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!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Fair IS Fair

Have you ever heard, "It's NOT Fair," from your kids or your students or how about teachers in your school? Take a look at this cute book by Sonny Varela that will remind us that though it may not seem fair, it's not because we are not valued or loved.

The book Fair is Fair is available on Amazon. According to his author bio: "Sonny Varela is a husband, father, son, and storyteller. He works hard to tell stories that reveal truth in a way that changes lives." Hope you enjoy this story, it came to me because my daughter subscribes to the YouTube channel.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Coding in the Library! A STEM Fest!

We spent the month of December learning to code and doing STEM activities in the library. Giving students a choice and engaging their natural curiosity made the hands-on learning experiment an adventure that needs to be repeated! I asked the students if we should do it again and they told me about their favorite parts.

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!