January 2015 Favorites



Each month I send out a Favorites list to my colleagues. I try to feature things that I’ve read or come across that month that I find awesome or inspirational. Here’s my January 2015 list:


Using Superbowl Ads in the Classroom
This is a great site that has resources and lessons for using Superbowl Ads. What a great way to use an exciting event to help teach students media literacy!

Education Closet’s STEAM Portal
This is a great resource for teachers and schools wishing to invest time and resources into STEAM learning.

Free Technology for Teachers: A Few Graphing Calculators for your Chrome Browser
This is a great post by Richard Byrne that offers options for graphing calculators on Chrome. This is such a helpful post for schools that are 1:1 Chromebooks!

16 of the Best Blended Learning Resources
Blended learning uses both in-person and online methods to teach students, and there are several different models for implementing it in the classroom. These resources explain the basics of blended learning, but they also dig deeper and can help you decide which approach may be best for your students.

Free Technology for Teachers: Vocabulist Helps Students Students Create Study Aids
This online tool for helping students learn vocabulary has the option to export to Quizlet. Why not meet students where they want to be and offer more online options for traditional learning activities like vocabulary review!


CCHS Library Maker Space Kickoff Event

By definition maker spaces are creative, do-it-yourself (DIY) spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. There are many kits and products I hope to purchase this year including Arduino, Makey Makey, Legos and Raspberry Pi. However, I decided not to let the absence of these tools stop me from transforming the CCHS Library into a maker space for our students. In reading about all of the awesome and creative things other librarians and educators are doing to provide students with opportunities to create and learn, my assistant and I realized that it’s impossible to wait until you have all the fancy stuff; making needs to happen now by leveraging what we have and finding things we can use to pull it off.

In building our Maker Space in the CCHS Library, our goal is to create an environment where students have the freedom to choose things they are interested in exploring; stations that are fun, creative and mix in learning across various curricula. Our Maker Space Kickoff was designed around a Winter Holiday theme and was our first attempt at building interest among students. We offered stations that dealt with Physics and Math, such as rubber band cars and catapults, as well as, a simple circuit station that allowed students to play with electronics. Other students dove into learning to do programming and coding through Code.org’s resources and by using the Library’s Roboquad robot. Some of our stations focused more heavily on the arts, allowing students to learn how to repurpose old t shirts, hand crochet scarves and make holiday themed origami. Two groups even tested out their creativity and media skills through stop motion animation and green screen effects, both of which utilized iPads.

The kickoff was a complete success as our students were 100% engaged in discovering, learning and sharing and most have asked to come back and continue on with the project they have started. We received great feedback from our all of the students who participated and have decided to have two more Maker Space events; one in March, which will revolve around an Alice in Wonderland with stations that incorporate aspects of the movie into science, math and art and a final event on May the 4th, Star Wars Day. And as you can probably guess, this event is one I can’t wait for (Star Wars geek for life).


Welcome to 2015


This life was never ours….We were only ever borrowing it.

It’s that time of the year again. Everyone is talking about new beginnings, redefining themselves, bucket list items, starting over. I have never been one to make resolutions; I try to focus on goals (maybe this is because I don’t really think there’s anything I need to resolve about myself). Anyway, for this new year, I am starting off with goals that combine my work and things I enjoy doing. In no specific order, here’s how I’ll be goaling it up…

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Remember, these are just goals. I am a slow reader, but I love to read none the less. I enjoy sharing titles I’m reading with my students and colleagues, as well as, participating in online book clubs. Four books a month is a lot for me, but one of those four will definitely be an audio book from my Audible account, so there’s that. And don’t shake your head, audio books do count. A second book of the month will be the pick for the online book club that I am a part of, which leaves me with two books of my own choosing each month. As a part of this goal, I am also going to be sure to keep up better with my Good Reads account to document everything I’m reading. I’ll probably blog about the books as well!

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Baking is not only something I enjoy, it calms me down, centers me and allows me to let go of stress in my life. I have to admit that in 2014 I fell off the baking train and really only made treats for special occasions. I want to work on expanding my cookie recipes and perfect my pie crusts. I also want to work on tarts and try to create a really awesome pretzel crust. And while I’m at it, I’ll probably work on breads. I’d love to master a really awesome cinnamon bun recipe that involves pistachios.

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This is a BIGGIE! I don’t even want to admit how much time I spend on Pinterest. I have tons of boards, both for fun and for the library which I use to curate things I see on the Web. The problem is this, I get so excited about collecting things and put so much time into pinning them that I rarely actually put the pins to use. I want to work on trying diy projects I find and using the recipes I pin as a starting off point for delicious things. I’d also like to work on decorating our house a little more and maybe even decorating myself some too.

So that’s it. I have three main goals for myself this year. None of which include forcing myself to do things that I don’t want to or that I’m not comfortable with. Setting goals should be more about exploring our passions and less about fixing what we think is wrong with us. Happy new year to you and may your 2015 be filled with the things you love!