The Gift of No Devices

Thank you to Anne Marie Doyle for co-authoring this post with me!

This summer my sister, also a school library media-specialist, and I discussed getting our own children Chromebooks for Christmas. We both work in public schools with one-to-one initiatives. My sister and I are both very techie. We love finding new tools and ways to engage and enhance student learning and creativity with technology. We are both are passionate about making sure our students and our own children use technology responsibly and ethically. 

It seems that we would want our own children ages 6, 8, and 11 (my sister's kids are the two older ones) to have device to learn on. However, we both quickly changed our minds.  
In both our homes, we have computers, iPads, Kindles and smartphones. We allow our children to use them but make no mistake, they are OUR devices, not our children's. Allowing them to use technology is a privilege, not a right. My sister has a chart where her children must do chores, read for an allotted amount of time, and play/color/ride bikes/etc before earning a set time on a device. That tech time they work towards includes watching YouTube videos, playing on Xbox, or using the iPad. I have a timer to limit my son's iPad usage. 

Our children use the devices in family rooms so we can monitor, assist and encourage them. They are not allowed to use in their bedrooms. Could I monitor, encourage and assist my child on his own device? Yes but he is 6, does he really need a device? Does he really need a piece of technology he can call his own? My sister's children are older and are great kids but does that mean they should have their own laptop? Like all kids, they are curious and impulsive, a combination that could be a recipe for disaster. Yes, those disasters allow us to teach life lessons but sometimes those life lessons are not age appropriate. It has been hard enough trying to explain what they hear about on the news and see in the newspaper these days.

Technology is addictive. We know that. Giving a child a device before they are ready assumes they already know how to use it responsibly. It assumes that the child is psychologically ready and the the child has supportive adults to assist and guide students. 

"My eight year old daughter has been using an old iPod touch we found when cleaning the house. It is not an understatement when I state that in the 48 hours since we discovered it, the iPod has been by her side. Part of the problem I notice is many of my children’s friends have their own devices and my children feel pressure to have their own. Every family has to make the best choice for their children. I know my children are not ready for the enormity of having their own device. Weekly my son and daughter ask “how old do I have to be to get my own phone?”  When my children begin to spend more time out with friends, especially when they are old enough for those times are unsupervised, I want them to have the ability to contact me.  But since mine are not at that point yet we will wait.  I believe that we need to model responsible use first as adults and hope that that will become intrinsic in our own kids.   That means restraint and technology free times at home with the family. No phone message, social media notification, text message or tweet should be more important than my children." 
-Anne Marie Doyle

Sitting in church last week we witnessed a mother with three elementary aged children check and reply to messages on her phone multiple times. Across the aisle a cell phone rang, another ones text alerts went off. What lessons are our children learning from us? Church, playgrounds, beach, library, parent teacher conferences, restaurants, sporting events, concerts, theater productions, and where is sacred. Instead, we treat our phones like they are the most important and sacred thing as they garner our full attention no matter what the circumstance.

I always have my phone or tablet close by. I say it's in case someone (my son's teacher, my aging parents) need to get in touch with me. But it truly is the fear of missing out. I try not to respond like Pavlov's dog each time it dings but I am not always successful. My sister is the same way. However, we make a point of talking to our children about our behavior and make sure they see us leaving our phones in the car when we are at church or a movie. Within our own families we have rules that we give our children permission to help enforce - no phones at the dinner table, no phones in the bedrooms*. We want them to understand balance and restraint. We want them to see life is what is happening around them and not what is happening on a screen.  

What will be the right age to give our children their own devices? I truly do not know. Right now I am thinking 8th or 9th grade. We need to see how our children's personalities develop, gauge their maturity and their sense of responsibility. My sister just allowed my nephew to get his own email address, that was a huge milestone...he was so excited! He will be using

Is the ability to use technology an important life skill? Absolutely! But there are a lot more important things that we want our children to prioritize and learn before giving them a personal device.  

Developing the Love of Reading

I am a school librarian and I have a son who doesn't love to read.

How did this happen?

Ever since I can remember I dreamed of having a child who would nestle next to me at night excited to read together. Some of my dearest memories from my own childhood were cozed up under a blanket with my sister listening to my mother read the adventures of Laura Ingalls, Ramona Quimby, the Five Little Peppers and so many more.

I know that passionate readers are created. I have that have read to M every night since he has been born. It was so easy when he was a baby. Not being able to talk meant he could not argue with me about putting on pajamas, brushing his teeth, reading books, and going to bed. In the last couple years I confess I more than occasionally would substitute a tv show before bed because I was too exhausted to fight with a child who did not want to read. (Note: We always watch television with closed captioning turned on...not exactly reading but at least shows the importance of the printed word.)

I tried not to worry because M knew his letters and sounds. However, he showed no interest in learning how to read words. As a librarian, a mom, and an avid reader, I feel like a failure. We took trips to the library, I let him choose whatever books he wanted, despite my own lack of enthusiasm for another Avenger book. I let him check out chapter books that I knew were over his head because I know that saying "no" to a book further dampers any flicker of interest in reading and books. Together we would choose a few books that I knew would be appropriate for reading together. When we got home, we would unpack them and maybe read a couple but it was a struggle, far from the serene mother and son reading experience I dreamed about.

And then we discovered Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie and things started to look up. Oh how we both LOVED the characters and stories. The simplicity of the story and ability to act out the character allowed us to read together (I whispered the words to him because he could not read them). We talked about empathy and how facial expressions and body language show emotions. We them again and again and again. We scoured the library and bought our favorites. Matthew even got to meet Elephant & Piggie with his preschool class. 
Two of M's favorite characters.

When Mo Willems ended the series, we branched out and enjoyed the Pigeon books, but my son's interest was waning again. Part of this was due to us being displaced from our home for several months so our routines were out of whack, the other was that we were living with his older cousins. The cousins LOVED to read out loud to him but my son preferred to play with them and did not sit still well, especially with other kids around. Then I blamed transitioning back to our house. Through it all I kept offering books and always had plenty of books available around the house. 

My husband and I also model reading as an enjoyable activity.  We both always have a book within reach. We talk about books with family and friends and my son witnesses these moments.

My son is 6 now. He just started kindergarten so I have hope that his love of reading will grow. He is learning site words through movement and gets excited when he recognizes one. He is so proud when he can read a site word book. I see a flicker of reading love starting. 

My sister recently gave M a gift card to the local book shop for his birthday. Again, I held my opinions and let M choose what he wanted. Because of his new interest in football he chose The Football Fumble by David A. Kelly. It is a chapter book that I knew he could not read himself. When we got home, M was so excited about the book HE picked out and purchased, he nestled in to my side and we read for two hours. I used my finger as I read pointing to each word, and his eyes followed, excited when he recognized one of his site words! What is even better is that this is part of a series which we have now been devouring. 

Would M prefer to play Legos, use the iPad, or run around outside over reading? Absolutely! But I know that "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents" (Emilie Buchwald). 

It would be easy to give up and hand M the ipad and turn on an ebook but an app will not replace the experience of reading together. I will not give up because the love of reading is too important. Not just the ability to read, but the desire to devour books. I want M to want to read for fun, for intellectual gains, to develop empathy, to understand the world. I want M to be filled with excitement each time he opens a book.  

Creating a reader is not something that happens overnight, it takes a lot of work with some children, M is one of those children. 

I am a school librarian and I have a son who doesn't love to read...YET.  
I am committed to the YET!

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. 

Library Promotion with Adobe Spark

Just learning some "new to me" tools while working on our freshman library orientation and wanted to share. Adobe Spark is my new favorite!

Social LEADia: A Facebook Discussion

updated 8/9/2017

Two years ago George Couros came to our school district gave an powerful talk about the importance of using social media as a tool in the classroom.  As he was speaking, I began following Couros on Twitter and through him discovered and followed Jennifer Casa-Todd.  

Jennifer's blog, Endless Possibilities is a candid reflection of her journey as an educator and parent. She shares ideas and thoughts about a variety of topics including the use of technology and social media. I love learning from her blog posts and was excited when I heard she published the book Social LEADia, which I have now read multiple times.  

Social LEADia challenges its readers to move out of their comfort zone, to overcome challenges and to work with students to find opportunities to use social media in authentic and meaningful ways. It is one of the best professional books I have read in a long time. 

I reached out to Jennifer Casa-Todd through Twitter and her Social LEADia Facebook group (yes I love the book so much I follow her everywhere). I was interested in joining an online book discussion although I admit Twitter chats make my head spin. Jennifer offered me the opportunity to host a book discussion in her Social LEADia Facebook group. I was honored and suddenly panicked. I have never run an online book discussion and the AUTHOR was going to be a part of it!

This is my first experience with using Facebook for book discussion and I realize some people may be completely new to Facebook so I thought I would give you some tips and the plan for the evening.
  • The conversations in the Social LEADia Facebook group are only accessible to the approved members of the group.  Please request to join the group to participate.
  • Discussion questions will be posted approximately every 10 minutes. 
  • Please "Comment" to the posted question to discuss.  This will keep the conversations organized. 
  • Some questions are in a Flipgrid format, you maybe record your answer using Flipgrid or type your answer.  You may also respond to each other through Flipgrid.
  • It has become common practice that if someone is interested in a thread but has nothing to offer they comment "following" so they receive notifications when future comments are made. You do not need to do this. Instead, click on the arrow in the right hand corner of the post and select "Turn on notifications for this post."
  • If you are not able to make it for the live chat, please pop in any time with your comments or sharing.

Our hope is that our two evenings of discussion are just the beginning of continuing conversations and sharing so that we can all help our students use social media for learning & sharing their learning, standing up for causes that are important to them, and to be a more positive influence on others: ultimately social media leaders.

I want to thank Jennifer Casa-Todd for her assistance, responding to my questions as we worked together to plan this event. Jennifer also assisted with this blog post and allowed me to use her graphics.

Update 8/9/2017 - Reflections after first Facebook chat
What worked well:

  • conversations easy to follow
  • replies were not limited to 140 characters
  • more in-depth sharing 
  • smaller group - more meaningful connections
  • easy to refer back to conversations
  • easy to jump in after the fact to see what discussed and add to conversations


  • too many questions - the ability to have longer responses made it hard to keep up
  • limited number of people - not open to public (both a pro and con)
  • forgot to have people introduce self
  • people seemed to like to type more than Flipgrid for this type of limited time sharing 

How Can I Help You and Our Students?

I left the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy with a few questions:
What will I do next?  
How will I implement what I have learned?
How can I help teachers with digital media in their curricula?

I began composing an email to the teachers at my school discussing the ways in which I can help them. Thank goodness I did not send it because the reality of sending a wordy to teachers at the beginning of the school year, let alone in the summer, was that it would be read by a handful. 
I decided to create a graphic and shared it with the awesome School Librarian's Workshop Facebook tribe.  I received a lot of positive feedback and constructive ideas which resulted in the final graphic which I will be emailing teachers to grab their attention and get them thinking about ways I can maybe help them when school starts next month!  

Summer Institute in Digital Literacy - Day 6

Project Day 
Digital tools and resources can be amazing but they need to be used in a purposeful way to provide meaningful learning opportunities. That was why the Personal Digital Inquiry Plan (aka Dyad Project) was an important piece of our work of the week.   

Day 6, our final day, was project day.  We worked on our projects and prepared to share them with others. 

My Dyad partner, Bill, and I focused on using the inquiry process to teach students to find, evaluate and select digital resources.  As I mentioned in a previous post, there was a lot of paperwork through this process. I am sharing our work on this blog but please know this was a starting point for both of us that does need fine tuning We focused our work in the PLAN pages (see 1 below). We began creating a Blendspace, a tool that I have used in the past but was new to Bill. The Blendspace we created (see 2 below) features a variety of skills and information important for research.  e also planned opportunities for student reflection give us feedback by teaching students formal email writing skills (with proper greets and not text-speak spelling). We also planned to use Screencasting for student reflection, allowing them to explain their  thought process as they searched for and selected resources.  

I attended several sessions with Kristin Hokansen and I liked her style of allowing students to notice and discover on their own instead of talking at students.  I began outlining how I would do this with my students within this project.  I began outlining and sketching out ideas in this Intro to Research Eng 9 Google Doc (see 3 below). I am very interested in teaching life skills and the "whole child" so I would like students to be able to identify how what they are learning will help them with what I call the 3 secrets to success in life:
2. Effort
3. Kind 

Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 attendees shared their topics at the end of the work session.
All of our projects and resources are available for members of the Institute to access through our class Wiki.  (Side note: This was my first experience really utilizing Wikispaces and, like any new tool, it drove me a little crazy for the first few days but by the end of the week I was comfortable with it and saw what a powerful tool it was for sharing information).  

As I was walking around, talking to people, I thought of ways their school librarian might support them. I decided that this weekend I will be emailing my fellow teachers at school and invite them to share some of their current student projects with me and allow me to co-teach with them and help them implement digital tools in a meaningful way.

The week was a great experience and I am very lucky I was given the opportunity to attend.  
For now, I am goig to return to summer and my #30bookssummer reading challenge before EdCamp next week!

1.  Draft of our PDI Plan

2.  Blendspace Lesson Plan - I know this is too big but resizing did not work.

3.  My work-in-progress outline to use this year.

Summer Institute in Digital Literacy 2017 - Day 5

Please know this is my personal learning and reflections.
Deepening Assessment Digitally 
Troy Hicks and Jill Castek discussed how students can use digital tools to assess their work and how teachers can use digital tools to assess student work. They showed us two examples 

As I mentioned yesterday, as I begin introducing more tools to students, I like the idea of using digital tools for students to highlight and reflect upon their learning.  I think students will take a risk and try something new when there is not a grade attached to it.  

Digital assessment tool as a final grade requires that the teacher has already built relationships with their students.  There must be a sense of community so that students are not afraid to approach a teacher and question digital feedback.  I do not think it should replace personal conferencing with students.  Personal conferencing I believe is the most meaningful way to provide assessment as the teacher knows that the student is receiving the feedback and there is little chance of misinterpretations as teachers can react to student facial reactions and possible body language in the discussion. It also teach student very important interpersonal communication skills. 

I also think that today's data driven teacher evaluation system needs to change before using digital tools as formative assessments will be "acceptable". 

Resources from the Session

There were no breakout sessions today which left me very sad as I love the hands on learning with smaller groups!
I confess I was disappointed I was not assigned to a panel that had a representative from West Warwick, the school with the amazing students from Day 2.  Our panel included 

1. William Yang, Assistant Principal, Edgewood Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY 
2. Erica DeVoe, ELA Teacher, Westerly High School, Westerly, RI 
3. Megan Jones, District Educational Technology Coach/TOSA, Citrus County Schools, FL
4. Frank Romanelli, Writing & Rhetoric Lecturer, University of Rhode Island 
5. Anne Kilkenny, Children’s Librarian, Providence Public Library, RI

They discussed their definitions of digital literacy and how to take on a leadership role moving your school toward more digital projects.  

DYAD Project
At the beginning of the week we were tasked with creating a Personal Inquiry Project for students.  What felt like a very concrete format was given to us and we worked on it each day.  I thought it interesting as we discussed personal and personalized learning we were being given a format.  I understand the why, however, I know as a veteran teacher, how I best approach creating lessons.  
Our PDI Planning Worksheets! I finally had to print...scrolling to connect information did not work for me. 

I am a very linear person (can't you tell from my blog?) I wanted to focus on my approach to a project which will be a collaboration between myself and freshman humanities teachers. My role is to provide Research Bootcamp. Thankfully, I found Bill, (or he found me in the lunch line) a high school English teacher who wanted to focus on teaching students how to research using digital tools.  Bill is an East and I am a West so he didn't mess with my attention to detail and I was cool with him looking for the big picture.  We balanced each other well and had similar ideas about teaching with the kids we were trying to reach with this project. We used the time to create an outline of instruction.  While I had the guiding plan provided at this conference, we found it more useful to create an outline for the lessons and think about how to deep understanding with the personal Digital Inquiry Tools.

We had an 18 page worksheet guide. Yes, 18 pages!! And I will confess it made my head spin. I did not feel like this format helped me maximize my use of time or understanding.  I found it to be repetitive and frustrating to work with as a single document. I toggle better than I scroll.  The pages we were to fill out included the initial planning, the Personal Digital Inquiry (PDI) Planning Guide, Your PDI Plan, Digital Products, Project Abstracts, Final PDI Summary, Project Reflection, and an "Other Resource" page.
I did have a great time working in the afternoon dyad sessions and sharing ideas and my favorite professional reading this summer.

ABOUT MY BLOG  A number of people approached me throughout the day asking about my blog and how I got started.  I really appreciate your enthusiasm for it.THANK YOU!   

I have wanted to blog for years (I love to write) but could not think of a name.  So for 3 years I thought about a name. Then one day after meeting and talking to George Couros, I decided to just start.  It wasn't going to be perfect. Nothing ever is.  

What I use my blog for: 
  • reflecting on my lessons and teaching practices
  • recording personal learning
  • connecting with school librarians, educators, families & community and students 
  • advocating for school librarians
  • keeping track for EOY teacher evaluation - I keep track of my professional development & Domain IV 
  • sharing, I don't believe any of us need to create our own wheels (lessons)
  • fun - I LOVE creating - it both the writing piece and learning how to do a bit of coding and embedding digital items
  • so stakeholders in my school district can see the work that I do
So for those of you who said, I have always wanted to blog...just DIVE IN and get started!  You won't regret it!

Badges Are Not An Alternative to Library Media Specialist Certification!

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