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Orientation Inspiration 2017

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 12.25.51 PMIn years past, I’ve written about orientation and strategies for opening the school year. Check out Orientation Inspiration (2013) and Orientation Attitude (2016).

This year, I asked folks in my network about their plans on this Padlet and I scanned the blogs I regularly follow.

This year, a couple of very clear trends emerged. Engagement. Gamification.

We’ve come a long way from my old very offline Hollywood Squares approach. And there seem to be a few go-to digital tools to support engagement, discovery and setting a fun and participatory tone for what library (and the librarian) looks like.

Several of the responses were anonymous. One librarian was excited to run across, a program I’ve used at ISTE and SXSW, to use for polling and other interactive opportunities.  Others discussed plans for using Kahoot! games and Pokemon Go scavenger hunts.

Another librarian wrote about an interactive orientation scavenger hunt planned for K-5 students with Seesaw Go!

In Seesaw Go! students will work in teams of two to four to collect the Seesaw emojis posted around your classroom. To collect the emoji, they will scan the Seesaw QR code, listen to the video in Seesaw, talk as a team, and cross the emoji off on their game board.  The QR code videos include information about getting to know their classmates, school and Seesaw.Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 9.23.28 AMScreen Shot 2017-08-15 at 9.18.13 AM

In a Seesaw Blog Ideas post, Alison Murphy shares several examples for using these games right out of the box or follow instructions to personaliz[ing] your own plan:

  1. Seesaw Go! plan for teachers
  2. Seesaw Go! game board to print
  3. Game board image (PNG file) to download and add to your Seesaw class
  4. Emoji QR codes with videos linked and ready to play
  5. (Optional) Plan for creating your own Seesaw Go!
Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 11.20.55 AM
Yet another anonymous response was about an app that was completely new to me. Using GoosechaseEDU scavenger hunt platform for iPhone or Android, you can create a new game or copy and adapt games from templates in the Game Library.  Only one team member needs to have a device. Game developers choose whether participants submit photos, video, text or check-in responses as they compete to earn points.

In a non-gamey, but quietly interactive approach, Kate Zaleski, Library Media Specialist at the Woodland School in Warren, NJ, reports that she plans welcome students with a read aloud of Kate Messner’s How to Read a Story. She will have students

howtoreadastoryfollow the steps from the story: find a book (have an assortment of picture books pre-selected to choose from),  find a reading buddy (you can let them choose or assign, I also have a basket of beanie babies we use as buddies),  find a cozy spot (I have a large carpet, bean bags and cushions), look at the cover, open the book, hold so your buddy can see, sound out words you don’t know and don’t forget to “read” the pictures.   This gives kids a chance to follow the model, interact with classmates, and I can see what books interest them and also get an idea of their reading abilities as I observe.   Re-collect after reading and have students share what they read together.
Julie Hooper shared that this is her third year flipping orientation. For her DIY approach,
We use videos, QR codes, a Google Form and Flubaroo to introduce freshmen to our high school library.  This gets the job done while allowing the students to move around and cooperate. My main problem the first year was getting the teachers to let the students figure it out on their own!

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 11.27.19 AMAndy Plemmons and the Barrow (GA) Elementary faculty and staff are talking with their Barrow Buddies about what inspires them, how they hope they inspire you, and a few special pieces of trivia on this Flipgrid board.  This is so beautiful!  If I were a Barrow parent, or a new student/buddy, I would feel so welcome and would have a far better understanding of this caring school community. Of course, Andy led the welcome with his own gracious introduction.

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 10.52.13 AM

Rachel Grover, librarian at Rocky Run (VA) Middle School, shared her school’s Summer Reading Program Bingo activity.  I think this could easily be adapted as an active orientation ice breaker.
Brian Johnson of Lakeside (AR) Junior High School will be distributing coupons to his faculty:
We have a number of new teachers this year. I will be holding a luncheon early in the year to educate them about what the librarian can do for them. At the event, I will give them a coupon book full of free library services (one free poster print, one free resource curation for a project, one free collaboration, oScreen Shot 2017-08-15 at 11.51.23 AMne free booktalk, etc.) These are all things I do for free anyway, but it should be a great education/advocacy opportunity.
It doesn’t exactly fit my themes, but I like it. On her Professional Thoughts blog, Cathi Jo Nelson shared her very effective, very compact new flier for teachers.



Kristi Adams at Carl Junction High School Media Center created Escape the Library: Nellie’s Revenge, a BreakoutEdu orientation activity for her 9th graders.  Students need to explore library resources, solve problems AND respond to a Lit Fix reading inventory to release the lingering spirit of a poor 19th-century librarian who was crushed by a reference avalanche while dutifully reaching for a book Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 9.52.36 AMfor a student.
My project was inspired by Nikki D Robertson and her “Escape the Library” activity. Because of time limitations, this activity only will direct students to some of the services provided by our library. In my lecture before the Escape activity, I’ll introduce students to the Carl Junction High Media Center site and briefly discuss databases available. However, I plan to create another activity specifically for using our online databases. Does anyone already have a great database activity for high school students?

Speaking of Nikki, don’t miss her inspirational 5 Tips for New School Librarians: And Those Who Aren’t So New.  I’ll be sharing the slideshow with my grad students this fall.

Here’s a little curation of some of these orientation ideas and a few others from years past. Please suggest more in the comments and on this Pearltrees.
Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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