The future is now

Do you want to incorporate more technology into your information literacy instruction? I created a short video on how iPads can be used in a poetry project for high school students. The teens will learn information literacy skills and enhance their digital literacy. It’s important to remember not all kids have the same access to technology, so incorporating various technologies into instruction can help give them a chance to explore and create. Plus, they’re working on those super important 21st Century skills!

Enjoy the video.


Institute of Library and Museum Services. (n.d.). Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills. Retrieved from

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.). Framework for 21st Century Skills. Retrieved from:


Booktalking to 11th Grade Language Arts Classes

photo(2)Today I booktalked to Mr. L’s 1st and 3rd grade Language Arts classes. He asked for a mix of young adult and classic novels that his students may select for an extra credit “free reading” assignment. I selected twelve books from the library’s collection in a range of genres and reading levels. I planned to officially present six to each class, plus several more I’d briefly introduce if I had the time.

To start the booktalk session, I asked the students what they liked to read. How that question is like pulling teeth! Students in both classes preferred certain styles of sci-fi or books with lots of “drama,” but mostly they wanted a good story.

At the end of both classes I had an opportunity for informal reader’s advisory. At this point the students gladly shared their reading interests: action/war novels, manga, futuristic sci-fi where characters posses super powers, sci-fi featuring other worlds, and more. I was so charged by the end of these!

1st Period Booktalks

Booktalks presented off the cuff, based off student feedback:

3rd Period Booktalks

Booktalks presented off the cuff, based off student feedback:



The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

The year is 1993. Sixteen-year-old Maggie lives in Chicago with her single mother and younger sister. Her life’s okay, but made infinitely better by her cool musician uncle teaches her everything about grunge music. Smashing Pumpkins. Soundgarden. Nirvana. Especially Nirvana.

Then her mother quickly marries her latest boyfriend and moves the family to a tiny town in Ireland. It’s dreary, cold, and grey. Maggie doesn’t even try to fit in. Then her uncle sends her two tickets to a Nirvana concert in Rome with the message: “Take the boy. Don’t ask permission. There will also be time to do responsible things. Before that, live.”

Great for music lovers, travelers, and romantics.

Booktalk Tuesday–MARCH: BOOK ONE


March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

The scene is Nashville, Tennessee. A mix of people–some white, some black–walk into a department store and sit at the lunch counter. Seems pretty normal. Except it’s 1960 and African-American’s aren’t allowed at the lunch counter in Tennessee. An angry crowd starts to form in the store. But this group remains brave, recalling their training in nonviolence. They remain seated. Even as the crowd begins harassing them, the protestors don’t fight back. Even as the crowd begins to beat them.

This powerful graphic novel series shows the early life of Congressman John Lewis of Georgia. It tells an inspiring story of his childhood a sharecropper’s son and education in justice and nonviolence. Eventually he becomes a civil rights leader who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. and spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

This is a new favorite nonfiction of mine. I recently booktalked this to teens at a high school and they LOVED it. I couldn’t tell if the story or graphic novel format appealed more, but frankly, I didn’t care. Both are great reasons to love this book. The story is compelling (and very relevant) and the art captures really captures the tone. Can’t wait for my hold of March: Book Two to come in at the library.

Teacher Outreach

It’s now been a week since we completed the iPad project with the honors language arts teacher, and a new semester. And no other teachers have signed up to use the iPad carts. With the librarian’s permission, I decided to compose an email to encourage teachers to make use of this great resource. The email is below.

Subject: iPads in the Classroom

Hello Teachers,

Thank you once more for coming to the iPad training session last semester. We recently had our first opportunity to use all 30 iPads for a class project–to a successful result! Mr. K’s 10th grade Language Arts Honors classes used iPads to create short films portraying poems they memorized. Over a 2 week period, the students filmed and edited their videos using multiple iPad APPs such as iMovie, Garageband, and Skitch. Students successfully refined skills in new media and applied their knowledge of analyzing poetry in a different way.

We encourage you to enhance lessons by using these devices. In today’s increasingly digital world, it is important for students to feel comfortable using a variety of devices and they may not always have this opportunity at home. By working with iPads, students can learn to effectively communicate across media, work in teams, and solve problems creatively.

This winter quarter, the library has an intern from the UW ischool working on her Library degree.  She and I are available to work with you to plan and implement this technology in your classroom and tailor a project that meets your students’ needs.

Below is a list of available APPs preloaded onto these devices, in additional to the standard APPs like maps and notes.* Many have a web counterpart, so students can continue working from other locations. However, we recognize that not all students have access to these programs outside of school, so we recommend projects be planned for in-class time use only if possible.

Reminder: The sign-up and training materials are linked off the library page of school website, but email and in-person communication will always work!


  • Garageband
  • iMovie
  • iPhoto
  • YouTube
  • Keynote
  • PowerPoint
  • Prezi
  • Animation Deck
  • Paper
  • Skitch
  • Penultimate
  • Pages
  • Docs
  • Sheets
  • Educreations
  • Socrative
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Drive
  • Dropbox

We look forward to hearing from you. Please let us know if you have any questions.



*Please let us know if you have suggestions of other (free) APPs that may be useful!

iPads in the Classroom, Pt 4: The End

I missed the final presentation of the 4th and 6th period classes iPad Poetry Project, due to my job, but I spent a better part of the afternoon at the library watching the videos from the class DropBox account. Many of them obviously used their own materials to film and edit the videos (when the video is filmed in a house or a neighborhood, it’s pretty apparent). However, some students relied solely on the iPads to complete their project and even more used some kind of hybrid between the two. The videos turned out really well, with the exception of one video featuring inappropriate content. (There’s always one.) I’m extremely impressed by the students’ creativity and skill at synthesizing art and technology into something uniquely powerful.

Horrah for technology integration!