Thursday, July 10, 2014

ThingLink Teacher Challenge Week #4 and #5

I am having a wonderful time creating new projects in the ThingLink Teacher Challenge this summer.  I was on vacation for challenge #4 so here is a combined blog for both weeks.

Week #4 Challenge was to produce an interactive map. I chose to produce a map of local libraries and posted this on our Facebook and Twitter accounts to help promote summer reading.  In essence I am hoping this might become a family routine all year.

Week #5 Challenge was to use the new ThingLink video feature just announced this summer. I must say it was very user friendly and I can see this to be a awesome tool to use in the classroom. I used an existing tutorial video on accessing eBooks and added direct links to our FollettShelf.  Again I posted this on our school's Facebook and Twitter accounts to promote our summer reading challenge.


I look forward to more ThingLink Challenges but I am excited about sharing what I have learned with my faculty and students in the coming year.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Thinglink Teacher Challenge Week #3

This week's Thinglink Teacher Challenge included:

"Week 3:  Dig Deep Into Vocabulary


In this activity you will
  1. Create an original digital image.
  2. Upload your image to ThingLink.
  3. Add Rich Media Tags to define vocabulary through multimedia
  4. Share and submit interactive to the ThingLink Challenge.


In this activity you will create an interactive image to to help students develop build vocabulary. Think about your image as a digital poster. You can weave together digital tools to create an activity that can be used  to introduce students to vocabulary prior to a lesson, or your interactive image could be used to help students develop meaning through research."
After much thought I decided to design one on our Google Drive accounts. I hope to use this with both our faculty and students.  

Oxnevad, Susan. "ThingLink Blog." ThingLink Teacher Challenge. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2014.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ThingLink Teacher Challenge Week 2

With this challenge I have come up with an awesome "Meet the Librarian" presentation.  I'm always trying to "jazz up" what many classify the library orientation routine.  I plan on using ideas from this project to introduce myself to the new incoming students and highlight some of our programming.  I can use the same picture but tweak the links to better represent our library program rather than my social media accounts.   With the popularity of anchor charts, I will post basic information rather than include it in the presentation.  Here's to my ThingLink Week 2 Challenge project.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Taking the ThingLink Teacher Challenge - it's FREE!

My summer vacation has officially begun and as I gather my summer reading, look through professional development opportunities, organize my thoughts in designing presentations, I have eagerly signed up to participate in the ThingLink Teacher Challenge. It began on June 9th with weekly challenges to produce and share some awesome ThingLink projects. It was very easy to sign up and I received an invitation to join this challenge.  My main objective was to design some great projects that could be used in helping facilitate our library program.  The amazing Susan Oxnevard leads the challenge.

Our first challenge per the Thinglink blog includes:

The first ThingLink Teacher Challenge will be to create a simple interactive image that explains “How To…” and taps into your own expertise. Remember, new users should keep it simple and choose a topic you are very familiar with. Here are some simple summer ideas for your first image.
  • How to Make Ice Tea
  • How to Get Fit for Summer
  • How to Grow Tomatoes
  • Anything goes, keep it simple
So this is my first ThingLink Teacher Challenge project.

This is an awesome visual that I plan on embedding on our library website, posting on our school's Facebook and Twitter accounts, and including on our Summer Reading Challenge information. I can't wait for week #2. Take the #TLChallenge this summer!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Library End of Year Report

It's that time of year in the library that I find "fast and furious". I am very fortunate to realize that gathering statistics, pictures, videos, programming and more can be cumbersome for my final evaluation so I keep an ongoing document in my Google Drive with annual information to make my end-of-year-report a seamless and easy process. I also try to implement new ideas to challenge myself with modeling tools for others to view. In the past I have used Animoto, iMovie, Google documents, and other tools. This year I made 3 templates in Canva and imported them into thinglink. Once I had 3 good images I just linked this year's data and produced a channel. I embedded it on our library website so it will be available to everyone including our faculty, students, and parents. I do feel it's important to inform everyone about our library program. As Nancy Jo Lambert says, "You need to tell your story."  It does not matter the format, just get your story or end-of-year report out.  Do not spend countless hours in the stressful mode but highlight the main events and share it with your community. Much of the report is for me in reflection of the school year.  From this I can set goals for next year in what should I continue, what should I drop, what can I modify, and what new ideas can I implement.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

25 Book Challenge Finale

This year's 25 Book Challenge incentive reading program has been a success worth sharing with others in my PLN.  I have blogged about our program in the past and you can see a complete program design at this link.  It's actually a simple program that has gathered momentum with our main objective to keep our students reading throughout the year.  This year we had our 6th grade teachers that decided to post visual charts in the classroom indicating how many books each student read which was an awesome initiative to keep the program literally "in full view of our students".  Our 7th and 8th grade teachers choose to work with the netSchool database for students to enter their books and evaluate student progress.  The data is daily exported into an Excel spreadsheet for evaluation.  The advantage of the netSchool database over a Google form is that each student can edit and view their entries at any time.

This year's celebrations included:

  • 5 Books: Free ID and Lanyard (this was the least favorite celebration for our students and the lowest number of students participated)
  • 10 Books: Movie at the high school Performing Arts Center (the high school is within walking distance of our school)
  • 15 Books: Dessert and extra time in the outdoor courtyard during lunch
  • 20 Books: Soda floats and time out the classroom for the celebration
  • 25 Books: All inclusive day a Main Event
This chart indicates 2 years worth of student participation data.  The top bars begin with 5 Books Celebration and continues down to our final 25 Books Main Event extravaganza.  
  • We increased our final 25 Books celebration participation by 35 students
  • All celebrations except for the free ID and lanyard had an increase in student participation
  • Our school has successfully promoted a literacy program school-wide - it was not just a "library thing"
  • 6th graders had the largest number of students who achieved the 25 Books Challenge
  • This created an easy transition into our Summer Reading incentive
  • Our school expectation is for ALL our students to read
  • We started a weekly set DEAR time once per week with an altered scheduled 
  • Each celebration was greatly appreciated by students and faculty 
  • Many avid readers did not participate
  • 8th graders seemed to be the least interested grade in participating
  • We were unable to take students on the 2 field trips without parent permission slips (we made every effort including calling home for permission slips to be returned)
  • Students were not interested in participating for a free ID or lanyard
  • We were unable to reach 100% of our students in motivating them to read and participate 

As with any other school-wide program I'll set up a Google document for all involved to add suggestions and/or feedback.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Summer Reading FUN Begins!

 It's that time of year when we begin to plan our summer reading program.  With the success of last year's summer reading, our Library Advisory Committee decided to implement a similar reading incentive program. So basically here's our plan.  Full disclosure:  This is an incentive program and is not required. Plans can and do change while the program is in full swing as awesome ideas blossom. Our main objective is that we want our students to continue to read over the summer and encourage them to choose and share their books.

I wanted to come up with a thematic logo so I turned to canva and played with the banner above. It didn't take long to design and I love the variety of templates that I can tweak because I am NOT a graphic designer.  So we are including this logo on our website, bookmarks, posters (like the one below), Facebook, and Twitter accounts to promote our summer reading incentive program.

  • Our students are encouraged to read 5 or more books during the summer and log them into a simple feedback Google form.
  • In mid-July members of our Library Advisory Committee will meet and send out post cards to students who have read 5 or more books.  This will also be done in mid-August.
  • Our principal has agreed to sponsor an incentive prize to all students who complete the summer reading incentive. The Summer Reading incentive prizes will be given out at the beginning of the school year along with recognizing the students.
  • The program will be advertised through the school website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and the Library Remind account.  We will also "team up" with our PTA in promoting on their Facebook page.  An administrator also agreed to run names and reading data on our marquee throughout the summer.  I can easily provide this information virtually from the Google form.
  • Students will have the opportunity for me to post their book review on our social media accounts.  This will be an option in the Google form.
  • I will open the library to all students and faculty during the summer on days that I plan on working beyond the regular school year with my extended contract days.
  • I will also make myself available to answer questions to parents and students through email throughout the summer.  I want to encourage all students and faculty to access our library's eContent and I will share statistics through our marketing and promotional venues.
  • Students may include their summer reading in our 25 Books Challenge campaign during the school year.  This year we had 179  students who read and participated in this campaign! Our goal is to increase the participation for next year.    
  • We want our students to enjoy their summer but we all are too familiar with the "summer slide".  I describe it to the students as, "If you don't use it then you will loose it."  Those students who continue to read during the summer are more likely to return in August with higher retention of last year's lessons.
  • Those students who learn to read for pleasure are more likely to become life-long readers.  Let them read what they want during the summer with no lesson or criteria - just for pleasure.
  • If we keep our students in the routine of reading during the summer than the process should come naturally when the school year begins.  Plus, we want our students and faculty to use the library's eContent resources. This allows virtual access to the library 24/7.
I also look forward to sharing ideas in a Google Hang Out with some fellow library peeps.
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