Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New Media Information Table

Guest post by Rebecca Pfile
Tips developed by training participants
I was invited to host an information table at our community sharing supper at the Endeavor Elementary School.  I took the opportunity to be a media mentor and share some of the training that I received at Growing Wisconsin Readers New Media Training in March.  And it was a blast!  
Most of the info on the info board was taken from and www.joanganzcooneycenter.orgI also used some of the slogans that we brainstormed for the 'wall' during the New Media Training.  Along with the info board, I printed out some info sheets that families could take home and also let them know which apps that I had downloaded for training and now have available for them to preview in the library.  I also let families know that I will be showcasing apps during the summer reading program.
The photo collage below illustrates the library's info table and visitors: 

(Left) This is a grandma and grandson playing the 1, 2, Buckle My Shoe app together. 

(Top) This is me and a student playing the Martha Speaks Word Spinner app.  This app is so much fun and a great tool for vocabulary practice.

(Bottom) Here I am with an eager young man, also playing the Martha Speaks Word Spinner app.  He enjoyed the apps and one-on-one attention so much that he hung out for quite a while and tried out a couple of other apps too.  He really liked the Sago Mini Monsters app and played on that one until his family pried him away so other kids could have a chance. 

Written by:
Becky Pfile, Director

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Repossessing Relevance: 7 Wonders (Part 2 of 2)

Guest post by Elizabeth Timmins

This post is a continuation from Repossessing Relevance: 7 Wonders (Part 1 of 2)

Reach Out & Read Wisconsin
4) I joined the “Reach Out and Read” advisory team in March. The Appleton Public Library is heading up a grant that is working with doctors and clinics to promote reading as part of babies’ well child visits. This is an exciting initiative with many professionals working together toward the same end goal of a literate society. This group reinforces for me that it takes many, many, many committed individuals to create change.

5) In early April, I took a CE webinar called “Persuasion at the Library” presented by Bradley Shipps. Her source for this talk was: She taught us six principles of influence and one of them was “authority”. I am aware that I do serve as an authority (on many things) but this webinar caused me to reflect on how I can use my authority to influence productive re-visioning. I will strive to be a STRONGER and more vocal authority. My vast years of experience can serve me well for this, moving forward.
Image source: Pixabay

6) In late April I listened to the Kathleen Dunn show on WPR called “Positive PersonalNarratives for Better Mental Health” with guest Dr. Jonathan Adler.  .  This show absolutely blew…my…mind. The show explained that all of us are both the main character in and the narrator of our personal stories. The question is, “What story do you tell yourself about yourself?” A person’s mental health, over the course of their lifetime, can be improved or dismantled by the story that is being told! We are in control of our story/stories and the narratives that are healthy for us include stories about communion, agency/change, and redemption.

Here is the part that hurt…my…brain. The LESS we read, the less archetypal stories we will have to choose from to integrate into the story that we are telling ourselves about ourselves. Therefore, reading A GREAT DEAL is very good for the state of our mental health. Promoting reading to ALL of our patrons is promoting mental health. Hurrah!! I had never heard of reading being framed like this before. It is so empowering! (I have instinctively described reading as a “personal soother” but never realized how accurate that was. Whoa!)

Growing Wisconsin Readers brochures
7) The child development class from our high school requested a library visit in mid-May. One tool I distributed was the GROWING WISCONSIN READERS brochure. It so happened that my theme for the presentation was gardening. This handout was fabulous because it describes the stages of learning to read as parallel with the stages of a plant growing. While standing in front of these students I had an “a-ha” moment whereby I realized that this is something that will ALWAYS need to be imparted. We will always need to teach people that reading to children is critical from the age of birth upward AND that there are books that are developmentally appropriate for each developmental stage/age.

Thanks for reading about how I recently participated in a convergence of seven learning opportunities.  These experiences lead me to the point that my (and our) work is still as relevant as ever. Our contributions are needed and important for our world! Keep up the great work!

Written by:
Elizabeth M. Timmins
Library Director & Programmer, Muehl Public Library, Seymour WI
B.A. in Education St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI
M.A. in Education Marian College, Fond du Lac, WI

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Repossessing Relevance: 7 Wonders (Part 1 of 2)

Guest post by Elizabeth Timmins

birthday cake
Image source: Pixabay
I will soon have a pivotal birthday, one that ends in a “0”. You know the one. Where you take stock of where you have been and where you are going because theoretically you are half way through your life’s journey. It is with a happy heart that I realize that I own and cherish the same philosophies, values and missions NOW as I did at my quarter century mark!

This spring, I said “yes” to a series of seven invitations which reaffirmed for me who I am as an educator. I would like to tell you about them with the hope that you, too, can identify with how rich our opportunities are for both self-growth and professional outreach in this amazing field of librarianship.

1) An educator from our high school is working on his Master’s Degree in Reading and decided that our community needed to form a literacy team to orchestrate literacy building projects. He invited me to be a part of this team. We call ourselves “Brain Food”. Our first project was to do World Book Night at the high school. It was a wonderful success. I am thrilled to be included in this intelligent, fun and passionate team that cares about people reading.

2) Sue Abrahamson, our YSS liaison for OWLS, tipped me off to this link: I am good at advocating for libraries and the ideas shared here confirmed that it is the little things I do (such as writing personal thank yous) which make for the BIG impact.

New Media Training participants
New Media Training participants
(Timmins top row, third from left)
3) In March, I was blessed to be a part of the New Media Training in Green Lake sponsored by the DPI. I had huge expectations for this training and I was NOT disappointed! I literally came back from training and told everyone that I now had a new lease on my career.

This training took pains to clarify that the participants were already experts in their field. It was terrific! As children’s librarians, we are well read. We know good books. We know child development. We know finger plays. We know stretches. We know families and how to work with them. We are talented and creative. We know research. We are smart cookies! We are discerning.

iPad apps
Image source: Pixabay
Taking all that into consideration we were encouraged to reach for the next level meaning take your knowledge and experience base and extrapolate it to apps. Oh, my gosh! Alleluia! Yes, I can use apps as another arrow in my quiver. I can assess them. I can role model using them appropriately. And I can be the authority to recommend them. I can be a “go-to” person of what is good and what is better.

And I don’t have to do this alone. I can do this with my colleagues who I met at the training and my colleagues who led the workshop, Anne Hicks and Carissa Christner. I have many goals after this training and slowly but surely I am getting to work on them. I am so happy that I fell in love with the iPad and apps. (I had been very reticent about this technology until I was able to take this class!)

To be continued in an upcoming post.

Elizabeth M. Timmins
Library Director & Programmer, Muehl Public Library, Seymour WI
B.A. in Education St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI
M.A. in Education Marian College, Fond du Lac, WI

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

New Media Sprouts at Lester Public Library in Two Rivers

A parent plays the "Alien Assignment" app with her kids.
A parent plays the "Alien Assignment" app with her kids. 
Guest Post

My journey to incorporating New Media into early literacy programming began at the 2014 Growing Wisconsin Readers Early Literacy Symposium. During the symposium there was much discussion about new media and young children and I began thinking that it was something I wanted to try at my library. Of all the things discussed that day one thing really took root “adults can be afraid of “breaking” technology, can be afraid to look like they don’t know what they are doing with technology and often don’t like it when kids know more about it than they do.” 

While that is not a direct quote it was certainly something that was brought up and described some of my worries. I often think that I can only do programs if I understand than implicitly and quite frankly, it is hard to keep up.

After the Symposium I went to my director and told him I wanted to explore purchasing iPads for our library to use in youth programming.  He said yes and then as luck would have it, a donor came forward with the funds to make it happen. I purchased one.

And then my forward progress stopped, I started to worry again, “How do I maintain multiple iPads? What if a child breaks one? How do I know what to put on them? What if one gets stolen? What if a child takes one and gets into horrible things online while using one? Not all staff at my library thinks we should do it, how do I turn them around?”

A fleet of new iPads at the Lester Public Library.
A fleet of new iPads at the Lester Public Library.
So I put off buying them and decided to wait until the stars aligned just right.

The opportunity to participate in the New Media Training arose and I immediately applied. The stars aligned and it was AMAZING! I discovered that I was not the only one who was letting my fears get the best of me. I came back to the library brimming with ideas and ordered 10 iPads within a week.

I set them up by myself (1 day of work) and have used them in 3 programs so far.

I have used them in a 4k story time, a school-aged math program and a family STEAM night program.

Here is what I discovered:
Math Club participants use the "Curious Ruler" app.
  • Kids were willing to learn with me. In fact I used an engineering app that I couldn’t even solve after the first two puzzles. The kids solved puzzle after puzzle. It didn’t matter.  I just provided the tool and let them go.
  • Using new media can enrich the type of programs I am already doing, it doesn’t need to replace them. 
  • Parents are looking for guidance and suggestions about apps and how to use them with their children and now I have suggestions to give them.
  • Kids still want to do the non-technology parts of the program too.
  • Kids have dirty fingers and iPads don’t melt in front of your eyes because of it.
  • Even though I still have a lot to learn I can learn it as I go.

Finally, I discovered that librarians are amazing and are always willing to share ideas, struggles and solutions so JUMP IN and give it a try!

Post and photos by:
Terry Ehle, Youth Services Coordinator
Lester Public Library

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Webinar Alert: Engaging and Empowering Families of Young Children in the Digital Age

Mark your calendar and register now for an upcoming webinar from Early Childhood Investigations!

Engaging and Empowering Families of Young Children in the Digital Age

Luisa Cotto
Presenter: Luisa M. Cotto, Manager, Communications and Engagement, United Way of Miami-Dade

Date: June 24, 2015 2:00 PM Eastern Time

 “Technology tools offer new opportunities for educators to build relationships, maintain ongoing communications, and exchange information and share online resources with families.” – NAEYC & FRC Joint Position Statement, 2012

As a teacher, I experienced that not every family will come to your classroom to volunteer, not everyone has a computer, and some just simply do not have the time as they work several jobs. Being responsive to families’ needs is a crucial task in building positive and strong relationships. In order to engage your families, you cannot rely on one communication channel, but a variety of them. This ensures equitable access to the resources or communication you provide to families.

In an era where we are used to have information at our fingertips, this session will focus on how to build relationships and have ongoing communication with families using a variety of channels and digital tools. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their current practices and policies within their programs. The session will also provide onepager tutorials and adaptable resources.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Webinar Alert: Screen Use for Children Under 3: Research-Based Guidelines for Screen Sense

Mark your calendar and register now for another webinar from Early Childhood Investigations!

Rachel Barr and Claire Lerner
Rachel Barr, Associate Professor, Georgetown University

Claire Lerner, Director of Strategic Initiatives, ZERO TO THREE
Date: May 13, 2015 2:00 PM Eastern Time

Technology for infants and toddlers? Appalling or appealing? The webinar, presented by the authors of Zero to Three’s report, “Screen Sense: Setting the Record Straight- Research-Based Guidelines for Screen Use for Children Under 3 Years Old” will review the research, dispel myths, and provide new guidance about using or not using interactive technology with the youngest children. The research is clear: Children learn better and more efficiently from play and interaction in the “real,” three-dimensional (3-D) wor1d with parents, caregivers, and peers. The fact is, however, that young children now grow up in a world of technology-screens are everywhere. Not only are they enticing, children see their parents and teachers using screens, so naturally they are drawn to them. Research shows that when parents and other trusted adults make screen use an interactive, shared experience, it can become a tool for learning, and the potential negative effects can be reduced. This webinar will cover guidelines for parents and caregivers of children younger than 3 years on how to use screens in ways that minimize the potential negative effects and maximize learning.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Read On Wisconsin April Ambassador

Heide Piehler shares Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore.
Heide Piehler, Youth Services Librarian at the Shorewood Public Library served as the Read On Wisconsin Ambassador for the month of April.  Ambassadors help promote the monthly Read On Wisconsin titles for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter was prominently featured in the Shorewood preschool story time program.

Read On Wisconsin is literacy program that promotes high-quality books for children and teens throughout our state. Each month features one or more Read On Wisconsin titles for children and teens in five different age-level groups. The Cooperative Children's Book Center, hosts of the program, hope you’ll choose these books as read-alouds or book discussion selections, feature them in displays, or highlight them in other ways as you connect Wisconsin children and teens with books in your library or classroom.
Inspired by the R.O.W. featured book Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore and the song Six Little Ducks, Shorewood Library’s story time preschoolers create their own little ducks with “feathers in the back.”
For more information about Read On Wisconsin or to find out about the Ambassador program, contact Emily McKnight Townsend at the Cooperative Children's Book Center.
Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore, one of the April R.O.W titles, is featured in Shorewood Library’s duck-themed preschool story time.