Friday, March 2, 2012

Build the Bridge

Tomorrow morning I am speaking at a local conference, The 21st Association of African American Educators. My topic- Using Digital Resources to Build Bridges. As educators we want to ensure our students have equal access to current, accurate materials- even beyond the bricks and mortar of the library.

What are these resources? Digital databases. Doing a “Google” search on ancient China, yields almost 11 million hits. Digital databases provide manageable results to a search. Remember when Pluto was demoted? The very next day, online encyclopedias had edited the entry and added one on dwarf planets. Databases provide reliable, updated information. Whether you’re at school, home or grandma’s in Texas, you have 24/7 access to information on varied reading levels with different modalities of learning.

In our workshop we will look at SDUSD’s one stop shopping site, Destiny, for digital resources. We will also look at the digital portal at the SD County Office of Education. And let’s not forget the public libraries. In San Diego, we have the Public Library and the County Library. Both of those organizations have digital databases and even ebooks for their patrons. If we are trying to build a bridge and bring resources to all students, we need to teach them to fish. Let’s be sure we remind them that after school, they can still use public libraries.

As teachers or librarians, there are several strategies we can use for integrating these digital resources. The first is to collaborate. If you are a teacher, contact your library staff about what resources are available in your library. Are they available outside the district? Do I need a password? Can they teach your staff or classes about how to use them? Work together with a specific curriculum standard and use the resources for a reason.

If you are library staff, make sure your administration, teachers, students and parents know about your digital resources. If you have district staff, perhaps they can make a presentation to the groups. One of the biggest parts of my current job is to do Destiny digital database presentations. I can do it in a 15 minute teaser or a two hour workshop. I even have an elevator talk.

What are other strategies educators can use to build the bridge with digital databases? Stay tuned. Tomorrow we’ll go a little further.

Oh! The Places We'll Go

Celebrate the joys of reading!
Happy Read Across America Day! Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! Every year across America readers flock to our classrooms to celebrate reading and the birth of beloved author/illustrator, Theodore Geisel. From The Cat in the Hat to Green Eggs and Ham, kids of all ages will look back on the classics of childhood. Readers from all walks of life will take time from their busy schedule to talk about reading and share a book with a classroom of students.
Today I am reading at two schools. This morning I'll go to Penn Elementary. Pam Kester has been hosting this event for years and is a champion at choreographing the events of the day. I'm taking several books to read to my class, including I Want My Hat Back and Otto the Book Bear by Katie Cleminson.

Tonight Aunt Betty is going to Longfellow Spanish Immersion Magnet School to do some Mo Willems' stories. Her friend will be reading Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus in spanish while she translates. I'm afraid it could be hysterical. Then they will do a choral reading of We Are In a Book. It promises to be a great deal of fun and we are thrilled to go there. The library tech asked us in July!

Here's my Seuss boots!
So today, whether you read to a classroom or not, take time today to read.Check out the Seussville website for books and activities. Take time to think about how important reading is in your life now. Maybe you can think back to the people who helped you to learn to read or to love to read. Send a note of thanks. Next year volunteer to read in a classroom. (It's usually March 2.) And remember- reading is reading.