Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Book Trailer to Promote Reading

As a teacher librarian, I wanted  to learn how to create a book trailer. Using the program iMovie, here is my first attempt:

My purpose for creating this book trailer is to inspire students to read the book. Are you inspired? 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Research with Sqworl

"Sqworl makes it easy to organize and share multiple links with just one url. Easy and clean visual bookmarking".

How have I been using it in the library? I have created Sqworls for the grade 6 Dead but Not Forgotten music research project. I made a Sqworl for various dead musicians that the students are interested in researching.The students now have a collections of websites organized in a way to see little snapshots of the site before they click into it. This is a great research guide for students and great way to support students in locating student friendly, reliable and relevant information on a topic or subject area.

 So what are you waiting for? All it takes is three easy steps: 
1. create a free account
2. name your “group” 
3. cut and paste the urls you want to share

You can see my Dead Musicians sqworl page here.  

Go nuts! 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Edmodo in the School Library

During a recent Professional Development day, our staff was introduced to Edmodo. Edmodo is a safe and easy social learning network for teachers, students, and parents. With Edmodo you can connect and collaborate while sharing ideas and content. You can also access homework, grades and important school notices. 

At this point, myself and my teacher-librarian partner have decided to start using Edmodo in the school library. We have set-up a student group, a parent group, and a teacher group. Our student group will be updated on a regular basis with library happenings. There is also an area where students can complete a book wish list. Our parent group will be where parents can go to find out more information on  becoming a parent volunteer. Finally, our teacher group is all about collaboration. 

Since the students enjoy being members of different groups we hope that once we have more student members we can create a book review group. What groups have your created so far for your students to join? 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Halloween Book Display

Today I created a spooky display around Halloween. I have displayed a selection of scary fiction and non-fiction books. I used creepy blood fonts and props to make the display stand out. The cobwebs, skull heads, and do not enter banner can all be found at Dollarama. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Fall Bulletin Board Display

One of the most creative things I get to go as a teacher-librarian is create bulletin boards each month based on different themes or seasons. I absolutely love preparing something new to put up! Since Fall is finally here, I wanted to create a bulletin board with warm autumn colours and falling leaves. I found this brilliant bright idea from Bess Gonglewski, and adopted it to the bulletin board outside the library. I hope that the colours and design draw more readers into the library. 

What does your bulletin board look like? 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Online Library/Teacher Collaboration Form with Google Docs

The role of teacher-librarians are to collaborate with teachers to assist with accessing resources, teach research skills and to promote a love of reading. Teacher-librarians are also to work with teachers to plan, teach and assess learning. As teacher-librarians and teachers work together, they can develop a new understanding of how effective collaboration is in the school. As 21st century schools are focusing on learning collaboratively in order to build learning partnerships, I decided to create an library/teacher collaboration form to encourage teachers to work with the teacher-librarian to plan, teach, and assess learning. 

Technology in learning is also another focus for 21st century schools. To embrace in new technologies I thought it would be great to integrate the collaboration and technology components and create an online collaboration form using Google Docs.
Google Docs is a free online word processer that allows you to create documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms and more. Whatever you create can then be shared online to collaborate with others. To make my online collaboration form I first created a spreadsheet document with all of the components that I wanted my teachers to fill in. Once the spreadsheet was complete I was able to save and share the document online. When you share your document you are able to fill in the form, edit your questions, change the template, and email it directly to whoever you'd like to fill it in. Once someone fills in your form all of the data collected will be available to view as a spreadsheet within your Google Docs account. You can also enable email notifications to receive instant emails as soon as someone fills in your online form. Your forms can also be added to your blog to collect information from your visitors. Below you will see my embedded library/teacher collaboration form. 

Conte, J. (n.d.). Collaborative Teaching Inquiry and the School Learning Commons. Retrieved from

Ontario School Library Association with the support of the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat of the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Education. (2010). Together for Learning: school libraries and the emergence of the learning commons a    vision for the 21st century.  Ontario, Canada: O.S.L.A.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Virtual Literature Circles

After talking to some colleagues about integrating technology into their reading program, I decided to explore blogs, wikis and literature circles. First I explored the idea of using Weebly; however, I didn't like the idea that students could make up fake names and emails to comment on our blog. I then explored PBworks which my school has used in the past. PBworks is a free easy to use wikispace. 

After exploring PBworks, I finally decided to create a sample Virtual Literature Circles wiki to learn more about how I could collaborate with classroom teachers and implement them into classrooms' reading program. To help me create my sample wiki, I wiki hopped and read through the book called Teaching with Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts & More: Dozens of Easy Ideas for Using Technology to Get Kids Excited About Learning by Kathleen Fitzgibbon and the book Literature Circles The Way to Go and How to Get There by Teacher Created Resources. Click on the screenshot to visit my sample Virtual Literature Circles wiki.

I feel that this is a great Web 2.0 tool to utilize in the classroom. I look forward to introducing this tool to the teachers at my school. I would love to hear about how you are using a wiki in your classroom. 

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Two Truths and a Lie Revised

I have been looking for a great way to introduce myself to my students at my new school. I thought that using an icebreaker activity would be a fun way to help my students get acquainted with me.  A classic ice-breaker activity is Two Truths and a Lie. 
Two Truths and a Lie is the a popular icebreaker game, in which someone shares two truths about themselves and a lie to the group. The group then tries to guess which one is a lie. 

Since I enjoy this game I decided that I will use it on the first day of library visits with my classes. Instead of playing the classic version, I created an interesting variation to the game using Popplet (Thanks to my partner teacher-librarian for introducing this tool to me). I like the idea of using a variation to the game since I don't want to use the same old icebreaker as every other teacher. 

A Popplet "is a big pinboard that you can put popples onto". In other words, a Popplet is a mind mapping application that allows you to collect documents, pictures, videos, and text in an organized manner. Here is the Popplet that I created to share with my middle school students:

As you can see, my Popplet is full of truths about me. However, one is a lie. When my library classes come visit me for orientation, I will show them my Popplet to introduce myself to them. I will then have the class guess which one isn't true. The student who guesses correct will win a small prize. 

Can you guess my lie? 

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Library Decor with Social Networking

This week has been all about moving into my new library. I have spent many days on Twitter and Pinterest this summer and love how many people are sharing ideas on library decorating. I am very proud of how all of the ideas look in the library. The library is officially ready for the first day of school!

Back to School Book Display 

I found this great idea on Pinterest which then lead me over to Carolyn's blog. She created a book display that actually "talks" to her students. I loved the idea and decided to use the speech bubbles with back to school related books as part of my display. To make the signs I just downloaded the already created PDF from Carolyn, cut them out and glued them onto construction paper, laminated them, attached them to a bookmark, and them simply tucked them into the books. I decided to just add one of my own speech bubbles, a QR code of course! 

Library Scavenger Hunt Contest

"Ready for kids to come in to enter for the chance for First Check-out!! #babymouse@jenniholm @mattholm #lovemyjob!". This tweet caught my attention and I am glad it did. I love their contest display and think that the kids would love it to. Since my library is having a scavenger hunt contest I decided to create a similar display. For those of you that know me you know I didn't wrap that box. Isn't my husband a great wrapper?

Library Bulletin Board

I love love love my Pac-Man bulletin board display! I have gotten so much great feedback from my colleagues too! Click HERE to see the Pinterest picture that inspired me. 

Dewey Decimal System Signs 

And now, last but not least, an idea of my own. I used Microsoft word to create these signs and used images from Flickr under a Creative Commons licenses. 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

A Teacher-Librarian’s First Contact with Teachers

I’ve been thinking about emailing my colleagues at my new school a welcome back/collaboration letter. I am hoping that this letter will plant the seed for collaboration growth. Most importantly, I am hoping that my new colleagues will see me as approachable, organized, and professional. I decided to create the letter using Comic life to show that I am technologically savvy. Since I am new to the teacher-libraian role I would really appreciate any feedback regarding the letter prior to emailing it out. Please be brutally honest!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Bookmyne: Your School Library On The Go

Yesterday I attended a workshop called New Teacher-Librarian Day, presented by my school board’s library support team. The purpose of this  workshop was to assist new teacher-librarians in beginning their new role, look at library related issues and school library management.
At today’s session a great app calledBookmyne that allows you to connect to your library anywhere in the world was shared. Does your library use SirsiDynix Symphony? If so, this is a must have free app for you. Bookmyne is “the best library mobile app, hands down”. Using Bookmyne allows you to access your library’s catalogue, put books on hold and renew them. The barcode scanning is the coolest feature in this app. You can take a picture of the resource’s barcode to find out if your library carries it or which other libraries near you do. This feature will definitely prevent you from buying a book that may already be in your school’s library. With Bookmyne you can also access suggested reading materials via Goodreads, best-seller lists and reviews.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Organize Internet Content with Pocket

Are you ever on Twitter retweeting tweets when you see an interesting link to remember or to read later? Or do you find yourself always checking your history to try to remember where you saw that great article? I found myself constantly doing both until I discovered Pocket. With Pocket I am able to send articles, videos, and much more  from various social media platforms to one location that is assessable from any device. Now I am able to save anything on the web, store it, and easily rediscover it later.
We are always finding interesting content all day long and often don’t have time to read it right away or don’t know how to organize and remember what we read. Take anything you find online and save it to your Pocket so that you can view it whenever you have more time. Once the files are saved in your Pocket you don’t even need an internet connection to view them. Another great feature with Pocket is the ability to create tags for your articles. What a great way to keep all of your content organized!
Apps such as TwitterFlipboardPulse and Zite make it super easy to save to Pocket. Without using these apps you can simply email the link or pin to your Pocket ( to store for later viewing. Pocket also integrates withBufferEvernote, and Box.
Teacher-librarians are constantly given loads of information and remembering everything doesn’t have to be so overwhelming anymore. So, fill up your Pocket today!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Build a Rockin’ Library Volunteer Program

The other day I attended another free webinar called How to Build a Rockin’ Volunteer Program, presented by Michelle Luhtala, Head Librarian, New Canaan High School. I found the webinar on the  The purpose of this webinar was to assist librarians in getting more work done in less time by utilizing parent and student volunteers. Michelle Luhtala shared with us the importance of having a volunteer program and what her volunteer program looks like at New Canaan High School by sharing with us the New Cannan High School Library Volunteer website.
At the start of the webinar Michelle recommended two great reads. The article A Tale of Two Students and the book Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers. Michelle ended the webinar by talking about workflow. She mentioned how to organize the loads of information teacher-libraians receive using various tools such as: FlipboardPearltreesIFTT, and Evernote.
Click HERE if you’d like to check out the recording of the webinar.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

QR Codes are “Highly Versatile”

My Fur Babies

Blog hopping helped me quickly discover QR Codes and now I have been seeing them everywhere – even on bananas. My last QR Code post was about ways teachers are using them in schools and classrooms to engage students. To further explore the possibilities of QR Codes I ordered the book QR Codes for Dummies byJoe Waters. My favourite part of this book was discovering how versatile QR Codes are. Joe Waters mentions how they can even help you find your lost pet. I know my blog is supposed to be about my experiences as a teacher-librarian but I thought this was just worth mentioning (my dogs are my babies). I almost lost my dog last summer and it was the most scariest experience of my life. It’s unbelievable how many pets get lost per year and the small percentage that actually find their way back home. QR codes may actually help solve this problem.  Now QR Codes can be added to your fur baby’s collar that links to a free online pet profile webpage Check out the video to see how it works. The coolest thing about this is that if someone scans your pet’s QR Code, you will receive an email notification that can potentially track the scanner’s location using the GSP in their smartphone. Whoever came up with this is an absolute genius!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Collaborating Around the Globe with ePals

Today I attended a webinar called Introduction to ePals, presented by Steve Hodgin. I found the webinar on the Global Education Conference Network.  The purpose of this free webinar was to provide an overview on how to collaborate with other classrooms across the globe using ePals Global Community, and learning about the key features and functionality.
ePals is a social network that has been created for Kindergarten – Grade 12 learning. This network provides teachers and students with the ability to learn by connecting with other classrooms around the globe. Writing emails, sharing projects and accessing content and lesson plans are just a few ways to facilitate collaboration through ePals Global Community. This network is a great way to learn about different countries while enhancing technology skills at the same time.
Next week, I will be attending the second session, ePals 101, which will focus on integrating ePals into the classroom while providing a safe and secure learning environment for students. Please check back next week to see how you can use ePals as an instructional tool in your classroom.
I am excited to give the term “pen pals” a new meaning in my school by allowing  my students to participate in the largest social learning network.

Friday, 10 August 2012

QR Codes are Everywhere

Clever Cupcakes

It’s so fascinating to go blog hopping to see all the ways that educators are using Quick Response codes (aka QR Codes) to support and promote learning. Since I have found so many great ways to use QR codes in schools, I thought it would be great to highlight 10 genius examples.
1. Accessing the Library Catalogue – At Grayslake campus library all you need is your smart phone and QR code reader to access the library catalog in the book stacks. College of Lake County
2. Book Reviews – Bacon lover, Chris Hyde, has his students create book reviews onto a blog which are then turned into QR codes and placed onto books in the school library. Bacon Bytes Blog
3. Links to Book Trailers – Check-out the books on display at NHS High School Library. Just scan the QR code to access book trailers via YouTube. NHS HIgh School Library
4. Scavenger Hunts – The Daring Librarian, Gwyneth Jones, created and shares a QR code scavenger hunt that can be used in the school library for ESOL students, special education classes, library orientation, and for just about any other subject. The Daring Librarian
5. Meet and Greet Tours – During Mrs. White’s meet the teacher night she created a self guided tour of her classroom for her parents and students. Mrs. White’s 5th Grade Class
6. Parent Communication – Heather Kaldis shares how QR codes can be used during Open House to establish teacher-parent communication. Pencils, Paper and Pixie Dust
7. Showcasing Students’ Work – The Nerdy Teacher, Nicholas Provenzano, shares his students’ work with a display case and QR Codes for all to see. The Nerdy Teacher
8. Interactive Bulletin Boards – Richard Byrne engages viewers into the “digital world” by using “QR codes, a puzzle, and an iPad.” Free Technology for Teachers
9. Test Reviews – Kudos to Mrs. White and her wonderful ideas on how to use QR codes effectively in the classroom. Her Grade 5 class reviews math skills using iPads and QR code created worksheets. Mrs. White’s 5th Grade Class
10. Math and Literacy Stations – Mrs. Wideen’s Grade 1 students use QR codes for addition, substation, word problems, reading and writing every week during math and literacy stations. Mrs. Wideen’s Grade 1 Blog
Happy Scanning!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Back to School with Tagxedo

I absolutely love the idea found on Chad Lehman’s website using Wordle with his library students on the first day of school. Students created a word cloud with words of things they can do in the library. Instead of using Wordle though I would use another similar tool called Tagxedo. Tagxedo not only creates a word cloud out of the text you provide but it “turns words — famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes, even your love letters — into a visually stunning word cloud, words individually sized appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text.”
Another great way to use word clouds in the library was found on Tara’s blog. She broke students up into small groups and had them list their favourite book titles or series.
Below is a Tagxedo made out of my blog.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Collaborate with Wallwisher

As I have been researching ways to use technology in the library, I came across a really cool website called Wallwisher. ”Wallwisher is an Internet application that allows people to express their thoughts on a common topic easily.” Two things I love about Wallwisher is that it’s super easy to use and it is another great way to establish an interactive community.
To help you get started with Wallwisher, I decided to create  a comic tutorial using Comic Life to show you how.

To get a better feel of what Wallwisher is and how it works visit my Wallwisher wall. Please feel free to create your very own post-it note with any ideas on how Wallwisher can be used in the classroom or library and stick it onto my electronic wall. 

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Blogging in the Classroom

As a new teacher-librarian, technology has become an integral part of my role. Although I am comfortable using it, there are many new aspects that I need to become familiar with. So as I am new to this role, I have decided to learn about and begin to use blogging in the library to form an interactive community.
Since I am a bookaholic, I purchased a book called Blogging in the Classroom. After reading the book and doing some additional research on blogging, I wanted to start by creating my own blog.
I am excited for the start of the school year to allow my students to communicate with each other and to create their own publishing space with information and ideas that they want to share with others.
Here is a picture of the book: