Author Archives: Library_Jim

Speaking to Future Librarians

Sorry, somehow I let last month slip by without a post.  I had a good one too, so here I am to rectify that.

I received my librarian degree from UGA.  They don’t call it that, but you know what I mean.  They do half of their classes face to face and half of them virtually.  I forget the name of their online class software.  Wimba?  Blackboard?  Something like that.

I was invited by Dr. Greg Clinton to speak to one of his first-semester classes earlier this fall and it was an interesting experience.  I don’t think I’ve ever talked at length online before and it was strange not being able to see your audience.  But it was a great class and they had some good questions.  I’ll post the questions and short versions of my answers here and you can add any further advice in the comments.  I have a feeling they’ll be checking this site out.

What was your teaching experience prior to being a Media Specialist?

Mostly I was a support teacher: ESOL, EIP Reading and Math, Gifted, that kind of thing.  The most important thing I learned from that experience that has helped me in this job is remembering to BE FLEXIBLE.

What’s the best and worst thing about being a Media Specialist?

The best thing is the relationships. You get to help all the students, teachers and even parents and other community members.  Each day is new, different and exciting.  I guess the worst thing is not being able to have every thing for every one.  It’d be nice to be able to please every person and fulfilling every request.  The biggest challenge is last minute things tossed in your lap and the frustration of knowing it could have been better if you’d known what someone needed earlier.

Would you go back to the classroom?

I suppose I would go back to more regular teaching if something horrible happened and they got rid of the Media Specialist position, but I have no plans to ever leave this job as long as they’ll have me.  I love reading, technology, and helping people find just the right information they’re looking for.  It is an honor to do this job, truly.

So there you have a shortened version.  What would you add?

A Renaissance of Reading Just for You

Here are some of my favorite links since last I dropped in on you.

I see that Google has opened up registration again for their Power Searching with Google class.  Totally worth it.

Here’s three searching tips from the teacher, Google’s own Dan Russell.

Did you see that the new Kindles are out?  And that the basic Kindle is now only $69?!  More of our students and teachers will be getting them soon.  This article discusses the changes Amazon is bringing to reading, calling it Amazon’s Renaissance of Reading.

Although, points out YA author John Green, Amazon seems to be perpetuating the myth that the only person involved in the creation of books is the author in this post, On Self-Publishing and Amazon.

Oh, and be skeptical of those Amazon reviewers.

Which makes some people come up with new ways to “read” the Amazon reviews.

And finally, you probably heard about Judy Blume’s cancer, but have you read this great article from the Atlantic, Judy Blume Still Has Lots to Teach Us?  Well you should.  It’s great.

Jim Randolph
Partee Elementary
Snellville, GA

A Roundup of Space-Related Links

I’m sure you have more than enough Olympics news and links to last you through the month, but there has also been an amazing amount of space-related news these past few weeks.  The 43rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.  The Mars Curiosity Rover landing.  Now the Perseid meteor shower this weekend.  Some news about our old friend Voyager leaving the solar system.

I’ve been reading Brian Floca’s Moonshot to my kids.  It’s a GA Picture Book nominee and ties in well with all this news.  Plus it’s a perfect read aloud for any age level.  Even the teachers who have stuck around to listen find it interesting.  Here’s a link to Brian Floca’s website.

A few years ago (on the 40th anniversary of the Apolo 11 landing) this mind-blowing site was created:  It’s a recreation of the entire mission from launch to landing with real audio, photos, videos and other goodies.

NASA’s site is, of course, the perfect place to catch up on what’s been going on with Curiosity and to go back and watch highlights from their video gallery.  Exciting stuff!

And if you are not familiar with him yet, you need to introduce yourself to the link-happy Larry Ferlazzo, a high school ELL teacher in California who seemingly spends 30 hours a day collecting and sharing the best links on, well, anything and everything including the best sites to learn more about the Mars Rover Curiosity.

Now I gotta go get ready to stay up tonight for the Perseid show

Jim Randolph

Partee Elementay

Snellville, GA

Power Searching with Google

Dan Russell has a very cool title: Senior Research Scientist, Google Inc.

He’s also a clear-spoken and affable guide to the ins and outs of really searching with Google.

If you want to sharpen your Google-searching skills there’s a short, free course going on right now over here:

I admit, I use Google enough that I didn’t learn too much from the first two classes.  But I did learn a few tings and found the course design well done (which has given me some ideas for future online learning I may do with students and teachers).

The third class gets into more advanced stuff and I did learn more there.  I happily got an A on my midtem this morning.

Apparently if you take the midterm and final you will get a certificate emailed to you so you can show off your new found skills.

Here’s a news article from Mashable on the course:

Go for it!  And share the course with other students and educators you think may benefit.


Jim Randolph

Partee Elementary

Snellville, GA

May Links

It has been a crazed month.  My calendar poked me this morning and let me know that today is my GLMA posting day and I got nothing.  So I’m going to take the time-honored blogger escape hatch and share some of my favorite links from the past month.

The ALA has released their list of the most challenged books in 2011.  The thing that caught my eye under the Hunger Games entry was the “satanic/occult references.”  Huh?  I don’t remember those.

RIF has a funky new look (via Boing Boing). I like it.

Reading books can make you a better person.  We’re just sure of it. But it’s always nice to hear specifics.  How Homer P. Figg Made Me a Better Person.

The Nerdy Book Club (blog title envy!) has a great post on Top 5 Reasons to Let Kids Choose Their Own Books.

I know you’ve probably already seen these posters, but I just wanted to put them here just in case to share the awesome.

Congrats to Dr. Shaq.

And, finally, this was the month that saw the passing of a children’s lit. giant.  Or Wild Thing.  There were many words written, but Fuse #8 has the best collection of them.

Have a great last few days of school everyone!

Jim Randolph

Partee Elementary

Snellville, GA