Sunday, October 30, 2016

Videos and QR Codes in the Library

Welcome back, y'all! I hope you haven't missed me too much! I bring to you another blog post that is sure to amaze, excite, and inspire! :) No, but really now! You're going to LIKE this one.

I was wandering around YouTube the other night and I found some awesome library YouTube Channels that I think you should check out!

First, let me introduce the Norman High School Library channel. They have a few videos uploaded that would be very helpful for students and teacher alike.

I think the EBSCOHost screencast would be supremely helpful for students and teachers looking to do research.

I think the students would really like to see the Tiger visiting the library. It's a fun way to show the different services available.

Another great channel is The Unquiet Library. On this channel, you will see many videos including tutorials and project presentations.

They have an awesome video on what Creative Commons is and how to use it appropriately. This tutorial is very helpful to students that might have been using copyrighted images incorrectly.

This student project is quite creative and I think students would appreciate the humor. It would provide a good example of well done project.

Pikesville High School Library has a nice selection of videos and tutorials available on their YouTube Channel.

The FAFSA video is a great way to encourage high school students to apply and keep deadlines in mind.

I think students will like the Harlem Shake video that the Panthers Library did. It is quite entertaining and the students will enjoy it.

The BBMSMedia Channel has a lot of fun overdue book videos and tutorials.

This Noodle Tools tutorial would be very helpful to students that need to learn to cite for their research.

I LOVE all the overdue library book videos, but this one was really good!

I suggest you continue to look through these channels and look for some of your own. If you find some others, please comment and link me to them. Using YouTube in the library has infinite possibilities. Not only can you upload and share instructional videos, tutorials, and advertising for your library, you can also have students create projects to upoad as well.

Now as I was looking through YouTube I also noticed a lot of awesome book trailers. I decided to try my hand at making my own! I'm helping with a Bluebonnet Book Club at school and we recently read Space Case by Stuart Gibbs.

It’s a murder mystery on the moon in this humorous and suspenseful space adventure from the author of Belly Up and Spy School that The New York Times Book Review called “a delightful and brilliantly constructed middle grade thriller.”

Like his fellow lunarnauts—otherwise known as Moonies—living on Moon Base Alpha, twelve-year-old Dashiell Gibson is famous the world over for being one of the first humans to live on the moon.

And he’s bored out of his mind. Kids aren’t allowed on the lunar surface, meaning they’re trapped inside the tiny moon base with next to nothing to occupy their time—and the only other kid Dash’s age spends all his time hooked into virtual reality games.

Then Moon Base Alpha’s top scientist turns up dead. Dash senses there’s foul play afoot, but no one believes him. Everyone agrees Dr. Holtz went onto the lunar surface without his helmet properly affixed, simple as that. But Dr. Holtz was on the verge of an important new discovery, Dash finds out, and it’s a secret that could change everything for the Moonies—a secret someone just might kill to keep...
 -- via GoodReads

Since I've been playing around with QR codes. Let's give it a try and scan my QR code to see my Book Trailer.

QR codes are AWESOME little shortcuts. If you are in a district that provides technology like tablets to students or has BYOD policies, you can easily create QR code scavenger hunts that provide useful information to students. It's an easier and faster way to get students or parents to a website that you want them to get to. I saw this while I was surfing Pinterest. A display like this would be great for piquing interest in new books or old books that are not circulating well. You can also create listening centers with QR codes that link to audiobooks. You can see this idea in action here. Honestly, there are TONS of ways you can use QR codes in the library to enhance your lesson. If you take some time to look around, you'll be able to find something that will work for you. If you come upon any great lessons or maybe you've created something awesome yourself, please comment and link. I'd love to check it out! 


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Jing, Screencast, Instagram, Vine... All educational!

Good evening, teacher-librarians! I hope I find you all well and rested from the weekend. I know I had a blast at the Texas State Fair yesterday!

So as I was crafting this post I got really excited! I LOVE doing screencasts! It's so much easier than explaining what to do 50,000,000 times! Ok. I may be exaggerating a bit, but as I work with people that are just SLIGHTLY older than me, I find myself having to explain things over and over. Screencasts are like having me around without actually having to have me around. I love it. They love it. Everybody wins!

The first program I tried was Jing. This is a program that needs to be downloaded to your device. I downloaded it to my Macbook. It runs in the background and you can access it by moving your pointer to the upper right hand corner of your screen. A little sun-type icon will pop out with several 3 options: Capture, History, and More. When you want to record, you click on capture and you will be instructed to select the part of the screen you want captured. After you do that it will ask have a small toolbar that allows you to select Capture Picture or Capture Video. It is VERY simple to use and I loved that it was always at my beck and call. When you're finished you can save it to a folder on your computer and you can also upload it to a website called Screencast. I used it to create a video for my students on how to find their math book online. (A question I'm asked 50,000,000 times as well...)
Here is the link to where I uploaded it to Screencast.

That brings me to the next resource for screencasting... Screencast-o-Matic! It is very easy to use. Simply create your free account and start messing with it. They have TONS of tutorials for any kind of questions you may have on how to do something. You will also need to download their Screen Recorder in order to make your screencasts. Once you've downloaded and installed that, you can start recording. Screencast-o-Matic's Screen Recorder is a bit more advanced than Jing. It has many more options for recording. Screencast also allows for longer videos than Jing: 15 minute maximum versus 5 minutes for Jing. You can also have it recording the screen and your face! This is the link to the screencast I recorded with Screencast-o-Matic's Screen Recorder... Try saying that 5 times fast! I wanted to record the steps for the students to be able to access eBooks on MackinVIA.

It's hard for me to decided which screencaster is better. I think they're both great and easy to use. I like the easy access of Jing being on my computer, but it has limitations like the maximum duration of the recording. I like all the options available on Screencast-o-Matic and the tutorial videos that make it easier to record and of course the fact that you can record yourself and the screen at the same time, but it takes longer to access the recorder. It really is a tossup for me and I know that both of them will work great for you. I suppose it is just up to you to try them both and decide for yourself.

Now onwards to Instagram and Vine!

Instagram is picture sharing social website that allows people to stay connected and share their lives with their followers. Vine is a video sharing website owned by Twitter and like Twitter is meant to be used for very brief videos. For some it may seem like a stretch to use these two social sites for education, but it's really not! These two sites can offer quick and easy ways to show off your classroom and your student's work. Please see this link for ideas on Instagram and this one for Vine.
I created new professional Instagram and Vine accounts in order to try these out in my classroom soon! Here's an example of what I've done so far!

So now to close this awesome blog out... Give these programs a try! If you stick to at least one, you'll make your teaching/lessons/library all the better for it. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Infographics: Not Just A Pretty Picture

Hello and welcome back, School Media Specialist! On today's episode of Live, Love, Library we will be discussing a very important tool available to us called... Infographics! This useful little device can be used to represent information or data in a visually appealing and organized way. Now there are several websites that can help you make said infographic. I'm going to highlight three of these websites to give you a good place to start. Click on the links and check them out yourself. Decide what format is best for you!

First, I'm going to talk about This site offers many templates as well as an option to start from scratch. For those of you that are not to familiar with the basics of design, choosing a ready made template may be the right option for you. For the more advanced creator, the Start Fresh button will take you to a blank document that you can fill with objects, media, backgrounds, charts, texts, etc. Another great feature of, is that soon after you sign up, they will send you an email "Cheat Sheet" filled with free resources that will help you in creating your first infographic. is very user friendly and has a clean and organized interface that most people will love. As with most free sites, you are limited to what you can do for free. If you really love it and want to go Pro, you can get many more templates, images, fonts, and much more for $3 a month.

The next website I want to feature is Piktochart. This site and I are old friends. I have used Piktochart often in my classroom for various things including invitations, permission slips, posters, and of course, infographics! Piktochart also offers many templates in various formats such as infographic, presentation, poster and report. With Piktochart you can also Create Your Own Piktochart in any format. Piktochart is user friendly and easy to use. Of the three, it offers the most features for free. You can also Level Up to a paying account for $15-$29 a month for extra services such as, more templates, fonts, removing watermarks, converting to PDF and many more.

The last website I want to introduce to you is has a Learn section that contains tutorials for anything you might need help with. Watch them! is a much more powerful infographic creator and a smidge less user friendly. Those of you that are decent with technology will like this one and will appreciate what you can do with this website. Newcomers to the site will do fine as well with a little time spent watching the videos or just tinkering with the program itself. The free stuff is limited as with the others, but the website also offers three levels of upgrades depending on your needs ranging from $19-$67 a month.

Personally, I prefer Piktograph more than the other two I discussed. However, I decided to use to create my infographic for this post just because I like trying new things, and I felt particularly adventurous today. I visited the Pew Research Center  to find some data that I could use for my example. I picked an article on Book Reading and the research on ebooks vs. traditional books written by Andrew Perrin.

Perrin, A. (2016, September 01). Book Reading 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from

I hope you have learned a little something today and are more prepared to try creating some of your own infographics. If anything, it will be a new and exciting way to present information to your kiddoes. Remember that all of these programs have a learning curve so please be patient and endure. It will be worth the time investment. Trust me!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Blogs, Tumblr, and Libraries! Oh, MY!

Hello, fellow teacher-librarians! I'm back with some new insights on library resources we can all use to make our lives a little bit easier. I want to highlight some clever librarian bloggers, library Tumblr accounts, and how they can help to improve your library program as well as mine.

Let us begin with the almighty blog! Blogs are websites that are updated by individuals or small groups that are usually centered around a certain subject. Bloggers tend to write about what they know in a more informal style to connect with their audience. For example, blogs are written about people's personal lives, about their work, interests, or any combination thereof. Many librarians (see: School Media Specialists) are moving towards using technology to enhance their libraries.

Before you start telling me how time consuming it will be to check in on all these blogs, I am going to offer you a simple solution. There is a way to organize the different web pages you are interested in into one compiled and easy to read place. Feed readers! There are many different types of feed readers that can be used to organize web pages you are interested in. Instead of visiting every site every day, you can used a feed reader that will be updated daily from any and all sites you subscribe to. After looking through several, I decided to use one of the more popular feed readers called Feedly. I prefered Feedly to the others because of its simple and uncluttered design. I liked how the page gathered the articles from the different websites I subscribed to and built a neat and clean feed for me to return to day after day. Another important feature that I liked was the Feedly Mini. Any page I visited that had a subscription service available would have the Feedly Mini icon appear on the lower right hand corner. It allowed me to chose whether I wanted to add it to my Feedly or share it on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook. It's not a necessary feature but certainly handy while surfing the web. Now that I have all the blogs I want to follow in one place, I don't have to bother with remembering website names or looking through my bookmarks.

Now on to the blogs! I have invested some time to look into the sites of popular library bloggers and this is what I found:

Mighty Little Librarian
Her name is Tiffany Whitehead and she is a middle/high school librarian at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge. I really enjoyed reading this blog. She has tons of ideas on how to use technology in the library as well as other creative programming. She also writes a lot about her ideas on how to decorate the library and even provides tutorials for her projects. She's a big proponent of ditching the Dewey Decimal System and genrefying the library. These ideas can be controversial, but she advocates for doing what is right for your students regardless of what is traditional. I recommend following her blog and commenting because she also regularly responds to questions in her comment section.

The Unquiet Librarian
She is a librarian and writing teacher that blogs about her experiences. I love the ideas that she provides about writing. She is very free about sharing her work and her student's work. She also posts step-by-step guides for her lessons. I definitely recommend following her.

The Daring Librarian
Gwyneth Jones is a librarian blogger that is very well known in library circles. She is a big believer in using technology to teach students and has some really amazing ideas. Her blog is full of fun and interesting activities that you can use with your students. I also follow her on Twitter because she shares awesome links to other helpful resources. Follow her. You won't regret it.

The Adventures of Library Girl
Jennifer LeGarde is the School Library Media Coordinator in Wilmington, NC. She is an author and a fervent library advocate. In her blog, she shares many recommendations on how to engage students. She also writes about program ideas as well as fun library decorations and displays. A lot of her posts about challenging librarians to really connect with students and encourage their love of reading. She is definitely worth adding to your feed.

Of course there are many more amazing blogs that I didn't have the time to include but this is a great list to get started.

Tumblr is a another great social media site that can offer great ideas and entertaining reading. I also wanted to include a Tumblr on my Must Follow list.

Lake Forest High School Library
I decided to follow the Lake Forest High School Library. They use their Tumblr very often. They post funny pictures, book suggestions, pictures of teachers and students working in their library, and book reviews among other things. They do a great job engaging with their patrons and offering content and fun.

I'd also like to include my own Tumblr link for anyone of you out there that would like to follow me! I hope I've provided you with a little bit more information than when you started and that it will be as useful to you as it was to me. Tootles!

Currently reading: Space Case by Stuart Gibbs