January 31, 2012

It Takes Flexibility!

It takes more flexibility than you know to be the school librarian.  I posted about this topic earlier in the month for my monthly GLMA post.  The past couple of days have been shining examples of this as well.

What would you do if there was an unplanned morning morning meeting that ran right up until you had to run the morning broadcast/announcements show and then you have a slight window of opportunity to set up for an incoming class but as they are walking in the door you realize you can't do the lesson you've planned because of a technical problem.  You have a class of 4th graders patiently waiting (if you're lucky) and all you have is a cart with you lesson junk on it (including last week's almanac lesson with a stack of 25 almanacs on the cart).  If you're me, then you say, "You liked that almanac lesson so much last week, I've decided to extend it!"

This is commonly referred to as making lemonade.

Now what if it's Monday afternoon and an administrator says, "You always have good ideas. We're having choice professional learning sessions TOMORROW [my emphasis] and I'm short a presenter. Could you throw something together for TOMORROW MORNING? [again, my emphasis added]." You say, "Sure, no problem!" (Probably because you are nuts.)

What would you do?  If you're me you think of the most generic librarian presentation you can (hopefully something you've seen many times) and cobble it together quickly using ideas stolen borrowed from presenters you've seen in the past.  Web 2.0 it is!  Using a pre-made Prezi template, I made this presentation which focused on Google Docs (indispensable and always more to talk about whether the audience uses it or not), Prezi itself (because PowerPoint is evil and since they're seeing it in action, it's easy to show them how to use it), and some other little fun tools.  The part on Prezi led to other creative sharing sites like Animoto and Glogster.  We also talked about Youtube's new Education site.  There were a few more.

Then I made a quick and dirty website to share the links for those interested and...Wham!  I look like I know what I'm talking about, people seem happy, and I've already had three teachers in here asking me to show them some of this stuff in more detail for certain educational applications.  And not all of the visitors were even at this morning's presentation!


You have any examples of working on the fly like that?  I'd love to hear how you handled it.


Linda at teacherdance said...

I've never had to do something like that on the fly, but sometimes in the classroom. You must have wowed them with that Prezi, though, & glad it worked. I love all those tools-wish everyone would start using them.

Ms. Yingling said...

Very good. Lately my days have been more about the group I expect not showing up, but three others coming for no particularly good reason. I can always talk about the last 20 books I read! Been less than inspired lately, so it's good to see someone who is!

Jim Randolph said...


Thanks. I think the secret to getting people to use better tools is to just show them a few at a time so the don't get overwhelmed.

Ms. Y,
I've been in the doldrums as well, but a recent in-service (where we actually got to visit other school librarians in our district) gave me a shot of motivation.