Thursday, October 25, 2012

Privacy is Dead

Can I brag about my PLN again? PLN stands for Personal Learning Network or Professional Learning Network. These are the people that I follow and follow me most on Plurk but on Twitter and Facebook too. I first came across Matthew Hughes when he was a pimply faced teenager in high school in the UK.  We followed each other while he was in college but were never friends on Plurk until recently. And I am amazed at his growth and maturity. Yes, in a way I feel like he is one of my students or one of my kids. We have never met yet, but today he taught me something we all should realize, nothing is private on the Internet.  Here he is speaking about the death of privacy and how we can find out anything about anybody online!

Pretty heavy stuff and who would put a picture of their debit card online?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Internet Safety

Lately I have been very impressed with some YouTube videos I have encountered on the subject of Internet Safety, Cyber Bullying, and Digital Footprints. I am very impressed with the video below.


On Saturday, October 20, 2012 I attended EdCamp Harrisburg held at Harrisburg University. Yes, I am a geek. I spent a full day at a conference that gave me no professional development credit and you know what. I loved every second of it.
It was my first time seeing the Pennsylvania State Capitol that close but it was my second EdCamp experience. And it did not dissapoint. I learned so many new things my head is still spinning. I learned what I need to upgrade on my MacBook Pro in order to creat e-textbooks for the iPad. I learned a few good websites for creating QR Code games ( and And I was one of the big winners. I won a year site license for Flocabulary! I can't wait to tell my principal tomorrow morning. I plan to use the Flocabulary video below with my students this week as we study the election process and if this video is any indication of what is available through Flocabulary, my students are going to love it!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

No more dull annual report!

I took away so many good ideas from last nights first ever Teacher/Libraraian chat on Twitter (#tlchat). The theme was collaboration and how librarians reach their target audiences, teachers, students, parents, and administrators.  Some suggested e-mailing teachers good links to topics they are teaching at the moment, been there, tried that. Others suggested a monthly newsletter, been there tried that. Some others suggested going to PTO/PTA (Home and School) meetings to talk with parents, already do that when I can and volunteer at many events. It is the least I can do for a Home and School that helps me with my semi-annual book fairs. I have no library aides and my parent book fair helpers are like gold to me. They help me tame the book fair and keep me informed on not only their students but on the pulse of the community. My favorite time of the year is my evening book fair event when I can chat with students and their parents at school but away from school pressure knowing the book fair is in the capable hands of a Home and School volunteer.

And then Jennifer LaGarde, aka librarygirl, shared her annual report. An annual report is something I have been toying with for many years but is becoming more of an imperative now that hard times have fallen on school librarians. I have never figured out what or to whom I should be reporting since this is not a requirement, and then came Jennifer! She posted a link to her school blog post of her very visual annual report and I loved it! Not a dull, lifeless document, but an in your face graphic display of instruction and student impact that every student, parent, teacher, and administrator can understand. A copy of her report is embedded below but not only that, she shares her goals, audience, and tools in her blog post making the reader see that an annual report does not have to be dull all the way down to the bottom line! Enjoy the graphics! is a new online tool for me but I am so looking forward to trying it. Thanks for influencing my practice this year and every year @librarygirl.

Sunday, September 09, 2012


I know I have said this on twitter recently but I have not written a blog post lately or maybe ever about how much my students and I love our IPEVO document cameras. About 2 years ago I purchased my own IPEVO P2V document camera to use with students in the traditional way. The document camera I was using was an old Elmo that I purchased from eBay the year after I started teaching. The overhead projector I was assigned was so old we could not longer get bulbs for it.  So, I purchased the Elmo on my own (better than having nothing) and the students loved it! They responded and completed more of their assignments when they were able to see the information in front of them. When we work together they can following along and they love working with apps on my personal iPad (iPad 1) while the rest of the class watches. I now focus the iPad under the IPEVO P2V and it shows either on the TV or the SMART Board. Then last year Alex Yang from iPevo contacted me and asked if I would be interested in an IPEVO Ziggy. I checked with my principal first but of course I said yes! At first I thought I was being greedy since I had the original IPEVO Point 2 View but I am able to do so much more with the Ziggy because it prevents glare on items with a special slide in plastic disc. And then I had this brilliant idea (at least to me) to get the document cameras in the hands of the students. The additional document camera gave me the flexibility to allow students to take their own pictures and do their own presentations. Giving them use of the both the IPEVO P2V and Ziggy allowed them to practice presentation and take their own pictures in the library. They began using the document cameras on their own in a new way. And let me tell you do they ever love it! I keep both IPEVOs attached to student computers and students may use them at any time in the library to take pictures or fine-tune presentations. The 4th grade Behind the name project became so much less of a burden on me. Students take their own pictures now and save them to their network drives saving me hours of downloading pictures from digital cameras and uploading them to their drives. Using 2 document cameras halves the time it takes to photograph the entire class, and the pictures are good quality. How can I ever thank IPEVO and Alex Yang enough? Students constantly use the document cameras to take pictures of themselves, fellow students, and others fun things happening in the library. One group of students took it upon themselves to make a farewell video for a teacher using the document cameras to capture the photos. I am now considering purchasing a magnifying lens & a height extension stand for my IPEVO P2V.  If you use your document cameras in different ways leave a comment so we can share experiences. 

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Advice for New Teachers

Richard Byrne is in my PLN. He writes a Blog called Free Technology for Teachers. Mostly he talks about free lesson plans and technology for teachers. Last year around this time he asked the PLN for suggestions for new teachers. Below is his embedded Google Doc of the results.
Now Richard Byrne is looking to update his crowd sourced tips for new teachers. If you have a tip to share check out his blog and fill out the embedded form. Don't forget to add your Twitter or Plurk name. Who knows you may find yourself joining Richard Byrne's PLN!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Don't Let the Pigeon Touch the Library Books

This morning my grandsons and I went to story time at the local library. I wore my powder blue Mo Willem's Pigeon shirt. It has the pigeon on the front as shown in the photo and on the back it says, "I have dreams you know."  One of the moms fell over herself after the story time trying to get to me to find out where I got my shirt.  She was so excited because her children like most children are addicted to the crazy pigeon and his antics. Her exact words to me were, "I read those books over and over, I might as well wear the shirt." Mo Willems, we love your pigeon! Which brings me to this wonderful parody video which teaches students about book care using their beloved pigeon. You can bet I will be using this video during the first week of classes to introduce book care to my students! Oh, by the way, the Pigeon also has his own Twitter account, and I got my pigeon shirt at a librarian's conference but you can find it here. Looks like I can also get myself a plush pigeon there too, guess I better do that so my students can make their own pigeon videos!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Manage Your Digital Footprint

I did not have time to take part in The State of Tech PD in your PJ's Online Conference on June 16th. It was my birthday after all! But I love that some of the videos are still available. I am enjoying this one below on managing my digital footprint. I want to share it with my students. Hope it is something you want to share with your students as well. Post a comment and let me know what you are doing for PD this summer.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Discovery Education- Quizlet

Thank You Discovery Education for the year subscription to Quizlet. As part of teacher appreciation week, Discovery Education gave each Discovery Education Star a free year of Quizlet and I have already found one lesson to use with my students on the SMART Board. Take a look:
Dewey Decimal Classification System.
Can't wait to try it! Thanks DEN.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Goal of Research

My fellow Pennsylvania Elementaty Librarian, Susan Hefley, recently sent out a request on the Pennsylvania School Librarian's Association list-serve asking for us to tell her what research means to us, the goal of research to us. So, how would you define it or how would you explain it to your students? She took all of our answers and put them into the Wordle below. As you look at the beauty of the research process explained in the design below please note that the bigger the word the more times it was expressed as important to those that replied to the informal survey.
Wordle: Goal of Research So what do you think? What does research mean to you? What is your goal when you do research?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Closing Thoughts- PSLA 2012

Reflections on the close of PSLA 2012- when I published my thoughts about librarians and librarianship the first morning of the PSLA 2012 Conference, I was praying that this would be the PSLA where change would happen.  And I totally agree with Karen Hornberger in her blog post on Saturday, I too "felt an energy this year that I have not previously felt at our conference which is VERY exciting!" Karen you are so totally right. This year was different.

Professionally and personally, I have never taken so much away from PSLA! And I know why, it was the conversations. People were talking to each other and asking questions and there was the kind of dialogue that usually only happens at an Educon or EdCamp like event.
I also agree with Karen, I love the PETE&C conference and this year PSLA felt more like PETE&C only with librarians!!! And that is the way it should be, librarians should be the technology leaders in their schools and districts. Maybe we are waking up or maybe it was just me sleeping and not realizing that over the past year my fellow librarians were doing wonderful techie things with their students!

In the past there was never any reason to follow Twitter during PSLA, usually I am the only one Plurking away (I Plurk rather than Tweet) adding a PSLA hashtag to an empty audience. Oh, I get responses from my Plurk PLN but not from anyone actually at PSLA. This year was different, Twitter was aflutter with #PSLA12 comments! There were dialogues happening via Twitter, even one of the librarians in my district took a Twitter workshop and texted me for my Twitter name and we’ve kept the conversation going all evening via Twitter!

I was thrilled to see so many of our younger librarians stepping out of their comfort zones and presenting much needed sessions and two hour technology integration workshops that were vital, vibrant, and viral! And others were feeling it too. Patrick Higgins (@pjhiggins) tweeted this from Pam Berger’s Becoming a Connected Librarian- Create a Personal Learning network session: “Interesting how many devices in this room: 95% of people on phone/laptop/tablet. Two yrs ago, you would not have seen that. #psla12.” What a difference two years makes.
Thank you so much PSLA. You made my weekend. I actually have ideas to take back with me on how to improve my library program. I even have a new PA librarian friend on Plurk that I have to start introducing to my PLN! Thank you PSLA12 Conference Committee, you deserve much applause! Because of your forward thinking I have many ideas on how to engage the iPad generation in my school!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Breakfast Thoughts PSLA 2012

Reflections after the first morning of my state library conference... Dear school librarians, please wake up.  We need to change. We all need to become powerlibrarians!  If we don't there is no need for us. What makes us think we can continue with library programs as usual when our students are using iPads before they come to school in Kindergarten? Why do we think we can continue with business as usual when our library classes are one of our student's least connected time of the day? Yes, we need to read to students but we also need to engage them with the media they do not know how to live without. Yes, I said they can not live without it because they never have known a reality where the world was not available in the palm of their hand. I am proud that we are having some technology sessions at PSLA 2012 but we need to do more. And despite the wonder that is Joyce Valenza who is my hero at the high school level, the change I am talking about has to now start with me at the elementary level! We who are on fixed library schedules and see students once a week need to start adding multimedia modalities into our curriculums and we have to do it now! We are behind the curve of our students! What can I do to start? It does not have to be a total shocking change, we have to get our feet wet fist and go in from there.  We can do it if we add one or two new mediums and modalities a year and before we know it we will have a vital, vibrant, viral library media center that is so integral to our school communities that there will be no way to cut us. Necessity is the mother of change. Right now it is necessary that we change!  Ask yourself the question I am asking myself, "What am I going to do in the library next week to engage the iPad generation?"

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Just heard about this website that sends greetings to your family and friends with pictures taken all over the world. It is called GeoGreeting. Here is a testing out greeting I created. Click the link below and try it out.

Not sure how I would use this with students in the library but it may be a fun geography lesson.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Looking at the Earth and Stars in a New Way...

Adam Mann a Wired Science contributor added this time lapse video to the Wired Science blog yesterday. It is just too beautiful not to share! My students are learning about famous American women in the library and this week we are reading an e-book biography about Sally Ride. I am also sharing this video which offers a glimpse of the earth in a way few every get to see. This video actually gives you the feeling of the Earth being a big ball out in space with stars all around. It is a way of looking at Earth in space that I have never seen before. I hope my students are as impressed with this video as I am! Thanks to my Plurk buddy Ken for sharing the video on Plurk and if you are not part of Plurk please consider joining us! My Plurk PLN Rocks!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I tried out a new (to me) web tool today. It is called WonderSay and what is created is called a WonderSaid. Below is what I WonderSaid:

made on Wondersay - Animate text with style
Not sure how to use this tool with students yet but it is fun.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Don't Be This Person...

Do you have autistic students in your school?  More and more special area teachers are providing differentiated instruction for special needs students with autism.  Notice, I did not use the new term flying around education today for library, art, gym, health, and music classes... encore. I do not like the term encore. Encore teachers in my mind are dispensable, because they are after all encore. And you can have a concert or run a school without an encore. But I digress.
I came across this video while exploring my new obsession, Pinterest. It led me to a little closer look at my bias toward my autistic students and I do not want to be like the person in the video below. I am continually examining my pedagogy and my content to make sure I am not over stimulating my autistic students. This video makes me wonder what else I can do to make a difference.

Don't be that person.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Personal vs. Differentiated Instruction

My friend Ken Young on Plurk sent me this link to view a wonderful blog post and chart from another Plurk buddy Barbara Bray. In her Blog Re-Thinking Learning she wrote a post about the differences between differentiation and individualization. It stirred so much controversy that she decided to do more research the result of her research became this chart.
So now the question is should we be personalizing, differentiating, or individualizing our instruction?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cost of NCLB

Here is a picture I found by way of my Plurk buddy Dean Mantz that shows the cost of NCLB. He got the link via Kelly Tenkley of and 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Snowflake Bentley

Next week I am reading Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin to my kindergarten students. The only problem is that they can not see any of his wonderful photographs. The three pictures in the book are so tiny that the beauty in the snowflakes is lost.  I am planning to include the video below so they can see how beautiful snowflakes can be. Enjoy!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Dr. Seuss Relief!

I just could not resist this lovely picture that I found on Pinterest.  Pinterest is new to me, I don't even have an account! But I will be looking into it more to see if it could be used at the elementary level. For now enjoy this great photo!