Friday, July 20, 2012


I know, what a terrible pun. I've been using Pinterest a bit recently--not actually  adding information to any boards of my own, but looking at what others have been doing. Pinterest is being touted as one of the hottest takeoffs on the Internet. It's straightforward and easy to use. Sign up, create a board with the title of one of your interests, and "pin" websites and pictures to the board. The resulting display is very visual and accessible.  Click on an image and you're taken to the site. There's a place for labels and who pinned it previously (did I say you could repin?).  Teachers have been using it to create quick-click resource websites for students.  You can't share boards and students can't use it under the Pinterest terms of service, but it is a really useful tool. Today, after reading an article by Kate Messner in School Library Journal about Pinterest and its uses by authors I checked out her Pinterest board for the book Marty McGuire Digs Worms--a book we have in our library. Kate lists a review, information about the book, a Twitter  book club link, and lots of information about worms, composting, Earth Day, and activities.

You can search for Pinterest boards when you are searching for information about a topic or to find classroom resources on a topic. Searching for the search terms Pinterest and 2nd grade listed about a dozen teacher sites with 2nd grade as a theme. Search for early literacy, math games, French revolution, whatever.

When you find resources you want to share--maybe with students or parents--create your own boards with your curated resources. You don't need any tech expertise to use Pinterest, just some things you'd like to find and share.

Get Your PLN Info HERE

We had some questions last year about PLNs. PLN is a term that's been floating around the edtech/library world (and probably others we are unaware of) for a couple of years. PLN stands for Personal Learning Network. Most of us--you, too--already have one of some sort. It may be one of the teachers you work with, maybe your mentor, or an administrator. You may also have certain journals you read or columns you check. Those people, either physically present or not, constitute your personal learning network. They're your go-to folks. Chances are, your PLN could be more robust and informative to you if you did a little tweaking. Social media and web 2.0 tools make this easy. A school librarian, Jennifer LaGarde, has created an online tool absolutely chock full of how-to's for growing your PLN. Don't sigh and say, "I'll do this later." Start by taking a peek and some baby steps--you'll be amply rewarded.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Choosing Apps-a Guide

Silvia Tolisano has been posting about choosing apps for education for quite some time on her blog, Langwitches. She points out that we are all in new territory here and that teachers need to consider their students, the learning goals, and the capability of a particular app in order for it to be used effectively with students. To aid the conversation with teachers she has developed a graphic that explains various considerations and questions. View the graphic, which can also downloaded in PDF format from the website,

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Flat Stanley App

Several teachers and students at SCS have participated in the Flat Stanley project in the past. Now there's an app for that. Activity generally it consists of sending a flat, paper Stanley through snail mail with the goal of getting his picture and story with others around the world.  Flat Stanley helps students learn about travel, while discovering different cultures to develop a love for reading.  With this new app, students can learn about the world through the eyes of Stanley in a way never before possible. Students can create their own Flat Stanley (or Flat Stella), they can change Stanely’s features and clothes and even give him a name and bio before sending him out into the world.  Students can share photos through email, Twitter and Flatter World within the app.   In Flatter World, new Flat Stanleys have been spotted. If students take enough pictures, they can unlock the new Flat Stanleys to take photos with.
The Flat Stanley app is COPPA compliant, which means that it is happily usable for kids under the age of 13.  An approval crew monitors and approves images shared through the app for an extra layer of safety for students.