Wiki for second grade insect research.  Collaboration on the wiki will occur between the librarian, tech teacher and classroom teacher.




As I work through Module 4, I am struck by how little I knew of the documents we had to read.  As a teacher who has experienced the beginning of “inclusion” and “least restrictive” environment, UDL seems like a new name for something teachers have been doing for years.  Educators are always seeking ways to meet the needs of their students.  It’s not always easy, but every child deserves that.  The difference now is that technology enables teachers to provide alternate ways of learning that we never had before.  Just one example is Tumblebooks. Years ago, I used to buy books on tape or record my own for students.  With just a click, students can read and hear books in a much more engaging manner and in a language of their choice.

As Module 4 ends, I still have questions about scaffolding.  I only have elementary school experience, but it seems to me that the majority of elementary teachers do this all the time.  Do secondary teachers make it a practice also?  My principal always looks for the gradual release model in lessons.  Teachers model and practice, practice, practice.  Only then do students do anything independently.  We do our best to have students experience success.  We also focus on moving students from the concrete to abstract.  For example, students manipulate place value blocks in math.  Then they might go to pictures in ActivInspire or a different math technology.  Finally, they complete a worksheet or another form of assessment (an authentic problem).

Remember a few years ago when all teachers could talk about was No Child Left Behind?  Why not the buzz with Transforming American Education?  My big idea – post the goals in all schools and classrooms.  It worries me that as a teacher I didn’t know about this and it’s a five year plan!  Is that the fault of my school, the county or the state?

The big idea that I will take away from Module 4 – organizing a unit of study on a Wiki.  Prior to this, I thought that the shared drive in my school served a similar purpose.  However, the Wiki makes it much easier to have all resources at the fingertips of the collaborating teachers.  In my case, that is the librarian, tech teacher and classroom teacher.  They can even work on it at home.  They can only access the shared drive in school.  I also like the way I can sequence the resources and work.  Putting links at the bottom of each page really helps.  I shared my Wiki with the other librarian at my school and her comment was “The second grade teachers would pay for this next year!”  They don’t have to – I enjoy collaborating. I believe that once other teachers see how successful we are with this, they will want to infuse more and more collaboration and technology into their units.

I’m ending this course with so many tools “in my pocket!”  I think that I can pick a few and really make a difference for teachers and students in my school this year.  Just think, if we all do that we could transform American education!

This is a Wiki for a school in Charlotte, North Carolina.  It might be for an intermediate grade level, but I couldn’t tell for certain.  The Wiki is a portal for school information for students and families.  Individual teachers have pages on the Wiki.  A variety of subjects, including reading, math, social studies and science, and resources for each are included on the Wiki.  I was particulary interested in the Social Studies Symbol Project.  The project is laid out on one page of the Wiki.  It includes a clear explanation of what students are to do in order to complete the project, a due date and a grading point system.  Below that information are links that students could use to complete the assignment.  This Wiki would support teaching and learning.  Parents and students would be well informed about expectations.  The Wiki allows communication to be clear.  It also provides many resources for families.  If the purpose of this Wiki is provide resources and offer clear communication, it is successful.  If the Wiki involves parents in their students’ education, students will certainly benefit.   I don’t think the purpose of this Wiki is for collaborative student work.

This is the Wiki for District 18 Elementary Physical Education.  I thought my colleagues in SLM508 would like to see it.  I like that the Wiki begins with the video “Wikis in Plain English”.  Links to other PE Wikis are included.  As I explored the Wiki, some of the topics are described fully and others are not.  For example, Math in Motion offers 14 activities with details and Tag Games explains 13 varieties of the game.  However, Balance and Creative games are blank pages.  It appears that this Wiki is a work in progress.  This Wiki is intended to be a sharing resource for district 18 PE teachers.  This Wiki is a great idea for collaboration among elementary PE teachers across a district.  Teachers want to share when they have a great idea that works for a lesson and this Wiki provides the way to do that.   As teachers we are always refining what we do in the classroom and this Wiki allows for that.  Improving teachers always improves education.

This is the Wiki for Montair Elementary’s Computer Lab.  It is a grid of subject area/topics and links to support those.  It was created by Mrs. Berry.  A link to the school’s website is included.  It does not appear to be used collaboratively.  This Wiki is for the purpose of organizing links to support the curriculum in the computer lab.   Not having knowledge of the school and the computer lab, I would guess the Wiki provides resources for teachers and students to use in the computer lab.  The organization would make it quite easy for students to find a link to a math website in order to either practice math facts or refine their math skills.  It is the same for each subject area or topic.  The technology teacher at my school also organizes such general resources, but not on a Wiki.  Either method serves the purpose.  The organization of the Wiki allows students to see the purpose for using the Internet.

This is a collaborative Wiki for elementary school librarians “born from a short Twitter conversation.”  It is a fabulous PLN set up by four librarians from California, Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas.  Where else would they be able to collaborate with each other in such detail.  There are pages on the left for almost any library topic you can think of.  For example topics range from book care to curriculum.  I looked specifically at book check out and the ideas range from students checking books in and out independently to students following footprints taped to the floor to check out a book.  What a range!  As a librarian, I could see that I was in the middle somewhere.  These librarians also use Twitter to collaborate.  This Wiki contains a wealth of information for librarians.  It immediately became a favorite of mine.  I already saw a video of how to choose a book that’s a “good fit.”  The implications for teaching and learning are numerous.  Ideas are exchanged freely and librarians can pick and choose what meets their needs.  We truly become a learning community of librarians on a site like this.  Students always benefit when their teachers collaborate.

This is the Wiki for Worthington Elementary School library.  It contains an enormous amount of information for the entire school community including videos.  Personally, I found it a little difficult to navigate and find exactly what I wanted.  However, teachers, parents and students who use it frequently probably wouldn’t have that problem.  I wonder if a school website wouldn’t serve the same purpose.  There is a space for comments at the very bottom, but the Wiki is more informative than collaborative.  A Wiki such as this can have a positive effect on education.  By having information in one place, we can make sure that all of our stakeholders are on the “same page” when it comes to the education of our students.

Interestingly enough this is a Wiki of school (elementary, middle and high) library wikis and websites.  There are over 500 members on this wiki.  For someone trying to create a wiki or website, it would be helpful to browse those already made and decide what you like and what you don’t.  The front page of the Wiki is appealing and informative professing that “This site is meant as a wiki-clearinghouse of effective practice.  It is, by no means, a comprehensive list. Rather, it represents the collective recommendations of participating colleagues. Please join us by contributing your own suggestions of exemplars of effective practice.”  Clearinghouse describes the wiki perfectly.  There are links for reports, speeches, standards, etc.  The list goes on and on.  This wiki would be a useful collaboration tool for school librarians.  However, it would be easy to get overwhelmed with all of the information.  Personally, I would have to choose one topic at a time to explore.  Being an informed library certainly impacts teaching and education.

This is part of the Wiki mentioned earlier.  I ran across it by accident and thought it was too good not to mention.  What a great idea – a Wiki page of ideas for substitutes!  It is difficult to plan for substitutes because I never know their library experience or teaching abilities.  They can range from “babysitters” to certified librarians who are technology savvy.  It’s helpful to get ideas from other librarians.  We don’t want our students wasting precious learning time because we are not with them.  Planning worthwhile activities for a substitute encourages students to move forward with education even when we’re not there.  Real emergencies occur when we can’t plan, so having a “bag of tricks” ready to go is important.



Social media is changing the landscape of education.  It influences the entire learning community – teachers, parents and students.  This voicethread details the importance of the use of social media in meeting 21st Century Standards.  Specific details are given of educators embracing the use of social media tools in their teaching.  I explore ways to use Twitter in an elementary school library to create a community of learners.

GoodReads allows the user to make books shelves, write reviews and rate books.  Readers can share lists, information and opinions with others. GoodReads could allow a teacher to connect with kids.  Students could see what teachers are reading or plan to read.  Users are able to create book shelves that meet their needs for teaching specific units or providing professional development.  The site allows books to be exported to a spread sheet.  This would help students with reading log assignments.  It is also helpful to see the ratings and reviews given by others.  However, we do need to keep in mind that these are opinions.  The collaborative feature of the website is probably its best feature.

The next two posts on my blog are two book shelves that I created.  One titled, why read aloud, would be used by parents or other professionals.  I included adult books that explain how to read aloud to children and the benefits of reading aloud to children.  I also included some children’s books that lend themselves to following the instructions in order to read aloud to children.  Getting parents to read to their children highly impacts their success in school.

The second book shelf titled elementary insect research, includes books that first or second graders could use when conducting insect research in the library, computer lab or classroom.  By sharing the lists, parents would know the books that would be useful for their child’s research.

Although I understand the benefits of this site, I found it frustrating to use.  For one, it shut down on me twice for “routine maintenance.”  I’m not sure how often that happens, but it is annoying when you’re trying to accomplish something.  Maybe it’s because I am a librarian and I use Titlewave (Follett) to make decisions about purchasing books, create lists and order books.  Titlewave is easier to search and provides me with much more detailed information on a book.  For example, when books appear from a search, I immediately see the cover, interest level and reading or lexile levels.  For me, this is a time saver.  In GoodReads I wanted to search for nonfiction children’s butterfly books.  I couldn’t use all three criteria at the same time so the search yielded hundreds of books that were not useful to me.  The results are even different if I search books by dragonfly or dragonflies.  A search by publisher function would also be helpful.  I ended up doing some a search by authors that I already knew.  Unless I missed a feature, it seems that I almost had to know the book I was looking for before searching.  Children’s nonfiction books seem fairly limited.  Once you find a book, it is easy to select the bookshelf you want it added to.  Parents and students can access my current library site from home and use its features.  As librarians, we are always sharing recommended lists with students and letting them know what we are reading.  GoodReads is probably best used by classroom teachers or for personal use.

The features that provide the most benefit are the discussions groups, book clubs, and contact an author.  Children really enjoy book clubs.  This year I couldn’t keep the 39 Clues books on my shelves.  It would be great to have a group of kids start a 39 Clues book club.

Google for educators claims, “teachers and students can collect useful content from across the web and see it all in one place on iGoogle.”  The site is significant for educators because it allows teachers to organize all web resources that they want to use with students.  Teachers can bookmark sites that they recommend for students to use.  iGoogle allows customization so that specific sites can be blocked from students and only viewed by teachers.   Blogs can be linked to iGoogle in order to communicate with students and families.  Teachers can include a calendar with assignments and school events on it.  Parents and students could quickly check the calendar when questions arise.  It is convenient that most Google tools are at the top of the screen for easy access.   High school students with an email account could create their own iGoogle site in order to organize their classes and assignments.

Although I am new to iGoogle, the page was fairly easy to create, navigate and change.  Throughout this course my concern has been how to manage all of the technology we are learning. Making iGoogle my home page can help with that.  I like having my blog and twitter in one location.  It helps to keep me current.  In “14 Ways K-12 Librarians Can Teach Social Media,” the author adds gadgets to iGoogle for the databases in her library.  I am looking forward to trying this in my own library.  One of my concerns for the future is that iGoogle will not be available after November 1, 2013.  I wonder if Google will replace the concept of iGoogle with a newer product.


Elementary Insect Bookshelf

my elementary-insect-research shelf:
Lisa Fletcher's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (elementary-insect-research shelf)

Read Aloud Bookshelf

my why-read-aloud shelf:
Lisa Fletcher's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (why-read-aloud shelf)