Saturday, December 13, 2008

551.72 Snowflakes: Generate you Own Pile

Those of you who live with snow day in and day out for several months a year...forgive me. One more fun activity generated by the excitement of our recent snowfall.

Make-a-snowflake image generator. Use virtual scissors to cut out your own creation from a piece of virtual paper...and no mess to clean up! Possibly the cleverest part of the whole activity is watching the computer take the "paper" and magically fold it for perfect snowflake cutting! ( Hey, simple pleasures...what can I say!)

You save them or upload to the gallery...which contains thousands and thousands of entries. That is my one contribution at the top of the post. And below is an Animoto slideshow where I pulled samples from the gallery for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

551.57 Snow: A Surprise Visitor

The weatherman kept saying it might happen...and it did! Snow fell within the city limits of Houston today...the first time in over 4 years!

It was a major news event all day...and caused all kinds of actually feels like Christmas around here! (as opposed to the feeling one gets in December when you are STILL swatting mosquitoes.)

It was a good old dog Mr. C was actually frisky after walking today...another new neighbor and I met each other for the first time and actually stood out on the sidewalk and let the flakes accumulate on our jackets as we exchanged our first neighborly brought out the bloggers around here and here as well!

But the WEIRDEST part of it all (and the main reason I ended up posting) is I hit (literally) on this YouTube video THIS EVENING by was fate! Enjoy!

Pretty cool, isn't it?...and I'm somebody who just doesn't "get" spreadsheets at all...I admittedly have "spreadsheet" envy on something like this!

P.S. I hope this bit of winter weather wonderland doesn't create a mess in the morning for all the drivers!

[Video from the Google Collaborative Spreadsheet Art collection on YouTube converted by Zamzar so it will be visible in district]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

006.6 Dumpr: TOO Much Fun!

I have records open on my desktop that I SHOULD be cataloging, but I am taking a few minutes of virtual hookey time to show you Dumpr. Maybe it is not new to you and maybe you are not hooked on image generators as I am, but this one is pretty cool, ridiculously simple, very fast...and mostly FREE...the best kind!

I pulled up an old picture of a friend...those of you who have been in some of our department's staff development will recognize him! Look at all the things I can do to him.
Some of the things on the site do cost $$, but are marked pro so it is easy to tell. They can be saved, printed, uploaded to Flickr, or embedded almost anywhere in the 2.0 world you can think of!
Ok, ok, ok...I gotta get back to my cataloging. Go have fun!
P.S. The squishy one is really do the squishing. You HAVE to do that one at least!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

953.63 Qatar or Bust: Community Effort

Since the inception of our Library2Play 23 Things professional development almost a year ago, there have been many players who have embraced the 2.0 world and given their students new keys to learning.

One such player is Estie Cuellar, a CATE teacher in our district in Houston, TX. From her culminating comments about the 23 Things adventures:
"I have become proactive in seeking out and learning new technologies that will help me grow as a teacher professional and affect positively the lives of my students."

She has done this thru many things:
"Kids today are in sync with's practically in their DNA. They are proficient multi-taskers. They cannot be reached in a one-dimensional classroom. I understand this.... The vast majority of my lessons are interactive. I play music in my classroom everyday. I make sure that my students conduct Internet research and complete online activities. This year, I will incorporate blogging to replace notebook journals as the students' reflection piece after completing lessons."

She also created a TeacherTube video about her teaching:

Estie has a group of students who have been particpating in the Flat Classroom Project this Fall. In this adventure the students have been working with students around the world on various topics. It is now time for these students to come together with their global peers. The meeting is to be held in Qatar in January.

These nine students need YOUR help. It is going to cost $20,000 for the students and their teacher to make the trip. These students can not do it alone. The Spring Branch Foundation has set up an account for donations towards this life-changing trip for these students.

If you would like to see more that Estie has done, please go to her wiki and blog.

Here is the Qatar Conference blog she and the students have created to talk about the summit and their plans...and needs! The students rap:

[converted from a YouTube video to a wmv file by ZamZar]

On the blog page is a form for contributing to their trip. You can contribute by check made out to the Spring Branch ISD Foundation or use a credit card as well. I chose to write a check.

This is a tough time of year to be asking for funds...especially this year in our community. Many folks are recovering from IKE in our area and are facing the national financial crisis in many ways. Plus the holidays are fast approaching and we all have obligations in that area as well. But please, if you can, help these kids. They deserve to go as much as any other member of the project.

Please consider leaving off that extra fancy coffee or two...take peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a couple of times for lunch rather than doing take out. Reach down in the sofa cushions or shake some coins outta that change jar on your dresser. Please.

Bloggers are known for creating community. Please widen the circle a little today and include Estie and her students. Please put a little money where your keyboard is. 'Tis the season!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

398.2 It's Santa Time!

Happy Christmas to all!

The Animoto guys have added some fun Christmas music and made it possible for you to send your creations as holiday greetings directly to family and friends. Check out the fun!

P.S. The photos in this one all came from Microsoft clipart.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

973.932 The Next Step in History

A recent event caused the need for a new Dewey Classification number - 973.932.
It is a fine tuning of a much broader view found in 973.93 and will go into effect soon.

Can you determine how these numbers are related?

Care to make a guess in a comment? Bonus points for the exact date!
Our catalog won't help too much because of our "rule" for the benefit of our patrons, but our friends at Houston Public Library (any public library actually) can provide sources for your research!

If you want to take the easy way out and peek, you can go here for the answer to the first part. The other pieces should then fall into place just like a nice stack of dominoes

Who said cataloging can't be fun?!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

371.33 Blog Anniversary: Two Years and Counting...

This blog is two years old this holiday weekend. I am fast running out of time to meet the anny deadline, but I am getting it started and will write on it a bit all day as I shoe-horn it in between life in general and the list I set for myself over this long weekend!

I am proud that it exists and that it is two years and counting. In the past I was not comfortable with my writing and very little exits, but this does...mostly because I could write down thoughts to be "used" by others. In my mind that makes it possible to accomplish because it is (hopefully) for the benefit of others.

There is very little original thought here. I simply report what I find or that others share with me (and thousands of others.) One of the BEST things about the online world...the possibility of sharing!

This second year has been a busy one. My team and I came across the 23 Things phenomena that has been making the rounds so we created our own version and have conducted it far! The first go-round of Library2Play included about half of our campus librarians, a few district teachers, an administrator, and a few brave souls from around the state who heard about it thru the Internet grapevine. THEN we repeated it in the summer...where we were joined by 300 district librarians, teachers, and several administrators along with educators from a wider state circle and 3 other states! What a terrific experience these encounters were and continue to be...several participants have kept their blogs active and share their online adventures with all of us.

I got to attend NECC this year, basically because it was right down I-10 in San Antonio and I went to the EduBloggers' thing the Saturday before the official conference began. I got to be in the same room with SO many of the bloggers who I have admired from was a BLAST!! It was THE highpoint of this two-year experience. And the rest of the conference was an adventure itself!

And yes, I do consider myself a part (a tiny part, but a part nevertheless) of the revolution in learning!

And of course, there was that little event in December which gave me an opportunity to visit a bit in Second Life...all of it... from the "surprise" beginning to the virtual world visit was so surreal.

I have gotten to meet so many wonderful people thru the blog...first establishing a relationship online and then thru events like TLA Conference, NECC and staff development trainings, I have had opportunities for face-to-face encounters. Several have become long-distance friends now. The blog will also be the vehicle to keep up with one special friend who been transplanted east...WAY east. I will get to see her sing and dance and watch her grow! O, yeah and keep up with her mom, too! :-)

Animoto remains my favorite tool...not necessarily the most effective or efficient tool in my toolbox, but it is so fun...and gets better and better! I couldn't live without my Reader, my various wikis that I have created to park various bits of info and Google Docs. Most of it all relates back to my blogging experiences in some form or fashion.

Now we are trying to experience FAceBook from an educator's point of view and how we can help students use it properly and safely. I'm a bit behind the circle with this particular social networking tool because it's just a tad too much for me...tends to be too "up close and personal," but I have put it on my list...and yes, that includes going thru the long list of friends-in-waiting!

And games... we are trying to show how games of all kinds belong in the library and the educational plans of our kids today. I love the Wii...bowling is my favorite right now, but gosh, every time I turn around TV shows us something new! I spent a fun afternoon recently watching kids fool around with Guitar fun it was! Card games, board games, online games...they all belong. Watch...I'll be writing about some as time goes by.

Both personal and professional things took time away from my blogging fun. I hope to get things back on track and keep up a little better and a little more regularly. Looking forward to what awaits. Hope you will continue to check in and keep the conversation going.

Here's to Three!

005.2 Animoto: In a Word or Two, the Fun Continues

My favorite fun just gets better and better!

The folks at Animoto recently added the capability of adding text to your creations.
It does cost you a picture here and there if you are using the free 30-second version, but you can solve that by either paying the 30 bucks a year for longer ones or going after the educational "scholarship."

A few days before that, they added a preview feature so that you can look at the details of your pictures while in the design stage. A nice feature...especially if you are trying to decide which one or two has to go to make room for the text.

And now they are teasing that December 2nd holds another new feature...

Here is my not-so-great first attempt to use the text feature. The pictures are just pictures, but I will find another reason to use the catchy litte tune again!

759.4 Can You Picasso? ANOTHER Fun Generator

I just love the adventure of the Internet! Especially when one of the guides leads you to something as fun as creating your own Picasso-like drawing! Go have some fun with Mr. PicassoHead. You are viewing my results.

You can send your creations to others (or yourself.) You can post in the site's gallery. There are only 790,000+ images...created since 2003!
To capture it, you will have to use that magic "print screen" key and an old friend like a PPT screen. (at least that's how I manage it.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

'Tis the Season to be Thankful

I'm going to take a few minutes and write a very personal post. You won't learn anything new...except that I have many reasons to be thankful this holiday season.

I am healthy...crippled, yes, but basically healthy. Stairs are a nightmare, but mostly it's my own fault. Didn't do some things I probably should have and did some things I shouldn't have done at all...hauling huge loads of books AND TVs!!

I have a pretty new-to-me little treehouse that is all mine. I can paint it whatever color I want and put as many nail holes into it I want. If I could just find the last few cubby holes for a few more treasures, then it would be perfect. I really did get rid of lots of stuff...I really did, I promise. That is my goal for the break...the top of the dining room table will be clear and the door to the study will open all the way.

My family basically had two birthday seasons a year and the Thanksgiving turkey often shared the table with a birthday cake or terrible rendition of the birthday song. always added an interesting twist to the holiday. (In case you were wondering, the other season involved a bunny and lots of eggs.)

November has also become a season of remembering. My mom has been gone almost a year. It's hard to believe it's been a year and just how much I missed her. Crazy as it sounds, I think baseball season was actually the hardest time...and the series just came and went. It just wasn't the mom loved baseball. My niece and nephew lost their mom a few years ago this month as well...they are great kids and my brother is a super parent, but I know this time in November holds many thoughts of the way things were for them all as well.

Today my baby brother would have been 53 under normal circumstances. But he left us when he was only 29. I miss him as much today as I did the first day that terrible day in July so long ago. His son missed a lot. He was one of the sweetest, kindest people I have ever know but I think I miss laughing at his stories the most. He could make me laugh SO hard it hurt.

I am thankful these people were in my life...for a little while or a lifetime.

I am lucky to have two great kids...they drive me crazy at all the appropriate times that kids do...even now that they are grown women, but I love them to pieces and to the very bottom of my heart.

My family, crazy as they are, are mine and I love them all...and all their craziness! I definitely belong to the right family!

I have a fun and interesting job that just brings all kinds of adventures to my little world. I have done lots of fun and interesting "stuff" (ok--yes, there have a been a few boring moments, but just a few.) I have learned a lot and found some new friends in new and different ways!

So my family, my friends, my work, my peaceful life.
I THANK my lucky stars I'm me!

741.5 Comic Book Generator: Check Out the Possibilities

I was introduced to a comic book generator and some online comics from a site called MashOn. Click on Spore on the menu bar to get to the generator. Click on comic strips to get one of 3 sets of strips: Chaotic, Holiday, or Urbaniacs. I have not checked yet (ok--I have forgotten!) to check and see if it is available in district, but it looks worthy of some time even if it is only available away from school. [Hurray! it is open in district!]

No I haven't actually made a comic...yet.

If you have noticed, I haven't had much blogging time either, but I did want to get this site out there so all you adventurous souls can try it out after the turkey dinner is eaten, your favorite football team has fallen in defeat, and the mall holds no interest on Black Friday.

I have be advised that it is kid-friendly. How young-friendly it is, I'm not sure. I am not even sure if registration is a requirement to creating something or added benefit to what you can and can not do on the site.

So, please go try it and see what you think...share what you think!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

371.22 Videostreaming For the Younger Set

Last week, I was told this site existed so I went to see what it is all about. TOTLOL is for younger children and their parents to share the "funny" video experience. It is powered by YouTube and includes videos rated by parents as safe and appropriate for the younger children in the family. Here is the background behind the site which just launched about two weeks ago.

A check search thru the videos shows that animals and pets are a big part of the collection. I'm sure there are many other things that I will find when I return again. I selected this video because I too have a dog with a crazy habit. Enjoy!
There are some "learning" videos included on the preview page as well...look like pre-reading and vocabulary building activities.

The site does not include file info (that I can find yet), so I can't put the video up here, but I'll be watching to see if things change.
I will be checking to see if it is available in district initial thoughts are that it is not, at least for now, because of its association to YouTube.
Update: It is NOT available in district (for now anyway)
I will be adding it to our recently created wiki page of early childhood materials so others can check it out as well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

006.6 Photostory: Inquiring MAC Minds Wanna Know!

We have been talking a lot about PhotoStory in my circle recently with all of the work we have been doing with the 23 Things adventures and our 21st Century Student Products workshops. Every once and awhile, the question comes up...what about MAC users? What do they use?

iMovie seems to be the answer. I can not speak to it personally, but the wise ones around me do and the Internet says so as well. Here is a great post about the ins and outs along with some screen shot help and a sample iMovie that has been uploaded to TeacherTube. And the President's riddle idea looks any format!

Thanks to Tech4Teachers for providing this nice overview!

Apple has iMovie help and tutorial videos as well.

The stuff on the net is great, isn't it?
I just wish we all talked the same language! O, well, as they say, variety is the spice of life and wouldn't the world be a boring place if we did everything just alike! hope this helps the MAC users out there "translate" Photostory expereinces.

Monday, October 20, 2008

025.2 Library Collection Development Thoughts

Get an opportunity to share my 30+ years of education experience with a group of library students this week so I decided that I would put my collected, random (or randomly collected) thoughts on the matter here.

So if you see a nugget you can use...have at it!

Three things to remember when looking at developing any collection:
1. Curriculum--school libraries do have a limited focus (unlike public libraries, we do have parameters!)

2. Collection--know what you have BEFORE making any major decisions. A new Librarian should not weed! You should find out what teacher depends on that worn out copy of that American history title because of the map on p. 69.

3. Community--know who you serve! If you don't, you are asking for trouble.

Since all of my campus library experience has been at the secondary level, I have been directed to talk for the level...good thing!

When looking at a secondary collection that has any age to it, there are several things to watch for:
1. In high school, the 800s are going to be old...critical reviews are critical reviews. And librarians are hard-pressed to get rid of any sources that have all those valuable reviews for all the classics that continue to be studied as part of the high school curriculum.
2. Many typical reference books are now available online. That is a decision that has to be made. Print or Online. I vote online!
3. Be aware of issues in fiction. There are going to be controversial issues; there are going to be language issues; they will make you squirm a bit. Remember--what is in the kids' best interest.
4. Find things for ALL your readers...graphic novels, nonfiction, easy.

Budgets...ugly word that it is, we all have to deal with it. Be sure you are using it for the kids #1, and then for anything that helps you help the kids #2. Watch for budget pitfalls. Are you having to spend library funds on things that really should be funded out of other campus funds? If so, then use your diplomatic skills and point this out. Be willing to do the for the source, fill out the requisitions, but let someone else pay the bill!

Do you have a set 0f tools you use in making selections?
1.The review journals..either in paper or online. And all of us could come up with reasons for having one format or the other! see very much, you have to subscribe...even online!
School Library Journal
Booklist (awards list on the blogroll)
Horn Book
I know you can think of others!

2. Vendor resources
Follett's Titlewave
Mackin Collection analysis

and bunches more!

3. Online Bookstore resources
(Caution: For your school library...don't order from these types of sources unless circumstances are such that you must! Let the traditional vendors work for you!)
Barnes & Noble
Alibris (may be blocked...rare, out-of-print, hard to find titles)

4. Develop a relationship with a "shop around the corner" as well.
Need a way to learn your community...what better place! Need a quick source for something special or in an emergency?

Want to find out about books? Want to know what is hot off the press? Read blogs!
(look on the right side of this blog for a longggggg list of book review blogs!)
Better yet...get yourself a blog reader and set up it up to let you know when your favorite reviewers post something!

Good cataloging helps with collection development. Good solid rules and reasons for what you do in your catalog will prevent confusion...and duplication. Especially important in a union catalog. In your library manual, be it campus or district-wide, have careful specs for your vendors and librarians to follow. Helps keep your collection tight, avoids confusion, and saves money!

Ok, readers! Anything else? Any points brought out by the class...I will add!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

551.45 Coastline Views: Effects of IKE

U.S. Geological Survey, a part of the Department of the Interior, has a series of before and after photos of Bolivar Peninsula at Crystal Beach that clearly show the effects of Hurricane Ike on the area. They say they will be adding some more.
If you are unsure as to the power of a hurricane...these photos will clear up any confusion you may have. Amazing!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

551.552 IKE Update

I am lucky.

After a brief time in the dark, I have power.
After a day of little or no trickle, I have the pipes where it should be, and none where it shouldn't be.

I was prepared.
Water in the bath tub.
Full tank of gas.
Foodstuffs that required no cooking or refrigeration.
It amazes me that people do not make these simple preparations

I am lucky.

My new home is safe. I worked my way thru a jungle of downed pines and oaks. No water damage. No broken windows.

I am lucky.

I wasn't living there yet so my car was not in its assigned spot to be crunched by the cover that got smashed by the huge pine that came down. Or parked out front...where another huge pine would have made a pancake of my pretty red Ford. (pictures to come once my phone starts acting properly!)

My friend was not so lucky, but is ok.
I am grateful.

My district is closed for 2 more days due to power outtages and damages.
I am anxious.

I am lucky.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons uploaded by .stephweiss

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons uploaded by Daniesq

Friday, September 12, 2008

551.552 IKE: Preparing & Practicing Patience

Spent all day finishing the preparations for the effects of Ike upon my daily routine AND my impending move. Hardest part for me is trying to anticipate what things might be like this time tomorrow.

Did four loads of might be awhile before electricity becomes available. Need clothes to wear...and don't need to have to think about washing at the same time I move!

Cleaned out the refrigerator of all potential future science experiments...again based on the idea of no electricity being available. AND filled up every available vessel with water to make blocks of ice for the little freezer. Will keep the cooked meats and little bit of milk another day or so. Or I can put it on my head and pretend I'm cold!

Then I planned moving projects that can be done without much light. Yes, I have lots of flashlights and plenty of batteries, but I live in an apt with only three "windows"...great for protection against the angry elements, but means when the lights are out, it is pretty much a cave in about three-quarters of the place! Got my boxes arranged, found tape and scissors and markers. Ready...set...

Checked on the new place...battened down the hatches...locked the door...said a little prayer...and came "home."

Communicated with all the family and friends...assured everyone I was off the roads and ready to hunker down. Remembered to undo the garage door so my car would not be held case the power was out longer than the roads impassable.

I know the media is doing its job, but continuous coverage on ALL the local channels ALL day and night...2 days prior to Ike's arrival. Ok, I know, picky, picky, picky.

I also know that not one drop of rain yet and the storm surge is already higher than many Gulf coast veterans remember. And they just reported that the bayous up here in my area are already rising from same said surge. WHERE is all the rain gonna go when it comes??

Oh, oh, first flicker of the lights...

I am lucky. I have very little worry about. I live about 50 miles inland and around 50 ft above sea level. My first hurricane was Alicia. My worst experience was tropical storm Allison who came and stayed...forever! There have been some other near misses that interrupted life for awhile. But I have never lost my house, my livelihood or someone dear to me. I am lucky.

Gonna go now. Turn off the computer. Disconnect it in case things go whacko in the night.

See you on the other side...hopefully soon and all intact.

BE SAFE. Hang on!
Visual courtesy of ABC-Channel 13

Thursday, September 11, 2008

973.932 Seven Years: 9-11 Thoughts

This day was spent preparing...preparing my final thoughts for a workshop I was giving in the afternoon...preparing another load of belongings for their new life in a new abode...preparing for the oncoming hurricane, a "seriously"serious threat according to all the news reports.

But my least some of them kept going back to that day...7 years ago. Gosh, seems so long ago one minute and then the next, hardly a blink.

Why did I wrap my mind around that day? I was not "personally" one in my personal circle was affected...and yet, in the list of markers in my is right up there with that day in November over 40 yrs ago and a handful of personal dates on my life timeline.

I was reminded about the event a little earlier this week when Daughter #1 relayed her classroom experience when her young students ask her about it. These sweet children only know it as a "history" lesson and were awestruck when their teacher could remember it actually happening and described her point of view. She was worried she would go too far and asked her students to talk with their parents about details.

I was reminded over the last 24 hours because I got to spend time with Daughter #2 and all I could think about was how I wanted my girls with me on that being across town and the other down the hiway at school...and me thinking they might as well be on the moon because they were not right THERE with I knew for sure they were safe.

Yes, this day was spent preparing...but with thoughts not too far away from remembering when.
May all Gulf Coast readers of this blog be safe...let's hope Ike blows through, but not with a vengeance. All readers take care...and hug any and all loved ones a little tighter the next few days.

Monday, September 1, 2008

027.8 Libraries: Creating Community

Two months since I have blogged here! Whew! Feels like forever and yet, I haven't been very far away actually...just haven't had time to write any posts.

My district's Library Information Services Dept. (of which I am one-third of the team) conducted a second session of 23 Things this summer. In the Spring, we had about 75 folks participate, mostly librarians from our district and around the state, but also some interested teachers.

This summer we had about 250 participants!! The majority were teachers this go-round. Loads from the district, but also teachers from around the state and the country. Librarians in the local area participated as well as some around the state and nation. In addition to Texas, we had players from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, and Alaska! Talk about the power of the Internet in creating community. What a great way for teachers and librarians to learn from each other and together.

In reading the posts of the participants and attempting to help them understand activities, answer their questions, or simply enjoy their productions or their outlooks on learning and life, I have lots of new colleagues to call upon in getting thru this thing we call teaching and learning in the library setting. But more important I made a few friends along the way as well. Friends I have never met in the conventional way, but friends nevertheless. An unexpected outcome!

It was great fun running into players thorough all the events around back-to-school. In workshops and meetings, we would identify ourselves and share a moment or two in reflection about our adventure. I was privy to many plans various folks have in using some of the "Things" they have learned with their students or to change the way they work with team or department members.

What a perfect follow-up to my own experience in sharing that I had at NECC this summer in San Antonio. I got to meet "up close and personal" EVERY blogger I consider my blogging mentors and a handful of others who I now follow as a result having a great conversation or encounter. No, don't look at my blogroll for any changes...yet! I haven't had time! Arrgghh! But soon...

Anyway, it was an action-packed I deemed not exciting I purchased a home to add a cherry to the top of the pile of fun I have had. [3rd time I have chosen to move at the beginning of would think I would learn or have my head examined.]

So I have fulfilled my goal. I got this post written. I promise more to come that have a little more substance, I hope!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

371.3 NECC: Prevent Poisoned PowerPoints

Annette Lamb, one of the presenters from the SIGMS forum presented this session

[blogged "live" -excuse rough format]

PPT becomes more of a desktop vs a slide show

1st tip: Prohibit bullets

the learning space and the presentation space

the assignment is in the page...not somewhere else!

also directions to do the activity..even some skill if needed

use the notes box for questions...never to be played as a slideshow

first example was a photo with speech bubbles!

add a sound...record what the person in the picture may say

speech bubble site

voice thread

other speech bubble ideas:

dialog historical figures, brainstorm plot, setting, react to peer pressure, compare science image to student project (dissection of frog), solve architect's geometry dilemma

concern: google the mention of copyright or creative commons

Simple templates for primary grades

Grades K-2 Primary Writing Spaces: 1 line (PPT), 2 lines (PPT), 3 lines (PPT), 4 lines (PPT), and 8 lines (PPT).
"Post-it note idea"

Grades 3-12 Notepaper Writing Spaces: Sidepage (PPT), Bottompage (PPT), fullpage (PPT), halfpage (PPT), all 4 in one (PPT) file

keywords and visuals

Image Starters

these will be in additional to Flickr Creative Commons that we have featured in our Student Products for the 21st Century and #5 out of 23 Things

Other countries have archives of pictures--need to investigate this for lists.

Sarah Plain & Tall - example of creating a musical

Colonial Williamsburg job comparison

Character Scrapbooks - Bread & Roses too

bubbles to increase interest in books...draw attention

characters that have been the various pictures

virtual flannel boards

Zany Zoo Keeper

could incorporate Build Your Wild Self

creative thinking and critical thinking

371.3 NECC08 SIGMS Forum: A Discussion of the New Standards

What a thrill! Doug Johnson at our table for a few minutes (mostly because I'm lucky enough to hang out with the "right people.") Joyce Valenza walking by saying good morning! It's ridiculous I know...this -struck, hero-worship feeling I have around these people...they are just people who do some of the same things I do to help kids be successful. Indulge me for a few days and I'll get back to normal.

Standards for 21st Century Learners - A Debate?

Panel made up of Doug Johnson, Joyce Valenza, Annette Lamb, Indiana University professor of Library Information, Gail Dickinson, Old Dominion University, and Marlene Woo-Lun (Linworth), moderator

Can you do the elevator speech for the standards?
Do you have idea how to use them as a tool?
Are you going to ignore and just get your work done? The moderator asked us these questions fully expecting the answers she got.

So she threw out the first question to the panel:
If everyone believes that info literacy is important, should it be graded? How else can we be respected? Do we need a high stakes exam?

JV: we are already doing ways to count them to prove we are; engaging students in rich projects; standards valued in rubrics, picking right tool, resources are validated and credited; students help define rubrics...communication is what students will remember

AL: opportunity, to get hold of those teachers who need to change; what are the connections between the XXX standards and these standards...our job to show that they are already there; authenticity of collaboration, real-world connections, real things with local needs and history. Not a separate test but an infusion. Authentic projects.

Moderator: Infusion does not sound visible

AL: move from all about test scores to life-long learning, creativity...products that reflect that. The time is NOW for us to move to the front as far as leadership.

GD: we can't "bubble" in these standards...but are covered in curriculum standards...they are called standards for learners, not libraries. if we are not happy with the current way, then we need to take these standards and make the necessary changes.

DJ: authentic learning, creativity, 5% of teachers are using...95 the rest, are just happy to do what they are doing....NCLB doesn't ask our kids to do enough...he would like to see legislation that makes more requirements beyond simple reading and writing. critical thinking, problem-solving...need to be mandated.

JV: bigger than the old standards..not just reaserch process, creative member of school team instead...all the craziness (in many libraries these days) has it place and reason for being

One chance to explain:

School library needs to be the center of the party.

How do we use the standards to be the center

GD: we are already doing skills, self assessment, dispositions, ?; teachers' lesson plans do not reflect what goes on in the visit to the library...instead of teacher lesson plans...student learning plans...then what we do and are responsible for the success of, will be visible!

JV: make all plans public

DJ: students, parents, etc can see things now with all the 2.0 tool s available that allow for records, etc to be online and made "public"...plans, learning plans, individual needs plans; getting away from factory model means customization. there should not be one set of plans for a group of students.

AL: Student focus, they are talking it, but not doing....too many students in one class for individualized; we see the big picture...we know how to differentiate on larger scale...we can offer different formats ( list of book formats)

Audience: don't forget the audio version!

AL: don't shelve by format....shelve by content; change the structure of the library by doing this.

JV reads letter (graduate 1998)

Dialog search statements--think and shake things up; citing sources, thinking about problems..what are the skills, beliefs he got

Audience responses:
learning to think
problem solving
work in a team

JV: what if we asked students to reflect their product? is that assessment

AL: the use of progress blogs...authentic reflection of growth, inquiry; community is built thru comments and get answers, other ideas. Tell administration" I need 2.0 to do my standards!"

JV: intellectual freedom fight to get these tools available to blocking should be occurring

AL: inquiry with blogs...she makes her students use this method in her class even for personal needs, goals. this is a life-long learning skill...should I do xxx? blog the process.

JV: force students to blog the research becomes transparent...can intervene when becomes problem, frustration..and cheer on success

AL: They need to be system wide, not model-based..access all the for every class! you don't have to fill out a permission slip to use a pencil...make it where blogs and wikis are the same way!

DJ: safe and appropriate environment; management skills/collaborative skills with IT to insure that parents feel are comfortable. issue of creativity....reasons for not getting their assignments...creativity is there! it's been there! how is it designed, what does it look like? no idea how to measure it. if we want the standards to go...we have to figure out a way.

collaboration in different ways....
what does community look like?

DJ: we have been doing it is our motto tho'...we do 1-on-1 with the living...instead, we need to focus...curr commitee, building planning comm...the decision makers ..we have to be at that level.

AL: go outside the school...despite the fears involved. building model projects with outside connections ...they need interaction with community, experts out there...reasons for blogs, emails, etc. walls need to come needs to see the school as part of the community...the library is the logical place to start. LibraryThing prefect safe example uses; ...these are social networking places.

GD: we don't do very good job of sharing what we do, promote; ...home is not filtered, independent school often not filtered...we have get the rest unfiltered

JV: policy should be written as we are going to do in a positive form....we are going to take your student on an exciting journey.... let us know if you do not want them on this journey....

two sentences of advice

AL: do not see as another chore...see this as a positive way to get what we want...we can have fun stuff going on....teachers are tired of testing...receptive for fun again. let's have a good time again!

GD: start the conversation..people need to hear all of this...carry them around

DJ: introduced them...they saw things/tasks...comment from group--we can't do these alone, must be a bldg, a district, a state. best practices in content areas say the same things...get more familiar with content areas standards and match to ours.

JV: the year to invent many buckets and shovels in the sandbox...let the kids in with us...NETS for teachers--we do that ...reinterpret them for teacher/librarians


Audience comment: talked about revision of standards in NC...that it is a group project....the librarians are included

Audience: standards in hands of pre-service teachers and administrators--where are we in this idea?
GD: preservice teachers must demo collaboration ...reversely we must do the same with our librarian programs
AL: find away to make student teachers, etc feel a part of the school...involve them thru the library
DJ: technology orientation of pre-service teachers...includes library services as part of the orientation...

Audience: "if we want to keep our jobs" statements disturb we need more assessments for kids?
DJ: we do good things with kids in many things...that is why we need to keep our jobs...who will do what we do if we are gone?
Moderator: do it all in a positive do we become more visible, viable?

Audience: how do we overlay aasl and iste
audience member spoke up: the seven core values are identical
AL:lots of examples...children in action
GD: professional develop standards so they can demonstrate what they want students to know and do
DJ: neither will be adopted as is...they will be used as guide to build a local idea of standards.

Audience: define collaboration a little more...difference between collaboration and conversation

JV: examine the end products, be an assessor as the measuring makes knowing if it job is to make your life easier! make connections with people who can help....grow your personal network...elephant in the is personalities, do they want to give up

AL: synergy ...give & take, thinking about the individual

DJ: professional learning norms...maybe we need those for collaboration...who is responsible for what.

The standards are different and are meant to be. They reflect the future and not the Past!

Info available at

371.3 NECC08: 2nd Keynote, David Warlick Again!, AND Alan November

I had some notes about the 2nd keynote address which was a interview by NBC news anchor Lester Holt, who talked with two teachers from Canada, Jim Carleton and Mali Bickley, who turned their teaching careers around and broadened the success of their students (especially with regards to global issues.) There were several great links to what they were doing. I have NO idea where they went! I think it may be when my laptop battery was running down and maybe I thought it was saving and it really wasn't--lame, I know but I have no other excuse...because poof, they are gone! is what I can reconstruct:

I knew about the website My Hero where kids can write about their personal heroes. Didn't know these teachers were behind the project. great 2.0 example for writing! Spanish language version

Children connecting Children

they told a very touching story about their students sending paper doves to a class in Japan to be shared at a peace celebration at the Hiroshima remberance site.

Zerofootprints kids zone

here is one blog posting about the event
more coverage

some background about the speakers

Some NBC 2.0 resources for students
i-Cue NBC News Learn


Our Students - Our World David Warlick

I like his way of thinking so much...and he delievers his thoughts so well!

His notes for the Presentation
The slides used during the presentation
(includes his Second Life avatar!)
Some more information and a very nice picture

some points that stood out for me:
we can not predict the future for our kids...why do we think the old way of teaching/learning will help them. we are predicting them for an unpredictable future.
Globalization is imminent (my thought: despite what some political feelings might be...the world is getting smaller and flatter and closer together) Engineer graduates: 43% in China, 5% in USA.
we are dealing with kids now who have no formative recollection of the 20th century and we insist on using 19th century education methods.
Personal learning networks; social networks--they get it, we don't
Gaming must be a part of learning
these students know how to more "languages" than we think--what we have to do is teach them to use the appropriate language/communication skills at the right tme and right circumstances...i.e. there is nothing wrong with cell phone shrthand, but not in a resume; there is nothing wrong with informal speech in a personal blog post, but not in a job interview.
Students should be allowed to be content providers!

3-point Dave
Preparing for unpredicatable future
Networked students
New information landscape

Here is Warlick's view of NECC in an Animoto he uploaded to YouTube (no-won't show in district but most everyone is at home now!) His choice of be the judge!

Yours truly is in that mass of humanity on the stairs!


Alan November

He didn't beat on the table like he did at TLA, but he still conveyed his message loud and clear. The only sad part...he was preaching to the choir! How I wish I could choose some audience members.

In one of the many side, informal conversations I had all week, I was asked if I could have one the 3 speakers -- Warlick, Johnson, or November come to speak to my circle of influence, who would I choose. THAT was a tough and thought-provoking ...because I can only pick one.

They each have their methods of delivery that draw me in; they each have clearly defined messages that reflect my thoughts and make my thoughts clearer to me. They are great story tellers and have great stories to make their points... ok, ok. Alan November...and I really think the table slap in April was the deciding factor. Oops, one more deciding factor--2 Cents and Blue Skunk are required daily reading fo me...and alas, i have not found a daily vehicle for November!

Stand-out statements from his presentation:

The whole story about taking his son to China, the boy's immediate networking back home with everyone but his teachers who turned down his offer to do "something" for the class...what were they thinking! how nuts was that!

In the 80s we thought by now technology would have transformed education

Ownership of learning belongs to the students

11-yr old in China speaks 5 languages...IM is standard business practice in Europe and can be written in whole sentences!

In our efforts to protect our children, we are making them unemployable.

we underestimate what kids are capable of.

some online info

Monday, June 30, 2008

371.3 NECC08: Wonderful World of Wikis

Adam Frey, co-founder of Wikispaces and Vicki Davis, Cool Cat Teacher
Here is the link to the information from the presentation
Overflowing room…people were standing against the wall...laptoppers were sitting all over the floor!
They set up a back channel for is place for participants to chat while they talk! Also , they took questions from the back channel crowd...more about back channeling in a future post when I get some info together!

Frey asked and hands were raised
50% of audience are teachers
About half never used a wiki and about half of that group don’t know what they are
They want to know what it is & how to start

1.Webpage with edit button
Standard..but can be changed
Removes barriers to publishing on the web

2.About history…every change is recorded
More open than closed usually (ours in my circle aren't really open...yet!)
There is a history tab to see all these changes

3. for groups essentially…collaboration for groups large and small
Ease of editing makes this possible discussion forums helps with communication

4. monitoring --see what is going on without going there
Can be emailed or rss subscription

5. easy!
If it is hard you won’t use…easy to start…no cost…doesn’t require email or signup
Doesn’t need fancy computers

Wikipedia…causes a bad feeling
Wikis don’t have to suffer same issues
Can be locked down or not, behind firewall or not

“Bring all things together”—glue in like a scrapbook…[I consider them a "parking lot" for information, resources]

Student accounts system easy from them…special stuff for teachers…

Vicki Davis

Project-based learning environment is where she works
Global projects examples

History tab records who is doing what...
In classroom her wikis are not open…students are protected

Wiki-centered classroom
She has outline online…she embeds student files on her wiki
Assignments and templates

Create a page and create template…under manage space
Better to name pages without spaces

She tags assignments “turning” –work to be graded.
The optional note box she has them use for more info about the assignment turn in, etc.

The bottom feeders can be tracked and they HAVE to participate…

Netvibes –uses this for her personal learning network…it is on atomic learning

Connect to the world…changed their world view

QUESTIONS/Back Channel

Override…two ppl editing…can be done, but you may not want to!
If same word is changed last one saved overrides

Edit wikipedia---how to do it responsibly

**Technopersonal skills are as important as interpersonal skills—administrators often ignore!

Lots of student monitoring—

Permission settings---manage space---permissions; protected can be viewed ; private only invited can see

Lock assignment pages...Vicki does work with administration to deal with technopersonal skill issue

Adam answered:
Blog— is journal format…opinion, 1st person writing
Wiki –evolving content due to changing..for facts, assignments collaboration tool…
kinder teacher who has numbers project (she also was awarded a prize by SIGMS for her project)

371.3 NECC08: Sunday Evening Opening Session

Theme of NECC -- Convene - Connect - Transform
The size--12,000+ in attendance! (the largest TLA conference has been 8,000)
50 countries represented...I have talked with folks from Australia, Scotland, England, and Japan that I know for sure!

I briefly talked about connecting with others (in another post) because of my extension cord. There are various opportunities for visiting...I ran into someone I taught with almost 30 years ago!...waiting for doors to open afforded me a delightful opportunity to talk with a woman who turned out to be a San Antonio librarian. We had a long discussion about many things library and had a good laugh about how librarians are drawn to each other! On the bus, I met a man from California and we share thoughts about what we had learned at conference, the fires in CA (not close to his home), and it turns out that he has only been in the States 6 years...from Scotland originally. A nice sidebar to an interesting conference...meeting interesting people!

The opening session was typical Texas-style down to the cowboy hats everyone was given, the singing of Deep in the Heart of Texas and lead by an appropriately dressed Texan...sequined vest of the Lone Star flag! And then the high school mariachi band that was SO good...of course, I teared up...I always do for the school groups!

On to the business of the evening:

Trina Davis, President, Board of Directors, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education®)(she is a professor at Texas A & M-- lots of "whoop -ing" over that!)

We need to be change agents...passionate people who are able to connect with others to transform teaching and learning.

Her major points:

1. Be an advocate for change. Educate those in charge. What needs to have attention--student achievement, teacher quality, and school redesign

2. Share your knowledge and your passion.

3. Showcase the work of students/yourself in innovative ways...increase the circle who sees the showcase...spread it beyond the school walls, particularly with business to show what students are capable of achieving and doing.

4. Dream big...have high expectations for your students...[and my thought...yourself?]

5.Use all available resources to affect these important changes


James Surowiecki, Keynote Speaker:
his book-- The Wisdom of Crowds

Collective wisdom of the group, whatever the group may be
A group that works well together can do important things.
The technology tools help this to happen.

Examples of the collected wisdom
Popular game show Millionaire...the audience correct 91% of the time!
Odds at the race track...popular horses for whatever reason (color, name) win

Prediction Markets
One of the most popular Iowa Electronic Market from 1988-2004 have figured the elections 75% more correctly than polls
Google has a prediction market to predict things within their organization

Wisdom of crowds - collaborative intelligence
Flickr - tagging, taxonomy...collective intelligences of people who select what their pictures represent for the
de.lic.ous - again the tagging...thoughts of the masses
Google itself - collective intelligence of the internet users

What conditions make a group smart?
1. Aggregation method- individual thoughts meld into group thoughts; algorithm, simple average. The 2.0 tools allow for fast and wider range of place and time

2. Diversity - most important factor in collective wisdom; cognitive diversity; different people and their knowledge, culture, etc. look at problems from different ways. random groups offer more choices, make different mistakes, errors cancel themselves out. There is a danger is only groups where everyone enjoys, likes each other...think alike. The more they talk..they get dumber!
Role of devil's advocate is essential...but it can not be the same person all the time. Different people must take on this role.

[personal note: the scene in Apollo 13 where the box of stuff was thrown on the table and the collective minds present had to come up with the solution to get those guys back...diversity was necessary there...lots of thinkers outside the box!]

3. Independence - own knowledge, intuition, less imitation of thought, willing to argue, defend stance.
speak in reverse order of seniority...from the bottom up. look out for talkative people...ones who like the sound of their own voice and always have something to say. they influence the group's results because they become the hub.

more independent (often quieter)...feel uncomfortable or do not express their thoughts. this a key reason for the 2.0 technology...the ability to speak out anonymously or from behind a screen of sorts...we have seen it in our blogs! "wallflowers" can speak thru technology...think how this will benefit the wallflowers in the school!


After the keynote, we milled around picking up the flavors (in more than one way because we grabbed some tasty food) of the crowd and the conference. It was good to find a few minutes as well to share impressions, thoughts. This whole experience is overwhelming at this level [for me!] and it is only the first evening of the first official day!

more to come!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

006.7 EdubloggerCon08: Mission Accomplished!!

In the excitement of who I was around and what I was learning, I completely forgot to tell you, I accomplished my one and only pre-set (i.e. before I got here) objective...

didn't have to run...didn't have to tackle anyone...didn't have to wait in line...didn't even have to resort to bribery or out-bid the highest bidder!!

I AM a part of the Revolution...and I wear it proudly!

006.7 EduBloggerCon08: Reflections

Being at the unconference yesterday was quite a treat! About 200 or so educators who blog and use other 2.0 technology to make students successful! A roomful of people who "get it" and don't let roadblocks get in their way. Not that they ignore the roadblocks...large chunks of time were spent taking about how to get others to "get it" too, or at the very least, get outta the way!

The sitting around talking was the best part of the day...yes, most of the day I spent on the fringes (anyone who knows me well, knows that is my favorite spot) watching and listening. But even I ventured forth and struck up a few conversations...usually because of my power... my power connection, that is! The best $7.00 I have spent in quite awhile. Yes, community is created if you have an extension cord. Daisy-chaining increases the size of your circle!

Everyone deals with the same problems. Everyone is eager to share the successes. And everyone, for the most part, wants to hear what you have to say...their successes and problems are no more important than yours.

One of the things that was almost totally absent (at least in the conversations I was privy to) was the question of $. No one really blamed their problems or shortcomings on the lack of funds, or used it as an excuse for not doing something. these folks are masters at figuring out ways to do almost anything and not allowing anything or anyone to stop them.

Yes, people who get in the way, was a big discussion whole session on what to do with administrators who don't "get it" tells you what is considered an big issue! Parents were mentioned a little, but most said that parents were easy to convince...the kids usually got their parents on bother by simple "kid begging!" Trying to bring colleagues or teacher groups on board was also discussed, but again, the idea of starting small, grabbing hold of risk-takers and friends willing to jump off unknown cliffs, usually was the solution.

It's the people at the top of whatever level of heap you find yourself on that seems to be the one rock that is hard to push out of the matter how successful you are in some cases. For me personally, I was so glad to be able to say, that is no longer a problem where I am. Critical, key leaders (not just administrators) do get it ...and let me tell makes the road to success so much easier and better. Our students are lucky!

Yes, there is a difference between leaders and administrators...a single person can easily be both, but quite often, it is two different people and that causes problems. Leaders will let you do what you feel is a way to success, whether they themselves can or can't do...and usually they can. Administrators spend lots of time managing, and often, to give up any of that management control, makes them nervous, so they don't.

Overall, this dynamic group does not accept "no" and pushes forward. The results speak for their effort. It was a privilege to be among them for a day. I am in awe of many of them...a little bit of hero-worship is probably a good description. I have added some new names, if not faces, to my list and I look forward to what else they give me as I explore their online warehouses of information. I still can't believe the 2.0 world lets me play in their playground. Yippy!
Here are some of the leaders I hung out "around"

Steve Hargdon EduBloggerCon is his idea another place of his Classroom 2.0

Cool Cat Teacher Vicki Davis

TechnoTuesday Cathy Nelson, SC school librarian

Not So Distant Future Carolyn Foote, Austin school librarian reveiw 1 review 2

Kevin Honeycutt KS ed tech specialist who was hugely genereous with one-on-one conversation...the key ring thing is his...more about that in another post later. his podcasts
Chis Lehmann Practial Theory SLA

Paul Gates, the 2nd grade teacher from San Antonio who talked to me about the great things he does with his young children...and who is looking for someone to blog with! filmclip of one of his adventures

I KNOW there many, many others...I just didn't know who was who and couldn't keep up with the lightening flashes of names and ids. I learned from you too and will look for you around the "neighborhood"

Pictures: part of group on the stairs for photo op; David Warlick; C. Fooote & C. Nelson
I have a few more pictures that need "fixin' "...will include them later if I can get them light enough.
Ok...gotta finish getting ready to go checkout what's going on this afternoon!