Sunday, January 9, 2011

Internet Safety

Federal law now requires all schools receiving federal funding for internet access must conduct safety classes. Our school PTA had a parent and child Internet Safety night earlier this year. It was followed up with a parent only night.
During the end of January and into February, the classes in grades 4-6 will be learning more about staying safe online. There is more to staying safe than scaring kids. It is really important to remind students why personal information doesn't go out where anyone can see it. But, there is also the need to teach kids what is required according to our district Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) so they can see what their responsibilities are as well. The most important thing students need to understand is at school computers are a privilege, not a right. Like all privileges, misuse or abuse results in losing access to the computers.
We will be using several very good resources for the lessons, including our district AUP, NetSmartz and the FBI internet safety site. The idea will be to keep them safe and smart, not just afraid. Fear is not their friend in staying safe online. Smart use is the friend they need and want.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring Fever

It is getting to be that time of year.  The days are longer. Kids are out later in the evening. Little League and Youth Soccer have started.  Bicycles are dusted off and made ready. There is more school behind us than before us. It is winding down to the last weeks before summer.  This is the time of year that reading takes a big hit. Kids often stop reading for pleasure because there is so much else to do outside. It is sometimes good to take a short break from reading. Let the mind rest and enjoy the natural world around for a little while. Soak up the sun, when it does shine in the Montana springtime. Enjoy the sound of birds and little frogs as they remind us of how life's circles continue through the years. Watch the geese as they return to their nesting grounds. Fly a kite. Walk on the grass as it begins to turn green.  See the little crocus and daffodils poke their way to the sun. Refresh the senses with a new beginning. But, when the evening falls, don't forget to pick up a book every now and then.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nonfiction Reading

With so much emphasis on reading for information, the nonfiction section must be filled with exciting and interesting books.  Everything from ghosts to religions of the world, art to government, cats and dogs to glaciers is covered in the nonficition section.  There are so many subjects, it is hard to find a place for each one in an elementary library.  So, like all librarians, I must be selective.  What interests students today? Drawing books are always a big hit.  So are current biographies.  Animals, whether wild or domestic are always sought after for fun and interesting reading.  But there are more serious subjects.  When 6th graders are studying World War II, they cannot avoid all the history that is contained in that short period of time.  Both the terrible and the exciting stories must be available for them to read.  9/11 has a place as do books about world religions and global economy.
Nonfiction is far reaching.  It is enlightening, delightful, thought-provoking and readable.  Nonfiction is more than just facts.  It is an opening to the world around the reader. Once opened, like a genie, the facts in a book are not easy to ignore.  Open a book with the knowledge that you will never look on the world quite the same way.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More to Learn

There are so many things to teach in the elementary library. Students need to learn to find books of course. But there is so much more.  Students need to know how to find information.  They need to learn to research.  Each student must become more familiar with all the products the school uses.  We have,  the WebCat library catalog, YouTube, TeacherTube, Skype, Oovoo, Google and all of its components, VoiceThread, Wiki, Blogs, and so many more.

These are things the digital generation understands and without question they will use to the fullest extent.  Students will find Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and all other social networking mediums the way to share what they do on a daily basis. Telephones are no longer just on the wall; they are everywhere.

Teaching students to use the library today is not just the difference between nonfiction and fiction.  It is so much more than that.  The library today is the one place all the students use. It must reflect the students today, not those of my generation.  It must reflect the digital world.