Gina Deal

Online Learning

Online learning has grown in popularity over the last 10 years dues to its flexibility for the adult learner.  For the student learner it has become the alternative to the traditional brick and mortar education.  Standards and expectations are being set yearly for online learning making it an attractive option.

Pros and Cons of Online Learning Voicethread


To begin the school year, I review with students the sections of the library and what resources they can find each.  Each year I try to do it a little differently since I have the same students Pre K – 5.

For students, grades 3 – 5,  I can use this as a review after the students have completed the Treasure Hunt activity where they use QR codes to discover what “gems” they will find in each section.

For grades PreK – 2, we can use it as a motivator before we begin our lesson.


Locate and Evaluate Resources

2.B.1.a . Identify the sections of the media center and the attributes of the sources located within each section.

Library Blogs I visited

Library Blogs:

Mighty Little Librarian – Tiffany Whitehead

Tiffany and her BFF Alaina post about their travel experiences.  They are ISTE attendees who took a road trip from Baton Rouge to the host city of San Antonio.  Along the way they stop to take pictures with Flat Fountain (their principal) in front of historic or high interest tourist attractions.   They rode down Route 66 and went rafting on the Colorado River.  Sharing this post with students she could introduce books that relate to the places she visited or allow students to trace her trip on a map.  Another post included a book fair hosted at a local bookstore to prepare students for summer reading and how it was a great success.  Everyone benefited from the bookstore owner who may have gained new patrons who visited the school book fair and the school raised money for the media center.

In a recent post title Back to School Blues, she spoke of all of the grunt work librarians have to do.  She was burned out dealing with textbooks, lost library books, and AV equipment that does not work.  Setting up teacher and student accounts and dealing with textbook adoptions is taking her focus away from planning and preparing for class visits and projects.  She describes accurately what we all go through at the beginning of the year.  Taking care of all the behind the scenes things can distract us from the real purpose of our job which is teaching children.

A Media Specialists Guide to the Internet

The purpose of this blog is to inform media specialists about the different aspects of their job and how they fit into their school community.  Julie Greller includes information for each level and has tabs for Web 2.0 tools that you can integrate into your lesson.

      Types of post include:·      

Confusion of our titles and how similar our job responsibilities are to that of technology coach.  Depending on the district where work we can be librarians, teacher librarians, media specialists, technology coach, or technology literacy coach to name a few titles.  When our job encompasses so many things how do we choose which title best fits?   She compares a librarian to a technology coach and points out that we have the same skill set although our focus may be different.  For either to be effective they must build relationships and trust as they both work to make the teacher look good.  She stipulates that we are the school’s technology coaches and lists the things we should be doing and suggests actions we can take to get our district to jump on the trendy technology bandwagon.

Cultivating diversity in the library is part of the librarian’s job.  In this post she shares statistics that show that our minority population is growing but 90% of the books written in the last two decades have been by or about Caucasian Americans.  We as librarians have to talk about books where race, culture and setting are integral part of the book.  We can provide the resources for teachers to use in their classrooms.

·         Is loving books enough to be a great media specialist?  Not anymore.  You need to be familiar with the latest technology and willing to use it.  Technology has opened so many possibilities for the media specialists that go beyond being keeper of the books.  If the administration has an open mind there so many positive directions that the media center can go in to attract more students and make it the center of attraction for the school.

The Busy Librarian

The purpose of this blog is to keep us up to date with what is going on in the library world.  The name of his blog says it all.  When we are too busy to find it for ourselves, he has already found the information.   Matthew Winner’s enthusiasm and down to earth personality makes it an easy read.

His posts include podcasts with interviews, some topics include:

·         Current book recommendation and interviews with the author of Mustache Baby, Bridgette Heos.  She is the author of 60 nonfiction books.  He enthusiastically suggests that we read the book to a group of children immediately.

·         A librarian is the teacher of the year, Kathy Burnette is interviewed on a podcast about what she is doing to share her passion for reading.  It is great to see a media specialist among the finalists especially when some don’t consider us teachers.  According to Winner, Kathy Burnette has united her school in the reading of one book.  In the podcast interview she explains how she reorganized her library by genres.  She believes that the students are more eager readers now that they can find the kind of book they like quicker during their library visit.  She believes that a student who does not like to read has not found a genre that they like.  She is on a mission to help students to find the type of the book they like to read.  Her interview is refreshing as she shares she did not know that she was nominated.  It wasn’t until her colleagues told her all the things she does that she realized that she deserved it as much as any other teacher.

·         Model of an expressive catalog search is a great to catch the attention of all types of readers.  This is a great way to get students/patrons interested in what they could find in the library.  This of course would take  a lot of work.  It is also a great lesson about adjectives.

Incorporating blogs into my library program – one example I viewed Bulldog Readers – Julie Hembree, showed students in pictures reading in different places.  I thought this idea would get parents involved and hopefully encourage more reading outside of the school walls.

Another blogging adventure I have been considering is having the after-school club I sponsor to blog about their learning experience.  The C.A.T. Club, Communications Arts and Technology Club, operates the TV studio and broadcast the morning announcements.  One of our goals is to develop their writing and speaking skills.  Blogging is another venue we could use to do just that.

Wicomico County has been encouraging blogs for years now. I have not heard of too many elementary teachers with blogs. I asked my 17 year old, recent high school graduate, how many of his high school teachers had blogs that he was asked to contribute posts…his answer – NONE.  Wow, I thought at least the high school teachers would try this to engage their students since they, teenagers,  spend so much time communicating via internet already.

To begin utilizing this resource in my school maybe I can pair up with a teacher and we can start one together and share the responsibility.  I think the main hindrance is the updating.  Some may get started but making the time to update the blog amongst the million other things to do, it falls to the back burner.  So may be having an accountability partner will encourage us to maintain and update a blog site.

From professional development aspect as a facilitator, I would offer an inservice on how blogging can enhance your writing instruction.  As Ms. Yolli’s Classroom blog demonstrates students would comment writing a paragraph using the Step-Up Writing Format where each part of the paragraph is a different color to show they understand how to write a paragraph.  She also required that they would have an adult proofread what they wrote before they posted.  Students love to share what they have written, starting out it can begin with simple sentences and build from there.  The great thing about writing is that it has to be done in all subject areas.

Professional development from a participant’s aspect, I would join a professional blog site and begin contributing and exchanging ideas with like-minded individuals to enhance my library program.  Even if no one in my immediate educational circle is a blogger, there are plenty of other librarians who have begun the journey and I can benefit from their experience.

Classroom Blogs I visited

Classroom Blogs:

According to Teaching Today one reason for creating a classroom blog is for the purpose of  collaboration.
“Blogs provide a space where teachers and students can work to further develop writing or other skills with the advantage of an instant audience. Teachers can offer instructional tips, and students can practice and benefit from peer or parental review.”

  I believe the following blogs not only provide a place for collaboration but also invite parents in.  Most parents are eager to support educational efforts the classroom, if they understand what is going on and how they can help.  Blogs with pictures or videos give parents an instant peek into the classroom that will hopefully inspire parental involvement.

Students will also be eager to contribute to the blog in one way or another.  Blogging could be a way to inspire writers, photographers, and artists in your classroom to thrive and publish their own works and thoughts.

Elementary School

4KM And 4KJ @ Leopold Primary School

The purpose of this blog is to share with parents and the world what is happening in 4th grade at Leopold Elementary in Australia, the only school in Leopold.  Teachers and students alike are excited about sharing what they are learning.

Types of post include:

·         Pictures from events like a celebration in which parents were invited in to see how their children interact with technology during the course of their school day.  This a great way to increase parental involvement.   Not only do parents get a snapshot of the day, they also interact with the technology and software that their children see on a daily basis.  This a great opportunity for parents to see how education has evolved since they have been in school giving them a better understanding of how their students learn.

·         An explanation of their 2 hour literacy block.  She explains how students should pick a good fit book and read silently.  Parents can benefit from this information as they visit the public library and will be to help their children choose a good fit book.  Students also get an opportunity to discuss what they are reading with their classmates.  This discussion will help the reader understand what they have read as they share the details of the plot and how the characters interact with each other.  The listener gets a review of the book that will help them decide if it is a book they would like to read to next.

·         An explanation of idioms as a review for students and to inform parents what they are learning in class.  The posts defines the difference between literal meaning and inferred meaning.  It also provides a slide show of student work where they explain an idiom through illustrations.

The educational value of this blog showing parents supporting their students in class is great way to raise their self-esteem and confidence when they know they have parental support.  Helping parents understand what is going on in class empowers them to support the teacher and their children more fully.  We now have a community invested in the education of the students, therefore we all succeed.

Middle School

Mr. Avery’s 6th Grade Class Blog

The purpose of this blog is to share real life math problems that the class has been working on solving throughout the year.  One post acknowledged that they have had 100,000 visitors to their blog from around the world since starting it 2 years ago.    They are also undergoing some changes and invite visitors to vote on their new logo.

Posts include:

·         A mini golf course that they built using their knowledge of perimeter, area, angles, mean, median, and mode.  They planned and constructed the course and then they of course had to try it out.  The end of the year project required them to work together in small groups to plan their hole for the course.  They had to test and revamp as needed.  Once constructed, each member of the group had to play the course and keep track of the scores to determine the par for the hole.  Then they invited other classes to come in and play.

·         A field trip to study tide pools and marshes.  They also had opportunity to take a look at local wildlife and invasive wildlife introduced to the area. They collected crabs, shells, and seaweed in bins so that naturalists could tell them what they had found.  While in the marshes they learned about the different types of plants grown there and how green head flies are trapped and that crabs molt.  To end the trip they ate at a local restaurant.

Traditional field day activity is combined with literature to create a day of fun and charity.  Students combined their love of The Hunger Games series and physical activity to create Stop Hunger Game activities.  Not only did students collect canned foods and boxed goods they also help to create games that mimic those played in the book.  Students were able to have fun and help meet a need in the community.

Educational value – It gives teachers ideas of the types of hands on/ real world  problems they could use to teach and reinforce concepts taught in class.  Students teaching students has proven to be a valuable teaching tool.  Common Core and STEM strategies will open the door to more student interaction that will allow students to teach each other.

High School

Mrs. Watson’s Room 102

The purpose of this blog is to teach history.  It provides resources for  students to use during their unit of study.  It offers video with current events and articles about history.  It addresses three subject areas American Literature, US History and AP Human Geography.

Posts include:

·         Current events that will spark discussion among students.  How does our country deal with tragedy?  There are videos that will spark a discussion about the Boston Marathon and fertilizer plant explosion in Texas.  Since there are many sides to an issue, the teacher could approach each subject from an human rights issue, national security, or government neglect.  By uploading the videos to  a blog students can preview it or review it  as much as necessary to complete their assignment.

·         The role of nurses during World War II.   What exactly was their role?  Will we ever know for sure?  Many of the women who served as nurses have kept secret their role never talking about it even after the war ended.  She encourages students to speak to older women in their lives to get their first hand account of that period in history.

·         The role of Native Americans in World War II and how their presence in the war has been ignored.  the post goes on to point out that Native Americans left their reservations in large numbers to fight for their country and that many of the veterans fought for the civil rights of Native Americans in the 60s and 70s.  It also talks of the declassification of the Navajo Code Talkers and how instrumental they were in World War II.

Educational value – This is a great resource for research on different aspects of World War II.  It is looking at the war from many different perspectives in effort to give us a complete detailed report.  The current event  pieces will allow for discussion on how our country responds to tragedy, how much are they responsible for and how it rallies together to survive.  Providing information in print form and video will appeal to both visual and auditory learners.


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