Twitter Boot Camp

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been back to school for over two weeks! The year is off to a great start. I’ve seen all of the students through their ELA classes. Last week, we kicked off our 1:1 initiative and checked out laptops to our students. We have lots of exciting things on the horizon at CMS!

One thing that I’m really pumped about this year is a Twitter Boot Camp I’m putting on for my teachers.TwitterBootCamp

I’ll be holding a 30 minute session once a month to introduce teachers to using Twitter for professional development. I’m hoping that by introducing them gradually through short sessions, they won’t feel so overwhelmed by the idea of learning to use Twitter.

Our first session is tomorrow, and I’m planning to give an overview of how Twitter works, a tour of what you see on your Twitter page, help teachers set up their accounts, and give them a list of folks to follow to start building their PLN.

I’m also going to share these awesome Comic Tutorials by the amazing Gwyneth Jones:

5091498668_3cbdd93c3b_b 5217790680_a812220975_bI think that many of my teachers are at least curious about Twitter from hearing me evangelize about it all the time, so I’m hoping for a good turn out! This is also how we’re FINALLY getting Twitter unblocked for teachers in my school…YAY!

What types of programs do you have planned to support and push your teachers this year?

ISTE, Road Trip, & PLN Love

This has been quite a summer, full of fun, travel, and friends. As I reflect on the past two months, I realize how blessed I am to have made so many wonderful memories during the summer of 2014!

This is the third year that my BFF Alaina and I have attended ISTE together, then taken a trip after the conference. This year’s adventure was a three week road trip that took us 4200 miles!


We started in Atlanta for #ISTE2014. This was my 5th ISTE conference, and it didn’t disappoint. The annual conference is a chance for me to reconnect and spend quality time with my PLN, which I NEED in order to get myself ready for a new school year. This year’s conference was extra special — this was my year that I’ve served as President of ISTE’s Librarians Network and I was recognized as one of ISTE’s Emerging Leaders.

All of our Librarians Network (formerly SIGLIB; even more formerly SIGMS) events were absolutely AMAZING! I was so stoked to finally meet the FABULOUS Jennifer LaGarde face to face at our Networking Fair. Jennifer also gave one of the BEST keynotes I’ve ever witnessed at our Librarians Network Breakfast. Seriously — Jennifer never ceases to blow my mind, and I am honored to call her a friend!


The Digital Age Library Playground has been one of my favorite events since my very first ISTE. It’s actually how I first got involved with the awesome librarians group at ISTE many years ago, so it holds a special place in my heart. This year’s event was no exception — so much great sharing and networking went on at the playground. I shared PicMonkey, which I use obsessively for photo editing and graphic design. (I’m so glad my awesome friend Nikki Robertson snapped and posted this picture of me at the playground! Thanks Nikki!!)

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Later that day, I was recognized at the ISTE Awards Luncheon as one of the ISTE members under the age of 35 to be recognized as an Emerging Leader. I’m so incredibly honored to now be part of this elite group of ISTE Emerging Leaders!


They also recognized the award winners at the middle keynote, so I was very excited to see myself on the HUGE screen!


I had a blast moderating our Librarians Network Forum: Marketing Your Library, which featured Michelle Cooper, Elissa Malespina, and Nikki D. Robertson. We had a packed house, and these ladies shared the amazing things they’ve done in their libraries.


Our final network event of the conference was the Librarians Network Annual Breakfast and Keynote. Before Jennifer’s awesome Zombie Librarian Keynote, we took some time to recognize the accomplishments of our network and the great leadership team that I have had the privilege of working with for the past few years. I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to lead and work with such amazing librarians from all around the world…it’s definitely been one of those “get back more than you give” situations for me, and I look forward to staying involved and plugged in with this awesome group! Shout-outs to Donna Macdonald (new President!), Sherry Gick (new President Elect!), Jenn Hanson (Communications Chair extraordinaire!), and Elissa Malespina (Professional Development Chair!) — such a great team!


After the breakfast, Alaina and I jumped in the car and hit the road…and the whirlwind began! We visited my family in North Carolina en route to Washington DC. We also made a pit stop at the Poe Museum in Richmond, VA.


We hit the ground running when we got to DC, seeing and doing as much as humanly possible in the two days we spent there!


We were lucky enough to spend the morning of July 4th in DC, witnessing the reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the National Archives. So of course we dressed up!

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We spent the rest of the 4th with our awesome friends Matthew & Aimee Winner (and their precious son Jonah, too!). I love that so many educators who started as strangers, then became members of my PLN, and I now consider them to be dear friends! This trip was full of visits with library and teacher friends, which made it super special.


From Baltimore, we headed to New York to pick up my mom for a few fun days in the city. We saw the sights (including a Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island tour), saw some shows (Les Miserables and Bullets Over Broadway), and saw some friends!


Our friends Rose Luna and Margaux DelGuidice took us for a wonderful stroll along The High Line.


Also while in NYC, we met up with Elissa Malespina and her family for a yummy dinner at Trattoria Tercolori.


From NYC, we headed to our second presidential library stop in Hyde Park, NY to the FDR Presidential Library & Museum. (We also visited the Carter Library in Atlanta, which is my least favorite of the eight we’ve visited so far.) I definitely recommend visiting the home and museum in Hyde Park, it was a great stop! One of my favorite features was the little rooms set up where you could listen to fireside chats.


From Hyde Park, we headed to Newport, RI. This was probably my favorite stop of the trip! I am ready to start planning a trip back to New England, and spending several days in Newport, for sure. We visited The Breakers, one of the Newport Mansions.


Our next stop after Newport was Boston! At this point, we were in untraveled territory for me…and I do love a city! One of the highlights of this trip was visiting with Jenn Hanson and watching a Red Socks game from Bleacher Bar…what a cool experience!

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And of course we visited the JFK Presidential Library & Museum, too. From Boston, we took the beautiful scenic drive down Highway 1 to Portland. This was EXCELLENT road trip driving, folks!


We arrived in Portland in time for another one of the highlights of our trip…a lobstering excursion! Our cruise with Lucky Catch was so much fun. Not only did we get to see the beautiful coast from the water, but we got to participate in the whole lobstering experience!


From Portland, we headed up to Canada! We visited Montreal, which was very…French!


We also spent a night in Toronto, then we visited Niagara Falls! WOW!


In order to find our way home, we had to start covering some serious ground, with a few fun stops along the way. Of course we visited the Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids (and another Oval Office replica photo, because we must)!


We drove through Indiana and made our way to Kentucky…of course we stopped at Churchill Downs in Louisville.


And our final stop was to visit the recently relocated CMS teacher Alex Young at her new home in Nashville! Of course we had to see the Country Music Hall of Fame (and Flat Fountain was happy to be there as well, of course).


And there you have it! 21 days on the road, 4200 miles (EXACTLY!), and countless memories. What stands out to me the most about this trip is the number of educator friends that we met up with and stayed with…so much PLN love!

Now it’s time to get in gear for the new school year. So much to do in so little time…but it was worth being on the road and living the summer life!

The Incredible 2013-2014 Year!

***Disclaimer: I feel kind of uncomfortable writing this post. It feels a bit braggey to write about all of the great things that happened this year. I’m having a bit of trouble processing the fact that all of these things actually did happen this year. I have so much to be thankful for!!!

This year, I’ve had to pinch myself so many times to make sure the things that were happening were actually real! It’s been such a significant year for me professionally, full of so many AMAZING experiences that I will never forget! All of these crazy, incredible things happened during the 2013-2014 school year:

I gave my first keynote at ISLMA! I was a bundle of nerves and excitement leading up to giving my first ever keynote presentation back in November, but once it was go time, I had so much fun! Since I gave my very first presentation at LACUE in 2010, I knew that presenting was something I loved and wanted to pursue. The fact that I had the opportunity to keynote at a state school library conference just a few years later was humbling (and a little scary!), but AMAZING! I had an absolute blast sharing with and learning from the amazing school librarians in Illinois, and they will always hold a special place in my heart for giving me such an incredible opportunity!


And that was just the start of November. I also got to attend and present a number of sessions at AASL in Hartford with some of the school librarians I admire and respect the most! Just a few days after that, I received the news that I had been anxiously awaiting for months…I became a National Board Certified Teacher! YAY for November 2013!

I was lucky enough to spend my 29th birthday with some absolutely amazing educators in Missouri as a featured speaker at the METC conference. If you’re interested in seeing the video of my Power Up Your PLN presentation from METC, you can check it out here (although I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it…weird!). I had so much fun sharing and learning with the awesome educators at this FABULOUS conference!


In March, I was announced as one of Library Journal’s 2014 Movers & Shakers. Seriously, that happened to ME!!! I knew about it several months in advance (keeping that secret was hard!), and even attended ALA Midwinter for the Movers & Shakers photo shoot (shout out to Michael Pilla who took some great photos of us!). The fact that Joyce Valenza (my ultimate school librarian hero and role model) nominated me for this makes it even more unreal! This is so special to me, and something that I will always treasure.


I’ve always been proud of the fact that I’m an ISTE girl. When the decision comes to go ISTE or ALA (and that happens every year because those two conferences are always at the same time), I always opt for ISTE. I see myself as an educator first and a librarian second, so I’m always going to take advantage of the chance to connect and network with other tech savvy educators. I’ve also been serving on the leadership team for ISTE’s SIGMS/SIGLIB/Librarians Network (I’m not even going to get into the name changing right now…) for several years now, and I’m currently finishing up my year as President of our group. This is why it’s such an amazing honor to be selected as one of ISTE’s 2014 Emerging Leaders! And just when I didn’t think I could get any more excited about attending the ISTE conference in Atlanta this summer! Here’s the video that was part of my application for this award:

And finally, in local news…I was featured on the news last night! Because just one more surreal experience is what I needed to finish off this school year 🙂

One of our local stations, WBRZ, does a segment called “2 Make a Difference” where anchor Sylvia Weatherspoon shares stories of people who are making a difference in our community. I’m so honored to have been selected to be featured on this great segment! This piece really makes me realize how lucky I am to work in such a great school, where I am supported and respected, with INCREDIBLE students who inspire me every day! And I would absolutely not be where I am today without the constant support, encouragement, and inspiration from my PLN. An extra special THANK YOU to my awesome friend and mentor Gwyneth Jones, for getting together an awesome group of students to Hangout with my kiddos during the recording of this segment!

I know if I went back and counted the adjectives and exclamation marks in this post, it would be excessive…but I can’t think of any other way to describe all of these crazy, humbling, exciting honors that I have experienced this year. Thank you to all of my family, friends, coworkers, members of my PLN, and readers who have supported me in this career that I love so much…I would not be experiencing this success without you!

Exciting Fall Presentations!

First of all, thanks so much for the positive feedback on my last (very honest) post. It’s nice to know that we’re not alone in the feelings over overwhelm that we face at the beginning of a new school year. Now that I’ve been officially back at school for four weeks (how did that happen?!), I’m finding my groove. I hope that many of you are starting to feel the same way.

There are lots of exciting things on the horizon in the coming weeks and months that I’m insanely excited about!

I am so excited that it’s time to kick of the new year of FREE TL Virtual Cafe Webinars! I’m honored to join my amazing friends Gwyneth Jones (The Daring Librarian) and Jennifer LaGarde (Library Girl) for the Back to School Special! Please join us next Monday, September 9th at 8 PM EST as we share ideas and get pumped up for the new school year!


This next one is big…one of those surreal things that makes you freak out when you see it in print! I was honored, humbled, and absolutely giddy when the Illinois School Library Media Association asked me to keynote at their conference in November! Seriously!! And then when I saw the brochure for the conference with yours truly as the Saturday Keynote Speaker, I was completely over the moon (okay, and a bit nervous…but in a totally awesome way)! I am so excited to share my keynote, Examining the Sacred Cows of School Librarianship, and meet awesome members of my PLN in Illinois! I’m telling you, I’m one blessed girl! And um, yeah, I’m on the flier with Tim Green and Sharon Draper…THAT probably blows my mind more than anything! Yowza!

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Also in November (talk about a busy month!), I’ll be participating in several presentations at AASL in Hartford, Conneticut! I absolutely love AASL. I attended for the first time two years ago in Minneapolis, and I hope I always have the opportunity to attend. It’s so great to be surrounded by tons of awesome teacher-librarians ready to share and learn together!


I’m so excited to be able to present with so many of my library friends and mentors at this conference! First, I’ll be joining the party with the incredible Joyce Valenza, Gwyneth Jones, Michelle Luhtala, and Shannon Miller for the pre-conference workshop “A Library in Every Pocket.” Not able to make the pre-conference workshop? Plan to join us for the abbreviated encore on Friday!

A topic that sometimes seems to cause a stir is the idea of Ditching Dewey! This session with Kathy Burnette, Sherry Gick, Shannon Miller, Megan Scott, and I will focus on how we have genrefied our libraries!


Although I didn’t get to take part in the initial presentation of the AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning at ALA in Chicago, I am so excited to have the opportunity to help share our awesome list in Hartford! I’ve so enjoyed working on the Best Apps Task Force and I’m so proud of this inaugural list that has been released!BestAppsSlide

Even though some of these big events are still several months away, I can’t help but get pumped about all of these awesome things on the calendar! Are you planning to attend either of these conferences or the TL Cafe Back to School Webinar? I hope to see you there!

Are you ready for ISTE 2013?

The annual ISTE Conference is always one of the major professional highlights of my year. I am so looking forward to this year’s conference in San Antonio. This will be my fourth consecutive year attending ISTE, and I would really feel like something major was missing if I didn’t have the opportunity to attend!

I will admit that my first ISTE experience in 2010 was a bit overwhelming…it’s such a HUGE conference. However, it’s massive size is reflected in its awesomeness as well, so if you are attending, prepare for information overload (but totally in a good way)!


This was the first time I met THE library rockstars, Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones, at ISTE 2010. It was a major celebrity sighting moment for me and my coworker thought I had lost my mind!

My biggest suggestion for anyone attending would be to volunteer. Over the last few years, I have become very involved with SIGMS (the Special Interest Group for Media Specialists) and it all started with volunteering at the conference. There are tons of opportunities to volunteer with ISTE and they do a great job of recruiting and organizing volunteers. Volunteers even get an awesome ISTE t-shirt for their efforts! The best volunteer opportunity, in my opinion, is the SIGMS Playground. Volunteers can give an informal 5-10 minute presentation at one of the six computer stations for a one hour or two hour time slot. This gives you a chance to share your favorite tool or resource with others! It’s such a great way to get involved…and you can tell everyone that you presented at an International technology conference!! Interested in getting involved with the SIGMS Playground? Contact me! This year, one of my duties as SIGMS President-Elect is to coordinate our SIGMS Playground. And how did I get so involved with SIGMS leadership, you ask? Well…I started volunteering for the playground back in 2011!

Click here to volunteer for the SIGMS Playground! (**All playground volunteer spots are now full, but please visit the SIGMS Playground on Monday from 8-11:30am!)

The best thing for me about the ISTE Conference is the opportunity to spend time face to face with the members of my PLN. I gain so much from them throughout the year with the things they share on Twitter, in their blogs, and through webinars. This is a chance to  have conversations and plan awesome collaborative activities that will have a lasting impact when I return to school in the fall.  So I asked some of my dear friends and amazing members of my PLN to either share three things they are most looking forward to for ISTE 2013 or three tips that they would share with other attendees. Here’s what they had to say…

Gwyneth Jones says…

1. Packing a Punch! It’s important to pack the right stuff – I blogged about this last year & would add an extra battery pack that’s either heavy duty or cute & sleek for all your iDevices & telephony needs! I also try not to take too much home – no paper hording, and not much vendor swag (frankly, it’s gotta be something super sweet to lure me to take it home) and bring a lightweight luggage scale if you can – that way you’ll know when to ship & when to check! — It could be a super stress & money saver!

2. Small conversations in big places. I absolutely adore re-connecting with my Peeps, Tweeps, & PLN friends! I love sharing on Twitter but there’s nothing better than conversations in person, bright smiles, & warm hugs! I like to hang out at the Blogger’s Cafe or the Social Butterfly lounge when not doing board duties or helping out presentations – this is where I find I have the best conversations and am able to meet new kindred spirits! I also like happy hours & small dinners over big parties – but then again, this girl goes to bed by 9:30 so well….there you go!

3. Pace Yourself – The first ISTE or NECC I went to was in Atlanta 07 and I was totally overwhelmed, overstimulated, & over achieving! I learned SO much and I’ve got to say that it inspired me to do even more for my kids & community but it was EXHAUSTING! I actually would go fierce early but fizzle out by 2 or 3pm – the crowds overwhelmed me! I would go back to the hotel, take a wee nap, and then go back out and socialize a bit. So, don’t be ashamed if you crash early, take a nap, or don’t feel like going to a late night bash. Of course, I know you’ll have good company if you do…man, that Joyce Valenza can dance until dawn!


Gwyneth Jones and I after our Hollywood Squares session at ISTE 2012!

Joyce Valenza  says…

I LOVE ISTE and this year there is no overlap conflict/sacrifice. I can attend both ISTE and ALA!

I am looking forward to learning formally and informally and FACE TO FACE from my generous colleagues. The mix itself is inspiring–the folks who are a part of our fabulous SIGMS, our classroom teacher edtech buddies, the admins, the vendors, the academics, the software developers, the publishers–all of whom have been part of, or will be part of, my PLN for years.

I love discovering newbie librarians and introducing them to ISTE!

From previous San Antonio conferences I know that it is important to go outside! The food, the music, the dancing, the shopping, and the River Walk rock!


Joyce Valenza, Nick Provenzano, me, and Joquetta Johnson at ISTE 2012!

Nicholas Provenzano says…

1. Take the opportunity to meet people from your digital life in person. It’s is a great chance to exchange smiles and hugs face to face.

2. Create your own learning experiences in the hallways. Not all sessions are going to work for you. Find a group of people and talk about what interests you at the moment.

3. Make new connections. It is always great to hang with old friends, but I love meeting new ones. Social events like #EduBros are perfect for meeting new people and growing your PLN.

Matthew Winner says…

1. Say Hi – Attending conferences is as much about learning lots in concurrent sessions as it is about networking, making new instructional partnerships, and forging collaborative relationships. Don’t be afraid to sit next to someone new, ask about their background, and share about yourself. YOU have something great to offer, even if you don’t realize it yet.

2. Have a Back-up for your Back-up – Sometimes sessions are full… or aren’t what you expected. Having a back-up plan ahead of time will help you stay on top of the conference schedule rather than fumbling through the program. You can also usually get handouts, etc. from the presenter’s session via the session page on the conference website. Oh, and if you have a friend with you, divide and conquer so you can cover even more ground.

3. Party Up – Find your way to the evening parties held recreationally (ie. Edubros) or from one of the vendors. These are great ways to make new friends, score some free products from vendors, and break the “conference focus mode”. It’s also a fun opportunity to meet many of those people you only know from Twitter.

Sherry Gick says…

As a “first timer”, the 3 things I’m most looking forward to are:

1. Meeting y’all, my Twitter rockstar PLN members face-to-face! Twitter has expanded my world, my connections, and the way I run my library. Each of you has been influential in my professional life the past two years because of your contributions to the education field and your willingness to share on Twitter and on other social media platforms.

2. The keynote speaker, Jane McGonigal! I’m so excited to hear her speak about gamification and her work. I’m such a Fangirl!

3. All the awesome sessions! I mean really…it’s ISTE! My conference planner is slam packed full of so many cool sessions (several being taught by you guys!) I’m looking forward to learning awesome new ideas to enhance my teaching next school year.

4. Visiting Texas! (Yeah, I know this was only supposed to be a list of 3 things, but I’ve never been to the great state of Texas. Can’t wait!)

Shannon Miller says…

The three things that I look most forward to ISTE this year….

1. Even though we connect with one another almost every day through social media, ISTE is the place that we get to reconnect with our wonderful friends in person. And the place that we can make new friends or meet the ones we have only met on Twitter or Facebook before. I love walking outside or hanging out in the Blogger’s Cafe and seeing people I have known from Twitter….It is like you have met “a long lost friend” every time.

2. I love all of the connections that I make at ISTE with publishes, Web 2.0 creators, app developers, professionals, companies, experts and others. By making these connections I can bring so much back to the students, teachers and school community I work with.

3. This year I am most excited about my amazing friend Adam Bellow’s closing keynote at ISTE! He recently told me a little bit about it and I just cannot wait. We are all going to be inspired by his message.  

Elizabeth Kahn says…

1. Attending the conference for the state affiliate of ISTE has been a disappointment the last few years. I feel like I am light years ahead of everyone there, and I know that there is so much more for me to learn. So I am looking forward to networking and attending sessions with people who think like I do. Which means they are willing to stretch themselves and are willing to take chances with new ideas and new technologies.

2. I am definitely excited about meeting people F2F who I have “met” through social media.

3. I hope to leave with several new ideas that I can put into practice in my library next year. We are moving to a brand new building in August, and besides a new physical environment, I would like some fresh ideas for the program too.

SIGMS Technology Innovation Award

Do you have a collaborative technology project that you are proud of? I bet you do! Don’t be bashful about it! It’s time for you to share your idea with the rest of us! The SIGMS Technology Innovation Award is given each year to a librarian and classroom teacher pair who exhibit excellence in collaboration and the use of technology in a project or unit they teach. An award is given at both the primary and secondary level. In addition to getting the awesome recognition that comes with this award, winners also get complimentary conference registration, a $1000 travel stipend for the ISTE Conference (in San Antonio this year!), a $1000 cash award for their school media center, and a $300 professional library from ISTE.

Check out the ISTE website for more information on applying. And check out the information below to see what needs to be included in your award nomination. I’m telling you, this award is worth your time! As your friendly SIGMS President-Elect (that’s me!!), I would love to see the number of nominations for this award sky-rocket this year. I know that you people are doing amazing things in your schools, so share it through a nomination!

SIGMS Tech Innovation Award by

TL Cafe Smackdown!

If you regularly attend the TL Virtual Cafe webinars, you know how much fun we had last year at the Open Mic Smackdown! If you don’t regularly attend the webinars…well, you should! And what better webinar to start with than tomorrow night’s SMACKDOWN! You don’t need to be part of the library world to participate or attend. ALL educators are welcome! If you have an awesome tool that you love, please add it to the Google Presentation and show up ready to share! If the idea of sharing in a webinar is too overwhelming for you, you should still join us tomorrow night! Here’s the details…

Hope to see you there!!

Back to School Update

Wow, it’s September! August really flew by — it was crazy, hectic, and sometimes overwhelming as we kicked off the school year and settled into our new building. I can definitely say that I’m looking forward to many years of STAYING PUT and not having to move or re-arrange or anything else of that nature! I’m definitely in love with my new home sweet home!

I’ve also had an unexpected week off work with Hurricane Isaac blowing through town. I’m definitely ready for Tuesday to get here so I can get back to the library and into the routine that I’ve so desperately been craving.

I’ve been getting loads of questions lately about our library’s nontraditional shelving, and I really need to do a thorough post on the steps I took and all. But today is not the day for that. I will share my signage for the categories I’ve used, though! I created these using Creative Commons images from, the WordFoto app, Comic Life, and Photoshop. I’ve posted them all on Flickr with a Creative Commons Share Alike license, so feel free to use them in your own library if you like them!

I’ve also committed to a new challenge for myself for this school year. I will be working on my National Board Certification!! My library twin and bestie Tamara Cox is working on hers as well, and I’m already SO THANKFUL for the support and drive that she is giving me! I can already see how this process is going to really push me to examine and improve my practice as a librarian.

And now for an exciting announcement…

I am SO looking forward to September 10th! Last year I was honored and GIDDY to be asked by the fantabulous Gwyneth Jones to join her in presenting a TL Virtual Cafe Back to School Special! This year, the amazing Jennifer LaGarde is joining us for what is sure to be an AWESOME hour packed full of ideas and excitement to get you pumped up for a great year! I’m so excited to join these two lovely ladies in kicking off what is going to be an information packed year of top notch webinars from the TL Virtual Cafe! Hope to see you all there!


ISTE Reflection

I’m going to try to reflect on my experience at ISTE in San Diego, but I know I’m not going to do it justice. It was incredible. This was my third ISTE Conference and it is an experience I feel like I need each year to recharge my batteries and get excited for the next school year. Although the idea of being “recharged” is difficult to grasp because I ran myself ragged at the conference this year. I just couldn’t make myself stop or slow down for silly things like sleeping and eating, there was just too much to do! Next year, I have to do a better job of giving myself time to chill and reflect.

So this year, my BFF and 6th grade ELA teacher at my school (@alaperouse) was the victim of being sucked into my ISTE and ed tech obsession. We decided to turn the conference trip into a marathon and spent a few days before and after the conference seeing San Diego and San Francisco. She was excited about the trip and curious about the conference. She’s my BFF so she knows how much my life revolves around Twitter, blogging, and the ed tech world. Since the conference, she’s a convert! Now Alaina is building her own PLN and we are making plans for some cool projects this school year. I’ve been lucky enough to have a different teacher come along with me to ISTE each year and I think that it’s really added a lot of value for me, this year especially.

So I’m going to try and give a recap of the conference. Before the conference, I was able to attend the Leadership Symposium and attend a break-out session on Moving Beyond from Textbooks — lots of great resources in this LiveBinder.

Sunday afternoon I helped set up for the SIGMS table at the SIG Fair. I love our SIG, one of the best and busiest I think, and it’s been a great year for me serving as Vice Chair.



I was able to meet so many great members of my PLN at the Fair and see many of my beloved library friends! Before the opening keynote, the cast of ISTE Hollywood Squares met up and cut up…err…planned for our session. I still can’t believe I was part of that group, what a blast! I watched the Opening Keynote from the Bloggers Cafe, but you can see it here:

Then, Alaina and I rushed back to our hotel to get ready for the AWESOME Edubros Party 🙂


Monday morning started with the SIGMS Playground, which is always SO much fun as always! After, I glanced at the planner and saw Lisa Parisi’s session on Making Connections with Blogging was about to begin. That was the PERFECT opportunity to have Alaina see how much her students NEED to be blogging. SUCCESS! It was a great session with amazing ideas and I can’t wait to see what will come of it for our students. I also attended sessions by Adam Bellow and Chris Lehmann, both amazing speakers who shared the great things they are doing. Monday night was the SIGMS Reception sponsored by ProQuest, which was a great chance to hang out with awesome library friends!

Tuesday morning I went to breakfast with other educators from my district attending the conference at the beautiful Hotel Del Coronado. I attended Kathy Shrock’s session on Literacy in the Digital Age, then got ready for the SIGMS Forum. Steve Hargadon was the main speaker, discussing social media in schools and libraries. Joquetta Johnson and I spoke of the ways that we are using social media in our schools (SO MUCH FUN!), and Jason Epstein, Marie Slim, Jane Lofton, and Peggy George shared cool tools like Pinterest, Celly, Tricider, and Symbaloo. Sharing at the Forum was a great experience! And the session is also available through ISTE’s Video On Demand!

My favorite session was Wednesday morning’s SIGMS Breakfast. Not only was I presented as SIGMS President-Elect (I’m so excited to be part of the new re-structuring of SIGMS leadership!) but we had an amazing presentation by Alan November. I mean, PREACH IT! CIPA, information access, filtering policies, the roles of librarians, search personalization by Google, and so much more! I can’t wait to listen to the Video On Demand of this session again so I can yell “AMEN!” and “THAT’S RIGHT!” over and over.

I wrapped up the conference with the craziest, most out-the-box session at the conference, which I happened to be part of…Hollywood Squares! I think most of the audience appreciated our humor and enjoyed the session as a fun way to end their time at ISTE. I know I had fun playing Lady GaGa!



Love me some Nick Provenzano and Gwyneth Jones!!

After the session, there was time for one last dinner in San Diego. Alaina and I were able to share it with some of our #isteBFFs, Matthew Winner, Cheryl Steighner, Ryan Patterson, and Ilona Brennick!

So now I’m home and recovering from that incredible trip. I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to connect with so many amazing educators from around the world. You all inspire me daily and drive me to constantly want to better myself as an educator.

I <3 #ISTE12!