The first blog I love is called The Busy Librarian authored by Matthew Winner. Winner is an elementary school librarian located in Ellicott City, MD. I love the nice clean look of his blog, it’s laid out well and is easy to navigate. His blog has won numerous awards including:
- 2013 Edublog Award Nominee (Let’s Get Busy podcast for Best Podcast or Hangout)
- 2013 Bammy Awards nominee in the School Librarians category
- TeacherCertificationDegrees.com Top 50 School Library Blogs 2013 (BusyLibrarian.com)
- Library Journal Movers & Shakers 2013 – Tech Leader
Winner’s blog has lots of wonderful additional features such as his Let’s Get Busy podcast, a Pinterest page, and his tumblr. The Let’s Get Busy podcast is an amazing feature to which I have really enjoyed listening. Winner interviews various authors and librarians and highlights different topics in the world of children’s literature and technology. Some of the people Winner has interviewed include Raina Telgemeier (yay!) and Dan Santant. Winner has also co-written a book about using the Wii to teach math. Winner is a avid gamer and incorporates gamer vocabulary and ideas into this library including his LevelUp Book Club.
Winner posts many reading challenges on his blog. They are meant to inspire and encourage others to continually push themselves in their school libraries and their lives. I must admit I was ready to sign on to every challenge just reading about them! A recent challenge was World Read Aloud Day! In leading up to World Read Aloud Day, Winner proposed four different challenges. None were extremely hard, however they provided thoughtful ways to think about reading aloud. In this article, “Brain of the Blogger” Fernette and Brock Eide come to the conclusion that, “the best blogs foster conversation, interactions with other blogs and other information sources, and invite feedback from their readers.” The many different challenges Winner posts do exactly that. They encourage feedback from readers and keep readers coming back to his blog for more. The challenges posted provide accessible real world ways for school librarians to focus on their collection, promote their collection and promote readership.
Here is an amazing STEM unit based on the Three Little Pigs that Mr. Winner did in his library. Winner was tying his lesson into the second grade curriculum, which studies urban and rural settings. He presented the story of The Three Little Pigs, then told his students about the pigs little known cousin who also built a house. During the five week unit he had the students make a blue print for the house, construct the house, take digital photos of the house, prepare a for sale sign for the house in a power point template and lastly attempt to blow the house down with a hair dryer. I love all the amazing technology and literature skills that Winner incorporated into this one lesson AND it tied into the second grade curriculum and common core standards.
Winner’s blog is a “winner!” It ties together a format for creative thinking, increases access to quality information, allows for Winner to share his ideas and for readers to comment and share their own ideas.
The second blog I love is Library Learners.com written by Cari Young in San Antonio, TX. This blog focuses on the concept of the Center Focused Library. I am very intrigued by the idea of the center-focused library. It would be a great way for librarians to expose students to several different library, research or technology concepts all at one time. I like how this blog presents different concepts students need to learn in small chunks through the use of small centers. For example, this post titled “Question of the Week Library Center” the students are using research skills to answer a question. This center reinforces using text features to answer research questions. I really like the index listing on the first page of the site that allows users to browse for different topics they are interested in.
Young has a lot of great posts about using technology in the library or classroom. For example, I really was inspired by her posts on Poll Everywhere, Blendspace, ifaketext.com, and this post on how authors use Pinterest. My favorite post, App Overload, was how to manage all the wonderful apps we hear about everyday. In the post Young talks about all the apps she is bombarded with everyday and how it is better learn 10 essentials apps really well rather than to try to keep up with every new app. I agree, we always seem to be hearing about the latest and the greatest and it is impossible to keep up with everything. Finding a few apps that you feel are exactly what you need and becoming an expert in those apps will benefit you in the long run.
I love this post on Research Revelations it presents a great case for flexible scheduling in the library. In this post research time is given for two hours during the school day. The research project is co-taught between the classroom teacher and the librarian. Research without disruption can be in depth and through. There is no getting up to put away the laptops after only working for 30 minutes. This would be a great post to share with teachers and administrators while advocating for more flexible research time for the students.
Young’s blog is creative and inspiring, she has many great ideas for teachers, librarians and parents.
The third library blog I love is called Watch. Read. Connect: Exploring Children’s Literature Through Book Trailers. The concept of this blog is encouraging literature through book trailers. The blog is published by Mr. Schu a K-5 teacher librarian located in Michigan. His blog highlights many of the activities that he does in his own library, as well numerous book trailers. Schu believes book trailers are a great way to reach out to students and get them excited about books. In addition to book trailers Schu also has many great ideas about using different types of technology for teaching research and library skills. Schu blog is easy to read and nicely displayed.
In this post about the official trailer release for the movie “The Giver” Schu not only presents the trailer, but also posts interviews with well-known children’s authors about the book, an interview with the artist who redrew the cover, additional video interviews with author Lois Lowery and Lowery’s original Newbery acceptance speech in 1994. This post brings together so much information about one very important book in children’s literature all in one place. This post is creative and inspiring. It would be a wonderful post to share with students. It would get them excited not only about the upcoming movie, but also about reading the original book!
Schu has a great feature on his website where he interviews authors and has them finish a series of sentences. Here is a link to the post where author Laurie Keller finishes sentences that Schu has presented. During the text of the interview questions Schu inserts book trailers of Kellers other books and also an audio clip of Ralph Colvert (love him!) reading aloud one of Keller’s books. I love how Schu includes relevant videos within the text of the interview. Again, I can imagine sharing this entire post with students to make this author and her books come alive.
One of the things I love about Mr. Schu’s blog is the way he makes authors seem so accessible. His interviews include wonderful and sometimes silly questions. When an author responds with a silly answer it brings that author to life for the students and makes them relatable. The final question in many of Schu’s interviews is, “Mr. Schu you should have asked me…” it is a lot of fun reading the different authors responses. Mr. Schu’s blog is titled “Watch. Connect. Read” and I believe “Connect” is the most important part of this title. This blog allows for, “increasing access and exposure to quality information.” For example, right now our fifth graders are working on a book trailer project. This blog would be a great resource for them. Additionally, I would love to share this blog with teachers to spur on their creativity. Since the posts are so interactive it would be fun to end the day by showing the students one of Schu’s book trailers.
All three of these blogs are well-organized, detailed, creative and inspiring. All three authors use their blogs to reach out to their readers to share information and ideas and all three invite reader feedback. This give and take conversation is one of the best things about reading blogs. Reading and commenting on a variety of blogs promotes connections between librarians across the globe. Creating a PLN (Personal Learning Network) provides a seamless way for librarians to share new ideas, explore their passions, promote innovative technology, voice their frustrations and learn from others.
Eide, Fernette, and Brock Eide. “Brain of the Blogger.” Eide Neurolearning Blog.
Wordpress, 2 Mar. 2005. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.