Flipping the classroom

I keep hearing about how everyone is flipping their classroom, and I want in on the action, too! I have already sort of dipped my toe in the flipped pond, so to speak, with my school blog, texts to students, and book trailers on my website, but I haven’t really jumped in all the way. I keep meaning to start, but where does a librarian start? Classroom teachers have it easy because they can just start with that day’s lesson, and voila, there’s your first video. But maybe it’s not so bad being a teacher librarian, because we have more freedom and luckily, access to tons of resources to help us get started.

The easiest way is to just set up a camera and video yourself, or have someone very kind and patient video you. Although it’s hard nowadays to get your hands on a Flip camera (pictured below), you can always use a smartphone or tablet to video with. One idea I had a while back and just can’t seem to accomplish is videoing students demonstrating proper library behavior, like how to check out a book or computer, or where to find a book on the shelf. It would be fun and incredibly simple, but I just never seem to find the time to do it.


There are also services like Camtasia (http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html) that allow you to do screen recordings if you want to create a lesson on how to use the databases or correctly cite a research paper. Camtasia isn’t free, but if you search you can find similar services that are.

Apps that can help you flip your classroom are also becoming a more regular sight. One that received an excellent review in School Library Journal is TouchCast. It’s only available on iPads right now, but it’s chock-full of tools that can help you and your students create professional-quality videos.

And finally, if you’re even less ready than me to get started with a fully flipped experience, there are tools that help you share videos that OTHER people have made. Teachem.com and Huzzaz.com are both free websites that basically allow you to curate collections of videos for your students. They both also feature interactive elements that go along with your videos.

So don’t be like me, go on and get started flipping that classroom (library)! It sounds really fun!


Pardon my ignorance

I was browing Pinterest a couple of days ago, looking through my feed, when I came across a great pin for school librarians that mentioned “passive programming.” I had no idea what that was, so I clicked on the pin, and immediately it hit me– OH, this is the kind of programming I’ve been doing for YEARS, I just had no idea there was an official name for it! Do you all know what passive programming is? Yeah, I’m sure you’re all sitting out there thinking, ‘yes, Kate, we know.’ Ok, well… whoops! But in case you’re not sure what it is, it’s basically whenever we post signs, posters, boxes to be filled with answers, etc. Here are some examples:




I’m kind of obsessed with all of these ideas right now, but then again, I guess I’ve been obsessed for years because it’s been part of my daily practice from my days even at the public library. I just thought I’d share this tidbit with you in case. What is it… the more you know? There you go!

Everyone’s book obsession, The Fault in Our Stars

If you haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green yet, odds are you’re not a teenager or YA librarian. But you’ve probably heard of it by now if you’re any kind of bibliophile because the hype it has been getting is phenominal. It helps that the movie adaption is coming out in June (watch the trailer: http://youtu.be/9ItBvH5J6ss). But listen- the hype is actually TOTALLY WORTH IT! If you’ve read any of John Green’s books before, then you know his style and voice already, and this book stays true to his typical form. The teens are smart and witty, and maybe a little hyper-literate compared to your average teen, but that’s ok because I know plenty of sharp teens who want to read books about other smart teens and won’t settle for schlock. The catch here, which you already know if you’ve read the book or just watched the trailer, is that these teens are dealing with terminal illness. Boom. Is it heart-wrenching? Absolutely! But I felt so refreshed reading this book because at least it feels true to life and it shows that not every YA book has to end tied up in a cute little bow.

If you’re sick of dystopian action triologies (and even I am a little bit, and that’s my favorite genre!), then I implore you to give this book a shot. I don’t care if you’re over 18, I promise it’s a worthwhile read.

Heck, I loved the book so much I painted my library to match it:


If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

I’m also ashamed to admit this, but I only just found out today that Hazel Grace is based off of a real girl:


Sadly, Esther has passed away, but at least her legacy will live on in some way through the book and now the movie.