Tag Archives: awesomeness

Infographics Rock!

Our district held a conference this summer and one of the sessions I attended was about infographics. We learned about several different sites but the first one that I was able to confirm was ok to use with elementary students and figure out how to use was easel.ly. We have just used the free portion, but are looking into purchasing the pro version (if I get the grant I wrote)! The first class I used it with was 4th grade AIG working on various natural disasters. I was amazed at how fast they picked it up and how different each one turned out. We did have a few glitches and some trouble with logging in one day, but other than that it was great. The kids loved it and have been asking about using it again. I hung up printouts of the finished product and have had teachers already asking me about doing something with it with their classes and have a 5th grade already signed up to use it in conjunction with Native American research. Here are some of them working on it. (We used Britannica’s Image Quest for the photos and it was such a good resource as well.)

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Welcome Library Sparks readers!

Welcome to all my regular readers and an extra hello to anyone visiting after reading my article in Library Sparks! Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you will keep reading! (You can find some of my earlier ideas at my first blog at ccesmedia.blogspot.com as well.)

Some of you that subscribe to Library Sparks may have noticed my name in the table of contents starting in the August/September issueIn that issue, I had an article about technology you can do today without much fancy equipment, just plain computers. It also had the first Tips from the Trenches that I wrote. I will be writing the Tips from the Trenches section for the foreseeable future, so be sure you check out that section! If you don’t already subscribe but have thought about it, you might want to take advantage of the free issue offer and try it out. 

Let me know what you think of my tips and if you have any great tips you would like to share!

Blabber On About Eggs

A Kindergarten class has been working on studying animals that hatch from eggs as a different take on Easter egg festivities. Their Easter baskets have information about four different animals that lay eggs – one on each side. They studied turtles, chicks, butterflies, and frogs. Once they learned about them, they wrote about them in groups and then we created a Blabber for each group. Blabberize is a free to use. Just upload a picture, move the mouth where you want it, and record! Here are some of their finished products. (All pictures used came from Creative Commons.) I tried to embed them, but it didn’t look like it worked, so the links below will take you to the videos. They are each less then a minute long.

Frogs (Give it a second to start, the students didn’t always start right at the beginning of the recording.)
Butterflies 1 and 2 (these were done by individual students, not one group)

Twitter Rocks!

I love to use Twitter. I read it more than I tweet myself, but if you want to follow me I am @nclibrarygal. You can ask questions, find awesome resources, make connections, but the reason I love it most is sometimes you get to say something to someone you would never otherwise get to talk to. Bear with me and I will pick the Twitter theme back up in a few minutes.

This week I finally had time to read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. If you have not read this book yet, READ IT! I loved it! It was a great adventure with lots of book titles and reading fun PLUS he makes libraries awesome! Ok – I am not making it sound as good as it was, but this would be a fantastic read aloud because there are boy and girl characters, so you could do a lot with it and everyone can relate. It is exciting and adventurous without violence. I envision point of view lessons, character traits lessons, predictions, and so much more. Here is the official description from Chris Grabenstein’s website:

Can twelve 12-year-olds escape from the most ridiculously brilliant library ever created?

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library plunks a dozen sixth-graders into the middle of a futuristic library for a night of nonstop fun and adventure.

In a nod to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this fast-paced new novel features an eccentric billionaire who welcomes a group of children into a fantasy setting full of weird, wondrous touches.

Kyle is a game fan—board games, word games, and especially video games! Kyle’s hero, the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello, is the genius behind the design of the town’s new public library, which contains not only books, but an IMAX theater, an electronic learning center, instructional holograms, interactive dioramas and electromagnetic hover ladders that float patrons up to the books they want.

Lucky Kyle wins a spot as one of the first twelve kids invited to a gala, overnight library lock-in filled with of fun and games. But the next morning, when the lock-in is supposed to be over, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the others must follow book-related clues and unravel all sorts of secret puzzles to find the hidden escape route if they want to win Mr. Lemoncello’s most fabulous prize ever.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is more than a rib-tickling novel full of humor and suspense. It’s a game in itself, in which readers can have fun solving clues and answering riddles while learning how to navigate the Dewey Decimal system. Eagle-eyed kids—not to mention their parents, teachers, and librarians—can also hunt for the names of authors and classic books sprinkled throughout the fast-moving story.

Rumor has it there is even one puzzle that is in the book but not in the story. Can you find and solve it?

So, how does this relate to Twitter you ask? Well, this morning I tweeted about the book and take a look who replied to me within 3 minutes?


Uh yes, that would be the author of this New York Times Bestselling book! Tweeted to me. Excuse me while I just geek out for a few minutes…

We Fell In Love!

I meant to post this earlier than this, but we have missed 7 of the last 10 days of school for inclement weather! So, better late than never, here is what we had on our windows for February to go with our Read Me Maybe door. I love it! It was too hard for me to choose one book as you can see from my picture below. So many people stopped by to look at the photos and see what books were chosen – kids, parents, staff – they all loved it.

Our window display outside the media center.

Our window display outside the media center.

Me and my inability to choose a favorite!

Me and my inability to choose a favorite!

Some of our fantastic teachers and their choices.

Some of our fantastic teachers and their choices.

Kindergarten Blabbers

We had fun blabbering on in Kindergarten! By that I mean we created animal blabbers with Blabberize! We have used Blabberize recently with third graders, but I had not tried it with kids younger than that before, but when a K teacher asked me about an animal project – I thought we might be able to give it a try!

The teacher wanted to research animals with a high reading group, so I suggested creating a final project with Blabberize. We had planned to research one day and do the blabbers the next day, but the K schedule got moved around a bit, so she ended up doing the blabbers as a center in the classroom. We used a graphic organizer that asked for 3 things they learned, 2 interesting facts, and 1 question they still had. We had them choose an animal from books I had pulled that they would be able to read. They had about an hour for research in partners the first day and the teacher said it took about an hour to do the blabbers, but she had already used Creative Commons to find pictures to make it easier to get started. We are really excited about the results and the kids were super happy to see the finished products. We will definitely try this again!! Here are some of the final projects. (I tried embedding them, but the links work better!)







Snowy Owl


Sea Horse


Thank You NC Aquariums!


Skyping with Fort Fisher Aquarium

What an amazing opportunity we had today! Andy from Fort Fisher Aquarium skyped with one of my third grade classes today and it was fantastic! There is an element in our science curriculum now about fresh, brackish, and salt water environments. I emailed the aquarium to ask for some resources and to ask if they would talk to our class. They said they don’t usually but would help us out.





That is where Andy came in! He is the Outreach Coordinator at Fort Fisher and he did a great interactive presentation with the kids. Learning about the 3 areas of water was so clear the way he talked about it! He showed the kids turtles from fresh water and salt water (yes, REAL turtles!) and then showed them one from the brackish water areas that had a hybrid of characteristics from fresh and salt water turtles. He also showed them some other animals and talked about how we can work to keep our water cleaner.

The kids loved the presentation, had a ton of questions for him, and now they are so excited to learn more about everything he talked about! Thank you SO MUCH for a wonderful opportunity NC Aquariums!!