Archive of ‘Uncategorized’ category

Student Support with Social Media

calendar app business time management workspaceCreative Commons LicensePerzonseo Webbyra via Compfight

This week my class required me to explore how to provide student support with social media. I have decided to use PearlTrees to create a collection of presentation tools. Each semester my students create a variety of presentations. It is important for them to know about different free tools. Creating tutorials for the school community, while providing 24/7 access beyond the walls of the school is empowering. However, it should not be a stressful process. My goal for creating this resource is to eliminate the need to waste time searching for options. This tool has the potential to help them to explore tools beyond PowerPoint.

Here is the link for the PearlTree:

Free Tools for Creating Online Presentations and Tutorials




Using Social Media for Course Design

Guess what! Today I am doing more professional development. I am supposed to share two ideas that I have for using social media for teaching or course design.

Idea 1:  I learned about List.Ly and I think I love it. I made a list quickly. I will be able to use this tool for sharing lists. I can create lists of articles, websites, and more. I am always finding materials online that I need to share with my students. Here is the list I made for free online meeting rooms. This will come in handy for the group projects that I assign for class. Normally, I would make the list private. However, since I am practicing, I will share this one. I am still trying to figure out how may lists I can make for free.  I think it is 3.

Idea 2: I like for my class chats to be interactive. I don’t like it when I am presenting and I don’t get a response. I think is an excellent way to remedy this situation. I can post questions and materials on the Padlet and have students respond. I can also have students to share their questions on a Padlet during chats. I like the way Padlet can be used for crowdsourcing resources. Most importantly, the results can be saved and distributed. I will be using Padlet during my chats within the next week.

That’s it for now.

Cooking Up Communication with

This is another post for my professional development. Today, I am reviewing I rather like because it is a quick way for me to create virtual handouts for my presentations. When a handout is requested, I post a draft. Then I continue to edit it if needed. The link does not change.

I think is a great way to quickly share information. For example, it is easy to email a poster (or newsletter) to a group of people. A link can be embedded on a website or the poster can embedded. If you are teaching online, provides an alternative format for providing information.

Access: There are free and paid versions of  It is accessible for Windows and Mac users. It works with various tablet browsers. The time that a Smore poster takes to load depends on how much information is embedded in it. Text loads quickly. Videos and extensive graphics may take longer.

Usability: An account is needed to create a poster.  However, once the account is created, it is easy to make a poster. Software does not need to be downloaded. In fact, I switched from another poster maker to this one because I can create posters quicker with The time needed to create a polished product is important to me. While the site is primarily self-explanatory, there is a help section built into the website. I have been able to view, edit, and publish posters with my tablet without downloading an App.

Privacy and Intellectual Property: If a poster is made with a  paid account, it can be downloaded as an image or a PDF. Posters can be made public or private. If they are private, one must share the link for them to be viewed. If an educator uses the classroom setting, student posters are private and only shared with the instructor. Because the classroom setting is primarily for K-12 students, this means that posters created with student accounts cannot be shared on social media.

I always add a copyright statement to the work that I want to retain the rights to. Information about intellectual property rights and terms of service are on this page: The agreement includes the following statements. “Our service is designed to give you as much control and ownership over what goes on your flyers as possible and encourage you to express yourself freely.” “By submitting Content to Fireplace for inclusion on your Website, you grant Fireplace a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your flyer.”

Workload and Time Management: Smore posters can be embedded in a course management system website such as Blackboard. On the contrary, the tool itself exists outside of the course management system. I was not able to find evidence of a RSS feed option. Readers can decide to subscribe to updates.

Fun Factor: If one finds curating and sharing information fun, they are likely to enjoy using Smore. Individuals with advanced graphic design skills might prefer using an infographics tool instead. Smore allows subscribers to embed various elements such as videos, graphics, and text. Social media buttons and contact information can be shared as well.

Overall, I believe that offers a great tool. I don’t have criticisms. The website does what it states it will do. This activity prompted me to think about ways to use Smore to increase collaboration in class.  Although students should have separate accounts, collaboration can be achieved by having students to work together to decide about the elements that can be placed on a poster.

I think that students enjoy being able to access a poster created by the instructor that can be printed later. They can also share the information quickly with a link. Here is an example of a poster that I created for a presentation: .  Enjoy!

Random Thoughts for the Beginning of the School Year: Part 2 | Knowledge Quest

I imagine you have started the school year now. I am just going to pick up where I left off last month. Here is part two of my thoughts for the beginning of the school year. I realize that it… Read More ›

Source: Random Thoughts for the Beginning of the School Year: Part 2 | Knowledge Quest

A Few Thoughts for the Beginning of the School Year: Part 1 | Knowledge Quest

I was just thinking about all of the things that I would do to prepare myself for the beginning of the school year. I was terrified my first year as a school librarian because I wanted to do my best…. Read More ›

Source: A Few Thoughts for the Beginning of the School Year: Part 1 | Knowledge Quest

Inexpensive Computers, Virtual Reality Adventures, and March 2016 Professional Development

This is a picture of a CHIP computer (Next Thing Co., 2015a)

I almost forgot to share my post from the AASL Knowledge Quest blog this month. While half of the month is gone, there are still some professional development opportunities that you can benefit from. Let me know if you have questions. I have also put a new page in the blog with some of my handouts.

This month I am sharing two notable finds and ten unique professional development opportunities. Let’s begin with the computers that I learned about while reading an article on (Kelly, 2015). The article was about a computer created by a… Read More ›Source: Inexpensive Computers, Virtual Reality Adventures, and March 2016 Professional Development | Knowledge Quest

Communicating with Teachers: Tips for School Librarians

I was just online finding some professional development opportunities for school librarians. As I searched, I found one about the need for clear communication. This prompted me to think about some of my own strategies for increasing communications with teachers. I have put them into the poster below. I hope you find a strategy that you find helpful.

Mental Health in Books for Middle Grades

This week I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful session at the AASL 2015 conference. The speakers were excellent. I blogged about it for Knowledge Quest. Here the the direct link: . The information below is a duplicate of what I put on the Knowledge Quest blog.

Have you ever been in a situation when you felt that a child was in need of assistance? Did you have difficulty deciding why you felt they needed assistance? Sometimes our intuition tells us something is wrong. Then there are other times when we find a child that is:

  • Sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • Engaging in behavior that is risky to themselves or others
  • Suddenly experiencing overwhelming fear
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that effect their relationships with others
  • Exhibiting extreme difficulty with concentrating that impacts their school work

These are just a few symptoms of mental illness that are listed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (2015). Yet connecting them with mental illness in a child is something that adults frequently have difficulty doing. While many cases go undiagnosed, mental illness is still prevalent among youth. If youth have not experienced some type of disorder, they are likely to know someone that has exhibited signs. In 2015, the NAMI reported that:

  • 20% of youth between the ages of 13 and 18 have or will develop mental illness
  • 11% of youth suffer from a mood disorder
  • 8% of youth have lived with an anxiety disorder
  • 70% of incarcerated youth have a mental illness

Mental illness is life threatening and can dramatically affect the quality of life that one can lead. For instance, suicide is the second most prevalent reason for death among youth ages 10-24. Half of the students 14 and older that have a mental illness will drop out of school.

These facts are the reason why the “Beyond “Issue” Books–Unpacking Mental Health Issues in Middle Grade and Young Adult Literature” session presented by Kristina McBride, Jody Casella, Liz Coley, and Natalie D. Richards provided insight on a topic that should not be ignored by any educator. As the session began, McBride noted that, “We don’t have the answers. We are just here to start the dialogue.” During the session, it was explained that students often want help, but do not know how to reach out or explain their needs. They can be quite secretive. Most students will not tell what their problems are. In fact, they may know that they have a problem. Although counselors can help, school librarians can be essential in helping students to heal through bibliotherapy by connecting them with books that are related to their issues.

The presenters challenged attendees to distinguish between Issue Books and Books with Issues. Issue Books have plots that revolve around a particular topic and how a character deals with the circumstances presented by the “issue” or problem. On the contrary, Books with Issues focus on a topic, and a character may just have an “issue” inside the story. The entire storyline will not revolve around the issue. For example, in Thin Space by Jodi Casella, the main character is grieving over the death of his brother. The main character in I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson is also grieving. Still, this grief is only mentioned briefly well into the book.

The presenters explained that sometimes it is more appropriate to give a student that is experiencing or knows someone experiencing a mentor health issue a Book with an Issue rather than an Issue Book because the Issue Book may present the topic in a manner that is too aggressive for the student. Issue Books are best presented after students are able to cope with the problem. Books with an Issue enable students to address issues with a “window into the problem” rather than “mirroring” issues that they currently do not desire to cope with.

There was so much presented during the session. I have only provided a brief summary. (Please excuse my typos.) I admire the presenters for addressing the topic of mental illness because there is not enough awareness about how mental health is affecting youth. Each of the presenters write stories that included characters that are experiencing mental illness. They asserted that there are many lists of books that are about issues. Yet it is difficult to identify the books that include the issues in subplots.

School librarians need to be able to identify both Issue Books and Books with Issues. If we are able to address mental health openly, then we as a society can begin to stop the marginalization of the youth that so desperately need our help. You can view a list of books compiled by the presenters by going to the following document:


National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2015). Mental health facts: Children & teens. Retrieved from

AASL 2015 Resources


Here are my resources for the 2015 AASL conference. I was pleased to be able to present with my children about virtual learning opportunities. Here is a handout that you can refer to in the future.

Here the beginnings of the virtual learning commons that I designing with my UNT students:

Here is a copy of the presentations:

Get a Free Leadership Practices Inventory Assessment (LPI)


If you are currently a school librarian, I would love for you to participate in my online study.  I am conducting a study to determine the relationships among the variables resilience, self- perceived leadership potential, self-perceived impact on learning, and school climates. If you agree to participate, it is expected that the process will take no more than 45 minutes to complete.  After completing the initial survey (20-30 minutes) on a Qualtrics website, you will receive an email with directions for accessing the Leadership Practices Inventory (15 minutes) within 24 hours.

If you decide to participate, you will be compensated for participating in this study by receiving a copy of your Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI)-Self score when the study is complete. This assessment typically costs $50.

Please go to if you are interested in participating. This website contains more information about the study. You can also complete the initial survey after reading all of the information about the study.

Thank you for your consideration…

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