Posts tagged VAASL Conference

VaASL 2015

This year’s VaASL conference was very well-organized and informative.  Highlights of the conference were keynote addresses from Margaret Willison, pop culture guru, and Shannon Miller, an Iowa librarian who isn’t afraid to try anything and has a passion for the students and teachers with whom she works, and the Friday night author banquet with Maggie Steifvater, author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, who kept us in stitches with her 8-chapter life story.  They were each very entertaining and approachable. I learned something from each session I attended, including amazing websites from Heather Moorefield-Lang, Karla Collins, and Audrey Church, that I will share with students and teachers at my school. Other topics that will help me improve our library were about diverse book selections, how to host a poetry slam, handling 1:1 implementation, teaching summarization, and making over your website.  I even learned a lot from visiting various vendors (Alexandria, Follett, Mackin, Worldbook, Gale Cengage, and Library of Virginia) in the exhibitor hall. I will definitely attend next year’s conference in Norfolk!


VAASL 2015

imageI had the opportunity to attend the VAASL 2015 conference in Williamsburg, VA this past weekend. It was AMAZING!  I learned a lot of new information and saw some wonderful librarians and authors.  I had the opportunity to attend several breakout sessions including:  Top 10 Trends from AASL, Top Apps for Librarians, Makerspaces, Middle School Programming, and Myths and Magic to name a few.  I had the opportunity to connect with Shannon Miller over Twitter and meet Maggie Stiefvater!  There were many informative vendors who gave out fabulous swag like Google Cardboards.  My favorite was the Farmer who had a live pig with whom I had the chance to get up close and personal with.  (Albeit he was a little stinky!)  I would like to thank the Graduate Department of Longwood University for the opportunity to make this a bit more financially feasible with the graduate travel grant.  I know that VAASL will become a permanent fixture in my professional development plan.  I can’t wait for next year!

VAASL Conference_Roanoke

SoterKaren_VAASLI wasn’t sure what to expect at the conference. This was my first conference and I have to say it was great. There were so many sessions to choose from. I didn’t arrive until Friday, so I was only able to attend the Saturday sessions. I attended 4 sessions, each one giving me some great information.Web 2.0 Tools Are Elementary gave me some great ideas for technology, for example ways to use Google Docs, Animoto and QR codes. I enjoyed learning about Makerspace. I wasn’t familiar with this until the conference. My only regret is that I didn’t come earlier. Can’t wait for next year!

Great Conference

get-attachmentThe two days I spent at the VaASL conference filled my mind with so many new ideas and understandings about the impact that a school librarian can make on learning in the school.  Paige Jaeger’s remarks inspired me to strive for a higher standard for myself because my work with students can make the difference in preparing them to participate in society as literate citizens.  There were so many interesting sessions that it was difficult to choose which one to attend.  I learned about new books as well as how to use old standards in new and exciting ways.  The technology sessions revealed lots of great ways to use tools to improve instruction both in the library and throughout the school.  Walking around the vendor area helped me better understand the resources that I can utilize to strengthen my collection.  One of the best parts of the conference was spending time with my Longwood classmates!



20141108_120056I attended the VAASL Conference in Roanoke, Virginia.  It was an exciting and educational weekend.  This was my first professional conference and was impressed at the choices that were offered to me.  I started my weekend with reviewing positive behavior management in the session, “Are you spending to much time on discipline?” The presenter went over core beliefs that are the basis of positive behavior management.  One belief that made a particular impact on me is that caring is key.  I have found this to be super important in the classroom and I am interested in how a librarian shows kids that she cares when she sees most students for a very brief time.

Next I learned about good picture books to use with older students.  I was introduced to Patrol by Walter Dean Myers.  This gripping, suspenseful and thought provoking story is done in a picture book format but is definitely not appropriate for anyone below middle school.

I also learned a lot in “Family Reading Night:From Hot Mess to Big Success.” The presenter had great ideas that I can’t wait to try.  I learned about some great tools in “Using Web 2.0 Tools in Your Library”.  Lastly I gained a ton of resources from Dr. Audrey Church’s session, “Top Ten Topic and Trends”. I look forward to attending The VAASL Annual Conference again next year.

VAASL Conference 2014

11-17-2014 8-49-57 PMI had a wonderful time attending the Virginia Association of School Librarians (VaASL) conference this November in Roanoke, Virginia. I enjoyed meeting experienced librarians and attending a variety of sessions. Here were some of the highlights:

  • Listening to Thursday’s keynote speaker and leading researcher on sustained silent reading, Stephen Krashen. He highlighted a 2013 study from the UK which showed that reading books often at the age of 10 and reading books more than once a week at the age of 16 has a greater impact on student reading ability than any other factor, including socioeconomic status, being read to as a child, visiting the library, or the education of the parent. This study, along with much of Krashen’s other research, supports my current school’s focus on SSR and continued commitment to giving students time to read choice novels during the school day!
  • Learning about new types of technology, such as Voki, where students can select an avatar of their choice to read a piece of text, or record their own voice reading the information. By using the program, students are given a way to publish their work and develop a larger audience than just the teacher.
  • Attending the session titled “Repackaging Research for the Hyper-connected Millennial.” In the session, the Paige Jaeger explored ways to increase the rigor and relevance of research projects by focusing on essential questions that encourage inquiry, vocabulary of the discipline, and a knowledge product. She gave numerous examples on how to transform a research packet into a purposeful assignment that encourages students to wonder, investigate, find meaning, discover, synthesize, and draw conclusions from what they learn.

Overall, the conference was a worthwhile experience. I am excited to use my newfound knowledge however I can throughout the school year!


VAASL 2014 in Roanoke, VA

IMG_4702I enjoyed attending this year’s VAASL Fall Conference in Roanoke, VA, and experiencing the professional rejuvenation of participating in conversations with talented librarians and students from around the state, listening to inspirational presentations by master librarians and published authors, and thinking about how the information applies to my studies. Some of the highlights included:

  • Learning about technology and free programs that can be implemented within the library and classroom to enhance student experience
  • Dr. Church’s “Top Ten Topics and Trends” – how one person can speak so quickly and cover so many amazing topics in such a short time is beyond me. Simply incredible!
  • Spending time with Longwood students and faculty!

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!



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.

VAASL 2014 Conference

1106140822Farmer Minor and his precious pets were a hit in the Exhibitor Hall of the hotel. A good cup of coffee and a doggie kiss first thing in the morning…it doesn’t get much better than that. This was my first stop on a whirlwind journey into The Heart of the School. There were so many things to see and hear I felt at times I needed another set of eyes and ears. It would be hard for me to choose just one thing as my favorite. I came away from EVERY session with new information, ideas and a passion for my job. The sessions were moving and inspiring producing laughter, tears and times of reflection.  The gathering of the Longwood alumni was a special time of making new friends. Thanks to all who gave their time, effort and energy to create an atmosphere of friendship, learning and fun. Thank you Longwood for making this journey possible.

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