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2015-16 NCSLMA Action Research Grant recipient Karen Maxon - part 2

Come see Action Research Grant recipient, Karen Maxon at #NCSLMA16 from 3:00-3:50 on Friday in "Terrace 3"

Have your students mastered the art of gathering superficial facts? Are they experts at copying pictures from the Internet and pasting them into a Google Slides presentation? Then, it's time to cultivate their research skills. We did Action Research to determine if growth mindset partnered with the Big6 could engage students in a deeper cognitively demanding depth of knowledge when researching. Come to our session Researcher, Researcher How Does Your Brain Grow? and see how collaboration among teachers and the media specialist grew this concept to an entire grade level last year and planted seeds across all content area curriculum for this year!


2015-16 NCSLMA Action Research Grant recipient Karen Maxon - part 1

Do you ever wonder how to really help students in the research process?  It seems that I am always wrestling with this professional goal.   My most recent grapple has been the 2015-16 NCSLMA Action Research Grant Rugby Raider Researcher, How Does Your Brain Grow.  The grant focuses on using the cognitive demands of the research process as an avenue to help students develop a growth mindset.  My objective is to investigate if applying a growth mindset will increase students’ emotional resilience during the research process.  My hope is that students will show increased persistence and adaptability in the pursuit of information when completing projects that require depth in their learning.

As I mentioned, it is a professional passion of mine that “research” be synonymous with the process of focusing topics, developing questions, seeking, evaluating, and citing credible sources, and synthesizing information into something that is uniquely a student’s own creation.  I fervently want research to mean more to teachers and students than Google searching, copying, and pasting, none of which requires any meaningful engaged “think time” or ownership of synthesizing information.

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Twitter on Thursdays Preview for 9/24/2015

Our first Thursdays on Twitter post will give you some information about the upcoming NCSLMA conference in October. This post will preview the guests we have joining us for the chat, which will be next Thursday, September 24, and resources to make anyone new to Twitter more comfortable participating in the chat. Each time we host a Twitter chat, we will post helpful information about the theme the Thursday before the actual chat.

If you missed our last blog, please go back and get acquainted with your new NCSLMA social media co-chairs, Tavia Clark and Mollee Holloman. We are revamping the way members interact with NCSLMA through our blog and on Twitter. Be sure to follow @NCSLMA on Twitter before our 9/24 chat, and also @Tavia_Clark and @MolleeBranden.

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Top 20 Reasons Why You Should Submit a Proposal to Present at NCSLMA This Year!

The deadline to submit a proposal to present at the 2012 NCSLMA Annual Conference is fast approaching!  For some NC librarians, presenting at least one session at conference is a yearly tradition.  While others have never dreamt of taking the stage in Winston Salem.  That said, whether you're a veteren conference presenter or consider yourself a newbie, there are lots of reasons why you should submit a proposal to present at this year's conference! 

In fact, what started out as a "Top 10" list quickly grew to double that.  This crowd sourced list contains ideas and reflections from librarians from all around our state.  And, take it from them, presenting at conference is GREAT, not only for you, but for our profession and, most of all, our students!

20. You get a nifty “presenter” ribbon for your name badge! - Jennifer LaGarde

19. You will meet like-minded colleagues who share your passion for lifelong learning. - Joanna Gerakios

18. You will find the colleagues and peer participants give you positive feedback and become a part of your extended professional PLC. - Tammy Young

17. A conference is only as good as its sessions and you can help make ours stronger by sharing your ideas and successes! - Deb Christensen

16. You will hone your leadership skills and become better at delivering professional development in your school or district. - Joanna Gerakios

15. Sharing at conference helps you to meet the new SLMC standards - April Dawkins

14. Presenting at conference helps build confidence to perhaps someday present on a national level. - Deb Christensen

13.  It’s fun to present!  You feel great when you are finished!- Jackie Pierson

12.  If you present at conference, you receive free registration! - April Dawkins

11. Where else can you talk to a room full of adults who really understand what it is you do on a daily basis?  Sarah Justice

10.  Your principal and teachers in your learning community will begin to view you as an expert and leader in your field. --Tracy Bell

9. We need to do our best to make sure our position is defined and in a place of importance in our schools. Creating a dialogue with our administrators on the school level about our conference and our involvement can show one more facet of what we do. -Lisa England

8. You will help to inspire others to take what they learned and use it so they can be leaders in their own buildings. - Jennifer Northrup

7. You will be empowered while you inspire others within our profession. Everyone wins! -Tavia Clark

6.  You will learn a great deal about yourself as a teacher, presenter, media specialist, and leader AND you will get some amazing feedback from your colleagues.   - Jessica Moore

5. Shows you are taking leadership in the field. - Anne Akers

4. Impress your principal.  -Anne Akers

3. You'll be expanding, supporting, and extending your PLN sharing what you know and getting feedback and support. -Anne Akers

2. You are showing yourself as a leader in your profession not just for yourself but to your principal, fellow teachers and fellow media specialists. -Celesta Woodard

1.  Sharing Makes Us Better! By sharing what you do, you help strengthen our entire profession which is good for librarians, good for teachers and, most of all, good for kids!  - Jennifer LaGarde

So what are you waiting for??  Submit your proposal today!

Waiting, waiting, waiting…..

Media Specialist, School Librarian, Teacher Librarian, Information Specialist, Cybrarian, Library Guru, or Book Dude….   No matter what you call yourself, call yourself “here!” at the NCSLMA conference in Winston-Salem, October 6-8.  

I'm personally looking forward to the keynote and sessions offered by the amazing Gwyneth Jones, a teacher librarian at Murray Hill Middle School in Laurel, Maryland, a member of the ISTE Board of Directors, a Library Journal 2011 Mover & Shaker, Gale/SLJ New Leader, and the author of the award-winning Daring Librarian blog.  (Think of a super smart “I Love Lucy” on steroids!)  She is an innovator, a techno-whiz kid with fabulous energy, and she always entertains, challenges, and inspires -- I can't wait!   

The Frances Bryant Bradburn Award Distinguished Service Award will be presented this year, on Friday October 7th.  It's not often that this Award is presented and this year's recipient is truly deserving -- I know this will be exciting and hope you can be on hand to congratulate the winner!  Bring your hankies…. this should be a good one.

Need a little advocacy??  Use the power of the force, the technology force, to build your skills in networking and advocacy – Nancy Mangum of the Friday Institute will be your Jedi Master. 

How about “Web 2. Uh Oh! Making the Leap from technoPHOBE to technoFAB!”  a fab pre-conference con-fab presented by two of our state’s leading Jennifers – Jennifer LaGarde and Jennifer Northrup.  I wonder if they’ll mention eReaders or QR codes….?  

For you history buffs and literature lovers, you can’t beat the session on “Coming to America: Exploring Immigration through Children’s and Young Adult Literature” offered by the very smart and charming Maggie Gregor from App State’s Instructional Materials Center.  

And those are just some of the pre-conference offerings!  I can’t wait!

Check out the conference schedule -- there are lots of great learning opportunities for all you 21C school library types, including sessions on the new Information and Technology Essential Standards and the new professional Standards.   Plus, there’s free lunch on Friday.  Be there or be square!  

Are there authors??  Oh yeah!  Ever heard of Gloria Houston?  And what about that Origami Yoda guy (Tom Angleberger)?  They’ll be there.  I will be having lunch with noted author, Frances O'Roark Dowell – how about you?  Almost every one of this year’s authors is from North Carolina and they’ll be autographing books and sharing their inspiration.  Bring your books.  Bring your camera.  Bring your Flipcam!  I can’t wait!  

Poetry performed by Asheville’s amazing Allan Wolf, news from those “DPI people”, and a rock star, LIVE on stage, previewing his latest music video.  Did I mention . . . I can’t wait?!

Excitement, adventure, free stuff, and food!  Authors, books, library t-shirts, books, cool gadgets, and a road trip with friends!  I can’t wait!

Pre-registration closes on September 30th.  At $100 (including lunch on Friday), it's a great deal for high-quality PD (with CEUs)!  This year, the conference is on Friday and a 1/2 day Saturday to make it easier to get away and get smart!  Check out the schedule and start saving your nickels and packing your bags – it’s conference time!

I. Can’t. Wait!

DPI person & Conference Fanatic,
Kelly Brannock

Conference Planning

Never knew conference planning looked like this, did you?
This picture doesn't show it, but I can tell you there will be a lot of great sessions this year! 

Posted by mrsjustice at 5:08 PM

Presenting at NCSLMA Conference--a great opportunity!

Explain the birds and the bees to my daughter...wear a bathing suit...teach a group of 7th graders while my skirt is tucked into my pantyhose...these are all things I would rather do than make a presentation to a group of my peers. But, since I don’t have a daughter (two boys so I’ll leave that talk to my husband), I never wear a bathing suit except at the beach, and I never wear pantyhose, much less a skirt (hello!  I climb under the computer tables all day long to plug in the elusive missing cables)...a few years ago I decided to sign up for a presentation slot at the NCSLMA conference, and I have done it almost every year since. I have attended the NCSLMA conference every year since my first year in the media center. Sometimes, I would have difficultly finding a session to attend because most seemed to be geared towards elementary and middle grades only.  After a few years of complaining to myself about this, I decided that since I was a high school person, maybe I would squash that fear of speaking in front of my peers and sign up for a spot.  At that time, DPI was discussing the idea of requiring Graduation Projects for all schools.  Since our school had required the projects as part of graduation since 2000, I felt like I should impart the knowledge that had made ours such a success.  Would anyone care about this?  Would anyone show up to the presentation?  Did I actually know what I was talking about?  To say I stressed out would be an understatement.  But, thankfully the presentation was a success.  There was an overflow crowd, I ran out of handouts, there were some great questions, and I don’t think anyone walked out. So, for the next few years, I did this same presentation until DPI decided that maybe requiring the projects wasn’t such a good idea (shame on them).  During this time, I also was drafted by NCCAT one time to present on their National Boards support program.  I was more than happy to brag on this since I have taken advantage of it many times as a participant and a mentor.  And last year, I presented once again.  This time I talked about “fun”draising.  We all need more money, don’t we?  And it should be fun! You  might be asking, “What’s the point in this article?”  Well, it’s just a little pep talk for those of you who are on the fence about presenting.  We all are great at something, but might not realize that other people would like to hear about it.  I think we all feel that what we do in our program is probably what everyone else does...but a lot of times that is not true.  Teach us!  Share with us!  And, if it is something that we all do, at least know that some of us feel better about ourselves to know that others do the same thing.  Are you ready to present now?  If this isn’t enough to push you over the edge, maybe you should take into account that a lot of conferences waive your registration fee for presenting.  This was always a nice way to convince my director that I had to go to the conference, and she could pay for food and travel instead!  But, the Call to Present form will be available only a few more days.  So, before July 15th, you need to fill out an application at And finally, my journey to sheer terror has not stopped with my small group presentations.  This year, I am the president-elect of the NCSLMA.  So, during my first presentation to the whole group if I happen to have my skirt tucked into my pantyhose...don’t giggle...too much. 

Posted by mrsjustice at 6:49 AM

NCSLMA Conference Call to Present

The planning has started...speakers have been booked...convention center is getting ready...All we need is you!   The 2011 NCSLMA Conference Call to Present is now available at   The 2011 theme is "Hello...My Name Is"  What's the reasoning behind this?  Well, it's simple. For years we have advocated for our program, but now it's time to advocate for ourselves.  The easiest way to do this is to make sure everyone knows your name and knows what your speciality is!  So, show us some of those specialities!  Are you good at technology? library promotion? reading programs? professional development?  Strut your stuff at the 2011 Conference and let us get to know your name. 

Posted by mrsjustice at 11:38 AM

Allan Wolf to Speak at Toast and Tales Breakfast

Toast and Tales Breakfast on Saturday: Allan Wolf


10) Allan is a past National Sonnet Slam Champion. 
9) Allan can recite hundreds of poems from memory. 
8) Allan did not like school. 
7) Allan has a pet chicken named Atilla the Hen. 
6) Allan has two goldfish named Lewis and Clark. 
5) Allan plays drums with a band called The Dead Poets. 
4) Allan never watches television. (He doesn’t even own one!) 
3) To relax Allan plays guitar or juggles. 
2) Allan dreams of one day living in a house with a secret room. 
1) Allan can ride a skateboard standing on his hands. 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 4:41 PM

Get Motivated with Conference Luncheon Speaker

Friday's Luncheon speaker: Jennifer Pharr Davis
(cost included with pre-registration

Jennifer Pharr Davis, a native of Henderson County, NC, is the author of the book - Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail. The book chronicles her adventures, experiences and challenges during her first Appalachian Trial thru hike just out of college in 2005. In 2008 she became the women's speed record holder by completing the entire length of the 2175-mile Appalachian Trail in just 57 days, 8 hours and 35 minutes. This summer, Jennifer has plans to break the overall speed record on the Appalachian Trail. 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 5:34 PM

Gwyneth Jones, Keynote Speaker for Fall Conference

 Friday's Keynote Speaker will be Gwyneth Jones, The Daring Librarian 

Gwyneth A. Jones, aka The Daring Librarian, is a blogger, a Tweeter, a Plurker, a speaker, a citizen of Nings and a resident of Second Life. Gwyneth is a teacher librarian at Murray Hill Middle School in Laurel, Maryland, a member of the ISTE Board of Directors, and the author of the award winning Daring Librarian blog. The Daring Librarian is a digitally shifted ed tech teaching ninja with a passion for re-mix mash-up production, transliteracy, cutting edge librarianship, graphic design, & being a change agent within in her learning communities both geographically and within the æthernets. Fearlessly daring to take chances, fight the filters, and ignoring the negative naysayers, all for our most important customers – our students. Admittedly, she’s also a goofball & a geek. 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 5:47 PM

Something to Talk About

If you were at the NCSLMA conference last week, you had something to talk about. 

If you weren't there, you missed 2 panel discussions that were frank, forward-focused, ferocious at times, and frightening to some. If you weren't in Winston-Salem, you need to connect with someone who was there* and talk about where our profession is headed.

Whatever your reaction to the panelists' remarks, you have to admit it got us talking about our library lives. It's true that some of the statements were pretty strong, even hard to hear, but I also believe that those assertions were meant to challenge our thinking about our current practice and the future of our profession. 

Book lovers in the audience probably cringed at the pointed remarks about storytime. Hard as it was to hear, there was truth in that statement. Unfortunately, there are some in our field who wield storytime as an easy way to fill the time, simply reading aloud without enriching or connecting the literature to the curriculum beyond the boundaries of the book. Even when our schedules make us feel undervalued and overworked, we HAVE to be promoting reading in all formats, focusing on student learning, and supporting school-wide goals for student achievement. If we're using storytime to merely fill the time, then we're not adding any value with our school library programs. 

If you're like me, books worked their magic and lured me into this profession. But books can no longer be the end-all and be-all of school libraries. If we're too focused on the primacy of the book or if we let our easy love of the book interfere with the teaching of other essential skills and content, then there isn't a very promising future for school libraries. Never mind the future, we're doing today's learners a tremendous disservice. 

So, what should we do about our peers whose best just isn't good enough any more? Does it really matter if the school librarian/teacher librarian/media specialist at another school isn't at the top of their professional game? It matters. I am convinced that we have to elevate the practice of our peers -- their practice shapes the opinions of stakeholders about our profession and more importantly, their students deserve better! Whether we want to believe it or not, we're all in the same boat and we need to start talking and paddling hard in the same direction. 

So, let's keep the discussion going. NCSLMA isn't just the conference. NCSLMA is us, a reflection of our daily work life and a vibrant professional community if we make it so. 

Just sayin' . . . North Carolina, let's give 'em something to talk about.

Kelly Brannock
Past President, NCSLMA 2009-10

*check out the Twitter stream from the conference at #ncslma2010. 

Posted by Ms. Brannock at 5:06 PM

Talking about the NCSLMA Conference

What are conference authors, speakers, and attendees saying about this year's NCSLMA conference?

Lisa Yee
Lisa Yee blogs about her experience at NCSLMA in Winston-Salem in her latest entry at her blog:

Check out the photos of Lisa and Peepy, her muse, along with school librarians Becky Palgi, Beth Obenschain, Evelyn Bussell, and Yvette Davis and authors Cynthia Kadohata and Kirby Larson. You might even find yourself in the pictures from the author luncheon with Lisa on Friday!

Doug Johnson
Doug Johnson just blogged about attending the NCSLMA conference -- he looked at attendance at our conference and others, and then wonders if library conferences are fading away? Here's the URL for his blog:

On Twitter
#ncslma2010 @DebLogan we have to stop advocating for #teacherlibrariansand start advocating for students and who else we serve. - @jenniferlagarde

Media centers have been seen as a respite from testing, but this doesn't help w advocacy or relevance #ncslma2010 - @kellybrannock

Home from #ncslma2010 and fired up. Look for something big soon. - pcaggia

What are you talking about? 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 8:28 PM

Conference Update: What Great Sessions You Have!

Okay, folks, if you haven't looked at the conference program online, go look now! I'll wait.

Well? Aren't those some incredibly, fabulous concurrent sessions happening on Thursday and Friday?

Yes! Those are your smart, creative, forward-thinking colleagues presenting some of those sessions. 

And yes, those are some well-known national school librarians presenting some other sessions. 

And yes, those are some incredible children's and YA authors and illustrators presenting those other sessions!

So you're coming to the conference, right? Great! 

But what about you? No, you didn't pre-register. Well, that's okay, you can still come on Thursday morning and register on-site for the two day conference.

So you can only make one day? Then do it! Take Thursday or Friday off and get in your car and head to Winston for some of the best professional development you'll get! 

Posted by Ms. Dee at 1:40 PM

Conference Update: Guess Who's Autographing?! (And There's Food!)

Have you seen the list of authors that will be signing their books at Thursday's night's reception and autographing session?! There is an author for everyone!

The All Conference Reception and Author Autographing Session is Thursday, November 4th from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

You definitely do not want to miss the opportunity to meet these authors:
And there's food -- lots of food -- planned for the reception! So much food you could make your own "dinner with an author" session while you graze the buffet, enjoy a drink from the cash bar, and get your favorite author to sign his or her latest book!

See you Thursday night!

Posted by Ms. Dee at 1:15 PM