The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

The True Adventures of a High School Librarian

Friday, July 29, 2016

SnapChat GeoFilters and the School Library

I first learned that making your own SnapChat Geofilter was a possibility from AJ Juliani, Director of Tech & Innovation.  AJ Juliani wrote a great blog post detailing not only the steps to make a SnapChat Geofilter, but ideas for how to use SnapChat Geofilters at your school.

WARNING:  SnapChat Geofilters cost $$$$.  Cost is based on square footage of where the Geofilter can been accessed and for how long the filter can be accessed.

So far I have made a SnapChat Geofilter for the Arkansas Association of School Librarians and a special JCHS Library filter.  I plan on creating more filters to compliment various activities in the library throughout the school year.  

I'm even toying with the idea of a SnapChat Geofilter Contest! 

Please click HERE to read AJ Juliani's blog post: How to Create a Custom Snapchat Geo-Filter for Your School Event

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Great Gmail Migration BEGINS!

Last year we embraced the wonders of Google Apps for Education (GAFE) with great success.  This year we are empowering even more functionality with GAFE by migrating from Outlook to Gmail.

Daniel Whitt, Coordinator of Instructional Technology at MCS, pointed out a few reasons this transition will be beneficial for students and teachers:

Why We're Excited 
1. We can now use the much-requested "Email" function within Google Classroom. This will enable students to email their teachers (and vice-versa) within Google Classroom.  
2. We will never have to worry about inbox size again; we have unlimited storage.  
3. It is virtually impossible to ever experience a "crash" again. Our email is backed up on Google's servers across a variety of geographic locations.

Below is the first Tech Tips of the Week S'more Newsletter from the JCHS Library for the 2016-17 school year. Hopefully these tips will get out JCHS teachers off on the right foot with our Gmail migration.

What tips, tricks, advice would YOU suggest?!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

SnapChat & The School Library: A Love Story

Library Snapshot Day has been around for years and began as a way to showcase, through pictures, all the amazing things that are happening in our school libraries.  I thought, wouldn't it be great to take pictures of all the incredible things happening in the library whenever they happen, not just on a particular day.  My Flickr albums go back several years documenting the fun, learning adventures in my libraries.  I also shared these pictures out with my PLN via Twitter and Facebook.  I even have had Twitter and Facebook accounts for my school library. But, where were the kids? Students just weren't then and aren't now using Twitter or Facebook.  It's not their thing.  

Where on social media are the kids?  SnapChat, Instagram & YouTube!  George Couros wrote ablog post about SnapChat Stories that peaked my interest in using SnapChat (Stories-Librarian-LOL).  So, this past school year, I took the plunge and learned how to use SnapChat.  I used it from Day 1 and almost every single day to tell the story of the JCHS Library. I also made sure to download each SnapChat so that I could upload the images to my Flickr account, and also post images to my school Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Letting kids know that the library has a SnapChat account and getting them to follow the account was important, otherwise anything I posted would just be me talking to myself, thus, meaningless.  

I used Canva to create a poster that hung in the entrance of the library. (see below) Then I made a "big deal" out of taking pictures with the JCHS_Library SnapChat account, starting with simple selfies, and then screaming animately, "Library Snappy Chat! Follow us!"  The kids thought I was also made them curious.  My SnapChatting continued with our new MakerSpace, snapping out all the awesomeness happening there. This evolved into students saying, "Ms. Robertson! Come here! SnapChat this!" referring to what they were doing in the MakerSpace. I will never forget the first time I heard one student say to another student, "Yeah. It's on the library SnapChat right here. You should follow them".  

I have also noticed that more and more educators have been asking, "How are you using Snapchat in your school/library?"  I like to think of SnapChat as a way to not only advertise new books or library events, but a place to celebrate students, teachers, and all the wonderful things that are happening in and around the library.

Here are a few ways to use SnapChat in your library:
  • Promote new books
  • Advertise library promotions
    • Poem In Your Pocket
    • Banned Books
  • Spotlight new robots, art supplies, Legos, etc in the MakerSpace
  • Showcase student talent
    • music mixing in the MakerSpace
    • impromptu singing
  • Celebrate great co teaching lessons
    • Breakout EDU
    • Digital Portfolios
  • Let followers know what is printing today on the 3D Printer
  • Selfies, groupies, and SnapChat filters!

Really, taking SnapChats of everything from a welcome message in the morning, "We are open and ready for business" to and evening snap, "Thanks for the most amazing day!" with pictures of the day throughout.  

Want to learn how to use SnapChat?  Grab a teenager...or....check out these resources:

What will YOU snap?!

Add your school SnapChat information HERE.

Almost all the pictures and videos on my Flickr account from this past school year were all made using SnapChat.  In fact, I created this "year in review" video (below) using all SnapChat pictures and videos.

Below are just a few more pictures from our year with SnapChat.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Feelin' Like the HANG IN THERE Kitten

To say that I have felt frazzled this week would be a gross understatement.  If social media is any indicator I am not the only educator who is hanging on by a thin, tattered thread.  I have been guilty of being absorbed in my own "must be done" tasks to stop, look up, and connect in a meaningful way with students.    

We (I) need to remember that our students are frazzled too.  May is the most volatile month in schools as the stress from the school year comes to a head.  The number of fights, arrests, suspensions, and expulsions increase drastically during this time of the school year.  It is because of this that we, as educators, despite our own stress, need to be extra vigilant in slowing down, looking up, and truly seeing the students we serve.

In my district, Seniors have only 3 days left and there are only seven days left for the rest of us.  The pressure of final exams, final projects, the uncertainty of life after high school for our Seniors, combined with the everyday teenage angst, has the stress level among students at a breaking point.  

In the past two weeks I have had students talk to me about personal struggles that have them on the the verge of full blown emotional breakdowns.

One student feels his entire life has fallen apart.  The dream he has had for his future since he was 3 years old is no longer a possibility and he is at a loss as to what he is to do with his life now.

Another student lost their best friend, the dog that has been their constant companion since they were a toddler.  My dog died this week too. We sat in the back of the library and cried together. 

Another student got less than stellar results back from her college entrance exams AND her parents are kicking her out after graduation.

These are just a few of the stories I know. Not all kids will be so obvious and confide in a trusted adult as to the stresses they are under.

It's because of this that we need to make a concerted effort to be more aware these last few days- look up, stop grading papers, paste a smile on our faces, and share a smile with our students. 

Together we will end the year doing a "happy dance"!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How To Finish The Year STRONG in Your School Library: #TLChat Monday, May 9, 2016

The last #TLChat LIVE! of the 2015-2016 season was moderated by the incredible Richard Snyder and Sherry Gick and it was STELLAR!  Even though the night was a very sad night for me (we had to send our 15 year old dog to heaven) the creativity of this duo had me laughing despite my tears.

If you missed the live chat on Twitter it isn't too late to reflect on the questions presented during the chat below.

Thank you Richard & Sherry for stepping up to the plate and moderating a GREAT #TLChat!

Putt Putt, Engineering, and Connecting Schools

Mr. Dave Frederick, James Clemens High School Science & Engineering teacher, connected his engineering students with Laura Rotondo's students at Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School in 
Sudbury, Massachusetts for a collaborative project; creating Putt Putt Golf courses using the engineering software, Inventor.

Design teams were formed to include students from both schools.  Students used email, Google Drive, and other methods to communicate with their team members to create a final presentation regarding their final Putt Putt Golf design.  

The project finale took place Monday, May 9th and Tuesday, May 10th as teams presented their projects via Google Hangouts on Air (GHOA).

As with any project such as this there were technology snafus but in the end all teams did a great job.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway mentioned by each team was the importance of communication and time management, job essential skills.

Below are the the two GHOA recording; just be forewarned that you will see "warts" and all.
Additionally, there is a slideshow of pictures taken during the presentation phase of this project.


Frederick-Engineering Collaboration W/Massachusetts