Digital Storytelling

This time, I’m going to post about two items I have learned about over the past weeks… Voicethread and Digital Storytelling. I used the website Voicethread to create a presentation discussing the What, How, and Why everyone should know about Digital Storytelling.

What: Essentially, digital storytelling is using a technology tool to tell a story (personal or factual) and share it with others online.

How: You can use a variety of products to create a story, but some notable ones are WeVideo, Storybird, or Powerpoint. It all depends on what type of message you want to portray.

Why: Storytelling activates our brain in the most authentic way. We want to engage our 21st Century Learners. Therefore, we want to use digital storytelling in our teaching.

Find out more by viewing my Voicethread (which is another tool for creating digital stories!)


Riding the Wiki Wave

This is exciting! I have decided to go surfing…I’ve never done this before! No, not in the ocean, in the wiki movement! This time, I decided to get myself a Wikispace and have my students use it to post their own podcasts!

Below is a link to my Wikispace:

Friedman Wikispace

If needed, Join Code: 43NPTNK

Currently, my page is dedicated to our Literature Circle book groups. On the right, you will see a page dedicated to each book we are reading right now. The students were asked to fill in a script about their books, so far. They just started reading on Wednesday. We will add two more podcasts at different points in the novel. The three pages with content are: A Mango-Shaped SpaceMrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and The Crossover.

The goal of this Wikispace is to allow the students to post their work, get feedback from peers, and collaborate in groups to create an interesting podcast. The students are still working on their podcasts, so we will add more to the pages soon!

You can see the podcast assignment and explanation of where we are in the process of uploading to the Wikispace.

When finished, this assignment is going to help the students talk about their book in their groups, force them to summarize the main events, and reflect on the characters and theme for an online audience. This website will allow the students to review their peers’ work and give them immediate feedback through comments. The students can practice digital citizenship easily on the Class Wikispace because it is only open to people who join the page. Therefore, I can monitor all the posted work and comments by the students.

The theme of surfing really fits this assignment because it has had its ups and downs. The students love creating the product, but we are having trouble getting to onto the interweb! Since we are here to learn about technology, I will just get back on the surfboard and try to stay afloat!

The New Frontier

The bloggers below have shown me just how different media specialists can be! I chose the title above because I feel like we are moving into a new frontier of education! We can all do the same job, but in many different ways!

Image result for 1Unpretentious Librarian

Sue Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald’s blog is like a helpful desk with tons of info about all things Media Center! I love her Tools page:  Here she lists all the online tools that she thinks kids/teachers/parents/anyone might enjoy! The tools are in different categories, so you can browse the whole page or just go to the category you need, such as a creation tool or social media tool. This is great because on her one page you can click right the tool you might need. Her Google+ Page has tons of collections of her personal interests that you could follow. This is a great way for students to reach out to her and make a connection online. Lastly, I love that she has so many book trailers available on her site. The students can browse through her book lists and click on a book that catches their eye. Then, you get to watch a book trailer and see if you are interested in that book! She has a space where teachers and students can add their own photos of the school or library at the bottom of her home page. This inspires all to get involved in her media center online and at school.

Clearly, Fitzgerald’s main purpose is to get kids interested in reading and creating online. I love that she has connections to many different sites for parents and students to see what she is reading and interested in. She has Pinterest, Vine, Google+, and Instagram. This means that kids can find her on many popular websites. She mentions that she is happy to share all her ideas, please just kindly give her credit. It seems that she would benefit from Creative Commons License in this way, so I might just email her and let her know!

The only thing that I thought might be missing from her blog was more personal information about her school and any projects that the students might be doing with her. I would love for her to add a page for updates about her own activities at school. The home page a small bit of information, but didn’t focus on any students’ work.

What I am thinking is that she has created a site for kids to use and get a lot of ideas from, but she should keep the ideas flowing by having students post their work on her blog.

Fitzgerald’s blog is a great example of starting a blog that can inspire kids to read and create! Isn’t that the true message we want to send through our media specialist roles? In order to inspire the media specialists in my area to embrace blogging, I think I would start by showing them Fitzgerald’s page of tools. This is such a great resource for kids and something that many media specialists could create easily. The way to make it work for your area is to talk to the teachers in your building. If some of them are using certain apps or creation sites, be sure to link to them on your tools page. That is an easy place to start.

Next, I would encourage the media specialists to use this blog as a place to advertise books! There are many ways to create the buzz for the books, but having a list on a page is a start.

Lastly, I love how Fitzgerald connects to other places that she is online, such as Google+. Maybe, we could use this idea in professional development. Teachers and media specialists could try and find ways to connect with each other through blogs and online sources. Already, I am friends with many of my teacher colleagues on Pinterest, so I can see what they are pinning. This would be the next level of this and linking to our new Google hangouts and connections. We can use this a place to share ideas as a staff. This idea reminded me of the video, “Blogs in Plain English.” The video states that the creation of blogs is a way to appeal to a vast amount of small audiences. If we have a blog or social space as teachers to share ideas, it just makes for better teaching and learning for our students. I love the idea of finding a way to use blogs to further our lessons.

Image result for 2The Unquiet Librarian

Buffy Hamilton

Hamilton’s blog seems to center on promoting great ways to use your media center and to encourage students to take risks in writing. I chose this blog because the media specialist at my own school loves her! I was glad to see that the also came up on the list that was provided for our class.

I believe that Hamilton created her blog to promote her own ideas about how media centers should work. I love that she has so many pictures of students working and student work! There is one slideshare that shows actual snapshots of students’ writing after they participated in Hamilton’s “Speed Dating for Writing” activity. This gives students a “shout-out” if they did a great job and shows parents what the kids are up to at school.

Hamilton’s blog also promotes others’ work. Here is a quote from her page describing how she crafted an activity for her students using others’ help:  “I have never crafted zines before with students, but this choice was inspired by the work my friend and fellow English teacher Kyle Jones has done with his high school students.   Thanks to DonorsChoose and the generous donations from friends and colleagues, we now have the crafting supplies we need to do our zine making!” 

I love that she is utilizing ideas from many places to get her students engaged. She is also promoting the activity for other teachers to give it a try by showing her students engaged in the activity and really working hard! Again, this is why I love the use of photos to show what the students are working on in your media center.

This blog is a great resource for discovering some new ideas to use with students. Hamilton has many different pages for you to browse and get ideas. She is also a published author and gives presentations, so her blog is promoting her own skill set, as well.

After browsing Hamilton’s blog, I see some potential for using this in education. One quote from “Reflecting, Writing, and Responding: Reasons Students Blog” really stood out to me as I finished writing my review. ‘“Berry says, “ Because of the blog, he could write about the news as it happened instead of 3 waiting for the print edition days later. But he says that he and other writers also like the fact that blogging gives them a chance to move outside the news and just use their opinions to write about their interests. “To have that outlet—as a writer, there’s nothing better,” he says.’” Hamilton’s blog is promoting the writing of her students, but also her own works. It is a great way to tell others about her interests as they relate to education and our changing world as educators and media specialists.

One way to encourage more teachers to blog would be to show them how Hamilton is using her blog to promote her students’ work. I think that many of the English teachers in my school would love this idea and find a way to use it. The most simple way to get started would be to use the blog as a “shout-out” space for great writing! I was just talking to my counterpart (other English 6 teacher) at my school about some of our students’ stories. We were both blown away with how well they did! Now, seeing Hamilton’s blog, I could see myself creating a page to highlight these students and their great work!

Image result for 3The Daring Librarian

Gwyneth Jones

I loved looking for a Librarian’s blog that wasn’t on our list, and luckily, my media specialist knew just the right own…The Daring Librarian. Jones has a fun and spunky personality that is clearly shown through her fun blog! I loved that space is her general theme, because it shows that she reaches for the stars!

On her home page, she posted a lot about an upcoming conference where she is presenting FETC The conference looks like a great place to learn more about STEM and where technology is taking education.

On her Librarian Edublog page, she started by mentioning an article from Huffington Post about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Her post focused on how we need to model and educate students on the “we” or being servants in our communities. She then links to many opportunities for students to get involved in their communities and make a difference.  This really inspired me! I love that she is giving students something to think about besides just school, books, and grades! Part of education is helping all our students see the value in their communities.

On the same page, she posted information for students about STEM classes at a local library, but under that was an app suggestion of “Escape from Detention.” You can see that she is committed to her school and promoting technology, but that fun has a place in her world…always!

Her blog has links to her portfolio, presentations she has done, and her Flickr pictures! However, the best part is that she has created many cartoon versions of herself on the blog. When you click on something, she has the blog talk to you, “Hey Sweetie…” You can tell that she wants people to remember her and come back for more!

Jones purpose is clear! She wants to promote STEM and all technology for kids that she can. She has many places on the blog for kids and other educators to learn how to become more tech savvy and to teach others. I love that she is all about sharing information and creating places for everyone to get involved in projects.

She also does a great job of promoting her own works and presentation ideas. This reminded me of Hamilton’s blog because both women are clearly full of rich ideas and know how to present them to the public. This is a great way to use your blog to create professional connections with other educators.

The only part of her blog that I found lacking was in seeing her students. I would have loved to see some pictures of students in her media center. That would just add a bit more authenticity to all she is doing.

I am so glad that I saw Jones’ blog because it focused so much on STEM and technology applications. The other blogs that I visited focused mostly on reading, books, and tools for creation projects. I am learning more and more how important it is for media specialists to devote time to STEM activities. I love the idea of maker-spaces and can’t wait to get my own space! However, I will need to rely on some other librarians’ blogs, guidance, and ideas to get myself started.

The media specialist at my school is a former Science teacher. She has been transforming her media center little by little to add in more technology and science. She is now hosting the Garden Club and will have students working in different areas of our school to update and add to our existing gardens. This is a great way for students to make connections. I am thinking that presenting the idea of going to a technology conference to a few of my colleagues might be a good way to get them started. The FECT sounds like a good one to attend, so I signed up for the mailing list and hope to go in the next few years. This would be a great way to get my colleagues interested in making some STEM connections in their classrooms and with our media center.
Jones’ blog reminded me of a quote from Brain of the Blogger, “Blogging is a powerful medium for increasing access and exposure to quality information. Because blogs link many facts and arguments in branching “threads” and webs, and append primary source materials and reference works, they foster deeper understanding and exposure to quality information. In turn these sources can seed other creative projects.” Some of my colleagues may not know what great information is out there! I’m hoping to use what I know to promote some really great bloggers and further the message of quality information.


After reading these three blogs, it is clear that being a media specialist means many things. I love that this role has the same name in all school districts, states,  and countries, but the role itself is so different. I titled this blog post to be “The New Frontier” because the role of a media specialist is ever-changing and undefined. This is a new frontier for this profession and I love that each person can make it their own.

Citations and Credits

Fitzgerald, Sue “Unpretentious Librarian.” 2010, The Unpretentious Librarian, 15 Jan. 2017. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.

Hamilton, Buffy. “The Unquiet Librarian.” The Unquiet Librarian, 9 Jan. 2017. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.

Leelefever. YouTube. YouTube, 29 Nov. 2007. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.

Jones, Gwyneth. “The Daring Librarian.” The Daring Librarian, 22 Jan. 2017. Web. 23 Jan. 2017.

Blogging Leads to Bravery

Thank you to the brave bloggers who allowed me into their online worlds! The teachers and students who have published their thoughts, words, pictures, and projects on the following three blogs have shown how brave they are, but have also inspired me to get braver…and get out there!

I have tried to use my blog to give some credit to three educators whose blogs inspired me:

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5/6C @ The Junction (Elementary)

Ms. Chaffrey’s blog is a way for her students to begin the art of blogging, but also to publish their writing in a global way. The students each have their page in the blog, to publish their work. You can see that some students took time to redesign their page and keep it up-to-date. Happyapples talks about why she used the theme of nature on her blog post and how that coincides with her blog name and some of the themes of her writing. I love that the students have to explain their blog to the public and then use it to publish work that they are proud of from the classroom. Happyapples was a finalist in the Best of Student Blogs Contest. That is so cool! Ms. Chaffrey also takes time to nominate a blogger of the week. The nominations can come from the students and/or teachers in the community and that encourages all the readers to participate in this vote. Then, the publicity of Ms. Chaffrey encourages more students to check out the other students’ work. It could also push some students to get back into blogging, in case they have lost interest. She is also using the 100 Word Challenge to encourage her students to focus their writing into only 100 well-chosen words.

Overall, this blog is achieving the purpose of the teacher. She has gotten many students to participate in their communities through writing and then also promoting causes they are passionate about. One student, Zoe, decided to take her blog to another level by creating a podcast with her sister Bella. Ms. Chaffrey promoted Zoe’s blog and podcast on her “Blogger of the Week” post and that inspired others to hear about Zoe’s passion of saving the Rhinos! 

The students are also using the blog to promote their personal interests. One example of this is Sam’s Matrix.  His page has the story of how he won tickets to a Jets Game and it showcases his story-telling skills. One quote that really stuck out to me was, “The third name was about to be drawn. I had almost given up hope but wait!! The piece of paper was the same size as mine and had my mum’s handwriting. I hoped that no one had my mum’s handwriting.” This was so honest and the last line shows his sense of humor. The story at the top of the page is Sam’s exciting retelling of how exciting the game was! If Ms. Chaffrey wanted her students to practice their writing skills and share personal ideas, then her blog is working well! I was loving the students’ personal touches to their blogs and that you could see some blog posts that focus on the same ideas. Clearly, the students have been learning about the poaching of rhinos. This theme was evident on many posts and each student offered his/her own unique thoughts and protests of this topic.

This blog has great potential for using it in my own classroom and for many educators. As an English teacher, I love the idea of encouraging my students to publish their writing on their own blogs. This would be a great way to inspire them to create writing worth reading (one of my favorite catchphrases) and also to encourage them to share their writing with their families and beyond. My students could use this as an example for their own work, but also as a place to make a connection overseas. They could try and reach out to one of the students that they connected with and promote this person’s blog on their own blog.

Image result for 2The Living Textbook (Middle)

Middle School Journalists

The purpose of this blog is to help middle school students hone their story-telling skills. The students are connected with other journalists in the Dearborne, MI area. They use written work, but also use audio, video, and photography to tell stories that they want to tell. The students who write for this blog do as if they are well-trained journalists. One story that caught my attention was a short blurb about the school’s new 8th grade president. This piece helped the community learn more about Khalil Shuayto. You forget that a student is writing this piece until you get to a small typo in the work. This typo was a reminder to me about the flurry that many blog posts are written in. This type of writing asks that the journalist get to work quickly to publish the work, therefore, a few small typos will happen.


This blog emphasizes that students should tell stories with words and more. One page of the blog has a student sharing what he learned about photography, by creating a video of his own still photographs. This quote says it all, “I could write about what we learned about shooting good photos, but that wouldn’t make much sense, would it. How about if, for this story, I just show you what I’m talking about?”

Jamal Hamoud shares his learning with the world in a concise way, but also with a sense of humor. His two lines show his personality, but we learn more about his view based on the music selection and photographs he used for the video. This blog is allowing him to create art that he is proud of and can also show his learning in a unique way! I loved this idea and it really got me thinking about some projects that I use in my own classroom. How can I take them to next level?

The fact that this blog has been recognized in many outlets is the reason it is so effective. The blog not only helps students publish work and share news from their own eyes, but it is getting messages out to many others. Take a look at their coverage by other sites.

This blog shows the power of a teacher giving students an online presence and voice. I see this power not only in April Kincaid’s classroom, but Ms. Chaffrey’s blog as well. These teachers are allowing students to be participants in their own learning, not just vessels to be filled. That is the mark of a true teacher. This reminded me of a quote from our reading of Reflecting, Writing, and Responding: Reasons Students Blog by Carie Windham, “Third, technology is changing the way we communicate with one another, and the social impact of this change is likely to be at least as great as changes wrought by the invention of the printing press or the television. Members of the generation now in high school will expect to be treated as participants in a grand conversation rather than as passive consumers of education.” Teachers need to capitalize on students’ thoughts and ideas and use social media to further our country’s education.

I see this blog as a great example of how to use your classroom as a place where many worlds can coincide. This blog connects social studies, writing, journalism, and real world photographers into one world. The power of a blog is that there is no limit to what you can write. Therefore, the sky’s the limit. You as the teacher can get the website started, but where your students take it is endless. This would be a great blog to share with my fellow teachers. I love how this blog combines so many curricular areas. We could create a blog for our entire grade level that allows students to add content within the subject area that they feel the most excited about. I would love to find a way to create one of these blogs for next year and encourage each of my sixth grade colleagues to create one project that the students MUST post. Then, any students who feel excited about this work could continue adding content to the blog throughout the year. As I read through more blogs, I am thinking that I can refine this idea and make it work for my large class of 250-300 students each year…


Image result for 3The Nerdy Teacher (High School)

This blog is run by a teacher who knows his way around the technology world! He has created a blog that is geared toward other teachers and educational systems, but also involves his students and give them ideas for their own worlds. It has tons of information in several areas: literature, technology, educational devices/tools and organizations. After reading through this blog, it is clear that it is chock full of information and makes me think that Nick Provenzano never sits down! He has many accolades such as: Teacher Innovator 2016 from Amazon Education, DREMEL 3D IDEA BUILDER AMBASSADOR, and author of book Your Starter Guide to Maker Spaces. This website is a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants to infuse more technology into his/her classroom. I loved that this blog includes his own personal writings, projects that his students created, and ideas for the presentations that Nick gives. If you want him to come to your school, he will! This blog shows that one person can take their love of technology and teaching and turn it into a message that many can hear. The power of his platform is clear.

His blog showcases his own work in presentations that he gives. One example of this was the Keynote Address he gave at the WL Spice It Up Conference 2014. 

This keynote address shows him using his personal life with his son to promote ideas of technology to teachers. He makes connections to students using video games and failures. He mentions how clearly students see the expectations of getting to a certain level on a video game. They understand how they fail until the determine how to succeed. This keynote address helped the audience members see the value of failing in school to then promote them to allow students a chance to fail, but get a do-over.

However, he also includes work from his students. He posted the following assignment using Snapchat to create the finished product. 

He also posted a few of the finished products.

I have to say that I am super impressed here! I love that he is able to use his blog to reach not only his classroom community, but educators everywhere. He is finding ways to inspire other teachers to become more connected to help our students become better citizens, digital and otherwise!

His blog is muti-focused, just like the Living Textbook. Both of these blogs show the importance of making connections between worlds. I love how the bloggers try to find ways to use their blog to inspire their students, but make connections in many ways. The Nerdy Teacher is making connections between the arts and technology, while the Living Textbook is taking journalism and writing to new heights.

I love the idea of using the Nerdy Teacher’s blog for professional development. Even if your county can’t afford to have Nick Provezano come and speak for you, he has published a few of his speaking engagements that are inspiring. Also, your county could use his book as a jumping off point for including more technology experimentation in your school. Just by browsing his blog, I came up with the idea of how important it is to allow our kids to fail, but then try again! We need to show students that education is not about getting it right on the first try, but continuing to try!


Part of job as educators and leaders is to become connected! We need to be brave and try things we may not have wanted to do at first. Our failures will serve as ways to inspire our colleagues and students to TRY! I didn’t want to have an online presence because of the pitfalls that I could encounter. Now, I see how important it is to be online connecting with others and showing my students that communication and technology skills are vital in our ever-changing world.

Citations and Credits

5/6C @ The Junction.” 56C The Junction. WordPress, n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2017.

“The Living Textbook.” The Living Textbook. WordPress, n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2017.

Provenzano, Nicholas. “The Nerdy Teacher.” The Nerdy Teacher. Blogger, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 22 Jan. 2017.

Reasons Students Blog