Sunday, February 16, 2014

Summer Librarian Sanity: IFLS Workshop Recap!

The only advice you'll ever need.
Sooooooooo I've made it back alive from the Great White North(er), Menomonie, WI, where I actually got to speak to 60 awesome youth services librarians for an entire morning! I know. Me, the person whose philosophy is "if you can't say it in 3 minutes it's not worth saying." BUT it was not only really fun, but it also fulfilled this part of my professional life that I've been wanting to satiate for awhile.

See, one of my first jobs was as a reading coach. I gave professional development, but it was only to my district and sometimes only a few teachers at a time when it was really short. And the for the longer PD my colleague and I enlisted the grade level lead teachers in the school and set up stations, each with its own topic, that the rest of the teachers rotated to throughout the day. Ms Clary and I were at one of the tables, but they all came to us to discuss the DIBELS scores of their classes. The point was empowering the teachers to acknowledge themselves as experts, and it was really well-received.

Actually... I should revisit this type of PD sometime.

At my next job I began writing intervention and DIBELS analysis materials, and worked my way up (ahem, "laterally moved" according to my paycheck) to writing professional development for teachers statewide. Five-hour-long workshops, in fact; however, I never gave the workshops. That was up to consultants around the state. My belief in scripts is tied directly to this job.

So, for real, getting the chance to write and deliver a morning-long workshop on my own was kind of a dream come true, or one of those "at least I can say I can talk for that long!" types of things.

Anyway, it was  really awesome that Leah Langby asked me to speak at the Indianhead Federated Library System's Summer Reading Workshop!
Here's what I talked about:
--Summer Reading Promotion: you know, how I'm a bigger fan of breaking the fourth wall and leaving the
Sneaky picture I took
puppets in Storytime
. The group came up with some great "get them pumped" ideas, like reminding the kids multiple times that everything at the public library is free (even if they don't have cards, they can still attend programs!) and-- oh my gosh why haven't I been using this one already-- FREE A/C FOREVER! (why does it seem like the line toward the end of that clip hasn't been made into a GIF yet? Eh, whatever).
--Iron Fist Child Management: this was way better received than I even hoped it would have been. Never sure if I come across like a big meanie.
--STEM programming: the hows and whys: Miss Meg wrote an awesome post that helped me breach the topic of : a lot of us hear "science/math/etc" and FREAK. I talked about how it's okay because all science is learning by doing, and it makes for a great shared experience with the kids to try new things. I didn't have time to mention it, but it's also odd to say that you "don't like math" because you're doing it all the time. From figuring out if you can fit somewhere to your eyes being fooled by optical illusions, your brain is default mode always using math. Also, my brother the math instructor would be able to better tell you about this thing that exists where you take a sphere and cut it in half, and, math-wise, you'll get two new sphere that are not only the same size as each other but also the original sphere. WTF is THAT about. It's weird as hell and I like it. At any rate, just like you shouldn't tell kids you're not a reader, also try not to tell them you're not a math person. Because clearly, if you're living, you are.
--Examples of STEM programming: I even included art, as long as I could deliberately match it to some sort of science, which you can with most art. I do think there is a misnomer when deciding to use STEM or STEAM; the idea that science is for people who think linearly and art is for imaginative "out of the box" people, which is doing a disservice to both of these. STEM and art are all for bold, curious, imaginative people. The difference is that STEM fields need more women and people in general. What better way to spark a child's interest in science than exploring it in fun, kid-centered, unencumbered-by-state-standards-and-assessment way public librarians can?
So from now on, personally, I'm going to use the terms STEM, or STE(A)M, and I hope that doesn't get on too many people's nerves.
Here's Mayim Bialik saying what I just tried to say way better, and in GIF form.

So yeah. I also had grown people doing some of my Wild Records, and trying a Mythbusters experiment, and laughing a lot, which is basically the way I understand the world. SO, I think it might have gone pretty well!

Oh, here's the Pinterest page (handout)
And here's the slide deck I used (if the embed works):


  1. It was great to meet you in person! Thanks for the fun presentation, made the morning fly by! Also, I am totally going to use the BRAIN DRAIN.

  2. Thanks Kathy! It was good to meet you too. I'm glad to hear it flew by for someone other than me :)

    Your presentation was great, too. Mathematical concepts for preschoolers is powerful stuff and it was nice to see them presented in such a way to empower us to use them in early literacy spaces! Do you have that info on your blog?