Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mid-year Reflections from a Media Specialist


     What a journey this first semester has been both in and out of the media center.  I presented at my first conference and wrote my first magazine article. Both were huge steps out of my comfort zone. However, take note to the word that I used - first. I really enjoyed doing both, so I hope that I have the opportunity to continue to share with others through conferences and writing. If everything goes according to plan my article will be in the April 2016 issue of the School Library Connection.
It will be nice to see it in print.
       In the past several months I have discovered the PLNs of Twitter and have really enjoyed learning from people across the nation. If you have never tried Twitter you should. Start small and follow the chats that interest you. Then jump in and tweet a response to a question or ask a question.  It is really addicting. Trust me you will find so many inspiring people to follow and ideas to use in your educational setting.


      I have created a new program this year in the media center, implemented stations for my 3rd-5th graders, collaborated with classroom teachers and the art teacher. I am also planning to collaborate with the music teacher in the near future. Collaboration is my focus this year in the media center.
      This year I wanted to get my parents involved and start to help them feel welcomed in the media center. So I created a program called "Afternoon Family Reading Fun" for PreK-2nd Grade Parents and Students. We are having three sessions this year where the parents and students come in after school and I read books centered around a favorite character. Then they move around the media center to different literacy stations. The stations are comprehension centered and range from puppet making to writing your own version of the story.  Our first event featuring Pete the Cat was a success and I am looking forward to the next one in January.
     I am continuing my collaboration efforts with classroom teachers. It is hard being in a semi-fixed schedule to truly collaborate.  I spend some time in the afternoons discovering what they are doing in the classroom and then focus my lessons around that topic. I have been able to continue lessons outside of normal media time with some grade levels. Doing more of this team teaching is a goal of mine for the rest of the school year.
      This year I am  collaborating with the art teacher and music teacher more.  The art teacher and I worked on a Tall Tale Booklet together. I did the lesson on Tall Tales and she helped them create the scenery in the book.  The music teacher and I plan on working together on a stop motion animation later this year.
        I set up stations around the media center for my 3rd-5th graders this year also. It has been fun to watch them independently use the skills they have learned throughout the years. I have created an Hour of Code, Wonderopolis, Animation, Book Review, and Debate Station just to name a few. The students seem to be in engaged and interested during each station.
      Parents, students, and teachers all working together is what it takes to help our youngest citizens learn to be productive in an everchanging 21st Century world. I am really looking forward to seeing what the second half of 2015-2016 has in store for my library.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Planning stages of our Second Reading Afternoon Session

Our first event went so well that parents are already asking when the next one was going to be. It was wonderful to see the parents and students enjoying time together focused around reading activities.  I am happily busy planning our next event for Jan. Here is the flyer that I will be sending home with parents at the beginning of January.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

App Smashing: Blog 2 The App Smashing Project

       "The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men," would be the best way to describe the way this app smashing project went. It was a good thing though because I think the final outcome will be a project that all teachers will feel comfortable with using in their classroom. My original idea was a little bit too complicated which I will go into detail about a little later in this blog. 

       My instructional segment plans posted on a my first App Smashing Blog stayed almost the same except for the following: I have updated these parts to match the final project.

Here are the apps and websites I used for this project:
Blendspace - to create the final presentation
Google Drive - to share the presentation with my teachers
Jing - to record the demonstration of the website.
Today's Meet - the site I was demonstrating in my presentation.

Instructional objectives
         Teachers will be able to follow the steps in this module to create and start a Today's Meet discussion with their students.
  Assessment strategies and tools
       Teachers will print the transcript of the Today's Meet conversation to turn in for credit for completing this module.
My original idea was to teach teachers how to create a Thinglink with their students. While I plan on still doing this, I realized that this one might be better in a face to face instructional class. One of the reasons I switched ideas was because the program I was using, Jing, only allows you to record for 5 minutes. The Thinglink tutorial was going to last longer than 5 minutes. It was also way too involved than I had expected which worried me. I was afraid that some teachers might get lost in an online module. I wanted to create a module that all teachers with varying technology skills would feel comfortable using and Thinglink wasn't fitting that category. That is when I remembered Today's Meet. I have been wanting to share this with them and this would be a great chance to do so.  I also wanted to use more than just Jing and Google Drive to create this app smash project. I decided to explore the blogs of my fellow classmates and became inspired to try my hand at creating a Blendspace. I used Sketchpad 3.7 to create this flow chart of the process behind my app smash project.

              I love using Jing, it is now my favorite screen cast tool.  It allows me to record and upload to my website or post as a link in a Google Doc.  Blendspace was a new tool for me. I love how you can upload from almost any site on the web or just type your own message into one of the spaces. The only thing I noticed about Blendspace is that websites did have a hard time uploading.  This tool allows you to combine as many apps as you want. I can see myself using this tool in the future to make like a "Symbaloo type" of instructional videos for teachers.
              One of the differences between this project and the single app projects is that you can use more creativity. You also have more freedom to change apps due to the fact that some apps or sites are better than others at getting the message you are portraying across.  A project with multiple apps also can spark interests in teachers and in turn help them start using these different apps in the classroom once they see it demonstrated. 
            One of the decisions that I feel the best about is keeping my focus on the teachers I am trying to reach. I could have pushed through the Thinglink tutorial and created several different Jing videos to finish it. However I know my teachers and this wouldn't be something that they would have felt comfortable doing only through an online module. My whole point in doing these modules and training is to help them. The Thinglink tutorial wasn't going to do that. It would have been confusing the way I would have had to do it. That is why I decided to pick a site/tool that would benefit both the teachers and the students. 
            I am going to be adding this Blendspace tutorial to our school's shared Google Folder entitled "Online Technology Development Modules/Instructions" and sharing it via email with the staff. 

     Here is my final project: Click below or here to see it. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Flipped Instruction/TEDEd Lessons

Flipped Instruction with Students    

       When I examined the TedEd website I went in with a school media specialist mindset. As with anything I do I ask myself, "How can I use this with my students/teachers?" So I decided to do a search for Tall Tales since that is what I am doing with my 2nd grade students right now.  Only one came up with that search. It was called "Overcoming Obstacles" by Steven Claunch. While that lesson was a great lesson and I will use it when discussing how characters show perseverance, it wasn't what I had in mind. So I decided to create my own lesson that I could use this week with my second graders.                
         My lesson will not be a "true" flipped lesson since it will still take place during the instructional part of the day, however it is an excellent way to engage the students and help them understand the material by giving them a visual of a character and how he is portrayed digitally.  My lesson is called,  "Tall Tales and their Extraordinary Characters."  I will post about the how this lesson goes later this week. I am looking forward to trying something new with my students.

Flipped Professional Development

         Flipped Instruction is the new face of professional development at my school this year. Up to this point I have only used Jing as a tool. Now with the discovery of TEDEd I have another format to use.  I had heard about it before, however I had never took time to look at the site. I love this site and will be using it in the future with my lessons.  TEDEd is another wonderful way for me to create these flipped lessons for my teachers and use the question features as a way to get possible feedback about each lesson.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

App Smashing: Design Stage

                 This year I decided to implement a flipped classroom approach to professional development for the teachers at my school. So far I have created videos on how to put a book on hold and a review of the Big 6.  My principal has really liked this concept due to the amount of information she has had to share lately at staff meetings. I present the information and then if they need my assistance or want to go deeper they come and see me.  There are some things that I still need to meet with them on but some I can do through modules. 
                  For this app smashing project I plan on having the teachers as my audience once more. I want to show them how to use some of the sites I have found that could implement in their classroom with their students.  The instruction is important for the teachers because they are expected to implement technology into their instruction. I want to show them a more hands-on approach with the students.  I am thinking about using Jing to demonstrate how to make a Thinglink with the students and then upload it into a Google Doc or as a Teacher Tube Video for the teachers.  By uploading it to Google Docs or Teacher Tube they can reference back to it as many times as they like. I think that learning at their own pace is beneficial to the teachers because in a PD after school some teachers have questions but don't want to ask because they are tired and just want to go home or back to their classroom, this way they can feel free to ask questions or stop the lesson and try something out and take as long as they need. 
               I hope that this will help them see that they can do this in the classroom and it would give their students another way to show what they have learned. 
      Instructional Planning of App Smashing Project
Audience, setting, and purpose for instruction

          I am doing this video for the instructional staff at my school that includes 2 administrators, 1 lead teacher, 37 teachers, and 10 teacher assistants. I want to provide them with strategies and different technology tools to use with their students.

Needs of the learners

As with any staff there is a broad range of technology skills and comfort level. We are a PreK-5th grade school with two self contained classrooms. So I need to keep that in mind and help them see how they can help modify it for any level.

For this module I will only need my computer. The programs I will be using are all on the computer. As I continue to add more I will need a video recording device to video me demonstrating some ideas like Draw my Life. The learners will need their computers or devices that they can access Teachertube or their Google Docs. The Thinglink application can be used across the curriculum.

         Teachers are expected to include technology in their lessons. It is my job to help give teachers the tools that they need to integrate. These tools or websites that I plan on sharing with them are easily integrated into any lesson.  

Instructional objectives
        Teachers will be able to follow the steps in this module to create a Thinglink with their students.

 Assessment strategies and tools
     Teachers will post the link to their Thinglink on a Google Doc in order to get credit for this module.
 Learning standards, competencies, or professional benchmarks.
    Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments
         a.  Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity
     Standard IV:  d.  Teachers integrate and utilize technology in their instruction.  Teachers know when and how to use technology to maximize student learning. Teachers help students use technology to learn content, think critically, solve problems, discern reliability, use information, communicate, innovate, and collaborate.

Depending on the activity, an agenda or timeline of teaching and learning activities.

  I will be posting several modules to our shared Google Folder so that teachers can view on their own.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Making the Connection: Inviting Parents to the Media Center

            Making the connection with parents is important part of the media specialist job. The natural assumption is yes, the media specialist supports reading. However it is important to be an active supporter and involve parents in creating a lifelong passion for reading.
           Today was the beginning of this mission for me.  We had our "Pete the Cat" Afternoon Reading Session today. I started off discussing websites for parents that provided strategies that they could use at home.  Then we introduced the book and I read and sang the story with the students help. I had so much fun. I was in full character, something I don't get to do on a regular basis with my classes due to time restraints.

 After reading the stories with the students I explained the stations to the students and the strategy behind the station to the parents. Then I had the students find their parents and pick a station to begin. 
             We had puppet making as our retell station. Watching the students and their parents connect as they created their Pete the Cat puppet was worth the entire session.  The students sang the story to the parents as they finished their puppets. This was by far the favorite of the group.                 
           Our next station was the sequencing station. This station worked on several skills in one, which included retell, beginning-middle-end, and sequencing the events of a story. They used story cards to glue them in order. This station can easily be duplicated by them just drawing or painting the events of the story at home. 
          The last station was a writing activity. They all were able to create a page in the book called, "We love our Shoes". This book will be in the media center for them to see when they visit.  This station also had a prediction part, where they had to predict what would happen if Pete stepped in grass, oranges, blackberries, or mustard seeds. 
             As the parents were leaving they thanked me for hosting this event and asked me when I was doing it again. I gladly told them that I was in the planning process of becoming the Pigeon from Mo Willems books. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Digital Storytelling with 4th Grade

        I love when I am able to use what I am learning in my Graduate classes with my students. When I was looking over the sample of digital stories I saw one that made me stop and say that would be perfect. It was a Digital Story about Texas. The fourth graders at my school are studying the state symbols and geography of North Carolina. I thought what better way to integrate myself into their curriculum. So we spent the last two weeks of media and one week in their flex lab time to create these projects. I am proud of the work that they did so I wanted to share them with you. I learned more about Voice Thread through this project.  When we finished it was 8 minutes long. I was afraid that would be too long for people. So I used the copy feature on Voice Thread and copied the Voice Thread and then created two digital stories by deleting the duplicate sides. I have posted it to the web page so that our students' parents can see what they are doing in media.

Here are the two Digital Stories. (It was only after I created this that I found out how to take my picture off as the speaker.)

App Smashing: The Beginning

        As I watched the videos and read the articles my techie brain went into overdrive and a single thought went through my head, "So many apps so little time." I could do so much with these. The students could have so much fun.  This project is going to be FUN!!!!  I have played around with some of the apps and I really look forward to exploring more.  I decided to create a video using Jing. Jing is really easy to use and share. I had used screen cast tools before but Jing has more features. One of the features that I thought was very useful is the image capture feature. This feature allows you to not only capture the image but also annotate as well. (See the example below.)

      Thinking ahead toward the App Smashing Project I decided to play around with two ideas. The first idea is offering a refresher video on how to put a book on hold using Destiny.  I created this video using Jing and then shared it in a folder in Google Drive so they will have access to it whenever they need it. I am also considering placing it on our web page under a "Instructional Videos for Teachers." Here is the first video that I did for the teachers.

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

       The next video I am going to make is a video to demonstrate how to create a ThingLink.  I will be posting that soon.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Digital Storytelling Part 3

        In designing my digital story I tried to keep my essential question at the forefront of my mind, "How can I use digital tools to provide parents with resources they need to help their child with reading skills at home?"  When I first started the process I had planned to maybe share a screen shot of the tools, however I realized that wouldn't be something that would draw parents in.  As a teacher I use to tell my students that as a writer you have to hook your reader. I realized the same is true for digital storytelling. You need to provide an image that will grab your "readers/listeners" attention. If I am trying to reach parents then a quote about the influence of parents and reading would be the perfect hook. 
        Creating the story for the image proved to be the challenging part. I wanted to introduce the new program in the media center in a way that would make the parents want to attend. I used the digital storyboard planning tools to plan out what I was going to say. When I recorded my script I was okay with it but felt like something was missing. I couldn't wait for class that week to get feedback from my peers. 
           During the class discussion I began to realize what was missing, heart. I was just inviting parents but not really trying to entice them to come. Then in small group discussions one of my peers suggested adding more details about what type of activities that they would be doing if they attended. I also wanted them to understand that the reason we were doing this was to help students to develop a passion for reading. It was important for them to see this as a worthwhile event to attend.  
          My pacing on the first draft was way to fast. I have a tendency to talk fast and not be as clear as I need to. I made myself slow down during the final recording. VoiceThread is a perfect tool for me because I could continue to do it over until I was satisfied with it.  The simplicity of VoiceThread also makes this an easy digital storytelling tool. It is simple to upload a picture and then post a comment to go along with the picture. 
         After re-visiting my first attempt I have to admit I am pleased with the flow of the final story.  The first one sounded forced and like I wasn't sure of myself. The second one sounded more like I was having a conversation with my audience. One of the areas that I need to grow in is becoming more comfortable with recording my voice while I tell a story. With students or in front of a group of people my voice has the natural inflections that help make the presentation or story more exciting. Recording into a computer isn't as natural for me. This will be one of the main areas that I will work on as I continue in the journey of digital storytelling. Another area that I plan to focus on is learning how to add music to the story to help set the tone of the piece. The more engaging the format the more likely that the audience will listen to the entire story.

       Here is my final copy of my digital story.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

NCSLMA Conference 2015 Reflections

             For the past three years I have had the privilege of attending the North Carolina School Library Media Association Conference and learning from other Media Specialist across the state along with hearing very motivational speakers. This year was no different I left with so many ideas that I am not sure where to start first. However, this year I also had the privilege to present at the conference. When I first sent my session to them for their approval I thought, it would be fun to share and help others. When I got the acceptance email in August that excitement had a tinge of nervousness and yes, fear, with it. I started thinking, "What did I do to myself? I can't do this!"  With the support of my professors and colleagues at the school and district level the fear soon turned to just nervous excitement.  As the day drew closer I had the help of Dr. Morris, at UNC-G to help preview my slides and give me some pointers. Her support truly made this possible.  My presentation was now complete I just had to wait for the conference.

                The day of the conference arrived. My colleague and I arrived and checked in and I have to be honest I had to check the program to make sure I was still presenting because it still felt surreal. I am still just a "new" media specialist from a small rural school in the heart of North Carolina. I was getting that nervous feeling. I found my session in the program and realized, "Yes, this is happening."

          Friday's Keynote Speaker, Rebecca Constantino, reminded me of the power of the library, and how we help make a difference in the lives of our students in a way that can transform them completely.  Her speech was exactly what I needed after a long week at school. It reminded me that while I might not see the differences I am making on a daily basis I am making a difference. It was also the fuel that ignited my curiosity for the rest of the day.

           The luncheon guest speaker, Deborah Wiles, was truly inspiration as she shared her story and proved the power of the written word. She reminded us to teach kindness as we go through our days for we might not know what a child is going through. Her passion and way of telling stories help connect the world to times gone by in a way that makes the reader feel like they are there experiencing it all first hand.

             As I attended the afternoon sessions, Deborah Wiles and Rebecca Constanitino's words echoed in my head and I couldn't wait to share my session with others. At that point I realized that while yes I am a new media specialist, we all have knowledge to share. The conference is a learning experiencing where presenters and attendees are exchanging information and learning from each other. I couldn't wait to share.

               Noon came on Saturday and I was ready to share. With about 10 minutes left I had about 7 people in the room and thought, "Okay I can do this. No problem."  Then in the next 5 minutes the room began to get crowded and my excitement became more nerves. I had a room full to present to. It was quite an experience. Thanks to Dr. Morris, my slides format helped me with presenting the information in a knowledgeable way. Did I still talk to fast? Yes, I need to remember to breathe more next time and open up the floor to discussion more than just at the end.  The conversations back and forth between the attendees and myself  were fascinating. I learned so much from them and left the day feeling pumped that I was able to share my ideas with others.

                 I am honored that I had the chance to share with media specialist around the state. I hope that they were able to take something from my session that can help them at their school. The purpose of the conference is to meet with our colleagues across the state and learn from each other. I am already planning ahead for next year, however first on my agenda is to implement as many ideas as possible to help my students reach their potential.


 Link to my presentation and my storify:   with all the notes attached.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Digital Storytelling Blog #2: Work in Progress

After thinking more about the idea of reaching parents I thought a quote about the importance of reading might be the perfect thing to hook them.  I found a storyboard plan that I liked and used it to plan out my story. Here is what my plan looked like. (Please excuse the handwriting.)

After planning out my story I added the photo I found on Flickr to voice thread and then recorded my story.  I am worried that it doesn't sound like a story but more like a promotional tool for a new program.So I went back to the instructions to make sure that this was okay. I think it fits:
 ·         An introductory segment for a workshop or conference presentation that explores a topic, provides a rationale, or starts off a discussion.

I am posting it on my blog and look forward to Tuesday's class to get input about what I can do to improve it.  

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Digital Storytelling Blog #1

I have to be honest, I see so many ways to go with this as my last blog stated, however I am going to focus on reaching parents with my Digital Storytelling. With this focus I need to start planning on which way to go with them. In essence using a digital story to reach my parents is one step in helping me reach the goal of my essential question which  is "How can I use digital tools to provide parents with resources they need to help their child with reading skills at home?"  Questions that I ponder, do I do a screenshot of the resources on the website and discuss what each website is? Do I take a picture of a kid reading and use that as my story image?  My goal is providing parents with resources that will help their child at home. So with that in mind maybe I should just have a conversations with the parents through my digital storytelling on the benefits of working on reading at home?  I could also use this as a way to introduce our first ever Family Afternoon Reading Session.  So many questions on how to begin.    So to start I have downloaded and printed the storyboard templates to start the brainstorming process.  Excited to see how this will turn out. 

Excited Teacher Librarian Exploring Digital Storytelling with Classes

My teacher librarian mind exploded with so many different ideas to do with my kiddos at school. October is Computer Literacy month and this is perfect for celebrating. I have already emailed the fourth grade teachers and asked them to pick a new checkout time so I can have the entire 45 minutes with their class next week.  They are studying the symbols and regions of North Carolina in the classroom, well what better way to conclude this project than to make a digital story of North Carolina. This story on Texas inspired me.  I am now in the process of figuring out what tools to use with my 4th graders. Last week my first graders used Flip Cameras to make a movie that demonstrated "How Animals Would See Our Playground" - A Point of View Production.  I would share it but I haven't been able to check their permission forms yet to see who can be put on our web page or shared online.  I can share during class though because it isn't posting it online for the world to see. :-) I am proud of them. I did do a lot of directing because it was the first time they had ever tried something like this before. With that one under my belt from last week I am super excited to try creating Digital Stories with my 4th Graders.  (The Draw my story concept I am going to share also with my teachers when they do biographies and also the art teacher.) 

Another idea that I had from exploring the digital stories was how perfect this would be to help students with opinion and/or persuasive writing. A single-image digital story would be ideal for this. Just this week in Kindergarten they had to pick which David Shannon book was their favorite and explain why. This would be a great extension of that activity and may even get them to give more details since they are able to talk instead of having to write, which at kindergarten level is tricky in itself. They could take a picture of the book and then explain why it is their favorite. That would still be digital story telling wouldn't it? I got this idea after watching this Digital Story.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Interactive Poster

This project goes along great with my essential question of "How can I use digital tools to provide parents with resources they need to help their child with reading skills at home?"  This interactive poster gives them information about an afternoon reading session that will be offering ideas to use at home. At these afternoon sessions I will also be able to provide them links that they can use at home also via the curation collection. However I will have to switch which tool I used due to RCS will not let Pearltrees be used on school computers, thus making it hard to show them the links that I provided for them at these sessions. So I will be changing my curation collection to a Pinterest board.  

While Glogster would be my first choice in making this poster I wanted to branch out and try something different. The first one I started with was Canva. After working with it for a few minutes I realized that this would not be the one that I wanted to use because it was limited in what I could add. I wanted to add links and videos and with Canva I didn't see how that was possible. I stopped after creating the basic title and heading to explore more tools.  Click here to see the sample of my first attempt at the poster.

I moved to Smore hoping that this would provide what I was looking for. I had played with Smore a couple years ago at a staff development meeting but had forgot how fun and interactive it could be. I was able to be creative and add images, videos, text and a RSVP form to this newsletter. The format of the Smore made it easy to create exactly what I needed, a fun way to communicate a new event to my parents. It was divided into sections that helped let them know what we would be doing at these events and introduce the character and books that we would discussing. Some parents might never have heard of Pete the Cat before. With Smore I was happy I was able to embed a video of one of the books being read aloud. This will hopefully hook the parents into wanting to learn more about this character.  I wanted to embed one of Pete the Cat's songs but wasn't able to figure out how to do it the way I wanted. I wanted them to click on the picture of Pete the Cat and hear the song. However that was the only thing that I wasn't able to do. Being able to create different sections of the newsletter made it more appealing to look at and not as jumbled as some posters could be. I think this is very important in getting a message across to our parents.

I am using this poster to advocate for the importance of the media center in promoting reading. I want them to see the media center as a place that they can find a new favorite author, destination, or learn more about something that interests them.

Here is the link to my poster. When I tried to embed it the format got messed up. So I wanted to provide the link.

Planning the Poster

                     For this interactive poster I want to reach my parents to introduce the new family parent events that we will be having at our school this year. This is a new program that I created to reach out to the parents of our school. With this poster I want to let parents know what kinds of activities that we will be doing during our afternoon sessions and where and when they will occur.  The biggest thing that I want to do is convey the importance of coming to these events, I don't want them to just see it as another meeting at school. I want them to see it as a way to enjoy reading with their child(ren) and learning ways to work with their child. 
             For the format of the poster I will have it centered around the theme of the event. For the first event we will be centered around Pete the Cat. With this in mind I will have some pictures of Pete the Cat on the poster. I know if I use Glogster I could embed some video clips from the books or songs from the website.  I think since I am trying to reach parents I need to make it more of an informative poster and keep it simple. In the beginning stages I was planning to use a Thinglink and having the main image as the doors to the media center and then the "links" on the door to show some activities that we will be doing.  However I feel that I might lose some of my parents if I go that elaborate.  So I am going to stick with either Glogster, Smore, or Canva.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Augmented Reality

QR Codes  (The QR codes on this page have been deactivated due to the trial subscription ending.)

          When my district had an optional training on QR codes last year I didn't attend because I thought that since we weren't a bring your own device school yet it wouldn't really be an option for me.  Now I see it completely different.  QR codes could give patrons the answers they are looking for.  One thing that popped into my mind is when students are looking for certain books we could have a QR code set up to access Destiny so that they could scan and see if the book is in the media center or not. This would especially come in handy when our computers are being used by other patrons. It would save them time and help them become more independent users.
Scan here to access Destiny, our online catalog. 

          Now in an elementary media center a lot of "concerns" pop up. How to manage this without an assistant, how to make sure the device doesn't get place in some one's pocket, and what would be the best use of QR codes for our students; are just some of the questions that I have.  However, all of these problems can be solved.
            I see QR codes as being the first steps in learning about the augmented reality world. Instead of having a target picture that triggers an "aura" it is easier to just have a qr code. In some instances placing a QR code in a location would be easier also.

        When I first saw the clips on Augmented Reality I was like a kid at Christmas. What a new fun way to make the library interactive.  I started a "Did You Know?" board for the non-fiction section of my library and a "Check out these "Tree"mendous Books" in the fiction section. They are to post facts that they learned on sticky notes and share with friends. They could do a video clip to explain what they learned or introduce the book with the front of the book being the aura.
          When creating research projects they could download clips about their topic and create an interactive poster like was shown in the video on civil rights.  The students wouldn't complain about research ever again if they were able to create such projects. As an educator you are always looking for ways to engage your learner this would be one way to reach that goal.

          I am really considering purchasing a device for the media center itself so we could begin creating QR codes and Aurasmas.  I could collaborate with teachers to help create more meaningful projects and help the students truly become active participants in their research and learning. It would be money well spent.

                     To access this blog anytime just scan the image below. 
SMAR Model

        As an elementary media specialist the above graphic is essential in introducing new technology to the teachers at my school. If they only see it as a substitution they have a tendency to stick to what they are doing.  They don't want to go through the trouble of learning a new thing if what they are using works just as well.
        I have learned through many failed attempts at introducing new technology that often times it is the way an app or device is introduced that tends to sell it. With QR and Aurasma I don't want them to see it as another "PowerPoint" presentation, I want them to see it as a innovative tool that will help the students get excited about learning and discovering how to critically represent the information they learned. I could definitely see both QR and Aurasma falling into the Augmentation category if it was only used as a way to state facts that they have learned or to show a picture of something. However you can do so much more with these apps.
       The transformation level happens when you show them that they can create a project that can go up on the wall outside of their classroom that can be as interactive as a computer. You can help the "average book report" become a movie trailer for the book complete with music and video.
      The truth is that any new app can easily become simply "another piece of technology or the newest thing" and then fall by the wayside. It is our job to help create new and innovative ways to use this technology with our students.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Photo Sharing in Libraries, Schools, and Information Organizations

Picking an account to do this analysis on was easy for me, not being biased is going to be hard.  I had the pleasure of hearing this person speak last year at the NCSLMA conference and started following his blog and Twitter feed the next day. His tweets are short but inspirational, funny, and a great way to promote  reading and the media program. His blogs go in detail about ways to promote books, things to do in your media center such as data collection - which can be a hard thing to get, and one of course, his week told in Vines.  I know some of my classmates are not school media specialist and might not be familiar with him, for my cohorts who are this is one Twitter account and blog you should follow.  John Schu@MrSchuReads. You will get a lot of great ideas.
          Mr. Schu is a speaker, teacher, and book advocate. Through his travels he has worked with a lot of authors and illustrators so a lot of his tweets are linked to other author's page. He promotes reading events that are happening around the country.  His post also range from things he has accomplished with his students, to conferences he participated in, and new and upcoming books. He uses book trailers often. His blog profile reads, "

About Mr. Schu

I am a K-5 teacher-librarian who works diligently to put the right book in every child's hand. Book trailers are one way to connect readers with books."
 Here is a quick example of a book trailer he made to promote the new book Marvel.:

Digital Photography Exercise

         When I started this task immediately I thought of "Standard 1. School library media coordinators demonstrate leadership. Element c. School library media coordinators advocate for effective media programs." What better way to promote and advocate for your media center than by "visually showing" the community you represent what is happening in your media center.  The truth is, unfortunately, this is the only way some will ever see the inside workings of your program.  With this in mind, I decided to take the pictures with the statement, "What is new @your library?" as my guiding question.  I used Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.  I found this was a wonderful way to share the "coming attractions" to get the students interested in what will be on our shelves next. Last year one of the final days of media classes I did a book tasting of the new books headed to our shelves in 2015-2016. I had a student come in and ask me about that book. That made realize the importance of promoting new books even if they are not ready for the shelves yet. The students eagerly wait and have something to look forward to. I have added a photo album page to my school's media page entitled coming attractions.  The students also know to head to our "Read Box" to find the new books once they are ready.
 Okay Sport's Fan, you told me what you wanted and I listened.  Just a glimpse of coming attractions at LCES media center.:
"Read Box"
I wanted parents to see that their child's voice is important to me. So I shared the two new incentives I started this year. The "Check out these "Tree"mendous books. " board. This board is going to be used as  a way for students to promote and share books that they think others would enjoy.
  Check out these "Tree"mendous Books
I aslo started the "Did You Know?" wall in the nonfiction section. The students can write down on a post it any interesting fact they learned from reading their nonfiction book. I can't wait to see what they learn this year.

          I was worried at first that the creations of these sites could lead to violating the school systems rules of not being friends with students on social media websites; however with these accounts you don't have to accept, follow, or friend anyone. You are only promoting your media program and that is acceptable.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Curation Collections

As school librarians we can think of digital collection curation as the selection and assembly of a focused group of resources into a Web-based presentation that meets an identified purpose or need and has meaning and context for a targeted audience (Valenza, 2012). 

My purpose for creating a curation tool is to help reach parents and provide them with steps and tools they can use to help their child(ren) become better readers.

When examining these different tools I looked at them through two different lenses, professional use and patron friendly. Some fit both categories and others were more designed for professional uses.  I have used several. I love Pinterest and I have created several boards on it that are both professional and plain fun. While Pinterest is a good site where I have gained a lot of useful lessons I think for parents though it wouldn't be as "professional" as I feel it would need to be. While you can click on certain boards to help you focus, Pinterest is still very easy to get lost in.  Pinterest is an example of both squirreling and information overload.  Here is an example from one of my boards.

I have two Symbaloos on our school's website. While this is more focused, professional, and patron easy to use I decided to not use this one because I am very familiar with it already.

I have created a LiveBinder in a previous class. It has the professional feel to it with the tabs to store information where you can go more in depth. Parents are busy and want to be able to quickly access the information they need. They don't need to click through tabs to find what they are looking for.

Learnist and Listly are both sites that I feel would be better used as a professional resource to store websites, lessons, and articles that can help you professionally.  I like the list feature of it and being able to follow different lists on Listly.  It is easy to use and user friendly however knowing my audience I need something that requires less work than scrolling to find the article that they want to read.

Storify is a neat tool that allows you to create stories using other web site's information. This would be a wonderful tool for high schoolers to use to report on events from history and current events. Being able to get different perspectives on the events that happened and sharing them in a digital way would be an engaging activity for them.  Through this they could learn about biases, propaganda, and how to locate reliable information for their stories. If you haven't checked this one out here is a story from Storify.  This could be used for professional, educational, and personal use. However this would not meet the requirements of my goal.

Scoop It! was another new tool for me.  I have never used it. I created an account and have a paper set up. The feature that I like is that you can add your twist to the "scoop". The other nice feature is that you can access scoops from others and not have to surf the web to find other ideas.  It is similar to collaborating with other professionals in your field and getting the "scoop" on what they are doing so you can modify it to fit your needs. This is a great tool for personal or professional use.

Diigo was also a new tool for me.  I have created my own account and used it throughout my research of the tools. The extension addon helps you highlight notes, take screenshots of favorite parts, share, and mark to read later. It is a great bookmarking tool. This is definetly something that students and patrons that do a lot of research could use to help them take notes quickly and effectively.  For my purpose of sharing with parents though it wouldn't be the best tool. Here is an example from my Diigo page:

I feel in love with Pearltrees. It has a professional feeling, focused on one topic, easy to create, and easy for patrons to use. This is where I decided to create my curation collection on Parent Resources for Reading.  Pearltrees is very similar to Pinterest yet it has more of a professional look about it when sharing with parents. I love the feature where you can add an extension to Chrome where you can save a site, picture, and video as you surf.  This was a common feature for most of the sites now.  Here is my curated collection entitled Parent Resources.
Parent Resources, by mediateacher5915

Valenza, J. (2012). Curation. School Library Monthly, Volume XXIX(1). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from

What's happening in the Media Center

This week was orientation week  at my school for half of my classes. I was sharing how I wanted them to be active participants and the media center to be an interactive place for them. When I introduced two of my ideas the students were really excited about these additions this year.

My first new idea is an interactive bulletin board called, "Check out these "Tree"mendous Book?" After returning books they can write a short book trailer and post it on the board.

My next idea is called a "Did you know wall?" in the nonficition section. I explained it saying that when they read nonfiction books they sometimes learn new things that they really want to share. Well now they have a new place to do it.  One of my students already renamed it "The Thinking Wall." I love how they have taken ownership in this and we haven't even started it.

Curation Collection from the Eyes of an Elementary Media Specialist

   Browsing the tools and reading the articles I had so many aha moments. Lesson after lesson popped into my head as I read the articles. I always do a "How do you evaluate information on the Internet?" unit with my students but I have never looked at it from the point of view of where they truly get their information: these curated sites. At school they may type into Google, however at home they use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other such sites to gain information. It is important that at a young age they learn how to weed through the information to find accurate and reliable sources. The statement, "Librarians can position themselves not just as curators, but as authorities. Librarians can help users learn how to curate, but also how to evaluate curated sources. (Ovadia, 2013)" says it best.  It is our job to go beyond the classroom applications and help our patrons and students gain the skills that they need to be transliterate in the ever changing digital society that we live in.  
    As an elementary media specialist I have a fine line of CIPA and COPA laws that I have to follow so allowing students to actually build curated collections and seek reliable information for these collections will be a challenge this year. However, I feel that it is my duty especially for my 4th and 5th graders to show them how to weed through the information that they see everyday.   

 Ovadia, S. (2013). Digital Content Curation and Why It Matters to Librarians. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 32(1), 58-62. Retrieved August 30, 2015, from 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Essential Question

At the end of last year I realized that I was not connecting like I needed to with one of the major groups in my elementary school, the parents.  So this past summer I started planning and brainstorming how I could reach this group.  I wanted to help them see that the media center is there for them also and help give them tools to help their child(ren) develop a love of reading.  I am planning to hold quarterly afternoon reading events with parents and students. I am going to read a favorite book and then split the groups into reading stations.  I spoke with the public librarian and she is planning to come to one of the events also.  This would also be a great time to share a collection of online sites and activities that they can use to help their child at home. 

So my essential question for the class and this school year is: "How can I use digital tools to provide parents with resources they need to help their child with reading skills at home?"

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Welcome to My Blog

Hello all,

Welcome to my blog. I can't wait to share ideas that I have and lessons I learn from my students.  I think one of the best way to improve as a media specialist is to learn from others. I am looking forward to learning from everyone.