Posts tagged Kimberly P. Johnson

Refreshing Ideas at the VAASL Conference

Stacy Hammer and Michelle Sanders

Stacy Hammer and Michelle Sanders

I had the great fortune of attending the Virginia Association of School Librarians conference in Roanoke this year.  Needless to say, it was a lovely place to stay for a couple of days, and the conference was certainly educational.  But what I loved most were the refreshing takes on the school library and education at every session I attended.  Here are just a few:

  • Kendra Albright discussed graphic novels written by incarcerated teens to educate other students.  “AIDS in the End Zone” was written by a group of incarcerated young men who used their own lives as inspiration to write a graphic novel that could educate student readers about HIV/AIDS.  Students who read the graphic novel instead of the CDC material on HIV/AIDS retained significantly more information.  This makes me think of two immediate projects for the school library:  1)  Be sure to acquire graphic novels that deal with nonfiction issues across the curriculum, and promote them with the staff; and 2)  Creating a graphic novel would be a great way to assess students’ ability to synthesize and connect to researched information.
  • Having a mock-Caldecott award competition was a great idea provided by Elyse DeQuoy.  This would be a great way to ask students to think critically about why they like a particular book or illustration, while introducing them to a wide variety of new books.  As a middle school teacher, I could do the same program, but with the Newbery Award.
  • Author Kimberly P. Johnson was exactly the kind of presenter that I needed during Saturday’s third session.  She said that we would feel rejuvenated after her session, and she was absolutely right.  Keeping us on our feet, thinking quickly, and laughing with a variety of games, she reminded us that students need this stimulation to become engaged in their learning, and that it can be applied to the library- or, in fact, any educational setting.

My time at the VAASL conference was definitely well-spent.  As well as packing my days full of inspiration and excitement about being a librarian, it was great to share that with my coworkers, professors, and classmates.  I look forward to using all of these fresh ideas in my classroom and practical library hours, and eventually in my own library.

Loving Libraries at VAASL

Stacy Hammer, Dorathy Winkler, Michelle Sanders

Stacy Hammer, Dorathy Winkler, Michelle Sanders

Last weekend I spent some time in lovely Roanoke at the VAASL 2014 Annual Conference at the Hotel Roanoke. Though I enjoyed the town, the shops, the hotel, and the restaurants, it was the conference that I enjoyed most of all.  As a library student at Longwood, this conference was an excellent educational experience.  Some highlights of the conference included:

  • Destination Imagination with Kimberly Johnson-  Kimberly shared activities that I was able to use in my classroom on Monday.  She is full of energy and shared activities that suit the needs of students who are full of energy.  I will be using her strategies now, as a classroom teacher, and in the future as a school librarian.
  • AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning with Heather Moorefield-Lang – Heather is a great speaker and shared some of the best websites for teaching a learning.  I can’t wait to incorporate these websites into teaching and student projects.  From creating banners and infographics in to turning a quote into a masterpiece with, I think I’m going to be keeping myself and my students busy and entertained.
  • Take 5 with Krista Hartenbach- Krista shared how she transformed the perception of the school librarian at her school with five minute presentations at every faculty meeting.  By providing tips, addressing misconceptions and concerns, and sharing resources, Krista changed the way her school library was viewed and utilized.  This was a beneficial session since I’ll be a new librarian at a school  in the near future.

I learned so much at the conference that I can apply to life as a librarian, but what so impression was the sense of community and sharing that the conference offered.  I’m excited for a future in School Librarianship.

VAASL Conference November 2014


Author Kimberly Johnson hands me a signed copy of her book “The Adventures of Itty Bitty Frog”

What an amazing whirlwind weekend of learning and fun! The conference offered so many break-out sessions; it was hard to choose. I learned about Makerspaces, AASL Best Websites, new release books, top ten trends for 2014, and spent time with my new favorite author/presenter Kimberly Johnson. Ms. Johnson is a firecracker! You couldn’t possibly walk out of her presentation without a smile and a new-found love of teaching. Her session included engaging movement and learning games for students, strategies to increase student vocabulary, ways to help kids turn $5 words into $1,000,000 words (insert her “Rags to Riches” song here),and fabulous poems. She reminded us to TALK THE POSITIVE! Thank you Longwood University and Virginia Association of School Librarians for this incredible learning opportunity.

Librarian Conference 2014

VAASL Con Picture Wendy GreenWow…I learned so much at the conference!  I am really glad I was able to attend.  Some of my favorite sessions were The Top 25 New Websites…the bookmark is a great tool.  I will be making copies to give out at my next Department Meeting.  I was able to share the Makerspace information with my librarian.  The Art teachers in my building also have 3-D printers…they are so excited to get the information from the Makerspace Build it Will They Come? session. I also enjoyed the Dinner on Friday evening.  The keynote speaker Neil S.  was very interesting. I loved hearing his story about being the kid who was always in the hallway at school…One of my favorite speakers was Kimberly Johnson…she was fabulous….so full of energy and wonderful ideas for getting students involved with learning through so many different techniques.  I am taking away a wealth of knowledge that will help me now and in the future.

VAASL 2014 Annual Conference

Mary Ivory with author Neal Shusterman

Mary Ivory with author Neal Shusterman

I attended the VAASL Annual Conference in Roanoke, VA from November 6-8, 2014.  This was my first experience at a conference for librarians; however I have attended state conferences for middle school educators in the past.

After registering, I immediately began pouring over the conference guide to select the sessions to attend.  There were so many great choices and I appreciated that many were offered more than once so that I could balance out a schedule.  It was difficult making some of the choices because there was so much being offered that I could see being useful in my classroom now, and to keep in mind for my future role as a librarian. The best session that I attended was Middle School Medley presented by Dawn Farrell and Alicia Garbelman from Lake Ridge Middle School in Woodbridge, VA.  I can see many possibilities for using what they presented right now as a classroom teacher and in the future as a librarian.  Other great sessions included:  150 Best Websites Selected by AASL, Using Twitter in Your Library, Using Pinterest As a Tool for Organization in Your Library, and The Contemporary School Story which was about using different novels with students that relate to some sort of standardized testing in schools and how the characters handle taking those tests.

The opportunity to meet authors David Baldacci, Neal Shusterman, and Kimberly P. Johnson were high on my list of things to do.  I am so glad that I signed up for these special events with these talented individuals.

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to attend this conference and I am looking forward to attending again next year!

VAASL Conference in Roanoke 2014

Madigan and Daisy
Madigan at VAASL conferenceThis past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL) conference in Roanoke.  Besides spending time with my colleagues from the Loudoun cohort of Longwood University, it was wonderful to meet so many librarians from around the state.  There are multitude of great things happening in Virginia libraries!  My favorite session was presented by the dynamic Heather Moorfield-Lang who compiles the VAASL “best of” website and apps lists every year.  She presented several websites like, and  I am looking forward to sharing this information with my school and colleagues.  The speakers were dynamic and invigorating, especially Kim Johnson and Neal Shusterman.  Hands down, the highlight of the weekend was hearing Dr. Audrey Church introduce each of us at the Longwood Alumni gathering.  Dr. Church makes all of us feel like we are the most important student to her, but to realize that there was a great network of librarians and future librarians in her fold made me feel like I am part of something special.

~Elizabeth Madigan

Go to Top