Monday, April 9, 2018

Creating Graphics on the Go

I often need to create an image on the go and don't have enough time to sit down and design something While I love Canva, I have found an app that is super easy to use. I sent this image out on April 4 for National School Librarian Day. It was created with CTDesign.

The ease of use and available backgrounds, fonts, stickers, and options to upload photos to make the graphics are what make this app my go-to for creating images.

Check out my Happy Friday image.

 My mantra...
(Soon to be on some t-shirts!)

How easy and fun is this app!?

P.S. I used another fave app, Mobizen, to record a tutorial of how to use CTDesign!

Curation: Professional Reading-School Librarian Edition

I love when my awesome PLN friends come together to curate resources. After it was posted on the Future Ready Librarians Facebook page, I couldn't keep up with the comments. Someone asked for professional reading book suggestions.

I love having great professional reading mixed in with my for fun reading.

I wanted to be able to view everyone's suggestions, but sometimes I get lost in the threat or feel overwhelmed wading through all of the comments.

I started this Google Sheet for my PLN friends to curate our professional reading.

Please add your favorite school librarian professional materials to the list. Share, save, and copy!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Coding with Colby

As a new adventurer in MakerSpace and learning stations, I used my year-end budget for some cool toys I saw. One purchase was a coding set designed for early coding learners. One product that I noticed right away was the Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set. I purchased mine from The Library Store; however, the set is actually made by Learning Resources and can be purchased directly from their site.

When we begin teaching coding, we start unplugged. Here's our lesson using The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Please excuse my super, ultra, very Southern accent. I'm from the south, y'all. Each image from the story was laid on the carpet. Students "programmed" me through the story by telling me which steps I needed to take to get to the next item. This particular lesson focuses on sequencing.

When coding with Colby, students must use the same concept. In order for the mouse to make it's way through the maze, it must be programmed with the correct algorithm (set of steps). Our students lay out the steps on a grid before entering their code. I also made a cheat sheet for each action button.

Students are loving the challenge of problem-solving through the mazes. They are required to work with their partner to solve two mazes before being able to build their own.

By solving two mazes, students are able to take turns, and it provides the opportunity for me or Ms. Denise to check their work.

Also, be sure to check out CodeSpark Academy for more beginning coding games. They just added a new game (Crocodile Catch) that focuses on conditionals, variables, and inequalities.

Google EarthCam: Discovering Your World

Tonight as I was preparing a different blog post, I stumbled into (got sidetracked) Google EarthCam. It is a webcam network of live-feed cameras around the world.

One click into it, and you'll see...

Countries are tagged with their flag. Zoom in to a country by clicking it's flag.

Continue to zoom in to the country. You'll see the number of live webcams in each location. A closer look will allow you to see a snapshot of the camera's location and a summary of information for the camera.

Notice the two rectangular mini-views of the cams.

Click to view the LIVE webcam! I watched the tides roll in in Florida, people pass through Times Square, the mountains in the French Alps. 

Be aware that some of the cams are personally owned or are hosted on a website. I had to go through a hotel's website to access one particular cam. This is definitely a guided activity.

You also have the option to view popular areas such as zoos, landmarks, and tourist attractions on EarthCam Network. Being a bit of a music geek, I had to check out the Abbey Road Cam. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Writing Rules with Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook

A big part of our instructional strategy is to incorporate tech F.U.N. into our lessons.

Each year, with our Arkansas Diamond nominees, we plan lessons that incorporate Tech F.U.N. for our students. The lessons are scaffolded for our K-3 students.


With Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook, we focused on creation with Google Draw. Google Draw is awesome for creative lessons because students can add images, text art, and clip art to create a poster. In the book, Ragweed repeats the same idea to the new dog....

You will want to _______, but don't do it. That's not your job. If you do, ______.

Image result for ragweed's farm dog handbook

Third grade students created a poster that illustrated a rule at school that they wished they didn't have. They had to tell what would happen if they actually broke the rule.

Some of the students got so creative. And, some wrote some very hilarious rules.

I can totally relate to this! Sometimes I really, really want to put a beanbag underneath my desk and take a nap.

This rule cracked me up! 

This tech F.U.N. lesson focused on inserting word art and inserting an image using the search feature within Google Apps. I love that that *generally* keeps the images fairly PG and school-appropriate. If students could not find an image to use for their rule, they were allowed to use ImageQuest from Britannica. With a purchased subscription, ImageQuest provides rights free images.

What would your rule be? Would it be worth sneaking while the principal was away?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Curation: Teacher-librarian Twitter Chats

As a personal goal, I have added the AASL NSLS Shared Foundation of Curation to my PGP for next year. But, why wait when you have something in mind already?

In my recent AASL Knowledge Quest posts, I have been focusing on being a #ConnectedEducator for educators that want to become more connected and those that are new to social media.

Growing Your #PLN: Search. Connect. Grow. discussed four ways in which educators can find and follow colleagues online. The fourth tip included the suggestion to search for Twitter chats. Many chats are monthly; however, some can be bi-weekly or even weekly.

Judy Moreillon commented that the Piktochart with Twitter chats should be updated. I agree. I was unable to track down the owner; however, I have created a Padlet for you to add your Twitter chat!

Let's work together to add as many Twitter chats as we can. The Padlet is password protected. You can message me here, on Twitter (@AshleyCooksey2) or on Facebook in the Learning Librarians or Future Ready Libs groups.

Made with Padlet

Friday, March 16, 2018

Map Skills with Rufus

Each year, elementary schools across the nation read books from their state award list. While the lists vary from state to state, it's always fun to see what other states are reading and the activities that develop from those books. Pairing picture books is one of my favorite ways to incorporate tech F.U.N.*

Rufus Goes to Sea is on our Arkansas Diamond list this year, and it was one of the first books we read from our list. I cannot say enough amazing things about our tech lab teacher, Denise. Seriously. She never backs down from the crazy ideas I throw her way!

Image result for rufus goes to sea

In the story, Rufus decides he wants to join the crew of a pirate ship after discovering his school was out for the summer. We inferred that he had gotten off of the bus at the wrong stop. The other kids were getting off of the bus at Summer Camp. 

The pirate captain repeatedly tells Rufus that he doesn't have the right skill to join the crew. You'll discover the skill he needs is to be able to read! They needed a map reading pirate. After reading the book, students had the opportunity to explore maps, globes, and atlases. They really love the hands-on part of our map lessons each year.



~Bonus-the Chamber of Commerce gives me a box of local maps each year. Second graders all get their own copy. All other classes help locate our school on a local map. I don't have any particular rhyme or reason why I chose second grade to get a map.~

We often use technology after a library lesson to enhance tech F.U.N. skills.
After reading Rufus Goes to Sea and exploring with print and physical maps, students explored digital maps. They first used Google Maps to search for places around the world. Then, they were able to switch to street view to find their house or the school. Students also used an interactive map maker to create their own map. 

Using and creating maps us always an exciting lesson for students. It's great to incorporate more traditional (printed) maps and newer digital maps.