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Check It Out: September 20, 2017

Your weekly news from the OPS Library Services Staff


Schedules are overdue! Please add yours to the OPS School Libraries notebook or send it to Laura via email and she will upload it for you.

The elementary cycle day calendar for next year is attached above.

Author funds for this year will be $1800 per school per year.

New Teacher Meeting Wednesday October 18th 4:45 in Library Services @ TAC

We now have a current roster for your Omaha Public Library colleagues (see below)

Active Participation - Curriculum Day Follow-Up

One participant in the morning Curriculum Day session on Friday suggested we collect the responses to the questions posed regarding active participation. I collected the responses from the afternoon group.

If you were in the morning group, please take a moment to answer this short response on Active Participation. I will compile all the responses and share the results in next week's newsletter. Thanks!


Elementary Noodle Tools & Inquiry Stuff

We will be presenting information about the elementary inquiry projects at the EILN meeting on October 26th.  We have asked if there can be a "must present by" date and have not heard back as of yet.  We will keep you posted.

Remember, the social studies lessons will be taught toward the end of 2nd quarter and the writing lessons will be taught during 3rd quarter.  The lesson overviews give you two different levels of involvement for librarians.  If you have questions about this, please let Courtney know.

All 5th grade students should be logged into and using NoodleTools starting this year.  If you were not present for curriculum day and need some instruction or would like a refresher on how to use the program, please let Courtney know. 

NoodleTools will be switching over to an Office 365 login process hopefully within the next month.  As we get closer to the date, we will provide you with more information.  Anyone who has a previous NoodleTools account will need to merge their "new" and "old" accounts the first time they login.  We will have more info for you on that as well as we get closer to the switch over date.

Who Ya Gonna Call...or Email?

The fastest way to get your questions answered is to contact the right person!

  • Laura Pietsch (531) 299-9615: Policy, personnel and evaluation, Sherwood grants and building projects
  • Stacy Lickteig (531) 299-9614: Technology, cataloging, copyright, budget and ordering
  • Courtney Pentland (531) 299-9609:  Inquiry, professional library, newsletter Items; Secondary Review Committee; secondary author visits, skype visits
  • McKenzie White (531) 299-9362 Instructional technology , ITL Program

  • Gwen Jackson  Elementary author visits

Technology Training/Support

  • Debra Bordenkecher  531-299-9841: Handles training needs of classified staff (including paraprofessionals)
  • Hardware issues should be handled by your building assigned technologist. If this person is not in the building, call or email the Help Desk 531-299-0300

Maker Movement Grows in K-12, with Librarians Leading the Way, Finds SLJ Survey

These are just a few examples illustrating how maker space learning has become integral to many school librarians’ roles. According to the results of this year’s School Library Journal School Maker Survey, librarians are involved in organizing maker activities in over 90 percent of the schools with maker programs. Library assistants are involved about 12 percent of the time.

There is a ton of great information in the article.  Be sure to click on the link below to learn more.

Podcasts for Adults to Check Out

School Psyched Podcast is hosted by three school psychologists who invite experts to share their insights on a range of topics, including evidence-based social and emotional learning, gifted students, legal considerations, and more-controversial issues, such as racial representation in special education. The episodes are an archive of video chats hosted on YouTube Live. The live video chats will occur on the first and third Sundays of the month, starting in September 2017. The hosts will take questions and comments via YouTube Live, Facebook, and Twitter (#psychedpodcast).

Lavar Burton Reads.  In each episode, host LeVar Burton hand-picks a different piece of short fiction, and reads it to you.  Think Reading Rainbow, but for adults.  Each story is aroudn 30-60 minutes in length.  "Burton is using the podcast format to read short stories from all genres, with a little music and original sound design sprinkled in." --Amy Ratcliffe,

Professional Book Nerds Podcast.  We're not just book nerds. We're professional book nerds! We are staff librarians who work at OverDrive. It's our job to discuss books all day long so we thought, "Why not share the conversation!" Hear about the best books we've read, get recommendations, and learn about the hottest books coming out that we can't wait to dive into AND author interviews.

Own Your Learning

SLJ--Thinking Outside the Bin: Why labeling books by reading level disempowers young readers

In classrooms across the country, reading instruction, assessment, and labeling of material have impacted how people search for and engage with books, sometimes resulting in restricted reading choices—even for independent reading. That, as Betty Carter, professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University, noted in a July 2000 SLJ article, is a “formula for failure.”

What’s wrong with “just right” books?

The move toward leveled or “just right” books stems from research showing that children’s reading comprehension improves when they read texts at—or slightly above—their reading level. What that level is, how it’s determined, and how reading instruction is implemented varies from school to school, district to district, and state to state. Two of the most common methods for leveling books are Lexile and the “A to Z” gradient found in Fountas and Pinnell’s Guided Reading system.

“Research says that students should spend most of their time in ‘just right’ or ‘at their level’ books, but that research does not say to limit students and what they would like to read,” says Pernille Ripp, creator of the Global Read Aloud and author of Passionate Learners: How to Engage and Empower Your Students (Routledge, 2015).

Click on the link below to read the entire article.

Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (402-557-2001).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (402-557-2001).