Sadly, I was unable to attend most of the Kansas Library
Conference this year, but I did get to attend the Friday Luncheon. Before and after the luncheon, I heard
numerous friends and colleagues comment on the great breakout sessions they
attended. Driving home yesterday, I
thought about everything that goes into making any conference a success and
there are a few people I would like to thank for their efforts on this
conference and numerous other conferences in the past and hopefully the future.
First, I would like to thank Nancy McFarlin for the job she
performed in soliciting presentations from a busy group of people. Having been in Nancy’s position a couple of
years ago, I know first hand the challenge of encouraging and coaxing school
librarians to share with their peers. I
don’t think it’s a matter of not wanting to share, but rather the feeling of
not having anything valuable to share or maybe even the timidity about
presenting to their peers. As the one
responsible for securing presentations, you have to help some people realize
they have something valuable to share and that they are capable of
sharing. Once she obtained the
presentations, Nancy had the next fun task of scheduling the dates and times
for all those presentations. While this
can be a fun logic puzzle trying to spread out the topics and audience types so
you are not heavy on elementary or technology during a particular session slot,
it is a time consuming task - not one you complete in a single afternoon.
Secondly, I would like to thank George Blume for the hours he
dedicates in securing our vendors for the Exhibitor Area. One would think vendors would be banging on
the door to have time to visit with the folks who purchase their products, but
you have to admit we are a tough crowd.
I know I’ve been guilty of taking freebies from the vendors, but not
giving them the time they desire to talk to me about their product. Somehow though, George manages to convince
several of these vendors to come back year after year in an effort to promote
and sell their products. I don’t know
how many years George has been filling this position, but I do know it’s longer
than I would have survived in that position.
Even though the conference for this year has ended, I know George is
diligently sending out thank you notices and trying to secure commitments from
the vendors to return again next year.
By January, he will be putting together a new contract for a new venue,
figuring the cost of items in an effort to give the vendors the best deal he
can while trying to help the conference make a little money. He will spend time contacting vendors via
email, on the phone and even in person.
He will take on the role of a vendor himself in an effort to get them to
purchase a spot at our next conference. The
day before the conference begins, George will make sure the exhibitor’s hall is
set-up with the correct number of booths, carpet, electrical outlets and any
other requested items from the vendors.
During the conference, he will make sure the vendors are happy and
encourage those of us at the conference to stop in and see the vendors. You know, I don’t even know if George ever
attends any of the sessions himself when he is working with the vendors. When the time comes for the vendors to pack
up, George is on hand to assist any way he can and to provide a warm “Thanks”
to the vendors for their continued support.
Then he starts all over again for the next conference. Of course, George does have a great set of
helping hands in his wife Sheila. Shelia
assists with the tasks to be completed, but more importantly serves as an
anchor and soundboard for George.
Finally, I would like to thank Barb Bahm for her success as the
conference treasurer. Over the past
several years, Barb has handled the financial end of the conference including
registration. Barb assists in making
decisions on the conference expenses keeping the rest of the planning committee
in check when we talk about spending money.
She’s the sensible voice in the background asking if we really need that
added expense or if a more economical solution is available. She also has the joy, actually a headache in
my mind, of receiving and confirming all our registration forms. She works with our school districts when they
send in purchase orders to pay our conference fees and sadly she plays the role
of collection agent when our fees haven’t been paid. She welcomes us at the registration table
during the conference. Like George, I
don’t think she attends many sessions at the conference as she continues to
assist the conference committee with any tasks to be completed. You may have seen Barb setting up table
displays prior to a luncheon, assisting presenters who were having technical
difficulty or collecting our forgotten items so we could retrieve them again
before leaving the conference. Barb’s
role as treasurer will not end for several months after conference as she will
still be writing checks for conference related expenses and balancing the
conference budget - all just in time for the beginning of the next conference
I know there are several others who work hard to plan and
organize the conference each year, but these three individuals really stood out
to me as I worked with them on the planning committee this year. Thank you George, Barb and Nancy for all your
time, commitment and dedication to the members of KASL.
It takes guts to stand in front of an audience of school librarians and tell them you hated books as a child. But that's the way Bruce Hale felt growing up.
"I thought books were boring," he said.
So how did Hale turn out to be a bestselling children's book author with more than 25 published books to his credit? It's there in the title of his keynote speech: "Dream Big: How the Right Books (and Right Librarians) Turned a Reluctant Reader into an Author."
"When I started working on my dream of being an author, I knew it helped to have a home to support that," said Hale, who was raised just outside of Los Angeles. "And for me that was the public library."
Hale, who lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., was the guest speaker Thursday at the Kansas Association of School Librarians statewide conference at the Salina Bicentennial Center.
The conference, which continues today, brought together about 180 elementary, middle and high school librarians from throughout Kansas to attend seminars and workshops dealing with library-oriented subjects ranging from new technology to programming ideas.
"They're given professional development they won't get in their own schools," said Gwen Lehman, president of the Kansas Association of School Librarians. "It's a good opportunity for them to connect with other librarians from around the state, ask questions and see how things work in other districts."
The librarians are joined by members of the Kansas Association for Educational Communications and Technology and the Kansas State Department of Education for the joint conference.
'My best friend was the TV'
Hale writes and illustrates books for young readers that range from picture books to a book series featuring a lizard-like detective called Chet Gecko.
As a small child, Hale said his imagination initially was fed not by books but by television.
"My best friend was the TV," he said.
Hale said that after watching a pirate show, he wanted to be a pirate. That is, until he found he would have to set sail on the ocean and risk seasickness. Then, after watching a western with Clint Eastwood, he decided to be a cowboy.
"But my parents refused to buy me a horse," he said.
Then he saw Kirk Douglas play a dashing gladiator in "Spartacus" and decided the gladiatorial ring was his destiny. When Hale's dad said he might have to fight wild tigers and lions, Hale reconsidered his career path once again.
'Tarzan of the Apes'
Then Hale discovered a book his dad was reading: "Tarzan of the Apes." The classic story of the English nobleman who was raised by apes and became king of the jungle instantly captured Hale's imagination.
"I've said that all it takes to make a reader is the right book at the right time," he said. "The book 'Tarzan' turned me into a reader. Then my dad told me the book was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I never knew a real man wrote that book, I thought it came out of a machine.
"After I found that Burroughs had created 'Tarzan' from his imagination, I decided being an author would be a cool job."
Those great librarians
That led Hale to his nearby public library, which, he said, was an old 1920s building that inside smelled like old leather.
"Those great librarians guided me to other books that had a similar adventurous feel as 'Tarzan,' " he said.
From then on, Hale said, libraries and librarians always have had a significant place in his heart.
"Not only do I still use the library, I travel to a lot of libraries to speak," he said. "Authors and librarians are like best buds, because we support each other's work."
-- Reporter Gary Demuth can be reached at 822-1405 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an instructor, I want to engage
students in the subject of economics, so I must take a more collaborative
approach with the students. The improved technique is to change the class from
a traditional lecture class to an interactive blended learning class through
the experience of absorb, do, and connect.
A blended learning approach combines
face to face classroom methods with computer-mediated activities to form an
integrated instructional approach. In the past, digital materials have served
in a supplementary role, helping to support face to face instruction.
Turning the classroom inside-out into a
blended learning environment entails reorganizing the class structure. The
students absorb the material before class, actively engage the concepts in
class, and then connect the material after the class.
The traditional lecture format in the
classroom now moves outside the classroom to the online environment. In
addition to reading the material, he lectures or content portion can be
recorded by the instructor. This allows students to have the opportunity to
absorb the material prior to class through listening or watching the lecture
Once the pre-work of lecture content
has been completed, the classroom time can be used for activities to engage the
students. The best active learning for
economics is for students to participate in economic experiments. Experiments
necessitate the student to make a decision versus watching a simulation. For
example, using supply/demand scenario, the student must make a decision on how
much he/she would need to be paid to shave their own head (supply) and what the
student would pay to see someone shave their head (demand). With this data, the
instructor can derive a graph of these numbers. By having to make a decision,
the students have actively engaged in learning supply and demand.
After the class, the work again goes
outside where the students must connect the information. This involves
application with discussion questions in an online forum or observation short
answer questions. In the supply/demand example of shaved heads, the students
read the article ““Fake cancer woman starved herself and shaved hair for two
years to con friends and family out of thousands dollars”
and answer questions on observation and decisions. What dollar amount would you
shave your head? Why did you choose that amount? Would you give money to this
woman? Why or why not?
The inside-out classroom gives students
and the instructor an interactive engaging learning environment by changing the
class experience to absorb, do, and connect.
 Richardson, L. (2012, May). Turning your classroom inside
out. NEA Higher Education Advocate,