Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Welcome back: New Look in the Library

This summer, my library assistant and I spend several days moving shelving around the library to make it a more open space. We felt a need to make the entire library visible for the library staff and more accessible for the students.

We started by moving the shelving from the center of the library into one space near the circulation counter. All items in that section are non fiction.  We can see down every aisle.  We placed shelving against the wall on the exterior and made that the fiction section.  We have a few single shelves popping out here and there, but for the most part, the entire area is open. 

I decided to make a panoramic Thinglink of the entire space so students can see where everything is located. We also made a great deal of signage to place around the books to show kids where they are and what they find there.  I am truly excited to get the kids in here and get the year going.

We moved the tables around to different spots in the area to make collaboration centers and work zones. We also remodeled the coffee shop as well.  It is no longer behind the circulation counter, but it is now in my office.  I gave up the space because I seldom use my office, I prefer to do my work in the library around the kids and staff.

The final outcome is amazing.  The room looks like a new place.  I am excited to see what the kids say when they come back and walk in the first time.  The Thinglink will be available after school gets started.  We are going to have to move some of the books around and when that is done, we will have exactly as we wanted.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sites for Writing: Hemingwayapp

Have you asked students hand in  a paper with both active and passive voices, incorrect usage of adverbs, and maybe some long sentences that could be split?  There is a website out there that evaluates your writing and helps determine readability, voice and complexity of sentences.  It is Hemingwayapp.  I learned about the site at my TLC training and I see it having a lot of purpose for staff to get kids to write to their potential.

Often, a paper students hand in a paper with sentences that don't make sense and are difficult to follow.   With this program, you copy the text you are working on from your document file and paste it in the app.  Click a button and it determines what the writer needs to make it a better document.  It is also an easier way to count characters and words for those papers that have a minimum length.

I think teachers of all content areas would benefit from using this app.  It will also help students become more fluid writers.  It is a simple step to add to the writing process.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Using Videonot.es to Flip

As I was taking my training for technology leadership certification, I was introduced to a site called Videonot.es.   I learned quickly that a teacher who is flipping a class, or who wants to script can use this program and pull videos from YouTube and Khan, just to name a few.   A student who needs extra help can use this quickly and efficiently to create great notes for themselves.   
One thing I really like about this is the link to GoogleDrive.  Anything you create saves in your Drive to be used later for more reference.  If you are in a class that has a comprehensive exam, you can refer to these flipped videos as a study tool. 

It could be used by numerous grade levels, even staff could use it for professional development notes.

When we did our training for TLC, we used this site to take notes and it was very helpful and useful.  I can see a teacher who is trying to flip a class use this to be very successful. Kids can benefit a lot, and if you are in a GAFE school, it's even easier.   I suggest you look into it.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Cool presentations: Animoto

As a library media specialist, part of my job is to make my patrons as aware as possible of everything I can about the library at my school.  I make a lot of videos for the teachers and students about everything.  I make tutorials, new release videos and videos about what we have for them.   One program I use often to make videos is Animoto.  I have learned that Animoto is awesome and easy and I use it weekly to make my new release videos.  It's fast and fun and I think every teacher out there should know about this program because you can put together something for any class.

Animoto sets images and text to music.  It contains a set of royalty free music, simple text inserts and the capability of linking to several graphic sites and storage sites (such as dropbox and flickr.)  I have learned, too, that teachers can get a free educational account that allows for longer videos (the typical free video is 30 seconds, but with the educational version, the videos are as long as the songs you choose.)

It's very easy to use and the fact that the end result can be exported to YouTube.  I embed the YouTube videos right into my library blog.  I also post the links to the school Facebook account so the videos reach as many people as possible.  I love how simple the program is to use.  It doesn't take much to learn and every teacher can put this into their bag of tricks and use it to make something awesome.