Using Social Media to Refresh and Renew

It seems like everyone always needs a way to get new ideas.  Sometimes I feel like I just keep repeating the same old ideas over and over again.  After 12 years in education however, I am tired of doing the same old stuff.  If I’m tired of it, then I’m sure my students are tired of it, as well.  Luckily in this age of social media it is easier then ever to share ideas.  I have recently become a fan of pinterest. Search for display ideas, lesson ideas, etc… and suddenly I can’t wait to redo my bulletin boards and plan a great lesson.  Sometimes, I get a great idea that I can use as is and sometimes I get ideas that I want to tweak a little, either way it gets my creative juices flowing.  Following blogs is another great way to get good ideas or even following your local school library association on Facebook can be a great way to keep in touch and share ideas. 

The important thing to remember is that we aren’t in this alone. We are lucky enough to live in an age where we can meet with other librarians whenever and wherever we want.  It would be a shame to not capitalize on this collective knowledge.


The End is in Sight

Well here we are 8 weeks later and my course is almost finished.  This course has been intense but I have learned so many new tools to use in my classroom and hopefully in the media center.  We have made blogs, tweeted, looked at web 2.0 tools, created voicethreads, wikis, screencasts, used Flickr, and investigated the online applications of copyright and creative commons.  Not to mention the discussion on universal design, assessments, Common Core, and technology standards.  I have also learned to better organize my thoughts online using Diigo, a new favorite tool

I learned that one tool can have many different uses and can be a great tool for various types of learners.  I also really started to understand the importance of copyright and creative commons.  I also understand the concept of  21st Century learning much more.   I worry that if  our education system doesn’t change we will become obsolete, but am afraid as teachers we won’t be given the tools needed to truly create 21st  Century Learning Environments.

I think teaching in a 21st Century Classroom would be amazing.  I would love to see students using technology for learning instead of just to chat with friends or to look up song lyrics to their favorite song.  I am hopeful that the new Common Core will lead us in the right direction.  I also can imagine the library as being the connection to all of the new learning for both students and staff, a place to explore, learn, apply and create knowledge.  I am excited to become a 21st Century Teacher.

Influences on Rome Wiki assignment

I have just finished creating an assignment (5days) that  is all kept in a wiki.  I decided to a lesson on how the Greek and Etruscans influenced Rome.  The link to the wiki is

I really like the idea of keeping everything all in one location for students and it being available at home or at school.  I think a quick lesson on how to use a wiki would help student be able to figure out how to navigate through the wiki.  It is also nice because there is a feature to comment right on the wiki page as well but I did not utilize it.  I find it to be not very intuitive so I had my students also collaborating on Edmodo.  I’m a little concerned that using both tools will become confusing but I know my students are use to collaborating on Edmodo, so I wanted to keep up that consistency.  It is easy to make links to files, images, websites and pages within the wiki itself.

One thing that I couldn’t figure out how to do is how to put pages under other pages.  If this is not possible  then I would have to create a brand new wiki for each project I wanted to do like this. I could see that becoming a little bit of a hassle.   Overall I thought the idea of creating an assignment that is encapsulated in a wiki is  a great way to keep students organized with an online project.

Learning Log – Wikis

In this post I want to explore Wikis in Education. Wikis provide another way for teachers and students to use social media. It is a way for a group of people to work collaboratively online and organize information as if it is a website. Some of the benefits to wikis include the ability to allow certain people to edit and certain people to view. You can upload documents, images, and include hyperlinks. You can also see a history of all the changes that were made to the wiki. Wikis would be a great way for students to work collaboratively on a project, especially if they weren’t in the same class. They can have discussions as well as make edits to each others work. Here is a great link for a video on how wikis work

Here are some wikis that I found helpful.

Webtools4u2use (–Wikis+to+Share)- This wiki is geared towards media specialists and has some great ideas including:
  •    using wikis for bookclubs and a hub to post everything
  •   a lot of technology tools
  • links to other great wiki

I particularly found the idea of a book discussion through a wiki as an interesting concept.  I think it could be great because you could post background information, discuss questions, and you can do it without having to worry about students not wanting to give up their lunch time.   It also could allow you to continue book clubs over the summer.

Library Media Specialist 2.0 ( – This wiki is also geared to Media Specialist and looks as if it was set up for a workshop. It has some great resources as well, including samples of student projects,  links to technologies teachers and student can use, and some interactive sites.  I enjoyed playing the Lord of the Flies game.  This would be a great resource for someone starting out with wikis and social learning.

ResourceforHistoryTeachers ( – This wiki I fell in love with.  It is full of resource for history teachers(thus the name:)). I found some excellent resources on this wiki, including a webquest where students had to figure out what skills were needed to live in the Paleolithic age.  It is set up by subject and then objectives. When you click on the objective it comes to a wealth of resources to help meet the objective.  This wiki was also an award winner for 2011.  

This last wiki may become a new favorite source of information for lessons for me.   This site also made me realize just how great wikis could be used to gather information for future teachers.  My school currently has some teachers that teach split grade levels that move around year to year. If we kept all of our resources in a central location like this it would make it so much easier for the teachers that have to change curriculum often.  What a great way to share and collaborate.


Library Media Specialist 2.0. (n.d.). : Social, Collaborative, and Interactive Technologies. Retrieved April 28, 2012, from

Resourcesforhistoryteachers. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2012, from

Wikis to Share. (n.d.). Webtools4u2use. Retrieved April 28, 2012, from–Wikis+to+Share

Social and Collaborative Media

I have just been introduced to Voice Thread and wanted to include a sample of what Voice thread can do. I chose to discuss Social Media in this Voice Thread. Voice thread is a great way to mix pictures and audio. It is very easy to upload images from either your computer, the web,or other media sites. You can comment on each picture individually and then put them all together for your Voice Thread. This tool could be a great way to have students share their thoughts on images used in class, or for independent work. The teacher could narrate while showing images that related to a specific topic. I can also see this as a great way to do an art digital portfolio. Actually, any content could scan in final products and students could discuss what the assignment was, how they did, why they are proud of the assignment, and what they would change. Check out Voice Thread

Learning Log- GoodReads

my ancient-history-shelf shelf:
Kathy Domboski's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (ancient-history-shelf shelf)

I created the following book shelf on Goodreads to support my 6th grade Ancient History Class. My original intention was just to promote reading by highlighting books that corresponded with my curriculum. However, the more I have used Goodreads the more I can see it being helpful. You could create a list of books students could choose for a literature project, create an online book club using Goodreads,or even create a list of books recommended for a project.
I think Goodreads could be very powerful tool for students and may be worth going through the permission slip and hoops involved in getting students on a social networking site. Maybe somebody could create a Goodreads for education. It could work like Edmodo. I think students would greatly benefit from being able to recommend books in a “safe” environment where they wouldn’t have to speak to a class. They look for books that interest them and no one else knows what they are looking at. They could find a “friend” who has similar reading interests even if they don’t talk in class. I have tingles just thinking of how reading could be promoted using Goodreads.

I have also used Shelfari but I can see the benefit of using the more common tool because it forms a much more rewarding community. I may have to import my books from Shelfari. Goodreads seems to have a much better way of organizing the books then Shelfari, does as well.

Learning Log- iGoogle

As I have begun to explore the world of web 2.o I begin to see the need to keep everything in one place.  iGoogle is one option.  iGoogle works well for this, especially if you are trying to follow Google apps.  However, if you want to put a service other than a Google application you have to use gadgets made by various people. I’ll be honest, that made me nervous. I’m not sure I like the fact that the gadget accesses my username and password.  Although, I completely understand why they need it, it still makes me nervous.

As a teacher, though, a one stop way to organize the web is essential.  I had originally  signed up to have blogs I like email me, however, my email is so full from school business that the updates quickly got lost. By putting my Google reader and twitter account on my iGoogle page and then making it my homepage, I can quickly see if anything is new or interesting when I open up my browser.  I think this will be a much more efficient way to keep track of my web 2.0 professional development.  I could even include gadgets like this day in history and CNN school news to share with my students. Setting up a Google calendar for school may also help to organize my day.   Currently, I just put it all on my personal calendar. However, my work day is so removed from my “social” calendar that I could easily keep a separate calendar or even just hide my “social” calendar on my iGoogle page.

Whether I choose to go with iGoogle as my online organizer or not, one thing is clear.  I need to find some way to organize it because pretty soon my web 2.0 adventure will become a tangled web of username, passwords, and bookmarks that I can’t get untangled.

Instructional ideas for PhotoPeach

I created the following slideshow using PhotoPeach’s free account. (   PhotoPeach has a couple of cool features like the ability to easily make a slide show a quiz and the ability to add blank text slides.  One downfall is that it doesn’t have many editing options for text formatting and you have to pay for access to all the features.  For a quick tutorial on how to use PhotoPeach view this video I made with Screencast-O-Matic

In my 6th grade social studies class, we are to teach how geography led to the development of city-states. My intention is to use this video as a post assessment/review tool for this objective.  I think the photos coupled with the big idea questions will help them to remember the material and be able to see the geographical problems Ancient Greece faced.  I also can post it to my classroom blog and students could use it as a review for the unit assessment.

Below is my PhotoPeach slide show on the Geography of Greece.

The Geography of Greece on PhotoPeach


Learning Log- Flickr slide show

Utilizing my own pictures in a lesson for Ancient History was a little more difficult, so I began to look outside of my comfort zone.  After visiting my counties middle school curriculum. I decide that Flickr would be a great resource to use in Spanish.  Our Spanish I students have to communicate in Spanish on various topics, such as vacations, which I am lucky enough to have quite a few picture of.  I thought students could use the above slideshow to “discuss travel and vacation activities”.  They also could use these pictures in various ways to show Spanish content mastery. As part of the curriculum students should also be decide how weather would impact the trip and determine the necessities of the trip.  You could also bring in some research skills by having students use clues found in the pictures to help determine exactly where I was on vacation and more information about the vacation spot

Although, Flickr is not the only way to show pictures, it is an easy way to store photos and there are some wonderful sharing tools built into Flickr.  The slideshow is just one option.  But if you would like some more great ideas on using Flickr in the classroom, check out Lesley Edwards’s Blog The WebFooted Booklady.  I especially like her ideas on promoting Genres(which is linked to a gallery of photos) and creating excitement around upcoming events.

Works Cited

Frederick County Public Schools. (n.d.). World languages essential curriculum. FCPSTeach. Retrieved March 29, 2012,

Edwards, L. (n.d.). Flickr and the School Library. The Webfooted Booklady. Retrieved March 29, 2012, from

Learning Log Flickr Galleries

I have used Flickr for my own use for quite a while. It was a great way to share photos of my kids with friends and family that didn’t get to see them often.  However, after seeing it come up in some articles, I began to think of ways I could use Flickr in the classroom.  When I read Elizabeth’s post on I (heart) EdTech, “How to Use Flickr in Your Classroom” It started me thinking.  There are some great ideas on the blog such as virtual field trips or even just teaching about copyright and creative commons.  However, making things work in my classroom usually takes some idea tweaking.  So I began searching for pictures on topics I teach. I was pleasantly surprised on how much there was available on Flickr on Ancient History.  I used the gallery feature to save pictures in topics.  This way the picture was still linked to original owner so they get credit for their photos.  Eventually I came across this lesson idea.

In my classes we have been talking about how geography effected early civilizations including the advantages and disadvantages.  Since we are almost finished our semester I will probably use this as a post assessment but it could easily be used as a pre assessment or even engagement activity.  I chose photos from various landscapes and placed them in a gallery called “landscapes”( You can visit my gallery at .  As  I show each picture I will have the students write down the advantages and disadvantages each landscape would have for early civilizations.  Once we had gone through all the photos I would have the students chose one landscape(geographical feature) they would choose to settle in during ancient times and explain why and how they would counter the disadvantages.  If I wanted to do this lesson with students using technology they could even comment right in my gallery next to the pictures, or I could link the gallery to an Edmodo discussion.  This lesson would meet FCPS Essential Curriculum standard SS.HAW.10.04     Analyze geographic characteristics that influence the location of human activities in world regions. 

Now that I have begun to explore Flickr for educational use instead of personal use, I am beginning to see all the possibilites.  I really like Flickr uses creative commons and is very aware of the potential of people using copyrighted material illegally.  This aspect alone I think make Flickr a valuable resource for instruction.

Works cited:

How to use flickr in your classroom. (2010, July 1). I (heart) ed tech. Retrieved March 28, 2012, from