February 2015 Favorites

Favorite

 

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 February 2015 list:

 

Infographic I created to share awesome apps for sharing on the go.

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Free Technology for Teachers: Setting a Goal When You Feel Overwhelmed with Technology Options
This is a short, but awesome post about avoiding that overwhelming feeling of never being able to stay ahead of technology tools and trends. None of us will ever be able to keep up, but I love his advice on picking one new thing to try each month. I am a believer in picking one thing and doing it well, as opposed to trying everything and never mastering anything. What new tool will you focus on this coming month?


Coding, Coding, Coding! A Symbaloo by Shannon Miller
Are you interesting in integrating coding into your classroom instruction? This Symbaloo contains tons of awesome resources for coding. It’s a great place to start exploring the world of learning to code.


Top 20 STEM Education Podcasts You Should Be Listening to Now!
Do you listen to podcasts? If you haven’t, they’re an awesome way to learn! This post has numerous podcasts that have a STEM theme! Aside from this list, I’m loving Nerdette and Invisibilia.


How to Turn a Research Project Into an Infographic
Using infographics in the classroom is such a creative way to allow students to analyze and synthesize information, while maintaining their voice. This post shows how a teacher used infographics within a larger research project.


Measure What You Care About
This short piece by Seth Godin makes me think of many of the issues plaguing public education.

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January 2015 Favorites

Favorite

 

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!


Welcome to 2015

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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!

A Few of My Favorite Things – October 2014

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This month has been flying by! The CCHS Library has been bustling with activity and sometimes it’s hard for me to remember what I did in the morning as I’m leaving school in the afternoon. But, the best thing about being busy is that I know students and teachers are using the library and claiming it as their space.

Here are some of my favorite things that I’ve come across this month!

  • The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey – I loved the first book in this series, The 5th Wave. It was action packed and thought provoking. I am a huge fan of post apocolyptic YA Lit! After finishing the first book, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second one. The Infinite Sea has the hallmarks of the first book; it’s broken into sections from varying perspectives, tons of action, plot twists, and a little mystery. I am almost done with it and there’s already a hold list in the library for the additional copy!
  • GoSoapBox – There are numerous polling and quizzing tools available online, but this new one, featured in a recent post on Free Technology for Teachers, seems very promising. It has great features for teachers to use and makes it possible to incorporate multiple types of feedback into one event or lesson. I’ve already had one teacher sign up and begin using it in her classroom!
  • Remind (Remind 101) Chrome App – Numerous teachers, coaches and club sponsors are using Remind to quickly and efficiently get information to students and parents. Since we are a 1:1 Chromebook school, I was super excited to read about the Remind Chrome app. This app allows teachers to send and receive messages, attachments and stamps from the Chromebook or Chrome browser. They can also see their message freed and which students and parents have viewed attachments and stamped messages. I LOVE apps and extensions for Chrome, so this was just another one to make life a little bit easier.
  • eduCanon – eduCanon is an online learning environment where teachers can create and share interactive video lessons. With the popularity of using a flipped classroom approach, eduCanon is a great tool. You begin with a video and transform what is traditionally passive content (sit and get) into an active experience for students. Students are engaged as the video progresses through time linked activities. This gives teachers a chance to segment videos into different components for students.
  • “6 Considerations When Launching a Class Twitter Account” – Twitter is probably my favorite social media platform. Not only has it helped me to grow my PLN and network and connect with hundreds of people, it keeps me abreast of awesome ideas, activities and programming that other people are doing. I can’t even tell you how many things I’ve learned and how many ideas I’ve garnered just by scrolling through my Twitter feed. It will come as no surprise to you that my love of Twitter makes me a firm believer in its ability to transform the classroom and connect students to their teacher and peers. This article offers some great, practical advice and thoughts for people who are interested in using Twitter in the classroom through a classroom account. The things mentioned can help to ensure that you begin using your classroom Twitter account in a very intentional way.
  • How to Add Color Filters to Images in Google Slides – This video from Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers, is a quick, succient tutorial for creating cool pictures in Google Slides. I am a big advocate for presentation zen and using more images, less words in presentations, which makes this addition to Slides very valuable.

A Few of My Favorite Things – September 2014

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This summer, I saw a post on Amanda Michelle’s Blog on her July favorites and I was totally inspired to do this same format on my own blog, but with tools, resources, videos, blog posts, etc. that are related to education. This is not to say that something not related to me being a librarian might sneak its way in, but for the most part, I will feature things that are a part of what I do everyday.

I recently sent out an email to my colleagues with a list of six of my favorite things (Sept. 2014 edition). I used Blendspace to feature the six things I wanted to share with them. I didn’t receive any feedback (or not yet), but I know that many have visited the link. So now, onto a few of my favorite things…

1. EdGeekCast – This is a podcast by, for and about geeks who teach. It’s a great way to learn and connect with educators from around the country. While you listen, you can tweet questions and comments to the geek-casters. Check out their site for upcoming and archived podcasts.

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I LOVE this book! I had recently read Eleanor & Park and fell in love with Rainbow Rowell’s writing, so naturally I had to pick up Fangirl. It’s a great coming of age story about Cath, a college freshman, who is learning to define her own identity. I know I’m old and my college days are long behind me, but I found myself connecting with this character again and again. I love this quote from the book…

3. 27 Ways to Make This the Best Year Ever by Library Girl (Jennifer LaGarde) – This is an awesome post to read, reflect on and put into practice…by one of my library she-roes and favorite people!

4. Tab Scissors and Tab Glue (Chrome Extensions) – I love having dual monitors to look at when I’m working, but I’m not fortunate enough to have two monitors at work. A great work around (if you use Google Chrome) for splitting your screen are Tab Scissors and Tab Glue. I first heard about these extensions at ISTE 2014 over the summer. I’ve been using them ever since. Both extensions can be added to your Chrome account by accessing the Chrome Webstore and downloading them. Tab Scissors will split the screen between two adjacent tabs, while Tab Glue will put both screens back together.

5. Exit Ticket by Barbara Gruener (@BarbaraGruener) – I came across this exit ticket idea during the #nctlchat on Twitter one Sunday night. I loved the way she featured words around the edges of the ticket to help spark her students’ thinking and reflection. I believe she gives her students print copies, but this could easily be formatted for a paperless environment. I am a huge advocate for giving students a voice and allowing them to reflect. There is so much power in formative assessment!

6. How To Use Flubaroo Video Tutorial – After a conversation with a colleague about his desire to make his classroom increasingly paperless, I came up with a solution for his desire to test and quiz his students online. We are a 1:1 Chromebook school, so using Google Drive is a daily thing for us. He was making quizzes in Google Forms, but wanted a quick, easy way to grade these and get feedback. I suggested Flubaroo, the Google Drive add-on. Knowing how busy teachers are and how hard it is to meet face to face, I decided to create a quick video tutorial on how to install and use this add-on with a Google Form. I posted the video to my school YouTube channel and then sent it out to all of the staff at my school. Video tutorials are a great way to help people learn when its convenient for them! I’ve posted the video below for you.