Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What I learned from DoInking a Sample Video!

My students have been researching a famous scientist, engineer, inventor, architect, or mathematician for the last 3 weeks in the library. I am on a fixed schedule so I have been using this mini-project to teach them how to do citations, research via books, using our library catalog to find websites and how take notes and write things in their own words and not plagiarize. What I learned from this project is that I am a poor example and influence. But I am using it as a teaching vehicle. The culminating project is a green-screen video that we are doing within a pizza box or an Explain Everything video. Here is my poor example. Notice you can see my hands; I remedied that for students by buying green gloves. Notice also that I did not practice what I preach; I did not cite my sources… at all… I did this on purpose because I am going to grade this project in front of my students with our rubric. This project gets a failing grade because even though I wrote all the words, not citing my sources is plagiarism. I think I will get their attention.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

My Life as a Lead Learner

I'm in a writer's workshop this morning and I liked the exercise so much that I thought I would turn it into a blog post. The instructor, Dr. Andy Fishman from the PA Writer's Workshop always brings out the best in me because she gets down to the nitty-gritty and she builds teachers up. We all are learning so much and are doing some actual writing which we can turn around and use as mentor texts for our students.

Here is what I wrote this morning as an exercise.

My students have no idea what to think of me when they walk into the library. I have a sign up that reads, "in this class we are all learners and we are all teachers." I learn from my students every day. We all teach and learn together. If I can't figure out how to do something and they know how, I take a back seat and say, "show us."

Why I never thought of allowing them to talk out their research topics ahead of time is a mystery (but you can bet I will do it now!). I guess I thought they would all choose the same topic if I allowed them to talk to one another, but don't they do that anyway? So, what am I afraid of? I will try it next time. That's what lead learning is all about, learning to do it better!

Lead learners are models for students. As the lead learner I admit to my students that I use Google when I want to know something but I also model how I use keywords to refine my search so that what I really want to know floats to the top of the search results. I also use the information I find to search for more information. The four words I hate the most are, "I'm done my research." There is no such thing and as the lead learner I model lifelong learning. Being a lead learner is a lot like being a real-life mentor text!

Thanks Dr. Fishman for giving me some great ideas and mentor texts and a blog post!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

SLO or Not... it's Still The Library!

I know I don't blog enough. I want to share what I am doing with my students in the library but the problem is time. I know we all say that, there are not enough hours in a day.

When I do write a blog post I don't always take the time to share it here but I decided I should share my SLO thoughts with other librarians in my state. I took the time to write a post as a guest blogger for my state librarian's association blog... check it out here. It is much longer than my normal blog posts on this blog but I had so much to say about SLOs. Please leave a comment if you read my post, I would appreciate it!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

So Proud of Teachers in my District!

So many teachers in my district are excellent at incorporating technology into the classroom. But what makes them even more wonderful is that they love helping other teachers in the district that are trying out what they already do so well! Here is just one example from an elementary teacher. It warms my heart as we enter this new school year!
What wonderful things do teachers in your district do to help each other, leave a comment and let me know!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Just Wow

One of the things I learned at ISTE2015 and from my friends that attended DENSI is that there is more than one way to do things. I am playing right now with importing Discovery Education Videos into the Green Screen App and now I find this video of how to create animations in Keynote from Dennis Grice. Amazing Dennis. Thanks so much for sharing!

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Franklin Institute and The Elmwood Park Zoo!

Trying out some different types of digital storytelling with my grandson this summer. First we tried a green screen video using the Green Screen App by DoInk on the iPad. My grandson talked about his visit to the Franklin Institute to see the exhibition The Art of the Brick.

Next, we tried Anamoto to tell the story of our visit to the Elmwood Park Zoo on Friday. This is all new to my grandson but he needs to know that when his hand hurts from writing things in a journal that we can have fun with his writing and paint digital stories! He likes the cool part after he cries because his hands hurt from writing! He is a lefty and it is very difficult for him to write. I now have more sympathy for all my left handed students!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Infographics with PPT

Infographics are something I would like my students to create as part of research projects in the library. However, I don't want to pay for infographic creation tools. I want to use what we already have and what we already have is PowerPoint. I came across this video today and it just might not be as difficult as I first thought!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Skyview is a National School of Character

I am very proud to share that my school, Skyview Upper Elementary School in the Methacton School District has been named a National School of Character by It was an interesting process and I am so proud of our students for holding up under the pressure of interviews! What a great experience! And just so you know, our school has coined the word Pillariffic to describe those who exhibit the pillars of character. Each Friday when students are being recognized for representing one or more of the six Pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship, I stand at the library door and give a big cheer, "Woo-whooo Pillariffic!"  The kids like that they are getting some recognition and are amazed I can cheer that loud! Like I said, I am very proud of our students!

Monday, June 01, 2015

ISTE is 26 Days Away!

I am so excited that ISTE is in Philly this year. I am so excited to be doing a poster session with some of my wonderful students. I just found this info-graphic on the ISTE website and wanted to share:
Join the EdTech Revolution!

Sunday, May 17, 2015


In the early months of the second semester my students spent a couple of class periods analyzing photos of Newsboys and researching the Newsboys strike of 1899. I admit I stole the idea from Paul Bogush's 1000 Words Photograph Analysis. I wanted a new way of introducing Primary Sources to my students and I had never seen anything like Paul's analysis worksheet. It really made me wonder, could 5th and 6th graders think that like that? But instead of just the analysis I wanted to see if students could make inferences and turn their thoughts into a 140 character twitter post with the hashtag Newsies. Below is one raw video green-screen that showed me my students could think for themselves. This student made a video that shows how Newsies would have used Social Media if it had been available back then! I am amazed by my students every day!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Non-Fiction Book Reviews

My students have created some wonderful non-fiction book reviews! I am so proud of all of them!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Movement is our Best App

The Sunday before last I had the pleasure of attending the first DENapalooza as Discovery Education brought Dr. Lodge McCammon to the pre-conference session of PETE&C. This is a little video Dr. Lodge put together that is a mash up of the day. One of the things I want to bring back to my students over the next few weeks is his "Commonwealth of Old Pennsylvania" song. Since the students are studying the colonies right now I thought it would be a great way to bring music and movement into the classroom because as Dr. Lodge says, "movement is our best app."

Friday, February 06, 2015

PETE&C in 2 Days!

I am very excited to be a presenter at this year's technology conference in my state and when I took a look at who is attending on this Padlet I got even more excited... take a look and see everyone on Sunday!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

NonFiction Book Reviews

I am so proud of my students. They worked for a couple of weeks writing book reviews and creating story boards before creating a non-fiction book review using the Explain Everyting App on the iPad. Check out this review on Crocodiles. My heart is bursting... such a great job!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Finger Knitting

What else is there to do on a snow day? Someone posted this video on twitter about finger knitting. I am not good at knitting, I can crochet but knitting with 2 needles has always alluded me. But this video shows a kind of knitting I may be able to do and incorporate into a maker space in the library. It looks easy but I have not tried it yet. I do have some yarn I can bring to the library if I can do it and show students how to do it.