September calls

Sunshine and family time won out over blogging in the past weeks. I kept up with my 15 minutes a day. I read Twitter and Google reader. I thought about many things. I continued to think about building my PLN. Now that school has started again it is time to get back to it.

Last week I spent many hours preparing the library for students and planning for the months ahead. The last of the books returned in June have finally made their way back to their homes and we are ready to begin once more.

Today I saw three groups of students. We talked about how to care for our library and best of all about books. Everyone is excited to get in and pick books out. Students were asking to put holds on the books they had just heard about. I also had a slew of volunteers for this year’s library club. The only thing getting in the way is the new computer program so the library cards can be made.

I love to see the excitement in the kids eyes as they discover a book that speaks to them. That’s just one of the great things about my job. That’s one great reason for continuing to build my PLN.

The Diigo Challenge

I joined Diigo last week. I was looking for a way to store information in a digital way. Previously, I had been writing down interesting sites and information to share with others or use at a later date. Then Sheri recommended Diigo.

I had heard a bit about it before then but had never tried it. So far I am loving it. It is great to save information as I am reading and be able to access it wherever I have an internet connection. As I don’t have my own classroom it will be a great way to access information to use with all of my students or when I am making recommendations to other teachers.

With this week’s challenge I have learned a bit more about the social side of Diigo. I joined four groups (eb challenge, Classroom 2.0, Interactive whiteboards in the classroom and teacher-librarians) and will see how that goes for me.

When school starts once again ( I can wait for that!), I will look into upgrading to the educator version. I think Diigo would be helpful when I am working on inquiry projects with kids.

A potential hurdle for me will be incorporating Diigo into my routine. For my PLN I use Twitter, Tweetdeck and Google Reader and check in with Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family.

Making time is a challenge for everyone. I will have to make more of an effort to practice the 15 minute rule and allow myself to let things go.

Time to get back to it!

Add some internet connection trouble with a trip to the Rocky Mountains and what do you get? Someone who is very far behind in her blogging!

It is time to get back to work.

I left off with Challenge number 5. Time for number 6. Here goes.

I have had an iGoogle page for awhile now but have never thought of using it as an information hub for my professional learning. My page has the usual gadgets for the weather and news feeds as well as art of the day, vegetarian cooking and children’s book of the day. I also love having my Google Reader right there to scan every time I open Safari.

I just added the Twitter gadget. I think that will help to remind me to read Twitter each day and also just to quickly check in with what is going on.

I also use Flipboard on my ipad in this way. I like being able to quickly glance at what is new and read it or mark it to read for later. It just makes things easier. I also feel a sense of accomplishment when I scan what’s new and usually pick up an idea, a book to read (for myself, my daughters or a student) or a blog to follow.

How did I ever live without all of this great stuff?

Using blogs…

When I subscribed to Google reader and started following blogs in November of this year, I hadn’t even heard of a PLN. What I soon discovered was how much I enjoyed following blogs.

The fist blog I subscribed to was French Word a Day by Kristin Espinasse. I loved her idea of building a story or a reflection around a new word or expression and it helped me to use my French in a different way. From this starting point I added many others and am still building. Just finding something you are interested in is a good place to start.

The best tip I have is to take it slowly. Get right in the dirt and plant the seed but give it the time and care that it needs to grow naturally.

Making Time

Making time. We all struggle with this. As educators I think this can be an even greater challenge as we carry our work with us, intentionally or not. Even when there is a break from school I find myself linking things I have read, seen or experienced to something I can use in my teaching. That’s the lifelong learner in me.

I loved the baby steps clip that Sarah included in her post. That is what I have been doing this year without even realizing it. My first baby step was purchasing my own laptop. From there I gained experience with many things such as blogs, Google reader and Twitter. From the blogs I follow I was led to the Blogging Challenge and now the PLN challenge.

I haven’t felt too overwhelmed (except for tonight when I realized that my Google reader had over 400 unread items!) since the steps have been small and daily. I think the key for me is not to think too far ahead. Focus on what can be done now in the time I have. For me, that time is usually when everyone else is asleep and things are organized for the following day.

Another thing that has helped me is the fact that I find all of this learning exciting. Connecting with people around the world. What fun!

The goal I have right now is to read Twitter daily and to comment more often either on Twitter or the blogs that I read.

Catching up with Twitter

Today is the day. I am catching up with challenge #3. Thanks Kathleen for the post about Twitter. I am now following more people and have made some changes to my account. I always struggle with what to say about myself in the profile space. Should the information be about me personally, professionally or a combination of both? What is it I want people to know? I gave it a try and know it will be a work in progress.

Reading Twitter on a daily basis is not something I have done yet. I think it is good advice to make it a priority for the next month to figure out how to comment and better use it as a learning tool. Let’s see how it goes!

Another ending

Another ending. Another beginning.

It is a funny time of year. Students and teachers are excited about the end of another school year but there is also a touch of melancholy in the air. It is a good time to reflect on how I have grown professionally this year and what I hope to do once September rolls around once again.

It is a good time to play with the tools that will help build my PLN. Maybe by the end of the summer I will know more about Nings, Twitter and other web tools that I keep reading about but don’t often have the time to try out.

Summer gives us time to reflect, to play and to restore balance in our lives.

What do I want to learn?

Good question. I started the challenge because I wanted to learn how to build a PLN. I think in some ways I had already begun but didn’t know it.

In the coming weeks I would like to find out more about the best ways to build and maintain my PLN. Reading what other people are writing is something I am already doing but commenting is something I have to work on.

Another thing I want to find out more about is how to use some of the tools like Twitter to connect with people. I have also noticed others commenting about Nings. I don’t know what these are. Wikis are another thing I am still figuring out. How do these help with creating a PLN?

Getting Started

Time to start another blog. This time for building my Personal Learning Network and reflecting on my busy days at school. About six months ago I began a new learning journey. I became the teacher librarian at my school. I also got my own laptop.

Since that time I have started two blogs, created an iGoogle page, learned about Twitter, signed up for Google Reader, worked on inquiry projects with colleagues and their students, learned some of the basics of running the school library, ordered books and have read, read and read!

One of the things that caught my attention was all of the information about building a PLN. Each time I read something I had more questions about what a PLN was and how to go about building one. Our school year is coming to a close and there are many things to do but a teacher challenge appeared. Find out more about and build your PLN. How could I resist?

So here I am after everyone else, including the dog, is in bed creating a new blog and putting off writing report cards.

Bring on the challenges of the month!