Friday, March 16, 2012

Pre-Construction...Construction...Finished Project By Tomorrow?

Yesterday was a blur. Sometime in the mid-morning, the custodians came in with our principal and I was informed that the workers would be arriving shortly to begin construction in the library. I immediately needed to clear three bookshelves (both sides) so that the wall would be able to pass through that area. Luckily, our principal provided many student helpers to move large quantities of books. Of course I was more concerned with keeping the books in numerical order, something that only I and my library council members understood. By the end of the day, I had lost my glasses, filled many tabletops with books, and prayed that teachers would claim some of the hundreds of books I didn't want to throw out.According to one of the workers, the project should be done tomorrow, three days of work. No new bookcases. New walls, though. I'm keeping a positive attitude, because I've been told that with classes no longer in the library (we had a couple of periods which were class-free) I can look forward to making the library-media center the center of the school again. I'll let you know on Monday how everything looks. Are you in a similar position? Please leave your comments? Thank you to those who posted yesterday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Downsizing

Oh boy. Just found out today that the library will be losing close to one third of its space. Offices. Classrooms. Study space. Not sure what, but all I know is that reorganization, more weeding and moving hundreds of books will be taking place very soon. Am I angry? Of course not. We just don't have enough space, and thanks to all the huge budget cuts (and lack of that "angel benefactor" we need) there simply is no other choice but to cut into the library's space. So today I began the arduous and painful task of more weeding and moving stacks and stacks of our books to make room for the demolition. Giving away five sets of encyclopedias to various classrooms is where I started.

Day 2. I've been trying to get teachers to take books to their classrooms as opposed to throwing them out. A few have come down and taken some books, but the majority are either not interested, don't have room for them or travel to many rooms and don't have a home base. Just heard from the custodians that I can't have any more garbage barrels because the dumpster is full. As I write this, I can see the piles of books on the table, and I'm only halfway through the reference section. I feel for those books. I have also run out of dusting cloths. (I purchase my own Swiffers because they are the best) Years of dust have greeted me with every shelf that I empty.

I began working on redesigning the floor-plan since things were about to change with my square footage. I found an online program called Floor Planner, and began to create a 3D model of our space.(It's free)

Day 3. I'm sore all over from lifting and moving and bending and stretching. I'm going to do other things today like deleting barcodes and updating the collection. I just read an article in School Library Journal about survey results involving spending. At the moment I am amazed that my budget is FAR below the $$ listed (median) for a high school. My fundraising has still not been able to put me at that number. Is anyone else out there feeling the sting of this survey? Projected changes in budget $$ for the northeast (I'm in NJ) for next year are -1.8%.

So I guess you are asking yourself when I am going to mention the ups of downsizing. Any type of cleaning can be therapeutic, you know? Getting the shelves all neat and in order, eliminating books which have sat for decades since they were last used. In the end, the library will be streamlined, clean and ready to service all who enter. Too optimistic? Maybe. Do you have a similar situation in your school? Please share in the comments section. I'd like to know I'm in good company.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Is the Flipped Classroom The Classroom of the Future? Salman Khan Thinks So

We are all familiar with the typical classroom situation where the students sit in their seats and listen to the teacher lecture about a specific topic.That's the only way I remember learning in school. When we had an extended period (block) it could be very boring. Then, during 2007, along came a new concept: the flipped classroom. Now students could work at their own pace viewing video tutorials and the teacher did not have to worry about a "one size fits all" lecture. If you are familiar with the Khan Academy, you know that when they began, their video tutorials were mainly for math. If you check the site today, you will notice the addition of Art History, Banking and Money, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Cosmology and Astronomy, Economics, Finance, History, Physics, SAT Prep, Statistics and so much more! Khan Academy would like to "create the world's totally free virtual school." Below you will find posts, articles and videos which explain the flipped classroom. Last night's interview with Sal Khan on 60 Minutes is especially interesting.

15 Schools Using Flipped Classrooms Right Now - Edudemic article

Advancing the Flip: Developments in Reverse Instruction

The Flip: Why I Love It, How I Use It- by teacher Shelly Wright

Flip your Classroom Through Reverse Instruction- an anatomy and physiology teacher's experience

The Flipped Class: Myths VS Reality -three part article

The Flipped Classroom: Can Videos Teach Our Children?

The Flipped Classroom Explained- blog post from N.J. Principal Eric Sheninger

The Flipped Classroom Model: A Full Picture- great overview of the process

Khan Academy: School of the Future

Should You Flip Your Classroom?- article from Edutopia

Flipped Classroom
Created by Knewton and Column Five Media


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