Posts tagged Neal Shusterman

Fun at VAASL

vaasl pic

selfies with authors!

I had a terrific time at my first VAASL conference!  We did not get to stay at the Hotel Roanoke, which was too bad since the hotel itself was absolutely beautiful.  However, the hotel that I was at was a 2 minute drive to the conference.  The three big highlights of my trip were:

  • Listening to Neil Shusterman talk and read from his books, including a selection from his soon to be published book.  He was witty and personable and seemed like he truly enjoyed speaking to us.
  • The talk given my Sharon McQueen, from Old Dominion University was amazing!  She spoke about picture books for older readers and introduced so many different titles to me.  Her passion for the subject was evident in her excitement as she presented.  Her talk was tailored down from 90 minutes to 45 minutes, but I was lucky enough to have been able to stay for a bit to chat with her about the rest of her presentation. I was very glad to have gotten a list of titles that were introduced.
  • Getting to see Roanoke.  I’ve never been there before and I had a blast exploring the city center with my cohort friends and my family.

I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to see different presentations.  I only wish that I was able to go to more sessions.  Maybe next year!



VAASL Conference


Laura Robinson & Mary Ivory

I’m so happy that I got to experience the VAASL Conference. What a wonderful opportunity for librarians to share with other librarians (and librarians to be)! I attended some really great sessions. First I went to a session presented by Lynne Farrell Stover called The Contemporary School Story: A New Nemesis Appears. I heard this presenter at Longwood over the summer when she shared her lessons on Unspoken by Henry Cole so I knew I would enjoy it. She went through a few books that are now incorporating story lines with testing and data. She handed out lesson plans to go along with the titles she shared. I will be able to do some of these lessons in my own class and I’ll share them with the librarian in my school.

I also attended a session presented by Elizabeth Kyser and Rebecca Schneeberger called Virginia Readers’ Choice – Primary. These two presenters went through the newest list of Virginia Readers’ Choice books and talked about how you can use them in your classroom or library. I learned that the books on this list are not necessarily new. I saw titles that I’ve been using in my classroom for years. Uh, why did I not know that?

Dee Griffith and Marsha Stewart presented a session on Making the 2014 Elementary Connection: What’s New in Children’s Literature. This session was fast paced with book talks on a lot of new books! I feel like since I’m not using different types of technology in the library yet, I wanted to go to sessions on books. This one was perfect! Oh… the wish list of books I want to purchase!

The next session I attended was presented by the one and only Audrey Church – Top Ten Topics and Trends for 2014. I had told myself that I wasn’t going to attend sessions by our professors because they would most likely share this information in our classes at some point. But when I saw the title of this one, I knew Audrey wouldn’t be sharing this in class. This was another fast paced presentation on topics such as augmented reality, digital curation, evidence-based practice, genrefication, library reports, Makerspaces, professional development, project-based learning, and research. Wow! I plan on purchasing a few augmented reality books for my classroom. My students will love them. I also want to learn more about digital curation so I’ll be reading some of the articles Audrey gave us.

On Friday I attended NonFicton StoryTime by Gwen Lantz and Margaret Alger. The pair went through non-fiction books and talked about how they used them in the classroom. I got excited about using non-fiction and learned how to read this type of text to engage kids. The story behind Biblioburro: A True Story from Columbia by Luis Soriano was amazing. He had a library on his donkey!

I went to a session presented by Susan Morris called Reading Together: Parent/Child Book Clubs. She explained how book clubs are a great way to bring kids and parents together to enjoy good books. She went through the steps on how to start a book club and which books she chooses and why. I probably took the most out of this session because it’s something I’m going to do as soon as I get back to school.

I went to a session presented by a very animated Allyson Watkins (I wish she was my teacher/librarian when I was little) called The Math-literature Connection in the Elementary Library. Not only did we learn about good titles to use with math, but also her story about why she had to do so much math in the library was very interesting.

By this point in the day I was happily on information overload and went to relax in my room. The keynote with Stephen Krashen was uplifting, dessert with David Baldacci was very entertaining, and dinner with Neal Shusterman was moving. How lucky for me to be able to experience all this in just a few days! I am so looking forward to the next time we all get together as librarians and learn from one another. Fabulous!

VAASL Annual Conference November 6 – 8, 2014

The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Roanoke, Virginia was a great location for the annual Virginia Association of School Librarians conference.  The hotel provided the space necessary for all the wonderful sessions and participants.  There were so many presentations offered that I could not attend them all.  The highlights of my trip included the Keynote speakers, Stephen Krashen and Paige Jaeger, both of whom I enjoyed so much that I attended their concurrent sessions.  I was pleased to listen to Neal Shusterman discuss his novels, writing  and favorite authors.  Paul Barron taught valuable Google search methods, and librarians and teachers shared classroom ideas – many of which I will be able to incorporate into my own curriculum.  The first timers breakfast was a treat, as were all the door prizes.  The VAASL Annual Conference is definitely not to be missed!


Daisy, The Reading Pig, at VAASL

pig 4As a first timer at the VAASL 2014 Annual Conference in Roanoke, I was surrounded by my two favorite things: books and people that love books! I was shocked to discover that there was even a pig, a male pig, named Daisy, who loved sharing the joy of reading with kids. Farmer Minor, Daisy’s friend,  was such a pleasure to talk to and I loved meeting his Pug Puppies and Daisy.  Check out all of the great things Farmer Minor does at this site:  As you can tell from the tense smile in my picture, I was a little nervous about being so close to Daisy: not only was he sticking his tongue out at me, but he also gave a very angry sounding grunt just as the picture was snapped. No worries, Daisy just didn’t feel like being hugged and was letting me know it. I learned so much at the conference. I have already gotten my 6th grade English students hooked on Neal Shusterman’s book, Unwind. I have shared great presentation sites with my PLC from the “For the Love of Technology” session that I attended. My PLC and I will be using these sites for our PBL.  I really enjoyed this conference and will try to attend again next year.

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

VAASL 2014 Annual Conference: Nov. 7-8. 2014

Maura Madigan

Maura Madigan

I went to the Spring Regional, so this was second experience with a VAASL conference and once again I was really impressed. It was difficult to choose among the selection of concurrent sessions. They all looked so interesting! I was able to attend sessions on both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, adding to my professional toolkit as a teacher and future librarian.

The best sessions I attended were “How Google Work,” “Standards in Action,” “Making Space for a Makerspace,” and “Makerspaces in Elementary Libraries.” I’m a proponent of problem-based learning, so I found the makerspace sessions particularly interesting. Both sessions offered concrete ways to get started and management tips. Once I become I librarian I would love to have a makerspace in my library.

The key-note speaker, Paige Jaeger, was both entertaining and informative. She discussed the challenges we face with millennial students and how to overcome these. Friday evening I attended the author banquet with Neal Shusterman. I’ve read Unwind, so hearing his inspiration for this novel was a highlight. I bought a copy of his second book and had it signed for my daughter. The conference was great professional development. It was also a way to connect with librarians from all over Virginia and to share ideas. (more…)

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