Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted! This happens every year; I go into a sort of social media hibernation in November, due to an unfortunate confluence of events beyond my control.
First we have our two-week circus book fair in the Library which, when combined with the publicity beforehand and the tying up of loose ends afterward takes us straight into the Thanksgiving holidays (a whole week off in my district!), and when we return we’re thrown into the Christmas season with its inevitable family obligations, and in January it’s time to get back into the routine of work and catch up on what didn’t get done during December, and it’s not until the ALA Youth Media Awards are announced at the end of January that I lift my head dazedly and exclaim, “Yikes, where did the time go?!?”
The last few months have been a whirlwind of professional activity, including collaborating with teachers, presenting at conferences, and re-examining my role as the teacher-librarian at my school. I’ll be sharing documents, resources, and reflections on all of these things over the next couple of weeks, including some advocacy materials that might be helpful to other media specialists, but for now here’s a sampler of items I’ve been creating and/or using and sharing with my teachers:
I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids) Blog – the published nonfiction authors who write this blog are giving us an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how Common Core is affecting the publishing world
PBS Learning Media provides access to thousands of digital resources, including videos and interactives that work great on an interactive whiteboard, audio clips, photos, and even lesson plans (which include handouts, scoring rubrics, and Common Core Standards!) for grades k-12.
The site is searchable by grade level, subject, and resource type, and when you register and login required after 3 resource views) you can save your favorite resources. Use the Help Guide, or just jump right in!
This Week’s WWW (Weekly Wednesday Website) is….DropBox!
DropBox is a free web tool that allows you to store your photos and videos online so that you have access to them from any computer anywhere!
When you download Dropbox to your computer, you can drag-and-drop or copy-and-paste your photos and videos into your Dropbox file.
You can also login to your Dropbox account from any computer or mobile device and view or upload photos and videos online.
One of the best features of Dropbox is that you can create multiple folders to organize your content, and you can share those individual folders with friends, family, and colleagues. Your invited guests can not only view your photos, they can also add their own, which will immediately be available to all other invited users! Great for collaborating on projects!
In celebration of National Library Card Sign-Up Month, I’m encouraging my students to bring in their public library cards and have their pictures taken for our school website. I decided to use Glogster so that I could present the photos in a collage format.
I’ll continue to add pictures throughout the month as more kids sign up for their own library cards and bring them in to show me. Take a look at it!
And I’d love to hear what tools or software programs you like to use to share photos and information!
Just saw the cutest thing at the Color Me Katie blog, and I’m totally stealing the idea to make bookmarks out of student photos! (Of course I’ll have them holding up books instead of cameras.) What a great way to recognize kids for something reading-related!
This week’s WWW (Weekly Wednesday Website) is SepiaTown, a website which is integrated with Google Maps to allow you to view historical photographs in their geographical context, and then compare them to what the area looks like now.
For example, you can click on the thumbnail of a specific location in San Francisco immediately following the great earthquake and fire in 1906, and then use the accompanying Google map to see what the same location looks like now. Just click on the “then/now” button (see it circled in the screenshot above) in the top right corner above the Google Map. The screenshot below shows you the comparison.
Users are encouraged to upload their own photos to expand the database, which might make an interesting history or geography project for your classroom!
How easy it is to get sidetracked on the web! I was just working on editing my bookmarks in Delicious (one of my 23 Things this week is setting up a Delicious account, and when I imported my bookmarks I was staring at 355 sites to be tagged! But that’s a different post!) when I came across the Bubblr site. I had bookmarked it earlier when we were exploring MashUps, but hadn’t used it yet. I did a quick experiment with it so that I would know how to describe it in Delicious, and here’s what I came up with:
Unfortunately, the text is too small to read here, so if you’d like to see a larger version of my comic strip, go to: Lori’s Blog? by Lori
It was fun, and it took almost no time at all. Bubblr has a Flickr search tool right there on the cartoon creation page, so when you type in your tag(s) it immediately displays matching photos at the top of the screen. Drag and drop the one(s) you want to use into the cartoon frames, drag in a thought or speech bubble, type your text and voila ~ you’re a cartoonist!
p.s. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was having trouble embedding a flash image into my blog. I again had trouble embedding this cartoon, also flash, so this time I turned to The Edublogger for advice. For those of you using Edublogs, Sue Waters does an amazing job of posting explanations of how to do anything you might possibly want to do with your blog. I always search her posts before I go to the forum for help. Click here for her post on embedding code.
Boy, there are some really neat Flickr Mash-Ups out there! This was actually another one of those humbling assignments that made me realize just how much I *don’t* know about the tools that are available on the web. I just keep repeating to myself, “How do you eat the elephant? One bite at a time!”
The first application I played with is Montager, which creates mosaics from Flickr photos that are searched out based on a tag name of your choice. At first I didn’t see a practical use for it, but the more I played with it, the more I realized what a neat tool it is. It would be a new and creative way to compile photos from a particular event and display them on a website, or you could use it on a school webpage to display photos of your faculty and staff. (With their permission, of course.)
Next I looked at the Big Huge Labswebsite and tried out the Captioner application, which allows you to add speech and thought bubbles to your photos. This caught my attention because I thought students would enjoy seeing photos turned into cartoons. (In fact, back in the day, I used to buy caption bubble stickers to use on the “real” photos I displayed on my media center bulletin board!) Here is my creation:
I have two caveats for those who want to use this tool. First, you cannot upload or import Bitmap photos to be captioned; they need to be in the JPEG format. The apple photo that I found at Flickr CC was originally a bitmap image, so I had to convert it in order to caption it. I used my Microsoft Paint program to do that by opening the photo in paint and then saving it, choosing “jpeg” from the Save drop-down file type menu. Easy and free!
Second, you need to start with a large image because the caption bubbles are too big to fit onto a small photo. You can shrink it down after you’ve created and saved it to whatever size you want to use. I had originally saved my apple photo using the “small” option, so I had to go back to the Flickr site and re-save it as a large photo.