What's Your Handle? Avoiding Mistaken Identity

Recently I posted a picture of a student and her work on the library's Instagram account. She had given me permission and even gave me her Instagram handle to tag her. I use IFTTT so my Instagram posts go directly to Twitter. The problem: she does not have a Twitter account and the handle she uses for Instagram handle is owned by someone else, who's profile pic made me look like...

This got me thinking about our students who are applying for colleges and jobs. We know that schools and employers investigate candidates on social media. In fact, interviewers may pose questions such as "What would I learn about you from your social media accounts?" 

I decided to have an awkward but very enlightening conversation (for both the student and for me) with the student. We discussed how an future employer, college admissions agent, or even a future mother-in-law might know of her Instagram account and go to check for her on other social media platforms, assuming she uses the same…

Co-Teaching... More than Content & Skills!

I love co-teaching and I am blessed to have colleagues who want to work with me. I have recently been working with an English teacher, Ms. Malavazos, and her students. We are both enthusiastic about the student project which helped with student engagement. 

Driving home last night, reflecting on our lessons, I realized that besides learning content, research skills and how to use digital tools, students are learning life skills by watching us interact. This is not something we planned or intended but it is a organic by-product of our collaboration.

I have noticed that good co-teaching authentically teaches students:

It's ok to not know an answer. Ask for help.
Ms. M and I admit when we do not know something (we each have our own areas of expertise) and will ask each other for help in the middle of a lesson.  

How to disagree.
There were times when students would ask a question and Ms. M and I had two different ideas about how to answer. Instead of trying to "the be right one",…

To Kill a Mockingbird Digital Curation Inspired by Amanda Lawrence

UPDATED 1/31/19

The November 2018 School Library Journal (SLJ) featured the article"Digital Curation of Classics: Instagram project helps students find relevance in To Kill a Mockingbird" by Amanda Lawrence.  Ms. Lawrence details a project she collaborated on with the freshman English teacher and piloted with ninth grade students. The project was designed to answer the age old questions "Why do I have to read this?" 
Ms. Lawrence granted me permission to discuss the article and share the resources I created for my students. Her response "Teamwork makes the dream work!" (I love my professional community!!)
While you can read more about the project in the SLJ article, briefly, Lawrence and her colleague asked students to create a thematic photo journal. The students selected a theme from To Kill a Mockingbird and connectedLee's work to present day. The students learned to use databases to explore and understand current events and to locate a present day pr…

National Honor Society Keynote Speech, LHS 2018

This is my keynote address for the 2018 Ledyard High School National Honor Society Induction Ceremony (November 19, 2018).

Thank you so much for inviting me here tonight. I am incredibly honored to be asked to speak to you. I want to begin by offering my heartfelt congratulations to the new inductees. You have worked hard to be here this evening and you should be very proud.

I am just a little bit  nervous. It was so much easier to talk a large group of students when you were smaller. For those of you who do not know me, this is my third year as the library media specialist at Ledyard High School. I spent 20 years before as the library media specialist at Ledyard Center and Gallup Hill Schools.

I have had the unique opportunity of knowing and working with many of these students since elementary school. And I can say it is an absolute pleasure watching them grow as students, leaders and great people.

One of very few drawbacks of working at the high school is that I do not have regular clas…

Understand Bias, Fact Check & Read Laterally

Disinformation, propaganda, misinformation are new but with advancement of technologies, they are certainly harder to identify, especially with artificial intelligence and the ability to combine media to create deepfakes. See "How the Wall Street Journal is Preparing its Journalists to Detect Deep Fakes" by Francesco Marconi & Till Daldrup, Nieman Lab 11/15/18.

The CRAAP test has been the tried and true method used to teach students how to identify whether a web site contains good information. Thank you to my School Librarian Workshop Facebook tribe for reminding me that CRAAP criteria is still important. However, it is based on vertical reading, as most of the items the currency, relevance, accuracy, authority, and purpose.

I recently read Alex Couros and Katia Hildebrandt's article Hildebrandt. “Developing Critical Literacies: What We Need to Know in a “Fake News” World.”Canadian School Libraries Journal, Spring 2018, which made me think of how I could improve how I …


I LOVE MR. SCHU!!!! To say Mr. Schu is passionate about reading, children, and libraries is an understatement. He embodies everything I want to be and since I can't be him I want to be his best friend. Truly, if I could have spent then entire CECA/CASL conference listening to him...from right smack in the middle of the front row.

Mr. Schu (really John Schumacher) started his career as an elementary school teacher before becoming a school librarian (only he can tell the animated story of this journey).  He is currently is a lecturer at Rutgers University and the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic. He uses his blog Watch. Connect. Read and his Twitter feed to pursue his life's goal, to put the right book in every child's hand. 

His enthusiasm for connecting kids to books is contagious. He inspires kids to read because he genuinely LOVES kids books!  

He reminded me of why I became a school librarian. Every week when I was a child my sister, my mother and I would walk…

Intro to Research: An Interdisciplinary Project for Freshman

Every fall the freshman history teachers assign an research project to introduce students to research skills and tools they will need at the high school. At the same time, the same students were writing a paper for English class. Last year we combined these assignments in to an interdisciplinary research project. 

Students are asked to choose a revolution and answer the question "What causes a revolution?" They are to find causes and evidence for each cause (the number of causes and the amount of evidence required depends on the level of the class).

The project requires close collaboration with the school librarian (me). One of the things we noticed during last fall's work with students was that students become frustrated with all tools they are learning for the first time.

This year we dedicated more in class time for students to complete their research. Each block the students had specific tasks and tools they were to use. This allowed plenty of opportunities for students…