LEDtech Evaluation

In my last post I discussed the planning of our first district LEDtech professional day which we held this past Tuesday, November 7th. 

The day was well received by over 99% of the attendees, the data is listed below. 

I ran 3 different sessions that day.  Below are my links and reflections on each.

I began by asking the teachers to view EDpuzzle as a student. They joined the Google Classroom I created for the day and they followed the announcement to the EDpuzzle assignment. They proceeded to watch and answer the questions I had created. 

I used the smart board to project the teacher side of EDpuzzle where teachers can see student progress, their answers, the multiple choice grades and how to grade the free answer.   

Before continuing on we discussed how EDpuzzle can be used in class. I provided this hyperdoc to participants with the list of idea and steps to create an EDpuzzle.

I then gave them an EDpuzzle tour, teaching participants to connect Google Classroom student lists; search the EDpuzzle libraries; and create, assign and post  an EDpuzzle.
Teachers, who ranged from elementary to high school, were given time to find and/or create their own so I could help individuals with any questions.


My NoodleTools group learned how to use the tool as a student and teacher. NoodleTools did provide me with a great slideshow presentation but I took a more hands-on approach, asking participants to create a project. Teachers from subject areas beyond humanities who attended found it helpful to know what students were doing in other areas. The middle school teachers who attended thought there was a lot going on for some of their students.  So we talked about how to use Google Slides in a similar fashion. I also made sure everyone knew about the resources on our school LibGuides for research.

Video Creation Tools

This was an advanced group and also a very eclectic group - ranging from preschool to high school teachers and with 3 administrators. While each one of the tools I introduced could have been a standalone session, I chose I chose to give 10 minute overview of each because of the wide range of participants. I shared this handout  I planned the last 20 minutes for teachers to choose the one they think would be most useful in their class to play with and ask more questions about.  

By this third session, I could tell participants were exhausted. So much new learning in so little time. I also noticed while my first two sessions, the participants wanted to play with the tools, this session, although "advanced" did not jump on and start playing. I encouraged participants to focus on ONE thing they learned in the course of the morning to implement in their classroom.  

A couple participants thought there was too much content and while I agree I also know my reasoning behind the multiple tools. I think if I had tried to showcase 3 tools in a first session it would have not seemed so overwhelming. I also know for next time, this session would be specific to elementary, middle or high school. 

We will be doing an official de-brief with the LEDtech committee and start planning for 2018!'

Planning the First "LEDtech" - District Technology Day

The Ledyard school district will be hosting the first Ledyard Technology (LEDtech) event where district educators will be teaching fellow educators how to use a variety of apps and tools.

Last school year our district began transitioning to a Google School. Students and staff were provided Google accounts and several grade levels received Chromebooks as we began the first phase of the district's 1:1 initiative. Many of the high school and middle school teachers I work with began incorporating Google Classroom and Google Apps, most of them having little or no formal training. I know the same is true at the elementary level. Educators would learn apps on their own, learn about tools from their own professional learning networks and incorporate them in to their curriculum to enhance student learning. 

In December 2016, our school district sent about a dozen teachers to the EdTechTeam summit in Boston. (Note: if you EVER have an opportunity to attend an EdTechTeam event I absolutely recommend!!) Those of us who attended the event, excitedly returned to school with so many ideas. We incorporated aspects of our new learning with our students and informally shared ideas with colleagues. We also discussed our learning with our assistant superintendent, Jennifer P. Byars, EdD. The idea for our own district day of technology arose from those conversations.

In the fall 2017, a committee of teachers was formed to begin planning the LEDtech Event. We brainstormed a list of technology tools and apps we would each be willing to teach and surveyed the teachers via Google Forms to find out what they would want to learn. We also created levels of sessions ranging from beginner to expert.  

Dr. Byars took the lead on creating the survey, analyzing the results, organizing the registration process and creating the schedule for the day. A LEDtech webpage with the catalog of offerings was created and teachers were required to sign up for 3 sessions prior to the event on November 7th. In the meantime teacher presenters are working on the resources they will present. 

Stay tuned - next week I will be posting reflections for the LEDtech event!!

Taking a Risk with TouchCast

Teachers are constantly asking students to take risks in their learning. How often do students see us, their teachers, take risks, make mistakes, learn through play, (and sometimes look ridiculous) in our own learning? 

I have been wanting to learn TouchCast for a long time. It is an awesome tool for video creation that I learned about through Laura Gardner. I have been dabbling with the iPad app and bought a green screen and lights that I left in the bag for a good month before deciding just to jump in and start creating. 

I imagined creating the perfect tutorial video that I would share with teachers so teachers and students knew about it as a possible tool to use for presentations. I would  describe the app, showcase its features, and appear poised and confident the entire time. 

I had a lot of fun playing with it as I created my first TouchCast. It is far from poised, seamless and perfect. I could have done a lot more retakes and done a better job editing but I wanted students to see my rough cut, my willingness to take a risk and put myself out there to learn and teach them about a new technology. 

I am very excited that teachers and students have already reached out and want me to work with them to create TouchCasts for their own projects. There are so many ideas - student skits, newscasts, talk shows, teacher sub plans, interviews (mock or real), advertisements and more. Creating videos is also a great opportunity to incorporate media literacy. Students can analyze media messages and discuss about how and why certain media messages are created.

A big THANK YOU to Laura Gardner for generously sharing her knowledge about TouchCast!

September....phew it's almost over

I love the start of the school year - the energy, the excitement, the clean slate. But man does September exhaust me.

Getting back into the routine, preparing lessons, attending endless meetings, getting to know students, and open houses are just a few of the work related balls being juggled. Add to that a son starting kindergarten, his fall sports and activity schedule and moving back in to my home after a five month construction project has left me feeling exhausted and stressed.

Students feel the same way.  They have just as many, and sometimes even more, balls in the air and stressors in their lives. The students at my school recognize they need and want to learn techniques to manage anxiety and stress.  

Because of my yoga experience, the committee that plans the activities for our Advisory blocks, asked me to help with ideas and resources to discuss mindfulness with students.  The following doc is a list of resources I put together to help teachers discuss and work with students in their groups. I do choose my words carefully as meditation and yoga can have a spiritual connotation and some families may (and have expressed concern). When I do use those terms I am clear with students that I am not here to guide them spiritually, that religion and spirituality is something discussed at home.  I am just trying to teach them skills to manage stress, nerveousness and anxiety.  Here are my suggestions:

Refreshing the Library for the New School Year

Guest blog post by Anne Marie Doyle, a elementary school library media specialist in Westerly, Rhode Island. And also my sister!

I love the beginning of the school year, but this year I am particularly excited. I have been job sharing at my school for 8 years and this school year marks my return to full time!

I have been thinking about the layout of my library for few years but have been hesitant to change too much because I have been sharing the space with other librarians. Now, that I am the sole librarian at the school, I decided to re-organize the library to create an environment more conducive to learning, the supervision of students and ultimately more inviting to both students and staff.

I asked my sister who is also a school librarian to help out with the project. We decided to move every section of the library to create a layout that had a better flow and allowed more access to the children for supervision during book selection time.

I had several issues with the way the library was arranged:
  • My lessons were constantly being interrupted by teachers and students coming and going in to the offices and storage closets.  
  • I could not see the younger students who were checking out books from the circulation desk.
  • The Fiction section was smooshed into a very small area with series books pulled out and distributed randomly on the tops of the shelves. 
  • There were books on top of every single bookshelf, even the tallest that students could not reach.
  • The collection had not been weeded in years. 


The work was long, tedious and sweaty, but the effort was worth it in the end.
  • I added shelving from a school that closed in our district which gave me the privacy I was looking for from the offices. 
  • I moved the Everybody Picture books to these shelves and the adjacent shelves, so that I could better supervise our smaller students as they selected books.
  • The Nonfiction and Biography Books were relocated to the far side of the room. 
  • I spread out the Fiction books so students had room to spread out and browse. I also put the series book back in the Fiction section under the author's name to help students more easily locate them.
  • I also created a section of transitional chapter books for our younger students to access (and I can still see them from the circulation desk) but they are near the Fiction section so older, less skilled readers do not feel like they are in the "little kid section."
  • I weeded enough books that the tops of all shelves were now clear and could be used for display only.
  • We weeded so much that it looks like our shelves are filled with brand new books.    

    I removed 15-20 year old signage that was was caked with dust. I created new visual signage and added vinyl stickers to spruce up the cinder block walls. The art teacher helped me create movable signage for sections.

 I made the signage on Canva and the frames came from Ikea.
I purchased a cloth wardrobe closet to use as a Fligrid space so students can have privacy while creating video responses.

The best part was seeing the kids reactions when they walked in. 
It is going to be a great year in our fresh new library space!

Tech PD for Teachers

I have been asked to run part of the technology professional development for teachers before school starts.  The group I am going to work with will be the "high fliers" or the "fish grou" (I have no idea where that name came from). I immediately made a list of the apps and tools I have been most excited to learn this summer but was struggling with how to present it. I wanted to use the new Google Sites but I still find the interface cumbersome.  

Then I remembered Tracy Enos's playlist. Tracy is an 8th grade ELA teacher in the West Warwick Public Schools who I meet at the Digital Literacy Institute this summer. Tracy granted me permission to use some of her examples as I think it is much more meaningful for teachers to SEE how other teachers are using tools successfully with student.  I also loved how Tracy checked how the app could be used.

I did still put it in a Google Site so I could present it as a tool but the meat of the playlist is in a Google Doc.  

Weekly #DigitalTip Inspired by Social LEADia

As a middle school and high school school library media specialist,I do not see students on a regular basis. I try to find ways to communicate with them and teach them through social media. I create informational graphics for Instagram and Twitter. This summer I was inspired to create weekly #DigitalTips based on Jennifer Casa-Todd's Social LEADia.  

Casa-Todd based the tips on Mike Ribble's Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship
  1. Digital Access
  2. Digital Communication
  3. Digital Law
  4. Digital Security
  5. Digital Commerce
  6. Digital Health & Wellness
  7. Digital Literacy
  8. Digital Etiquette
  9. Digital Rights & Responsibilities
I have shared them with my principals who want to include the tips in the morning announcements, print them and post them throughout the school and discuss them in their advisory meetings. I continue to add to them and will keep the drive updated.

I created a #DigitalTip Google Drive of the graphics and you are welcome to personalize them as I did with my school logo and contact info.  They will also be available on the Social LEADia website

Work cited
Casa-Todd, Jennifer. Social LEADia: Moving Students from Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership. 
     San Diego, Dave Burgess Consulting, 2017. 

LEDtech Evaluation

In my last post I discussed the planning of our first district LEDtech professional day which we held this past Tuesday, November 7th.  ...