Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Serendipity on the web!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers. 

When I saw Tara's post about the wonders of connecting across distances with technology, I knew I had to share the fun connection that I made on the web while working on our mock Newbery project last month.  I started to tell the backstory for this project and it got way too long for a slice of life, but I will post it soon.  It's a great recap for me even if no one else ever reads it.  I'm not great at keeping track of how I do things, so this looking back provides great material for me if I do the project next year.  But I digress . . .

 One of the challenges for me as we were winding up the Mock Newbery project and moving to our final discussions was how to help my students better understand the Newbery criteria.  I typed Newbery criteria in a google search and was amazed to find a helpful powerpoint posted to slide share.  One of the slides showed a partial page with a list of questions for two of the criteria.  I longed to have the entire handout with questions for each criteria.  As I looked more closely at the power point, I found  a name and email address.  I briefly described our project, asked if he would be willing to share the entire handout, and sent it off.  That was Sunday evening.  On Monday night, I opened my email to discover an answer to my plea with a copy of the handout.  I copied it and was ready to use it in the classroom the next day!

Wow!  I love it when life or the web or a colleague hands you exactly what you need for the next day's lesson.  I noticed a blog address for the person who had so willingly shared this handout with me.  When I went to his blog, I discovered that he hadn't posted since July.  A quick reading of this post apologized by saying that he would be rather busy over the next little while since he was on the Newbery committee.  It was fun to share with my students how the handout we were using to better understand the Newbery criteria came to us from a person serving on this year's Newbery committee!

My return email on Wednesday thanked him for sharing the handout with us and asked if he would be willing to Skype with my students regarding his experiences on the Newbery committee.  This email was sent on Wednesday before the the ALA convention began that weekend.  I was not surprised that I didn't receive a return response and even thought that this librarian might be tired of my pesky teacher requests.  However . .  . last Friday (less than a week after the ALA), I received a return email that he would be willing to talk with my students regarding his experiences.  Now I just need to learn how to set up a Skype visit!


  1. It's amazing isn't it?! I have learned that my teaching community is on the web, among teachers like the gentleman you connected with who are generous and excited about the profession. So much better than a walk down my hall in search of a teacher interested in helping out! Skyping is really easy....you'll have a blast, and so will your kids.

  2. What a great story! If you don't ask you will never know what may have been. Good for you! The Skyping will be awesome, and hopefully a slice will be in the experience.

  3. Wow! I've enjoyed reading about your Newbery project. This will add a new dimension for you and your students. Good luck with the Skyping...I've never tried it, though my college freshman daughter assures me it is easy and I should.

  4. It sounds like you made much of this experience for your students. We did a Newbery group at lunch for a couple of months, but your coming Skype will be an additional perk for your group too. Thanks for telling about your process. I hope you will share all of it. We're already talking about next year!