Thing 30 Flash cards, quiz games


Most days in library, there are one or two individuals who have forgotten their book, or who don’t want to get a book and although I have bookmarks to color, magazines to read etc, I thought it would be nice to include a little crossword puzzle. I created a book elements crossword puzzle that  not only reinforces literary vocabulary, but also could be used as:

  • start of semester knowledge inventory
  • end of unit review
  • constructive busy work

I went to and not only was it FREE but it was extremely easy to create! I am all about using different gimmicks, I mean strategies, to keep kids learning.

During the summer I work at a camp in the literacy class. I try to keep it fun and by using Matt Johnson’s Bingo Baker, I was able to create 8 different bingo cards for my kidergarteners’ dolch words. Again, super easy and best of all, FREE!




Thing 5 Presentation Tools


My fifth grade Special Ed teacher asked me to work with him on his rainforest animal project.  In addition to working on the research during library time, I suggested we create a Google Slides project. His five male students are all visually oriented and are all terrific artists and who love to draw superheroes or cartoon characters. Using a template from Slides Carnival for Google Slides, I was inspired to create a cartoon themed presentation as a model. I have asked the 5 boys to draw a favorite character which I will then upload so that the students will have their own “information presenter/commentator”. I am hoping the use of their own character within a familiar visual format, will help engage their sustained attention and effort. In my example,

I demonstrate how the character will make comments about the information presented. In addition to the research itself, I can give mini lessons on using google slides, searching for images, photo manipulation, digital responsibility regarding image use and attribution. By using Google Slides, students will have the opportunity to see other students’ work and teach each other as they work on their own slides. Each student will have the opportunity to create as many slides with as many details (ie images, icons, colors, etc) but within the confines of the template.

I needed to create my own Slides project before introducing it to the class. Although every district employee has Google Drive on their desktop and laptop, not every teacher has had the opportunity (or wherewithal) to incorporate it into their lessons. I’ve been assigning my students to type up responses in Google Docs and having them share their docs with me, Thing 5 allowed me the opportunity to incorporate another Google element to library time. Bonus, I finally created my own avatar!

Thing 27 Power Up Your Browser


When I assign students to do research on World Book Kids, they always love and comment on the full page photograph of animals and people that initially comes up. When I looked through the Google Chrome settings, I learned the themes were very easy to change. Some photos don’t open well. For example, I wanted a photo of an iceberg, both above and below  the waterline on my own computer as a visual reminder of my student’s personal and academic lives. When I added it, it didn’t show properly and I couldn’t see the 10% above water. Nevertheless, I thought it would set the proper mood to change all the library desktops to either rainforest image or rainforest animals. Normally I don’t bother wasting my time on such details, but since it is so easy I may as well use any element I can to grab their attention. Also, I found the Settings–>Extensions  so I can delete whichever extension I don’t actually use. I also found CRTL-H to clear out my history.

So much power for my computer, so little time. Of the approximate 40 apps/extensions I felt compelled to review for this assignment, the one I LOVE the most and have already used is Pocket. Because of another Cool Tools assignment, I subscribe to Twitter #TLChat. I often scan through the articles and fortunately/unfortunately I always find something I want to read or reference later, but run out of time as I am usually doing this during lunch or someone interrupts me, oh you know how it goes. For those of you familiar with TL Chat, it comes out every day, meaning it is super easy to get behind. Despite how easy it is to fall behind, I know there is always something worthwhile for me to read and thus I save every daily email from TLChat. So, yes, I currently have approximately 75 editions I feel I absolutely need to review during the upcoming break. Ridiculous of course, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this dilemma.

Before pocket, I would email a link to myself or copy and paste article to Google and save. These emails would get lost in my ever expanding Inbox and if I did remember to look for it, it was of course, ridiculously time-consuming. Now, with Pocket added to my bookmark bar, when I am reading an article and feel I need to save for later, one click on Pocket and it saves to my list and allows me to tag as well.

For example, I’ve been trying to read  and come up with a decent fake news lesson plan. The articles have been coming out fast and furious. Several articles linked to other pages that I need to review. Being able to Pocket the articles and assemble a list that I can read when I am ready to sit down and have time to think and plan is very helpful. Bonus feature, I clean out my Inbox because I no longer have to save emails.

I added several extensions that looked interesting, but may or may not be useful to me. Awesome Screenshot looked good. I often use screenshots, copy to a google doc and add lots of arrows to give students a visual to help them navigate a website. I haven’t used it yet, but probably will. I also added Black menu for Google but I’ll have to see if that proves useful to me. At least I know how to delete extensions so they don’t clutter up my bookmark bar.



Thing 13 Coding


In order to further expand my coding skills, I went to perennial favorite, Hour of Code to explore more coding sites. Several students had referenced Flappy Bird so I signed up. I am so proud to say that I flew through all 10 levels within a relatively short time. Ha! Jokes on me. Although I progressed to higher levels,  I have no real gaming skills,therefore my bird crashed into obstacles almost immediately! My coding was exemplary, my gaming skills were sorely lacking! Apparently, I clicked too fast, or not fast enough. Before I could get my bearings and the right rhythm, the game was over and I couldn’t really “look” at my coding. In order for me to “teach” coding at my after school club, I prefer to have personally progressed through the levels. This is a matter of familiarity, credibility, and most of all, bragging rights. There are certain students who cannot face being outdone by the librarian! As far as allowing students to go to Flappy Bird, I would allow the more experienced students to go ahead and use it, but I would not walk the class through the initial levels as I have in the Minecraft or Angry Bird games, which require more methodical thinking.

I also tried Kodable, and I fully acknowledge that what I am about to say is ridiculous, but the character voice and music is really annoying and I would not be able to tolerate those sounds for any amount of time.Additionally, the games didn’t seem as intuitive as the other games.

I will probably continue with the Minecraft game for my coding club as most of my students did not come anywhere near to completing all the courses. Plus, it creates a more collaborative environment to have more experienced students help the less experienced students. A few rogue students will always want to self select their games, but for most, coding is new and still requires a bit of guidance.


Flappy Bird Certification

Thing 20 Final Reflection 2016


Learning new technology is fun, teaching it is so much more complicated. Finally decided to take the plunge and use an easy online tool with my fourth graders…Quozio. They had written haikus for Poetry Month and I wanted to be able to display electronically on school website. The learning curve was not related to Quozio but rather the students trying to remember their email addresses even when a written reminder of the format was up on the smartboard! Watching them type was equally painful. Despite my students being digital natives/residents, I was asked several times “how do I make the cursor go to the next line?” (Hit enter) The lesson became less about using presentation software and more of an assessment of basic keyboarding  skills and recognition of email address components. (not just your student ID,  where’s the @, the domain? the extension?) Thus the Quozio lesson became more of a lesson for me than a lesson for my students. which is okay, just not exactly what I had planned.

The Coding Club was a complete success for me and my students. Although several dropped out when they realized that perseverance was more a factor than gaming skills, the ones that stayed, faced obstacles, persevered, and accepted help from other students, definitely enjoyed the club. One student in particular, has difficulty every single week, very little comes easily for her, but because the curriculum and club environment is nonthreatening and nonjudgmental, she has stayed the entire time. We ran the club for approximately 3 months  but most of our students did not complete Course 2. My co-teacher and I felt very positive about our interactions with the students, looked upon the time as “relaxing” and even missed the club on days when we had to cancel for one reason or another. We would continue the coding club but have decided to take advantage of the fleeting spring weather and form a hiking club. I would do Coding again. I might look into other coding sites such as Scratch for next year just to change it up for the students I hope will be returning.

I’ve been using my Libguides more often. More for the Common Core Modules that we repeat every year. It is easier to add new links, like the Cultural Institute gallery I created, to already existing units than trying to remember from one year to the next what resources I have used. “My Favorites” list was getting ridiculous.

As I learn these new programs, I am very aware how much time is required to survey new technology. Some are accessible for my students, some are not. Some I would love to use but are blocked by the district. The vetting process takes time and I am glad I get PD credit because otherwise I would feel like I was just surfing endlessly and oft times for naught!

Thing 17 -DIY


I just spent WAAYY too much time in Google Cultural Institute! I will definitely use the Civil Rights gallery next year for either MLK or Black History month. Great resource. For my project, I created a gallery to align with Lightning Thief.

Google Cultural Institute Lightning Thief Gallery

I envision referencing the statues, analyzing the symbolism and comparing to text. Obviously this could have been done with Google images and PPT but using Cultural Institute saves time in curating copyright free images and finding appropriate text to match the image. Additionally, viewing other galleries can inspire another project or simply be a joy to look at.

And now I will add my gallery to my 6th grade Libguide…

Thing 16 digital Tatoo


I reviewed Common Sense curriculum for k-2. Although I could use the initial video “going Places Online” with k-2 students,  the 15 question assessment is more appropriate for my 1st and 2nd graders and would have to be done on the smartboard as a group with my 1st graders since the language skills required is pretty high. Although I would love to review the second lesson using alphabetical order with kindergarteners, I don’t have a printer in the library so it would make the activity difficult to complete. Loved the Keep it Private lesson mainly because it introduces them to new/safe online game sites Scholastic and Lego especially. It’s somewhat confusing that Common Sense specifically includes parent’s address as something private and NOT to be shared and then Lego site requests this same information. A little confusing. Probably the teacher should clarify that parents should be asked before email information is provided. I’ve already decided to include unit 1 K-2 in my upcoming lessons.

I think digital citizenship is more easily taught in primary and intermediate grades. By the time my students have reached 6th grade, they’ve already been exposed to a myriad of inappropriate material and most of the teaching material is too “cheesy” (their word not mine) and easily ridiculed. They don’t even see their own gossiping behavior as bullying. I have been keeping an eye on “Internet ruined my Life” TV show as a possible teaching tool. Many of my students know Catfish the TV show and comment on how incredible it is that these individuals lie to such a great extent and that profiles cannot be believed. Although I don’t condone 11 year olds watching Catfish, it does allow for a lively discussion about healthy skepticism and how people choose to present themselves.

I’ve been collecting articles wherein there are actual consequences for inappropriate behavior. Students suspended for a year for posting bullying video Most of the time, felony charges are dropped, but extended school suspensions and death threats to families of cyberbullies is commonly reported. I am trying to build a “reality check” lesson for my 6th graders but still remain mindful of sensitive subject matter. It’s still a work in progress.

I have used the cyberbullying questionnaire from and had my students complete it anonymously. Most of my 4th and 5th graders will score well but there is always a handful of students who fall in the cyberbully realm and not so ironically admit it freely and even boastfully. Again, the questionnaire provides a lively and very animated discussion about online behavior and how to respond to it. Conclusion: this is an ongoing discussion. The laws are not definitive and the pushback is on the school systems to institute policies to safeguard against cyberbullying. I am currently taking DASA training but even that fall short of definitive guidelines. It’s imperative that teachers keep abreast of new cases and legal outcomes.