Get Your Summer Booklist (and sketchnotes!) On!

Bitmoji ImageAs the school year ends, it’s time to kick back a little and enjoy the summer!  If there is one thing librarians and educators have too little time of, it’s reading during the school year.  The same can be said about students as well.  Most of the school year, they are required to read textual information, for the most part, instead of having time to read what they want do without any following assignments…pure bliss!  SO…what better way to start the summer than by creating booklists!  The beauty of creating a list is that they can be HOWEVER 👏 YOU 👏 WANT 👏 TO👏.  You want it by genre? Go for it!  How about alphabetically, by popularity, by recommendation…hey even by color if you want to!  If you meet with a book club or a group of bibliophiles,  share them (as they also make for great TBR lists too!)

I’ve uploaded a new Youtube vlog post with FIVE different sketchnoting themes you can draw to put a creative spin on your lists.  They come with instructions for both paper AND digital, using the Adobe Draw App. I’ve also included some tools to make it easy 😊  BONUS: they are EASY sketchnotes too, so you won’t feel overwhelmed.  So, be a little creative with your booklists, learn something new (if you’ve never sketchnoted/bujo’ed) and enjoy yourself!

Continue reading “Get Your Summer Booklist (and sketchnotes!) On!”

Book Trailer Toolbox Update

booktrailer toolbox upgrade

It’s been two week since the Texas Library Association conference was over, and there were SO MANY great sessions!  My presentation on book trailer tools was accepted and I got to present on the last day at the nearly last hour of conference.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of people attend my session and they got the tools they wanted as well as shared some I added!  Now, it’s time to share with my virtual community 🙂

Because these are lists of curated tools, I thought I’d use Destiny Discover Collections as a presentation tool.  Anyone can access them and if you have Destiny, you don’t have to save the URL (bonus!) The site address is:

I hope you can use these lists, but even better, I hope you share them with students and teachers for all types of digital projects!!

Reduce Your Chaos with Canvas

Many districts are moving toward online classrooms (LMS), whether it is Google Classroom, Edmodo, Blackboard, or Canvas, students do the majority of their classwork online. This not only decreases the amount of paperwork, but in my opinion, it also makes students more responsible when they can practically see LIVE their assignments being submitted and graded. As my principal says, it makes everything “transparent”. No more argument from a student saying they turned something in when you can see whether or not an assignment has been submitted.

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Can you tell my opinion of these Learning Management Systems? My district is 1:1 with iPads, and next year we are slowly switching over to ChromeBooks; because of this we use Canvas as our LMS. When I saw the amount of time students were spending on Canvas, completing assignments for their classes, it made a lightbulb go off and I asked myself, “Why can’t I do the same thing for my library???” What better way to get information to my students then putting it right there with the rest of their classes?!

With the help of my Tech Guy, I was able to create a course in Canvas called AJH Library. I added a QR code for the course to my library orientation and had all of the students enroll in my Library Canvas course (students are automatically enrolled in courses on their class schedule through the registration process. In order to add them to a newly created class, they have to enroll. You can have them enroll individually, but you can also enroll them on a larger scale by their ID#).

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On my Library Canvas page, I am able to post announcements, discussions, and “assignments”. Say goodbye to paperwork, because everything is online! I am able to post sign-ups for the 3D printer, tutorial videos for MakerSpace, and I’ve even posted a permission slip that parents can sign directly on their student’s device. I’m using the LMS for my advantage, not only do the students see my library’s course every time they log into Canvas, but my announcements pop up as notifications on their iPads!

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Discussions: I like to post questions to my students, such as “When is the best time to attend Book Club?” so that the students have an input and I can get the feedback. My most popular discussion post is about book orders. Students are able to comment with titles that they would like for me to purchase for the library. This has been a great way for me to make sure I am purchasing books the students want to read, but it is also giving the students an ownership into the library. I like that I can reply back on the discussions as well. I am able to tell a student, “No, I was not able to find any biographies on Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s fourth president” (actually question) but I usually recommend something else.

Assignments:  3d Printing is so popular in the library’s MakerSpace, and I can’t seem to keep up! But through Canvas, I was able to create a 3D Print module that had assignments the students had to complete before being allowed to print. I took each of the lessons from TinkerCAD and made them into an assignment where the student had to attach a screenshot of their completed lesson. Once the student completed all seven lessons, they were able to fill out a Google Form where they told me they were ready to print. I also made sure to post the Google Form responses so that students could see when their print was finished and they weren’t coming to the library during every passing period to ask if it was finished!

Quizzes: I used the Quiz function in Canvas to create Ungraded Surveys for students to vote on different things. The students voted on a name for our new library snake (winner: Monty Python) and right now I’m working on a March Madness where the students will be able to vote on their favorite book in each bracket! This way of surveying the entire student population has become so popular that my Yearbook teacher is now planning on using it to survey our students and put results in the yearbook.

MakerSpace: Every Wednesday during our WIN Time (study hall) students have the opportunity to come to the library for a MakerSpace activity. I’ve created a page for my MakerSpace that gives students dates, pictures, and How To videos for all of our MakerSpace activities. I’ve included another Google Form for students to sign up to come. This gives me to opportunity to know how many students to expect as well as vetoing any students I know might cause a problem. I have a group of students that sign up for each week as soon as I post it, no matter what the activity is! As long as they are passing all of their classes, I welcome them into the library every time!

Overall… if your students are using one platform for all their classes, then make sure that your library is included as well! Forget about getting on the morning announcements or taping up posters in the hallways, use Canvas or your other available resources to get where the kids are!


Region XI Library iCon presentation




Class, Meet These Online Book Creators

Since time immemorial (or at least since I began teaching a long long time ago!) The first few days of school were meant to establish norms, understand expectations and get to know students.  It was easier in a small school where I had a graduating class of 50, not so much when I worked in a school with 2500 kids.  But regardless of class size, knowing a student’s name is ESSENTIAL to creating a positive relationship with them.

Here’s a great idea you can create to allow students to know you better, and also be a great example for them to jump into the waters of technological creativity.  Write a short story about yourself!  There are SO many ways to do this, but here are a few sites you may want to try and get students to try to make it happen:

CaptureBook Creator – You create a library, give students a code, and it fills up with their creations.  Add audio, video, images, text and hand drawn items to the book in either a traditional storyboard or a comic book.  The free version allows one library with up to 40 books in it and is compatible with Google accounts and email.  After creating a library, give the code to students to start creating their own.  You can even invite other teachers to make a bookshelf for your PLCs or department too.

CaptureStoryboard That – Storyboard that is an amazing tool to tell a quick story with a few boards.  Add images, text, characters, shapes and create a story with them through simple drag and drop.  There’s a lot of customization you can do with this too.  It’s easy to log in with Google, Microsoft or social media and the story board can be saved and edited later, shared via slideshow or embedded.  Students can create a free account, but there is an option for an educational account as well.

CaptureToondoo – Create a simple comic book strip with easy layouts (compile them into a book for a longer story).  All of the features have drag and drop capabilities, which makes creating easy.  Once dropped, users can use various tools to adjust size, font, and even have your own gallery space.  You can share it with the world or keep it private and it allows users to save their work.  The user needs to create a simple account for this without using an email.  This site a more wieldy than the others and may require some tutorial, but not rule it out as an option.

CaptureFlipsnack – This online digital book creator allows the user to upload pdfs or start from scration and create a streamlined, flippable online magazine.  Add text, images, videos to start creating your layout or upload your pdf to make an attractive book.  Users can create up to 15 pages for free (more pages will come with a small cost).  The outcome is a beautifully flippable online magazine you can share via social media, send as a link or embed.  It even has a handy chat with someone from Flipbook if you need help.

AND….if users don’t have access to internet (or connection isn’t as great as it should be…think afternoons at schools) you can always use Old Reliable, Powerpoint.  It has the option in transitions for a page curl.  But alas!  With the newest version, that transition is gone (GRRRRR!!)  Just a head’s up on that….

Sharing stories has been around since the beginning of mankind.  How to tell stories has changed and morphed throughout the years, but one thing stays constant – people enjoy talking about themselves and seeing others listen.  Using digital tools like these not only shares the stories, but also expands their narrative and expertise, both in the telling and the creating.

Happy New School Year!!!

TCEA 2018 Recap (includes great presentation links!)

The Texas Computer Educators Association conference 2018 has gone down in the books as one of my favoriate TCEA conferences of all time.  My legs are ached when I got home…I never knew how awesome compression socks can be outside of being in an airplane!  Now that the week is over, I’ve had time to really enjoy looking back at everything I learned and shared.  If you’ve never been to TCEA, you should come get your technology on!  Here are some presentation I co-presented on as well as some AMAZING presentations of all types to encourage campuses to embrace not only technology but the changing role of student learning and educator curriculum.  Even if you didn’t come, many of the presentations handouts are shared via the TCEA website.
Here is my curated list of amazing presentations recommended for librarians to take a peek out and go forth and conquer (if not this year, then next year!)