December 3, 2013

Mission Impossible, QR Style

I’m on a mission, a secret mission. To avert an international library crisis, I’ve come up with a clever solution to a nagging problem: teaching students to search the library catalog and then find
ON THE SHELVES that which they’ve found in the library catalog.

Image from using Creative Commons:

While introducing this lesson, I play the Mission Impossible theme song and explaining to students their secret mission--should they choose to accept it. I hand to them their secret agent tools and send them off to scavenge the library.

Enter, QR codes. I have students in 3rd and 4th grades complete a series of scavenger hunts. I begin with location hunts: Where is the reference section? Which book in the library has the most words? Find the 398.2 section.

Images from Liberty Lady

Each student utilizes an iPad and a QR paddle. After scanning the QR, students see a “clue.” I then ask them to photograph the relevant section and bring me the “evidence” of their search.

Sound like a TON of effort? Not if you follow these steps:

1. Open the Google Chrome browser

2. In the address bar enter the following:

(To alter the size of the QR code, change the 150x150 in the URL to a number of your choice. The numbers must match to maintain the square shape.)

3. At the end of this URL, enter your clue. For example:

PHOTOGRAPH the Reference Section

4. Press Enter. Your QR code will appear. If you copy it, you can paste the QR into any document.

As the weeks pass, students complete more complicated scavenger hunts using our traditional catalog interface or Destiny Quest. They must then bring me further “evidence” of their find. My goal is to teach students to do this ALL BY THEMSELVES.

Mission Accomplished? I think so.

**For more QR code ideas see my post, “How to Use QR Codes in Your School Library.”

October 7, 2013

I'm done with you

Hello, Reference Section? We're through. Finished. Kaput. I'm DONE with you. 

I tried keeping you and teaching students to use you, to like you. They don't. Sorry, Reference, in this digital world online databases and search engines take the lead. Encyclopedias, I still think you are cool, but you're taking up way too much space. 

Photos by Liberty Lady

The good news? Reference, now you are EVERYWHERE. 
Reference, look at what I did! 

 I printed you out. 
 I made you a QR code.
I placed you on ALL the shelves.

You lucky dog, Reference, your Jurassic print version didn't cause your extinction. Instead, you've evolved into a fabulous format.

August 24, 2013

Check it out . . .

Hooray! I am going to be a guest blogger for Follett in the coming months. Want to learn more about library management and QR codes? Check out my post, "How to Use QR Codes in Your School Library."

June 18, 2013

Pass it on . . .

A friend and colleague invited me to attend the Association of Marquette University Women annual Leadership Luncheon. Being with a group of successful women--whose scholarship and networking efforts have paved the way for four generations of women--was INSPIRATIONAL. 

Bonus? Hearing HarperCollins Children's Books editor Molly O'Neill share her love of children's literature. 

Molly O'Neill

Think the big publishers are all in it for the buck? After hearing Molly, I heartily disagree. Molly ADVOCATES for the reader. Certainly she wants a blockbuster publication, but she looks for the books that help children ask questions and find their place in the world. In no particular order--and paraphrased--here are a few of Molly's comments:

What if someone had not put the right book in her hands as a child?

When selecting books for children, it's important to retain 
honesty and validate how it feels to grow up.

Good children's literature is open ended 
in that it allows children to find answers for themselves.

Children's literature has a core of hope.

What age is your inner reader?

So, I put books in the hands of children. I'm a Gatekeeper. (Okay, trying to shake the "Ghostbusters" images. This might take a moment or two.)

Ahem. Mostly it's an process that has become instinct. I build a relationship with a student, figure him out, and match him to (I pray) the ONE BOOK that changes everything. Sometimes the process is habit. I don't much care for those moments. I'm not proud of them. Don't you think I should be ATTENTIVELY putting the ONE BOOK into her hands? Yeah, me too.

Here's the thing about hearing another passionate Gatekeeper: it jump starts my battery. The end of a school year leaves me with a battered, broken down attitude. Man, I'm tired. It's not that I'm dispassionate, I'm depleted. Thanks to Molly, I am able to get my engine running and store up energy. GALVANIZED.

That's energy I'm going to put into matching the ONE BOOK to each student.

It's a good day, Friends, and I have a dream job.