Inspiring people

Some rights reserved by Striking Photography by Bo

There have been a few people that inspired me to be a better teacher, willing to take a risk and step out of my comfort zone.  I have seen Doug Johnson present at many conferences and have enjoyed his Blue Skunk Blog for several years.  Last year at the ECIS Librarians Conference I attended Joyce Valenza’s sessions.  I have followed her blogs for many years but this was the first time I saw her in action.  She has amazing energy and conveys her passion for working with children and giving them and educators all the tools they need.  Her blog for the School Library Journal is Never Ending Search.  Sums her up pretty well, I think.  Tara Ethridge is the elementary librarian at International School of Bangkok.  She is moving on after this year, and heading back to the classroom for a while.  Librarians around the world will miss her.  Her blog, Tech, Library, Classroom, is full of innovative ideas that she has done with her students and chock full of sites, books, and contacts that she has used.  I was privileged to work with her in Shanghai.  While in Shanghai, I was very lucky to share an office (for a time) with a young, hyper, passionate tech kid (I am old remember) that was always willing to help me try something new and fairly patient when he had to show me 3 more times how to do it.  He certainly pushed me.  You may have heard of him — Jeff Utecht.  Guess why I signed up for this program.

Now, I told you all that, to tell you this.   Joyce Valenza is attending the ASCD Conference in Philadelphia.  She has attended sessions by one of the people that inspires her, Heidi Hayes-Jacobs.  She writes about the first sessions on Heidi’s talk on her Never Ending Search blog.  Click here.  I am very interested in her comments about “differentiated professional development”.  She gives examples such as, “new teachers with great tech skills needing help with curriculum development and older teachers needing help with tech skills.”  As a good presenter should, she has given us some sites to look at and programs to use.

I have had the good fortune in my life to have people to inspire me.  I hope all of you do as well.

5th grade project finally finished

Tara Ethridge did a workshop on book trailers in May at the ECIS Librarians’ Conference.  I was so inspired I have tried it with both sections of 5th grade here at ACST.  It turned out to be hard for the kids, a patience test for me, but surprisingly successful on several layers.  We used PhotoPeach.  The program is actually very easy to use.  The hiccups came when we went looking for royalty free pictures.  It took the kids HOURS and HOURS to find photos to use.  One boy made his sister take his photo for his book trailer.  Most managed to get finished without stepping into the world of copyrighted material (other than the book cover, which I am hoping for some slack under Fair Use) but I notice several that slipped through.  The second annoying hiccup for the kids was music.  The free PhotoPeach doesn’t allow you to import outside music, with the exception of some YouTube music.  The paid version does.

All that aside, when the kids saw their finished work up on our wiki they absolutely lit up.  They come in to look at other student’s work and to watch their own, over and over and over again.  Part of the evaluation was a self-evaluation section.  It was a simple self-evaluation:  how do you feel about your finished product,  what was the hardest,  what was the easiest.  Almost all mentioned looking for non-copyrighted material.

I will do this again, but will have more prep time.  Several sites that I thought had all royalty free material had very little.  As a group we will look for general pictures to add to a communal folder, ie:  sad, lonely, friendship.  I will assume it will take weeks longer than I had originally planned.  I will do this again.