GoogleReader Cleaning

I’ve been neglecting my GoogleReader in favor of Twitter lately. But I really love so many of the blogs that I follow, so I know it’s time for me to get back in the swing of using that resource. Also, I have some big changes that are going to take place next year (that I’m not ready to post about yet), so I need to be preparing myself. I finally created a gmail account and will move my reader over to that instead of using my yahoo account. So here is the newly organized and refined list of blogs I’m following:

Book Blogs

School Librarians

School Libraries

Other Library Stuff

Ed Tech

Blogs of Friends

Food Blogs

What I want to know is…What am I missing??


This blog post by Will Richardson really got my brain going.

I’m going to go ahead and admit it — I have frequently judged people who homeschool their children. I’ve judged lots who put their kids in private school, for that matter. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that I live in the deep south and those choices are usually made based on religious reasons that (I feel) negatively effect the actual content that those children are allowed to come in contact with. I’ve always figured that I’m a product of public school, and I turned out pretty darn good (note: low self-esteem has never been a struggle of mine). But reading this post and watching Seth Godin’s video, in conjunction with my recent filter fighting battle, really caused me to take a step back.

For a moment, I had a vision. I imagined homeschooling a small group of (5-10) children and having the freedom to teach them to explore, create, share, and learn. I imagined the incredible learning experiences they could have, the discussions that would take place, the creativity that could be developed working with a small group and teaching through project-based learning. I imagined loading them up and taking them places, giving them opportunities to explore and experience things and places. I imagined having no technology restrictions, where I could teach them to be safe but creative, brave citizens in the digital world. It would be so fun, so thrilling, so exhausting, so much work. But I would get to see excitement from these kids and help them create their own powerful learning experiences and then share it with others. Ahhhh…what a utopian world!

It’s a very interesting thought. For now, I’m going to stick with my battles and accomplishments in public schools. But if I ever decide to have children, this though may very well be revisited.

CC by alamosbasement

It all brings me to this question, though:

Is it more powerful to impact a small group of children in an incredible way or work with and fight for the masses?

Fight the Filter Game Plan

Since my return from ISTE, I’ve been working on my plan to fight the filter. It’s going to be a tough battle, because the newly passed Louisiana “safety” law is garbage. If you’re interested, you can find it here.

So to introduce my case and hopefully open up some meaningful discussion, I have created a video and a glog:


Web Tools Glog

Feel free to use these resources if you find them useful or if you’re in a similar situation. Wish me luck!

ISTE10 Reflections

I’ve been trying for a week now to block out some time to really reflect on my experiences at the ISTE conference. But with my hubby remodeling the kitchen (fridge is currently in the living room), July 4th weekend, a friend’s wedding, and grad school work piling up, the reflecting has taken place in spare moments here and there. I will sit down and filter through the multitude of resources that I filed away from my sessions. The conference was such an incredible experience for me and left me fired up and ready to roll. So here are my three take-aways from ISTE10:

1. We have to help our students obtain a global perspective. We all know that the world has changed so much in the last 25 years. In my lifetime, the internet has completely opened up the world. Our students will be able to communicate and collaborate instantly with people from all over the world in their careers, and it’s our job to prepare them for that. In order for them to be good citizens in a global society, we must give them experiences now that will help them in becoming globally aware. This includes learning about other places and cultures, becoming good environmental stewards, and making real life connections with peers world wide. The resources that we have now make this possible in a way that wasn’t just a few years ago. The activities that we do in the library this year are going to be geared towards helping students gain a global perspective.

2. Students need to have opportunities to create and share. Obviously, trends in education are changing. If we are going to give our students what they need (and crave), there is going to have to be a revolution in the way we teach. Student-centered classrooms mean project-based learning. And these projects are going to have a strong foundation of technology. But when we create something awesome, don’t we all want to share it with the world? Why else do we blog, after all? And we can share it with the world — shouldn’t our students be able to do the same? This creating and sharing is where a lot of us are running into road blocks. I, for one, am tired of being told that I can’t do something that I know would be a great learning opportunity for my students. So this year, I am picking up the torch and fighting the filter. For the sake of our students, things have to change. If they don’t, we’ll keep falling farther behind.

3. Don’t be intimidated — jump in and share! I was star-struck at ISTE. I met two of my library idols — Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones. I mean, these women are library goddesses. I was SHAKING when I met them, because they are what I aspire to be. They were so kind and welcoming, and encouraged me to step up and participate at the Library Smackdown — and I did! I met so many amazing educators whose blogs and tweets I follow, and it was hard not to be intimidated! By the end of the conference, I was (more) comfortable and decided that the time had come for me to start taking part in the world of Ed Tech. I may not feel like I have much to offer, but I’m passionate about what I do and I’m always looking to grow. That’s what’s most important, right??

I’m sure my posts will be circling back to ISTE10 for quite some time. I have a long road ahead of me in fighting for the freedom to do what’s best for my students. Their future is worth fighting for!

Here I am with the library goddesses Joyce and Gwyneth.

And here I am with the SimpleK12 girls…but you can’t see their blue bunny slippers 🙁

Am I dreaming?

It’s 9:18 in Denver and I’m BEAT! I may actually be sleep-blogging, so I apologize in advance. It’s been a long, exhausting, and exciting day. ISTE10 is even more than I could have hoped it would be. I’m meeting so many great educators — lots of whom I have been following on twitter and their blogs for a while. I’ll have to post a list of links to my new rock star friends at the end of the conference. For now, I’m just throwing stuff up here to help myself keep track of what I’m doing. The real reflecting won’t happen until I get home. For now, I’m just trying to take it all in.

Today I tried not to overextend myself and learn how to deal with a conference of this size. This morning, I attended Will Richardson’s session on “Changing the Climate: How Teaching Social Networks Might Save the World.” It was awesome and right up my alley. I can’t wait to get home and have a chance to really digest everything he talked about. Here are my tweets from that session:

“We’re not going to solve the environmental problem until we solve the education problem.” @willrich45 #ISTE10

We need to model to our students how we use online social interaction for learning @willrich45 #ISTE10

Next, I visited the exhibitor’s hall and nearly had a panic attack. Talk about sensory overload. I didn’t last for too terribly long, and I’m not sure if I can force myself back in there. My coworker is always a winner, though, so maybe I need to give it a shot.

The other session I attended was a BYOL (bring your own laptop) and it was GREAT! It was called “Learning in the 76542.0: An Abundance of Web 2.0 Apps” by Helen Mowers and Anne Adam. It plowed through a list of uh-mazing free resources. It was very fast paced, so afterwards I gave myself some time to digest and create a Glogster on what I’d learned. Check it out, it’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself —

Afterwards, I hung out at the Blogger’s Cafe for a bit. I tried to hit up the “21 Things about 21 Things” session, but it was full. So I went back to the BC for a bit. This evening, I went to a SIGMS Birds of a Feather, a YEN (Young Educators Network) meet-up, and had dinner with the people from my school & district. See why I’m exhausted?! And I get to wake up and do it again in the morning. I wouldn’t have it any other way! This is truly a life-changing experience, I believe. And I’m not being dramatic because I’m typing with my eyes closed half asleep.

SIGMS Learning Tools Smackdown in the AM. Followed by a whole bunch of other ISTE goodness.

Peace out. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Gearing up for Monday @ ISTE

It’s Monday morning and I’m expecting great and wonderful things today! I’m having such a blast meeting people whose blogs and tweets I follow. I feel like I’m meeting celebrities!

Yesterday’s kickoff with Mario Armstrong was GREAT! He did a great skit-like presentation on the forces that we have to battle when implementing technology in schools: the Locked-Net Monster, the Abominable  No-Man, the Dollar and Cent-ataur, and the Mediogre.

Right now, I’m in the Changing the Climate session by Will Richardson. He’s talking about how far we have to do to have education catch up to where it HAS to be with technology and global/environmental awareness. It’s powerful stuff! We have so far to go, but IMAGINE where we can go!

More later 🙂

Reporting in from ISTE 10!

I am very excited to be here in Denver for the ISTE 2010 conference! I know I have been a terrible blogger lately, but I’m going to try to make up for it this week. My favorite computer teacher and I flew in to Denver on Thursday and have spent the last few days sightseeing. We went to a Rockies game, toured the US Mint, visited Red Rocks amphitheater, Buffalo Bill’s gravesite & museum on Lookout Mountain, and went on the Denver Microbrew Tour. It’s been such a great trip!

Now it’s time to gear up for the conference. We are in our hotel room preparing ourselves for the overwhelming things we are about to experience. I’m having anxiety about all of this — I know there’s so much to learn and I want to do it all but know I can’t.

Here are a few photos to enjoy from our trip so far:

Long time no post!

I know I’ve been MIA for a while. I’ve been recovering from packing up and moving out of the library. Last week, I took the GRE and got the score I needed (YAY!). This week, I started my Masters program at NSU. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with getting started in my program — I’m taking two classes this summer.

That’s all I’ve got for now…my brain is pretty much mush. Hopefully I’ll have a thoughtful blog post soon 🙂

5 x 3 x 3

I love lists. So much so that I’m reading a book called “The Checklist Manifesto” at my assistant principal’s recommendation. I’m not very far into it, though, so don’t think this post has anything to do with this post. The end of the school year is for reflecting. And this year with the upcoming pack up and renovations, I thought I should do my reflections a little early (ie – before I completely go nuts). So here are three lists: my top 5 library accomplishments for the year, 3 personal accomplishments, and 3 things I’m looking most forward to doing.

Top 5 Library Accomplishments for 09-10 School Year

5. Numbering the Shelves

I got tired of being asked where the Junie B. Jones books were 50 times a day. I’m constantly fielding questions like that while trying to check out books and do 3 other things at the same exact moment. I teach 2nd and 3rd graders, who mostly understand the fiction/nonfiction concept, but teaching them to use Destiny and locate their own books is a task that I’m not sure they’re ready for. Even if I taught them, they’d still ask me where Junie B. was. So I numbered the shelves. Where are the books about dogs and cats? Nonfiction shelf # 19. Judge if you want, but it works wonders for me!

4. Yearbook

This was my second year to make the school’s yearbook and I am so unbelievably proud of the final product. It’s award-winning quality, in my humble opinion. My husband designed the cover, and it’s amazing. It’s got great pictures along with little write-ups, quotes, and fun facts. From cover to cover, it’s very consistent and cohesive. My rep is going to use it for her sample. Tears were shed over this book, I have not sold enough copies to break even, but I am very proud of the final product — which will be arriving at my school today!

3. Video Creations

This is a broad item, but I’ve come a long way with both creating videos myself and helping students and teachers make them. Making morning announcement videos, informational videos about reading promotions, using a Flip, collaborating and teaching PhotoStory for a Haiti project, and creating class poetry videos were all great experiences despite any bumps in the road along the way.

2. Book Club

Seeing the excitement that the students have about being part of the after school book club has been one of the most rewarding experiences of the year. The program has been such a success. Read more about it hereherehere, and here.

1. Read Around the World

The Read Around the World program has turned out even better than I imagined. Having students ask for help finding new genres of books has been my greatest pleasure this year. I can’t help but smile every time they ask where the bee-ograpbies are. Read more about it here.

Top 3 Personal Accomplishments This Year

3. Bought a MacBook!

Isn’t it beautiful?! I just love it! And how about that BookBook? I’m so happy I made the leap.

2. Taught Myself to Knit

I’ve been wanting to learn to knit. So over Christmas break, I went to the public library and got some knitting books, went to the store and got the equipment, then got on YouTube and taught myself to knit. I’ve done a few scarves and learned the basics. I even made this precious pair of baby booties for a family friend who is expecting. Impressive, huh?

1. Learning to Dance

My brother and I have been taking dance lessons. So far we’ve done beginning and intermediate East Coast Swing and we are in our second round of Country Two Step classes. It’s something I have so much fun with and I look forward to dance class all week long. Maybe it will even help with my (lack of) coordination!

Top 3 Things I’m Looking Forward To

3. Developing our School Ning into a great tool for PD

2. Starting Grad School this Summer

1. ISTE 2010 in Denver, baby!!!

So what are your 5 x 3 x 3??

End of the Week Update

It’s been such a great, BUSY week!

Wednesday’s workshop on using Google Reader went GREAT! Here’s a shout out to any of my coworkers who are now following my blog — you guys ROCK! I’m going to try to follow up with everyone who attended within the next week or so and help them with any post-workshop issues/anxiety they may have.

Yesterday was Book Club meeting number two. As you know, we were reading Harriet the Spy. I saw a few of my kids kind of struggling with the book. For 2nd/3rd graders who are just a little above their reading level, it’s a pretty tough read. I started thinking about the better choices I could have made and stressed myself out about it. I didn’t know what to do and was talking to a fellow Book Club teacher who suggested I let the students cast a secret vote and make the decision. So that’s what we did. 7 to 1 they voted to make the switch to shorter books so we could read more. I told them they could keep Harriet until the end of the school year if they still wanted to read it without having to rush, and a few wanted to do that. Next year, we will cast our vote at the first meeting of each session – I like giving them the choice in the matter.

So now we’re reading A Good Night for Ghosts by Mary Pope Osborne.

My kids are absolutely bonkers for Magic Tree House books. This is by far my favorite because it takes place in New Orleans! I did this one with my last group as well, so I knew exactly what to do for the book’s intro. We read the picture book If I Only Had a Horn by Roxane Orgill and illustrated by Leonard Jenkins.

It’s a story about the childhood of Louis Armstrong and is the perfect introduction to this MTH book. Then we watched a few videos of Louis playing music and singing. Giving the students that background before reading the book makes for a much richer reading experience.

I’m off to school – day 5 of writing our William Blake style poetry. Pray that my hopes and dreams for next weeks recording process go as planned!