Booktalk Podcast

Please enjoy my booktalk on The Giver by Lois Lowry. I used Power Point then Jing to capture the slideshow as a movie. I then imported this to iMovie to record my narration and input my audiofile. Overall, I found all programs very easy to use. I think that this is a wonderful way to share basic plot information about books, yet hook your audience to read it at the same time!


Aviary Screen Capture: Part II

I’m just playing around to see if I can embed the screen capture, instead of linking it. Here goes!

Mod 2 screen capture.egg  on AviaryMod 2 screen capture.egg on Aviary.

Aviary Screen Capture

Check out my Screen Capture

Digital Storytelling Reviews

Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling

I found this a wonderful resource for an introduction to Digital Storytelling. The homepage features a brief video in which a narrator reflects on his life and how media played a critical role in terms of current events. The narration, combined with still images and clips from movies/TV, serves to show that Digital Stories are an impressive and innovative way to share information. The site states that Digital Stories truly range in variety, “from personal tales to the recounting of historical events, from exploring life in one’s own community to the search for life in other corners of the universe, and literally, everything in between.” The site contains examples for a multitude of school subject areas that illustrate this idea. I viewed a brief digital story for To Kill a Mockingbird, (my favorite novel) which brought up the idea of censorship and asks readers to evaluate the novel’s themes. This digital story featured stills from the movie that to me, capture the very essence of the book. I feel that these images and the quotes included will also strike a powerful chord with students who view it. Other useful information included the seven elements of digital storytelling, as well as how one can use them in the classroom. I particularly loved one Powerpoint that defined the different types of digital storytelling as well as how it could benefit both teachers and students in the classroom. These ideas gave me confidence to try and incorporate this technique into my classroom. One possible assignment could be for students to choose a book that we have read, highlight the thematic concepts, and connect such themes to society today. They can present their findings using a digital story that would incorporate image/sounds associated with their topic. When we read Night, I could also have students create a digital story in which they give me a brief autobiography of their life, or of one moment of particular importance in their life. This would tie nicely to the unit revolving around autobiography. Posting these stories on a class wiki or blog would be a wonderful way to share their creations. I really do see myself taking full advantage of the tools presented on this website.

50+ Web 2.0 Ways To Tell a Story

This source serves as a workshop that will help people “to experience the creative aspects provided by the web tools.” This wiki explains how to generate story ideas and share the story by using over 50 different web tools. I found this website to be extremely user friendly. It is written in simplistic terms, so virtually anyone who wants to tell a story and share it with the world can do so. The author gives great tips on how to brainstorm storylines, as well as ideas for images, sound/voice clips, etc. He suggests having all of these elements prepared, as well as outlining the text for your story, before searching for media to support the story. Personally, I did not know that sites for, what he calls “Commons Media”, even existed. These are sites that offer images, sound clips, and videos that will not violate copyright laws if used in your story. His list is very comprehensive and offers many options. I will certainly share some of these sites with my students, so they do not have to worry about forgetting to cite such things while infringing on the copyright law. The final step in making your story an actuality is to decide on which web tool you want to use to create it. He lists over 50 tools, and uses the same story, a touching one about him and his dog, with each tool. Even better, he lists pros/cons to each tool as well as categorizes them based on certain features. I had no idea that there were so many media tools out there simply for the purpose of creating stories that use multimedia. In terms of my classroom, I could easily see using his method to highlight the importance of brainstorming/outlining. Often times students do not give the proper amount of time to preparing for their story. Even more so, they do not take the time to go back and make changes to their original plan. If I had them do a brief story (15 slides), while managing text, audio, and visual, I think that they would see the importance of putting the time into the process in order to get a really fantastic product. I think that this hands on approach to creating a story, instead of just having them write one on paper, would truly captivate their interests. On an even more positive note, it might actually result in a love for writing!

10 Technology Enhanced Alternatives to Book Reports

This article is written by Kelly Tenkely, a technology teacher, and explores tools that use technology as an alternative to writing book reports. As a 9th grade English teacher, there have been times when I have been asked, “Do we have to do a book report on this?” I never realized just how dreadful book reports appear to students. Kelly even goes so far as to say that it forces “readicide: the systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools.” We certainly don’t want this to happen! This article provides excellent alternatives that demonstrate student comprehension of the text. Two ideas jumped out at me immediately—they were having my students use Glogster and Creaza.

On Glogster, students can create a virtual poster for any topic. To tailor this to my needs, I would have my students make a poster for novels that we cover in class. On their poster they would give a tagline that would make people want to read the book or a very brief summary. They would also include the characters and possibly list thematic concepts. I loved how students can use fun fonts and format the page to include photos and video clips related to the topic. As I do not teach the same book to each class at the exact same time, I would love to use these ads to promote the book when I introduce it to the next class. The fact that it was made by fellow students is even more of a bonus! The second web tool I loved was Creaza. Here, students can make comic books or even short movies. The tutorials were easy to understand and the sample products were amazing. I already have the students make a comic book using Shakespearean language, but instead of them drawing it, I now want them to use this website. You can customize everything—characters, background, font, color, images… the sky’s the limit. Aside from my Shakespeare project, I often give students assignments in which they have to write an alternate ending or create a new scene for our novels. Students could easily combine their original text with images to create a more visually appealing and creative product. As far as the video portion goes, I enjoy the idea of students creating trailers for books. In my head I see this coming together as a group project, culminating in a period in which we watch the trailers and possibly even give out some kind of trophy (as you would see on an awards show) for the class favorite. Again, these were just two ideas from this article that are brimming with possibility I will certainly recommend this site to other teachers at my school, because the featured resources can morph into projects way beyond the scope of just an English classroom.

JingProject Tell a Story in 5 Frames

Click here to check out my Story in 5 Frames with Narration

Tell a Story in 5 Frames with Flickr

I think that this activity could be used to promote literacy across all ages. One of the things that the Children’s Literature class taught me was that you can still have a great story without using words. Through this class, I found many great picture books that put the creativity on you, the reader. Using this activity, elementary school children can be as creative as they want with the plot of their story, they simply have to look at the pictures and take it from there. With the help of a parent (taking the pictures), they can document anything—tea parties with stuffed animals, birthday parties, favorite holidays, etc. This is a great way to capture little children’s interest in creating, and I think it will help them be stronger creative thinkers in the long run. For middle school and high school children, this is a great way to teach plot structure. As students work to create their own photo stories, it highlights the importance of each story having a beginning, middle, and an end. From these basics, you could then get into the importance of character, setting, and all of the other literary elements that make up a story. As the grade/difficulty levels increase, you can expand the number of frames in the story, adding detail and depth. This could culminate in a lengthy visual story accompanied by a written story that is several pages long. This approach to the assignment targets the kids who love to write, and the kids who love creating by means of photography/artwork. In the end, I think that this is a great way for students to approach writing through a new outlet. Kids, no matter what age, enjoy getting their hands in something, and will no doubt experience pride from seeing the things that they created.

Please check out my Story in 5 Frames

Flickr Pic with Notes

New York City

Click on the photo to see my notes!

Originally uploaded by lmt409

Wiki Wanderings

Want to see what wikis I’ve been visiting? Check it out!

Pagecast Sharing

Here are a few pages that I am watching. Enjoy!

Dog Shows


K-12 Educational Technology

School Library Media (This might be Christine’s pagecast–if so, great job!)

Library Blogs

Virtual Cheesecloth

This blog is written by Amalia Connolly, a Library Media Specialist in Westchester County, New York. Just as cheesecloth is used to strain products in the culinary world, she says that this blog is “an attempt to filter my learning and wonderings about the ever-growing set of collaborative tools called Web 2.0.” This blog is useful because she sorts through the many technologies available to us, and creates posts about those that can best help students in school.

I loved the set up of this blog—it was very organized, colorful, and filled with images. Many of her posts deal with books that she has read, and there is even a section of the blog dedicated to favorites—at the moment it displays her favorite picture books. One can click on the book title or image, and be taken to a book summary and book reviews. Her own posts are filled with great information about the books she is currently reading and how they connect to curriculum or other books. She includes several posts about the activities she creates for her students, such as a nonfiction study with first graders that concludes with them writing their own nonfiction book. I loved the idea of her “Mohansicott Award”, a recreation of the Caldecott where first graders choose the winner for the most distinguished picture book. I thought this was a great way to have students take an active approach when learning about the different awards for Children’s Literature.

Aside from her own work, Amalia posts links to professional development resources for other Library Media Specialists and reflects on her time spent at various conferences. Overall, Amalia’s posts show just how much fun you can have as a Library Media Specialist as you journey through literature with your students!

Gargoyles Loose in the Library

This blog is written by Frances Harris, a librarian at University Laboratory High School.  She uses this blog to capture student moments at the library and as she puts it to “promote all things library-related and techno-geeky.” I just loved this blog because it was so realistic to things that go on in my own high school. I found myself chuckling at many of the posts and could tell that Frances really enjoys her job.

Frances’ posts feature photos and videos of her students in action. She captures them at their fine moments (eagerly reading, discussing literature, etc.) and at their not-so-fine moments (being crazily dressed for spirit day, playing games, hanging out INSTEAD of studying, etc.) It is such a real depiction of how kids act, and she maintains a great sense of humor about it.  A few posts detailed activities/unit plans that she carries out with classroom teachers and her reactions to them. Other posts review new technology as well as feature her opinions on new books and newspaper articles written about education and technology. Of course, she includes posts for other librarians, alerting them to professional development resources.

I loved how each post contained a hyperlink to the article, book, or technology she discussed. It was easy to follow her posts, and she had a nice balance of humorous entries with more serious entries, such as those dealing with resources for other librarians. This site made me eager to work in a school library and hopeful that I can enjoy my career as much as she does.

Northfield Mount Hermon School Library

Northfield Mount Hermon is a day and boarding high school located in Massachusetts. This blog is written collectively by the group of librarians that work at Northfield. One thing I liked about the format of this blog is that on the left side of the page all of the library links were listed (library catalog, databases, hours, citation sources, etc.). None of the other blogs I visited had library information on the blog, instead it was listed on the library’s homepage, available on the school’s website. I thought that this feature as well as the content of the blogs, served to make it the most “professional” of the blogs I visited.

When I say the most “professional”, I mean that this blog does not seem to be written for personal use, as was the format for Gargoyles in the Library. Whereas in Gargoyles and Cheesecloth I had a real sense of who was writing the blog, this blog was completely different. The others were filled with personality and posts to their interests, while this blog seemed to be written mostly for book reviews and article postings.

Most of the reviews that I read were book summaries from Occasionally there were reviews of audio/visual materials as well. Posts also showcase new books to the library, including an image of the book as well as a summary. Every so often posts would have links to recent Netflix videos, downloadable books, or articles from major newspapers that discuss new technology tools.

I find this blog to be useful if you want credible recommendations of books for students or even for your library collection. Other than that, I didn’t enjoy this blog as much as I did the other two. The lack of voice was certainly the contributing factor in my feelings toward the site. It didn’t showcase the creativity and fun that school librarians bring to their position. To be honest, I don’t see myself coming back to this site for daily reads, but I would use it in terms of looking for book recommendations.