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TpT Giveaway and Cyber Monday Sales November 26, 2017

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Fun Stuff.
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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…)

Flash Freebie! Makerspace Prompt Task Cards October 6, 2015

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Fun Stuff, Makerspace!.
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When starting a makerspace, it’s sometimes helpful to start students off with some project ideas to get their creative juices flowing.  Many students are so used to finding one “right” solution to a problem.  Teaching students that some problems have many solutions and that finding those solutions might take some time…well, that’s a mindset and habit that often requires practice.

That’s where makerspace prompts can be used.  The awesome Gary Stager recommends that prompts will ideally come from students’ curiosity, discoveries, exploration, and wonderings.  He says if a teacher must design a prompt or challenge the prompt should keep these tips in mind:

1. Brevity. The best prompts fit on a Post-It! Note. They are clear, concise, and self-evident.

2. Ambiguity. The learner should be free to satisfy the prompt in their own voice, perhaps even employing strategies you never imagined.

3. Immunity to assessment…Students will want to do the best job possible when they care about their work and know that you put them ahead of a grade. If students are collaborating and regularly engaged in peer review or editing, then the judgment of an adult is really unnecessary.

Quoted from: Stager, G. S. (2012, June). A good prompt is worth 1,000 words. Retrieved from http://stager.tv/blog/?p=2779.

There are many ideas on Pinterest and social media for STEM and makerspace challenges/prompts, and I made a set of task cards based on some of them to jump-start students’ imaginations.  As part of a flash freebie promotion on Facebook, my Makerspace Project Prompt Task Cards & Materials List is FREE in my TeachersPayTeachers Store for this week only!

It was Mrs J in the Library with a #TaskCard #FlashFreebie! http://bit.ly/1WA7dD7

Posted by Teachers Pay Teachers on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Grab it while you can, and try it out!  Also, if you have more prompt or challenge ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

TL Blogging Challenge #16 – Text Wrapping Matters June 18, 2014

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Fun Stuff, Tech Tips.
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TL Blogging Challenge #16 – Share a tech tip for your fellow teachers or librarians.  How do you use this tech tip?  How does it simplify your life?

I’m a huge fan of Microsoft Word when making my TpT products and teaching resources.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cloud-based tools like Google Drive, but if I’m going to share my work with others, then I want it to work for any teacher or librarian, regardless of how tech savvy he or she is.  And I don’t think it’s too big of an assumption to say that every teacher knows how to use Microsoft Word (or Pages or Open Office Writer or some kind of word-processing program).

The problem with Microsoft Word is that making images and graphics look nice and *stay put* is a pain.  So I discovered a simple trick to make any image stay where you want it.  Just set the “text wrapping” to “In Front of Text” OR if it’s a digital paper, background, or border, set it to “Behind Text.”


Using “In Front of Text” and “Behind Text” text wrapping makes it easier to add graphics to Word documents.

You can even set the Microsoft Word program to automatically use “in front” or “behind” wrapping when you add an image, but that’s really up to you.  To set up the default text wrapping, go to:
File –> Options –> Advanced –> Scroll down to the Copy-Paste defaults.

The only caveat for using this trick is that by placing images in front of text, you may have to adjust your margins for a specific part of your text.  Just highlight the text you want to pull from under the image, then move the page margins on the ruler at the top.  For me, however, this is easier than adjusting a clipart graphic one pixel at a time, then cursing the computer when the movement shoves all of my text across the page.

Do you have a go-to program or tool that you are most comfortable with when you make teaching resources?  Share it in the comments!

The blogging challenge is from Cybrarian Jen at Where Books and Technology Meet.  I’m going to try it out, but instead of daily posts, I’m going to try for 1-2 posts a week.  Follow and learn with us!  The participating blogs are listed in the comments of her post.

The Commuter’s Guide to Library Conferences May 1, 2014

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Fun Stuff, PSLA.
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PSLA 2014 Logo The Pennsylvania School Librarian Association (or PSLA) Annual Conference starts today, and like most years, I chose to save money by commuting to Hershey instead of renting a hotel room.  The PSLA Conference Committee already published an excellent conference tips post for attendees, all of which are excellent!  Commuting to a conference, however, has its own challenges, so here are my tips for others who live within driving distance:

1. Travel light! – I limit myself to my laptop bag and *maybe* a small purse.

Inside my laptop bag, I have: my 17″ laptop (wish it were smaller) and power cord; a small Belkin power strip/surge protector/USB charger recommended by the Daring Librarian; a USB charging cord for my phone/tablet; the PSLA-provided notebook

My purse contains more personal things: my wallet, PSLA badge, organic chai tea bags (because I’m a chai snob), phone, keys, business cards, and wrist brace.

It all packs up very nicely, and sometimes I even get it all into my laptop bag.  No matter what you carry though, keep it minimal.  Schleping it all across a convention center and around exhibits is tiring enough without a suitcase worth of gear.

2. Wear comfy clothes and shoes – Unless I’m presenting, I’m in jeans, a nice-ish top, and sneakers.  Dressing casually might seem unprofessional to some, but as an attendee, I don’t really have anything to prove or anyone to impress.  When I present on the PSLA Ereader and Ebooks Panel, I just swap the jeans for khaki pants.

3. Go paperless, if at all possible. –  I survive with just conference Wi-Fi and downloads from the PSLA Conference wiki.  I have a simple Word document for my notes, and if a handout isn’t editable, I just use Zamzar.com to convert it to a Word document.

4. Focus on learning first, then worry about blogging/tweeting/social networking – The official hashtag is #psla14 this year, but I find I don’t have much time for tweeting or blogging when my brain is filled with so many new ideas in the short span of 3 days.  Friday is especially rigorous, so I just concentrate on learning and taking notes.  My brain absorbs like a sponge, and after a few days of processing, I’m finally ready to contribute to the library social media world.  Maybe others can listen, tweet, and think at the same time, but it just doesn’t work for me.

5. Get yourself to the Unconference. – I know it’s late, and I for one will be physically and mentally exhausted by that point, but it’s worth it.  Despite spending 13+ hours learning, thinking, writing, walking, and networking, it’s still worth it.

Doctor Who and the Power of Stories April 14, 2014

Posted by Mrs. J in the Library in Books, Ebooks, Fun Stuff, Reflections.
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Fair warning: This post contains spoilers for Doctor Who seasons 4 and 7. I take no responsibility for disappointed fans who read past this line.  😀


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