Thursday, April 11, 2013


Started using a cool FREE app called PicMonkey to make visuals with words, photos, & clipart. Used it to make on-line and print flyers for library events, book promotions, and school events.  Also encouraging teachers and students to use it for assignments.  It's a very creative and user-friendly web tool that could be used for such things as:

- Start-of-Year Get-to-know-you Posters of students
- Teaching Persuasion through Advertising
- Book Reviews
- Biographies
- Compare & Contrast
- Science: Cells, Simple Machines, Plants & Animals, Weather & Space
- Elements of Literature
- Historical Events

Kids can use a photo from a website, then add their own text and graphics to it. They can also use their own photos from home too, and do things such as adding speech bubbles to their own photos for text.

If used for an assignment, we all know the kids can end up combining their skills of content knowledge, visual literacy, and technology, and the kids have a lot of fun doing it.

Here's the site:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Skype with an Author

To save money and explore technology uses with kids, teachers and librarians should start setting up Skyping visits with authors.

This site has great info about this idea:

Friday, August 17, 2012


The Evergreen school district has placed Edmodo on its district websites and is encouraging teachers, students, and parents to use it.  It's a social network that has been described as a more safe, educational version of Facebook, to be used for communicating about assignments.

To learn about Edmodo, click this link:

For a video intro to Edmodo, click this link:
Youtube Video about EDMODO

For a detailed multi-part instructional video, click here:
Instructional Video

For a Slideshare presentation on 20 ways to use Edmodo for education, click here:
20 ways to use EDMODO

This could be a very cool educational tool to use.  However, there are some Questions that need to be discussed and answered:
1) Does this replace Schoolwires for the district, or will both still be used?
2) Will educators choose to use either Schoolwires or Edmodo? Which is mandatory?
3) If it is totally voluntary, will anyone utilize it or will it be too much trouble to do so and just disappear after non-use?
4) How much training and support will be provided?  How much time will be made available for Edmodo use?
5) What rules/discipline will be in place if students abuse their use of Edmodo?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pacific Teacher-Librarian & Computer Teacher Offer Trainings

Mr. Warner and Mr. Kutkey will be offering tech trainings after school once a month during the 2011-2012 school year to help teachers use technology to engage students more in their learning, lessons, and presentations, and to meet today’s technology standards.

Tech Tools offered MAY include the following…

- Blogs, Wikis, On-Line Discussions

- Tech Presentations: Prezi, Slideshare, Glogster

- Assignments/Projects: Google Docs, Animoto, Pixton, Voki, Zunal (WebQuests), Audacity, LIVE MovieMaker

- Schoolwires

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Recording TV Programs to DVDs for Educational Use

I have many teachers ask me to record things on VHS for them from television so they can show it in the classroom.  However, the time of the VHS tape is over.  VCR machines and VHS tapes are becoming throw-away items.  If there is a program on television that a teacher wants to show to their classroom, here are a few more modern options:

1) See if it is available for purchase on DVD.  Many times I can find the program to purchase on-line on DVD, allowing me to own it and show it to current and future classes.

2) See if it is available on YouTube or Safari Montage.

3) Instead of owning a video machine for recording shows onto VHS tape... get yourself a DVD Recorder for recording shows onto a DVD.  Yes, this tech has been available for quite awhile now, but many people are unaware of it.  Just go to Best Buy on-line, search for DVD Recorder, and you will find this device that will allow you to record programs from your TV or DVR to a DVD which you can then play in a DVD player at school.

IMPORTANT:  If the program you are recording is temporary for educational use, you are most likely not breaking copyright due to what is called "Fair Use."  However, if you intend to keep this program to watch again and again over the years, you should actually purchase the official DVD.  Why not go on and search for it?  You'll probably find it at a good price.  :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

16 Laptops in the Library

When I started my new Teacher-Librarian job, I sadly discovered that the school has only 7 computers in the library.  This is certainly not up to 21st Century Learning Standards, for it does not allow a class of students to do research work in the library.  Thankfully, working with our district instructional technology people, we were able to get 16 old laptops set up on WiFi in the library.  The two ways I see these working for classes are:

1) While half the class uses the laptops for research, the other half uses library books for research, then they switch; therefore, each student gets his/her own individual time with the laptop.

2) Encourage teachers to let students work in pairs on their research projects.  This allows 2 kids per laptop and encourages teamwork/collaborative learning as well.

I look forward to hearing other ideas from educators on how to utilize the 16 laptops in the media center for student learning.

Video Book Trailer for "Speeding Bullet"

I started a "Book Club" at my middle school's library. We meet once a week. After reading Neil Shusterman's "Speeding Bullet" together, we decided to make a short video book trailer.  However, not  enough people wanted to be in front of the camera.  So, we decided to use action figures and our voices instead.  The kids really seemed to enjoy it.  Only took about an hour to plan, an hour to film, and an hour to edit.  We posted it on YouTube and will link it to the school library site as well.  Some of the kids already told their friends and they have watched it on YouTube and liked it.  Great way to celebrate reading and inform others about books to promote reading.  In the future, I look forward to using it to teach specific aspects of the reading too, such as conflict and theme.

Here is the video on YouTube:

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Recently learned how to use PHOTOSTORY on-line to place photos in a certain order, type text on them, read aloud over the top of each photo, and add music.  It is a VERY easy user-friendly and FREE program to download! Teachers could use it to teach content, librarians could use it for orientations or booktalks, and students could use it to do just about anything: show what they've learned, explain literary elements of a story they read, tell their own story, point out the most important information from a chapter and connect the content with visuals, etc.  The educational possibilities are endless!  And FREE!  :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Electronic Readers

I just spent an hour playing with Amazon's Kindle and the Nook from Barnes n Noble. I will always love actual physical books and I do not believe they are going to leave us, BUT these book-reading gadgets are totally awesome and are revolutionizing reading, and after monkeying with them and seeing all they can do, I plan to get one, use it, and explore with students and teachers different ways we could use these educationally.

As an avid reader, an English teacher, and a Literacy Coach, I have always encouraged students to annotate on the texts they read with markings, notes, questions, etc., either by writing on the page itself or using post-it notes.  Research clearly shows how much this aids in comprehension and allows the reader to more easily look back at specific areas. So, when I first heard of the Nook and Kindle, my immediate thought was that comprehension and turning back to significant sections was now going to decrease and thereby dumb down the reading and learning experience.  HOWEVER, I am happy to report that these devices DO indeed allow you to high-light, make notes, place post-its on certain pages, etc.  Not to mention that a difficult vocabulary word can be immediately defined!  Holy educational tool Batman!

They are too spendy right now for a whole class to use, but I am thinking maybe I could purchase 10 of them, then a class could work in groups of 3 to read, annotate, and discuss text together.  That's just one idea. I look forward to hearing from colleagues about other teaching and learning uses for these devices.

Very cool!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Free classics on-line!

Would you like your students to read books such as Alice in Wonderland, The Odyssey, Little Women, Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn, The Scarlett Letter, Charles Dickens classics, The Jungle Book, Shelley’s Frankenstein, Stoker’s Dracula, Thoreau’s Walden or Civil Disobedience, Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers, The Red Badge of Courage, Sherlock Holmes, Paine’s Common Sense, Jules Verne classics, or plays and poems from Shakespeare? 

Well, they can read all of these classics and more FOR FREE thanks to organizations that are trying to make as many books as possible available for on-line reading. 

Through the use of library computers, lab computers, classroom computers (with projector for whole class to see), or computers at home (on-line homework) teachers can and should be having students read such on-line books or selected pages without having to worry about finding the money to buy class sets anymore.

Here are some of the places to go to find free books on-line: