Saturday, December 08, 2018


I am starting to feel creative again. It has been almost a year since I wrote what you are about to read. I never posted it because I felt like I was being a bad librarian for feeling the way I did.  I changed position about a year ago and the feeling and joy and love of being a school librarian are starting to come back. But please know that it took a long time to start to feel human again. This is from January of this year:

If truth be told, I have not felt like a PowerLibrarian for a while now, maybe two years. A lack of motivation has truly caused this blog to blog to be neglected. I feel like I've run out of gas. I have felt like the Power was draining faster than spiritual food, friends, family, conferences, EdCamps, FutureReady, social media, and my PLN could recharge this Librarian!

Call it overwork, burnout, a struggle to communicate, a lack of respect by administration and students, less than perfect working conditions (we actually had a work stoppage- let me tell you walking a picket line does nothing for your self-esteem), or just everything, including me, getting older. For the past 4 almost 5 years I traded my cozy elementary library for a beautiful upper elementary library with more empty shelves than books. I struggled keeping up with student demand for popular titles. We had fewer than 15 books per student when when I started. I got creative, held book drives, begged, borrowed, and spent my own money getting books into the hands of students. As I leave we are now well over the state suggested 25 books per student. I don't want accolades for doing what I love, getting students to read, I just want it acknowledged that being a teacher/librarian is two jobs. I am working two full time jobs with a below average salary and time constraints of one- doing the second job on my own dime and time. For the past 5 years I have taught as few as 31 and as many as 35 classes every 6 days while running the library and trying to bring the makerspace concept into the newly branded Libratorium.

I believe strongtly that every student should get the opportunity to make, do, and create in a safe place but providing that for as many as 900 students with little to no support takes its toll. Teaching as many as 6 classes a day (and give grades to students for projects, and classwork) and running the library with students coming at all times to do book selection is daunting. The worst is students demanding book selection while I am trying to teach or trying to put books away or catalog books (cataloging takes concentration but all students see is me sitting at the computer)- after all, I'm not really doing anything and I could easily check out a book for them. The worst of it is that their teachers keep sending them even though I have told them that I can't check out books while I am teaching. Lunch, what's lunch? I keep being told I am entitled to a duty free lunch, it does not happen- there is always someone comeing into the library for something. If I didn't teach all day I would not mind missing lunch once in a while but it is my only chance all day to go to the bathroom. If I had a clone or a full time aide things would be so much better.

I struggled for years with getting technology into the hands of my students (may I never see another powersucking netbook again), because any papers I created meant 800 or more copies. Who has time to make that many copies? Finally, a year ago came a cart of chromebooks exclusively for use in the library classes and I could stop killing trees and use Google Classroom! I promptly broke Google Classroom which was not built to handle 34 classes. I deleted the 34 classes and settled on 12 classes, a class each day for the 5th grade homerooms I saw that day and one 6th grade class for the 3 or 4 different teams I saw that day. Putting multiple classes in each of the Google Classrooms meant a little more work for me finding students when it came to doing grading but it worked.  I switched it up this year and put each 6th grade team into one class cutting down my number of classes by 2! Fewer classes and it is easier when it comes to grading so many students.

I learned a great deal as I wrote grant proposal after grant proposal. Over the years I incorporated robotics, coding, and a makerspace complete with a 3D printer into the library curriculum. I decided to teach digiital citizenship via Google Classroom and student Tinkercad accounts.

Now at the end of this year, the joy is coming back. In a new school, with new students with new challenges, the joy is coming back!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The thrill of ISTE18 while I'm still here...

I don't often reflect on the ISTE conference while I am still at the conference but I just had an incredible session and in my next session they talked about reflecting on your learning via a blog post. So my reflection is for me so I can remember how much I LOVED learning more about Hyperdocs from Katie Bradford and Brett Miller in their session. They presented their session via the hyperdoc linked here. I can't wait to go back in to dive into it more because a one hour session was not enough time to visit all the links! I am using a tag-which I don't often do- because Mandy Froehlich her session said if we tag our posts with a Danielson number from 1-4 that we can use our blog posts as part of our e-portfolio. Interesting enough the next presenter Christine Voelker presented her session, on the thrill of the hunt- OER resources, with a hyperdoc as well. These are things I can take home from #ISTE18 and continue the learning!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Ozobots and Math

I always want the Makerspace in the library to be a place of STEM learning. I designed a lesson using graph paper and the formula for area of a rectangle (Area = width times length), encouraging students to figure out the area of the graph paper and then figuring out ⅓ of the area on which they would create a maze. It would be simple just to count the spaces on the graph paper but that would take a long time. So I introduced them to this Flocabulary video on area and perimeter:

The idea is then to make a line for an Ozobot to follow using the ⅓ portion of the area calculated. The graph paper's single square is the perfect width for the line the Ozobot can follow. Or if you have the more advanced Ozobot Bit or Ozobot Evo, students can create a computer program and upload it to the Ozobot to cover ⅓ of the area calculated. The Ozobot can be programmed using simple block coding at  Then, program the Ozobot  to create the maze by itself. Or, use a Sphero, which can be programmed with the Tickel App, in much the same way with larger graph paper and use makerspace items like Lego and Keva Planks to create the maze.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary

Today, April 12th is author Beverly Cleary's birthday. Today Beverly Cleary is 102 years old. Amazing! She was born in another era, an era when the things she wrote in her books were considered controversial. She showed us what the future would look like. Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary! Here is a link with a picture of her with Dr. Seuss from when she was much younger! Beverly Cleary and the Doctor!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Fake News Posters

Now that I am a Middle School Librarian, I realize it is more important than ever to make my students aware of Fake News. What is and what is not Fake News? I am happy that I came across a set of three posters from the Washington Post about fake news. I am not endorsing any one news organization. I just like the posters which you can download for free here:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Free Technology for Teachers: A Free Teleprompter

As a former journalist this article from Richard Byrne piqued my interest. Also, my new school has a television studio and I can't wait to see it, and figure out ways for the TV Studio personal to partner with the new librarian! You can be sure I am going to offer up this great free teleprompter find from Free Technology for TeachersFree Technology for Teachers: A Free Teleprompter! Thanks Richard! You make my life so much easier with all the great techology you introduce! Just one suggestion, teleprompters usually use all caps which are supposed to be easier to read when text is moving! So, simply type the text in all caps and you are all set! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Flipgrid and Nearpod

Happy New Year with Flipgrid and Nearpod. Two of my favorite apps go great together. Woah! That sounds like a commercial! I love app smashing and when I found this video on app smashing Flipgrid in Nearpod I ran with it! Now my digital citizenship lessons on Nearpod have a video component! Hope you like how easy it is to app smash Flipgrid and Nearpod!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year Digital Citizenship!

Happy New Year Everyone!

It is my hope that 2017 will be the year of Good Digital Citizenship for all of our students, children, and grandchildren. While I am not suggesting you purchase anything, I want you to be aware of what you can do to help the young people in your life be good digital citizens to ensure a positive future for themselves. Common Sense Media is the first place to look for Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship ideas. They even have several Nearpod activities for various grade levels. I Keep Safe is also a good place to get ideas for keeping your children safe and digitally productive. Safe, Smart, and Social is where this video comes from:

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Breakout EDU

If you have not tried Breakout EDU you need to try it with your class. Here is a simple way to start a breakout for those that have never done one before.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

#KTIChat September 7th

Here is the Storify for the #KTIChat on September 7th! Enjoy the Conversation... Continue the Conversation... follow these great KTI's on Twitter!

Skyview Specials

Just finished creating this video for Back to School Night. All special area teachers will be in the front lobby greeting parents and showing our video on a loop! I hope it truly reflects what we do with and for our students. Skyview Specials If you can't see that try this:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Discovery Education Summer Institute 2016 (#DENSI2016)

What can I say about an experience that will change the lives of my students? Sessions covered digital storytelling, assessment, instructional strategies, augmented reality, blended learning, and a variety of other topics. Sure, that's true but DENSI was so much more and I am so very fortunate to have been chosen to attend. Here are my reflections on the week in Chicago at Loyola University. It was my first time in Chicago and my first time seeing Lake Michigan. It was a week of firsts and friends!

This summer I was chosen by Discovery Education Network to take part in their summer institute in Chicago, Illinois. I had never applied to the summer institute before because I take care of my grandchildren in the summer and because I had to make a video telling why I wanted to attend DENSI. Since my daughter was going to be on maternity leave this summer I decided to get over my fear of creating my own video and apply for DENSI! 

I was already part of the Discovery Education Network Facebook group since I am a Discovery Education Star Educator. I also am a member of the DEN Leadership Council in Pennsylvania. Many other people in my district are also part of the Facebook group and we share, teach, and learn together with other members of the DEN. From the moment I was accepted I had a group of social media friends welcoming me, and telling me how much I was going to love the DENSI experience. 

They were not wrong. Not only did I have an amazing Professional Development experience, I also made 150 friends who are now part of my Professional Learning Network. It is so exciting to have a Twitter chat every Thursday night with my new friends. I have taken part in the chat twice since coming back from Chicago. So the learning did not just happen for one week, it is still going on.

My friend Sheila Fredericks and I took an early morning flight from Philadelphia to Midway Airport in Chicago. We had no idea how we were going to get to Loyola University but I knew how to read a subway map so I didn’t think it would be a problem. And it wasn’t but not because of my map, or google map skills. Actually, some of our DEN friends met us at the airport to help us take the train for the first time. A guide on the subway, a subway buddy! We took the purple line to the red line and we were at Loyola University, which is right on Lake Michigan, with all of our luggage. We needed to find elevators in the subway stations because we could not take all of our luggage up and down the stairs without hurting ourselves! 

The first evening and Saturday were devoted to members of the Discovery Leadership Council in each state. Sheila and I are on the leadership council in Pennsylvania. We first learned about different types of professional development models. We learned how Discovery Education is integrated with Google Classroom. I have already shared this information with my curriculum director. We split into groups and worked on various professional development projects and I worked in the group which helped develop a DEN Breakout EDU. One of my goals for DENSI was to learn more about Breakout EDU so I can introduce the concept to my school and teachers. While I was there I won a Breakout EDU kit to take back to my school. I also have a new tool to use with students! Saturday evening was devoted to the Chicago Symphony. One of my new DEN friends arranged for us to attend the outdoor concert at Ravinia Her dad is one of the principal flutists for the Symphony. The concert was amazing. Afterwards he took us backstage for a tour. Afterward our friend took us on another amazing adventure through her old neighborhood where film director, John Huston, made many of his memorable movies. We saw the seawall from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, where Cameron has his melt down about his dad’s car, and the Church from the movie, “16 Candles.”

Sunday was a free day as the rest of the DENSI attendees arrived for the week. I took an “Outlaw Tour” of Chicago. It was fun and I saw the building that was the used as the front for the orphanage in the “Blues Brother’s” movie. When we checked into DENSI we were given a small group. The small groups met each day and debriefed, and did some  I was in a group with not only people from the US but with one woman from the UK, and a woman from Antigua (this woman made a big impact on all of us because her son was in the Olympics. He ran in the 100 meters with Usain Bolt. We are keeping in touch with an app called “What’s App”. It allows people to text with people from other countries without extra charges for text messages.

That evening we had our first official DENSI2016 session, a barbecue that was right on Lake Michigan. It was an amazing view and a Poke-Stop for those that were playing. On Monday we had an outing to the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium. It was amazing seeing actual fossils in the floor of the Field Museum, Lucy the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and a wonderful collection of Egyptian items among so many other things. The Adler Planetarium was amazing too as we looked to the future of space, saw a planetarium program on a possible 9th planet (the real reason Pluto was downgraded), and took a look back to the moon landing. 

In the evening we had a networking activity which turned out to be a giant new Breakout EDU game that Discovery created just for DENSI. Playing an actual game was very nerve wracking! I learned a great deal more about Breakout by playing the game.

After another great keynote by a telling about how to create Joy in our teaching and we were off for a choose your own adventure learning experience. I started out with GAFE instruction from Jeremy Badiner from North Carolina. He showed us how to easily add Discovery Education and other web based content to Google Classroom via a built in Chrome Extension that just lets you “Share to Classroom!” So easy even I can do it!

My next adventure revolved around STEM! as Patti Duncan listed some different ways to bring STEM into any classroom via Discovery Education. I learned about some of the virtual field trips Discovery delivers that revolve around STEM. I would like to use these field trips in the library, maybe invite people at 8th periods! 

After Lunch Kyle Schutt from Discovery Education took me to Mars. Actually he told me about some of the DE virtual field trips planned for this year. Last year the trip to Mars was amazing but it was not at a time my students could benefit from it, I learned there are archives that I can use for my students. Last year some of my students and I took a trip to Ford’s Theatre through DE’s virtual field trips. And we also listened to part of the conversations with the First Lady via the archives. I suggested to DE that they shorten the archives so that they fit into a typical class period. Kyle is a very dynamic person and it was so excited seeing him in action for an extended period of time. He is a graduate of my school district and his parents still live in the Audubon neighborhood!

During my next session I learned about integrating literacy and science standards while students work independently in learning stations, something I have been thinking of doing in the library to flip library classes so I would have time to check in, and put books away. I got some great ideas for incorporating Discovery Education Videos and tours into the learning station by using some SOS strategies like paper slide videos. I have tried these before in the library but never quite had enough technology for the students to all be creating at the same time. 

During the evening session I learned how I could take advantage of some Virtual Reality apps and pictures within DE. The DE Virtual Reality App is called Discovery VR and is available in both the Google Play store and on iTunes. It can be used with or without Google Cardboard.

The next day I attended a session led by DE Star Seth Gerran who was one of my train buddies! He taught me some things about using Google Classroom with DE resources to help my students collaborate. I am bringing some great ideas about working together in Google Docs, even collaborating on a research project and doing a collaborative book report for those that have read the same book! And, most of what I have is saved in my Google Drive! 

I found out about new coding activities that are available in DE and even more will be added before Computer Education Week in December. I am so excited to share these with my students who really enjoy the activities on

One of the best sessions I attended involved one of my favorite things in the world, primary sources! North Carolina librarian Medley Abercrombie attended a special summer Institute on primary sources at the Library of Congress. She showed how she uses primary source pictures available in DE to deepen student’s understanding of a time period and help to develop critical thinking skills by deep analysis of primary source photographs. I can’t wait to show my students some of the pictures she found in DE and have them analyze them! We did something similar last year using some DE resources about Paul Revere but it was one of my student’s least favorite lessons, now I have some new tools to make it more interesting.

In the evening there was a Maker Space with so many great ideas. One that I am thinking may be a good service project involves crocheting or knitting with plastic grocery bags to make mats for the homeless. I am going to see how this would work out for a community service activity involving my entire school district and the community. I may have an even program to show others how to make the mats. I also learned how to turn T-shirts into shoulder-bags. My students may like this activity. One that I am looking into for a STEM activity is creating a paper track for a marble run and an easy way to make a friendship bracelet out of yarn. Of course there was some 3D Printing and I got some pointers about logos which will come in handy when my students are creating logos for their own personal brands! There were so many good ideas, this is only scratching the surface.

The next day was dedicated to an un-conference. It was amazing. I learned about Bloxels (actually Skyping with the app and board creator), Qbits, Chibitronics, Circuitscribe, Tigley (which I am bringing home for my elementary librarian friends), and Breakout EDU. I won a Breakout Kit and am so excited to share this with teachers and students! I also had my picture taken with Breakout Edu’s CEO Adam Bellow and Patti Harju who has written several of the Breakout challenges. I also have new activities for our Dash and Dot robots and our Ozobots! I am so very excited for the new school year and can’t wait to share with my students all that I have learned thanks to Discovery Education and my DEN Summer Institute experience.

I did not want the experience to end and I will be forever grateful to Discovery Education for providing such dynamic professional development. DENSI made my summer complete!

Winning a BreakoutEDU kit is the icing on the cake!

Friday, July 08, 2016

Maker Space re-boot

This summer I am trying out more things for my maker space to try to get more STEM activities. I cam across this on Pinterest from Frugal Fun for Boys and I love it because I have a bin full of Lego Duplo and my newest grandson is just 3 months old. I was planning to donate them because the other 2 grandsons have outgrown them but along came grandson #3. I bought a pool noodle last year to make robots but never had time, so here is my chance to bring a STEM project into the library!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Getting Ready for Pi Day Tomorrow

One of the Keynote speakers for PETE&C (my state's technology conference) this year was Danica McKellar who used to play Winnie Cooper on the TV show, The Wonder Years. Danica s a mathematician! She has a series of books and a website (called Kiss My Math which is also the name of one of her books) dedicated to getting girls to like math. Since Pi Day is coming up tomorrow I decided to share the video she shared with us during the conference. Enjoy this Sugar Plum Pi Day video! It is part of a longer video that she shares in a Internet Program called Math Bites.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

What to do for Pi Day... March 14th...

I am setting up my Maker Space in the Library for a teacher in-service day tomorrow. I keep hoping that teachers will start to see the possibilities and want to come down and use the space! I am setting up a station for Fibonacci Art, it was one of the student's favorite activities when we set up the Maker Space in December. Today I came across another Math/Art project and this involves a Pi Day Skyline. I know I am going to set this up for students on Monday, March 14th... how about you? Enjoy your Pi Day!