Friday, December 30, 2011

BubCap 2

Found this video of a toddler trying to press the home key on an iPad after a BubCap has been installed. While an adult can still press the button, a child is not strong enough to press it once the BupCap is installed. Where was this when I was trying to use the iPad with my special education kindergarten class? Can't wait to get it and try it with my special ed population. I know my first and second grade students are stronger than this toddler but I got the extra strength ones so I am hoping they will work and the students will be able to use the iPad with the educational games I select for them!


Are you like me? Do you share your iPad or iPhone with a toddler? Or do you share your iPad with a special education class? Then you may be just as amazed as I was to find this wonderfully simple product called BupCap. Check out this CNet video:

 I just ordered a set and I will let you know how I like them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holidays from Our School District Offices

In my e-mail today I was sent a link to a holiday card created by my school district's administrative offices.  Click the link below and see how tech savy our administrators are getting. I am very excited about this and I hope for big technology happenings in the future!  My favorite part is right before the picture of the tech department... it says "Back it up." Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Principal... My Glogster Hero!

Last year I had my 4th graders do state reports on EDUGlogster and they did a super job.  This year I was planning on having the current 4th grade do a country report since their teachers wanted to do the state report project later this school year.  I figure they can cut their teeth on the country report and be all set to do the state report for their teachers. So, I went to my old Glogster accounts and low and behold it was going to cost me 99 dollars to do the same project I did for free last year.  I didn’t want to give up my 4th grade Glogster report! Enter my new principal, my knight in shining armor who is almost as much of a technology geek as I am! I go to him hat in hand and he says sure what do you need! My hero! My principal was kind enough to pay for 200 student licenses for me to share around the school. That is enough for not only the 4th grade but for at least another grade level to all do Glogster reports this year. I am very happy and excited to get started.  But I must say I am getting frustrated by the bating and switching that is going on with educational web applications. Bate and switch is the only way I can describe it, educational websites get you hooked on their free product and promise it will always be free and then a year or so later you have to pay for the same services you were getting for free. Glogster  is not the only website that has done this, JayCut went away all together... poof... gone, and it is frustrating. Now that I know I have to pay for Glogster, I will plan my budget accordingly next year. But what if Glogster is gone next year?  This year was bad enough, it threw me for a loop! Luckily, when I went hat-in-hand to my principal and begged he gave me the money for the licenses. But what happens in those school districts that do not have an extra 99 dollars hanging around? How can we fund these sites that we all use in education to keep them free? There’s got to be a way if we all put our heads together.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blabber a Book

I just created this on Blabberize as a sample to show my students. We may be creating these after Thanksgiving if I can gather enough working microphones. It took me just 5 minutes to create but two of those were spent looking for a usable microphone. I think it will be a fun project for the students, talking about a book they have read recently in a new way may get some other students interested in reading the books as well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tundra Connections Webcast - Polar Bears International

All of our third grade classes and our afternoon kindergarten class took part in this webinar this afternoon... check it out. Tundra Connections Webcast - Polar Bears International

Saturday, October 29, 2011

We the People Music Video- Constitution Day Library Project

The first time I attended a DEN event I shared a wiki I created that highlights Discovery Education videos that go along with pictures my library was awarded through the Picturing America Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Because of that little bit of sharing I was chosen to attend a workshop with Dr. Lodge McCammon that changed the way I approach teaching and the use of technology. Dr. Lodge shared various techniques for using Flip video cameras in the classroom through a project called FIZZ.

I had avoided using video because of the amount of time it took. I only see each class of students in the library for 50 minutes a week. Video was too time consuming. Dr. Lodge’s methods changed my thinking and the result was learning and the learning was fun! Fun for me, and fun for my students, they actually said, “that was fun.” Imagine having fun in library class! I downloaded Lodge McCammon’s song, “We the People,” from Discovery Streaming, it is also available on his website along with the lyrics. I made copies of the lyrics and handed them out to my students.

I was a lot worried because the song says it is recommended for grades 6-12 and I was handing it out to 4th graders. I felt a little better looking at the Discovery Education Teacher's guide because it recommended it for grades 5 to 12 but I was still a little concerned. After a little tweaking of the assessment provided in the teacher’s guide, I brought the students into the library and showed the students the video on Dr. Lodge's song page.  And I explained what they were going to do. I told them in order for this to work they had to work together while listen to the song over and over again. Practice a lot and read the lyrics over and over to better understand what they were doing. I had a table full of props and told them they could use whatever they wanted and create whatever was not there that they needed.

I know it worked with the adults in my DEN group but would these 4th graders be able to handle it? You be the judge here is one of the videos my 4th grade students created for Constitution Day. Perhaps the best part of the whole adventure took place the following week when the students got to see their video and then take the tweaked assessment. The entire class did exceptionally well on the assessment! So not only did we have fun… it was even educational! Oh, and make sure you notice that Patriot Pete took part in the chorus!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Patriot Pete visits Arrowhead Elementary

Just a glimpse of Patriot Pete's time so far at Arrowhead Elementary Library.

Create your own video slideshow at

We are all going to miss Pete when he moves on to another elementary school!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Am I doing enough to prepare my students for the future?

I am often plagued by this question. Did I do enough today to get my students ready for their tomorrow. A tomorrow that may take them around the world in an instant. And honestly I am not sure. I often wonder how much control I should give them in the library because giving up control in the past has often been loud. In a library built in the 70's without any walls, in the center of the building, loud is not always looked upon as a good thing even when loud means learning is happening. Thanks to this video I am again re-thinking my pedagogy. Am I doing what is best for my students. I ask this question of myself every day. Let me know if you have an answer to this age old question. In the meantime enjoy LibrarainTiff's video.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Constitution Day

I attended a Dr. Lodge Fizz session at PETE & C a couple of years ago and I have been fighting myself about how to do this for Constitution Day. Every time I think I have it, it seems too confusing for 4th grade. So now I see this on Lodge's website. Am I crazy to try this with 4th grade?

Friday, September 02, 2011

Behind the Name Part 2

Here is one of the PowerPoints we made in 4th grade a couple of years ago. At that time it was easy to upload a large file to SlideShare but now I would have to buy more space. So, this past year each child got a CD (yes going backward).

Behind the Name

For several years I have been doing a "Behind the Name" project with my 4th graders in March (which is designated as Name Month). We read the book "The Name Jar" by Yangsook Choi which delights the growing Asian population in my school. After we read the book we research our name, create a Wordle of what our name means, write several different types of poems about our name and put it all into a PowerPoint. Today I found this "Behind the Name" project on SlideShare and now I am thinking of incorporating a PhotoStory instead of just a PowerPoint into the project and adding some interesting new dimensions to this fun, painless research project.

Thanks aidenyeh on SlideShare for sharing your project and informing my pedagogy!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Infographic on 6 Emerging Technologies in Education

Here is an Infographic on 6 Emerging Technologies in Education... do you use any of them? How will they change our teaching?

">masters in curriculum and instructional design
Via:Saint Xavier University's Master's in Curriculum and Instruction

Monday, August 22, 2011

Comic Creator

I just learned about a new comic creator called Make Beliefs Comix that is very easy to use and is quickly becoming my new favorite because it is so simple. I created the comic below in about 5 minutes. I am thinking it may take students (K-4) a bit longer but if we do it in the computer lab everyone could be working at the same time and it should not take longer than a class period to come up with an exciting comic as part of Constitution Day activities.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Book Care

Book Care is one of the fist lessons school librarians teach at the start of every school year and depending how things go, they may teach it again after break. George Mason University has a very cute video to show proper book care at the university level. I was considering using this with my 3rd and 4th grade students and telling them that proper care of books is something that will follow them to college, so they should start practicing now. However as cute as this video is, it made me wonder if my students will even be using books by the time they get to college!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Matt Damon at Save our Schools March

This past weekend Matt Damon spoke in favor of teachers and against testing at the Save our Schools March. He was introduced by his mom who is a teacher. What do you think of his comments?

My suspicion is that Matt didn't fit the mold of the perfect student and my suspicion is that none of our students do. Like he said each one is a puzzle and parents and teachers are he ones that put the pieces of the picture together.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Library Signage that does not take up too much space...

I have very little shelf space left in my library and it is not because I don't weed. Signage is a problem, there is not room for it on the shelf. What I need is signage that does not take up too much space on the shelf. Take a look at the video and see the solution to my problem! I love it!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ISTE 2011- SIGMs Forum- A Librarian's Take Away

I am so happy that someone posted these videos from the ISTE 2011- SIGMs Forum.  I was so impressed with Buffy Hamilton's talk about Enchantment and so excited that someone besides me knew Guy Kawasaki who I have been following on Twitter from the beginning. Buffy's talk inspired me to see my students in a new way.

Times are difficult for librarians. We are constantly being forced to defend our positions only to have them cut anyway. Gwyneth Jones- The Daring Librarian talked about making a shift.  The shift she is talking about is what this blog is all about.  We are the choir she is preaching to! We are the ones making the digital shifts! We should all be PowerLibrarians so we can shift the perceptions of others and be ready for the flood of people heading to our door!

Having a strong web presence is not showing off, it is not having a big head, it is what Librarians need to do to survive. What do you find when you Google yourself?

Friday, July 15, 2011

ISTE 2011- A takeaway from a Vendor? Sweet... no... SweetSearch!

When I was at ISTE11 in Philly I did not spend much time in the vendor hall. I never feel comfortable talking to vendors since I have so little clout when it comes to what my district purchases. When I did go into the hall I was specifically looking for World Book to see what their new science module was all about. I was so focused on that mission that I almost missed the biggest library takeaway of them all. Mark Moran of SweetSearch lured me in to his booth with bookmarks, yes that was all it took, paper bookmarks (since I give out more than 400 book marks to students each week of the school year this was quite a prize). Anyway, the bookmarks give students tips for Internet Research. Mark who is the founder and CEO of Dulcinea Media, the parent company of SweetSearch, told me about this free search engine for students. It searches only credible web sites. The search engine part is free but there is so much more and it will have a pay component. I love how well researched this product is and I love that some of it is free in case the other librarians do not agree that this is as great as I think! I also just started following Mark Moran on Twitter. And a SweetSearch search came up with a webinar link that explains more about SweetSearch. The video below is what Mark was offering at ISTE11.

A YouTube search of SweetSearch came up with this tutorial from Anna Laura Brown the SocialNetworkingLibrarian.

What do I think of SweetSearch? I am ready to put the widget on my library home page!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Are you an educator? Would you like to have a Personal Learning Network (PLN) with other educators? Are you a little overwhelmed by Twitter? You have heard me mention Plurk on this blog many times in the past. Well now one of my Plurk friends has come up with a cheat sheet so easy that anyone can learn to Plurk and start a PLN! Sharon Ricks, teacherricks on Plurk, has come up with this wonderful graphic showing how to Plurk. Check it out and check out her website on weebly! If you join Plurk be sure to friend me and friend Sharon! Make sure you remember to tell us in your profile that you are an educator!

Saturday, July 09, 2011


My friend Cathy Jo Nelson, who I met in real life for the first time at ISTE, sent me an invite to Google+. I just posted my first post and fell on the floor laughing (not really, maybe it was a short chuckle) at this video posted by my real life (then virtual) friend Kristin Hokanson.

Don't get me wrong, Google+ is starting to grow on me and while many of those I am following and are following me are not my Facebook friends, most, if not all, are my Twitter or Plurk friends. I can see setting up Google+ as an educator and following only my educator friends on it but then isn't that Twitter or Plurk? It is going to be interesting to see how this all shakes out and who comes out on top. If Google is smart they will allow the privacy controls educators ask for and Facebook feigns. Google already has 5 Privacy Settings and Google+ isn't a week old yet. So far so good.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ISTE 2011

My Brain is full. My Mind is tired. ISTE 2011 ended just 6 short hours ago and already I am making plans for school year 2011-2012 that include what I have embraced over the past 5 days in Philadelphia. I can't process it all right now but as the song says: I Love School.

The music video features Temple University's Broad Street Line and the Alliance for Progress Charter School's 4th Grade Class. This video made me smile while I watched it and helped me realize what ISTE is all about.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ISTE 11 Conference Planner

I am officially starting to get excited and worried about ISTE2011. I am excited but also not sure how to get the most out of my ISTE experience. Today I found this on the 2011 ISTE Newcomers group on the ISTE2011 Ning. It helped me fill out my conference schedule and now I have to go see if I can download it to my iCal. The amount of junk mail I am getting from vendors is a little overwhelming too!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Vote Livebinders...

Have you ever heard of Livebinders? It is my new favorite tech tool. I am planning to use it heavily in the next school year and I am hoping to learn more about it during ISTE. I first learned about Livebinders from one of my Plurk Buddies, Dean Mantz. Then I saw how some teachers were using it when I attended a Discovery Education Pre-Conference Workshop during PETE&C. Now Livebinders is holding a contest. You can vote for your favorite Livebinder and the winner will be announced at ISTE during an ISTE Unplugged Session at 11 AM on Monday, June 27, 2011. ISTE Unplugged sessions are short half hour presentations that are scheduled to take place right outside the Blogger's Cafe at the Broad Street Atrium in the Philadelphia Convention Center. Below you will find a way for you to take part in the voting. I suggest you go to each of the LiveBinders and check them out. They are all pretty awsome! And if you notice, Dean Mantz has two LiveBinders in the running! I am not going to tell you my favorite because too many of them are too good for me to take sides. Let's just say I will be voting more than once!

Vote for Your Top 10 LiveBinders

Sunday, June 12, 2011

ISTE and iPad

So now I am really getting excited about ISTE! I found this video posted by Paula Naugle on the ISTE2011 Conference Ning! Brad Flickinger, the author of Teaching with netbooks, presented 8 reasons why iPads are going to change education. I am excited because it was posted on the Elementary Educators group wall and I believe iPads may be the best platform for elementary students. The interface is simpler and kids pick it up right away. I think I would almost rather have a cart full of iPads rather than laptops! Now that Brad has been using iPads for a while I am sure he and Paula will have a lot more than 8 reasons to use iPads in elementary education. I can't wait to run into Brad or Paula at ISTE2011 in Philly! I am planning on learning a lot and taking my new found knowledge and skills back to my elementary library!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Learning to Change- Changing to Learn

A Plurk Friend of mine Clif Mims posted a link to his latest blog post today and it had the most interesting video attached that I just had to put it here for all of you to see. It made me think about why students seem so uninterested in school. Is school their most unproductive time of the day, their most unplugged? I have been thinking about this a lot lately and before Clip posted his video I asked the question of my Plurk buds... Should Social Networks be part of the curriculum and it raised a little bit of a fire storm. Some teachers felt they should not be, some were on the fence and some said sure... go for it. I asked the question because I for one am on the fence. Last week before Cyber-Safety expert Dr. Sameer Hinduja spoke in my district and opened my eyes to some of the seedier things going on via social networks. I want to be a vehicle of change, I want to change to learn so that I can teach the future. So, watch this video and weigh in on social networks in school. What does the video make you think about?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

CIPA and Blocked Sites... the Truth!

In library classes and in technology integration classes for my library and technology teaching certifications I learned about the anachronisms for the various acts that protect our children online. The law of the land now is CIPA. The Children’s Internet Protection Act was enacted in 2001 by the federal government to make sure kids were not exposed to offensive Internet content on school and library computers. It evolved from COPA, the Child Online Protection Act of 1998 that was a direct response to the Supreme Court decision striking down the Communications Decency Act in 1997. While I learned a lot about how the acts evolved and what each was supposed to accomplish, nothing prepared me for the frustration of teaching with a website one day and going in to use it the next day only to find it was blocked by district filters. Recently in her blog post “Straight from the DOE: Dispelling Myths About Blocked Sites,” Tina Barseghian spelled out just what I was taught and wish administrators with the block everything mentality would understand: YouTube is not the enemy, websites can be unblocked for teachers, broad filters are not the answer, unblocking some sites will not cause the district to lose E-rate, teachers and librarians should be equipped to teach students to be responsible digital citizens, and teachers are not the bad guys and if they ask to teach with a sight they should be trusted. For more explanation read Barseghian’s post, it is a breath of fresh unfiltered air.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The little Engine that Could

I am not sure if this a comment on how I feel after the Pennsylvania School Librarian's Conference this weekend or a lesson plan in development. But there is a very nice kit for the book "The Little Engine that Could on and I just found this very cute video. I think I may have to read the book to my students during our book fair this week. Wish us luck with the book fair!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Glogster State Reports

My 4th grade student just completed their State Report Glogs. It was a project that I had them complete in the library because there is just not enough time in a school year for teachers to get to everything and I wanted to give them another Web2.0 tool for their toolbox.

When we do a project in the library it always takes so much longer to complete because we only meet once a week and many times the students have other commitments during library special like band and orchestra or speech. If there is no school one day that puts us back even farther. Students have been working on gathering their information and pictures, and playing with the Glogster tool since mid January. The last class finished last Friday. What is a glog you ask? A glog is an interactive electronic poster. It has so many educational uses that one Glogster account is not enough for a librarian. The way it works is a teacher and/or librarian signs up for an educational Glogster account. Glogster then gives you 50 student logins. You can have your students create their login or you can do what I did, I had each student create a login with their first name being their classroom number and their last name being the classroom teacher’s last name. Not only did this offer an additional level of security for my under age-13 students but I will be able to use those accounts over next year with the same classes. It also provided an interesting grading outcome. I graded each glog against the same rubric not knowing which student did the glog. All I knew was their classroom teacher and their class number. When I was putting the grades in my grade book I noticed that many of the special education students had actually done better with the project than the gifted education students. Embedded here are several glogs, see if you can tell which students are gifted and which are in special education.

While this was not a scientific experiment by any means, I can’t wait to see if the results are duplicated the next time I assign a Glogster project. The students also enjoyed the Glogster network and looking at the glogs created by their fellow students. Great tool to introduce social networking in a controled environment, a walled garden so to speak.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I'll Fight You For the Library

As most of us know, April is Poetry Month. Welcome to my new favorite poem to share for Poetry Month. I love my PLN (Personal or Professional Learning Network) on Plurk. I discover the most wonderful things when my Plurk buddies share. This YouTube video was shared by my Friend Scottie Miller from Oriental, North Carolina. Like me she is an elementary school librarian. Hope you enjoy this and realize that teachers care about the education of their students!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Twitter Sheep


Who is following you on Twitter? Who are you following? What would your tweets and the Tweets of those you follow look like in a Wordle-like program? If you want to get a clear picture of what you are all about have I got a fun Web App for you! It's called TwitterSheep and it is a lot of fun even if it does not paint an accurate picture of you or your interests. I used the App on my Twitter account and got the results in the picture to the right. Hope you have fun with this! Bahhhh... Enjoy!

Google Head

I admit it, I am a Google Head. My students will tell you that. The day I took off to take my daughter to the doctor after she delivered my second grandson I was there at the doctor's office but my students thought I was at “Google Fest.” When I got back to school I had to check out what “Google Fest” was all about. Go Ann Arbor!

Hope you enjoyed your flash mobs and hope you get your Google Fiber!

Anyway, my students know that Mrs. Conger uses Google and GMail, and GoogleDocs, and they also know that Mrs. Conger teaches them how to Google and will be looking over their shoulders while they Google. Friday was Crazy Hair day at my school so since I am a self professed Google Head I made it real, Google Head real. (See picture above). Now Kathy Schrock has come out with this new picture of how Google and Google Apps fit into the new revised Bloom's Taxonomy. She has been getting wonderful feedback on Twitter and Plurk for what she is calling Google Tools to support Bloom’s Revised Technology. Notice that several Google Tools fit into more than one category and notice that Google Advanced Search is considered a tool under the category of Understanding. I have been teaching my students to search using advanced search and I have been thinking that I am doing such a wonderful thing and here we are only in the category of understanding. I got depressed when I thought of all the work my students were doing and the more I thought about it, the more I realized they were going beyond understanding and applying what they knew and transferring that knowledge to new situations. They were doing things that not only met the new AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner; they were becoming 21st Century Citizens. They were utilizing digital tools to gather information on things they wanted to learn about, they were emerging into life-long learners. Isn’t that what we want them to do? Ok, so some of them were checking the scores on the NCAA tournament but they asked my permission first! :-}

So, I am going out on a limb here and disagreeing with Kathy Schrock, but just a little. I believe that Google Advanced Search falls under more than one category. In applying advanced search principals my students are no longer using copyright sensitive materials, they are applying the skills I have taught them to make decisions regarding materials they are choosing to use in their projects and reports and for their own use. And if Google Advance Search can fit under more than one category can other Google Tools fit into more than the categories assigned? I am taking Kathy’s Google Bloom’s and using it with a grain of salt, realizing that it too is a tool!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tony Hawk's Reading for Scholastic

Scholastic Inc. has a new (well, new to me) YouTube Channel with the unforgettable name "The Scholastic Channel's Channel," and it's all about reading and Book Talks. Well, maybe they could have been a little more creative with the name but there are also channels for Scholastic Kids and Scholastic Teens. It is super exciting for a librarian to have YouTube Channels directed at getting kids to read. The Scholastic Channels also have author interviews and so far the comments seem positive! Too bad YouTube is blocked in my district. But the good news is that the powers that be are thinking about unblocking it for teachers so librarians like me can use this wonderful tool to promote reading!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

History for Music Lovers

Found this wonderful Youtube channel that even taught me something new about history using music... kids will love it.

Check out Napoleon and Cleopatra and so many more!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Twitter Lessons Today

Today was a snow day. It could have been a day to sleep and forget about school but we have this wonderful technology integrator in our district that gets us all excited about things. Today she held an Elluminate session for the teachers about Twitter. I have been on Twitter for a very long time but I went to the session so I could be moral support. It turns out that Kathy Schrock also held a Twitter session today at FETC. I was hoping that her session was going to be streamed and sent her a message on Twitter to post the link to the stream. It was not streamed but Kathy sent me a message with links to her resources. A teacher/librarian's dream! Now I can spend the rest of the week clicking and learning! Oh, and on Kathy's page she has a Youtube video from one of my mentors, Jim Gates... here is Twitter in 60 Seconds. Oh, I also follow Jim on Twitter!

Join Twitter and start your own Personal Learning Network (PLN). Oh, and it is very cool that someone as famous as Kathy Schrock, who I learned about in library school, took the time to send me a message on Twitter with her links. Librarians are just like that, we share, share, share! Here is a link to Kathy Schrock's blog! Enjoy! :-)

More Groundhog Day Fun!

Here is more information on the Groundhog Inner Circle from Accuweather!

Learn more about Groundhog Day here.

Happy Groundhog Day

Every year on Groundhog day I wake up early to record the events on PCN for my students and every year they eagerly await their library class so they can see Punxsutawney Phil's latest prediction. However, on this 125th year of Phil predicting the weather my students will not be able to see Phil calling for an early spring because we have a snow day. So, I am telling them through my blog that Phil did NOT see his shadow today, February 2, 2011. Yeah for an early spring, since this is our 5th snow day this year we all can use an early Spring! Now watch this short video about Phil and his two handlers and remember Phil is the smartest groundhog in the world because he lives at the Punxsautawney Library! What better place to live?

Happy Groundhog Day!

Thursday, January 20, 2011