The other day I learned about this awesome web tool TweetBeam during a Buncee chat. TweetBeam populates a wall of tweets based on a hashtag or topic. You can also sign in your twitter account for a personalized show. TweetBeam's interactivity is an elegant streamlined way to capture an experience such as a conference, conference, festival, or museum display. On a personal note, a TweetBeam twitter wall can make an event such as a wedding or a graduation even more memorable. Check TweetBeam out for yourself at https://www.tweetbeam.com/.
Do you need to record video tutorials? Inevitably, you're all alone and you need to take close up shots. Take videos hands-free with the flexible cell phone mount. You can bend it into a table stand or even wear it around your neck. The mount is adjustable and fits most phones.
Photo booth frames are so much fun, but they're bulky and don't fit in suitcases. That's why I love the inflatable photo frame! And to hack it for social media, attach a clear sheet protector so you can add any message quickly and neatly.
Thinking about starting your own YouTube channel? You will definitely need this green screen chair backdrop and lavalier cell phone mic to make your videos look fun and professional. The Webaround provides a nice solid background for your students' Flipgrid videos even if they don't use the green screen effect. Order a lavalier mic (wired with a clip is fine) that is compatible with your cell phone. Throw it into your bag and you will be able to record awesome sound wherever you are.
You love your students, but you don't love their germs! Give them fist pumps instead of high fives with this giant fist drink cooler. ***Do not add a beer can!
Promote communication, collaboration, and critical thinking through the design thinking process. These dry erase mats are large enough for groups, and thin enough to carry in your suitcase. Turn them over for blank canvases for creation. Don't add more waste to our landfills and use these mats over and over again.
I believe that libraries are worlds of possibilities for our children. They should be places of "yes, and" not "no, but." We really need balance, as do all aspects of education.
This past week our family attended a Book Grab event as a kick-off to summer reading, hosted by their school's School Based Management (SBM) Team. About a month earlier, I sent them to school with books that they had outgrown in response to a flier that we had received. I had no idea what the purpose was until they excitedly told us last week about this book event. With books separated at different tables according to ages (baby books to adult books), our children rushed to find new books to read. The school librarian, Mrs. Schlaich, read a book to the children while they listened and snacked. Students exchanged bookmarks that they had colored, and volunteers photographed the students in front of a summer beach backdrop. Of course the local children's librarian was on hand to share information about the public library reading program. What a brilliant way to recycle our resources while promoting reading! To learn more about this event visit http://www.shufsd.org/News/#83841. To sign up for the free myON digital library summer reading resource at New York Libraries go to http://www.summerreadingnys.org/myon/.
If you've never seen art teacher Cassie Stephens' clothing creations, you are missing out! Inspired by famous artists, Cassie is the Ms. Frizzle of the art classroom. You can check out her cool creations on her blog here:
Well, I'm no seamstress and certainly no artist. In fact, I'm more at home with a hot glue gun and some Velcro. But I do enjoy fun clothes and accessories. So what are some of my favorite things?
Over Easter break, I had the privilege of working with a phenomenal group of Alberta librarians who braved the snowy spring weather (even as far as 2.5 hours away) to "hack" all things advocacy, reading, and making. After a few days experiencing the natural beauty of western Canada, the Alberta Learning Commons Council "Hacking School Libraries" mini-conference was my last stop before returning to New York.
HELPING HANDS AND HEALING HEARTS FOR HEALTHY MINDS: HOW LADY GAGA, DONORSCHOOSE, FLIPGRID, 100 STUDENTS, AND A FRIEND MADE A DIFFERENCE
Some years ago, my friend and colleague Claudia Leon and I brought our NYS Liberty Partnerships students on a field trip to the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park, Long Island. We brought with us:
This year I had been speaking to a group of students about the Ronald McDonald House and what an impact that field trip made. At the same time, a new program was being promoted by DonorsChoose.org and the Born This Way Foundation, led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, to support mental and emotional wellness. As an advocate for student voice to empower children to become agents of change, I had used the Flipgrid video recording tool for our SLIME event's Make a Difference Charity Pitch Fest. With all of these in mind, tt was time to write a new project with my students:
"Many of us visit the library because it is a place where we can relax and meet with our friends during free time. Our library has a classroom area, a reading lounge, and a makerspace. We even have exercise bikes that we ride on when we read. Our "Kids Kindness Kart" that has supplies so we can make things for others. During a day of working so hard, it's nice to visit the library and make things with our friends like toys for shelter dogs, cards for sick kids, and kindness rocks. Mrs. Holzweiss told us about the Ronald McDonald House, a place where families stay when their children are in the hospital. We want to help these families to cheer them up, and to know that people are thinking about them. We know that it's hard when people you love are sick, so we can take turn our pain into something positive.
If this project is funded we will have the supplies that we need to create beautiful works of art, and enjoy the wonderful smells and sounds of the library. After we paint our pictures, we are going to record video messages of hope with the Flipgrid app. Then we will print the QR code and attach it to the back of the artwork before we give them to the families at the Ronald McDonald House. They will have the artwork and a video to remind them when they need cheering up. If they want, they can even respond to our videos. We can do some awesome things together! This can make our school and the whole world a better place."
A few students participated by creating works of art in the library during their free periods, but I soon realized that it would take quite some time to paint 100 pieces of artwork to donate to the Ronald McDonald House. And so how it usually happens in the library, one thing leads to another...
My colleague Amy Scognamillo, a 6th grade ELA teacher, explained how she had been reading the picture books We're All Wonders by R.J. Palacio and Malala's Magic Pencil by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai with her students so that they could develop not only literacy skills, but also empathy. Listening to Amy speak was magical!
I explained my idea of this Ronald McDonald House art project to complement her lessons, and Amy immediately agreed to join me. For three days, my library was transformed into an art studio. With paints, crayons, markers, canvases, and brushes Amy's students created heartwarming messages of hope and inspiration. They not only learned ABOUT empathy, but they were given the opportunity to make a difference with their hands, hearts, and minds.
This project is particularly special for both Amy and me. Today is the 19th anniversary of her mother Marie's passing, and the 13th anniversary of my sister Laryssa's passing. I thank Amy not only for collaborating with me as a colleague, but the gift of making a difference with her and her students.
Click here to view the student messages: https://flipgrid.com/6af621
ARTS AND CRAFTS
Today I write about my son. My blog today has nothing to do with makerspaces or libraries. Today I write about a lesson that I learned.
After a two month summer hiatus from school and Tae Kwon Do, we returned to our normal routine. I dug up our sparring bags, uniforms, and belts and began the weekly ritual of bringing our three children (Tyler 7, Riley 6, and Lexy 4) to their Tae Kwon Do lessons. I thought they would be a "little rusty" from the long break, but they didn't miss a beat.
Lexy was her usual scrappy self. At barely 3 feet tall and 25 pounds, she has kept up with her brothers. She is learning skills of self-discipline and self-defense, important for every young girl (especially for someone of her stature). Today, she earned a red star for her performance.
Tyler and Riley are both in the same class afterwards, both blue belts with stripes. My boys are similar (love Star Wars, video games, and bugging their little sister), but they are also so different (personalities, abilities, and eating habits). Today Tyler earned a star, just like his sister. All three of our children have learned that some days they will earn a star in Tae Kwon Do, and sometimes they won't. After years of participating in this sport they have accepted it. But today was different. Today Riley was forcing the tears back and clenching his teeth, trying to hold back his emotions like Dr. Banner and the Hulk (his favorite super hero).
After much prodding, we finally discovered that Riley was upset about two things. First he was upset that he didn't earn a star. This is unusual, because Riley is very accepting. The second reason made more sense to us. Riley's Tae Kwon Do instructor gave him a thin board to break, and a thicker board to his older brother. Riley felt slighted. He wanted to break the thicker board so he grabbed one from the pile. His instructor knew his abilities, and tried to ease him back into Tae Kwon Do by giving him the thinner board. I understood it from an adult's point of view, but Riley didn't.
Tyler tried to comfort him by giving him the blue star that he had earned, but Riley wouldn't have it. It wasn't the star he really wanted (although my husband and I thought that Riley deserved it more today of our two sons). He wanted the thicker board. He wanted to be like his brother, and he wanted to try it. Giving Riley his own star wouldn't have helped the situation. It would have diminished the value of the ones that his brother and sister had received.
After the lesson, we explained the situation to the instructor. Riley dried his tears and smiled when the instructor picked up a thick board and called him over. Riley tried and tried kicking and pushing. But it wouldn't break. Since thinner boards are easier to break, the instructor picked up two thin boards and showed Riley that the thickness together would equal one thick board. Riley kicked them and smiled. He didn't need the star. He needed an opportunity to feel proud of himself.
The fact of the matter is, Riley has earned more stars that Tyler over the years. Riley has more "heart" for Tae Kwon Do. Riley should have received two stars yesterday, one for his effort and one for his determination.
And, of course, we bought ice cream on the way home just as Riley wanted.
It seems that every company is getting in on the makerspace craze. Some are offering resources, materials, and programs that have little to do with inquiry and ingenuity by slapping the word "makerspace" on the package and hoping it sticks. Believe it or not, Microsoft is a company that has done it right! Here's why:
MICROSOFT MAKER SPACE PROJECT AT ISTE 2016 IN DENVER
HAVING FUN AT HOME WITH PROJECTS
Kristina A. Holzweiss
Ed Tech School Librarian