One of the teachers in my district, Kacie Evans, developed this terrific rubric for Assessing Effectiveness of Student Participation in Online Discussions. For the purposes of posting to the blog, the rubric is in .jpg format, but if you want it in Word or as a pdf, access this site. The links are in the third paragraph.
Google on Monday unveiled a new experimental product called Google News Timeline that displays news and related search results on an interactive timeline. It offers interesting possibilities for exploring stories, especially older ones, that are largely hidden in newspaper and magazine archives. It is also a powerful way to view trends in culture and society or the careers of famous people.
The main page of Google News Timeline displays the top stories divided by columns, with each column representing a day. Users can drag the results left, right, up or down, much as they can with Google Maps, to see different days or to scroll deeper within a day. They can also change the time intervals to weekly, monthly or yearly. One of the interesting features of the main news page is that it includes Time magazine covers, so users can easily scan world events over the years through that prism.
Screen shot of Google News Timeline.
But when it is used for searching, Google News Timeline becomes more interesting. The service includes current stories gathered by Google News, as well as archival news; scanned newspapers, magazines and books; blog posts; sports scores; and media like music and movies. Users can search specific categories, including all news, but also news quotes or news photos, blogs, TV shows and even prizes, like the Nobel. On its a blog post describing the product, Google suggests various interesting searches like “Jack Nicholson movies,” which returns an easily viewable arc of the actor’s career, “Barack Obama quotes,” and “baseball news photos.”
This past week I gave a letter to Governor Sebelius to announce my retirement on June 1, 2009. This is something that my family and I have been contemplating for nearly a year and something I am looking forward to very much.
In Ecclesiastes it says that there is a season for everything, and after 35 years of working in libraries, it is time for a new season for me. I want to turn my time and energy towards helping my aging parents, enjoying my grandchildren and doing some gardening and quilting.
The past 4 1/2 years at the State Library of Kansas have been wonderful, and it has been in part because of all of you...the great people I work with on the SLK Board. You have been open to new ideas and endured many changes, and you have challenged me to learn and think. I'm very proud of the work we have done together, and as a result, I think we have made library service better for Kansans.
Marc Galbraith will be named interim in June, and I hope that the next few weeks can be a time of planning for the future and continued progress. I have no doubt that because of the dedication of all of you, the best days of the State Library of Kansas are still ahead.
The State Library's Annual Report is one of the best examples I have ever seen of an effective public relations tool. It is positive, informative, and attractive.
I am a big believer in the effectiveness of an annual report for school libraries to build administrative support. A few years ago, my Superintendent asked for one, and I admit that I resented the request. However, after I put together the report, I found it was very useful for me to see what areas I was emphasizing and what areas I was neglecting. The report also motivated me to keep better library statistics so that I could more effectively showcase what I was doing. At the very least, I was able to prove that I was, indeed, doing SOMETHING.
Putting together an annual report seems like an overwhelming task, but break it down into little bits by:
1. Start an Annual Report folder and throw pictures, examples of student work, and particularly interesting library events into it as you go through the year.
2. Keep statistics on traffic and circulation in your library. You take it for granted, but most people will be shocked by how much business you do. Your automated circulation system will take care of most of your circulation statistics. It is not necessary to keep track of everybody who comes to your library every day, just keep a tally once a week. Presumably you already have a record of the classes who visit the library and the projects they are working on. Google calendar really helps with this and everybody can see what is going on.
3. Play to your strengths and start small, building each year. The report does not have to be long, just punchy and informative.
As Doug Johnson says, "What gets measured, gets done." Proving to your administration that money spent in your library is going to pay student achievement dividends is well worth the time and effort, and you do not have to develop something as grand as the State Library annual report.
Here are some examples of school library annual reports online.
The State Library of Kansas is proud and eager to share its accomplishments from 2008 and to showcase the many programs and services we bring to community libraries. Originally, the State Library carried books to rural communities by wagon and horseback.
Today the Library delivers much more than just books to community libraries and the citizens of Kansas, and we do it with the convenience of the Internet. Take a look back at 2008.