Putting the “Tech” in Poetic!

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’ve been pulling together some poetry resources to share with my teachers in an after-school workshop tomorrow.  (Click on the image to download the flier I sent out.)  The focus is on using technology to enhance poetry lessons.

I’ve created a Poetry LiveBinder to organize all the resources to make it easier for teachers to plan poetry lessons for their students.  I especially like the lessons at the Read/Write/Think website, so I’ve given them their own Tab in the binder.  I’ve also included several sites featuring online poetry, and sites that offer interactive poetry-writing tools.

I’m also excited about sharing my ThingLink Channel, which features links to resources for some of the poetry books we have in our school library.  These images are “re-mixable,” which means anyone can add links to any of the books I’ve uploaded.  This way teachers can share their own lesson plans and activity websites for these books.  It’s a great way for them to collaborate, even when they can’t meet together in person.

In addition to the web resources I’m sharing, I’ve also pulled about 75 poetry books to have on display for teachers to check out after the workshop.  The books will be grouped into categories such as Haiku, Curriculum Connections, Concrete Poetry, Novels in Verse, and more. 

Of course we’ll have snacks and door prizes as well, and I’ll have a few computer stations set up where teachers can play around with responding to poetry using VoiceThread and Padlet.

I’ll update this post later with photos and more resources.  In the meantime, please leave a comment sharing your favorite poetry site for elementary students so that I can add it to the collection!

 

My One Month Anniversary on Twitter

As of today, I have officially been using Twitter for one month!

I sent my first tweet to school library guru @gwynethjones (aka The Daring Librarian) on Sept 10 to thank her for so generously sharing with her personal learning network (PLN).  It was actually two and a half weeks later before I sent my second tweet, because for some reason I felt very intimidated about tweeting, as though I didn’t have anything important enough to share.  But once I got over my shyness it didn’t take long to get the hang of using Twitter, and so far in the past eleven days I have:

 

  • participated in a chat about book talking led by Donalyn Miller @DonalynBooks (among others) using the hashtag #titletalk
  • promoted the @Jumpstartkids #ReadfortheRecord campaign
  • shared pictures of myself dressed as Ladybug Girl visiting classrooms to read aloud
  • participated in a picture book discussion led by @ColbySharp and @MrSchuReads using the hashtag #SharpSchu
  • connected with two fantastic authors, @AmeDyckman (who has a great sense of humor) and @ShanaCorey (who I’ve decided is going to be the subject of a future 5th grade author study at my school)
  • created an account at Bitly to shorten the URLs I’m tweeting, and to track the clicks on my tweet links
  • retweeted a tweet to enter a book giveaway AND WON!  (The book is The Cloak Society by @JerameyKraatz and sounds like something that will just fly off my shelves – after I read it first, of course, the minute it arrives!)
  • followed Mo Willems@The_Pigeon and Professor Severus Snape @_Snape_ who are both hilarious
  • collected 23 followers of my own, which I did not expect to happen in such a short time (you can follow me @LibraryLoriJune)

Quite a crash course in using Twitter, eh?  I’ve known for quite some time that Twitter could be a valuable networking tool, but I resisted signing up because I knew that a) it would be another online presence that would require maintenance to keep it updated, and b) I was afraid I might become addicted to it since I do tend to develop obsessions about things.  (Do you think I called that one right?!?)  But until I started using it myself, I didn’t realize just how powerful and versatile it could be.

Just like any other Web 2.0 tool, Twitter is what you make it.  Please consider leaving a comment to share what you find most valuable about Twitter, and if you aren’t using it yet maybe this post will convince you to give it a try!

 

The Conference Experience

As I was checking my feed reader yesterday, I saw a post by Mother Reader titled Kidlit Con 2010 Recap.  (By the way, Kidlit Con is a conference for children’s literary bloggers, authors, illustrators, and publishers.  Doesn’t that sound heavenly!)  I was interested to see what she had to say about the conference, but the opening paragraphs of her post are what really struck me:

I’ve been wondering why I’ve been having trouble writing up my experience at KidlitCon 2010, and I finally realized that I was trying to write about the wrong thing — the conference itself.

Please don’t take that the wrong way. The sessions boasted wonderful speakers featuring interesting presentations with useful applications for blogging. You’ll find helpful recaps from a variety of posts on the KidlitCon blog…. But though I enjoyed the sessions, the KidlitCon experience for me was the people.

That really resonated, because I have also been struggling this week to blog about my experience at the SC EdTech Conference, but I couldn’t figure out why it was so difficult to write the post.  Now I understand that what made the conference so invigorating for me wasn’t merely the words of the speakers, or the resources they shared.  It was the ideas those words and resources sparked within me, and it was having the time apart from work and family to really develop those ideas and form a plan to put them into practice.  So actually, just sharing a description of the sessions I attended doesn’t tell the full story.

For example, in my post on Thursday I mentioned that Lights Camera Action shared many different ways to use video in the classroom, which is a great session topic.  However, with all due respect to Dennis Duszynski, the most important thing to me about his session was the cool video idea I thought of during his presentation!

So I’ll continue sharing my conference experiences with you via this blog, but to paraphrase Levar Burton, don’t just take my word for it!  Check out the links for yourself, view the presentation notes through the lens of your own mission and vision, and let your imagination lead you into brand new territory!

 

*In case you’re wondering what my idea was, our book fair starts next week and I’m going to make my own promotional video to display on my school website, since the book fair company doesn’t supply any online videos of their own for us to use.  Can you believe Scholastic hasn’t already thought of that as a marketing tool?)

There’s Still Time…

…to register for the Upstate Technology Conference going on June 22 & 23!  The Theme is “The Face of Today’s Learner,” and the event will be hosted by Wade Hampton High School.  This year’s keynote speaker is Hall Davidson, of Discovery Education.  And best of all?  No registration fee!  That’s right – this is a FREE technology conference!

The schedule of sessions is posted now, and I can’t believe how many are being offered!  (There are 90 on Tuesday alone!)  The variety of tools and topics included here will ensure that there’s something for everyone, so please share this info with your colleagues.

By the way, I’ll be presenting a session myself:

Managing Web 2.0 Tools for Today’s Learner
Online journals, podcasts, blogs, wikis, Twitter – all are invaluable resources for teachers, administrators, and students, but keeping track of so much information can be overwhelming!  Learn how to use a free personalized start page to organize all your Internet content in one place.  I’ll share my best resources with you, and walk you through creating your own start page so you can leave with a handy one-page view of all your Web 2.0 tools.

Hope to see you there!

Upstate Technology Conference

If you live near Greenville, SC, I hope you will consider attending the Upstate Technology Conference June 22 & 23.  The Theme is “The Face of Today’s Learner,” and the event will be hosted by Wade Hampton High School.  This year’s keynote speaker is Hall Davidson, of Discovery Education.  And best of all?  No registration fee!  That’s right – this is a FREE technology conference, so please share this info with other educators who might be interested.

By the way, I’ll be presenting a session myself:

Managing Web 2.0 Tools for Today’s Learner
Online journals, podcasts, blogs, wikis, Twitter – all are invaluable resources for teachers, administrators, and students, but keeping track of so much information can be overwhelming!  Learn how to use a free personalized start page to organize all your Internet content in one place.  I’ll share my best resources with you, and walk you through creating your own start page so you can leave with a handy one-page view of all your Web 2.0 tools.

Hope to see you there!

Teacher Technology Survey

As promised, I gave my teachers a very informal technology survey, and the results are in.  I simply sent an email asking them to respond with suggestions for after-school technology workshops that would meet their needs.  I included a few examples of possible topics, and left it wide open for them to reply with whatever interested them.  Out of 45 teachers, I received 12 responses, and some people made more than one suggestion.

Using Promethean Software (our brand of interactive whiteboard) – 5
eChalk (our web authoring software) – 4
PowerSchool (our state’s new school management software) – 4
Accelerated Reader – 1
Starting a Blog – 1  
PhotoStory – 1
Excel – 1
Publisher – 1
School Set of Laptops – 1

So there you have it. 

I wish I had heard from more teachers.  Granted, there may be any number of good reasons why most of my teachers failed to respond, but it’s still a bit discouraging.  Hmmm, I bet I wouldn’t be lacking for responses if I had polled the students on what they are interested in!  That will be my next survey….

Don’t Know, Don’t Care

Survey

Last Thursday the results of my district’s annual Professional Development Survey were made available.  Teachers were asked to choose three topics of particular interest to them from a list of seventy possible training opportunities.  Now, with that many choices in the list, only one topic is really going unify people and that is Power School, our state’s new school management system, which garnered a whopping 155 votes (11%).  (“It’s coming in April whether you’re ready or not!”)  So let’s just move on to the other choices.

It was with great interest and some trepidation that I looked to see where the Technology options had placed in this popularity contest, and I guess it could have been worse.  Interactive Whiteboard training was third in the rankings with 87 votes (6%), which shows that teachers are eager to get the most out of the Promethean boards that were installed in all classrooms this year.  The next most popular technology choices were Technology for Teachers: Intermediate with 29 votes (2%) and Technology for Teachers: Advanced with 23 votes (2%), which indicates that those who are already comfortable with using technology would like to learn more. 

Interestingly, there was no Technology for Teachers: Beginner option, so I’m left wondering why not.  Are our teachers all presumed to be farther along than beginner at this point?  (Surely not!)  Were those who are beginners were expected to pick and choose from the more specific technology offerings such as Using eChalk (our web page authoring software), Classworks, or TestView (which all placed near the bottom of the list)?  Or perhaps the survey creators thought no one would admit to being a beginner?  But I digress.

The option I was most interested in was Integrating Technology into the Curriculum, which in my opinion is our best bet for giving kids those 21st Century Learning Skills we keep hearing are so important.  And how many chose it as a priority workshop topic, you ask?  Continue reading