Tuesday, April 7, 2020

My Day

Shared two video poems with 7-12 students and MS/HS staff: Mending Wall and a Mary Oliver excerpt done by a friend of the ACS Library. Averaging 3 or 4 email responses per video. Enjoying corresponding with Mrs. Gridley.

Sent an email to ELA faculty outlining services from SORA and Teaching Books in regards to class-set ebooks and instruction opportunities.

Attended the 2:00 SLS Zoom  meeting. Information about the Summer Read program at SORA; again simultaneous-use titles. Update on SORA Marketplace sale titles. Around the table to hear what innovations, obstacles, and solutions librarians are experiencing at this time.

My Day

Monday, April 6 ,2020

Watched a new tutorial from OPALS on how to add videos to the library home page. I may post some of these National Poetry Month videos there.

Send poem-of-the-day to students and staff; one from our archive of dozens of ACS students and staff  each doing a line of "Casey at the Bat". Followed up on some of the responses.

Drafted a resource suggestion to send to  ELA teachers: class-set ebooks from SORA and book support resources from Teaching Books.

Read the NYT Book Review.

Reading in Part II of The Knowledge Gap. She makes the point that many schools have misinterpreted Bloom's Taxonomy in as much as the base of the pyramid - remembering and understanding are not inferior to the "higher level" analyzing, evaluating, creating; rather they are the foundation that enables those other skills. Her point being that as much as we tantalize students with those "peak" skills, they cannot connect the dots without content; which she says we have forsaken; especially at the elementary level when learning to read. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

My Day

Emailed 3rd video poem to students and staff as part of ACSLIB annual celebration of National Poetry Month. Today's poem was "The Writer," by Richard Wilbur. Followed up on responses to my posting; the fun part.

Corresponded with SLS Director.

Gained fluency with Teaching Books site and with SORA flexibility.

Read articles at School Library Journal site and at Chronicle of Higher Education.

Reviewed and added titles to current Follett book order.

Scripted, filmed, and voiced over poetry video for this month's celebration: "Mending Wall."

Thursday, April 2, 2020

My Day

Emailed the second of my  poetry videos to students and staff for National Poetry Month. This time it was "Springtime," a poem and video I made for an ACS staff member. I emphasized in the text how there are amazing people in our lives and that poetry is way to speak from the heart about them. I followed up on with students and staff that responded. Added a paragraph about unlimited simultaneous access to "The Sorcerer's Stone" ebook during April at our SORA site.

I was late getting a "Hello" video to the composite video the principla was getting together to send to students. So filmed mine, added some helpful text and sent it off in time.

Participated in the 1:30 Skype faculty meeting.

Then tuned into the 2:00 SLS Zoom meeting with an instructional session hosted by our ebook & audiobook rep from Overdrive. She demonstrated how easy it is to add additional participating libraries like the 4CLS and the NYPL.

Investigated and practiced how SORA site and Teaching Books site might compliment each other and provide viable teaching assistance.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

My Day

Fired off my first poem/video to 7-12 students and staff for National Poetry Month. Tried to make the tone of the email more of a celebration than any expectation. Enjoyed following up with respondents.
The first poem I sent was ,"If."

Read for and hour or so in The Knowledge Gap in the morning. Broke at 10:00 to participate in a instructional Zoom session through SLS with the World Book rep. She demonstrated many of the traditional functions as well as a teacher interface for instructional support called 'Wizard'.

In the afternoon I scripted, shot the scenes, and edited a poem/video to share later in the month.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

My Day

This morning I participated in SLS instructional Zoom meeting with a representative of Teaching Books (TB); one of our SLS 24/7 online resources. They provide author interviews, vocabulary, and teaching support for over 100,000 titles. As an example, I hope to use a poem from Out of the Dust during National Poetry Month.

TB allows unregistered access to all of their resources, so that I can create links, like the following, for students learn vocabulary or to the entire resouce page:
Book Recording | Out of the Dust on TeachingBooks
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse on TeachingBooks
Very cool. I look forward to experimenting with more applications for it during the week.

In the afternoon I attended the SLS regular Zoom meeting. We discussed the morning PD, brainstormed uses and asked questions.

Logged in to an offer for free crisis-access to School Library Journal and all their resources.

I prepared my first mailing to students and staff for National Poetry Month: a poem video for each weekday of the month. Wish me luck.

Monday, March 30, 2020

My Day

I read several articles at The Chronicle of Higher Education this morning. So many of their remote teaching & learning hurdles are similar to ours. Some of their words of wisdom:

- Focus on what you can control; like how to teach online, not the fact that it must be done.
- This is an opportunity to teach about being a compassionate. participating citizen; offering compassionate, not challenging courses.
- Now more than ever, abandon the performative and embrace the authentic. Our essential mental shifts require humility and patience. It takes time. This is a marathon, if you sprint at the start you will vomit all over your shoes in a month! (This from an instructor who has lived through famine, disease and war.)

After sending my ebook-access email to students earlier, I responded to those who wrote back; sharing what they were reading (Nancy Drew, Book 32!), and what they were making (learning to knit, planting a garden). It was inspiring to read. Also, hooked up a staff member looking for PD audio books to our SORA site.

Rounded up a dozen poetry videos I have made of various poets (me, included) and nested them on one page of the school site (so students will not have to go yo TouTube). My plan is to email students in grades 7-12 a direct link to one poetry video each weekday of April for National Poetry Month. I hope to include a link to the text of the poem as well as encouragement to perhaps memorize one, write one, or make a similar video of their favorite work. I will share it with staff also, asking them to encourage students to check their mail.

Created this video to use during the April poetry campaign.

And, in between raindrops, I hiked to the river to gather a bunch of red osier stems. They are amazingly pliant at this time of the year. I fashioned them into a half-dozen circles that I will use to frame shoulders and elbows for my Crimson Knight maker-project!

Friday, March 27, 2020

My Day

Kept up with my reading of The Knowledge Gap with another 100 pages in the morning. I'll admit that it is very handy being able to highlight text and annotate that as you read.

In the afternoon, I followed through on an idea from yesterday's SLS, sort of. Our MakerSpace has been a large part of our library the past few years and the most inspired builds have been the ones where students transform materials meant to be one thing into something entirely new. So as an attempt to model, inspire, and create dialogue, I started to build a large Crimson Knight sculpture from around-the-yard materials; just like a student might. I hope to keep students posted on my progress, my failures, my work-arounds, and my triumphs!

Don't laugh. Someday these will be the broad front shoulders.
I'm using maple boughs and baling twine.
I'm thinking he'd look pretty cool near this sign!
And lastly I composed and send an email to MS/HS students with ebook access information (and encouragement), a video/poetry challenge, and an introduction to tune into my sculpture updates

Thursday, March 26, 2020

My Day

Read 90 minutes this morning in The Knowledge Gap.

Reviewed latest something-to-do-while-stuck-at-home-ebooks that Cindy placed on SORA after yesterday's SLS meeting. She did a great job; drawing, crafting, fashion, sewing, LEGOs, duct-taping projects!

Participated in principal's 1:30 Skype meeting. Thought that the 3rd Quarter grading proposal aligned pretty well with what some colleges are proposing: continuing to establish course benchmarks, whether establishing grades or not.

Listened and contributed during the 2:00 SLS Zoom meeting. Some concerns over the security safeguards with FlipGrid which we discussed yesterday. Introduced to "Translation of Practice for School Librarians;" a rubric prepared by the NYC School Library System that offers side-by-side In School Practices and Remote Practices for librarians. It is a very timely document; nice to see we are hitting many of the practices already. Also we updated about an SLS Google Classroom (more good exposure for me) where we can locate and share resources during this interval. I was also interested in one possible initiative by a colleague to offer a STEM or Maker challenge to students...might be something there.

Preparing an update on SORA access and other news to email to students, probably over the weekend
as they crest their full week of challenges.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

My Day

Read two hours in The Knowledge Gap this morning; my SORA ebook. Wexler's arguments for content being inextricably bound to reading comprehension beginning to seem overwhelming. she points out that even teacher PD, when it is specifically targeted to content rather than presented as a free-standing skill "to practice", is much more effective.

Studied on the OPALS tutorial for taking inventory.

After yesterday's SLS meeting, I investigated FlipGrid as a student contact/interaction tool. Watched several instructional tutorials and downloaded it to my device for experimentation. My first reaction is that it seems a little lean for discourse, but probably useful as a check-in tool.

Did my weekly read of the Chronicle of Higher Education (online, this time) to identify and farm out appropriate articles; sent one of early survey findings on freshman decision-making for colleges to our Guidance Office. another article about how college faculty are making the crossover to online teaching (sooo much like our own!) offered various suggestions: pair up students, post benchmarks but don't assess, assess as pass/fail, science students proposing research experiments rather than conducting labs.

And emails,emails,emails.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

My Day

I read two hours in The Knowledge Gap. In these chapters,Wexler reviews the up and down trends, beliefs, science, and mess that education has made of learning to read. It has been a lumpy road. Her mantra is that content learning has been the under-estimated, neglected and, and necessary tissue needed to bridge the gap between  the skills we teach and the comprehension we seek. I'm learning alot.

I formatted my pilot video for a possible Poetry Month initiative: illustrating favorite poems with what is at hand while sheltered-in-place:

Also spent some time this morning finally watching some of the Opals Mediaflex tutorials that I never made time for at ACS. Got up to speed on Location Authorities, Establishing Barcode Ranges, and Batch Deletes.

Spoke with the principal on a check-in call in the morning.

Had my first Zoom meeting in the afternoon organized by our SLS Director. Good opportunity to compare notes on how colleagues are sharing information, respecting the learning-curve as students adjust to online challenges, and suggesting training needs for upcoming sessions. I was heartened to learn that several elemntary librarians have already recorded read-alouds to share with their kids!

Not exactly Bell and Watson, but a first foray making contact (multiple) with Zoom.
And ...I wrote this follow-up poem.

Stopping in My Woods of a Snowy Afternoon

I could never match
Frost’s quatrain scheme,
but neither could he
remake the depth and rhythm
of these dark trunks and ghosting tops
as they step away
into snowfall’s sifted distance.

I watch and I listen
as the flakes change over
to peppering taps
on beech leaf snares;
their curled brown selves
desperate but stubborn
to hold out for Spring.

Monday, March 23, 2020

My Day

It was a day of getting up to speed on this working-from-home gig.

Had my school email up a running all day, sorting through PD offers, online meeting invites, and fluid changes.

From that I uploaded the Zoom app for a School Library PLC meeting on Tuesday, and the Skype for Business app for meeting on Thursday. Tried to familiarize myself with them.

I sent an email to the MS/HS Team informing them of the 100+ Professional Ed books on SORA and of the recently added 240 "Always Available" titles they might use as classroom sets. Reacquainted them with access links and logins.  Had some nice responses from colleagues.

While at SORA, I bookmarked a shelf of PD books for myself. Downloaded The Knowledge Gap by Natalie Wexler as my first read. Did about 80 pages today. Good stuff.

Read the New York Time Book Review, noting, especially, books on Winston Churchill and Thomas Cromwell. I also enjoyed the language and perspective of NYT piece on steps major museums might take at this juncture to shed their 19th century biases and reflect a more diverse and authentic view of history.

I also found an article in my RIT alumni magazine to be supportive of our PBIS program; the RIT 365 initiative to meet with all freshman in groups of less than 20 each week for "exposure to educational and social opportunities within a framework of reflection, self-awareness and community."

Working on an idea to prepare a string of videos for (each day of?) April's Poetry Month. The idea being  to use video from being at home as imagery to illustrate voiced-over poems; maybe even with the idea that students might share some too?

 Did "Stopping by a Woods on a Snowy Evening" as it began to snow this noon. Felt right.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Afton, Chenango County, New York.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Afton, Chenango County, New York. Sanborn Map Company, Sep, 1885. Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, .

For years and years I have been hauling out a piecemeal taped-composite photocopy of the Afton Historical Society's Sanborn Fire Insurance 1885 Map from Afton, Chenango County, New York.
I am delighted to report that it is online at the LOC along with similar maps from 1891 and 1897!

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Afton, Chenango County, New York.
September 1885

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Afton, Chenango County, New York.
July 1891

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Afton, Chenango County, New York.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Interaction with Class of 2021

Hosting some 11th grade ELA projects. Book display to support their content by ACSLIB.

Thursday, March 12, 2020


Scanned and made a composite image of my favorite photograph in the library; 1922 Afton high school students labeled and keyed with their names. Wonderful surprise to find the hand-written names on the back. Zooming in on the faces and imagining their stories gives me chills.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020


So here’s the thing

For twenty-seven years

I have been stockpiling
revelations, epiphanies, and jewels
for you. Whether they are

easy for you to find or whether
you have to work up a sweat
to get at them, they are here.
Of course, there are more elsewhere,
but what I have hoarded here

is enough to bring reaching,
noticing, and doing within your grasp.

It’s something alive that I am leaving you.
It’s not a tombstone, or a dare, or even an expectation.
It’s a promise.
Read widely.

Make time in your world for this world.
It is the world of before and now and next.

You can have it. You can know it.
It is here in reach.


March 2020