Makerspaces are safe spaces where students can build, tinker, invent and create in school libraries.  Please check out the Voicethread I created on Makerspaces.

Makerspace Voicethread



2.0 Web Tools Wiki

Our class created a wiki for all the web tools we learned to used.  My focus was on collage tools and I found a great website that helps you create art out of words or word groups.  Below I have attached links to the class wiki and the screencast I created for Tagul Word Clouds.  You can also check out an assignment that can be used with Tagul.

SLM508 Class Wiki

Screencast of Tagul Word Clouds



Classroom Blogs

A classroom blog is a blog that is created by the teacher and maintained by the teacher and the students.  As a middle school teacher I imagined this would be easier for an elementary school teacher to do because you only have one group of students, but they probably would not be able to help add posts to the blog.  Classroom blogs can be a great way to show parents what students are doing in the classroom, give updates on assignments or fieldtrips and keep parents posted on what everyone is learning.  It also gives students a place to display their work and find resources if they need help.  If I was to start a classroom blog I would want my students to help me create posts.  I teach in middle school and I would want them to have some ownership of the cite.  I would encourage other teachers to blog by leading by example and offering to help them set up their own website.  I think having teachers find an educator’s blog they enjoy and sharing some of what they have learned would be a valuable professional development opportunity.  These are three classroom blogs I found to be interesting.

There were many blogs to choose from when it came to elementary school, but not many in first grade.  When I came across this blog I knew I had found something special, just as the name implies, 20 Something kids and 1 Kooky teacher.  When I read the first post I thought the blog had expired, Blogging in 1st grade? Yes, please!  But then I read on and realized that it might be January but they are just getting to blogging.  What followed were delightful pictures of first grade handwritten blogs.  You could see that they were not all at the same place when it came to neat handwriting, but I am sure every parent found delight in their child’s effort.  A few of the blogs I found for elementary school were just each weeks homework and others were maintained by the teacher it was not really a classroom blog.  This blog had the best of both worlds, student work and lots of good teacher information.  The 20 something kids and 1 Kooky teacher can be found at:

Finding a middle school blog became a challenge.  I teach middle school and I have five classes that each average about thirty students.  I imagine creating a blog for my 150 students would be very challenging. I did manage to find a good blog with a great name, Huzzah!  What first caught my eye was that famous internet baby  meme holding up his fist.  Then I scrolled down and watched a silly public service announcement for the zombie apocalypse, with an actual lesson attached to the video!  Huzzah! is a group of 6 and 7th grade students in Western Canada.  One post that I particularly liked was called, What is Home? Each student in the class was able to answer this question and add it to the blog. This lesson was done after a read aloud where one of the characters shares what home  is.   Although this may seem a simple activity, the product was amazing.   Students shared their personal thoughts of home  for the world to see.  The results are moving and thought provoking.  You can find Huzzah! at:

Lastly, I searched for the ever allusive high school blog.  To be honest I found none.  Well, none in the traditional sense where you have one teacher and a group of students.  What I did find was a high school blog that was run by students and teachers, but I would consider it more of a school blog than a class blog.  The Cougar News Blog has won several classroom blogs awards over the years.  The posts range from who won this weeks game, news that book groups encourage reading, to more serious topics such as depression. The Editorial: Depression more than being sad, requires treatment.  This post was an opinion piece but it offered helpful information about what to do if think your are depressed and how you can help a friend who might be depressed.  The Cougar News Blog also had movie and book reviews and photos of the week.  I know when I was in  high school we had a newspaper, maybe a blog is a better fit for todays high school students.  You can find the Cougar New Blog at:

Librarian’s Blogs

The purpose of a librarian’s blog is to support teachers and share ideas, lessons, and new technology with fellow media specialists.  Librarian blogs can range from book reviews to ideas on how to teach students about digital citizenship.  When I become a librarian I know that I will want to share this wealth of knowledge with the teachers I work with.  I imagine that I will create a list of blogs that I found to be the most helpful to teachers and create my own blog that supports the students and teachers I work with.  I think it won’t be long before teacher blogs and class webpages will become the norm for some school districts.    The internet has no shortages of blogs, so narrowing down my list of my favorite librarian bloggers was no easy task.  Below are three of my favorites.

Gwyneth A. Jones is the Daring Librarian.  As the name implies she is definitely daring, do you remember what Cyndi Loper looked like in the 80’s, that is who she reminded me of.  Her blog has won numerous awards, she has served on the Board of Directors for the ISTE, has been published in numerous places, and has won the Best of the Best by Teacher Librarian Magazine.  Gwyneth’s blog is packed with resources and information that librarians, teachers, and even students can use.  One of the most moving articles was on Martin Luther King and service,  Gwyneth hits this one out of the park by sharing how our choices and actions make us who we are and that we should be a positive force in our community.  Most teachers came to this profession with good intentions but sometimes we lose our way.  Her article reminds us to model the ideals we want our students to have.  Gwyneth includes lesson ideas, answers question, and gives lots of technology advice, but one of my favorite things about her blog is there is a little crazy here and there.  I could not stop myself from clicking on the key word “mini moo.”  I found out that a mini moo is a business card and Gwyneth highly recommends having your own business card.  Now you may think that sounds like a boring blog, but trust me, I was happy I found it. Inside this blog Gwyneth explains how to make your own brand, your own avatar or cartoon character.  I think learning these skills are how you stay connected to students.  I think my favorite part of her blog is all the creative ideas that can found there.  Gwyneth’s blog can be found at:

Bulldogs and Bobcats may sound like two sport teams but it is the name of Julie Hembree’s award winning librarian blog.  Julie’s website is about “bridging books, lessons, and technology.”  The website includes library lessons, websites, author visits, makerspace ideas, and how Julie is using her library to make a difference in the world.  Currently her school is collecting change to pay for books to send to children in need in Africa.  One of my favorite blog posts was about using Skype, called Travel the World and Never Leave Home.  This is an amazing lessons called a Skype-a-thon that records the number of miles between people who Skype.  Julie had some fun activities for the students such as mystery caller where you try to figure out where people are calling from or guess my number (1-100) that uses a hundreds chart for the lower grades.  Several lessons were planned for the Skype-a-thon which lasted over the course of a week, with geography, critical thinking, and digital citizenship activities.   Julie’s website contains some neat features such as counting flags from the different countries people have visited her site from.  It also has a live traffic feed that shows live who has been looking at the site.  Julie’s website is very kid friendly but contains lots of good ideas for adults!  Julie’s blog can found at:

Buffy J. Hamilton is the Uniquiet Librarian.  I am not sure what she is like in person but her website speaks volumes.  Buffy not only has a website blog, but she has presented at numerous conferences over the years and was named a Mover and Shaker in 2011.  Buffy’s background is a librarian and an English teacher.  Her blog not only focuses on reading but there is also a strong emphasis on writing.  In my opinion she has tackled the two hardest things to get kids to do; read and write.  Buffy’s blog is full of creative way to get student writing and presenting their ideas.  I loved her blog about the first day in her creative writing class.  The topic was about what makes someone a writer and what is a better way to hear someone’s ideas than speed dating.   The activity was set up to give the students some time to answers questions in a small group, then it moved into the structure of “speed dating.”  I can just imagine the students sharing this at lunch and I think I know what I am doing on the first day of school next year!  My favorite thing about her blog is how visual it is.  Every article contains pictures or videos that share what her students have learned.  Buffy’s blog can found at:

My First Blog

Hello!  There is a first time for everything and in this case I putting something on the web for the world to read.  I am creating this blog for a class at McDaniel College.  It is funny my 11 year old want to create a blog or become a “youtuber” and I won’t let her.  Maybe this will help me overcome some of fears of letting her use the web.