Library Rules (Freebie)

My district officially started back Thursday, August 15th, but I won’t start taking classes till this Monday. I am super stoked though and can’t wait for fourth graders to pour into the library Monday morning! I am so nervous though and hope they love everything about the library and I really hope they love their new librarian😬.

This weekend I have been working on finalizing my library rules and book care guidelines. I tried not to make too many of them, because let’s face it-the more rules there are, the harder it will be for them to remember them all. So I kept it pretty basic and will give examples of what to do and what not to do for each. I created some cute posters in Canva that I plan on printing on colored card stock. Here’s a free copy for both the rules and book care!

What are your rules for the library and book care? I would love to know! Drop me a comment or a question below!

11 11❤️ Tara

 

DIY Genre Shelf Signs

Ok, so I’m not entirely sure at the moment what I want to dub this little DIY project as, but I think genre shelf signs will be sufficient for now. I came across this idea while scrolling through Instagram. The Centennial Jr High School Librarian posted some similar signs that were super cute which you can check out here.

After seeing her’s and reading some comments, I couldn’t figure out exactly how she did them, but I knew I could recreate them my own way (and with the help of my husband because he is awesome inspiration!). I showed my husband the pictures so I could figure out the size of the piece of wood I would need. Turns out, we had plenty of 1×4” pieces of pine in the shop. He cut them into different sizes, some 15″ while others begin 21″ in length, with a chop saw. I then took 150 grit sand paper and sanded them a bit to make them smoother. I then grabbed the quart of chalk paint I had that was by Rustoleum and painted about three quick coats on. I had a huge fan going in the shop and I think that helped with dry time, because when I would be done with the first coat for all pieces, I was able to continue on with the second and then the third. After they dried for a little while (maybe an hour or two), I used 220 grit sand paper and smoothed up the paint. Then I hit the top with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol. I don’t think this step is necessary per say, but I think it helps when you go to add the colored heat transfer vinyl (HTV).

Sander and wood
Palm sander for the initial sanding was a must!
img_2659.jpg
Really digging this chalk paint!

Speaking of HTV, that is the next step. I ordered a huge pack of HTV in tons of colors off Amazon. Now, I will say, this ended up working, but I don’t know if this brand would be my go-to in the future. It got the job done, but I had some slipping and it took trial and error when heating it onto the wood. Anyways, I cut the colors into 3″ strips width wise and then cut them a little shorter in length depending on the length of the piece of wood (if the length of the sign was 15″ then I cut it 14″). IMG_0974.JPG

Here comes the tricky part. I have a clam shell heat press and therefore it wouldn’t really work for the thick wood. I have a friend who lives Nextdoor who has a Cricut press and that came in handy, but wasn’t what did the job the best. What was best? My iron. Yep. I put it on polyester setting (my cotton settings steams) and I used my teflon over the HTV and pressed in short 5 second intervals in sections that were iron width. I did this several times-think 4-5 passes over the whole thing (so 20 seconds total per pass). I then peeled up the plastic that is on top of the vinyl and repeated a few more times. Sometimes the HTV started to come up when I was peeling the plastic layer off, BUT that’s okay! It actually seemed to lay better when that happened and I would simply let it cool for a minute and then press it. IMG_1033.JPG

To heat transfer the lettering or not? I did it both ways-white HTV for the letters and just plain on sticker vinyl, both worked but I think the sticker vinyl was easier and looked better overall. I used my Silhouette machine to cut my letters (I made them about 2.5″ tall) and transfer vinyl to get them on. That’s it!

IMG_1037
Mystery and Scary Stories were HTV lettering and Fairy Tales was just sticker vinyl.

IMG_1347IMG_1348

I do think I will Modge Podge over them so they will hold up for a while and I plan on velcro-ing them to the tops of my bookshelves so they don’t fall over.

I had fun making these! Where there frustrating moments? Uh, yeah! But that’s okay…if it doesn’t challenge you, then it’s not worth it, right? 😉 Let me know if you have any questions! I did make some smaller labels to go on the fronts of each shelf in that genre, but those are just colored paper and white sticker vinyl-easy peasy! ❤️

IMG_1322.JPG

Again, all questions are welcome!

11 11❤️ Tara

Chronicles of a First Year Librarian

Let’s switch gears…I’ve posted about all kinds of digital technologies that can be used in the education world as a librarian or a teacher all summer long, but come Monday, school schedule begins once again for myself in my new district as a librarian and I kind of want to share my journey of what my first year as a school librarian is going to entail. Honestly, I have been working all summer already trying to get my library the way I want. In one of my grad classes last semester, my professor had us create a priority list as a new librarian. We revamped our top ten list over the course of the semester, but honestly, I feel that what I had on my FINAL list has been changed again since I’ve actually stepped into the role of a school librarian and not just thinking hypothetically.

Let me share with you what I have done so far (and school hasn’t even started yet!).

I have been a teacher for nine years. I was made to be an educator-that is my purpose and what I feel God has gifted me with. With that being said, I have done the same thing the past nine years before school even begins and those things are even more intricate when I have changed grade levels. I also begin with the environment in which I will be in…the classroom in teachers’ cases and the library in librarians’ cases. I can’t seem to focus or function if my space isn’t spruced up the way I want. I need my decorations and atmosphere to be inviting and welcoming and functional.

So this summer I gave my new library an overhaul! My husband is a builder and he grabbed a couple of his daytime guys and they went to painting. The colors turned out better than I ever imagined! They really made the room pop! I took down old and outdated decor and stuffed animals that had been collecting dust. My campus is 4th-6th grade and while they are still elementary and love to be silly and be read to, I think they also want to feel a little bit older than the littles.

I created some fantastic posters and put them in some cheap poster frames from WalMart. I organized the currculation desk and cleaned and dusted really well. I also bought some cute watercolor lightbulbs from TPT that I enlarged at my local Walgreens, cut out and glued onto foam board (go to WalMart for foam board-you will only waste your money at Dollar Tree).

It’s far from finished, but I always think back to the phrase “Fake it till you make it.” If you can look the part, and work hard behind the scenes to figure the rest out, I think you’ll be amazing in the end! I have had such amazing classes and professors, but it’s different when you’re IN it versus being in a class. I am a hard worker and I am a great researcher (hey, I’m a librarian and outta be 😉), and I KNOW this year will be the best year of my education career, even if it is a little challenging!

11 11 ❤️ Tara

Reflection

I would like to start this post with a thankful heart. I am grateful that I have been able to take a class this semester that covers all things in the digital technology world for education! This was probably one of my favorite classes so far in my grad school career since I really like and am good at anything digital or tech.

In my opinion, my favorite apps/sites to use and try out were the infographic design sites. While I am a guru at using Canva, I enjoyed getting out of my comfort zone and trying other sites like Piktochart. I also liked creating the video podcast using WeVideo (although it had it’s pitfalls). Check out those posts here and here.

I think the most difficult ones-well, not difficult, but a pain in the rump, were the sites suggested for me to use for my final reflection from the site Techlearning: 30 Sites and Apps for Digital Storytelling. I literally paid $3.99 for one app (SpeechJournal) to use on my iPad and after creating a picture (that you can see below in my video) and recording my voice, I could not download, share or email. It gave me the option to email, but wouldn’t work. Super frustrating. Then I tried Animaker and got frustrated at how slow it was and gave up. Lots of the sites I tried on the list were limited to free trials or had to be downloaded. Many seemed old and outdated and even the reviews were old.

The most beneficial for me as an educator would be the screen recorders. My sister’s district just switched to Canvas as their housing site for students and teachers to communicate through, and she has told me how excited she is to create videos for her students and subs! I think my post must have rubbed off on her!

I believe the comic strip creating sites would be most fun and beneficial for students! They are pretty easy and engaging and you can literally use them for anything! My post over those can be found here.

In the end, I used Screencast-o-matic for my final reflection piece. Enjoy!!

Podcasts, Vodcasts, Vlogs…Huh?

I love listening to podcasts…I’ll be honest, I don’t normally listen to them from the teacher or librarian side though, I like to listen to them for the sheer pleasure. I absolutely love to listen to Ted Radio Hour, The Chalene Show for health and fitness reasons, beauty secrets and tips from The Skinny Confidential and Enjoying Everyday Life with Joyce Myers to get in some soul food. I have always used Pocket Casts to house my podcast channels on, but have found myself using Spotify a little bit too. I also listen to my new district’s podcast through Facebook, which you can find here. So many avenues and such a great way to get in a little bit more knowledge as you’re driving around running errands, working out or even getting ready in the mornings for work. My husband has been obsessed with The Joe Rogan Experience which is pretty awesome (but the language is for grown up ears only).

Screen Shot 2019-07-16 at 9.59.03 PM

Today I come to you giving you ideas, tools and advice as an educator who likes to create her own podcasts, vlogs (video blogs) and even vodcasts (video podcasts). Although I love to read, I don’t always have time and I feel like I can absorb listening to others talking about subjects and ideas I’m interested in just as my six year absorbs what I read to him at night before bed. Even when I taught fifth graders, they would beg for me to read to them…there’s just something about having someone else read to you that is so calming and enjoyable.

In this post you will find my reviews for several sites that you can host podcasts through or create video podcasts to upload to a host site or Youtube. I have also shared a podcast episode that I worked with Molly Childs, a fellow colleague, on (check out her blog here). We created one as a simple audio podcast housed through Podbean (check out my review below) and the other was the audio and video portion through WeVideo (make sure you read my review though on this one!). Molly wrote the script and I recorded it. I think we make one heck of a team!

Let’s begin with my favorite site to host podcasts on-Podbean. I actually used a different site (that I’ll review next) but was disappointed when I tried to share a post that contained one of my podcasts in it and the podcast was gone! Ugh! So I hopped on Podbean and have had wonderful luck! It’s free and there’s even an app for it! You can search for other podcasts to listen to on your desktop browser as well. It allows you up to 500 characters to type under your podcast and you can add a picture to it also. You can house your episodes all in one location and it’s super user friendly. podbean

Another host site is Buzzsprout. Now, I started out thinking this site was everything and more…then I got burned. It’s pretty easy to use upfront. It does tell you that you have only a certain amount of time to record during each cycle. What you don’t realize is that they only host your audio file for a certain amount of time. Then they delete it without letting you know. The next thing-your podcast episode is gone and you have to hope you saved the mp3 file on your computer so you can go to a better site such as Podbean and upload it again.  I think if you are serious about podcast and post a new episode weekly or even monthly, this would be a good option, but of course you would need to pay. As a rookie or someone who is trying the whole podcast thing out, this probably isn’t the best bet. buzzsprout

Ok, so both Podbean and Buzzsprout are sites that host AUDIO files for podcasts, but lets talk about one where you can create a video podcast, which some refer to as vodcasts. These are fun because they include audio, video and music (if you wish) along with titles and such as well. Now, I know what you are thinking-why can’t I just use iMovie or something like Animoto for this? The answer is-YOU CAN! But let me share with you a site I was told about by a fellow colleague who visited TCEA and learned all about this. The site is called WeVideo. Now, I really loved this site, but be warned-there are some hiccups with it that were so frustrating. Let me explain…

Screen Shot 2019-07-16 at 9.39.37 PMIt begins so wonderful and turns into a nightmare. WeVideo is a fantastic way to get access to over a million stock images and video, as well as music. They have tons of templates and it’s a fun way to add video and music to a podcast or any other type of video. They have options for plans and they even tell you that you can sign up with a valid school email for a FREE 30 day educational trial. It clearly states all the wonderful features you can use in the trial, such as access to all the images in the Essential Media Library and more. However, this is my hang up. I poured a couple of hours into the video podcast, found the perfect template, perfect images and videos and recorded my voiceover, only to be told upon trying to export and finish it, that I would need to purchase the school plan before doing so. WHAT?! Nowhere did it say I could only play with the features for free, but not actually be able to utilize them…what’s the point in that? So I thought, it’s all good, I can purchase a single professional license and be able to still download. Well that wasn’t quite the case. The message box that comes up when you try to switch from the school trial to an individual plan is scary. It tells you that you will lose everything if you cancel the trial. I reached out through email, because there is no phone service-Yes, you heard me right. None. There is a phone number, but its a recording that tells you to leave an email. The emails did not come through in a timely fashion and I started to hyperventilate. One email that finally worked said that I would not lose my work, however, that did not console me, because after taking the plunge and hitting cancel to switch the plans, another box popped up (see below) that only gave me the options to join a district plan or to downgrade or cancel. Well, none of those are good options when you are wanting to SWITCH to an individual plan and not one of those. It also says you’ll lose full access and I wasn’t sure if that also meant access to what I had created so far. So I plunged in and prayed hard and selected to downgrade. Thank goodness luck was on my side. My video was still there AND finally in the top right hand area of the screen, it gave me the option to simply upgrade. After that, everything was fine. I don’t know about you, but when I have spent hours working on something that I deem is great, I freak out when it gets pulled out from under me! It’s like when your computer crashes and you didn’t save your word document (which I haven’t had happen since early college days). img_0859.jpg

I did end up still using WeVideo for my vodcast with Molly, but only because I have now paid for it for at least a month (I will have to remember to cancel soon so I don’t get charged again) and because I spent a lot of time making it look and sound great!

Molly Childs, who I worked collaboratively with for the podcast over makerspace and STEAM, gave a great review over Audioboom.

Like most, signing up for Audioboom is free for the basic version. As a podcaster, you pay
$9.99/monthly and receive unlimited episodes a moth, up to 10,000 plays, multiple means of
distribution, and analytics to breakdown the app device and geographic region. For the more
established podcaster, one with over 10,000 plays per episode, there is another option that you can
choose that helps you earn money. This was the only program I saw that had an opportunity like that,
allowing the website itself to help you profit instead of doing it yourself. The free version allows you to
start publishing the day you sign up and has no contracts or commitments, allowing the ability to stop at
any time. Overall, the commitment to its customers is something that took me aback due to the
honesty and up front information on the home screens.

As podcasts go, this program was the easiest to find a podcast that I enjoyed. Once you load the
homepage, click podcasts, and you are brought to a new webpage that allows you to choose the topic
you fall under: podcasters, advertisers, or listeners. There are Audioboom Originals and an Audioboom
Network one can peruse through to find the perfect podcast. After sifting through a few sites, I found
this one to be the easiest to navigate, choose, and listen to. Most importantly, I felt as if Audioboom
truly cared about their podcasters and customers, something we don’t see as often as we should today.

Screen Shot 2019-07-16 at 9.41.33 PM

As I stated in the beginning, I think Podbean is my favorite of all, but I really did enjoy WeVideo, I just think they need to fine tune it a bit more when it comes to the customer service side. Even still, this site is so much fun to use and I can see it being wonderful for students to use and really dig into how to make a video. It uses all the right parts from adding pictures, videos clips within the video, transitions, voiceovers, music, theme titles and captions and more! It really was incredible. I enjoyed learning how to do things within it and I’m pretty good with using raw footage to create videos within iMovie. This was just…better.

Here is the podcast Molly and I did. One is the whole package, whereas the other is perfect for just listening as you drive or workout. We included a pdf file link under the Podbean podcast episode in case you would like to read what is said instead. Podbean only allows 500 words, so we had to link the pdf instead of putting the script in.

https://www.wevideo.com/view/1428262648 (for some reason the embedded link wouldn’t work)

Podbean Podcast: Makerspaces…



Podcast: Makerspace and STEAM in the Library

Let us know what you think!

Cartoons and Comic Strips? Why not?

I use to have a bad taste in my mouth about comic books. Not necessarily because of data or something I read about them being a bad influence, I simply was not into comics. I grew up in a house full of girls…like straight up GIRLY girls and comics just weren’t our thing.

As I began teaching ten years ago, I never really had comic books on my classroom bookshelf and I never had a demand for them from my fourth grade students. When I taught kindergarten, I would get a few here and there from the DC Comics collection as readers for my students who were reading on a second grade level or higher. Then out of nowhere, comics exploded. I started seeing them everywhere and for all ages. I’m not sure if it was because I had blinders on or just never really had the demand for them, but now, I feel like I can’t get enough of them.

I was reading several YA books and novels last summer and discovered how they make comics for even books such as Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I think comics are wonderful and relatable for so many students. It’s a way for them to understand better and sometimes to cope, according to a piece from  The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore.

I have never really played with creating comics or cartoons, unless you count bitmoji on my phone 😝. Here is mine for that via Zmoji 😉

okay me

These are fun to use on your phone and to add a fun touch to blogs, websites and syllabuses, but below are some actual sites I tried in order to make some fun comic strips. I tried each site for something different. All had their ups and downs though and none were perfect by any means.

Let’s start with a site called Toondoon. Ever heard of it? No? Yeah, me either. So this site was great in a couple of ways. For starters, there were lots of FREE elements. You could add several panels to your comic as well as choose from a plethora of comic characters with backgrounds and pieces. You could even search for specific things which I thought was handy. One thing I didn’t care for (and spent WAY too much time on to not get right) was the ability to create a character in the likeness of you (or whoever you want it to look like). I did feel like it was easy to use and save and/or share. You can click on button and copy the same panel onto the next so you can have some of the same elements, but change whatever you need as you go. You also can change the expressions of the characters easily and the posture too. I created a three panel comic strip below that would be useful for the first few weeks of school. A teacher could even had it printed and posted outside the door to the classroom as a reminder of what to bring to class and what to begin working on when the bell rings. I used a stock character since I was unable to create one in the likeness of myself.

Come in with...

The next website I tried was called Pixton. I actually really loved this site except for one (kind of big) thing…you are SOOOOO limited on what you can use for free. I was thinking of recreating the same comic strip I did with Toondoon to compare, however, I realized after clicking around, that you have 3-4 backgrounds you can use for free. They are all of dinosaurs and volcanoes. 🤨 Since this was what I had to work with, I decided to create a little strip for the beginning of a lesson over dinosaurs. It was kind of fun and honestly I began to think back to my own second grade classroom, Mrs. Zinkie’s class, and think about all the things I learned about dinosaurs. (She was amazing!) Besides the fact that you are limited to the backgrounds and expressions and such that you can use, the rest is pretty fabulous. You can create your own characters very easily. You can share and print and download your comics with no problems AND you can create classes and share comics with your kids! How wonderful! I finished this comic off with a question which could easily be answered with students creating their own comics! I thought that was pretty awesome.

dinosaur_extinction

Click on the comic to enlarge.

The last site I tried and succeed with was Makebeliefscomix which is free and doesn’t require you to sign up in order to create a comic. I used this site to create a simple remake of a personal narrative I did when I taught kindergarten writing. This would be perfect to stay up all year for your littles like kindergarten and first grade as an example during their writing time. My older students (4th-5th graders) would enjoy creating their own stories using this site! You could even use it for students to recreate a story they read.

make-beliefs-comix

Click the image to enlarge.

I had a lot of fun making these, but I won’t lie, there was a lot of frustration also. I think the most user friendly one for teachers would be the Pixton site. It was friendly enough to create and put your own spin on your comics, as well as share and have a whole class option. Even if one has to pay for it, I think it would be a worthy investment. The most kid friendly comic making site would be the Makebeliefcomix site since there is no need to sign in. It’s limited to stock images they have, but for young students just getting started, it would be great! Definitely a good place for beginners.

I think the ways I illustrated I used the comic creating sites would be the exact way I would encourage teachers at my campus to use them. I would also think they could be used as print outs in different areas of the library for when I am not physically able to help students. Those areas and times could be when I am with a class, but a student can’t remember how to do self-checkout, or for the procedures for beginning and cleaning up the makerspace area. They could even be used to remind students how to sign on and off the computers within the learning commons. Honestly, students are so responsive to comics and that means they could be used virtually anywhere and for all contents.

***I did attempt to download an app for my iPad called Tellagami. However, the app was outdated and said it wasn’t updated by the developer to work on iOS 11 or newer. I also noticed the reviews for this app were old…the newest one being from 2016.

Know of any new comic maker sites or apps? Feel free to share with me in my comments section!

Video and QR Codes in the Library

“Mom, Dennis Daily has this cool website where you can buy Sir Meows A lot! Can I get one?!”

This was just the conversation I had with my son about his favorite Youtuber…he’s six and has a favorite Youtuber?! Yes. My son is obsessed with watching Youtube. Want to know what he likes watching on there??? He likes watching guys who are gamers play their game and give play by play as they do so…sounds pretty dumb to me. I mean, I ask him all the time why he just doesn’t play the game versus watch someone else play and he just gets upset and tells me, “just because, Mom.” (with an eyeroll of course).

This just shows me how powerful Youtube can be for ALL ages. There is so much junk out there on Youtube, but there are also lots of helpful, educational videos and channels and honestly anyone can create one! (I mean, have you seen the little kids who do toy reviews?!)

Below are some videos from library channels that are both helpful, educational and enjoyable for students to watch. Check them out below!

These two videos are from theunquietlibrary on Youtube. The first is the video I think (and views show) students would enjoy the most. The second is the one that I found to be most helpful.

These two are from pikesvillehslibrary on Youtube. The first is the most enjoyable whereas the second is the most helpful.

The following two videos are from the Youtube channel of TheNHSlibrary. The first is the more beneficial for students, the second being most popular.

These are pretty awesome from bbsmedia! Both are super likable by students because they 1)they involve students 2)they involve their librarian 3)they are also helpful. I find the first one more enjoyable and the second more of a resource.

And for kicks, check this video parody out for overdue books! hehe

On another note…let’s talk a little about Animoto. Used it before? I have and I kind of remember after using it again recently why I don’t ever use it…Don’t get me wrong, it really is great and pretty user friendly for anyone looking to make a simple video such as book trailers, how to videos, project presentations, and more, BUT one thing I really think is a bummer is the fact that you have to hit the save button constantly as you add new images, textboxes and changes or you’ll lose everything you’ve worked on (this may have happened to me 🙈). I am use to web tools saving my projects as I work (Canva, WordPress and Google docs to name a few), but this doesn’t do that and I can see students possibly having the same issue. Overall though, I do think it’s pretty handy. Scan the QR code below to check out my attempt at a book trailer over the book Serafina and the Black Cloak. 

Serafina and the Black CloakSerafina Review from Goodreads.com

I know it seems that everyone in the world knows what QR codes at this point (they’ve been around for some time now), but in case you aren’t familiar, let me explain. QR codes are like special barcodes that when scanned by your phone or tablet (a QR scanner app has to be downloaded first) takes you to a website, image, video, or really anything! Pretty awesome if you ask me! When I taught I would use QR codes all the time. Usually I used them for students to scan to check their answers after playing scoot or a math station. My sister who is a high school English teachers uses them for students to scan in order to be taken to Padlet for a specific reason or lesson. I think I would love to use them in the library in different sections, where students could scan them to play book trailers or maybe use them in a library scavenger hunt of some sort.

Some popular QR scanners/generators are:

Also, unbeknownst to me at the time, I have had a link to Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything on my phone for QR readers! WOW! How crazy is that since I felt like I just realized how amazing she is! Click here for the link!

These are all such fantastic resources to use in the library (as you can see!) Let me know what other thoughts you have on how to use them! I can’t wait to make some fun videos with my kiddos next year for overdue books! 😉

Screen Recorders

As educators we have to keep up with 21st century technology in order to 1) reach our students, 2) make life easier, 3) not appear old 😉.

For ten years I have gotten sub notes ready at the beginning of each school year, and tweaked them for whatever the actual day is that I was going to be absent. They have changed a lot over the years, but one thing remained-they were all on paper. Flash forward to the end of this previous school year where I started to do Zoom meetings with my parents. Zoom is like an online video chat for free if under 30 minutes). I thought this was a fantastic way to meet with parents who worked but wanted more of a connection than just email. Then I found a way to show my colleagues AND students how to log in to Padlet without having to write anything down for them to keep up with or add pictures…I used a screen recorder! It was brilliant! Even though I just discovered this option, better late than never, right?? I was able to show them my screen as I went through the log in process and talk them through it. I was also able to make it personable with a small video in the corner of myself! You can check out my first screen recording for Padlet here.

Recently I created another screen recording for my students on how to log in and post to Kidblog. I used the same software tool that I used to make my video over Padlet earlier this year. This video was created with my students in mind so I made it shorter to hold their attention and spoke very clear for them to understand. I also tried breaking down the lingo a bit just in case they forgot what a web browser was for example. Screencast-o-matic is the downloadable software I used for these videos. I really have enjoyed using this and have even used it to record and talk through a slide show for another post on my blog. It’s free as long as the video is under 15 minutes and it gives you the option to record either just your screen, you and your screen or just you. You do have to download it and save it to your hard drive, but it’s safe and I have had zero problems with it. Below is the recent video I completed over Kidblog.

After I created this hopefully handy resource, I decided I would try to create one for a substitute. I am a super visual person, so I figured showing is better than telling, especially when it comes to software in the library. I started small with something easy such as how to check in and out books in the school library. I created this without a scanner around (it’s summer, I’m home and the scanner is at school), but still think it turned out awesome. I did attempt to use another software. I was told about one called Jing, but the site said that pretty soon their video formats wouldn’t work on the net, so I began to look elsewhere. I found a site called Movavi that has screen recording downloadable software. It looked great with all the options to add text, images, editing, etc. So I downloaded it. After doing so, I realized that the free trial only lasts 7 days as opposed to Screencast-o-matic which allows you to use the free version for unlimited time. It also only allows 5 minutes of recording time vs the 15 Screencast-o-matic gives. Lastly, the watermark it leaves on it makes it unusable and unprofessional in my opinion. I’m good with a watermark in the corner somewhere, but not one that takes up the whole screen. Ugh. I will be deleting this since it is taking up valuable space on my Mac. I will say, the positive note is that they have an education purchase deal where a teacher can purchase it for $49.95 for the year as well as licenses per machine use for an additional $10 per machine. This might be neat to have for students to utilize also, but honestly, I think the free version of Screencast-o-matic still would fit those needs just fine. Below is the video I created using Movavi.

I so love learning about new gadgets, software, tools, apps, etc. Anything technology related that can make my life easier while also reaching my students, colleagues or peers better, is such a plus in my book. I might be a novel librarian, but I can already tell it’s my jam!

Have any other screen records you would like to share with me? Feel free to comment! Any questions about how to start using a screen record, feel free to ask!

 

 

Let’s Talk Infographics

I have never seen myself as creative. I am a teacher though and teachers are super great at finding ideas and recreating them to fit their needs. Now, I SAY I’m not creative, however, I do have a craft room in my house where I have loads of scrapbook stuff, ribbon, embellishments, a Silhouette machine and a heat press…so I love being crafty, I just have to find ideas first and put my own spin on them.

Right after my son was born, I wanted to lose my baby weight (I know, what does this have to do with infographics? Keep reading!). I decided to join Beachbody as a fitness and health coach since I loved working out prior to baby. It was within this side job that I found a love for all things graphics. I began creating my own Facebook graphics through an app on my iPhone called Rhonna. From there I then toyed with PicMonkey (it was free at the time) and my latest crave has been Canva. I have thoroughly enjoyed creating invitations to many birthday parties, resume headers for myself and friends, graphics for my blog and more on Canva. Recently I even made an infographic over copyright and fair use using this site you can see here. It has been a dream and the best part-it’s free! There is a paid membership, but you can still do so much with it without paying.

Recently though I’ve been turned on to a few more sites, Easelly, Piktochart and Infogram that are wonderful for making infographics, posters, slides and more. I haven’t had as much time with these sites as Canva, but here is what I found to be helpful for each, along with things that I felt hindered me.

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 5.20.46 PM
Image used from Easelly.com

The first site I tried was Easelly. I’ll be honest (since this is my blog and I can be), I did not like it at all. If you are new to creating graphics of any kind, templates are a MUST. While this site has templates to LOOK at, you can’t use them unless you pay (womp, womp, womp). I felt like this site could be good for someone like me that has been creating graphics and infographics for years, but still, I need a source to pull my creative vibe from and this just did not fit the bill for me.

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 5.20.08 PM
Image used from Piktochart.com

Piktochart was the next site I looked into. At first, I didn’t think this would be the site I favored between the three new ones, but turns out it was. I came back to this site after beginning a new infographic using Infogram because I wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted. As I began to dig into the templates on Piktochart, I found so many I loved and was able to take ideas from a few to create a wonderful infographic over Millennials versus Generation Z (see image below). This site is free, but does include a paid membership similar to Canva. As a matter of fact, this site reminded me a lot of Canva. They both have backgrounds to choose from as well as shapes, graphics, charts, maps, videos and you can even upload your own images. I found a couple of things that weren’t the same-on Piktochart you can only download the image at a low to medium resolution and only in a PNG (picture) form; you have to have a paid subscription to download at a high res and to PDF. That was a little disappointing. Another thing I didn’t care for was that PIKTOCHART is labelled at the bottom of your infographic when you download it. Overall though, I liked using this site. It was super easy to navigate, easy to add your flare, and great for a beginner.

 

untitled-5c-20i_39689921 (1)
Click here to enlarge infographic.

 

The last one I’ll give my two cents on is Infogram. This design site is a good one to use as well. Although I liked Piktochart a little better, Infogram still had some great qualities.

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 5.19.28 PM
Image used from Infogram.com

Like the other sites I like, you can choose from lots of templates (for free) to create slides, infographics, Facebook posts and other projects. I didn’t like the fact that you have to pay in order to keep your designs private (yes, they are there for public eyes if you don’t pay).  Infogram had the abilities to add color, maps, charts, graphics and shapes. It even gives you the ability to integrate different forms of media and data! I simply didn’t use this one for my latest project because I felt Piktochart had better templates for what I was needing. I think Infogram is still high on my list though of sites I will keep in my pocket for future use.

All these sites are super easy to sign up for. You can simply sign in using your Google or Facebook account or use a good email and password. They all offer free use, but allow for more templates and graphics and abilities with a paid subscription. I always recommend trying sites out and using the free membership before you jump in all the way.

I feel like I have a good grasp on graphic design websites, so feel free to leave questions or comments below!

The Mindset List

Be
The
Good.

As educators we (for the most part) make every attempt to connect with our students on some level outside of the academics in the four walls we call home 8 hours of the day. If you think about it, and I’m sure you have, we spend more time with our students than they get to spend with their actual parents during the week. Sure they are with them 16 hours out of the 24 (or less due to parents’ work hours), but they sleep for 10-12 of those hours so teachers, librarians, aids and admin really must make the time we have with our students count.

I will say, I consider myself “young” and “hip” and assume I know everything there is to know about life outside the classroom for my school kids. I do have a six year old son who keeps me in the loop with video games, apps and what’s in on Youtube, and I’m pretty good at talking with my students about what they like, and what’s going on in their worlds, etc.. Despite those efforts though, I have had an epiphany that I’m still not 100% up to speed on their world. I have stepped up with my kids the past three years, going from third grade to fifth grade with them. We are all very close and I have a great relationship with my parents and students, especially since I was teaching in a 3A district with three schools total. Even with three years with my students, I came to realize just this week that things that are completely normal to them are foreign to me, and visa-versa, things that are normal to me, are foreign to them.

I came to this conclusion when one of my professors in my graduate program suggested a website to read. I had never heard of this site prior, but apparently it goes back to 2005 (the lists that is, which you will understand in a sec). The site is called The Mindset List. The first list I read about was The Mindset List: Class of 2022. These lists are lists that Ron Nief writes that contain things (people, places, events, etc.) that in a way define the college class of that year. So the list for the class of 2022 has norms and facts on it that have to do with those specific kids. After reading this list, I came to understand that there is a bigger gap than I thought between me and my students. I may know what kind of games are popular on the Playstation (1, 2, 3, 4…?) or Xbox and I may know that they like TikTok as a form of social media and just to lip sing on, but I wasn’t fully aware of things that were right in front of myself, but that I didn’t stop to pay attention to.

Here’s an example (using myself):

According to the list for the college class of 2022 (Nief, 2017), “Same-sex couples have always found marital bliss in the Netherlands,” meaning that same-sex marriage is a norm for this class; they know nothing different. However, when I was growing up homosexuality wasn’t talked about out in the open and here in the south (think Republic of Texas), same-sex marriage simply did not happen. For my mother (56), interracial relationships were taboo when she was little, but are nothing to think about for my generation.

I know this seems like a crazy example, but for people my age and older, same-sex marriage is still a political topic that causes blood pressure to rise and people to be mean and say hateful things. I use this example because this is what I want educators to understand and what I want my students to know:

My heart, my mind, my library will BE THE GOOD. No matter what my religious or political beliefs, no matter how old I am, no matter what it going on in society, I will make sure my library or classroom is a safe haven for whomever comes in. There will be no judging or ridicule, only love and goodness. As an educator, a teacher, a librarian, I am here to teach and I choose to make sure I teach all my students, colleagues, friends and even social media followers how to be a good person. That no matter how different we are and no matter how different we may see things, we all have good in us and it helps no one to be ugly or hateful just because they don’t see eye to eye.

I implore you to take a gander at the lists. Check them out and see how different your students are from you-the age gap, the celebrities, the wars, the tragedies, the politics, the digital age…check them all out. I think you might find it eye opening.

And feel free to share or comment! But please-be nice!