By now you’ve probably seen an infographic or two – they are popping up everywhere. Infographics are an interesting way to display statistics for the media center, whether to administrators or to teachers and students. I also think this has tremendous potential in the classroom as a meaningful way for students to represent information. However, they are not easy to create for those of us who are not graphic designers. That’s where Piktochartcomes in handy!
I’ve played around with and it’s easy enough to use that I’ve recommended it to one of my teachers that is willing to try new web tools with her students. After creating an account, Piktochart provides 5 templates to choose from. (Think making a brochure with Publisher.) Our plan is to have kids use piktochart to represent each time period in American Lit. Last year she said her students had trouble connecting one time period to the next, so we’ll be sure to include that as a requirement in the infographic (i.e. What were the people in this time period reacting to from the previous time period?) We’ll print them and use them in the classroom as a refresher before tests.
I’ll try to remember to update this post after we complete the project. In the meantime, I wish everyone the best for a happy and productive school year!
~Holly Frilot, CHHS Media Center
Gail Giles, a YA author that has appeal to guys, girls, high and low level readers, Skyped into Collins Hill HS a few weeks ago. I was a nervous wreck, anticipating the many things that could go wrong when you combine teenagers, technology, and the first attempt at something new. However, it was a resounding success! Gail Giles was witty and fun, and our students did a wonderful job asking questions and keeping the conversation going. If you want to see the highlights, see our short video here. If you want more details, keep reading…
Amy Golemme, my co-media specialist, and I brainstormed authors that would have mass appeal. Gail Giles was our first thought, so I took a shot in the dark and emailed her. She emailed back quickly and we got the details planned out – one test session a few days before, then 2 sessions during our 2nd and 3rd periods. We decided to use the media center to keep it cozy and inviting, rather than a larger space like the commons area or theater. I made signs for the hallways and classrooms and the media center. I went into all the 9th and 10th grade LA classes to promote it. Students that wanted to participate had to read at least one of her books, answer a few questions, and write a few questions they’d like to ask her. For those students, I gave them a pass out of class during 2nd or 3rd period and they were our VIPs. I also invited two language arts classes per session and any media specialists from the around the county that could come.
In Gwinnett, we aren’t allowed to use Skype, but we do have an alternative – Polycom and the Blue Jeans network. We use those tools and the author uses Skype. Kevin Tomlinson from the county was excellent technical support for us and helped put my technology fears to rest. On the day of the event, we set up about 80 chairs in the media center, created VIP seats, put out a breakfast spread, set up the technology, and hoped for the best! Gail came on, introduced herself, and then we had the students come up to the computer to ask questions. We had a webcam and external mic hooked up to my laptop. The students asked good questions, and Gail was entertaining, funny, and informative. When I polled the students after the event, they all said they had a positive experience and many expressed interest in doing it again. One student even turned in a top ten list of authors she’d like to Skype with!
If you have any questions or want templates for signs, the handout students filled out, or any other details, don’t hestitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 770.682.4126. It was a lot of work, but a great experience for us and for the students.
Holly Frilot, Collins Hill High School
I’ve always been a bit of a website addict. The first thing I do when going somewhere new is scope out the website…a new park for my kids, a new restaurant, etc. So it only makes sense for our library media center (which I take great pride in) to have a great website!
However, I also knew I needed an easy way to create a website. I’m all about content – no time to spend fixing layouts or writing code. I settled on using Weebly to help design my webpage because it was easy-to-use, looked great, and came recommended by education and business folks alike.
That was over 2 years ago, and Weebly just keeps getting better. You can choose from a wide variety of templates, drag-and-drop the elements you want on a page, and add as many pages as you want. It’s free, but you may find you need more space (think lots of videos or powerpoints) for about $40 a year. It’s been well worth it to me!
I’ve recommended this website to so many people, and I’ve gotten good feedback from other library media specialists, counselors, teachers, and students. Weebly has recently launched a version for educators, and they’ve partnered with National History Day as a project possibility for students.
If you aren’t happy with your website, or need to create one, spend some time looking at library media center websites, figure out what you want to say to your audiences, then give Weebly a try. Create a few pages and show them to teachers and administrators, but be sure to test it out on students too. I got great feedback from some classes when I asked them to critique the site. And feel free to email me with any questions. Good luck!
Holly Frilot, Library Media Specialist
Teachers are often the gateway to students being involved in the life of the library media center. With that in mind (and the help of a few LA teachers) I developed several ready-made assignments for teachers to use with “choice” novels that provide students with a “real” audience other than the teacher. Check them out at the bottom of this page under “Publish a Book Review.”
Luckily, teachers often allow me into the classroom to give a 10-minute presentation on what I’m looking for with display signs, posters, blog entries, catalog reviews, and book trailers. I can show good examples, talk about what isn’t good, and answer questions. I also get to explain the benefits – a real audience, and perhaps something to show off at a job interview, college interview, etc., plus a good grade! They also get to know me a little better and know they can come ask me questions in the media center.
The display signs and posters are used in the media center or outside the media center on the bulletin board. For the blog entries, the students are directed to email me the words and a picture; this I’ve found to be the easiest way to make sure that student names stay private (first name, last initial) and that the information is accurate and appropriate. The video book trailers are the most time-intensive but also the most interesting! I’ve been working with three classes the last couple of weeks and hope to upload some good examples to our website soon.
Feel free to respond with your own ideas or send me questions!
Library Media Specialist