Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pinterest to PicMonkey: Just Right Books Poster in a Flash

I saw the cutest diagram on Pinterest (where else?) and I LOVE the direct connection for kids. Just Right Books are definitely a discussion point for Library this time of year. Popped the info into picmonkey and now I have a poster that will help me illustrate the analogy. I also thought using a sporty "boy" bike would help me grab more attention than the girl holding up her fingers.

Feel free to use this image in your library. I use and recommend posterrazor (for mac) to create poster for my Library. Upload, size to your need, print and laminate! Much easier and less expensive than a run to Kinkos. If you are using a pc, rasterbator (still hate that name!) is the same program.

The original diagram from Pinterest, via Teacher2Teacher Help

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Library Sparks Debuts New STEM Column

My first year in the Library, Library Sparks was a LIFESAVER!! Cover to cover is not an adequate description of how I read LS, it would be more like cover to cover upside down and inside out. Check out the website at - I prefer the magazine over the website but you can order a free sample and decide for yourself.

Then we became a STEM school. The transition made a huge impact on what we do in the Library and gradually I weaned myself from LS. As I have said before (and before and before) I am a Pinterest maniac and that has kept me rolling in ideas I could have never have imagined. Twitter has also become a go-to spot for PD, ideas and inspiration.

Library Sparks is not cheap (65.00 for 11 issues) and I was honestly considering not renewing our subscription this year. I had a few moments when the August/ September 2013 issue arrived to flip through and am I ever glad I did!

Page 20 has what I have been waiting for: Grow with STEM, a new column! This month highlights A Black Hole is NOT a Hole, and in LS fashion, multiple activities to investigate and integrate this text into the library. Keeping in mind that I have each grade for various times, this is SO easy to chunk, continue, or even launch online as at home enhancement.

Really, this is EXACTLY what I need right now. It answers my basic question on this blog: How does Media fit into a STEM education? This column completely energized my LS love. Scrapping the subscription is off the table for now - can't wait to see the other STEM columns have for us!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to the Library with the MIMIO VOTE

In a tech meeting this week, we laid out our tech goals as a STEM school. As I have mentioned before, we are challenged when it comes to having the tech we want as a STEM school.

I loved that my Principal cut to the chase and laid it out: this is the year to USE WHAT WE HAVE. One thing we have (that I love) is MIMIO. I have used Promethean Boards and I must say I prefer MIMIO for many reasons. The resources at are a go-to for me and grow each time I visit.

Our PTA purchased a MIMIO VOTE system last year, and I have to say I love it! For those of you not familiar with the system, it has 30 hand held "joysticks" that students use to interactively participate with a MIMIO lesson. The kids love it, it is like giving them their favorite piece of candy and telling them it counts as their veggies for the day. Instant buy in!

Last year I pulled the vote system and created a quiz for Library Rules and Guidelines. You can design the quiz with as many possible answers as you want, and it is a one stop lesson for me because while I create questions for all grades the younger guys may stop a few questions early.

Beginning the year with this activity is perfect because it gives us a chance to jump into how we treat  technology and how we engage in group activities. Depending on the group we may have "outloud" discussions about each rule or we may practice independent work.

I like to pull out the bite damaged books as visual aids, take tours of the shelves, and practice check out procedures as part of this orientation.

The MIMIO VOTE system is my biggest ally in this process. I get that kids are not dying to come discuss rules in the library, but kids totally love a gaming system in their hand AND seeing their work on the large whitescreen. The natural consequences of not being on task or taking care of your VOTE "joystick" all but eliminate negative behaviors.

Throughout the year I use the vote as we read together and take AR quizzes with the VOTE system, demonstrate post unit knowledge, or use the fun "racing" function as we even practice math skills or word placement in Kindergarten.

How are you using the MIMIO VOTE? Let me know what I am missing and how I can integrate this fun technology even more throughout our year.