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By Shannon McClintock Miller, Teacher Librarian, Featured Blogger
My days are filled with connections.
We are a district of approximately 600 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. All of our students, teachers, and administrators are in one building filled with learning, noise, and a whole lot of fun. I connect with the children within the library and throughout our school. These are my favorite connections and I cherish each one of them as we learn, create, and grow together. I also connect with teachers within my building and parents throughout our community.
The students, teachers and I connect with teachers, librarians and classrooms, authors, illustrators, experts, publishers, and others around the world using Skype, Google Hangout, and other digital tools. I connect with educators and librarians within my state and world through phone calls, emails, and social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Diigo, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. We have created an amazing network of teacher librarians, which includes mentorship, collaboration and especially friendship. I love what this has brought to all of us and we are always so welcoming to new friends who join our personal learning networks too.
There are several events and places that I would like to highlight and encourage you to connect with as well. I promise there is something for everyone within these different communities and events.
Twitter is my main place to connect with others so it is only natural that I mention #TLChat first. #TLChat is a 24/7 conversation with teacher librarians all over the world who are sharing what is happening in their libraries, connecting for special projects, sharing celebrations, books, digital tools and technologies, and so much more. By using this hashtag, you are instantly connecting with wonderful teacher librarians and new friends. When you are in #TLChat on the Twitter website, you can even view all of the photos that have been tweeted and shared within #TLChat too. I love looking here because I see the photos and ideas that I might have missed before.
My amazing friend Joyce Valenza wrote Let’s Start #TLChat in April 2013 on her Neverending Search blog on the School Library Journal website. This community and conversation has been growing ever since. From this hashtag, three more communities have started.
TL Virtual Cafe
The first is TL Virtual Cafe. TL Virtual Cafe is a live webinar within Blackboard Collaborate. You can find the link on the wiki and also it is shared via Twitter and Facebook each month. TL Virtual Cafe is the 1st Monday of the month at 8:00pm EST. As this image from the TL Virtual Cafe wiki states….The TL Virtual Cafe is committed to creating conversations about teacher-librarians, educational technology, and collaborative connections to facilitate meaningful and lifelong learning skills.
Back-To-School Special: The Back-To-School Special was the first TL Virtual Cafe event this year. You can check out the archive on the wiki page for this webinar. Gwyneth, Tiffany, and Jennifer did such an incredible job….It was one fun filled hour you must check out. The archive of the September 16th….Back-To-School Follow Up from TLCafe webinar can be found here.
The 2nd Monday of each month at 8:00pm EST is #TLChat…..a high energy hour of wonderful connecting and sharing on Twitter. Each month there is a topic and several teacher librarians contributing to the conversation.
TL News Night
The newest event is TL News Night. It is on the 3rd Monday of each month at 8:00pm EST. TL News Night is held with a Google Hangout that is LIVE. The six TL News Night Anchors are from all grade levels and different parts of the country, which add an interesting and unique perspective to the conversation. On September 23rd, we hosted the very first TL News Night. You can access the archive here. It was so much fun and really nice to recap our month within these communities during TL News Night.
So as you can see, no matter what you are interested in, no matter where you live, no matter what type of librarian you are, there is always a conversation and community just for you. These free professional development opportunities have connected me to other teacher librarians and educators. Even though I am the only teacher librarian at Van Meter School, I am constantly surrounded by colleagues, mentors, and friends.
We can’t wait to have you join us. Please check out the websites I have mentioned for what is coming up in October and reach out to me on Twitter @shannonmmiller or anyone mentioned above if you have questions or need a friend to start with.
Shannon McClintock Miller is the district teacher librarian at Van Meter Community School, Iowa. She encourages her students to have a voice while learning, creating, collaborating, and connecting to others within their school and around the world.
Featured bloggers spotlight education professionals who are friends of ProQuest and Share This mission to provide solutions for lifelong learning. If you would like to be a featured blogger, we would love to hear from you! Contact Christie Riegelhaupt, Supervising Editor, to get started.
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