Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thing 40: Final Reflections and What's Next!

I just reread my blog for Thing 22.  That seems like a really long time ago.  I did a lot of exploring of Evernote and Delicious.  I haven't used either of them again since researching them for this class.  I can see how they may be useful with older students.  I wonder about people who have time to "follow" others on social media.  I rarely have time to follow myself! I didn't think of Delicious as a type of social media but if you have the option of following others, then I guess it has some features of social media.  I don't think Thing 22 was my favorite Thing this year.  It was informative and it got me to explore things that I would not have otherwise...which is the point of this class, I know.  It is amazing to me how many sites there are out there that are used by millions of people but are unknown to millions of others...even those who use technology in their work and personal lives all the time.

I have used the links in On-line learning many, many times since completing Thing 18.  I will probably repeat this one again next year if it is offered.  I can't get enough of free on-line learning.  I absolutely love it.  I have been working on Crash Course in World History which I found on Khan Academy and have since discovered that there are many "Crash Courses" by John Green on YouTube.  I also just discovered that John Green is the same John Green that wrote some of my daughter's favorite sad books.  She is a romance fan who does not consider a book good unless it makes her cry.  And cry she does.  I like a good tear jerker every now and then but have to happen upon them by accident.  I will rarely pick up a book on purpose that I know is going to make me sad.  I have also started the Art History Course on Khan Academy but that one is going to take a while.  There are a lot of courses on EdX that I want to explore.  I am excited to have time to do this over the summer.

I also learned about Genrefied (spelling???) libraries in Thing 18.  I think I am going to do some reorganizing by genre over the summer.  My students ask for specific genres often, especially "scary" books and I want to be able to point out a section that includes more than Goosebumps books.  I am going to look for some genre labels that fit the categories that interest my students.  The pre-printed ones that are inherited when stepping into a school library are not the same terminology that students are used to or are asking for.  For example, I have a ton of "mystery" labels but none that say "scary" or "horror".  I think if I can design my own, I will go with "scary" over "horror".

Creating a Resource Guide probably had the least amount of information in my blog but the greatest amount of work attached to it.  I created a Libguide that was a LOT of work.  I also used it for a collegial circle that I belonged to this year.  A group of librarians in my district got together, read a book about Growth Mindset and created projects that tied into teaching with growth mindset qualities.  Here is the link again.  Resource Guide I am still adding to this Libguide and plan to continue to do so over the summer.  I would also like to make it a priority to actually use the Libguides submitted by the other librarians in my group.  All of them did a resource guide with great information and lessons.  Examples of some of the other guides created are: Lessons, Information, and Activities for Banned Book Week; Reference Lessons; Poetry Reading, Writing, and Celebrating; Maker Spaces in Libraries; Digital Citizenship & Cyberbullying;

I just discovered Ted Ed.  It is another online learning site.  I love the short videos that explain literary elements. I'm wasting lots of time this evening listening to them.  I just learned that there are 3 kinds of irony.  I have been confused about that word and now I know why.  Irony is different depending on how it is used.  Cool beans.

I am going to be attending an all day Google Learning Summitt on the 21st of May.  I haven't looked at the catalog of courses for the summer yet but I think I am going to take a few elearning courses and attend the Tech Camp for librarians in August.  Other than that, I am going to be working on the Crash Course that I started on World History.  I am also going to finish the Art History course.  I also plan on reading a lot of fiction....mostly mindless murder mysteries.  I am visiting my best friend from college who is also a book buddy...we text about what we are reading all the time.  She lives in North Carolina and I will be spending 4 days with her in July.  At the end of July, my boyfriend and I are going to the Dominican Republic with another friend and her family.  I think that trip is going to include more drinking than learning (it's an all inclusive resort).  It will be my first time out of the country besides Canada.

I do intend to participate in Cool Tools again next school year.  I really enjoy this course.  I will likely only do 5 again because I have so many other PD's that I have to do.  This year I have over 45 hours counting the 10 from Cool Tools.  It's probably more like 50 hours but I didn't keep track of some of them so I don't think I will get credit.

Have a great summer and I will "see" you in the fall!!!!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Thing 36: Flash Cards, Quiz Games, and more

I really don't know what is happening with this blog.  I have written two entire blogs for this "thing" and they have both just disappeared.  I hadn't published them yet but when I went back to add to them they were gone.  It was annoying the first time, but this time, the second, I am ready to cry.  I had so much written.  I guess there isn't anything to do but start again.  After I cry.

Take 3:
I am going to go back and write about what I have already written about later.  I am currently playing with Quia by looking at the St. Joseph's School Quia page.  I like the Genre game that they have that works like the millionaire game where each question answered correctly brings you closer to a million dollars.  Is that called Who Wants to be a Millionaire? That doesn't seem right but it's something like that. I don't like that you automatically lose the game if you get one question wrong.  I can see that causing a riot in the library! That is just like the game show though.  This librarian created a ton of games! I do agree with your statement that the games are a bit dated but they are fun.

So, I have written about Study Stack a number of times....I really like Study Stack but the website is a bit temperamental.  Sometimes when I go to the site, it is flashing like a light bulb going off and on and I can't get the site to work.  I have spent a lot of time (that I don't have to spare!) playing with some of the stacks that other people have set up.  My favorites are the ones where you have to match authors to books.  One person made a stack with over 1,800 items in it! Although I didn't know a lot of the authors...because most of them are classic authors, and this is one of my areas of brain blanks, I had fun guessing and actually learned a bunch that I didn't know before.

I had a link to the 1,800 stack in my lost blog.  I can't seem to find it's one of those things that you can't let go, so I spent way more time than I should have trying to find it.  Here is one that I made to use in my library.  It is authors and books that are popular in my library at school #3. authors & books by SBKendrick  I included the one I made and the following stacks in my Libguide that I did for the Resource Guide "Thing".  I will include the link to my libguide in this blog also.  I have done a lot of work on it since I posted it for the Resource Guide Thing.  Here is another one of my favorites: Dr. Seuss Hangman which was created by kellihenry.

Here is a Stack of library & book terms that was created by deb.teigland but I edited some of the terms and definitions to better match my students and how I teach.  I would like to know more about what happens when you edit a study stack that someone else created?  Is it edited for everyone, or just for me? Good question, huh? Library Trivia

The last one that I shared on my LibGuide was this one Created by: MAMS-reading.  Literary ElementsIt works well with the crossword, matching, hangman, and the flashcards.  Not all types of entries work well with all of the games and options offered.  You kind of have to play around with what and how you enter terms.

I looked at the Quizlet Live option and thought it looked like a useful tool.  I played with your flower cards.  Very nice.  I am still trying to figure out how to use it.  I made a small set of study cards for Dewey Categories Dewey Flash Cards by me .  I set up a Quizlet Live for my last class today.  I wanted to be able to see what the students were going to see on their computers before they got there.
I found a list already created by someone else.  It is matching songs to Hip Hop artists.
Very cool.  Good way to engage 5th graders with less than civilized manners at the end of a long day. I don't like how it sets up teams because I cannot move my kids around once they are signed in.  I can reshuffle the groups but can't make the groups myself.  So I started a game with the fifth graders.  Not the most patient people in the world...I'm just sayin'.  Somehow I clicked off of the "teacher" screen on my computer and although the game continued, I couldn't see the score anymore and couldn't figure out how to get back to it.  It's strange that the kids could keep playing even with the "control" computer being off the website.  I was thinking of paying the $25 to upgrade for the year but if it is as cumbersome to control as it seems to be, then I am having second thoughts.  I don't like how the correct answer is not visible on everyone's screen.  I did explain this to the students but they didn't seem to get it because they kept yelling, "The answer's not here!" They did eventually get the hang of it and really enjoyed playing.  There is a minimum of 6 students that have to be logged in for a game to start.  That was a problem because I only had 5 show up today.  I might explore this a bit more and see if I can tell the difference between the free functions and the ones available if you pay the $25.00 for the year?

I was talking to a 7th grade teacher today and explaining and she mentioned how she uses Kahoot all the time so I am going to check that out and get back to you.  I just created my first Kahoot Quiz.  I'm going to try it tomorrow.  It took a lot of time.  I wonder (wish) if you can edit other people's Kahoots and save them under a new name? Here is the link:  Library Kahoot

Looked at again for ideas.  I found a really fun one that someone else made.  It is a list of quotes and you have to decide if they are from Shakespeare or from a hip hop song.  I might try this one with my sixth graders.

Very frustrating.  I created the Kahoot, made paper strips with the website and PIN number on it and got everyone to go to the site and enter the PIN.  They were not seeing the questions or the answers.  They just had blocks of color representing the answers.  At first they were just guessing and clicking on colors so I thought it was working.  Then they finally told me it wasn't showing them any choices.  I ended the quiz and had them enter again.....lots of yelling and repeating myself.  Same result. Crazy end to a long day.  I couldn't get it working and was therefore without a plan B for a mistake, ALWAYS have a plan B when technology is involved!

Now they are all calling each other gay and talking about their mama's.  I'm ending this blog here.  I think I have explored exhaustively.  On to my reflection and last Thing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Thing 18 Online Learning and DIY

I decided to explore some of the links that were posted on Thing 18.  Some of them I have explored before and others were new to me.  I went back to EdX and made a list of the courses that I am interested in.  I have learned from the past that I only want to do the self paced courses because I tend to get behind in the ones that are scheduled.  Although there are many, many that were of interest to me, the ones that I will do first are the ones that are relevant to my job as a librarian in an urban school district:

Saving Schools: History & Politics of US Schools
Critical Issues in Urban Education
Teaching with Technology & Inquiry
Library Advocacy Unshushed

I don't remember if I looked at Udacity before.  It seems mainly geared toward programming.  I am interested in many of the offerings here but will have to leave them until I feel I have some time to devote to this topic.

I went to the EdWeb Webinars link and somehow stumbled upon the following archived webinar: Session #60: Promoting Independent Reading

I really like some of the ideas and the sites that are suggested for logging and/or reviewing books read.

One of the things that is mentioned is getting teachers to read also.  In my school, I started an "adult" lending library.  I have two bookshelves in my library designated for staff.  The borrowing rules are that books do not have to be checked out, nor do they have a due date.  Staff is free to take a book or two and either return when they are finished or donate another book in place of the book borrowed.  It is totally on the honor system.  There is a separate shelf for magazines which do not have to be returned at all.  The books I put on the shelves come from my personal collection and from garage sales.  If I see a book that I particularly enjoyed at a garage sale, I buy it and put it in my library for lending (or keeping).  The magazines are ones that I am done with or I get them by the bag from the public library.

Another interesting idea is to "genrefy" your library.  I often have students ask me where the "scary" books are.  Since I have about 10 minutes to scan the check-outs of all the students in each class, my usual response to this question is to point to the shelf with the Goosebumps books on it.  If all of the "scary" or "suspenseful" or "horror" books were shelved together it would be easier for me to point them out without limiting the student to the R.L. Stine books.  The webinar host also talked about the different labels we put on these types of books.  "Horror" might work better than "scary" in some libraries, while "suspense" might work better in others.  We each know our populations and we know which label will work the best.  In this webinar, 5 librarians were interviewed on how to promote independent reading.  The librarian that brought up Genrefied Libraries is named Sherry Gick.  Sherry also stated that arranging books in sections by genre does not require creating new call numbers for all of the books when adding a genre sticker will be sufficient.  I am starting to really consider doing this in my library.  It seems like it might be a lot of work but if it gets kids to be more successful in finding books that they will read then I am willing to put in the time.  When I look for books to read in the virtual library that I use most often ( I browse by genre.

I could write 10 more paragraphs on the information in this webinar.  It was just over an hour long and had a huge range of ideas to promote reading.  I think I'm going to include this in my Resource Guide that I am creating for my collegial circle and for Thing 23.

I just opened an email from that I have had for a while.  It said the following:

Your membership now includes unlimited listening to premium shorter programs, featuring ad-free podcasts, news, comedy, and exclusive shows.
  • Curated. New content daily, selected by our editors.
  • Convenient. Listen when you have a few minutes or are in-between books.
  • Cost free. Unlimited listening is included with your membership.
Now there's no need to go anywhere else to find the perfect listen. Just launch the Audible app, tap on Channels, and start listening.

I decided to browse the channels that they are offering and found some really exciting topics that I can now listen to for free.  I use audible for audio books that I want to own or can't get from the public library.  It costs 14.95 a month but for that fee you get one credit which purchases any book that they have available.  Most of my listening comes from the NYPL but I purchase books by authors that I know I love or books I have read and want to have in my collection to listen to over and over again.  Some of the more than 70 channels they have available for free podcasts are:

60 minutes of Fear
7 Days with Edgar Allen Poe
Healthy in 10 Minutes
Learn Something Amazing
The Onion: Audio News
Throwback Thursday
True Crime

These are just a few of the ones that I'm interested in! I regret not paying attention to that email sooner.

After looking at your Listly list of projects from past DIYer's, I decided to explore Khan Academy. The first course that caught my attention was the one on Art and Art History.  As a hobby I explore many different kinds of art but have never taken a course on the subject.  I like to draw and I make mosaic art of varying kinds. I will attach some pictures of the things I've done. I am very interested in pursuing some of the topics offered here.

I started listening to Crash Course: World History.  It is 42 lessons and the lecturer, John Green is very entertaining.  I could see this being useful with older students. I am currently up to the 6th lesson and am enjoying it very much.  The speaker talks very fast but last night I found an interactive transcript option that shows what he is saying in print.  That helps a lot, especially with some of the ancient city names.

The content of the website is arranged by topic and the Math section is further broken down by grade level.  I wish the other subjects were broken down by grade level.  I would love to be able to use some of the shorter lessons in the library however, math is one thing that I don't teach much of.  I can see this being of use to classroom teachers.  I also can see introducing it to students in grades 3 and up, showing them how to sign up, and having them complete some of the math lessons.  I am going to listen to some of them and see if this might be something that I include in my resource guide Libguide.

After looking at some of the Math lessons I think I am going to include a lesson in my Libguide about signing up for Khan Academy.  I can see some of my intermediate students being interested in the math lessons.  I like that they are a mixture of lessons and practice modules.  I also like the way it keeps track of what you were last learning so you can pick up where you left off.  I think being able to jump around to different lessons and topics will appeal to some students.  I wish I had known about this site when I was a classroom teacher.  The videos are great and would have been a great supplement to the lessons I did.  I am going to send the link to the teachers in my building, although I am not sure if they will have time to use them in the classroom since much of what is taught now is mapped out for them (unfortunately).

My learning goal for summer is to work on some of the topics I missed in High School.  You would think having two master's degrees that I would have the basic knowledge that is taught in grades 10-12 but I don't.  I do not know much about history.....oops! Perfect opportunity to break into song! Seriously, it is surprising how much basic knowledge is missed out on by not attending high school.  I had to take some of the subjects in college, like biology and math but things like World History and Literature are not required.  I was never forced to read The Scarlet Letter and believe me, unless forced, it doesn't happen.  I have tried to read some of the classic literature that is required reading...or used to be required reading in high school but have not completed much of it.  I love to read but I am not a fan of older classic literature.  I like Shakespeare but again, without some incentive and direction, I lose focus.  One way I have made up for some of my missing knowledge is by reading the Cliff Notes of some of the classics.  When I go to garage sales I pick up the Cliff Notes when I see them. It isn't the same as getting to discuss the book and hear how it is "supposed" to be interpreted.  Granted, I'm not sad that I don't have to write comparison papers or guess at an author's hidden meaning but I would love to be told what the hidden meanings are!

One last thing before I end this "thing".  I'm sure you are sick of reading.  It's just that learning is my "thing" and I get excited to discover all these free classes! I just looked at your link to Empowering Yourself as a Digital Citizen.  I started the course and am excited to see that the majority of the professors teaching the class are from Empire State University.  That is where I earned my undergraduate degree in Business Administration.  So independent learning is not new to me.  I happen to love it!  I'm sure I mentioned this before, so I won't go into it too much.  One of my master's degrees, the one in Library and Information Management was completed in an on-line format.  How exciting Empire State must be now that on-line learning is possible.  At the time I attended, all my work had to be taken in or mailed.  How things have changed.

So to summarize, I plan on completing the World History Crash Course and the Digital Citizen course.  Next I would like to take the Art History course.  Then over the summer I plan on completing the courses that I mentioned earlier on EdX.  It's going to be an exciting nerdy summer! Thank you for this "thing".  It is one of my favorites!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Thing 23: Create a Resource Guide

I am creating a LibGuide with lessons on research tools and applications to use as a School Library Media Specialist. The first lessons I created are to guide students in the use of World Book Online.

I added a section for information about the various genres of literature.  This section includes a link to a Slideshare introducing all of the genres.  The Slideshare was created and posted by ACurd on July 22, 2009.  I chose this particular Slideshare because it has the various genres of Fiction and Nonfiction listed and defined.  It also has a very good summary of the types of Poetry and great descriptions of them.  The descriptions are so good that they could be used as a guide for writing each type of poetry.

I also found a site that has all the subgenres of the Fantasy Genre.  Although they are mainly adult level books there is a section on Young Adult Fantasy.  I included it because it has 58 subgenres listed and when you click on a subgenre you are brought to the definition and some examples of the subgenre.  I thought it was very interesting.  I wish it had children's and young adult's selections listed among the examples in each subgenre.  What I really liked about this site is that when you click on a specific subgenre you are brought to the definition and a list of characteristics such as:
Level of Magic
Level of Grand Ideas and Social Implications
Level of Characterization
Level of Plot Complexity
Level of Violence
It also lists related subgenres.  Then each subgenre has a "_________Fantasy is not for you if..." section followed by a list of examples and descriptions of the books.

I also included a link to which promotes horror fiction for teens and children.  It is meant as a resource for readers and librarians.  I like the site although I find it irritating that there are some typos in the reviews written by the author of the site.  I like that one of the goals of the site is to use horror fiction to entice reluctant readers.

I included a lesson I created on how to do book reviews on Destiny for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students.

As I am writing this blog, I have not completed the libguide.  I am still working on it but I wanted to get this "thing" done, so I am including the link to my libguide now.  It is published, although it is a work in progress that must be completed by May 4th when I will be presenting it to the other librarians in my collegial circle.  If you can't access the libguide from my link, let me know and I will try to figure out why.

Resource Guide for Research and Computer Lessons

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Thing 22 Productivity Tools

Hi! This is my first blog for Cool Tools for 2015/2016! Yes, I am a bit late in starting.  I am most likely going to skip around and pick tools.  I would also like to spend some time on some of the Tools that I previously tried only so I can explore some new things.  I have decided to start with Thing 22: Productivity Tools.  So here goes!

I have downloaded Evernote and am attempting to see how this tool can be useful to me.  So far, I am a bit confused.  I do see how a tool that is available on all devices can be useful, especially when I get to the grocery store and realize I have forgotten my list.  I also installed it on my phone and registered for an account.

I started a notebook of favorite recipes just for practice.  I have used libguides to link lessons and resources on specific topics to access all in one place.  The problem with libguides is that if I do not work for my district at any time in the future, I will not have access to libguides.  Also, if my district decides not to keep paying for access for libguides, I will not be able to get to the guides I have created.  Therefore, Evernote seems like it will be a good place to do this, if it can be used in the way that I think it can.

I'm finding it a bit cumbersome to use. I have created two notebooks and figured out how to change the name of the notebooks when I want to but I cannot figure out how to "title" the notes in each notebook.  They default to "untitled" and I haven't been able to give them a title.  I use Google Drive for my work files and have gotten pretty used to using it.  I have a separate Google account for home and try to remember to keep my work files in my home drive also, just in case I ever leave the district I work for and don't have access to the drive I created specifically for work.  I am going to try and remain open minded to Evernote, especially the mobile feature of it but I am pretty happy with Google drive and don't see myself replacing it with Evernote.  I have to do some more exploration and experimenting with Evernote.

I decided to try Delicious next.  I heard of this a very long time ago, back when I was beginning my master's in Library Science, I think.  That would be 2007.  If I am correct, they used to spell their name with some confusing combination of capital and lower case letters.  From what I remember, and what I have learned, Delicious is a way of accessing your bookmarks from anywhere that you can sign onto the internet.  A good idea that I can see a use for.  Now that I created an account, it seems that it can be used for following other users also.  I can't imagine wanting to follow other users but ok.

I noticed a "Trending" link and decided to check that out.  It is a catagorized section of links to popular articles.  It has the categories of "Canada, career, Facebook, psych, relationships,  Scence, tech, travel, and videos".  I clicked on "psych" and saw that it had several articles in the psych category.  Facebook was a link to articles on how to use Facebook, how to use Facebook for marketing, and other articles on how to use Facebook for various purposes.

"Discover" brings you to a page where you can enter words that may be popular tags for topics you want to subscribe to.  I entered "reading" and found a few interesting things.  An article called

19 Quirky Conundrums Only Book Lovers Understand

It turns out that these conundrums truly belong to book lovers.  

Next I subscribed to "books" and read the following artile.  Usually when I read these types of lists, I have read most of the books on them.  This list was different.  Most of the books I haven't heard of. Many of them are non-fiction.  There is one on the list that I read but did not recall the name of, so it was nice to see it.  The ones that I have read are Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Omnivore's Dilema by Michael Pollen, The Harry Potter Series by J.K.Rowling, Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  Random Family was the one whose title I could not recall.  

26 Books That Will Change The Way You See The World

Reading: It does a mind good.
I also read "Life-Changing Books" and saw A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson which was on the other list too.  I think I'm going to have to find this book.  

I am now spending more time writing in this blog about the links that I am exploring via Delicious so I guess that is my nudge to move on.  

Clearly sounded very useful and interesting however, clicking on the link brought me to a message that said, "On December 17, 2015, Evernote will not make further updates to the Clearly extension. Customers who currently use the Clearly browser extension can continue to do so. As of January 22, 2016, Clearly will no longer be available for download."
So! I am confused as to why this is so, but I guess that is the end of that!

I decided to try "Readability" since "Clearly" wasn't available.  Again the tool wants me to "follow" other people and see the articles they have saved. Do I spent some time looking at what other people have saved.  I don't really understand the purpose of this tool since I clicked on one of the recommended articles and it still had ads in it.  I thought the purpose was to make articles readable without ads?  There were even pop up ads!

Scrible is pretty cool.  I like the thought of using this to highlight and add notes for students.

Going backwards on the Cool Tools page for Thing 22, I looked at Student Portfolios in Evernote and got very overwhelmed by the author's use of other tools (Moodle, Kustomnote) in her description of how she uses Evernote for portfolios and student work.  Although it sounds like it has made her life a lot easier, I was confused by all the other "things" she mentions using to accomplish her goal.  I need more information about I'm going to keep reading.  

I found the link on the Thing 22 page to How My Students started using be very helpful.  The author (a librarian, of course!) created a 70 slide introduction to Evernote which was very informative.  I learned that you can only attach files if you have Evernote Premium.  I am starting to see more ways this tool could be useful to me but still need my Google Drive for my files. I can especially picture using Evernote to save sources for research all in one place.  I don't like that I have to download the "Web Clipper" separately.  

The slideshare was very informative.  I learned a lot about Evernote and am better able to see how it could be very useful.  I can see using it with my 7th and 8th grade students as a way to save pictures, articles, notes, and videos about a research topic.  I can also see how they might want to use it to save class notes.  I like how you can take a picture of handwritten notes and upload them into the tool.  I have to try this and see how it recognizes print so that the content can be part of the searchable content.  So although I started this blog thinking that Evernote was not going to be useful to me, reading and testing it out has changed my mind.  I can see how I will use it in my personal and my professional life and how I will use it with students.  

I discovered Sortd and installed it to use to organize and manage my email at home.  I wish I could install it to use for my work email but that account is on Outlook.