jump to navigation

Lifelong Learning Meets Online Learning: What I Learned While Earning my Online Teaching Endorsement January 19, 2018

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in How to Be Brave, Online Teaching, Reflections, Reviews.
add a comment

Lifelong Learning Meets Online Learning: What I learned in the Online Teaching program about digital learning in the library | Mrs. J in the Library @ A Wrinkle in Tech

For the past year, I’ve been on a journey of lifelong learning as I complete the Online Teaching program at Millersville University.  I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to take a sabbatical, too, because it allowed me to extend my maternity leave and spend more time with my daughter.  As this time comes to an end, though, it’s bittersweet.  I’ve always loved being a student, and I thrive in academic culture, so this has been a wonderful experience professionally, not to mention a much-needed and welcome change of pace.  I feel recharged and full of new, innovative ideas backed by the latest educational research. I can’t wait to start implementing them and making our library program better for my students.

Still, I’m going back to work with mixed feelings, like I imagine most working mamas do.  I love my job, but my daughter now takes priority over it.  I’m pretty sure it will be a constant push-and-pull on my heartstrings now as I attempt to balance all the “things” I have to do and want to do.

What I Learned:

So as a culminating assignment in my last course, ACTE 632 Online Learning Environments, I’m reflecting on how my learning meets the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching.  Below is a list of each standard with links to my assignments, presentations, and reflections on meeting each standard.

All work is copyrighted by Collette J. aka Mrs. J in the Library, however, you are free to use it for noncommercial, educational use.  (And fair warning, this post is much longer than most.)

Standard A – The online teacher knows the primary concepts and structures of effective online instruction and is able to create learning experiences to enable student success.

  • Creating the Library Sub Unit in Google Classroom was by far the most challenging part of this program.  In the unit, I incorporated online discussion groups for small groups of students to exchange feedback on book reviews they are writing and publishing.  (Click the image to enlarge it.)

Google Classroom Screenshot | Mrs. J in the Library @ A Wrinkle in Tech

(more…)

Makerspace Centers in 40 Minutes December 28, 2017

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Makerspace!.
Tags: , , , ,
7 comments

Makerspace Centers in 40 Minute Library Classes - A fixed library schedule or limited class time is still enough for creation and making. | Mrs. J in the Library @ A Wrinkle in Tech

When I tell teacher-librarians and other educators that I fit makerspace activities into a fixed library schedule, I sometimes get incredulous or skeptical looks.  So I thought I’d give some background and a sneak peek at a typical library class at my school.

Here’s what the average 40-minute library class looks like for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade (and maybe 2nd grade in the future).

5-10 minutes –

Students drop off books in the book return bin and sit at a table in the library.  Two students pass out the center tracking booklets to their classmates as I review the center choices for today, and introduce a new center if needed.  I try not to introduce more than 1 center per week/cycle.  If it’s a makerspace center with a tool like littleBits or paper circuits, I demonstrate it quickly…no more than 5 minutes, then refer students to the library website resources for further help.  Before dismissing students to check out, I use Flippity’s Random Name Picker tool to have students pick their center by placing their center booklet at their chosen “spot.”  Doing this prevents students rushing through or skipping book exchange to get to a center they want.

10 minutes –

Students check out new books or at least scan their card before choosing a center.  I do have a part-time assistant who helps with circulation, but if she’s not here, then I’m at the desk running the computer.

15-20 minutes –

Immediately after book exchange students choose a center and “check in” using a QR code to access a Google Form and one of the library’s Nexus 7 tablets.  Then, they work at their center, which for makerspace centers might include:

I started the school year with ALL research centers.  Once students earned their “Research Skills” badge by completing 6 research centers correctly, they had free-choice to choose any “Research Skills,” “Makerspace,” or “Reading & Language” centers for the rest of the year.  These 6 completed research centers are in addition to other research projects that I teach in collaboration with their classroom teacher.

As students work at their centers, I circulate the room to stamp their center tracking booklets and remind students to “check in.”  For research centers students only get a stamp if they get a correct answer AND have their resources cited correctly.  If I don’t have time to check answers on the fly, I still have their check-ins on Google Forms to verify what center they chose, and their answer slips/research packets to check later.

3-5 minutes –

Near the end of class, I start playing music to signal students to find a good stopping place and clean up their center space (I’m partial to swing/big band music).  If they are still working on a makerspace project, they can save it for next time, usually in a zip-top bag.

For research centers, they usually have a slip of paper or a packet that will fit inside their center tracking booklet to save for next time.  I’m working on an updated center booklet that includes pages for working on research questions and projects so that they can be submitted through Google Classroom…but that’s another blog post.

After class –

I don’t count this as part of the 40 minutes, but after class or after school, I usually go through all of the “check in” responses on the Google Form and I keep a spreadsheet of where each student went each week.  This takes about 10 minutes per class, so about 30 minutes of “grading” a day for all three grade levels.  Sometimes I can even squeeze 2 classes of grading into my planning or lunch time.  Tracking student learning keeps students accountable, and if they don’t “check in,” I choose their center the following week (communicated via a post-it note on their center booklet).

For more information about my library centers tracking, QR code “check in,” and the center menu booklets I use, check out this blog post!

If you have any tips to share about having a makerspace on a fixed schedule, I’d love to hear them in the comments!  Have a great week!

Makerspace Centers in 40 Minute Library Classes! - Don't let a fixed library schedule or limited class time stop you! | Mrs. J in the Library @ A Wrinkle in Tech - A collage of photos showing a library makerspace center set up with no students, and students from many multicultural backgrounds working at on makerspace activities.

 

TpT Giveaway and Cyber Monday Sales November 26, 2017

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Fun Stuff.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays! 

As we all start our holiday shopping and prepare for family gatherings, give yourself a break by purchasing some ready-to-go lessons for your library or classroom.  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sitewide sale from Monday, November 27 through Tuesday, November 28.

Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale - November 27th and 28th. Save up to 25% with Promo Code: CYBER17 | Mrs. J in the Library @ A Wrinkle in Tech

Everything in my store will be 20% off, except for my bundles which are already discounted.  When you use code CYBER17 at checkout, you get an additional 5% off the original price, for a total of up to 25% off!

To celebrate the sale, I’m giving away a $10 TpT gift card!  Click on the image below to enter with your email address, and earn bonus entries through social media.

Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale 2017 Gift Card Giveaway! | Mrs. J in the Library @ A Wrinkle in Tech (more…)

NoteBookCast Online Whiteboard Review November 20, 2017

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Online Teaching, Reviews, Tech Tips.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

NoteBookCast Review by Mrs. J in the Library | A Wrinkle in Tech

As part of my sabbatical classes in Millersville University’s Online Teaching endorsement program, I’m reviewing NoteBookCast as a creative tool.

NoteBookCast is a completely web-based online whiteboard tool that allows two or more people to draw, write, and create on the same whiteboard space.  It doesn’t even require registration to use it, which makes it particularly ideal for elementary school students.  Registering for a free account does come with some extra features, however, that many teachers may find useful.  For instance, registered account holders can save a whiteboard for later, and create templates to quickly create similar boards.

Because it is completely web-based, students can use it without installing anything…a plus for 1:1 Chromebook programs like my district has.  A person “joins” a whiteboard by entering a unique alpha-numeric code, or by clicking a link that’s shared from the board creator.  Elementary school teachers could potentially create one class account and make a separate whiteboard for each student group.

NoteBookCast Review | Mrs. J in the Library @ A Wrinkle in Tech

Features:

  • Freehand drawing with a pencil
  • Laser pointer that appears when you click
  • Text box tool
  • Board capture, which acts like a screenshot tool
  • Three (3) erasers – erase drawings, erase images, and erase the whole board
  • Three (3) shape tools – circle, square, and straight line
  • Four (4) paper types – blank, lined, and graph paper with small or large squares
  • Nine (9) colors for pencil and shapes tools, and three (3) line width options
  • Image upload tool to add photos and images
  • Online chat window for participant conversations

NoteBookCast Online Whiteboard tools are shown, including a pink circle, blue square, green straight line, a purple freehand-drawn squiggly line, and a chat box.

PROS:

  • No registration required to use all of the features.
  • FREE (for now…that may change)
  • Sharing and collaborating on whiteboards is simple enough for young elementary students.
  • Completely web-based; nothing to install on school computers
  • Chat conversations are recorded for accountability.
  • Claims to work on any device, and it even provides whiteboard sizes for iPad and Galaxy Note (2014) tablet screens.
    • It’s even compatible with my HTC 10 phone, though the small screen size was very difficult to work on.

CONS:

  • NoteBookCast is still in “beta,” meaning it could shut down at any time, and it’s expected that there are some bugs to work out…and there are clearly some bugs to work out as of this review!
    • Some of the drawing tools lagged to the point of not working.
    • I couldn’t get the hand tool, which I assume is for panning or moving objects, to work at all.
  • No “undo” button.  And it desperately needs one!  I’ve already contacted the creator to ask for this, and if you’re planning on using it, you should too.
  • Nothing can be moved, resized, or edited after it’s been “set” by clicking the green checkbox.
  • Erasing images is all or nothing.  A single image can’t be erased without removing all of them.

Best Uses and Final Thoughts:

I don’t see NoteBookCast being very useful for students creating a product or project, mostly because of the lack of an “undo” button.  That missing feature puts a lot of pressure on students to do it right the first time, and that’s not supportive of a learning culture.

Where NoteBookCast shines is in instant, easy collaboration.  I see this tool being very powerful for annotating an image, pooling ideas, and brainstorming with a partner or group.  The quick set-up of a board or template and no need to register to collaborate make NoteBookCast an excellent tool for shorter learning activities that don’t need to be saved or edited.

If you have a favorite online whiteboard or collaboration tool, please share it in the comments and why you like it.

PA Forward 2017 Presentation: “Making with Young Children” July 31, 2017

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Makerspace!, PSLA.
Tags: , , ,
2 comments
PA Forward IL Summit 2017 - "Making with Young Children" presentation | Mrs. J in the Library @ A Wrinkle in Tech

PA Forward Information Literacy Summit on July 19, 2017

Two weeks ago, I was honored to present at the 2017 PA Forward Information Literacy Summit.  The maker-themed summit was held at the Penn State University Libraries, where I presented an hour-long breakout session on makerspaces for elementary schools and public library children’s programs. Participants got to experiment and play with many of the materials that students use in our makerspace library centers, and it was just amazing to talk to both teacher-librarians and public children’s/YA librarians who came from all over Pennsylvania to learn from each other.

If you couldn’t make it to the Summit or were in another session, my “Making with Young Children” Google Slides presentation is embedded below.  You’ll need to click through to view the slide notes and links to all of my resources.

Disclaimer: This presentation below contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase an item after clicking on a link, I will receive a small commission.  See Disclosures & Disclaimers for more information.  

 

Also, if you’re looking for more makerspace activities and ideas to add to your library’s program, check out my “Makerspaces for Elementary Schools” Pinterest board.

 

Finally, in other news, Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sitewide sale on August 1st and 2nd!!!!  Everything in my store is 20% off, except for bundles which are already discounted.  Make sure to use the coupon code BTS2017  to get an extra 5% off, so you get a total of 25% off all of your back-to-school library instruction and management needs!

%d bloggers like this: