Posts Tagged With: technology

Tech in the Library: Digital Codes of Living

Back when I was a camp counselor, one of the first things I did with a new group of kids in my cabin was to create a code of living. This would be a short list of guidelines for everyone to follow so we could handle living together for a week or two. When making a code of living, it was important to:

A) Take suggestions from the kids first and let others add to what was already there

B) Phrase guidelines positively as much as possible. Pick “Be respectful” over “Don’t do ______”

C) Everyone must sign the code of living.

D) Post the code of living in a spot that is easy to see.

Fast forward to last week. I am introducing Edmodo to my twelve fifth grade classes during library. We’re going to use it to review some digital citizenship skills and to manage our projects for Digital Learning Day. I’m also going to use it to promote book discussions, share book trailers and promote our Battle of the Books (What can I say? Ninja book promoting is fun).

Since Edmodo is new to my school, I wanted something to remind the students of what we wanted our community to be like online. That’s when I remembered the code of living. I knew I didn’t want to make giant posters to put up in the library since the students can access Edmodo from many different places. I had to come up with an adaptation that I could put right into our Edmodo groups.

Here’s what I ended up using:

1 iPad
Notability (a note taking app. Any app that allows for typing and writing would work).

Here’s how it worked:

1. Students brainstormed pros and cons of social networks
2. Using an adapter, I projected my iPad screen after opening Notability
3. Students gave suggestions for guidelines. We clarified and rephrased as needed.
4. After I typed the guidelines into notability, I turned on the guided access feature so the only app that could be open was Notability.
5. While half the class created their Edmodo accounts and joined our group, the other half signed the code of living before checking out books. After 10 minutes, the two groups switched.
6. After class, I created a PDF of the code using Notability, emailed it to myself, and then posted it on Edmodo.

This is the code one class came up with (minus their signatures)

I still need to think of how I’m going to adjust our codes of living when new students come. I’ll probably add a handout to our new student welcome packet and maybe I’ll have them ‘digitally’ sign the code by making a comment under the code’s posting. I also want to explore to see if there is a way to keep our code at the top of our feed.

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Digital Learning Fair

Tomorrow is the inaugural Digital Learning Day and over 1.7 million students are participating across the United States. My school is celebrating by hosting a Digital Learning Fair all day in the library and computer lab. Students, teachers, distract staff and parents are all invited to attend the fair tomorrow to explore the projects we’ve created and test out the different devices we have available at school. 12 stations were created to provide our fair guests with plenty of options to choose from. Our youngest classes will have the opportunity to visit three different stations during their time at the fair.

I meet with small technology enrichment groups throughout the week. I started the year assessing the incoming technology skills of third and fourth grade students. Since then, fourteen different fourth grade students have participated in two different enrichment projects, one using Flip cameras to create Animoto tours of our school and one creating future episodes of Inanimate Alice using Power Point. Students wrote their stories and then copied them onto slides, keeping pacing in mind. They then were able to add in pictures using this Creative Commons Flickr search. One student was able to work on adding music from Soundzabound, which we have a subscription to through Badgerlink.

How will the skills from these projects be demonstrated at our digital learning fair? Two fourth grade students will be running a station coaching students on how to film with our Flip cameras while two other students will be demonstrating how to add and work with layers on Power Point.

Third grade enrichment projects have included creating original stories based on Chris Van Allsburg’s Mysteries of Harris Burdick. Participating students had the option to hand write their stories or compose directly in Word. Once students had a working draft of their stories we began working on creating e-books with Little Bird Tales. Students drew their pictures, typed their story and added narration to these stories. A more recent addition to our choices of available activities during third grade enrichment is Voki, which we have used to create book advertisements, summaries and student announcements. Some of our Voki creations have been used on our new school announcement wiki.

Two third graders will be running a Voki station while two other third grade students will be leading a digital voice recorder station. We used these recorders for a third grade library project during Picture Book Month. We used the devices to record our blurbs about different books made by Wisconsin Picture Book creators.

I am thankful and impressed with all the work that has gone into creating my school’s Digital Learning Fair. Classroom teachers and special area teachers have created a variety of tools, posters, schedules and more for the event. Our staff committee met multiple times throughout the month and our student helpers came in to learn about the fair and practice their presentations for one another as well as for the principal and me. One third class learned how to use Glogster to create their final planet projects in order to be able to present at the fair.

My second grade and Montessori enrichment group started back in the fall. This group has created a variety of Little Bird Tales projects for me. Our first project was to take the book Gingerbread Man Loose in the School and create the Gingerbread Cougar Loose in the School instead. We also created animal fact books using the same site. Another project we enjoyed was creating animals for the site Night Zookeeper. Night Zookeeper is a site from the UK that features a multi-chapter story about the Night Zookeeper at a most unusual zoo. We enjoyed listening to the narrated chapters on our first day with the project. We then created facts about our animals, stories about what happened when the Night Zookeeper tried feeding these animals and artwork. All our projects were brought together in a zoo map for us to explore. The Night Zookeeper staff helped us troubleshoot some problems we encountered while working on our project. I recommend this site for an integrated writing and arts project.

Three students will be sharing our Night Zookeeper creations while Two students will be sharing Little Bird Tales stories with interested groups. Two of the students involved in our Gingerbread Cougar Loose in the School books will also be helping to teach the use of digital cameras. Two Montessori students will also be demonstrating a collaborative storytelling app called Storywheel.

This afternoon we transformed the library into our digital learning space. We moved furniture to make sure there is plenty of room for our stations to run smoothly. Posters were hung, signs posted and student helper name tags created. Now all that’s needed is to turn on the technology, login to our sites and wait for our classes to arrive. I’m super excited to hear the conversations tomorrow and see peer teaching in action. I’m also looking forward to sharing how the digital learning fair turns out.

Thinking of running a Digital Learning Day in the future? A variety of resources and toolkits are available from the official Digital Learning Day site. I also found the Digital Learning Day page on the Wisconsin DPI site helpful in seeing how people around my state were celebrating this day. More about my school’s digital learning fair can be found at WI Digital Learning.

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Experimenting with Glogster

Several teachers, the principal and I are currently planning a Digital Learning Fair to hold on February 1 for Digital Learning Day. I plan to share more about the learning fair in a future post. Some stations at our fair will showcase student work and that’s where this post comes in.

Last Friday a third grade teacher helping plan the event approached me to see if I could assist while her students worked on taking their planet research and turning it into a digital poster using Glogster EDU. I’m very excited about this for two reasons. First, I get to be involved in an authentic technology learning experience rather than one created in isolation from what is going on in the classroom. Second, it gave me the impetus I needed to dive in and start learning how to use Glogster. A number of librarians and teachers I follow online have mentioned using this tool, but I have shied away from it in the past because it doesn’t play well with our school filter.

In preparing for my first Glogster experience with the third graders, I created a glog to advertise Digital Learning Day on my school’s announcement wiki. Incorporating the text boxes, choosing what background on wanted on the glog’s wall, and adding links proved to be straightforward enough. The one thing I couldn’t get to cooperate for me was changing the font color on my stickers.

View this glog on glogster.

Today was the first day I worked with the third graders. The students are creating their glogs in groups that they also used to do their research before my involvement. While our time was short today for a variety of reasons each group was able to create the start of their glog and save it. Many of the groups found an appropriate background. I’ll be on hand later in the week when they are adding facts and images to their glogs.

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My First Technology Petting Zoo

The idea for holding a library petting zoo came from Tiffany Whitehead of Mighty Little Librarian. Her site is full of great ideas for teacher librarians and I recommend visiting it.

What’s a technology petting zoo? It’s a chance for staff to come explore different technology in a less stressful environment. For my first one, I wanted to expose some of the technology devices the library has available for checkout to the classrooms that could be used for student projects, small groups, interventions and more. I decided to showcase the Nook Colors the library purchased this fall in addition to the Flip cameras, voice recorders and Playaways we received at the end of last school year.

Using the Comic Life app, I created some comics explaining each device. I will definitely use Comic Life again in the future. My comics aren’t perfect, but they did get the point across. They are also something I can put on the school website or the library wiki so there are resources for people who weren’t able to attend.

I held my technology petting zoo after school. Next time, I think I would like to offer it throughout the day, starting before school. That way it may be easier for people to stop by for a little bit. I was still pleased that seven of the teachers came through to look at the devices and brainstorm how they could use them. I’m considering using the technology petting zoo every month or every other month in the future. Next time, I would like to feature a few different websites teachers could use for projects.

I also used the technology petting zoo as an opportunity to put out some of what is being weeded from the professional collection in case any of the items are used regularly and were not showing up correctly in our catalog. There’s still a lot of work to be done in that area.

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Online Safety: Fourth Grade Edition

Since starting in the school library last January I have wanted to teach my elementary students about online safety. It didn’t fit in last spring, so I put it on the list for this fall with my fourth graders. This week we finally got to this subject as part of a mini unit I am doing called Internet: Safety, Sources, Searching.

I started with a discussion of students’ prior knowledge with the question: What can we use the internet for? The first answers students volunteered sounded very school-driven. They jumped right on with research. I used a blank flipchart in ActivInspire to record student answers. As simple as this was, it was pretty engaging for the students. They were reading as I typed the question and their responses. The picture below shows their ideas.

What can the internet be used for?

The classroom teacher and I were able to interject a few things naturally into the discussion, such as checking with an adult before doing some of the internet activities they listed (such as facebook and buying things). We then shifted into a brainstorming session on what people could find out about them online. I was surprised at the number of things they brainstormed and how insightful they were. I can’t think of cases for all their ideas, but most seem possible in one form or another. I found it interesting that they were coming up with medical records and grades (Parents can check grades from home)

What Can Be Found on the Internet

At this point, I turned to Infinite Learning Lab’s Professor Garfield Lessons. We did the lesson on Online Safety as a whole group. In this segment, Garfield cautions Nermal to keep his YAPPY safe. YAPPY stands for ‘Your Full Name, Addresses, Phone Number, Passwords, Your Plans.’ Midway through the video-segment is a sorting activity where different types of information must be sorted into YAPPY information and SURF SMART information (things that are okay to be shared). I had more students volunteering with answers than any other time this school year. It was an engaging lesson and discussion.

Next week we will be using All About Explorers. I’m curious to see how and when my students catch on to what that site is all about.

I am debating between the Professor Garfield Fact and Opinion lesson and the Arthur equivalent to use when third grade starts their Magic Tree House Research Projects. That won’t be for some time yet as we are first going to learn how to search the web.

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Book Choosing Song

Yesterday I intended to work on a short story I owe for a special project my writing group is taking on for its fifth anniversary. The batteries died in my mp3 recorder which prevented much work on the story. Instead, I started thinking of how to turn the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star into a song about books.

After a great deal of fiddling, I had a little song. One of my goals this summer was to explore some different technologies to use in the library. I downloaded Audacity to record the song. I then used Animoto for the first time to combine the music and some pictures.

The end result can be viewed here. I may end up tweaking it so there are more book covers in it.

Here are the song lyrics:

Now I want to take a look
Turn the pages of a book
Humor, adventure, fantasy
Graphic novels and mystery
Now my read of this book’s done
Time to pick another one.

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