers, and the best apps for teaching and learning.  I filled pages of notes with great ideas that I can’t wait to put into practice!  The culminating highlight of my day at the VAASL conference was the Longwood alumni gathering.  It was inspiring to see around 150 alumni from Longwood’s School Librarianship program all gathered in one room, and even more amazing to see Dr. Church introduce us to each person in the room, announcing their name and location from memory! I look forward to attending next year as well!

VAASL Annual Conference: Norfolk 2016-2017

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Today was the first day of VAASL (Virginia Association of School Librarians).  All I can say is it was a fire-hose of information!  It was very overwhelming to be around so many librarians, and having to decide what sessions to go to!  I appreciated Frances’ advice of sitting near the door (for easy escape) and tried to do at least half of all the sessions I attended (allowing me to see twice as many session). I started the morning in a session that linked the VA Reader’s choice books to state standards.  They had great handouts about all the different activities that could be done at the elementary level, but didn’t address any of the middle grade books.  From there I caught the end of a session on the magic of series (which was very disappointing). After the morning session we saw the keynote speaker, Dr. Rob Furman.  I spent most of his session firing off e-mails to my colleagues back at Smart’s Mill about all the great resources he shared.  I particularly want to check out James Patterson’s website www.readkiddoread.com (books for reluctant readers).  In the afternoon I went to a session on becoming Google certified (which is very easy to do and only $10 to apply), then we went to the first timers tea and got all sorts of free books!  My favorite session was the one I only caught the tail end of, which used themes to tie different fiction books together.  The presenters were so animated, and there are so many great titles!  I ended the day with author Ginjer Clark, who writes nonfiction books on weird animals.  Her focus was on encouraging reluctant readers to engage in nonfiction by showing them the odd and disgusting.  I had a great time seeing everyone at the alumni event, and was impressed by Audrey’s ability to name everyone (and so quickly!).  I loved the tribute to Frances – “Oh the Places You Will Go!”

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October 21, 2016

Today was a fabulous day – best day by far!  All the sessions were absolutely amazing.  I began with the Junior Library Guild and their new releases for middle and upper grades.  I need to figure out how to get advance copies of books – what a tease!  My next session was sponsored by a math teacher aspiring to be a librarian and which Tech Tools we should integrate into the library to win over our math and science teachers.  My poor math SALT must have received at least 5 e-mails from me during this session!  Then we went to a session on Picture Books at the middle school level.  I was especially excited for this session as November is National Picture Book Month, and one of my reading promotions is to get each content to use a picture book to support their lessons.  The keynote speaker today was Mr. Schu – who is the fabulous library ambassador for Scholastic.  What a dream job!  Such an amazing speaker, and he was able to create such energy in that room.  Everyone should get a chance to see him speak!

 

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October 22, 2016

Short day today – only stayed for two sessions.  The first was on the Best Apps for 2016 sponsored by AASL.  Many of these apps were new to me, so my principal is allowing me to use 10 minutes in a faculty meeting to share with our staff.  My second session was presented by two first year librarians.  It was titled I Survived!  Overall it wasn’t the best presentation, but I did win a free book!  It did make me think about what I would want to share at VAASL next year if I were to present as a first year librarian.  So glad to have had this opportunity!

 

VAASL Conference – Norfolk, Virginia

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20161020_165545_resizedLast week I had the pleasure of attending the VAASL conference in Norfolk, Virginia. It was a little overwhelming to hear so much good information in such a short amount of time. However, I came away with so many great ideas, and the men and women who presented have inspired me to take what I have learned and implement change for the benefit of our students.

Genrefying is at the top of my list; I wasn’t sold on it before I attended the conference – now I am a believer. Another great take away was how, why, and when to use picture books with middle school students. Every middle school should have a good collection of picture books to support the curriculum and student learning.

John Schumacher’s keynote address was a highlight of the conference. He knows the joy of reading and the joy of connecting a student with the right book that will make him/her a life-long reader.

Thanks to everyone who presented at the conference for providing such useful information and for the opportunity to attend. Looking forward to next year!

VAASL 2016

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I had the great opportunity to attend the VAASL Conference in Norfolk, VA.  This was the second opportunity for me to attend this conference.  Again, it was a wonderful conference, and I cannot wait to attend again next year.  It was very exciting to learn so many new things that I would be able to use in my classroom, as well as ideas for when I become a librarian.  This year, just like last year, I came away feeling refreshed, energized and excited about teaching and becoming a librarian.  I was able to attend Thursday, Friday and Saturday concurrent sessions, but my favorite day by far was Friday!

I attended, But they’re scary! Tech tools to over math and science teachers, using picture books in 6-8, charting the course with topics and trend and of course the keynote speaker, John Schu.  The concurrent sessions gave me some great ideas to use for my current classroom as well as share with my teachers in the building.  I am already planning on sharing the great tech tools in the math and science department meetings.  Listening to Audrey Church’s top ten, was just amazing.  I attended last year as well, and this year was just as good or better then last.

John Schu, was so inspirational to me as teacher, book lover and future librarian.  As I look into the future to becoming a librarian, I plan to keep the quote “What do you want your library students to remember about your library 10 years from now?”  and “Not to get the books back, but the readers back.”  He is a person/librarian/lover of books, that we all can hope to become and be able to share with students.  He gave some great book talks and ways to promote reading and libraries for every student.

Again, I was not disappointed by this conference and look forward to many more!

The Importance of Good Directions…

VAASLThe November 2015 VAASL conference was amazing, and my first large scale professional conference. What did I take away from said conference?  Well, always double check the room numbers.  Turns out that there is a BIG difference between auditorium and amphitheater.  Oops!  Luckily, we realized when no one showed up, that we were in the wrong place and made it to our session with a few extra minutes to spare.  As someone who has been to several smaller conferences, the VAASL conference has a lot to offer.  Sessions were lead by librarians and educators who genuinely have a passion for their profession.  All were eager to share their expertise and to lend a helping hand in any way they could.  I got so many great ideas from how to improve Sustained Silent Reading at our school, to sponsoring a Virginia Readers Choice group to listening to Longwood’s very own Dr. Church present on the 10 emerging trends in librarianship.  This conference was a great use of my time, and a fantastic way to network with other professionals!

I cannot wait to attend next year!

VAASL 2015 by Kelly Parsons

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Photo with award winning children’s author, Laura Murray. My 2nd grade students LOVED her “The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School” series.

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.

Future Librarian Inspired by the 2015 VAASL Conference

Where to start?  The VAASL Conference was a wonderful experience, from perusing the vendors and getting to see 3D printers at work to attending conference sessions, it was nonstop.  It was hard to choose which sessions to attend with so many options.  My favorites were Online Tools in Action, Pairing Literature with Primary Sources, Oh the Places You’ll Go (four cool tools), and the Coding sessions, but I enjoyed every single one of the sessions I chose to attend.  I am so excited to try out the “Hour of Code” and am signed up for training in DC for next week.

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I thought the speakers were wonderful, especially Maggie Stiefvater who divided her speech into 8 chapters of her life.  I loved that and thought it was a brilliant way to keep the audience focused while she was talking.  I also enjoyed meeting Lamar Giles and can’t wait to share his new book in my current classroom.  This experience was well worth the cost and I hope to be able to attend next year, as well.

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I hate Nicholas Sparks-VAASL 2015

VAASL pictureI cannot stand his books!  If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading one, here is how THEY ALL go…there is a tragedy, and due to the tragedy, someone falls in love.  Now, you have no reason to ever have to read one his books!  Sparks has written tons of books, they have all been on the New York Times Best Seller’s List, and he has sold over 100 million copies.  So clearly, my feelings about his books are not the majority.  People like them.  They buy them.  LOTS of them.

As a graduate student in School Librarianship, I have been recently struggling with how to teach content in the library while not crushing the potential spirit of readers.  With so much emphasis in schools on test scores and data, how do you maintain student’s excitement?

Margaret Willison was Thursday’s keynote speaker at VAASL and she is funny!  And what I took away from her presentation is that people are going to read what they like.  It may not be what you like or perhaps even millions of people worldwide like, but for them, there is value in what they are reading.  So, instead of promoting certain books, promote the love of reading for there is certainly value in the love of reading.

We all have our things.  Sparks certainly isn’t mine.  But I LOVE the Confessions of a Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella.  And while the basic plot is the same in that series just like Spark’s books, I gain huge value in the pleasure of reading.

 

Where to find Willison:

https://twitter.com/MrsFridayNext?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

http://tinyletter.com/twobossydames

https://twitter.com/atvpodcast

http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/129472378/pop-culture-happy-hour/

 

Sneaking into VAASL Fall 2015 Conference

IMG_4617 (2)Allow me to clarify: I paid to go to the VAASL Fall Conference, but it felt like sneaking in because I’m not actually a school librarian yet-still taking my graduate classes to get me there. But it was certainly beneficial being able to attend this conference as it gave me more of an idea as to what my future Falls will look like as I’m sure I’ll be attending this conference annually. Getting the chance to start the networking within the librarian community is also a wonderful benefit from attending as I’ll have people I can turn to from day one when I become a librarian myself.

And while I’m not a librarian yet, I can obviously see how I can use much of the information I learned while at the conference once I am. Now I will admit that there were so many sessions and new ideas/info that it was a bit overwhelming at times, but reflecting back a week later, there were some things that stuck pretty well. I really liked the session on genrefying the fiction section as this is a topic I’ve been curious about the relevance of doing this in a library; but based off the statistics and advice I heard in this session, I think it is certainly worth a try. Learning how significant primary sources can be when beginning the research process from a former Library of Congress librarian imprinted the notion that it is so important to ensure our students care about the work we ask them to do so it can be their work, not ours. Another session also uses the same LOC photos idea, but these two fun, creative librarians shared a lot of wonderful ideas for integrating more hands-on, critical-thinking activities like learning stations and research products using green screen technology. Lastly, there was the idea of taking students on virtual field trips via websites with video tours of locations (like the Sistine Chapel or the human body); a great idea for those days when there’s school-wide testing or the last days of schools.

Again, I’m not a librarian-yet, but attending this VAASL Conference has really inspired me to look forward to the day when I can implement the various things I’ve learned this past week. If the future conferences are anything like this one, I look forward to my future as a librarian and as an attendant.

A big thank you to Longwood University Graduate Studies for providing a travel grant so I could learn more about the career I can’t wait to start thanks to opportunities like this and of course my absolutely wonderful professors in the School Librarianship Program (as pictured).

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