Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Augmented Reality & Kinders

Augmented Reality (or AR) might be a mouthful for 5-6 year olds, but our students didn't have any trouble using AR yesterday during their library time! We downloaded a new app called Chromville onto our library iPads, printed out pages for the students to work with, and they just jumped right in! As with most new things, I learned of Chromville from my Twitter PLN members. Shannon Miller & Andy Plemmons had both used it with their classes and I was excited to try it out. One thing I liked immediately was that it was user friendly and my youngest library visitors would be able to use it easily.

On Monday, before Kinder came in, I had the iPads loaded with the free app. I had also printed off several different pages for them to work with. You will have to go to their website to print off the pages for the students to use. There are several different pages to choose from and one that is customizable.

During library time, I showed the kinders the Chromville app and how it worked. We talked about 3D and what that looks like. After showing the students my example, and talking about making sure they did their very best work, I turned them loose. They worked hard to create a picture they would be proud of, and when they were finished, they were able to use the iPad at their table to bring their picture to life.

Here is a short video that explains the Chromville app and how it can be used.

I shared this video by Paul Hamilton with the teachers on our campus during a faculty meeting.

It shows how students can use the customized page to create a story character, and then use a graphic organizer to plan the story before writing.  This was something the kindergarten teachers have been working on with their students, so they were very interested in this aspect of the app.

I can't wait to see how the teachers use this and the wonderful stories the students create!

Monday, April 14, 2014

What a Day We Had With Winston & Wandoo Planet!

We had a blast today with the Banish Boredom Tour, and the students are fired up about Beta testing Wandoo Planet!  Thank you Lindsey, Winston and all of our new friends from Wandoo Planet! We hope you will come back to see us!

The smiles say it all! What a fun day!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

TLA '14 Top Ten (But Could be WAY More!)

The clothes are unpacked and the goodies are sorted, but I've discovered that is the easy part. Processing and implementing ideas learned from a conference is much more difficult. To implant these ideas into my brain, and to remember all there is to remember from this fabulous conference, I thought I would create a Top 10 List recap. It could easily be Top 20 or even higher, but to make sure it gets done, I think I'll start with the Top 10 Fabulous Things About #txla14.

10. Seeing the latest and greatest in the exhibit hall. I was able to put my hands on books, see new library furnishings, and meet the people behind Wandoo PlanetMackinVia and other resources I use in the library! Wandoo Planet will be at our school on Monday, so it was fun to talk to them face to face before then!

9. Hearing fabulous authors speak! James Patterson's keynote, highlighting his passion for getting kids to read, was inspiring! Him reminding us it is a parent's responsibility to encourage reading was refreshing, and seeing what all he does to promote reading as a life skill was awesome! 

Lemony Snicket, at the TASL Author breakfast, was beyond entertaining! I sent a text to my oldest daughter, who loved reading A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS books, during the breakfast! She would have also loved to hear him speak! 

8. Meeting members of my PLN face to face. Thanks to Twitter, I am surrounded by an incredible resource: inspired and inspiring people! Whether they are librarians, authors, teachers, technology resources, or administrators, I count on the people in my PLN to motivate me to be the best librarian I can be and they do not disappoint! So to be able to meet them face to face is always so much fun!

7. Fellowship with my district colleagues! We don't often have the opportunity to all be in the same place, so it was nice to have dinner with them, and spend time brainstorming and sharing ideas on the trip there and back.

6. Receiving a MVP Award from TASL. I was one of three top vote getters for the Media & Virtual Presence Award, having been nominated by my friend, Nancy Jo. It was a wonderful honor, made even sweeter by my friends who chose to come support me. The bonus: we all got a beautiful pop-up book created by Robert Sabuda!

5. New Books! No surprise, I LOVE books! So getting books, both signed and unsigned, new or soon to be available, is a special part of TLA or any conference for that matter! I received signed books at the Abrams' dinner, which will be given to students or teachers. Books were given to attendees of the Texas Bluebonnet Award Luncheon, and then there were books sometimes given away on the floor of the exhibit hall. I made a conscious decision this year not to get more books than I could carry and give away. 

4. Making new author friends! This is such a fun part of a library conference! I was invited by my #TLBFF Nancy Jo Lambert to Abrams' dinner with authors & librarians and it was fabulous! The dinner was a small event, almost one to one author to librarian, and it was a fun night of conversation & planning future visits, both virtually and in person! I can't wait for my students to meet some of my new author friends, like Julie Sternberg (author of LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE, LIKE BUG JUICE ON A BURGER, and her new book, LIKE CARROT JUICE ON A CUPCAKE.) Julie was so kind, someone you instantly feel at ease with, and she is excited about the possibility of doing a Google Hangout with our school and several others that were there that night. 

I also got to meet Natalie Lloyd, who wrote A SNICKER OF MAGIC, which is being read by my 5th grade Lunch Bunch Book Club! They are going to be so excited when they hear I met her and that she agreed to Skype with them when they finish the book! 

3. Being inspired by Jennifer Lagarde! Loved the reminder of what is important! Jennifer reminded us that we "are not the IRS!" and that we should be way more than worrying about fines & lost books! Jennifer challenged us to "shift" our thinking and redefine what we are about. We looked at why we share library stats and what they really should be showing! She encouraged us to provide opportunities for students to create & make in the library! Jennifer is a dynamic speaker and certainly helped me "shift" my thinking for the end of the school year! Her fabulous presentation, as well as others from TXLA14, can be found HERE! A bonus to this session: being able to see my friends, Shannon Miller & Andy Plemmons, who I usually just get to see online! 

2. Attending the Nerdy Book Club session! WOW! A panel of some of my favorites in the book world! Kirby Larson...I loved reading about Hattie! Jenni Holm....Babymouse & Turtle...some of my favorite characters! Linda Urban...Tom Angleberger... Colby Sharp....John Schumacher (Mr. Schu Reads!) all wrapped up in a neat package, presented and presided over by Cynthia Alaniz! Oh my! What a session! I loved hearing their stories and getting to know them as readers (& writers for some) a little better! Seeing, in person, how passionate they are about books & stories, was so awesome! And being reminded to "pay it forward" by John was a great takeaway! I will find a perfect home for each book I brought home from TLA & think of Mr. Schu when I give that book! 

And the #1 Best Thing about TLA is....
1. Meeting my #TLBFF's in person! I found a group of ladies on Twitter that have been a continuous source of inspiration and encouragement for me. Cynthia Alaniz I found first, even before she became a librarian, drawn to her because of her love of books and her generosity in sharing about the books she was reading. Then early last fall, I found Nancy Jo Lambert and Tina Berumen. Each one of these ladies has strengths different from mine, which in turn makes me stronger! We put together a poster session (poster by Cynthia! ;) and I met them in person at the convention center for the first time. It was so fun, and it was like we had known each other for years! I look forward to many more collaborations with these three fabulous ladies! 

What a conference! Conferences remind us of what is important, help us to make connections with others, and inspire us to be better! Can't wait until TXLA15 in Austin!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

#BanishBoredomTour Coming to Curtis!

We are so excited to have recently been selected as a stop on Wandoo Planet's  #BanishBoredomTour! Wandoo Planet will be at Curtis Elementary on Monday, April 14th to get students started using this interest-driven website!

A while back, I received an email asking Curtis students to Beta test Wandoo Planet. A great description can be found here: What Is Wandoo Planet? Our afterschool media club, The Digital Bookworms explored the site, and even talked with our friends, the Technical Difficulties Club at Van Meter, about it. Then last week, the Digital Bookworms Skyped with Lindsey Hill from Evanced Solutions, the company  behind Wandoo Planet.

Wandoo Planet is the world's first kid-powered interest genome project!

Think Pandora, Spotify, or Netflix with a twist. It's a new software platform that empowers children to discover their keenest interests and find relevant books and other content via a powerful recommendation engine. - from Wandoo Planet Website

The Digital Bookworms had already created accounts and were a little familiar with the concept of the website. During our Skype visit, the students were able to hear the story of how Wandoo Planet came to be, and the purpose. Mrs. Hill shared with the students that she had been a teacher for 14 years before going to work with Evanced Solutions. She explained to them that they had a wonderful opportunity to try out Wandoo Planet and give their feedback to make the site better! Through their use, they were making the program smarter, showing it what students were interested in and what they weren't.

Students were encouraged to spend a few minutes listening to the story in the beginning and then clicking on the "thumbs up" sign for things they were interested in, and clicking on the "thumbs down" sign for things they weren't interested in.

Things they LOVE doing, should be marked with a heart--this will be the beginning of their tree.

One of the options ask if you are looking for a specific book or content related to your interest. Students can then type in a title of a book and get the information for it.

The students can also print a list of books and take it to their school or public library, or even to a book store, to find books based on their interest. One thing that I liked about this part was that I could use this to add books of interest to our collection, and the students would have specific books to request instead of just requesting a "drawing book".

The Digital Bookworms spent their entire club time exploring Wandoo Planet. Lindsey shared how important their feedback is, so we created a Google Doc for the students to use to give feedback.  It can be found HERE. Feel free to add your thoughts to it after you use Wandoo Planet. We will give any feedback to the team when they come to visit us in a couple of weeks.
 Being Beta testers for Wandoo Planet has been very empowering for our students. It was great that they were able to ask questions while using the tool, as well as to offer feedback. Lindsey was taking notes as they would share their thoughts. They loved sharing their opinions and being a part of helping Wandoo Planet get even better! 

We can't wait to meet Lindsey, and the whole team, in a couple of weeks, as well as Winston the Owl!  And the great thing is, they are also going to Iowa, to meet our friends at Van Meter! You can read more about that visit on Shannon Miller's Blog! I can't wait for the Digital Bookworms & the Technical Difficulties club to connect in a few weeks and talk about our time with Lindsey, Winston & the whole Wandoo Planet team!