Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow Day Reading Challenge

Well, we are on day three of being out of school due to cold and snow, so, Mrs. Wells has decided to offer a special Snow Day challenge.

Here are the rules:
1.  Read a book (any book that is your level. It could be from the library at school or your personal collection.)  It can be a book you checked out last week when we were in school as well.
2.  Google or check YouTube for samples of book trailers.   There are some AWESOME ones out there. Book trailers are quick and easy grabbers to a book.  They are like the trailers you see at the movie theater before the actual movie begins.
3.  On your school device, you have a program called MovieMaker.  It is built in.  Play around with it.  It is very easy to use.   Find some pictures, find some video, find some audio.  Look for Creative Commons, like I have mentioned before.   Assemble a movie about the book.  It only needs to be 30 seconds to a minute.   You can do clips and a voice over, you can record yourself talking about the book, whatever you feel is the way to get people excited.
4.  Save the document on your computer and stop in the library when we get back from weather days.  Mrs. Wells will help you transfer it to her.

The library staff will watch the trailers and choose the best one.  The winner will get 2 coffee shoppe coupons. Everyone who submits one gets their name in a drawing for a coffee shoppe coupon.

So... what are you going to read Hamilton?  Mrs. Well is finishing Beautiful Darkness and Insurgent.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pinterest for the Library

So many teachers are starting to use Pinterest to get ideas for the classroom.  I started using it several years ago, when it was in beta, so I know how huge it can be to curate and find ideas.  It got me thinking that maybe using Pinterest could also be a great tool for the library.  I decided to create a Pinterest account for the Library and share the information with the students and teachers at my school.  What a great tool for everyone.

I decided the key was to create boards that were based on our genre selections in the Library as well as tools we could use in the library.  We are adding boards left and right featuring titles, displays and specific genre.

I love using the boards to organize things.  I am hoping our students and teachers also refer to the site to see what we have available.  I am going to spend a large amount of my summer and snow cancellation days building the boards so they are easy to use and meet my needs.  I also made a lot of posters and advertisements to put around the school and let everyone know what we have been doing.  Let's hope we see an influx of people using the tool to help them out.

To check out either of my Pinterest boards, you can go here:  Library  or Personal

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Acceptable Use Policies

My area tech discussion council had quite a lengthy conversation last week about Acceptable Use and Privacy policies and how to handle them with students. We learned that technology is so far ahead of the times that it's hard to keep up, but, we must attempt to keep up. Even attorney's are having trouble deciding how to handle policy for kids.

Here is my thought:  Require teachers to read the terms of use before adding things to the classroom.  Check for the age permitted, check for the regulations and expectations.  Once you have read this, share the information with parents.  Develop a general Web 2.0 tool database with specific notations about the AUP and the regulations.   It could be set up in a table format like this:  (I chose Animoto because we are looking at using it for a project in school)

Name of Tool
AUP Link/ Privacy Link
Age Restriction
Teacher (s) using
13 or over with permission (educational site permits those under 13)
John Doe
I think if teachers are diligent and investigate the policies, they will see some of the programs are really geared for older people. It makes teachers think before they use something.  I am as guilty as others of trying sites, but, I have started reading the terms before kids get online. It is important to think about.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Suffering from Bloggersblock

I am not sure if it really exists, but lately, I have had an absolute huge case of bloggers block.  I have been picking my brain trying to think of things to discuss twice a week and I am finding it a challenge.  Maybe it's because we missed a week of school and I have spent the last week playing catch-up, maybe, I am burned out of technology and need a short sabbatical.  Maybe, I am just plain out of ideas!  I spent the last day looking through my pocket and edshelf.  I have spent some time at a local tech council meeting and I have a few ideas turning in my brain.  So, my plea for all of you who stop by, please be patient.  I am working on a few potential ideas and I promise to get back to you soon.  My resolution this year was to maintain my twice a week post.  I plan to keep doing that because I feel it is a very important part of remaining a connected educator.

Thanks for stopping.  I am going to spend some time this weekend reflecting and I hope to have a decent post for you Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Displays and social media in the library

It has been three long weeks since I have been at school so my brain function is way below the norm.

This post may be short but I thought it would be a good time to talk about our displays and use of social media to share things with our students.   We moved to the genre format three years back, but we found that there were still genre that were not being checked out so we put our heads together and started creating inventive ways to share our genre with the students.  We started developing bulletin board displays in the hallway and making a selection of books available to the students in the media center.  We pulled titles that don't circulate a lot, but would be well loved if they did and voilà, a great way to share with students our selection of the month.

A few months we have gone way overboard.  We joined forces with the Student Council/ Spirit Club and made our theme go along with their spirit week.  We had a Zombie themed October and the Spirit Club had a Zombie war the last week of the month.  Kids tried to turn each other into zombies.  It was awesome!  We even had a few kids show up wearing zombie makeup.  

No matter what we do to share our displays, we rely heavily on several social media platforms to present the information to as many as we can.  We have a twitter account (@hamiltoncommlib) that is linked to our YouTube account and our Facebook account.   We have a Pinterest account as well. I am also working on a Flickr account or Picasa to keep track of all of the images I take.  I feel sharing as much information as I can makes people more aware of what is out there for them. It makes me feel like I am doing something right for our students.   Each week, we make an animoto video with our new releases and put it on our school library blog/website. 

We have some hits and some people check them out.  All in all, I am pleased with the use of social media and how it is helping build PR for the library.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My new years resolutions

I think it was an edutopia article that talked about becoming connected and things every teacher could do to be tech savvy. I felt that article really hit close to home. I work in a small district where few people have embraced our 1:1 program. I think part of the reason is because the coaching side of things isn't present. I decided as I reflected on the last two years of being 1:1, there are a few personal resolutions I need to make to make 1:1 possibly be a success.
1) Data collection/staff technology survey I came across a matrix a school corporation developed based on SAMR (another resolution I need to master) and the tech coaches required all teachers take the survey to find out exactly where they stand on technology. The results were astounding. It helped plan how tech coaches approached teachers. It also led to a lot of discussion with administration about professional development needs, evaluation and funding.
2) Roam the school offering my services. I think part of the improvement in 1:1 can happen if I make myself available to the teachers. Maybe if I stop in rooms and ask them for a needs assessment I can prove to them that I am there to help and that a 1:1 program isn't a bad thing.
3) Keep experimenting with tech tools. I need to spend a little time trying tools to see what can be done with them. Not all tools are good and some teachers may not realize that. They may try something new if there is proof that it's easy and will work for them.
4) Keep blogging. I set a goal last year to blog twice a week. I have managed that well, I think. I am going to keep at it and share my experiences.
I hope my drive and ambition will continue and I can keep my resolutions going.

Friday, January 3, 2014

From the Archives: How I became a connected educator

The term connected educator has been hopping around the edusphere a lot lately.  Teachers of all grade levels, librarians and even professors are jumping on board and becoming connected.   What is it?  What does it look like to be a connected educator? It is what you make it!

Connected educators are open minded about using technology.  They collaborate, build a personal learning network (PLN) and attend conferences regarding tech.  They tweet, use social media, create blogs and do lessons with co-workers.  Connected educators are "CONNECTED" to the world around them through social media and technology; Period.   I am a connected educator, and here is how.

Several years ago, I was scared to tweet.  I was afraid of sounding stupid, looking like a fool and maybe appear unaware of things.  I started my first account and started following a few people a friend of mine recommended. I spent my first month on twitter stalking people.  I occasionally would say something, but not often.  After a bit, I got more daring.  I started attending a chat session. I chose #edchat by a fluke as one of the people I followed was doing it one day and I started joining in.  I felt so rewarded, seeing people in my profession have the same issues, concerns and questions I had.

I began to grow my PLN.  I started following librarians, edtech people, and authors. (I follow authors for book updates, information about what they are thinking and because some of them write the best tweets ever!)  After awhile, I started tweeting about all kinds of things: tools for web 2.0, ideas, book chats with librarians.  I have connected with some fantastic people and I have learned more from them than I will ever learn from a staff development and I am sure someone has learned something from me.

I started implementing tools into my classroom and the library.  I started organizing my thoughts on these products and started sharing the thoughts with others, that is how I started my blog. I started joining different sites that connect teachers and offer webinars and lessons. I have been asked by a few to do webinars and lessons (Due to my schedule, it hasn't worked, but I anticipate some of my lessons popping out into the net someday). I attend edcamps and tech conferences.  I chat with edtech people, and I have learned it's okay to ask questions.  I don't have to know everything.  I just have to make an attempt to try something new.

This school year, I am going to attempt to make some co-workers a little connected by offering Tech Tuesdays each week. I plan to teach twitter, google+, and Facebook.  I hope to show them the power these tools can have with them professionally. I also decided to do mini web lessons (the flipped model) for those who want to attend a Tech Tuesday but aren't available.

Hopefully, my attempts will encourage someone from my school to realize how awesome it is to be Connected.