Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Library 2.0 Smackdown

Friday, May 1, 2009

Betty Tathom

Author--Betty Tathom

-Does a lot of school visits and will help with the grant if writing a grant for an author visit
(*ordered Penguin Chick, How Animals Shed Their Skin, Baby Sea Otter from Follett)

Fiction Writing Workshop
-kids in pairs to write a story and share in readers theater-style

Penguin Day/Writing Workshops
-all students dressed in black and white

Interesting fact of the day: Some frogs were never tadpoles:

Research Fuels the Author's Fire

PSLA--Penn State University
Since I skipped the first session (to prep for my session) and spoke at the second session (7:30-9:45 last night!), I'm in my first "real" session with Sharon McElmeel--author and librarian. She writes a monthly column for Library Sparks and Picture That. Authors in the Kitchen (recipes/illustrations from many authors and illustrators)
The session didn't live up to my expectations, but my sketchy notes are below...
-primary vs. secondary sources
-Finding out what we know and using what we know are different.

Author List
-Carol Gorman (Sumptown Kid) (Games)

Art Pennington--Negro League baseball player (With: We Are the Ship)

"I learn much more than I could ever use in my stories. I think all that I have learned helps me choose and shape what will eventually be in the story." --author of Snowflake Bently
(Just what students need to do when using the Internet for research...or just about anything really.)

Chicken Joy on Redbean Farm

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jason Ohler--DEN LC "Private" Training

How-To Site:

--Music can change the meaning of a clip

Story mapping instead of a storyboard--Stay away from linear storylines
1. Engage the story
2. Problem
3. Tension
4. Resolution
5. End-Moral

Be aware of conscious objects of desire and unconscious objects of desire

"Mountains"--Ups and downs of a story (24 example) that create tension in the story
*See Ken Adams map for lesson starter..."because of that..."

Media Development Process
media planning-story map (use power point) (1 page/16 font=2 min of speech)
pre-production-media list/gather raw media components
post production

Personal Museum--look around to determine what makes a good story
*A good first step is to use something personal, then make the leap to academic topics

Suggestions for assessment:

Students should tell about something they still think about

Jason Ohler--PETEC Pre-Conference Event

Dr. Jason Ohler, digital storytelling extraordinaire, was the Keynote speaker at the Discovery pre-conference event at the Hershey Lodge. He began by asking us what we would consider to be so outrageous right now that could be true in 10 years. Students should use their "Screasels" (screens+easels) are where students go to "paint."

Literacy: comsuming and producing media forms. Students should bea ble to write whatever they read. They should create what they want to consume/thoughtful and creative media.

Literacy is changing. Web 3.0=Read/Write/Paint/Think Rather than coding the web as a lot of text statements, the web will be tagged and a search will bring a "media report." It makes all of this information intelligable for machines.

9 Digital Literacy Action Guidelins
1. Shift from text to media
2. Value writing more than ever
3. Adopt art as 4th R---Art as a literacy
4. Follow DAOW (Digital Art Oral Written) of literacy
5. Attitude is the aptitude
6. Practice private and social literacy
7. Develop literacy about digital tools--learn how media persuades
8. Fluency, not just literacy--Understands what tools can do and can use/lead with that (doesn't have to be the best techie)
9. Harness both report and story...embrace the story! Students want a story

*Story first...Tech second*

Assessment must include the writing/research/reflection as well as the final product.

Story core includes Problem(tension), Transformation (growth), Solution (resolution)--Focus on how the character is different at the end of the story

8 Levels of growth/change
1. Physical--realizing how to do something
2. Inner strength---courage, potential
3. Emotional-maturity
4. Moral
5. Psycological
6. Social--responsibility
7. Intellectual-problem solving
8. Spiritual--awakening

Report-story=problem, visual, audio, collaborative effort, animation

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Power Up Your Personal Learning Network

The DEN Virtual Conference (where I am participating in-person) continues with Jen Dorman's session on learning networks. Of course, the Discovery Educator Network leads the pack, but she also made us aware of a network created by PBS and Google. Twitter and Plurk still prove to be the best, but Twiffid filters only web addresses that are posted on Twitter. You can also follow plodt on Twitter and it graphs Twitter posts to give you an idea of the conversations happening so you can join. Phweet turns Twitter into an instant message chat. This might work if Twitter is blocked in you district.

Diigo and Delicious are similar, but Diigo allows you to create groups and share annotations/bookmarks with others. Diigo will also automatically post to blogs.

I had to tune out because there are dozens and dozens of other resources Jen is sharing, so I am going to focus on posting to Diigo and Delicious, signing my students up for accounts in Wikispaces for collaborative purposes and beginning my blog on the DEN web site...and cross-posting here and on

Oh, looks pretty cool too. I'll check that out also. Jen rocks!

Igniting Student Creativity Though Digital Storytelling

At Sci Tech High in Harrisburg, Jen Dorman's Digital Storytelling sesion focused on new formats for students to use to use multimedia to create a story. I'm ready to have students create movie trailers as soon as I get back to school now! :)
Here is the link to all of Jen's resources:

Public Service Announcement
Breaking News or Olds Broadcast
Movie Trailer
Oral History
Virtual Tour
Story told from the perspective of an object

Scaffolding ideas:
-Stories from one image--have students make up a story based on one image or a series of images in a sequence
-Stories from a muted video clip
-Stories with student-found images and set narrative

The Process
Write, Develop script, storyboard, locate resources, create, share

DEN Virtual Conference-Dembo Keynote

What do the classrooms of the future look like?

Innovators in the field of education...according to Steve.
Darren Kuropatwa (Created class Scribe Hall of Fame), D'arcy Norman (first educator to begin podcasting), Jerome Burg (created Google Lit Trips).

Camstudio, Prettymay, Odeo, Aireset--Horizons Project with Vikki Davis...Those are the sites I didn't know

Eric Langhorst
Guerilla Season

YackPack--acts like a walki talki on a web page
The KinderKids page--Kindergarten blog--Uploads pictures to BubbleShare for parents to see what happened during the day
Jenuine Teach--Creative projects for the PreK-6 Elementary Class
*Good ideas for kindergarteners and younger students

Riptide Furse's podcast safe music/audio

Andy Carvin--created his own version of dialtest using twitter and plodt

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Summer Spectacular

My friends and family are quick to laugh when I say I work during the summer. "How can you work when you have the summer OFF?!" they ask. Well, this summer was spent working...although not necessarily in the traditional "work" sense.

The first weekend after school let out, I headed to Denver, CO where my mom had two large events happening (she is an event planner) and so when she asked if I would be willing to help, I said, "Yes!" We stayed in downtown Denver and were even able to go to a Rockies game. I was in awe by the Rocky mountains & being one mile above sea level.

The following two weeks were spent teaching at the Young Writers Institute where I was again inspired by the talented young authors in my class. Those Foster students made me proud!!

I then headed to Silver Spring, MD to join 49 other teachers (by invitation only) at Discovery Channel Headquarters for an intense week-long technology conference. I have SO much to share this year! I was even asked to come back for the second week as a staff member to teach sessions on geocaching (thanks to our MLFE grant). We were able to do some actual caching around Maryland and even found the original Silver Spring! It was exciting to work with such dynamic educators.

After a brief weekend visiting friends in NC, and catching up on tutoring, I spent the last week in Boston where I learned more about American history than in any course I've taken. The Freedom Trail was inspiring and would make the perfect field trip! ;-) My brother's wedding in Cape Cod followed and even though I was 25 hours late (thanks, USAirways), I am now back and ready for the school year to begin!

(This is the first post cross posted on my school blog, )

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Steve Dembo-Part II--Learning to Speak Native

There are two types of digital users: the natives and the immigrants. Natives are multi-taskers, choose graphics BEFORE text, non-linear and prefer games to "serious" work. They grew up with instant access and expect that. Marc Prensky said that for educators it means, "If digital immigrants educators REALLY want to reach digital natives, they will have to change." I think this is so important for teachers to consider, especially as our students are changing so rapidly. How can we "tune in" to the needs of our students and adapt to meet those needs? How do we keep up with these changing attitudes not to mention the hardware?

The good news is that with tools like Twitter, Ning, and Plurk, it's easy (and free) to connect to educators all over the world to share ideas and informal professional development so we can keep up. It's up to the teachers to take it upon themselves to do so, and embody life long learning.

Steve's speeches are always so dynamic and inspiring. Thanks, Steve, for reminding all of us that we are our best resource.

To try: Google Lit trips that are mapped out on Google Earth for a visual representation of the content with embedded images, videos, etc.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Recap on the DEN LC Institute

After several days of processing all of the information I learned at the Discovery Institute, I'm finally able to put some of it in words. Several family members and colleagues asked me why I was willing to forfeit an entire week of summer vacation (when I practically work full time anyway...), to sit inside a building in front of a computer. No brainer. The network. The learning. The time to share and "play." The social events at night. These are MY people. It's better than vacation.

Steve Dembo and Hall Davidson were stellar keynote speakers. Stellar. They live on the bleeding edge of educational technology and are quick to share it with the rest of us. Now, I want to write a grant for a class set of cell phones. Who knew?
(Ok, this is why blog posts don't get published on time...I'm going into the other room now...brb)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Steve Dembo DEN Keynote

Down the Rabbit Hole
I Ustreamed this session, so these are the MOST important sites...I'll embed the video from UStream as soon as I find it...

seesmic--for video comments on the blogs
can embed any flash object into ppt--google maps, etc

Stream-A-Thon--September 23
Virtual Conferences--October 18 and April 25
DE Streaming Boot Camp--September 30, October 7, 14, 21

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Learning Networks

Jen Dorman's wiki from the session:

Makin' Movies with Jennifer Gingrich

4 Corners Intro...Dirt Road, Paved Road, Super Highway, Yellow Brick Road as an ice breaker. Have "dirt roaders" choose the next topic and move to the appropriate corner of experience.

Have students begin with a 30 second video. First round, students' poems included personification. One day, photos. One day, titles. One day, sound. Export.

Digital riddle: choose an "idea" and include text slides and ONE image...just use parts of the image to reveal portions of the image.

Digital documentary: Transforming Oregon Trail journal into video...Apply sepia effects but concentrate on text and voice. Combine journal entries to create a documentary.

Digital report: Student write the report and voice over with Discovery Streaming clips.

Fast Fiction: Choose 5 images and write sentences that incorporate those images and create a story. Put images in a Picasa photo album for student access

Comic Life: Now available for PCs-Add photo effects and narration

Tips for success:
1. Start with a digital kit (have materials ready...just begin with images)
2. Stay together--(at least the first time through)
3. Pre-Production--planning is everything
4. One skill per session
5. Scaffold projects

Key Learning vs. Muddiest Point for an evaluation tool--collect on the way out

Discovery Streaming and Google Earth

Mike Bryant's Power Point on the way...
When adding placemarks, the latitude and longitute coordinates are listed there.
Pull images from Discovery Ed Streaming, get the url, and insert the address into properties. Add code to embed the image.
Embed video clips by copy/pasting address in DE Streaming with the Mac...Not yet with PC...
-Record audio in Audacity and Google Reader and embed in GE as a tutorial...Embed code in Power Point.

-WiFi and Geotagger in the card (eye fi card) from a digital camera and photos automatically upload through Flickr. Works with the "Wayport" connection at airports and McDonalds or your own personal WiFi.

Save everything in the folder so that all is together under the kmz file...

Cell Phones in Education--Hall Davidson

Keynote for Tuesday: The one, the only Mr. Hall Davidson

When a teacher begins a class with, "Take your cell phones out and make sure they're on,'" the students are automatically engaged. Why do we usually ignore this powerful device in education? We must teach kids how to use it appropriately.

Some stats from the New York Times: 300 billion text messages in 2007. SMS are typically read within an average of 15 minutes and responded in 60 minutes. 16% of homes do not have land lines. Twices as many users of text messages as users of email. 3.3 billion cellphones but 850 million personal computers.

Use qik to send/record video from your Nokia cell phone. When can we do it with the iPhone??? Can send lesson plans to subs. Mobile Profile in You Tube enables a direct upload to YouTube. Verizon is rolling out video voicemail. Nice! will transfer voice to text for emails, blogs, twitter, etc. Phones also have translators for voice (works only with Japanese right now)... --give your cell number to the gcast...can post your voice right to the web--Great for primary source interviews. Text survey opinions and then pull to powerpoint. Can watch the survey results change right on the screen. This would be great to use with parents/at presentations with adults.
Text 34381 to get nutritional info for food
*Look for mobile for Discovery...Discovery sites
*Assignment Builder on DE Streaming can be sent via text.
Hall is always a pleasure to see and listen to. His dynamic speeches and knowledge make my head spin in the best of ways!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Boom-Dee-Ah-Dah! Day One

Day one of the Discovery Leadership Council Institute started with a "Boom" followed shortly by a "de ah dah." As 50 of my favorite colleagues and I gathered at Discovery Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, our first assignment was to work in groups to recreate Discovery's "Boom De Ah Dah" commercial into one about the Discovery Educator Network. Here is the original. As we toured the Discovery building, here is our take on the project:

I've only been in Silver Spring 10 hours but I've learned enough to fill about 10 days already. I can't wait to see what the rest of the week will bring! : )

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Reflections on a Very Good Year (Or 6)

It was a bittersweet day. My very first class "graduated" from elementary school and are headed for middle school. I looped with this class for kindergarten, first and second grades because there were 3 sections of kids and I was the new hire that didn't have a "permanent" spot, so I've known these kids since they were 5. Naturally, they are very special to me. Just as those students have been an integral part of the beginning of my professional life, I can only hope I was just as important to the beginning of their school life.

As I watched teary eyed at the awards ceremony this morning, one of the kids (who I had in my class in kindergarten and second grade and then 4th & 5th for library) walked to the podium and thanked me for teaching the way he learns best. Wow...Did I really do that? How did he even know? Another student called the library a "magical place where Miss Belardi makes things come alive." Really? Did I do that too? Was a highlight of their six years at Foster really when I helped a student get a poem published in first grade and when I "let" them use the handhelds? Will they really remember the time we raised butterflies? Presented Power Points at the local mall? Had Readers Theater with the disco ball? I doubt it, but I find comfort in knowing that I will have those memories and watching these 50 kids learn and grow has been (selfishly speaking) the most rewarding and happy experience. Even if it is time to let them go.

This is a crazy and completely stressful time of year. Purchase orders, inventory, and IEP evaluations demand my time and it's the time I miss being a classroom teacher the most. However, listening to the words of my now former students, I am thankful to them for being the best teachers I've ever had. I already miss them, but today, as I saw Blake's pre-school sister look at her mom with the same attitude Blake looked at me when I asked her to re-write her "f"s in Kindergarten, I look forward to beginning the cycle all over again.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

DEN at Fallingwater

The DEN spring training continued yesterday in PA at Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater house. Almost 40 educators gathered to learn and network in a really cool venue! The morning began with Discovery updates from Lance (click here to read his take of the day on the national DEN blog) and sessions on Animoto, SketchUp and Geocaching. Despite a little poison ivy, everyone found at least one cache and learned about the joys of SketchUp! The best parts of the day were the student presentations. Three students helped out in the sessions to share their work and teach the teachers the power of these tools. David, Morgan and Jeff did a great job! The day commenced with tours of the Fallingwater house and we even dodged the rain by about 30 minutes. It was the perfect end to a fantastic day.

A huge thank you goes to Jim Hopton, Peggy Barger and Lance Rouguex for all of their help and for making the day so memorable! We already started to plan the next event in the fall! Click here to see more pictures from the day.

(Some of the backgrounds didn't transfer, but you get the idea!) : )

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pittsburgh DEN Event

It’s time for a spring training Day of Discovery hosted by members of the PA Leadership Council! Join us at the Frank Lloyd Wright house at Fallingwater ( for a few hours on Saturday, May 17th. It promises to be a day full of learning, networking and fun!Here are the details:

Who: You and any other person(s) you choose to bring with you (They do not have to be STAR Discovery Educators…just have an interest in educational technology!)

Where: Fallingwater-Free tours available after the training

When: 9-1 on Saturday, May 17th

What: Sessions will include Geocaching (we will use real GPS units), Google Sketch-Up, Animoto and The Best 2.0 Websites/Tools (Twitter, VoiceThread, Google Maps, etc.) plus a tour of the Kaufman house at Fallingwater.

Lunch will be provided.

Why: Because “good” technology training is hard to find!

**Reservations close May 12th!!**

To reserve a spot or if you have any questions, contact Bridget Belardi at Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 21, 2008

WorldWIde Telescope

I had some friends stop over a few weeks ago and one was quick to make fun of the Wired magazines stacking up in my powder room. I guess they expected Martha Stewart or something, but yes, Wired is one of my favorite magazines. Admittedly, I don't understand SOME of the articles (I haven't fully developed the very technical and gadget aspect of my geekiness) but every now and then I find some very useful information.

My favorite section is "Expired, Tired and Wired." Today, I noticed Google Earth in the "Expired" category, and I did a double take. In it's "wired" place was the WorldWide telescope from Microsoft. I'm a big Google Earth/Google Map fan, so I had to check out what trumps them! I'm about two months behind the big announcement, but I think it's definitely worth pointing out to prepare for the big release.

Basically, it's a virtual telescope that allows exploration of the universe. Take a look at this video that shows the footage from the telescope. Students will be able to explore the constellations, just as though they were driving a space satellite. When clicking on the image, data is displayed for further investigation. Wow! It's due out (free for educators) this spring. It's a good thing I subscribe to Wired (and don't tolerate abuse for it)!!! : )

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Week 9 Thing 23

Don't be sad, but this will be my final School Library Web 2.0 post. My 23 "things" are finally complete. I think that this "mini-course" was a good opportunity to reflect on many of the 2.0 tools that are available for teachers and librarians. I especially enjoyed reading others' blogs to see their thoughts about the tools. For me, it was a good mix of tools that I'm already using (blogs and podcasts), new tools I decided to try out with the students (the online image generators) and tools that I don't really like or are awkward for me to use (tagging in Technorati).

I would recommend this course to all of my librarian colleagues and hope that there will be a 2.0.2 "advanced" class, because there is still so much to learn! Thanks to Marg Foster, my 2.0 "advisor," Joyce Valenza for her help and advice at PETE&C and the rest of the 2.0 team.

Week 9 Thing 22

Even though I choose to do most things online (my banking, research, get directions, etc.) reading books is not something I choose to do on the computer. I don't feel like I'm actually "reading," I do more skimming of the text, so looking at ebooks and even listening to them were a challenge. However, I was able to find some shorter pieces, like Aesop's Fables and poetry that I could definitely use with my students. I would like to take some time to continue to explore the options with ebooks and audio books and see the contents these sites have to offer.

Week 9 Thing 21

I find podcasting and easy way for students to express themselves and "show what they know."

We implemented a podcasting program in our district elementary libraries last year. Starting with 4th and 5th grade, students wrote and recorded book reviews using Audacity. These reviews are stored in a common server for all students to access. I noticed that the books with reviews were checked out more frequently than the ones without. You can listen to the district podcasts (my school is Foster) here: Some fourth grade students created their own podcast show and write the script to record news, updates, etc. Audacity is easy for them to navigate and save on their own.

These book reviews are now being written by all grade levels and some are transferred to VoiceThread. Here are reviews written by the first graders:
My goals are to help the classroom teachers to implement podcasts for students who are absent, readers theater, etc.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Week 9 Thing 20

You Tube
I uploaded the video the second graders and I created last year to Bill Harley's tune, "@ Your Library." We discussed digital storytelling, storyboarding, and using video editing tools.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Week 8-Thing 19

Library Thing (see the bottom of the sidebar)

While testing LibraryThing, I couldn't help but to see several similarities with GoodReads. I like GoodReads because of the recommendation option and the RSS feed (I receive updates when one of my contacts reviews a book). However, LibraryThink makes it easy to view tags and organize books. I also like seeing the "popularity" of the books.

I hope to use LibraryThing on my school web site to "publicize" new books so students can "see" the covers and even click on them to read a summary. It's proven that seeing the cover image prompts students to check that book out more often. I might try and set that up now...I'll post a link if I get it done.

The image to the right is a screen shot of some of the books I entered that are found on my book shelf at home that I'm looking at right now! :)