Saturday, March 30, 2013

Learning With SoundCloud....Look What It Brought To The 2nd Graders Today!

I love days when I learn really great new things that will bring something special to my students, teachers, and others.  

This morning I tried out two new online tools!  I was planning activities for National Poetry Month, which is in April.  
I was looking on the Poetry Foundation website and saw a new post entitled Record-a-Poem on SoundCloud.  What a really simple and fun way to record students reading poetry they have created.  
And the ironic thing, one of my kindergarten teachers asked me yesterday about podcasting tools, so I had been looking for a website and app for that too.   
I went to the SoundCloud website and signed up. I called my SoundCloud Stream (like your very own channel) Van Meter Library Voice SoundCloud to go with all of the other tools I have created for our library and school.  

You can add a profile image, description, location, and your social networks. I added my Twitter, the Van Meter Voice Facebook, Van Meter Voice Technology and Library Symbaloo, and my blog.  
When I was talking with my awesome friend Okle on Facebook tonight I shared what we did with SoundCloud today.
Okle signed up for SoundCloud too, shared the Gorrie Library SoundCloud with me, and we started following each other.  
You can find other great SoundClouds to follow The Poetry Foundation SoundCloud and HarperCollins Kids SoundCloud.  I look forward to seeing what I find on these and other SoundClouds too. 

Next just start adding recordings to your SoundCloud.
I was so excited to try SoundCloud out so I thought of a way to use it with my 2nd graders for library and technology today.  We have been getting ready for Poetry Month in every grade and today was the day the 2nd graders were going to spend time using several poetry websites.

I added the special Poetry, Poetry, Poetry Symbaloo webmix to the Van Meter 2nd Grade Symbaloo, which I use to organize each grade levels resources.
By clicking on the cute little owl tile it took them to the Poetry, Poetry, Poetry Symbaloo filled with all of these wonderful poetry websites.
The other new tool I tried out today was MentorMob.  I have been wanting to create my own MentorMob since I learned about it at the ICE Conference last month and Poetry Month gave me the perfect reason.

I took a dozen sites and added them to my first MentorMob called Lets Create Some Poetry. It is such a fun way to share resources with students too.
I added a Lets Create Some Poetry MentorMob tile on the Poetry Poetry Poetry Symbaloo too.

(I will write more about MentorMob soon. :)
The little people could choose the poetry websites that they wanted to use to create the different styles of poetry.  
Some used Poetry Splatter....
while others used the Poetry Idea Engine or another from the Symbaloo.
Once they had a poem of their own created, we took turns using the SoundCloud app to start recording our very first "Sounds".  I downloaded the SoundCloud app onto my iPhone so we could use it while they read the poems they created on the laptops.
The SoundCloud app is very easy to use.  They just held it in their hand as they read their poems.
 Once your Sound is recorded in SoundCloud you have the option to save it right away or you can "Clip" it a little bit too.  I love that easy editing feature.

We added the name and location to each Sound.
They are stored within your SoundCloud on the app too and it is very easy to find what is there by going to Sounds, Sets, etc...
This is Walker's Sound within SoundCloud on my laptop.  One is able to add images to each, descriptions, download, and share the Sounds.
It is also very easy to create a "Set" and add Sounds to it.  I created the 2nd Grade Poetry Set and quickly add all of the Sounds from today.  

I love how easy the Sets and Sounds are to share on Facebook, Twitter, email and other places.  
Also, it is easy to embed your sets.....Just like I did with the 2nd Graders Poetry Set.  

I am so excited to add more Sounds to the Van Meter Library Voice SoundCloud.  And I can't wait to share our SoundCloud with parents so they can listen to all of the awesome Sounds too.

By sharing this with teachers and helping them create their own SoundCloud they will be able to share their students Sounds too.  With all of the iPads, iTouches, and laptops that we use throughout our school, this will be a really important tool that can definitely make an impact.

SoundCloud would be perfect for book talks, bell ringers, retelling historical events, reflecting on a science experiment, reading stories they have written, practicing fluency, reflecting on art work, singing, giving directions, and so much more.

One idea...

Put the iTouchs around the library and teach the kids how to use the SoundCloud app.  They could just pick an iTouch up, make a quick book talk while browsing in the library, and have an "Instant Book Talk."

Now I just need a catchy name for that List....."Instant Book Talks", "Book Talks On The Fly"....any ideas?  :)

As teachers we crave learning new things.  And finding ways to use these new tools is one of my favorite things to do as an educator and librarian.

I hope you try a few of these out too.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Super Excited For Something NEW From ThingLink...."REMIX" and Make Any Image A Conversation!

ThingLink is one of our favorite Web 2.0 tools to use within the library and our school.  The students and teachers just LOVE creating ThingLinks that contains the words, videos, images, audio, and other elements that they choose.  

Yesterday I received an exciting email from my friend Neil Veinberg, CMO of ThingLink.  Neil told me about the newest cool thing from ThingLink.....


He also shared a great post from the ThingLink blog.  I asked Neil if I could post it here on the Voice so you can all read about it too.  

ThingLink launches Remix – Make any Image a Conversation

ThingLink just launched a new feature called Remix. Now you can create your own version of an image you see. Here’s our CEO Ulla Engeström explaining Remix. Have a question on Remix? Write ulla (at)
What is a Remix?
In music a remix is a song that has been edited to sound different from the original version — it may include additional effects and elements, or the composition of the elements has been changed.
ThingLink’s Remix feature follows the same idea with images. A rich media image is always a composition of content that conveys a unique experience. Now you can take an image you see, click the Remix button, add elements to it, and republish a new version. By doing so, you’re enabling a new conversation on the same image.
How does it work? 
We added a new icon symbol on the right of the image called “Remix”. When you’re viewing a ThingLink image that has enabled remixing, you see a Remix icon on the right. Clicking the icon automatically creates a version of that image in your own account that you can edit. The existing tags will appear, but you can change them and add your own. Your tags will not show in the original image, but your remixed version appears in the comments of the original image.
Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 3.49.33 PM

How can Remix be used in music?
A band launches a new album. They post an interactive image of the album cover with music and video players. They ask fans to remix additional content on top of it. Fans can just click the Remix button for creating their own version of the album cover, tag it with their favorite content of the band, and share it to social media with the #band name. Often there’s an incentive for participation.
How can Remix be used in schools?
A teacher composes a set of questions on a ThingLink image of a garden with various plants. A student can click the Remix button, and answer the questions on her own version of the image.
How do you use Remix?
I’m a big fan of cool interiors and vintage objects, and I like learning about makers, designers, and manufacturers. With ThingLink’s I can post specific questions directly to images and viewers can Remix the image to add comments and links.

Will Remix change the original image?
No, the original image stays the same. With Remix you just create your own version of it.
How can I follow the versions that other people have created of my image?
All the remixed versions of the original image appear as comments under the original image. This way remixing images builds a conversation.

How can I enable or disable Remix for my images?

Remix feature is automatically enabled for all new users. Existing users can turn on the feature from their settings. Choose Settings → Miscellaneous, and click the box to enable/disable Remix.
If you are excited about Remix and want to build a cool campaign around it, contact us! Now your images can tell new stories!

I couldn't wait to try out REMIX and create a new ThingLink.  It was very easy to turn on REMIX.  I went into my "Account Settings" and then to "Miscellaneous" to check I wanted my images to be REMIXED.  If you are signing up for a new account, you will automatically have REMIX in your account.  

After school today Janelle Thompson, who is one of our 5th grade teachers that I collaborate with a lot, and I thought of fun ways we are going to use ThingLink REMIX with our students.  

First up......Creating a ThingLink to share their original poems for Poetry Month in April.  Janelle also had the idea of finding a tree and having the students add their poems throughout the trees as the leaves.  I can't wait to see what we create and share.  

Have fun with ThingLink and REMIX!  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It Is Our Time To "Be The Change".....A New Webcast Series From School Library Journal

It is our time to "Be The Change."  

I wanted to let everyone know about an awesome new webcast series from School Library Journal that I will be moderating along with some very special guest speakers each month.  
It is called Be The Change and includes four upcoming webcasts...
You can register for FREE at each of the webcast links below....

10 Keys to Leadership on March 28th from 6:00-7:00pm EST

Make The Administrator Connection on April 25th from 6:00-7:00pm EST

Raise The Bar With Effective Collaboration on May 16th from 6:00-7:00pm EST

Take The Lead On Standards:  Common Core and More on June 4th from 6:00-7:00pm EST
I am very excited about our first webcast next week on March 28th.  
Especially for the three special guest speakers who will join me for 10 Keys To Leadership!  

My wonderful friend and mentor Joyce Valenza, who is the teacher librarian at Springfield Township High School in Pennsylvania.

Also, our two amazing teacher librarian friends from Washington State. Craig Seasholes, teacher librarian from South Seattle School District, and Stephen Coker, teacher librarian from North Thurston High School.
It will be a great conversation filled with 10 keys to leadership that will assist you be the change that you can be within your school district.
You can join the conversation for "Be The Change" by using and following @SLJEvent and the hashtag #SLJBTC on Twitter.  

If you cannot attend on March 28th or any of the other webcast dates, don't worry.....You can register now and will get an email reminder from School Library Journal post-live event when the webcast is archived and available for on-demand viewing at your convenience.  
School Library Journal; the wonderful series sponsors Mackin Education Resources, Capstone, and Rosen Publishing; and myself hope to see you at the webcasts.  There will be something for everyone and so much to take back to your others within your schools and districts as well.

We can all....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hagan Blogs About Our Alaskan Spring Break and the Alaska State Library Conference

For Spring Break this year, we are in Alaska for 8 days.  I have never been anywhere so beautiful and peaceful.
I have been invited to speak at the Alaska Library Association Conference later this week as the keynote speaker.  I am so honored and excited to meet all of the wonderful librarians from Alaska.  I have met many through Twitter and Facebook already, and even a couple of them in person.  It will be so nice to finally meet them all in person.
Since this was our spring break at Van Meter, my 7-year-old Hagan and husband Robbie came with me and we have been traveling through Alaska.  We went to Anchorage for the first three days.
We drove through the incredible mountains by Cook Inlet to Girdwood and stayed at the Alyeska Resort.  These pictures were taken from the tram and the top of the mountains.
We drove to Portage, through the longest tunnel in North America, to Whittier, which had more snow than we have ever seen.  It looked like the town had been abandoned.
Yesterday we flew to Valdez.  The mountain range that we flew over was just incredible.
We were very surprised to see that the runway was a complete sheet of ice when we landed.  We could barely walk on the runway to the terminal. And we landed in the middle of huge mountains.  Valdez is known for extreme skiing where they are dropped out of helicopters.
We are staying at the Mountain Sky hotel for the rest of the week.
This is the Valdez Convention Center where the conference will be.  I can't wait to go there on Friday.
During the trip, Hagan is writing about our adventures on his blog at Hagan's World Of Awesome.  It is so fun to read what he thinks about Alaska.  He is just loving everything about Alaska.

You can also see our pictures at Alaska Spring Break Trip....March 2013 Flickr Group.
Today we are off to see more of Valdez and drive to a glacier.

And the best part....Today is the day that the librarians from all over Alaska start coming to Valdez for the conference.

We can't wait to see what the rest of the week holds for us.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hagan and his friend Seymour Simon....And A Great Book Review Of Seymour's New Book From Hagan

My son Hagan loves to read, especially nonfiction.  He reads about all kinds of different things.  

He also loves that his mom is a teacher librarian and knows a few authors and illustrators too.  
Over the last year I have become friends with Seymour Simon and his amazing wife Liz Nealon. 
Hagan has too. A few weeks ago, Seymour and Liz sent Hagan the brand new book Extreme Oceans.  It wasn't even available yet so Hagan was...."the first kid to read my new book" Seymour wrote in the front.    
After Hagan and I took the picture above with him holding Extreme Oceans and told Seymour and Liz how much he loved it, Hagan wrote a review for the Seymour Simon Blog. 
He was sooooo excited when I showed him the tweet from Seymour earlier in the week telling us that his review was posted on his blog.  

And even more excited to read what Seymour wrote about him in the blog post.  Hagan just loved seeing his review.  
You can read Hagan's Book Review of Extreme Oceans on Seymour's blog. 
As Hagan says....

Thank you Seymour....We love it!  Thank you for connecting with Hagan and opening up the amazing world of your beautiful books.  

I love the voice that my son has and the connection that he has made.  I can't wait to see what is next for Hagan.

He will definitely make a difference.