Friday, October 28, 2016

PD in your PJs - November 2016

November 2016 Professional Development

Title:  Using Current Events to Reach All Learners
  • Organization:
  • Date: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Long gone are the days of the one-room schoolhouse. Most classes consist of students who are about the same age. And yet, today’s students come to school with a wide variety of interests, experiences, and abilities. When it comes to teaching and learning, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Using high-interest news topics as a starting point, it is possible to engage all students in rigorous learning that builds on their individual strengths. In this live webcast, Suzanne Zimbler and Melanie Kletter will discuss strategies and activities for engaging different types of learners in the analysis of informational text. Leveled texts and graphic organizers intended for students in grades 3–8 will be provided.
  • Link:
Title:  Great Ideas for Tech Infused Lessons
  • Organization: TeachersFirst
  • Date: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CDT
  • Description: Learn about the resources provided by TeachersFirst to make technology integration easy. Explore the teacher-friendly features of TeachersFirst to help you save time in developing technology infused lessons. Participants will learn new strategies to incorporate the tools of the web successfully into any classroom. As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, teachers will:
    • Locate resources within TeachersFirst to provide real-world learning experiences for their students.
    • Locate and evaluate effective, web-based tools and resources in support of teaching and learning, both for themselves and for their students.
    • Evaluate TeachersFirst membership features applicable to their individual technology expertise and teaching situation.
    • Find solutions to individual questions or practical problems of their teaching situation by exploring TeachersFirst and/or asking live questions during the session.
  • Link:
Title:  Kids Deserve It!
  • Organization:
  • Date: Wednesday, November 02, 2016 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Come learn from Texas principal and author, Todd Nesloney, as he shares ideas on ways to build a positive school and classroom culture, challenge conventional thinking, eliminate excuses, and connect with all stakeholders in a school. Todd brings the experience of starting a school over from scratch and working with a population that is 85% minority and almost 90% free-and-reduced lunch. Far too often the only limitation that is placed on our students, classrooms, or schools are the limitations that are put on by adults – by us! When we take the time to choose to do what’s best for kids and not what’s easiest for adults we can truly provide experiences that are unlike any other.
  • Link:
Title:  Coding with Kids
  • Organization: TeachersFirst
  • Date: Tuesday, November 08, 2016 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CST
  • Description: Join us to learn about computational thinking skills and how you can develop them in your classroom. Discover the world of coding with your students. Begin by learning how to introduce students to the world of coding and computer programming. Learn about computational thinking skills and how it develops logical thinking. Continue with a hands on activity to activate a concrete understanding of programming. Explore three different sites that use visual coding to develop programming skills. By the end of this session, you will be well on your way to begin the journey in learning and teaching computer programming.
  •  Link:
Title:  Tabletop Games and 21st Century Skill Development
  • Organization: Infopeople
  • Date: Wednesday, November 09, 2016 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST
  • Description: Have you noticed many of your library users playing games? Have you ever wondered if games can be in your library for more than recreation? In today’s culture, games are ubiquitous. Although commercial games are recreational, they also provide opportunities for informal learning. In fact, to play games players must use at least one 21st Century Skill, and often players use multiple skills. Join webinar presenter Lauren Hays as she highlights how you can use games in your library to foster skills such as creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration, vital to every library user’s needs.
    • At the end of this one-hour webinar, participants will learn how to:
    • Identify games that help players use and develop 21st Century Skills
    • Implement a game facilitation strategy at their library
    • Help patrons reflect on the experience of gameplay
  • Link:
Title:  The Teacher 50: Critical Questions for Inspiring Classroom Excellence
  • Organization: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
  • Date: Thursday, November 10, 2016 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST
  • Description: Based on Principal Kafele’s new ASCD book, “The Teacher 50: Critical Questions for Inspiring Classroom Excellence”, this empowering, introspective webinar takes teachers on a reflective journey designed to challenge them to think deeply about their current practices relative to how they inspire classroom excellence. Principal Kafele’s self-reflective questions and penetrating insights reveal how teachers can:
    • Inspire students of all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds to strive for academic excellence;
    • Develop strong relationships with students, their parents, and the greater community;
    • Address the challenges and promises presented by millennial learners; and
    • Boost motivation and excitement about teaching despite entrenched obstacles and daily frustrations.
  • Link:
Title:  Introduction to Coding on Mobile Devices: Anyone Can Do It!
  • Organization: Simple K12
  • Date: Saturday, November 12, 2016 @ 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST
  • Description: Every day, our world becomes more and more technology driven and yet thousands of lucrative jobs within the technology industry go unfilled due to a lack of qualified workers. As teachers, we have the responsibility of exposing our students to the types of skills that will enable them to be successful in the future. Coding, which encompasses computer programming, app development, and more is one of those particular skills. Join Lauren Boucher as she introduces the concept and skill of coding. She will explain the value of coding, cover the basics of how to code, and provide several mobile and web applications that allow students to code their own games and stories. Don’t be intimidated – it’s easier than you think!
  • Link:
Title:  Increase Classroom Mobility, Don’t Be Chained to Your Desktop Computer
  • Organization: Simple K12
  • Date: Saturday, November 12, 2016 @ 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm EST
  • Description: As tablets become more and more commonplace, the need to use a desktop computer is diminishing just as fast as your need to be flexible and mobile is increasing. But what about those things that still keep you tethered, the things that still require a full computer? Like interactive whiteboards… Or maybe you would just like to be able to quickly access your computer from anywhere in your classroom – or even from another classroom! In the age of mobile computing, why should you be tethered to your computer or any specific location? Join Chris Casal as he explains how you can use various apps that allow you remote access to your systems anywhere on your network. You will discover how to access notes or lesson plans, change the screen on your IWB, and more – all while walking around your classroom or building.
  • Link:
Title:  3 Cool Tools: Using Images in Classroom
  • Organization: OK2Ask
  • Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CST
  • Description:  Explore three online tools for working with images. Discover the differences between the three tools. Discuss and learn ways to use images in the classroom. Share ideas for different ways that images could be used in the classroom.  Create a project exemplar for use in your classroom. As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, teachers will:
    • Learn about and compare 3 different tools for working with images
    • Evaluate the uses for working with these tools in the classroom
    • Share ideas for using tools with other participants
    • Start a project using one of the given tools
  • Link:

Digital Resource Top Shelf

After we explored the digital resources at the beginning of October you have been busy sharing and using them with students and teachers. MISD librarians ROCK!

I want to share a lesson that Anna Biggs and Meg Curts did on their campuses using National Geographic Kids to Teach Nonfiction Text features.  This can be found in our shared Digital Resources Lessons folder. You are invited to use or modify this lesson with your students.

I'm hoping to fill this folder with your great ideas! Let us hear what you are doing!

Thanks Anna and Meg for sharing TOP SHELF ideas using digital resources!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Digital Resources via district portal

Good news! Students, teachers, and administrators can access digital resources from Library Services through the portal.  The biggest advantage is that users won't need usernames/passwords for home access.  To find the resources:

  1. Navigate to the portal through the district page for employees or students. 
  2. Select the Library Services tab at the top of the page
All of the resources are listed in alphabetical order.  Staff will see all resources and students will only see resources appropriate for their grade level.  

Friday, October 21, 2016

PD Opportunity: LITE UP 2017

from Jane McKinney, Assistant Director of Instructional Technology for Dallas County Schools:

Registration is now open for the LITE UP 2017 Expo at Dallas County Schools/Texserve to be held on January 19, 2017.

Please visit our website at
or click HERE to register.

We are excited to host Shannon Miller as our keynote speaker in addition to sessions, exhibitors, door prizes, and networking opportunities!

Join us for our 3rd annual event with your colleagues.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Not ready to lead an hour session at TxLA? Try a Pop Up Presentation!

If you've been toying with the idea of presenting at the TLA conference, but aren't quite ready to do a full-fledged presentation, the information below is just for you!
The 2017 TLA Conference Program Committee is excited to announce an exciting and approachable way for you to contribute to the 2017 Texas Library Association Conference in San Antonio!
Pop Up Presentations are 20 minute sessions that engage the audience and feature new or innovative ideas. Pop Up Presentations provide a showcase for valuable new content that may have “popped up” between Annual Assembly and Annual Conference.

Pop Up Presentations will feature the most current information on:
New & Noteworthy -- the latest and greatest from around libraryland!Beyond Storytime -- innovative children’s programmingLeading a Library -- library managementExploding Boundaries -- non-traditional libraries, collections, or servicesBeyond the Stacks -- outreach and marketing

Proposals for Pop Up Presentations will be accepted until January 30, 2017. Visit the Pop Up Presentation page at for more information and to submit your proposal!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Digital Resources of the Month- NBC Learn

Watch this video to learn more about NBC Learn. Feel free to share with those on your campus that you think may be interested!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Focus on Early Literacy in the Library - Word Study

Each month the Early Literacy Specialists from the elementary campuses have a meeting with the district ELAR team. At this meeting, they discuss ways to assist teachers in reaching our goal of every student being an on level or above reader.

The focus of today's meeting was PHONICS, SPELLING AND WORD STUDY. 

There are definitely ways that librarians can help students in this area. 

1. Concepts of print

This includes things like recognizing that print and pictures are different, you turn pages to read and look at the left side first, a word is a group of letters with a space on each side, etc.

Librarians can help students with these understandings by specifically pointing out and modeling these behaviors during read alouds.

After a read aloud, give each student a book and have them find and point to various letters and words on the page, while you check their understanding.

2. Phonological awareness

This is the ability to hear sounds in words. 

Librarians can help students develop these skills by choosing read alouds that focus on rhyme, rhythm and repetition. Choose nursery rhymes, songs, poetry, stories in rhyme work great for developing students' ear for language.

3. Letter knowledge

This is what students need to know about the characters in our alphabet - how they look, how to tell one from another, and how to use them to make words.

Sharing alphabet books as read alouds with young children is a great way for them to practice and strengthen their letter knowledge.

4. Word meaning and vocabulary

For comprehension and coherence, students need to know the meaning of the words they read and write. They must constantly expand their listening, speaking, reading and writing vocabularies. They need to develop categories of words: labels for things, concept words, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms and all parts of speech.

Librarians can support this area of learning by choosing read alouds that focus on these different types of words and discussing word meanings as part of the lesson.

For more details on what each grade level is expected to know in these areas, please review my notes from the meeting.

Let me know if you have any questions or talk with your campus Early Literacy Specialist.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Favorite finds from around the web. 



Sometimes it feels like you are living in the library. In the early 20th century, some people actually did.


If your Pre-K students haven't heard these books, you better get started!

For Your Consideration...

Since you are working on your book orders, I wanted to alert you to a wonderful new book that you may want to order for your library.

It's called Who Wins: 100 Historical Figures Go Head-To-Head and You Decide the Winner! by Clay Swartz.

Clay is the son of our own Debbie Swartz and this is his first book. It has been extremely well-reviewed and would be a fantastic addition to any school library collection.

Who Wins is not your typical nonfiction book. Here's how the publisher describes it:

Let's say Charles Dickens challenges Mother Teresa to a lightsaber duel--they're both equally fit, so will his superior artistry overcome her advantage in bravery and leadership? Or who wins karaoke--Nelson Mandela or Jane Austen? They certainly both have a way with words, but Mandela's over-the-top courage might take the day.

Mixing and matching 100 historical figures in 50 competitive categories, from Ping-Pong to climbing Mount Everest, Who Wins? turns history into a compelling game, which means kids learn while having fun in the process. Each of the famous people is given a short bio and ranked in six categories--bravery, leadership, artistry, wealth, wisdom, and fitness.

And because there are no right answers, the reader decides, and in the very act of deciding and justifying the answer, real learning has taken place.

Here's a picture of the inside:

The middle part is die cut, so kids can change the battle and the competitors as they like. 

There are so many teaching opportunities to be had with this book, as the reviews attest:

"History with a hilarious spin and a cinch to provoke vigorous debates aplenty." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"A battle royale that stretches across human history in delightfully ridiculous ways." — Publishers Weekly

"An unforgettable fact trove and endless debates." — Mental_Floss

"History just got a whole lot more warped and wacky." — Entertainment Weekly

"This genius concept is so much fun that your kids won't even realize they are learning about fascinating historical figures, from Nelson Mandela to Marie Curie, and honing their debating skills in the process." — Barnes & Noble Kids Blog

"It has brought us hours of fun, laughs, crazy scenarios, and learning." —

Who Wins is available from multiple sources, including Follett Titlewave and Amazon

Highly recommended!!! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Mock Election 2016

MISD will have a mock election this year to help all students understand the privilege they will have as American citizens to participate in the voting process.

Each campus will decide how to organize the mock election experience using the information found here

Librarians and Tech Facilitators may be asked to facilitate this process and the library may be set up as a "polling" place, if that's what your campus decides to do. Take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions document for details.

Monday, October 10, 2016

PD in Your PJs - October 2016

October Professional Development

Title:  Utilizing Partnerships to Expand Professional Development Opportunities Worldwide
  • Organization: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
  • Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2016 @ 1:00 pm CDT
  • Description: While partnerships have been an instrumental part of the library’s success in serving the needs of their communities, they now offer librarians profound opportunities for developing new competencies and skillsets that strengthen their careers. This webinar will highlight various examples of international initiatives that not only expand professional development opportunities for librarians, but also connect them to dynamic and globally-based professional networks.
Title:  Tech Integration Made Easy – Animoto
  • Organization: TeachersFirst
  • Date: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CDT
  • Description: Want to engage your students with instructional video? Learn how to do just that with Animoto. Transform your classroom activities by learning how to use Animoto. Engage students and deepen content area knowledge by instructional videos. Text, audio, and video bring additional context to content area instruction for your students. Use student created videos as formative assessment. Brainstorm with others how you and your students can use Animoto in your classroom. This session is for teachers at ALL technology comfort levels.
Title:  Classroom-Library Coteaching 4 Student Success
  • Organization: edWeb
  • Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
  • DescriptionRise up to meet the co-teaching challenge! Instructional partnerships are pathways to improving students’ learning and educators’ professional practice. Educators who co-plan develop more creative, engaging, and effective instruction. In this interactive webinar, Literacies and Libraries Consultant Judi Moreillon, Ph.D., will provide strategies for:
    • Identifying potential collaborative partners
    • Using electronic tools for collaborative planning
    • Determining the most effective co-teaching approach for the lesson or unit
    • Developing dispositions for successful instructional partnerships
    • And providing evidence of the value and efficacy of classroom-library collaboration
  • Link:
Title:  Transitioning from High School to College or Employment for People with Disabilities
  • Organization: Texas State Library & Archives Commission
  • Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am CDT
  • Description: Are you familiar with transition resources for students with disabilities? Librarians will learn about agencies and organizations that assist young people, their families, and school personnel in important decisions concerning higher education or employment opportunities. Relevant web sites, online guides and articles, and access to print materials will be included. In addition, librarians will learn about topics that relate to and can affect transition, such as independent living, self-determination, mentoring / shadowing, and personal assistance services. 
  • Link:
Title:  Getting to Know Creative Coding Through Games and Apps (CCGA)
  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 @ 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm EDT
  • Description: Would you like to introduce coding to your students in late-middle school to early secondary grades? If you are considering bringing computer science into your classroom – whether you have a few weeks or a full semester to engage students with fun coding – “Creative Coding Through Games and Apps” (CCGA) could be just what you’re looking for! Join Lisa Simmons as she provides an overview of the CCGA curriculum, which introduces programming concepts in a manner that will excite and engage. Best of all – no prior experience is required! The CCGA self-paced, online training tools, lesson plans, and more are publicly available and free!
  • Link:
Title:  Student-Led Game Making and Learning
  • Organization: edWeb
  • Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Explore how teachers can use student-led game-making to enrich learning. Panelists will review the protocols of game-making, types of student-made games that are well suited for schools, what makes games engaging, and how various cross-curricular content areas come alive in games. Participants will be inspired to: create-present-respond- and connect game-making to the curriculum in innovative ways that boost engagement and deepen learning.
Title:  Introduction to Digital Storytelling
  • Organization: TeachersFirst
  • Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm CDT
  • Description: Promote higher level thinking and stimulate multiple intelligences in every content area with Digital Storytelling. Start with the basics and empower your students to soar. Enrich and improve student writing with digital storytelling – giving written stories voice, imagery, and power. Learn to promote higher level thinking while students develop creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills to take narratives to the next level.  In this session, we will begin by exploring ways to improve writing with story development steps and tools; discover tech tools for editing and sharing student drafts; and finally, discuss strategies for collaborative writing. Our digital storytelling guest expert, author, speaker, writer, Jason Ohler, joins us to help you begin your journey into digital storytelling. This session is for teachers at ALL technology comfort levels.
Title:  Principles of Reinforcement for Students with Autism
  • Organization: edWeb
  • Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Teachers face many challenges when working with students with autism. These challenges include learning difficulties and behavioral and social difficulties. Often these challenges impact the student’s overall success within an educational setting. One of the often misused and misunderstood tools that teachers can use is reinforcement. Reinforcement is a critical component to changing a student’s behavior in the classroom. In this webinar Nina Finkler, M.Ed., LDT/C, BCBA will give participants a better understanding of reinforcement, strategies for implementing and using reinforcement in the classroom, and specific ideas of what to use for reinforcement. This webinar will benefit any staff from pre-school to high school, including teachers, assistants, speech therapists, OT, PT and administrators.
  • Link:
Title:  Google Sheets: Project Ideas and Implementation Across Curriculum
  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Saturday, October 29, 2016 @ 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm EDT
  • Description: The idea of “using spreadsheets” usually doesn’t elicit much excitement or anticipation, yet spreadsheets can be extremely versatile tools in your instructional toolbox. From math to science, and everywhere in between, spreadsheets can provide autonomy and engagement for your students – and when you add the convenience, ease-of-use, and collaborative aspect of Google Sheets, you have a true powerhouse. Join Lauren Boucher as she shares implementation and project ideas using Google spreadsheets at all grade levels. You will receive project templates and lesson resources, and will leave with a better understanding of how truly useful spreadsheets can be!
  • Link:
Title:  Fabulous Forms: Amazing Ways to Integrate Google Forms in the Classroom
  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Saturday, October 29, 2016 @ 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm EDT
  • Description: Google Forms is an incredibly versatile, but often overlooked, free tool for both teachers and students. From basic surveys, to exit tickets, to parent or peer feedback, to auto-differentiating quizzes, forms have almost endless potential for collecting, organizing, and assessing information. In this webinar, join Meredith Martin as she takes a look at a variety of ways to use forms in the classroom to streamline your teaching and assess student learning. You’ll leave with a toolkit packed with sample forms you can start using right away.
  • Link: