Laura Luker is the Library Teacher at the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Hadley.
Together they are MSLA Co-Directors for Professional Learning.
Explore this article if you were not able to attend the conference, or to just catch some highlights of events that you were not able to fit into your schedule.
New to this year’s conference were the Ignite Talks that opened for the keynote each morning. Each Ignite Talk was a quick 5-7 minute presentation on something that “ignited” our thinking. It was also a wonderful way to hear about some of the amazing things our members are doing in small bites. We are not exaggerating when we say that the eight brave Ignite Talkers blew us away:
- Liz Phipps-Soeiro asked us how are we going to connect to our community?
- Laura Gardner demonstrated that giving your students choice and voice is as simple as using one tool really well.
- Wendy Garland reminded us that there is a world of possibility when we open a book.
- Fourth grader, Curran Dee showed us that our students want to #bethatKINDofkid and with the right guidance can be.
- Heather Lobenstine changed the culture of copyright in her school by asking her students to take the lead.
- Sam Musher wants everyone to remember that, more than anything else, we are teachers of research first -- read her remarks here.
- Georgina Trebbe introduced the idea of Intertwining at her school as a way to embed information literacy into the school’s culture.
- Finally, Chani Craig demonstrated how the school library can address the social/emotional needs of our students.
One of the highlights was hearing Pernille Ripp’s dinner keynote about how to grow passionate readers in our classrooms and libraries. She, too, is a fan of the work of Donalyn Miller, the book whisperer, and it was wonderful to hear how Pernille has embraced the idea with her students. Pernille is also the founder of the Global Read Aloud project so her session about globally connecting your classroom was full of great ways to connect your students to the world. I am definitely participating in next year’s Global Read Aloud project. She was a passionate speaker who clearly loves her students and loves being a teacher although it’s not always easy to do.
Another highlight of the awards dinner was hearing the passionate speech from Roger Rosen upon acceptance of his School Library Advocate Award. Read his speech here.
Day Two began with more Ignite talks (referenced above) and our final keynote from Kristina Holzweiss, School Library Journal's 2015 School Librarian of the Year. Kristina is the school librarian at Bay Shore Middle School in Long Island, NY. She inspired us with examples from her vibrant middle school program, as well as her involvement with SLIME (Students of Long Island Maker Expo) - a program she founded.
This conference also introduced IdeaLabs - a more informal way for award winners and other library innovators to share best practice in an informal setting that allows for discussion with the presenters. Another innovation this year was workshop length sessions that allowed for presenters and participants to engage in hands on activities. And finally, this was our first year using Sched - an online scheduling tool that also allowed presenters to post slides and other materials.
Explore more photos here and share your favorite conference takeaway in the comments below.