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Turning the Page in Minneapolis: Day Two

Editor's Note:  Jennifer Umbarger is the Teacher Librarian at Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham, NC and was the winner of the this year's NCSLMA's "First Time to AASL" Scholarship.  She will be blogging about her experiences as a first time attendee at the only national conference for school librarians.

Today was Librarian Lollapalooza for me!  I had scoped out some of the author autograph sessions, but lucked out as I happened upon many others...some at which they gave out free books!  This lineup of rock stars included Joan Bauer, Roland Smith, Laura Elliott, Pete Hautman and a few more new authors.  I even had my picture taken with Captain America and Darth Maul (my 8 year old son is jealous, and my husband thinks I am at a Star Wars convention).

I started my day off with a good session on assessment recommended by Kelly Brannock (she was familiar with the presenters).  I am eager to try the strategy of video interviews to assess students' learning and get their feedback on the research process in a collaborative project coming up next month.

Due to my paparazzi-mode author hunt, I was a tad late to the next session.  This meant several of the sessions I had listed on my personal agenda in the conference planner app were full.  This was a blessing in disguise, as I was fortunate to hear Tom Angleberger and Nora Baskin talk about "Authors and Autism".  I feel like Tom and I are old friends, after recently seeing him at NCSLMA and having him visit our school last spring.  Of course I missed both of them at their signings :-( Food for thought from these superstars:

Nora: Sympathy or Empathy?  Tolerance or Acceptance?  We shouldn't by sympathizing and merely tolerating those who have differences, but empathizing and accepting...and teaching our students the same!

Tom: His "superpower" is the constant stream of words in his mind.  We should encourage kids with this same superpower to get the words down on paper.  He commented on how he used his "disability" to his advantage when he had writing assignments in school.

Although my school district has not adopted a district-wide research model, I have been working with our teachers and students on the Big 6 method.  The next session I attended provided insight on a new method: the ASE model.  ASE is the "information detective" and the acronym represents both the process (Analyze, Search, Evaluate) and the method by which it was developed (Asking Students about their Experiences).  While the actual process is similar to that of the Big 6, it is an easy to remember, easy to use strategy, according to the presenters.

The final session of the day I attended dealt with a specific example of collaboration that incorporated 21st Century Learning Standards for authentic learning.  Students gained a better understanding of the 20th century by interviewing seniors and creating videos of their findings.

The highlight of the day was by far the author dinner (after a little wining and dining courtesy of ABC-CLIO).  Pat Mora started the evening reading from some of her books and encouraged us to celebrate childhood and bilingual literacy during "El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros.  (Sorry, I haven't figured out how to insert the symbols on pages yet.).  A few thoughts from her that stuck with me:

We cannot have a democracy without literacy.

We have books in our home and we are at home with books.

Andrea Davis Pinkney followed and invited us to all close our eyes for a couple of minutes and focus on what makes us happy.  This is how she starts each day, with 30 minutes of quiet meditation on what makes her happy, before she begins to write.  She discussed the "myth of genius", but that really all we need is "just the pen and the freedom to write anywhere, even on a flip-flop".  Yes, she showed the flip-flop on which she made notes once during her daily swim at the YMCA when she forgot her notebook.    She read from her new book Bird in a Box and shared with us her process for writing the book, which included boxing lessons.

Joan Bauer stole the show.  She was so captivating with her speech and weaved through the tables as she shared the following words of wisdom:

You don't have to wear a cape to be a hero.

Humor is the voice of an overcomer; victims don't laugh.

I help kids find the hero that they have inside.

I was a punk--slouched, head down, but my heart was open and I with my teachers knew that about me.

A great end to the second day of the conference!
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Comments on "Turning the Page in Minneapolis: Day Two"

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Diane Averett - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

So glad you got to see/meet authors. Long ago, I won the first timers award and went to AASL in Birmingham. I definitely understand your feelings of being overwhelmed, but isn't it fun to be with so many others who share your profession? Enjoy every moment! Posted on 10/31/2011 07:58

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