Showing posts from 2015

Makerspaces Make Creating Fun

Do you know what a makerspace is? Don't be concerned if you don't. Not many people do. My simple definition is a place where people are encouraged to create. A better definition is in the video link available here. In a makerspace, the materials that are available for the participants are varied. A great Makerspace encourages free thought, creativity, and freedom to make mistakes.

I recently took part in professional development at The Digital Harbor Foundation (DHF), a non-profit organization that provides various activities for children and adults. The activities are varied: design cookie cutters, invention planning, and design using 3D printers.  At The DHF, attendees are encouraged to create using the materials that are available in the space: batteries,  sticky tape,  construction paper, 3D printers, markers,  etc.

The PD was partnership effort between the BCPS Office of Digital Learning and The Digital Harbor 

Foundation. Attendees ranged from classroom teachers: science,  …

SMaRTZone Updates for December

Parents and students are reminded to use the FolletShelf feature icon Destiny in order to read ebooks.   The SMaRTZone has one of the largest, middle school selections of ebooks (646) in Baltimore County.  Any user of Destiny is able to log into the system using their BCPS username and password. 
Once you are in Follett Shelf, you are able to read numerous books.  Some of the ebooks even offer interactive features.  Please take a moment to check-out the Follett Shelf.  Below are some of the student comments regarding the advantages of ebooks:

There will be days available during various lunch shifts when students can enjoy the SMaRTZone in a less structured fashion.  Students who come to the SMaRTZone during that time will have the chance to work on projects, read, check out books, as well as time to play various games.

Below are the statistics for Library Usage from November 2- December 4.  We are seeing a steady increase in student usage and Grade 6 Language Arts/Reading classes have th…
The beginning of the 2015-2016 school year has been a busy one in The SMaRTZone.  Sixth grade students received Library Orientation and checked out their first set of books.  Seventh and eighth graders also checked out books in The SMaRTZone and received information about Amnesty Week. Using the data from Library Trac, we have had 204 students visit the library independently, twenty class visits, and a total of 1306 students in the library for lessons, testing, lunch bunch, etc.

Thanks to prior planning , the end of the previous school year, Mrs. Thomas-Aulu and Ms. Love worked on a cyber bullying lesson that was shared with students in the seventh grade.  As a result of the lesson, a number of students created public service announcement (PSAs) regarding the hazards of cyber bullying.  The PowerPoints, Prezis, and videos will be shared with students at a later date.

The SMaRTZone will have a number of activities that students can take part in, after school.  Makerspaces will be debuted…
My session titled, Cool Curation Tools,  will be on Monday, June 29, 2015.  It will begin at 8:30 am in PCC 108, Table 2.  If you are looking for great ways to sort through all the information you will receive at ISTE come to my session. I hope to see you there.

Cool Curation Tools

Cool Curation Tools
Sometimes, when I discuss curation with someone who isn't a library media specialist I see their eyes glaze over.  A few minutes later, the person will admit that they don't know what curation is.  I then blather on about storing information but recently I realized a picture (or in this case a video) is worth a thousand words.

I have compiled some of my favorite curation tools in the area below. Many of them are my favorites because they provide me with the following:
1. The ability to select what I share with the public. 2.  A format to share various online resources (video, images, etc.). 3.  They are free.* 4.  They are easy. 5.  I can use them to develop a professional network. 6.  I can use them with my students and other members of the school community. 7.  It helps me put information in one place so I can refer to it later.

Livebinder Think of Livebinder as a virtual three-ring binder.  You pick what information to put in the your binder and you create the tabs…

Future Lesson Ideas from Scholastic

Check out @ScholasticTeach's Tweet:

Creating more co-teaching opportunities within the school community

For a number of years, I wondered,
"How can I get more teachers to work with me as they present units to their classes?"
I remembered the advice
I received from a library media specialist years ago. The advice was that I should work with those who wanted to work with me. For a number of years, this advice worked (somewhat). I presented PDs about online databases, the primary/secondary resources in the library, and the ways teachers could utilize the library collection to bring their units to life.

The one set back was the amount of teacher transition in our building. Each year a number of teachers would leave our building and nearly twenty percent of the teacher population would transfer, retire or leave the teaching profession. The relationships that had been formed would have to be formed again. With each new year, new teachers would arrive to the building and the cycle of introductions and advertising the library program and its resources would begin.  It became daunting and…

Tool I Want to Use Part One

Enhancing the library environment

During the summer of 2012, the library collection was weeded, the reference section was streamlined and moved to the back of the library, and the graphic novel/manga section was moved to the middle of the library.

Phase Two began a few weeks ago. Tables and chairs were removed in order to make an area where students can congregate, work on group projects, and take part in the new makerspace area.  Phase three will be the addition of posters, student art work, and a few other decorative touches to make it a more inviting area.

An interesting note is that phases two and three included the input of students and staff members. I also applied much of the information I learned about creating an inviting learning environment from my coursework.