Changes

changes_ahead

Although I have LOVED using Edublogs Pro, I have decided to change back to a basic account for now.  With all of the demands on my time for Library-related technology tasks, I haven’t been able to incorporate all of the cool multimedia I once did.  In fact, I’ve hardly found time to blog at all since school began.  Perhaps once I get more accustomed to being a librarian, I’ll switch back to Pro.  In the meantime, if you find that something I posted once here no longer works properly, you’ll know why :-)

Class Dojo

I’ve heard Class Dojo mentioned by teachers from time to time, and now that I’m in a school library with lots of kids passing through every day, I’m thinking I may give it a whirl.  Class Dojo is an online behavior management system that allows teachers and students to keep track of both positive and negative conduct in the classroom.    Here’s a little video that helps students understand the system:

New School Year!

I’m excited to be starting a new school year with Dunbar Elementary (Shelby County Schools)! Tomorrow begins a week of Inservice, but I’ve already spent quite a bit of time getting the library ready for fall: rearranging books and furniture, cleaning, and getting to know this new space I’ll be inhabiting. I’m enjoying meeting faculty members, parents, and students, and I’m looking forward to a great year – my first as a School Library Media Specialist, aka Librarian. Here’s a shot of the library:

lib2

There are so many possibilities for projects involving both literacy and technology, that my mind is just racing: online book clubs via Edmodo, Edublogs, Skyping authors (and students in other schools), creating Vokis to highlight books, creating booktalks with any number of online tool, sharing books via podcasts (Readers’ Theatre), promoting reading via GoAnimate, blogging about books, writing our own books with StoryJumper or Storybird, and on and on.  I’m working on a site now that will focus just on the library; it’s still under construction, but you can click here to see what I have so far.  I love the creative possibilities!

A New Chapter

DJI_Read_librarian_c

Well, this has been a very interesting few days (weeks, months) as the Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools have been poised on the brink of the merger. Lots of change, lots of anxiety, lots of pressure, loss, and fear for many employees in both systems. Just a heart-wrenching time for so many. Beginning this fall, I will be moving from my current position as an Instructional Technology Specialist to that of a School Library Media Specialist (aka Librarian). I am forever grateful to have had such a wonderful tech job for nine years. I learned so much and (I hope) helped a lot of teachers, but there are going to be major changes in the the job description, and although I was offered my job back, I felt that the Librarian position would be a better fit for me at this time in my life. I’ll be combining 2 great loves: books & technology. The school I’m going to is getting all new computers this summer, I’ve been offered lots of help from librarian friends, and I’ll have a great home base at Dunbar Elementary, behind Melrose Stadium near the Orange Mound Community Center. It’s a scary change, but exciting as well. Lots of long conversations and prayers have gone into this decision, and I am satisfied that it is a good one. Please keep teachers and administrators in your prayers this week and in the coming weeks.

Image Credit: Pasadena Public Library

PDF Converter

Screen shot 2013-05-23 at 9.16.09 AM

Thanks to Anna Stanley for alerting me to a very nice (free!) PDF conversion tool, called PDFConverter,  It converts PDFs to Excel, PowerPoint, or Word – very handy!  There is no registration involved.  Simply upload your PDF along with your  email address, and within a short time you will receive a link that allows you to download your file.  I tested it on several documents and am quite impressed with the results.  Thanks, Anna!

TES iBoard

Looking for Interactive Whiteboard activities aligned to the Common Core?  Take a look at TES iboard’s Activity Finder.  You have access to quite a variety of activities and games for KK-Grade 5 even without registering for an account.  Of course, there are more features with the paid version (TES iboard+), but the free activities are well worth the visit to the site.

Common Core App for iPad

Richard Byrne’s blog, iPad Apps for School, is a great source of information about using iPads in the K12 classroom; I learn something new on every visit.  His post on MasteryConnect’s Common Core App caught my attention recently, as I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading in that area.  It’s nice to have the CC information at your fingertips, and the app is free.  Here’s the iTunes preview:

View the Common Core State Standards in one convenient FREE app! A great reference for students, parents, and teachers to easily read and understand the core standards. Quickly find standards by subject, grade, and subject category (domain/cluster). This app includes Math standards K-12 and Language Arts standards K-12. Math standards include both traditional and integrated pathways (as outlined in Appendix A of the common core) and synthesizes Language Arts standards with the Corresponding College and Career Readiness Standards (CCR’s).

Three other sites of critical importance to teachers are the Common Core State Standards Initiative website, TN Core (for Tennessee educators), and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) site.

Another Year Draws to a Close

Wow!  I just finished my second year as an adjunct instructor for a graduate program here in Memphis.  Some of my students took both EDT 620 (Instructional Applications of Technology) and EDT 621 (Advanced Instructional Applications of Technology), so we spent quite a bit of time together.  The classes were face-to-face and completely project-based. I loved seeing the students’ excitement as they gained expertise on various technology tools that they could begin using right away in their own classrooms.  Topics covered are included in the word cloud above.

We also used Edmodo for posting & submitting assignments, posting grades, participation in discussions, etc.  One thing I emphasized heavily was the importance of developing one’s own Personal Learning Network (PLN).  Students signed up for Netvibes accounts and subscribed to various RSS Feeds to help them keep abreast of educational trends, particularly in the area of technology integration.  We all learned so much from each other, and each class meeting was truly a pleasure.  Best wishes to these students / teachers!

Going Paperless

I ran across the following article, entitled Creating a Paperless Classroom with Edmodo Quizzes and Assignments, in my RSS Feed Reader yesterday and found it quite interesting, considering the number of schools implementing 1-on-1 technology.  The author, Kelley Taylor,  states:

I teach sixth grade language arts and religion at a Catholic school in Lexington, Kentucky. In the 2011-2012 school year, I piloted a 1:1 classroom using netbooks. The program was so successful that it led to the implementation of a 1:1 iPad program across the entire middle school for 2012-2013.

Within the first month, I found that my classes were completely paperless. This was not really my intent when I began the 1:1 endeavor, but a wonderful bonus. As astonishing as it is to have a “paperless” classroom (especially language arts), being in a 1:1 environment has provided me with so many more benefits

Interesting read!