Monday, September 29, 2014

Creating a Green Screen on a Budget

I have been trying different ways to create green screens on a limited budget. I found some pretty inexpensive shower curtains that I put over my classroom and library white boards but these leave gaps at the bottom and I can't have people's feet in the videos. I found this video on YouTube and am heading to Wal-Mart this afternoon! I am also going to check and see if the art teacher in my building has any plain green paper which might work just as well and the video below.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

KTIChat September

The second edition of the Keystone Technology Innovator's Chat (KTIChat) took place on September 3rd and it was AWSOME! I think we have a great group of educators who really care about their students and the future. Here is how the chat went. Thanks Brad Steigerwalt for putting the chat together for us!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

First of Octember

I have been toying with the idea of having students read picture books on camera for use at the lower elementary levels, sort-of virtual book buddies. We can't do real book buddies because that would involve busses and aome buildings on letter day schedules while others are on week-day schedules. It does not have to be fancy but it may help my students with fluency while helping a struggling reader at the lower level. My issue is copyright. Is something like this a violation? I see them all the time on YouTube and they are not getting pulled down. So what is the copyright friendly thing to do?

Monday, September 01, 2014

Free Technology for Teachers: 12 Good Tools for Gathering Real-time Feedback from Students

I am very excited about this Post from Richard Byrne called Free Technology for Teachers: 12 Good Tools for Gathering Real-time Feedback from Students. I have heard of many of the resources in this article but I like how Richard breaks them down and explains how they work. For example I had some reservations about the app Plickers until I read Richard's review and checked it out for myself.  Now I have another tool in my bag of formative assessments. Thanks Richard Byrne!

Sunday, August 31, 2014


I just got a post about a Dr. Seuss Read-Thon and was led to this YouTube Video. I am wondering about copyright. Is it a copright violation to post such videos? I am wondering because I am thinking of having my 5th and 6th grade students record themselves read some popular picture books for our ESL/ELL population and for younger struggling readers. Is this a violation? What do you think? Please comment below.

Friday, August 22, 2014

#KTI Chat

The new Keystone Technology Innovators (2014 edition) held our first online Twitter Chat in August. We have decided we are going to hold these chats once a month so we can maintain our KTI connection that were forged at the KTI Summit in July. I attended the chat from my public library where my grandsons and I were enjoying The Wizard of Oz. I love that the first KTIChat heading picture on storify is of the performers in that play! How fun is that! Of couse you can't see the picture in this post but you can if you go to:

Moving iPhoto Library

I have an old MacBook Pro that I am trying to clense before I take it to school for my students to use to edit movies and create videos. In the old days I used to be able to right click on photos and see the actual file of the photo so I could just copy the .jpg images to a hard drive or burn them on a disk or upload them to Flikr or even my Dropbox. With the new OS not so much. Can I mention that this is frustrating me to no end and now I don't erase my SD cards with old pictures after I upload them to iPhoto. Apple, please make this easier for those of us that do not want to copy and re-name our iPhoto libraries. Here is a video I found on YouTube, not my ideal solution! If you would rather have a southern accent watch here: I have successfully put my old pictures on an external hard drive now I can free up space on my old MacBook Pro so we can create some videos at school! Wishing you all a great school year!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Snapshot on Edmodo

Edmodo has a new feature called Snapshot. It allows teachers to create common core formative assessments. These assessments should then drive teacher instruction so that when the assessments are given again their students will have mastered the tested skills. I am excited about this new feature and I plan to show it to teachers in my district in early September so they can start creating their own formative assessments. Fellow Snapshot trailblazer, Mrs. Elyse Mattiaccio created this video to make us smile and share some tips with our Snapshot group. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One of the technology integrators in our district put together this video on PowToons about our district's acceptable use policy. I am wondering if my 5th and 6th graders may need to see this the first week of school during library orientation! I just signed up for a free education PowToons account. I wonder if I can make some videos and have my students create some on library usage and where to find things in our library. I think they will like this new to me tool!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lisa's Lingo: Keystones Technology Innovators STARS Summit

One of the people that transformed the way I think about differentiated instruction, Lisa Parisi, was one of the presenters at the Keystone Technology Innovation Summit this year.  I have know Lisa for a long time. We first met at an Educon at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, and again at ISTE 2011, the last time it was in Philadelphia. I attended her session and was blown away by some of things I heard. It changed the way I think of my classroom and lessons. I don't have to expect less from a child because they have an IEP, it just means that they think differently and if I give them a way to express themself differently they can learn and do amazing things. After that encounter I stopped using so many worksheets... but I digress. Lisa came to the Keystone Summit and we had lunch together one day and boom... she changed my life again. She said I was embarassing her with all the flattery I was giving her on Facebook and Twitter. But I myself was twitterpated... THE Lisa Parisi was having lunch with me! And you know what, she changed my life again! She told me that she is just a teacher like I tell everyone, I am just a librarian. And I realized that when we do our jobs well, no matter who we are... our kids are the stars. And I was humbled again by what Lisa wrote on her blog... how much she learned and took away from the summit too. Lisa's Lingo: Keystones Technology Innovators STARS Summit. I am so grateful to the Summit organizers and sponsors that gave us this opportunity. And Lisa, it was so good to see you again!

Keystone Technology Innovators Summit Part 1

I spent an incredible week at the Keystone Technology Innovators Summit. Like the others I was nominated by my school principal to be a Keystone. This year it was held at Kutztown University. And it really was a celebration of teaching and learning. Almost if not every morning when we showed up for our morning keynote sessions we walked into thunderous applause celebrating us, the newest Keystones… and who was celebrating us? The alumni-Keystones… the very people we want to be… they were celebrating us!!! One morning one of the newest member of my PLN, Zee Poerio, the PAECT Teacher of the Year, captured it!
 Stay tuned for more reflections on this transforming learning experience.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to resize multiple images in Photoshop in the matter of seconds

Did you know that you can now use PhotoShop to re-size a batch of photos at the same time? Last week my daughter had to re-size all of the pictures for her company's newsletter and I had no idea how to help her except to re-size each image one by one. Then today someone in my PLN posted this very helpful video which I will now be sharing with her. And it is so easy! Enjoy. This will come in very handy when I have to re-size photos for the web!

Monday, June 30, 2014

More MemaCation! Five Fun and Free iPad Apps That Help Students Learn to Write

I have been following Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teacher's Blog for quite awhile now. I am excited about his latest post and these five free apps for helping students to learn about sentence structure. I am going to use these apps with my grandson this summer to help him keep his skills strong for first grade. Check out his post and don't forget to download the free apps. Five Fun and Free iPad Apps That Help Students Learn to Write!


MemaCation is a word I just coined and what I am now calling the time of year when my grandson's day care is provided by me, their Mema. I can not tell you how excited I am, almost as excited as I was every summer when school got out and I got to claim my own children back for the summer. Yes, I am a teacher, a librarian but summer is special not just to kids. Teacher/librarians need the time too and I beleive my grandsons are as excited as I am to have our time together! Every Year the time they get to stay with me dwindles because of professional development. This year was the worst because of all the snow days that we needed to make up as teachers at the end of school. Still, the day has arrived and first on the agenda this morning is going to the library for story time. I joke with the public children's librarian that just as my library is ramping down hers is ramping up and indeed I see many of my students at the public library in the summer. It makes my librarian heart jump for joy and I will be honest I am a little jealous of the fun things that public librarians can do to draw my students into the library in the summer. While they come to me for lessons each cycle during the school year they go to the public library for fun. Here's the proof. Last week my local public library had a magic show in the evening. My grandsons and I were one of the first people in line! Who doesn't love magic in the library? My grandson was chosen to be the first magic helper of the evening.

Of course this stint as a magician lead to checking out a book about how to do magic tricks! And now, as if summer was not magic enough, one of the things on our list for this summer is learning a little magic! Stay tuned!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Project Roundtable: Summer PD

I totally enjoyed watching the Project Roundtable video archive summer PD Roundtable. I also attended EdCampUSA and it was very interesting to hear Brendon’s take on the experience! My thoughts on EdCampUSA are here.

I was invited to be a part of Project Roundtable’s Google Hangout but was still in school teaching when it was being recorded.  Thanks Ben Wilkoff for inviting me and changing my summer PD mindset. I especially liked CrystalMidlik’s summer PD in Germany. Having lived in Germany for many years I can’t wait to hear her take on the German schools.

My district requires 3 PD days (called MIACs) that are usually done either at the end of June or end of August. I usually do more than the 3 days because I love to learn, connect, and collaborate with other teachers in my district at this time. However, I like the idea of having fun and the thought that Summer PD should be fun is something new! To me EdCamps are fun because they are conversations, learning via conversation and connection is a lot more fun than sit and get! But my most favorite learning experience this year was when I attended Engadget Expand inNew York City in November. It was the first time I felt validated in what I am doing in the library. It was like a mini maker-faire with big name roundtable discussions. It was a geeky-librarian’s dream come true.

This roundtable helped me think differently about watching my grandchildren over the summer too. I always think of it as my joy but now I am also thinking of it as my opportunity. I have already ordered the air stomp rocket and we are going to make SLIME! Yes, learning can be fun. We are also going to the zoo and to the Franklin Institute and Please Touch Museum this summer. This is my summer PD as well as cool learning for the grandkids!

I really liked the question about what are we missing out on in our online PD, by only having our PD online. I totally loved Debby Jacoby’s answer because my online PD is important to me. The connections I make online are valuable and when I do get to meet people at an ISTE experience it is very cool to meet my virtual friends face to face and realize these people are not strangers! We already have a relationship and we are now taking that experience to the next level.

Ben, love that you mentioned Paul’s blogpost about EdampUSA and the imperative for teachers to be the ones that share to other teachers. Meeting Paul and having him join the session I did with Carolyn Foote at EdCampUSA was amazing. Paul showed me it is OK to bring my own equipment into the library, not to be afraid, to take a risk. If I took one thing away from this Roundtable discussion and EdCampUSA it is not to be afraid, just do it, and tell about it- success or failure. I also want to tell the stories of the other teachers in my school.  Loved ScottMacClintic’s final thought too, we do need to model life-long learning to our students so my summer PD will be a story worth sharing with my students in September!