Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Thing 30: Flash Cards, Quiz Games & More

I absolutely loved this topic and had so so so much fun looking through all of the resources that you shared with us on this track. Games, quizzes, and flashcards are fun tools that students of all ages can enjoy using and I love the idea of creating my own so it is completely custom to what I am doing and what I am teaching. I find that my students love and kind of game that they can play when they are learning and they like it even better when they can be paired up and put into groups.

I had heard of Quizlet before and have seen some of flashcards that come from that website and many of the reviews from people are positive. I spent time going through the websites you shared but one of them caught my eye and that was Kahoot. I decided to look at Kahoot as one of my activities and I love love love it! It is so simple to use and crating whatever I want is as easy as 1,2,3. The website is set up really nicely and is very user friendly. I think that my kids will absolutely enjoy this and would have fun playing a game and not realizing that it was work. I am going to create an end of the year activity with my students to review everything that we have learned throughout the year and I will for sure be using Kahoot!

Thing 29: Open Educational Resources

While searching and exploring some of the websites that were listed I came across some fabulous lessons that I would love to use in my own classroom! I started by searching mainly for things that I teach every year to see what was out there and I was surprised to come across a lot more than I thought I would find. I really loved the Share My Lesson website and thought that website had the most to offer and was the easiest to navigate and find what I was looking for. I included some of the links to lessons that I will hopefully use next year with my students! Thank you for sharing all of this awesome information with us! J


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thing 28: Online Learning & DIY PD

This track was an easy one for me since professional development is my thing! This year alone I completed over 302 hours of professional development and I can honestly say I enjoyed almost every last bit of it. I did whatever I could and chose to not focus on just one thing but to broaden my horizons and take whatever classes I could and learn whatever I could. It was a mix of online 45 hour classes, classes and workshops that my district or surrounding districts offered, and conferences that helped to obtain so many hours for the year. Some of my favorite classes were the online webinars where I was able to participate from the comfort of my own home and didn’t have to worry about traveling somewhere far from my home. With all that I have done I have thought about, and considered teaching some professional development classes one day and helping others just like my instructors did for me. I am always sharing with my colleagues everything that I have learned so why not go even beyond that and try to reach as many people as possible. My district is awesome about allowing me to take all of these classes and not only do I receive credit for my 100 CTLE hours but I also get credit towards step increases. I loved reading about the webinars, eCourses, and podcasts and will definitely be looking into more of them for next year!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Thing 27: Power Up Your Browser!

There are so many choices when it comes to web browsers and for me I try to find one that I like and one that I can use at home and work and wherever else. With all the devices that I have, laptops, and Macbooks, and iPads and iPhones it can sometimes be hard to keep up with what browser I use and where. At home I tend to use Safari since I have a Macbook but when I am at school we are encouraged to use Google Chrome since we are a Google school. I don’t mind having to switch all the time but sometimes it can be hard to get used to one browser and then have to get used to another one. I also find that sometimes when using different browsers I cannot open certain things that I could open on another browser and that can be frustrating. The browser itself is really easy to use and all the settings are easy to work with and easy to change what you want to change. I like that it is all simple directions and if you have a question you can google it and get your answer right away.

I decided to explore Google Chrome a little more since that is what I primarily use at work. There is so so so much to explore with Google Chrome and I don’t even think it would be possible to see and learn everything that there is to know especially since things are always changing as well. I’ve learned that Google Chrome is much much more than just a browser and it works with all your Google Services better than any other browser. I was already familiar with Gmail, and Google Calendar and Google Docs so I was excited to explore something else. Some chrome extension that I explored were QR Code Extension, Easy Reader, and Speakit, and Turn of the Lights. I really enjoyed learning about these and taking the time to explore. They were easy to install and remove if need be and I am looking forward to sharing with my colleagues and even my students. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Thing 26: Makerspaces

Makerspaces are something that every librarian has been talking about lately and something that I know every librarian would love to implement in their libraries! I know some librarians that have immersed themselves in this already and some like me who keep saying they want to get makerspaces in the library but the timing or funding doesn’t seem to work. I know that there are many different options and things that can be done for cheaper but it still seems pretty overwhelming.

I attended many conferences this year that were centered around makerspaces and the more I learn about them the more I have realized they aren’t as scary as they seem. My problem was that I did not think I would be able to afford many of the awesome games and such they have available to purchase but I now know that there are many things you can do without a huge budget. Pinterest has become my best friend when looking at makerspace things and there are so many great ideas on there that I plan on using in my library. The only problem that I am facing and many others that I know as well is that being on a fixed schedule it can sometimes be hard to find the time to get them into the library. Before school is not an option and after school is also hard to schedule. Working around the class schedule is really my only option but as long as you have teachers who are willing to work with you then you are all good! I loved reading all the resources that were available to me for this track and will definitely be coming back to the Cool Tools website next year to look back at the great articles and tips and tools!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Thing 25: App-palooza!

There are so many apps out there that sometimes it is hard to determine which ones are the best to use for not only your everyday life but also ones that you can use in your professional life and ones that you can share with your students. I love learning about new apps and being able to download apps for everything from teaching resources to games that  I can play on my phone and tablet. Apps have changed the world and the way that we do things and are something that just keep changing and evolving from day to day.

I am the most familiar with the iTunes app store and sine we have iPads in my building this is what we use when we would like to download an app. Even though we have Chromebooks we are not using them to download apps and since I do not have an Android device I have no used the Google Play Store to download any apps. 

One of my favorite things about being able to use iPads and apps with my students is that there are so many amazing ones out there that kids LOVE using. You can literally get an app for anything you want and students love using the iPads and are better at using them then many adults that I know. I have used many different reading apps in my library, apps for coding and even Pinterest with my students. I think they are a great learning tool and I will continue to use them in my library. I really enjoyed the article “Library in Our pockets” article by Shannon McClintock Miller and plan on now doing something similar in my library. I am not sure how well it would work with my younger students but I would love to try it with my 5th and 6th graders since many of them already have cell phones and iPads that they can use. I think it is a great way to get students and parents involved and to showcase what we do as Library Media Specialist!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thing 24: Control the Info Flow with RSS & Feed Readers

Using an RSS might seem like it is complicated but it is actually very simple and something that I think a lot more people might take advantage of if they knew what it was all about. I also know that there are people who already do subscribe to an RSS feed without even realizing like those who subscribe to various YouTube channels or flickr. The best thing that an RSS feed does in my opinion is gathering all of the important information that you might be interested in and having it in one location so you do not have to go all over the place looking for it.

I never knew what that orange icon meant before and now that I do it seems to be popping up everywhere. I decided to spend some time on feedly because right away I loved that there was a box I could click that would let me do some exploring before I was required to sign up for anything. The site was simple and clean and I liked that. I searched using the terms library, school library, and elementary library. Some great results popped up and I was introduced to some fabulous new blogs I had never known about. One of the other things I really liked about feedly was that there were popular topics already chosen for me that I could click on and see a wealth of information.

Sometimes I feel like I have so much going on not only at school but also in my personal life that I don't enough time to read all the blogs that I would like to, or keep up with all of the newest trends as much as I would like to. I love the idea of having the information that I want sent to me when it is available. Not only does it save me time, but it also helps me to keep up with it and stay on top of all of the new information that is out there. There are a few library blogs that I have found in my search for other things that I have come to love and using an RSS feed to keep up with that information would be wonderful.

For me I think I would use an RSS feed more in my personal life rather than with my students. I think that using it to follow blogs and teacher librarians like myself where I can find new information and explore new things would be the most helpful to me. Libraries can definitely take advantage if this new information to share information around the world. I think introducing it to students in 5th or 6th grade and letting them explore and play around with it would be a nice way for them to learn about it and see what it is. 

After playing around and exploring I am still a little overwhelmed with it but that is usually how I feel when something is new to me. The more I explore the more I think I will get used to and maybe one day have it mastered. I found a few sites that I loved from playing around I am sure I will find a few more the more I explore.