Best of 2015

The past year has had its fair share of ups and downs. The very beginning of the year started on the lowest low point I’ve had; Bob and I had to make the decision to say goodbye to Timory. I thought the sadness would never go away. And, it hasn’t gone away entirely. I’m still heartbroken that she’s gone, but 2015 turned into a year of amazing opportunity and growth.

amyandtinaAlong with Mollee Holloman, my partner in crime (and the Amy to my Tina), I feel like I’ve accomplished so much professionally – rocking a new position within NCSLMA, hosting multiple Twitter chats, helping to turn #‎YearofYA into a reality, launching our website Quick Tech by TM, presenting at my first state conference (and countless other professional presentations), being accepted into NCDLCN, collaborating and bringing elementary and high school students together…and so much more!

I will be forever indebted to Mollee for her willingness to try anything, no matter how much work it will take or how crazy it might seem. It’s so much easier to take risks with a good friend by your side! Her passion and excitement are so contagious! I can’t wait to see where 2016 takes both of us!!

Here are some of my favorite tech tools and books from the past year!


Tech Tools and Websites
Participate Learning (formerly Appolearning) – This site is so awesome for productivity and collaboration. It allows you to create collections of tools, resources, documents, etc and share those collections with others. It has a zero learning curve, which makes it an easy tool to share with colleagues and students. Check out some of my collections here.

Bitmoji – Can we just say FUN!! There are many uses for this app/web extension, but my favorite use if for fun!

QuickTweet – This Chrome extension is awesome if you have multiple Twitter accounts that you regularly use. It’s annoying to have to sign in and out of Twitter each time you want to post from a different account and  I don’t always want to use Tweet Deck – enter QuickTweet. After a one time set up, you can easily click the icon in the extension bar of the Chrome browser and choose the Twitter account you’d like to use. The extension automatically signs you in to the account in seconds. This is a huge time saver!

Sphero Sprk – It’s amazing how much fun and learning these little devices can create! From the first time I was able to test one out, I was hooked. Now, after buying two for my library, my students ask me everyday if they can play with the Spheros. The learning possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. I’m super excited to add more of these devices to our collection! Bring on the chariot races and mini golf!!

Books I Read This Year
YA:
Red Queen (audio book) – Loved this one and can’t wait for the sequel. It’s an awesome story of a strong female heroine who, upon discovering her true power, is forced into the world of the elites. There’s blackmail, suspense, and lots of twists and turns. Anyone can betray anyone.

How It Went Down – This books is powerful and heartbreaking in the way that only a story that is so realistic and timely can be. Everyone should read this book.

Through the Woods (graphic novel) – The illustrations in this book are amazing. It’s very creepy horror, so read it with the light on!

Children’s:
Crenshaw – I simply adore this book! The only way I can sum it up…”Try to enjoy the magic while you can.”

Adult:
The Martian (audio book) – Listen to this book!! The science is totally accessible and not at all daunting. There is tons of humor, sarcasm and the suspense is just right. It’s different from the movie, so read the book first!

You – Caroline Kepnes has managed to write the creepiest book I’ve read since the I Hunt Killers series. This book isn’t for everyone. It’s horrific and creepy because it’s so completely realistic. I couldn’t stop thinking about how our digital footprints impact our lives while I was reading.

Furiously Happy (audio book) – I am in love with this book. It’s honest, heartbreaking, hilarious and literally, furiously happy.

My list of favorite things could go on and on…Happy New Year to everyone!

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