growing up reading

I was thinking today about how I need to update my online catalog of the books that I own, when I remembered a prezi I created back in one of my pedagogy courses when I was student teaching. It is about my experiences with reading and writing throughout my life. I thought of it because in it I mentioned my online catalog. Looking back over it has reaffirmed my decision to pursue librarianship.

They will breathe with gills that make the sound of fluttering pages.

Comic from Wondermark: An Illustrated Jocularity, by David Malki


My November scholastic book order arrived yesterday and I loved on eof the books a student ordered. It’s called All My Friends are Planets: The Story of Pluto, by Alisha Vimawala illustrated by Troy Nelson.

The story explains what it means to be a planet and how dwarf planets are different. Pluto learns that even though it is different, there are other dwarf planets out there. It not only teaches science concepts, but also self acceptance. It’s very brief, but so well done and the pictures are excellent. I am definitely adding it to my classroom wishlist!

Website Project

I have done it. I have created a website all by myself. I used wix, and it was actually really easy. It felt a bit like designing PowerPoint slides, the way you could insert things and drag them around. My site had to include resources made with three different web 2.0 tools, and there was a long list of tools we were not allowed to use and criteria for the tools we found. I ended up using Buncee, Nearpod, and Flipsnack. Buncee was definitely my favorite of the tools I used. It was easy, fun, and looks really cool. Visit my website to see how I used each tool.

hello stress

Kindergarten life this year is a rough ride. We have so many kids (and got another today) and so many of them require so much extra attention. I need to have at least two more of me. I am writing a song. It’s like the twelve days of Christmas, but for the 12 days leading up to Thanksgiving break. Here’s what I have so far

On the twelfth day before Thanksgiving break my students gave to me a handful of broken crayons (but only purple, one kid just doesn’t like purple).

On the eleventh day before Thanksgiving break my students gave to me two angry parents and a handful of broken crayons (but only purple, one kid just doesn’t like purple).

On the tenth day before Thanksgiving break my students gave to me three bleeding wounds, two angry parents, and a handful of broken crayons (but only purple, one kid just doesn’t like purple).

On the ninth day before Thanksgiving break my students gave to me four restroom emergencies, three bleeding wounds, two angry parents, and a handful of broken crayons (but only purple, one kid just doesn’t like purple).

I wonder what the next verse will bring.

Speaking of Thanksgiving break, for some reason I thought my final project for my class was due after the break, so I was planning on working on it over the break when I had all that time. It’s a good thing I checked the assignment due dates today because it is actually due before the break. Now I have to figure out when I can work on it. That’s what I get for not paying enough attention.

I’ve been spending more time in my mentor’s library lately. My mentor is the librarian at my school, which is convenient. Unfortunately she has lunch/recess duty during my planning period, so I am only able to be in there with her during my lunch time. I don’t mind that though because kindergarten lunch is 10:30am, so I usually eat during my planning anyway (because who wants to eat lunch at 10:30 in the morning?).
This week is book fair, so she’s been showing me what she has to do to have that running. I helped during a third grade class library visit checking out library materials while she ran the cash register. I will be helping with book fair during literacy night on Thursday as well.

Thursday is also our book parade. My partner teacher and I are going as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. We are going to dress as the trees and each student has been assigned a letter to make and decorate with things that start with that letter. Hopefully I get some good pictures.

Now I should probably go and work on prepping for tomorrow’s science lesson (we’re going to paint with ice to learn about changes from heat), and getting my assignments done.

Battle of the Books

This week we were tasked with creating an advertisement for a library program using Animoto. The catch? I couldn’t be for a common program like book club, literacy night, book fair, etc. I figured if I’m going to be making an ad, I might as well make something that is useful to my librarian. This year our school is going to participate in the Battle of the Books, so I created an ad to show the students to get them interested. I wanted to use photos from last year’s competition that were posted on the district website, but I needed permission. I was able to contact the Battle of the Books organizer, find out who the photographer was, and get permission to use the photos and the BotB logo she created. I’m pretty pleased with my final product.


Copyright Group Project

Yesterday we finally submitted the group project we’ve been working on for most of the semester so far. Our group created a presentation to teach about copyright law, a handout, an assignment, a rubric, and a presentation about how the rest of the pieces correlate to the ASSURE model of lesson planning. There were a lot of moving pieces to this assignment and it took some figuring out to organize how we were going to complete everything.

The ASSURE Model

The ASSURE lesson model is an acronym that is a guide for teachers to follow when planning a lesson that integrates technology. The steps are:

  • Analyze the Learners
    • this includes looking at their demographics, prior knowledge, and learning needs
  • State Standards and Objectives
    • once you have analyzed the learners you can select standards that you think they need to work on and craft an objective
      • a good objective includes the ABCDs
        • specify the Audience (who is learning here)
        • state the desired Behavior (what will they be able to do)
        • identify the Conditions of how you will assess
        • set the Degree of mastery students will be expected to achieve
  • Select Strategies and Resources
    • now that you know what you are going to teach and what you want the students to be able to do you need to decide on a strategy for how you will teach and what technology or other resources will help you achieve your learning goals
  • Utilize Resources
    • follow the five P’s to make sure resources are being used efficiently and effectively
      • Preview the resources
      • Prepare the resources
      • Prepare the environment
      • Prepare the learners
      • Provide the learning experience
  • Require Learner Participation
    • provide activities that engage students and monitor that they are participating
  • Evaluate and Revise
    • assess students and reflect on how successful the lesson was and what you can do to improve it in the future

The Product

Here is what my group created, the presentations, handout, and rubric all together in one document!

I feel like I’ve always been so blessed with group work as an education major and then as a school library student. I have never had the common nightmare group where no one does their share. I don’t know if it’s because people in education are more likely to be team players and understand the importance of participating in the learning experience. If any of my group members are reading this, thank you for being awesome!


Smaldino, S. E., Lowther, D. L., Russell, J. D., & Mims, C. (2015). Instructional technology and media for learning (11th ed.)(pp.38-39). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Custom Search Engine

Our assignment this week in my 5720 class was to create a custom google search engine using 3-10 websites. We had to pick a topic relating to the core curriculum of our school (math, science, reading, social studies, or English). I, of course, went with science because it is my favorite subject to teach. My search engine focuses on our solar system and you can check it out here.

Custom search engines are such a great tool for teachers. It allows teachers to select quality, relevant resources for students to use in their research, while also allowing them to practice using search engines to find information. It makes the results less overwhelming for students and ensures that they are not finding false information and developing misconceptions. A custom search engine would also be perfect for a webquest.

Evaluating Web Resources


I actually managed to work ahead! I wanted to go ahead and do this assignment and get it out of the way. I had to make a ThingLink with resources to teach something related to research in the library.

The standard I chose


My ThingLink focuses on evaluating web resources.

We also had to create a padlet to accompany the ThingLink. The purpose of the padlet is to be a way for distance learners to engage in discussion on the topic.

Made with Padlet

The assignment never mentioned included a list of references, but what kind of librarian would I be if I didn’t?

Makerspace Fun

This week we were tasked with creating a makerspace activity to add to a class wiki. It’s really fun to be able to look at the pages my classmates have added and see the cool projects they have done. Here is my contribution: Halloween Basket Makerspace Activity

This project is something that I did with my kindergartners last year, so it can be done with any age. I was amazed at some of the things my kids came up with. It was so cool to see their thinking and problem solving. I had them working in groups of three to come up with their baskets, so I also got to see who stepped up as a leader, what teams made a plan before jumping in and wasting their tape. It was fun for them and gave me valuable information.

Learner Centered Strategies

This week I made a google slides presentation and an accompanying handout in google docs. This is the first time that I have used those applications, so it was a learning process. It was not that difficult to figure out really, they’re pretty intuitive if you’ve used Microsoft PowerPoint and Word. I missed some of the features of the Microsoft products, but I loved the way it was synced anywhere I wanted to work on it and when I edited it it updated everywhere the link was shared.

Here’s the presentation and the handout.


Incorporating Educational Technology

The article “Let’s Play! Why School Librarians Should Embrace Gaming in the Library” (Elkins, 2015) aims to convince school library media specialists to add games, specifically video games, to the collection. There are several benefits to including video games in libraries. Three of the key benefits highlighted in the article are building 21st century skills, leveling the socio-economic playing field, and building relationships with patrons.

Video games build 21st century skills by engaging players in problem solving and critical thinking. Players also develop collaborative skills when they work together to design game modifications, and literacy skills when they write strategy guides.

Libraries have always been an economic leveler, providing access to content and materials to people who would otherwise be unable to afford them. The benefits of gaming should not be limited to the wealthy, and libraries can help close the gap.

Video game culture is just that, a culture. If you can speak the lingo you can relate to students on their level. Showing students that their interests are valued can make a big impression.

One of the biggest problems that a librarian will encounter when trying to add games to the library collection is budget. Gaming systems and games are expensive and school library budgets are notoriously small. Two ways to get a foot in the door are to start small with adding game guides to the collection, and to start with less expensive games that can be played on mobile phones and tablets. Even if your school does not possess mobile devices, sites like GoFundMe and Donor’s Choose make it easy to set up a virtual fundraiser.

Incorporating gaming into the library comes with challenges, financially and logistically, but the benefits are worth the work.


Elkins, A. J. (2015). Let’s play! Why school librarians should embrace gaming in the library. Knowledge Quest, 43(5), 58-63.

Web 2.0 Tools and Cyberbullying

As promised, here is my post from last week’s discussion.

How do you feel about the way the video represents Web 2.0 tools?

The film “The Machine is Us/ing Us” (Wesch, 2007) is a dynamic, engaging, informative, and thought provoking piece. It encourages viewers to consider the long term implications of the way Web 2.0 is changing society. Interestingly, this video was published to YouTube ten years ago. A lot has changed in that time, just as the video predicted. Society, law, relationships, and privacy have all had to adapt to the ever changing, ever growing entity that is Web 2.0. Because of this ever changing nature, information about Web 2.0 quickly becomes obsolete, but the content of this video has remained relevant.

As an educator who may use social networking tools, how will you protect your students from cyberbullying?

Education and relationships are the first line of defense. Students need to know how to use tools safely. It would not make sense to let a person wield a power drill without first teaching them what it is meant to be used for, how to use it safely and effectively, and providing safety equipment such as protective glasses. In the same way students must be educated about how to safely and effectively use online tools. All the safety knowledge in the world, however, cannot guarantee a child will not encounter cyberbullying, either as the target, a witness, or even the perpetrator. This is where the importance of building relationships comes in. A student who witnesses or is the target of bullying must feel safe coming to an adult for help. Too often children are embarrassed, afraid of being labeled a snitch, or worried about retaliation. Relationships can also prevent bullying from starting. A student who has positive relationships with adult role models is less likely to become a bully.

What advice would you give your students and other educators about using Web 2.0 tools?

When contemplating the incorporation of Web 2.0 tools it is important to ask yourself what it is you want your students to learn and how a Web 2.0 tool can achieve that goal. The ASSURE lesson plan model described in chapter three of Instructional Technology and Media for Learning (Smaldino, Lowther, & Mims, 2015) provides an excellent framework to guide an educator through the process of reflecting on the benefits and uses of different tools. Using Web 2.0 tools just to be using Web 2.0 tools is not effective or beneficial.


Smaldino, S. E., Lowther, D. L., Mims, C. (2015). Instructional Technology and Media for Learning, 11th Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Wesch, M. (2007, January 31). The machine is us/ing us [Video file]. Retrieved from

I’m not dead yet

I have been a very neglectful blogger. This back to school season has really been stressful and overwhelming. It is now the fourth week of school and it’s starting to get easier, but I’m still feeling spread thin. I’m not dead yet, though. I’m going to get through this season. I’m so glad I decided to only take one course this semester to see how balancing school/work/life works out though.

In the course I’m taking, INFO 5720, the assignments I have completed so far are setting up my livebinder portfolio to house my assignments from the class and a discussion about social tagging/bookmarking sites.

Here’s what I had to say about social bookmarking:

Librarians are curators and disseminators of knowledge. Social bookmarking allows librarians to do just that. School librarians have so much knowledge and expertise to share with teachers, but in my experience teachers do not realize this or go to the trouble of asking their librarian questions. With social bookmarking the librarian can easily gather resources that could be of use to the teachers on their campus, organize them, and share them. Not only does this give teachers new tools, but it also encourages them to add to the collection and exchange ideas.

Looking at the tags on a social bookmarking site can give you an idea of what types of content and resources a website contains before you even visit the site. If I am looking for a site that has math lesson ideas that includes student practice sheets and video tutorials I can search my social bookmarking site of choice for my topic and scan the list of results to see if any contain tags indicating they have the resources I want. This keeps me from having to open and explore each site individually, saving time.

Social bookmarking has applications beyond teacher centered use. My first thought when considering how it could be employed in a lesson was as a resource hub for webquests. I recently worked with a group to create a webquest about the solar system and we used popplet to gather all of the websites the students would need to visit in order to locate all the information, but a social bookmarking site could be used in the same way.

Social bookmarking could also be used for students to track their research sources throughout a project. A teacher could assign each student a unique tag to use, such as lastname_class_title of assignment, and instruct students to tag all the sites they use for the assignment as they find them. Not only would this help students keep their sources together, the teacher could pull up any student’s tag and check to see if they are collecting resources and whether the resources are quality/reputable.

I am currently working on the next discussion: web 2.0 tools and cyber bullying. I’ll share that with you as soon as I’m done.

I still want to do a little classroom tour, hopefully next week I will be able to tidy up a bit and take some photos.

kindergarten crazy

Training a new group of kindergarteners is hard work. I love teaching kinder, but when I finish my degree and move into a library I will not miss this part at all.

All the supplies my students brought are stacked up in the back of my room and I’m trying to find the energy to get them stowed away (i.e. procrastinating by writing this instead of getting to work). I have more boxes of tissues than anyone ever needs. I still have boxes left from last year. Tissue boxes take up so much storage space. I have to find room somewhere though. Once I have things put away I will share a little classroom tour with you. I finally got around to organizing my classroom library using the labels made by Maria Gavin over on Teachers Pay Teachers. My partner teacher has been using this system for the last couple of years and I’ve been so envious of her tidy shelves that I finally got it for myself.

Classes for me as a student start in a few days. I decided to only take one class this semester so I can get a feel for how much I can handle while still teaching full time. Hopefully I will take two classes in the spring so I can finish sooner.


Ten Commandments for School Librarians

I just turned in my last assignment of the semester. I wrote ten commandments for school librarians based off of Joyce Valenza’s Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians

  1. Reading I will at all times promote reading across all modalities.
  2. Information Landscape I will be a beacon of current technology best practices.
  3. Collection Development I will develop a collection of books, technology, and creative tools that meets the unique needs of my population.
  4. Access, Equity, Advocacy I will advocate for and strive to provide equitable access to digital tools and information to all.
  5. Audience and Collaboration I will promote and facilitate student collaboration and publishing beyond the walls of the school building.
  6. Copyright, Copyleft and Information Ethics I will educate students and teachers on copyright law and promote digital citizenship.
  7. New Technology Tools I will embrace new technology tools.
  8. Professional Development and Professionalism I will constantly seek out opportunities to learn and grow as a professional.
  9. Teaching and Learning and Reference I will facilitate and encourage students to become learners.
  10. Into the Future (acknowledging the best of the past) I will incorporate the best of the past as I pave the way to the future.

the end is nigh (for now)

There is only one week left of my first semester as a grad student and I have learned so much. I had no idea the scope of the librarian’s role in the school. It’s a lot more work than I thought, but it’s work that I love.

Next week is going to be an overlap of my life as a kindergarten teacher and my life as a grad student as I go back and start setting up my classroom while also finishing my last assignments. I’m excited to get back into my room and set things to rights after the summer cleaning and to see my partner teacher. She is such an encouragement to me (even though we pick on each other constantly) and I am looking forward to planning the first few weeks of school with her. We are going to start the year coteaching all day until our kids have learned the basics of school and gotten used to us, then we will begin rotating. It’s a new adventure for both of us. We didn’t departmentalize and start partner teaching until February last year. It worked out really well even with the late start, so I can’t wait to see how things go this year.

The next four weeks are going to go by far too quickly. Finishing the semester and working in my classroom week, in-service training and meet the teacher the week after, and then the first week of school with my students followed by another first week of school as a student.


term papers and webquests and popplets

It has been a busy week. I’ve been working on my term paper for INFO 5000. My working title is “Professional Learning for Teacher Librarians: Utilizing the Resources Available to Create a Personal Learning Network.” I’m about halfway done with my first draft.

The other assignment I’ve been working on is a group project. We created a webquest, something I have never done before. You can see it here. I had two other people in my group and we worked really well together. I was responsible for the process and evaluation portions. When I started the popplet that is used in the process section it was just me organizing my thoughts about the assignment. As I put it together though I realized it could actually work really well as the instructions for the students and it fell into place from there. I cannot tell a lie, I’m pretty proud of that popplet. I really enjoyed working in popplet (and saying popplet, it’s just a fun word) so I decided to use it as my literature map for the aforementioned term paper. Once the paper is finished I will share all of that with you.

In PLN news, Curmudgication has quickly become my favorite blog that I follow. It’s mostly about education in general, mostly education policy and politics. What I love is how, well, curmudgeonly he is. I enjoy a good snark-ridden rant.