Need Your Support: A Personal Story #PPE #coronavirus #fridaymotivation

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St. Luke’s needs these supplies. Can you help?

I usually only post education-related topics here on my blog, but today I need to share a personal story and request for support. A year ago, my wife, Bekah, almost died of influenza-related respiratory failure (ARDS–the complication of pneumonia that is now killing Coronavirus patients). She was put on a life support machine called ECMO that is a step beyond a ventilator. The staff of St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, MO (metro St. Louis) worked tirelessly to save her life, and I cannot express to you enough how amazing the care was there. She was on ECMO for 15 days and in the hospital for a month with round-the-clock support from a team of dedicated doctors, nurses, techs, therapists and more. From the moment we arrived at triage and found out Bekah’s oxygen level was at 38% to the day she walked out of the hospital a month later, I cannot even begin to describe all they did for Bekah, me and our family, but I will share a few memories below to give you a sense of the level of care and concern we received.

Now, the hospital has put out a supply request list that includes home-made masks (pattern included). I am heartbroken that there is not enough PPE to protect these amazing healthcare workers. If you have the means, please consider a donation. They have posted a list of what they need here: St. Luke’s Covid-19 Response.

Pictured below: A photo of me at my wife’s bedside a year ago. I can’t imagine what patients and their loved ones are going through now with isolation protocols. My wife’s chest x-ray at its worst–completely filled with fluid. A photo of my wife & one of the nurses that cared for her from when we went back to visit this January.

A few highlights from our time at St. Luke’s. Most of these notes are from her time in the CVICU, but Bekah also received care from the ER, 6th floor ICU, & Cardiac Step-Down Unit:

  • Before she intubates Bekah, the ICU intensivist promises she will do everything she can for her. It takes hours to get Bekah intubated & stabilized, but she keeps her promise and then works quickly to get the surgeon there when ECMO is Bekah’s last option for survival. At the end of her long shift, she comes and finds me in the waiting room to make one last personal contact before going home and says she will be checking on Bekah’s progress.
  • A nurse asks me to bring in some photos of healthy Bekah to post in her room. She says her care staff wants to see what they are working toward.
  • I hate that I can’t be with Bekah constantly. The staff assures me that I can call anytime day or night for an update from the nurse taking care of her.
  • Without me even having to ask, a nurse finds a radio/CD player for Bekah’s room to help her have comforting background music.
  • I mention that Bekah is addicted to Chapstick, and the nurses promise to keep her lips moist. It’s such a small gesture of comfort but so appreciated.
  • A nurse hears me reading aloud to Bekah from a book and suggests that I record myself reading it, so Bekah can hear my voice even when I can’t be there. It’s a great idea, and I run with it!
  • Seeing Bekah lying motionless, hooked up to so many machines and lines is so difficult. The nurses have assured me that Bekah can hear us, but I am so relieved when one nurse shows me that she will open her eyes when they are doing something to her face.  She’s still “in there.”
  • One of the nurses on the CVICU floor recognizes me. She is one of my former students. It makes me so proud to see her all grown up and working in a profession that she loves.
  • A nurse leaves me a note about a song that made him think of Bekah and me and says to give it a listen if I have a moment. The song is Andy Grammer’s “Don’t Give Up On Me.” It’s perfect. I cry ugly tears as I listen to it that night.
  • A nurse stops me in the hall to hug me and make sure I am taking care of myself because she’s noticed that I am losing weight.
  • After a particularly scary day when Bekah spiked a fever and her blood pressure dropped, I get a call from the surgeon. He seems really positive about her progress. He says her lungs have improved tremendously, and I am feeling so much better after talking to him.
  • As Bekah is weaned from sedation in preparation for being taken off of ECMO, she is stuck lying there unable to move much or even communicate. She looks miserable and terrified. The nurses and doctors are so reassuring to her and to me, telling her calmly what has happened to her and promising me that she won’t remember much of this agonizing time.
  • One particularly hard day for Bekah after she was off of the vent but still feeling so weak and like she would never get to go home, the staff noticed how down she was. A tech came in and removed all unnecessary equipment from the room, telling her that she was doing so well that she wouldn’t need this stuff again.
  • I am there the day Bekah takes her first (PT-assisted) steps out of her room. The whole CVICU staff makes a big production out of it, cheering her on. One of them jogs backward in front of her playing “Eye of the Tiger” on his cell phone. As I watch, I make eye contact with one nurse, whose eyes also have tears in them, like mine.
  • When Bekah is moved to the Step-Down Unit, the nurses create a “Bekah Cheat Sheet” to supplement her chart. #1 on the list is “she’s feisty,” which we’ve been told is a good thing because she doesn’t give up.

These are just snapshots of the amazing care we received from the staff at St. Luke’s in March/April of 2019. My wife and I are so worried about them all now. This coronavirus is so much more contagious and deadly than the flu. We know this must be so stressful for them. Please help them if you can with the supplies the hospital is requesting. Please keep them (and all healthcare workers) in your thoughts. And, please stay home!

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A photo from the St. Luke’s Facebook page.

 

Sharing my #gratitude: #PDBytes presents #Gratitude180 online mini conference

In the summer of 2017, I began a journey toward positivity with a daily gratitude practice. I decided to call this project #Gratitude180 because there are roughly 180 days in a school year, and I believe that you could truly have a 180 degree change in attitude by focusing on the positive. You can read more about my #gratitude180 journey here.

This year as Thanksgiving was approaching, I decided it was the perfect time to reflect upon those people who have truly changed my thinking in an area of education and have made a visible difference in my teaching practice in the last year. So, I reached out to them to record conversations about what I had learned from them and why I was grateful to them.

I am sharing these conversations with you via my YouTube channel PDBytes in the hopes that you might also be inspired by their work, and perhaps you may also take some time to reflect upon the educators who have influenced you and let them know how they’ve helped you.

It is my pleasure to present the #Gratitude180 Online Mini Conference. I hope to release a new video every day this week along with questions to get you thinking about your own #gratitude. Hope you will join me!

Today’s conversation is with Dr. Amy Peach of Lindenwood University. Dr. Peach and I talk about Action Research. Tomorrow’s guest is Carolyn Allen, a librarian who inspired me incorporate Makerspace & STEM activities tied to state-award nominated books into my library. On Wednesday, Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook, will be here to talk about the terrific virtual PD he offers every December called Ditch Summit. Thursday’s conversation will be about Mindfulness in the classroom with Michelle Benedict. And, Friday will wrap up with a conversation about Digital Citizenship with Dr. Kristen Mattson.gratitude180

Are you considering student data & privacy when selecting #edtech tools?

Whenever you sign up to use a new web tool, you are often asked to accept the Terms of Service of that site. If you are like me, you probably just hit “I accept” without reading all of that fine print. As part of the ISTE Certification I am pursuing, I’ve had to consider the implications of this when it comes to choosing web tools to use, especially for use with students. The ISTE Standards for Educators Digital Citizen Standard 3d, asks educators to “model and promote management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy.” I’ve realized that this is a crucial step I was missing when I evaluate edtech tools.

For instance, consider these two coding sites for students: CodeCombat and Code.org. Both have engaging coding activities for students, but when you look closer at their Terms of Service and Privacy Policies, as Common Sense Education did, there are clearly differences.

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It’s helpful to have a resource like Common Sense’s Privacy Evaluations because evaluating privacy policies can be tedious, confusing and time consuming. Yet, it’s up to us an educators to do our due diligence to ensure we are protecting our students online. If you don’t think this a concern, I urge you to consider Barbara Kurshan’s Forbes article,
“The Elephant in the Room With EdTech Data Privacy,” which raises concerns with #edtech giants like GSuiteEdu and PowerSchool.

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In the St. Louis area, one school district that has been a real leader in this area is Mehlville. Last September, Alicia Landers,  Director of Curriculum Technology, shared the work they’ve been doing in the district to protect student privacy at an Education Technology Association of St. Louis meeting. Alicia said, “We take every precaution to protect our students in the physical world; we should also do everything we can to protect them in the virtual world, too.”

When they adopted Google seven years ago, they started considering the data privacy issue. It is Mehlville Board policy that any teacher teaching with internet will teach digital citizenship. Alicia created a cheat sheet checklist for herself for evaluating an app, web tool or site before adopting it for their district. Non-negotiables included collecting and selling data and the inability to access, edit and delete data that has been collected.

_FERPACOPPA Cheat Sheet
They also developed a flowchart for teacher-use only or student-use, but it turned out to be too complicated, so they wanted to streamline the process, but evaluating sites was so time-consuming, that they actually went to an outside source for doing this work, Education Framework. They are a startup that will review apps for you for FERPA & COPPA compliance for a per student price. One really great feature is the “request for improvement” button where it will send an email on behalf of you to contact the company. ABCya actually is now FERPA & COPPA compliant now thanks to this process. In fact, as of September 2017, 27 out of about 100 companies Alicia contacted this way have actually responded and improved their compliance.

When they rolled this out to staff, there were some who mourned the loss of some tools, but teachers ultimately understood that student safety is foremost. Tech staff gave the teaching staff list of approved tools/not approved tools with explanations. Teachers can still use apps that are not on the approved list as long as they are not creating student log ins or sharing personally identifiable information of students. They also created a Google form for teachers to ask for new tools to be approved (usually a 2-day turnaround from Education Framework). They’ve also done work to teach staff about privacy issues and to
provide ideas on how to teach digital citizenship including small, teachable moments.
Mehlville changed their Acceptable Use Policy for students and teachers, with a link to approved apps. Washington, MO schools, where Alicia’s husband works, have also been working with Mehlville in this process. Alicia would love to get with other like-minded folks to continue work in this area including digital citizen ideas. You can connect with her on Twitter @AliciaAjl.

If you liked to know more about protecting student data privacy, Alicia recommends these resources:

https://tech.ed.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Student-Privacy-and-Online-Educational-Services-February-2014.pdf

https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/sites/default/files/resource_document/file/TOS_Guidance_Mar2016.pdf

https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/resources/protecting-student-privacy-while-using-online-educational-services-model-terms-service

https://ferpasherpa.org/educators/

 

 

Hey, #FutureReadyLibs, new #AASLstandards show #makerspace not a fad

Copy of #FutureReadyLibs Take on AASL MakerspaceIf you’ve been in education as long as me (Um…wow…20+ years), you’ve surely seen educational trends come and go and watched the pendulum swing on what are considered educational priorities. So, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some librarians are sitting back and waiting to see if the library makerspace trend is going to go out of style.

For much of my English teaching career (before I became a librarian), reading and writing across the curriculum was all the rage, and my expertise in these areas was appreciated by teachers across the content areas, who were all of the sudden expected to be teachers of reading and writing on top of their own content. Yet, the pendulum has swung in recent years, and now STEM and STEAM are everything. (Those smarties in Art got in on the acronym action early, and now we are left to awkwardly try to slip in an R for reading, to make it STREAM,).

If you aren’t teaching “design thinking” or “novel engineering,” you are behind the times, dear literacy-loving friends. And, while I do believe Humanities will get their due again eventually (at least I hope so– especially given the way modern life seems to resemble more and more those dystopian novels that fly off the shelves in my library), I have to tell you–having taken a deep dive into the new AASL Standards this semester–I truly believe that this new “makerspace mindset” is not just a passing fad.

If you don’t believe me, then just take a look at these competencies from the shared foundation, Explore:

  • V.B.1. Learners construct new knowledge by problem solving through cycles of design, implementation, and reflection.
  • V.B.2. Learners construct new knowledge by persisting through self-directed pursuits by tinkering and making.
  • V.C.3. Learners engage with the learning community by collaboratively identifying innovative solutions to a challenge or problem.
  • V.D.1. Learners develop through experience and reflection by iteratively responding to challenges.

While Explore, with its key commitment to “discover and innovate in a growth mindset developed through experience and reflection,” encompasses more than just making, it is pretty clear that the language in this shared foundation encourages it. According to Chapter 9 of the new standards book, learners benefit from “opportunities to cultivate creative pursuits by making and experimenting with hands-on activities within the library space” (emphasis mine), and they advance “by tackling challenges that build skill through multiple opportunities to engage in problem-solving and critical-thinking processes.”

I’ll admit right now, I have been slow to get on board with incorporating makerspace in my library and not because I think it’s going to go out of style. Because I serve a student population that is behind in reading (75% of our incoming 6th graders read 2-3 grade levels below where they should be), the focus of my middle school library program is always going to be on reading. But, I also realize that if I do not provide opportunities to make and iterate, my high-poverty students may not be exposed to it elsewhere.

This is why an METC STEAM Summer Institute session on makerspace activities tied to state-award nominated picture books I attended last summer was so appealing to me. The idea of tying the makerspace to literacy seemed like the perfect fit. I blogged about that session here, and I set out this school year to figure out how I could take the idea and make it work for my secondary students.

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One of elementary librarian, Carolyn Allen’s terrific ideas that inspired me last summer.

My first thought was to book talk a Truman or Gateway book, read a quick excerpt and then have the students complete a related makerspace activity during their regularly scheduled library visits. Yet, incorporating anything but the simplest, quickest makerspace activities turned out to be hard to manage given the limited time I see secondary students, so I had to get a little more creative and reach out to teaching partners who could collaborate.

As it turns out, our middle school science teachers were looking for enrichment activities for their intervention time, and they were more than willing to have me come in and share about an award book. Then, I could leave, and they took care of the related STEM activity. We were able to incorporate maker activities this way, and it also ended up leading to a broader STEM-Literacy partnership.  For instance, I read an excerpt from Red Queen to 6th grade science students at the start of a unit on blood types, which incorporated inquiry as well as a more traditional lab. The collaboration has me so excited, that I am thinking about reaching out to other departments, like art, social studies and math!

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6th graders learn about real blood types and read about red & silver bloods.

Another idea we have in the works, is putting together some Family STEM-Literacy take-home kits, where we’ll send home two copies of the award book, along with an accompanying nonfiction title, discussion guides and maker activities and materials. We’re writing a grant this month in hopes of funding this idea and our continued partnership!

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I really hope we can fund these kits!

For my high schoolers, I decided to focus on Gina Seymour-inspired “makercare” activities, where the projects were tied to community service. I introduced this through my monthly Teen Library Council lunch meetings, and then students could come in during their free time to participate in making  with the added incentive of getting to go on a field trip to deliver the items we made that were meant for outside the school. Here is a link to the Donor’s Choose project I did to fund the supplies for this idea.

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An easy “makercare” project you can do in school.

 

So, while there are a lot of Future Ready Librarians who are trendier than me and a lot farther along when it comes to their library makerspaces, I hope you find a little inspiration here. Plus, I hope you will join in on these collaborative documents (MASL Makers 2017-2018 & MASL Makers 2018-2019) where we are sharing our maker ideas for the MASL award-nominated books (even if you are not from Missouri!).

 

 

A #FutureReadyLibs take on #DigCit in the new #AASLStandards

At #METC18 (Midwest Education Technology Conference) I was fortunate to attend several sessions with Dr. Kristen Mattson (@DrKMattson), including a 3-hour preconference session, “Digital Citizenship: Moving Beyond Personal Responsibility.” Dr. Mattson, who started the Future Ready Librarians Facebook group, had a book  published recently by ISTE , Digital Citizenship in Action: Empowering Students to Engage in Online Communities. Her sessions really got me thinking about the way we approach digital citizenship with our students, and I decided to see what the new AASL National School Library Standards had to say about the librarian’s role in teaching digital citizenship.

While the phrase “digital citizenship” does not appear by name in the Standards Frameworks, nor is it indexed in the standards book, digital citizenship is definitely a big part of the new school library standards. As is no surprise, the librarian’s role in teaching students to ethically gather and use information is prominent. The key commitment for shared foundation Engage states that learners will “demonstrate safe, legal, and ethical creating and sharing of knowledge products while engaging in a community of practice and an interconnected world.” However, it’s also not surprising that the competencies enumerated in this shared foundation focus much more on the “safe, legal and ethical” use of knowledge (what we traditionally view as digital citizenship) rather than the latter part of the commitment, where we help learners navigate within “a community of practice and an interconnected world.”

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In her book and her presentations, Dr. Mattson argues that our digital citizenship lessons need to move beyond “personal responsibility so that [we] can create opportunities for students to become participatory citizens, actively engaging in multiple levels of community and developing relationships based on mutual trust and understanding with others in these spaces.” Dr. Mattson further states, “As citizens, we have a responsibility to give back to the community and to work toward social justice and equity. Digital citizenship curricula should strive to show students possibilities over problems, opportunities over risks and community successes over personal gain.”

This expanded view of our responsibility in teaching our students to be good digital citizens is reflected in two of the other shared foundations in the standards: Include and Collaborate. Consider some of the following competencies and what we as librarians can do to guide our students:

  • II.A.3. Learners contribute to a balanced perspective when participating in a learning community by describing their understanding of cultural relevancy and placement within the global learning community.
  • II.C.I. Learners exhibit empathy with and tolerance for diverse ideas by engaging in informed conversation and active debate.
  • III.B.1. Learners participate in personal, social, and intellectual networks by using a variety of communication tools and resources.
  • III.D.2. Learners actively participate with others in learning situations by recognizing learning as a social responsibility.

Dr. Mattson believes that we should take a “participatory citizen” approach where equity and social justice are emphasized as we acknowledge student voice in digital spaces, help students understand their roles in digital communities, give them opportunities to participate respectful discourse, show them how to make meaningful connections through networking, and encourage them to make contributions that matter.

According to the Future Ready Librarians Framework, teaching digital citizenship should be part of the instructional partnerships that we build with other educators, and Dr. Mattson suggests that we help our instructional partners add a layer of digital citizenship to lessons they are already doing. For instance, a free speech discussion in Civics class could include consideration of digital speech, or a history lesson could ask students to consider how the sinking of the Titanic would be different if cell phones always existed.

For more practical ideas about teaching digital citizenship, check out Dr. Mattson’s website, view the #METCTV recording of her session, Beyond the Hashtags: What Can Social Media Do for Social Justice, and definitely consider picking up a copy of her book.

 

 

Getting Started with the #AASLstandards for Busy #FutureReadyLibs

Getting started with #AASLstandards for busy #futurereadylibs

Here’s a quick round up of resources available to help you get started with the new AASL Standards as well as an overview of key vocabulary related to the standards.

5 Resources for Getting Started with the Standards:

The standards: Aside from purchasing the book, The Framework for Learners is available for free here. To access all 3 frameworks (Learner, School Librarian & School Library), you can download the app for $12.99, but hurry because Jennisen Lucas said the price is increasing to $19.99 on February 15. One nice thing about the app is it allows you to create a profile where you can take notes.

The AASL Standards website: More resources are being added weekly to http://standards.aasl.org, including Where do I start?, How to Read the Standards, discussion forums, one pagers for admins, teachers & parents, and more.

Twitter chats: @AASL is hosting Twitter chats about the standards. Don’t worry if you missed the first one because they are being archived. Here is the Archive of Jan. 25th Chat. The next chat (Wednesday, Feb. 7 6pm CST. #AASLstandards) is for supervisors, but all school librarians are welcome, and most of the questions seem applicable to all.

Webinars: There have already been several webinars. I recommend Wyoming State Library’s webinar series, where AASL Affiliate Jennisen Lucas gives an overview of the standards, and then goes in depth with the shared foundations, starting with “Inquire,” where she walks us through deconstructing the competencies across grade levels.

#NotatAASL LiveBinders: Curated resources from #AASL17 and #NOTATAASL hashtags before, during and after the National Conference for the American Association of School Librarians, Nov. 8-11, 2017, Phoenix AZ include a section with AASL Standards Resources.

5 Key AASL Standards Vocabulary Terms:

Shared Foundations: the six core educational concepts that anchor the standards are I. Inquire, II. Include, III. Collaborate, IV. Curate, V. Explore and VI. Engage.

Key Commitments: Each of the shared foundations has a brief description called a key commitment located along the top of the standards. For example, the key commitment for Engage is “Demonstrate safe, legal and ethical creating and sharing of knowledge products independently while engaging in a community of practice and an interconnected world.”

Domains: The knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to enact the standards are developed in the learning categories of A. Think, B. Create, C. Share and DGrow.

Competencies:  The measurable statements within the standards for learners and librarians are the competencies. For instance, learner competency IV.B.4. states that “Learners gather information appropriate to the task by organizing information by priority, topic or other systematic scheme.” We label it IV.B.4 because it is the fourth competency for learners listed under the Shared Foundation of IV. Curate in the Domain B. Create.

Alignments: For school libraries, the competencies are called alignments.