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Tuesday Tech Tips – Photo Fun September 30, 2014

Posted by Brooke Ahrens in Check this out!.
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My web design students are working on a unit about using photos on the web. In addition to our discussion on appropriate image sizing and how to re-size images, we’ve also spent some time exploring some of the fun, and sometimes amusing, photo editors available on the web. Using their own images, or those available through Creative Commons, my students have created some very interesting and amusing photos. Here’s a few of their favorite sites.

b45267dc7fd31d1fdAt FACEinHOLE you can put your face (or a face of your choice) in the “hole” provided on their many templates.  Some of the images might not be appropriate for younger kids, but teachers and librarians could still have fun embedding faces into many of these images. It would be a great way to create fun posters or funny bookmarks for library events.


PhotoFunia will place your photo into a variety of scenarios such as the National Gallery, on a postage stamp. or even on a wanted poster.  Some of the images allow you to add text, or more than one image. School photos work great for most of the scenario options available.

For fun collages, Fotor is a great site. It will make standard collages, but also shaped photo piles or specialty shaped collages. This site would be a great way to create themed collages as a book report, or a book genre display.

My students love playing with these sites, I hope your students do as well!


Monday Means Leadership: Coaching the Leader Within Webinar September 29, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Check this out!.
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Coaching the Leader Within

Tuesday, October 7, 2014
8:00 p.m. Eastern / 7:00 p.m. Central / 6:00 p.m. Mountain / 5:00 p.m. Pacific


More librarians than realize it have leadership traits within. This webinar is designed to coach and develop those skills to better meet and accomplish the demands of today’s school librarian. Developing individuals into leaders requires coaching. Coaches know the big picture, develop trust and respect, make reasonable demands, hold others accountable, delegate work and develop individuals. In this webinar you will identify coaching techniques to sharpen leadership skills in yourself and to assist you in guiding a team. You will compare coaching dispositions to leadership qualities. Learn how to clarify roles that will hold colleagues and students responsible for the work they perform. Discover reflective practices that will coach you toward improved attitudes that support the skills needed to perform the many tasks you do.

Learning goals:

  • Identify coaching techniques that sharpen leadership skills.
  • Compare coaching dispositions to leadership qualities.
  • Help team members accept increasing levels of responsibility.
  • Discover methods needed to practice reflection.


Ann M. Martin is the retired Educational Specialist for Library Information Services for Henrico County Public Schools in Richmond, Virginia. She is a Past President of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), and a recipient of the 2011 AASL National School Library Program of the Year Award for the district and the 2002 AASL National School Library Program of the Year Award for an individual school. Ann is author of Seven Steps to an Award-Winning School Library Program (LU, 2012).

Attendance is open to all. A seat in the live webinar is guaranteed to the first 100 attendees. As a webinar registrant, you will receive follow up correspondence from AASL.

Friday Finds September 26, 2014

Posted by Judy Deichman in Check this out!.
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The videos from the 2014 National Book Festival, brought to you by the Library of Congress, are up and posted at the following url:


Please check out all the wonderful interviews and discussions…..it is just like being there.  You can watch the Poetry Slam, see the Literacy Awards, watch an incredible video about the process of translating books from one language to another, and hear authors speak about their love for writing.

Check it out!


Let’s Get Together Thursday – Keys to Collaboration, Part Four: Promote Yourself September 25, 2014

Posted by Jennifer Laboon in Check this out!.
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Librarian Collaborating with Science Teacher

Ever have a student say, “You used to be a teacher? I thought you were a librarian!”  It might be the quickest gauge of whether we are telling our story–that we are teacher- librarians, able to shelve books, run circulation, and be a vital part of the faculty providing curricular instruction and support.   Personally, I’ve heard it more than I would like to admit!

Librarians are generally humble, service-oriented people.  We don’t like to brag about what we do, and many of us prefer to be behind instead of in front of the camera.  However, the stereotypes that most people have about librarians can only be broken down by us, letting people–our students, our staff, our parents, all of our stakeholders–know what it is that we do, and do well.  And that is teach!

When we have opportunities to collaborate, we must let people see the result.  Take pictures.  Make a quick video.  Publish anecdotes from students about what they learned and examples of student work.  Display work in the hall or in the library.  This serves multiple purposes:

It’s an advertisement!  When other teachers and students see what we can do, they will want to participate.

It’s an artifact!  These items can be used by both the librarian and teacher as examples of collaboration for evaluation purposes.

It’s evidence!  We have just had a successful collaboration and we can prove it to others.  They will begin seeing us doing work beyond taking care of the books and computers.

If your library has a blog, a social media account, or a website, post it!  If not, share it with your campus’ webmaster or social media coordinator, or do both!  The more pictures you use of your students and teachers, the more attention you will get.   Most of us are vain enough to want to see our pictures and work published somewhere.

Be sure your administrators have seen it as well.  They are so often bombarded with problems–taking a moment to see the result of good teaching is worth their time.  And it just might help break those stereotypes we are always trying to shake.

So, if you’ve just collaborated with the science teacher, like the librarian colleague of mine in this picture, put it on your blog as she did.  Seeing the librarian teaching a science lab is definitely pushing the boundaries of what people expect to see us doing!

Next week, we’ll wrap up the Keys to Collaboration series with a look at reflection and why it is so important to the process.

What to Read Wednesday – eGalleys September 24, 2014

Posted by Karin Perry in Check this out!.
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E-book reader and all books.Do you love reading on your iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device? Do you like reading books before they hit the shelves? If so, you should be taking advantage of NetGalley and Edelweiss.

NetGalley_LogoNetGalley is a service to promote titles to professional readers of influence. If you are a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or in the media, you can use NetGalley for FREE to request, read and provide feedback about forthcoming titles. Your feedback and recommendations are essential to publishers and readers alike.


Check out what is on NetGalley:

blue lily lily blue lailah


Edelweiss is a web-based interactive publisher catalog system that enhances or replaces the use of hard copy catalogs.  It has since grown rapidly, and become widely adopted in the book industry. Use of Edelweiss is completely free for booksellers, librarians, reviewers, and other professional readers.


Look what you can request now on Edelweiss.

ghosts of heaven winner's crime

Tuesday Tech Tips – Student Technology Club Anyone? September 23, 2014

Posted by Brooke Ahrens in Check this out!.
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A guest post by Sue Fitzgerald and Kirsten Wilson, Northwest ISD, Justin, Texas NormsWhen librarian, Sue Fitzgerald, and, Instructional Technology Coach, Kirsten Wilson collaborate, amazing things happen. This high functioning professional relationship, where kids come first, allowed the Northwest ISD Pike Middle School Technology Club to venture into an exciting new realm of innovation for both educators and students. The impact of listening and releasing power to the students took this small band of eager young adults into an authentic, autonomous, student-driven Coding/Programming Technology Club. The story started with a few 8th grade student library aides wanting to help other students set up their ePortfolios on Google sites. These student aides set-up tutorials on a Google site to model the process, advertised their services, and took control of the sessions. Once students began to take advantage of the lunch and learn tutorial, it was quickly apparent that something very exciting was evolving – The Pike Middle School Technology Club. There was a lack of knowledge on coding and programming by the adults, but that did not deter either Mrs. Fitzgerald or Mrs. Wilson in the pursuit of providing a place for students passionate about coding/programming. Mrs. Wilson introduced the Hour of Code and set-up a netSchool (Moodle) page for the students to use as a learning and sharing platform. After some growing pains in the process everyone sat down and designed “norms” for the lessons. Additionally, students designed bylaws and a club constitution. The club decided to have alternating days of teaching, showcasing, and tutoring. The students designed a Google form for others to sign-up to teach specific skills. The expectations of the lessons were posted and student lesson plans submitted for a variety of topics including Java, C++, Python, and Batch. The library hosted these meetings and lessons during lunch but due to interest from all three-grade levels the activities were moved to a before school schedule. A small conference room was emptied and given to the student club. The students took the initiative to seek furniture, computers, and other items to furnish the small facility that has become the hub for the group. Meetings have begun this year with the club designing promotional posters for the group and a decision to focus on Python programming language was agreed by all. Plans for these students to become “First Responders” with student and faculty technology issues are also in the planning. The group has taken on the role to help everyone in need of their assistance with simple technology problems and questions. The Technology Club, instructional technology support and the library program have become a welcoming part of the school services with our students leading the way. As the club moves forward students are hoping to acquire a 3-D printer, several Raspberry Pis and Galeleos (produced by Intel) in their passionate pursuit of coding and programming. These tools will continue to refine their skills and prepare them for the future world of computer programming. As indicated in Outliers: the Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, all of the groups and people’s stories of innovation had a beginning. Beginnings can lurk in our buildings. We need to remember our students who are these “outliers” and provide a platform so that they can break through like the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of the next generation. As Mrs. Fitzgerald and Mrs. Wilson realized, if one wants to break through, just stop, look, and listen for the hidden treasures within our schools.


Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites: Gibbon September 22, 2014

Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in Check this out!.
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We’re Back! With a brand new list for 2014. At ALA Annual, Las Vegas the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee presented their 150th site. That’s 150 selected sites for instruction, organization, collaboration, curriculum, media sharing, digital storytelling, and much more. We have already started our seventh year, the committee is gathering sites and we look forward to presenting our 175th site at ALA Annual in San Francisco in June, 2015.



For this blog post I decided to focus on one of my favorite sites, Gibbon. If you like to make playlists in sites like Pandora and Spotify, then Gibbon is the site for you. This online tool is a location for users to create playlists for learning. You heard me, playlists for Learning! It is awesome. Pick a topic for your students to learn about, it can be on anything: digital storytelling, copyright, makerspaces, information literacy, there is no limit. Collaborate with a peer educator and create a playlist of resources for their class, it’s up to you. Once a topic has been chosen start gathering resources, sites, images, and articles for your playlist (right now is a great time for me to put in a plug for citations and crediting sources). Once your playlist is complete you release it to your students. Students can be K-12, college level, Gibbon can be used for professional development and more. I recommend Gibbon for middle school age students and up. You as the creator of the playlist can choose a cover (like a book) for the list, students can create and share their own lists. Having used this tool for digital curation projects, it is a lot of fun.

Know that Gibbon playlists are always public. If you want a private list that is part of the Gibbon Pro package. Take a look at the AASL Best Websites Gibbon Playlist.

Below is a short step by step video on how to use and set up a Gibbon Playlist



Heather Moorefield-Lang

AASL Best Websites Committee

Committee Chair

Friday Finds September 19, 2014

Posted by Judy Deichman in Check this out!.
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The release of the new operating system for Apple iPads and devices has some great attributes for us librarians with those devices in our inventories.  The Safari improvements have many benefits.  The biggest and best improvement is that the search engine now has DuckDuckGo support.  If you are not familiar with DuckDuckGo, you need to check it out.  It is a search engine monitored and managed by educators.  All search returns are vetted by educators and are safe for our students.  Safari also supports Spotlight suggestions now.

Check it out!


Let’s Get Together Thursday – Keys to Collaboration Part Three: Choosing a Collaboration Partner September 18, 2014

Posted by Jennifer Laboon in Check this out!.
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Team Teachers helping students

There are many schools of thought about picking a collaboration partner.  There is the appeal of being associated with a successful teacher, someone who already has clout among his or her peers on the campus, and that is respected by the administration.  There are the middle-range teachers–those who are becoming more comfortable with their role, the curriculum, and who might be willing to take a new risk.  Then there are the teachers in need of assistance–those who are very new, or new to a grade level or content area, or those that are in danger of failing.

Which should you choose?

All of the above!

Let’s start with those that are floundering, or so new that they haven’t hit their stride.  The advantage here is that you are doing an ethical service to the students in that teacher’s class.  You are also approaching the teacher in a non-threatening, non-evaluative way and modeling good teaching, classroom management, and understanding of the curriculum.  If you take on a teacher in this group, be sure to maintain a supportive relationship, and don’t go straight to the administrator who evaluates that teacher with a report of what is not going well in that classroom, even if you get an eyeful!  Do take time to report the good things that came out of the collaboration to the administration.  They will probably be thankful for the mentoring you offered to that teacher, and especially thankful that those students spent their time engaged in meaningful learning while you were collaborating with the teacher.  This type of collaboration is much more work on you, and isn’t at all where you’d want to start if you were new yourself.  But the rewards should be great.  Some would say that your association with a failing teacher is something to be wary of.  Do be aware of that and make sure that you balance these types of collaborations with others so that isn’t a concern.

When you choose a teacher in the middle, you are able to approach things on a more even playing ground.  In this case, you are each bringing skills and experience to the table and you are negotiating the lesson design around your strengths and weaknesses–be sure to know yours going in to the collaboration.  In many cases these teachers are ideal collaboration partners!  They aren’t so experienced that they are set in their ways and they are willing to take some risks.  When you work in this type of pairing, you will both want to do a lot of reflection as you refine the lesson and plan to work together again.  Be sure to plan in advance for this time to reflect and debrief after the lesson.

Collaborating with that veteran teacher can be a risk for you, but it is one that you should always take when given the chance.  Just don’t take the opportunity lightly and be sure you are knowledgeable and have done your homework going in to this arrangement. The benefit here is that by showing that you can keep pace with this type of teacher, bringing your expertise in library and information literacy to the table, you are building your reputation at your campus.  Word of mouth about what you can do will spread faster than you might expect.  Be sure to take lots of pictures and promote these types of partnerships and help spread it yourself!

The best type of collaboration partner?  One who is willing!  Sometimes that’s the only criteria you can use.  If so, seize the opportunity and make the best of it!

Next week, we’ll do part four on Keys to Collaboration and look at how important the reflection piece is when you’re collaborating.

Tuesday Tech Tips – Google Chrome Fun September 16, 2014

Posted by Brooke Ahrens in Check this out!.
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Today I discovered 2 Google Chrome extensions that I don’t think I will be able to live without. First, is a website summary tool called TLDR. TLDR is an internet term for “too long; didn’t read”, a common occurrence for me.  Between the articles I find, the blogs I follow and the articles I am sent by co-workers and colleagues, I always have an overwhelming amount of content to process.  TLDR will potentially provide assistance in getting through all of that content, it processes the website content for you, and then provides a summaries of varying lengths.  TLDR didn’t work on every webpage I tried,  it was unable to pull content from articles posted by the New York Times, and unfortunately was unable to summarize web-based emails in Gmail. However, the summarizes it did create seemed to capture the overall gist of the webpage.  I certainly won’t be using it in place of reading, but it does a good job of skimming articles, and will help me filter for what I want to read.


The second extension I discovered allows you to use your smart phone to control Google Drive presentations. It might seem like this is a frivolous app, but at my school site you are often unable to move around the room while presenting.  Even if using a wireless mouse, you don’t have access to your presentation notes unless you stand in front of  your laptop screen.  The deMobo software will allow me to move around the classroom and better connect with students or faculty while presenting. Using the app is a 2 step process: first you install the Chrome extension on your computer, and second you install the de Mobo app on your smart phone. The deMobo extension remains gray until you visit a site that allows you to present remotely, and then it will turn orange and add an icon to your browser address bar. Using the smart phone apps, you scan the QR code the extension generates, wait for your presentation to load. Once it loads on your phone, you are able to see your notes and control the presentation from your phone’s screen. (Warning note: if you notice a shield shaped icon in your browser address bar, you must click the shield and then “Load Unsafe Script” or your phone won’t be able to connect to your presentation).   So far I have connected and controlled a Google Presentation, a YouTube video and a Prezi, but additional sites that can be controlled are listed. It took a little patience and practice to get everything to work correctly,  but once I understood how the program worked, it was easy to use.  I can’t wait to use this app in my next training session with students, it’s so simple and yet so powerful.