Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Newport PD: Wikis and Blogs (11-4-08)

Here are some resources for later reference:

Create a wiki:
http://www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers Free wikis for teachers (no ads!)
http://pbwiki.com/academic.wiki Free

Browse Blogs:

Create a blog:

Learn more about wikis:
http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2007/09/12/02wiki.h01.html Article on using wikis in education – great article

Online video- Wikis in Plain English

Examples of great wikis and blogs:

http://scienceinquirer.wikispaces.com/freestuff For all high school Science Teachers to share with each other

http://dorman-data-digest.wikispaces.com/ High School Social Studies

http://bishopblogs.wikispaces.com/page/diff/home/6816195 High School Wiki

http://room2-wiki6.wikispaces.com/ Elementary (gr.1-2) Dinosaur Wiki

http://bobsprankle.com/blog/ Elementary Classroom Blog

Elementary- RI Children's Book Award Blog

http://westwood.wikispaces.com/ Westwood Schools District Wiki (detailed)

For a copy of today's handout, click this link

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What is a Wiki?

A wiki is a versatile tool, ideal for collaboration. A wiki is a website with easily edited content. One person can get a bright idea, type it up, then ask peers to check it out. Peers can read, revise, edit, and add their own bright ideas. Soon, there is a working document with all kinds of great ideas, all in one place. Fabulous!

We love this video explaining wikis:

If you can't see the video, click the link:Wikis in Plain English

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Library Showcases

So to better demonstrate how integral library instruction, information literacy, and technology are in terms of providing a forum for students to master the content of the regular classroom curriculum, I thought I would create a "Library Showcase" for Coggeshall.

If you have a chance this summer, go to the Coggeshall library page and click on "Library Showcase", and see some of the projects our students completed last year. I'm using Teacher tube to post the video content, and blogger for the showcase.

I am having trouble with Teacher Tube (it takes a long time, isn't always successful), so if anyone has any hints, they'd be most welcome.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

2008 RIEMA Conference

The '08 Rhode Island Educational Media Association Conference was held April 28th. I left feeling enlightened and ready to implement new learning into my schools. I directed my day toward digital literacy, as I am taking an online course in Web 2.0 and am particularly interested in these topics.
I attended both of Clint Kennedy's sessions on Blended Learning (face-to-face + online tools= blended learning). I also attended Dave Fontaine's Web 2.o presentation. During Kennedy's second session, and with some skills from Fontaine's course, I was inspired to create a wiki for conference attendees: riema08.wikispaces.com. I added a page for each of the sessions, and included a brief summary of each session under its link. Since then, I have also added session notes for a few of the sessions I attended. Then, I promoted the wiki at the conference. RIEMA members have begun to add to this collaborative tool, for reference now and in the future. Visit the wiki to contribute your reflections about each session, or to add resources and/or lesson plans related to the sessions!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Library Advocacy

Hello, colleagues. As the possibility of cutting a library position in Newport has been announced, I know that Stacey has been gathering thoughts about services that we will need to cut if our position is cut. Jane, I know you have also been preparing ideas.

I'm sure you're aware of the BEP wiki that Dave Fontaine set up. Here's the URL for quick link: http://ribep.wikispaces.com/. I have been reading it with interest, particularly since I have not been able to attend the meetings. Has anyone else been able to attend the meetings? Will any Newport representatives accompany Barbara Ashby when she and other RIEMA professionals attend the Board of Regents meeting?

I think we could set up a portion of our wiki to collaborate on our efforts, while using the BEP wiki to keep track of the overall RI effort. What do you think? Let's meet on the wikis and advocate.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Using Wikis in the Classroom (and Library!)

Check out this 30 minute video by Vicki Davis on using wikis in the classroom. There are some great ideas here about how we can use wikis with our students, and suggestions for what worked (and didn't) for Davis through her experiences. Also, check out her show notes, rubrics, and other resources on her K12 Online Conference page. I think wikis are a great collaborative learning tool to use in our schools!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Literacy Closet Automation

Recently, I was thinking about the literacy closets and our involvement in their automation. Several months ago, we met as a group and got the process started at Cranston-Calvert. How's it going? Jane, I know you had planned work sessions on Saturdays, and have probably been working on it since we visited. Stacey, I know you're also at C.C. Since we planned to use C.C. as the model for future automation, I was wondering:
1. What has been accomplished so far?
2. How many hours/days has it taken to accomplish that?
3. How many library media specialists, reading specialists, teachers, volunteers are involved?
4. How many hours/days/weeks would you estimate remain?
5. What does it take to automate ONE literacy closet? Is it feasible during workdays or only after school and on weekends?
6. What does this mean for the future in automating the other 4 elem. schools? What will happen if/when consolidation of schools begins?
7. What will it take to transfer collections to other schools?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

New Children's Books

There must be something fundamentally wrong with me - I can't think of a greater pleasure than listening to someone talk about children's books all day. Went to Peggy Sharp's seminar yesterday - worth every penny. Here's her top ten picks for 2008, along with the list I made for my library purchases next year. I have her handbook, which of course, spans the curriculum, in case anyone wants to take a look.

Peggy Sharp's Top Ten Rough Grade level:

The Mysterious Benedict Society 5 +
Dog and Bear K-2
The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Caldecott winner) 5+
The Wednesday Wars 5+
A Good Day K-2
17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore K-5
Elijah of Buxton 5+
The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County K-5
Chester 3+
The Wall 3 +

I was glad to hear her opinion that this year's Newberry is NOT appropriate for K-5 (Grades 9 and up) as I read it and wasn't planning on getting it because of its content. Great book for the high school set, though, when they do their renaissance /middle ages unit.

Here's my K-5 list for this year culled from Peggy's displays:
The End
Dear Deer
First the Egg
The OK Book
Dog & Bear
A Good Day
My Life as a Chicken
Ivan the Terrible
Cowboy and Octupus
Knock Knock
The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School
No Talking
Henry's Freedom Box
Big Bug Surprise
Dog (Jenkins)
The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Whodunit
Badger's Fancy Meal
I Really Want to Eat a Child
Nothing (Agee)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March Into Reading: May the Learning March On

A bit of background for those outside Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth: Yesterday and today, our island participated in "March Into Reading", a celebration of literacy. Friday, many authors and illustrators traversed the island, speaking to students in schools all over Aquidneck Island. The students' enthusiasm for the visitors was palpable (one author told me she felt like a rock star), and the talented professionals shared their love of literacy, through the writing and illustrating processes. Today (Saturday), local families were encouraged to attend the free "March Into Reading" event at Salve Regina University, featuring six of the authors/illustrators who visited schools on Friday. All six writers/artists also had books to sell, and signed books and other items. Three of them gave presentations in a lecture hall as well.

My question: How can we keep this momentum going?

At Sullivan, the reading specialists approached me and asked if we could use Jerry Pallotta's presentation as a launching pad for a school-wide nonfiction unit. Hooray! Using his numerous alphabet books as examples, we'll read to classes and motivate students in each class to create alphabet books on a curriculum-related topic. Of course, we will be collaborating with classroom teachers in this regard. We have yet to determine the format (PowerPoint, paper books, illustrations done during art class?) and might differentiate the format per grade level, or even within classrooms. The books will be shared in some sort of community assembly or forum, also yet to be determined. While we have some work to do before we start the unit next week, we are inspired!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New Perspectives on Teaching & Learning

I was extremely intersted by Holly Barton's excellent article on the new informational literacy which can be found in its entirety at www.ri.net/RTTI_fellows/barton/infolit.htm.

The zoo lessoon unit I used for fifth grade this year I think was a first move in this direction - from teacher to facilitator.  What do you guys think?
Be interested to hear your thoughts on whether teaching and learning are undergoing a shift....

Monday, February 25, 2008

Google Docs

Google Docs looks like a great way to share and edit our written work. This from the google site: "Edit and present with others in real time. Multiple people can view and make changes at the same time. There's an on-screen chat window for spreadsheets, and document revisions show you exactly who changed what, and when. Viewing a presentation together is a breeze, as anyone joined in a presentation can automatically follow along with the presenter."

We could post our docs here and either use the on-screen chat window or do a skype conference call while we work (See my comments under Stacey's post about skype. I did some research. Here's the link about conference calls: http://www.skype.com/allfeatures/conferencecall/).

If we do a skype chat while working on Google Docs, we can bookmark for later use. Not sure if that is a feature on Google Docs. If it is, no need to open two windows.

Google Docs might solve some of the problems we've been having with our current wiki (space limitation, fee after certain storage used, and login problems). Thoughts?

Monday, February 11, 2008


Anyone check out skype.com for chatting voice over internet?
What do you think?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


School library media specialists are, by necessity, experts at multitasking. Information Power defines our roles as: teacher, instructional partner, information specialist, and program administrator. Blogs and wikis are fast emerging as effective tools, adding capability to our multitasking. While we are in separate buildings, Web 2.0 tools offer us collaboration. The purpose of this blog is to foster communication, keeping us on track with our wiki(s) and other current projects, and affording us the opportunity to think, post, and comment, whenever time allows.

My intended audience is first, my colleagues in Newport. In this narrow vision, many of my questions will be directly related to Newport's projects in progress. Of course, I would defy the nature of a blog if I didn't take advantage of the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues anywhere in the world. I'm sure I'll find similarities in our goals, our challenges, and our triumphs. I welcome your comments, too.

First topic: Newport colleagues: How far have we come in our goal of curriculum mapping, K-5? How much of the curriculum has been posted to the wiki, and what remains to be done?