Another Way To Connect People With Books!

I am passionate about literacy and love sharing books. I get excited when I find tools that help people share books like the Goodreads app that I previously blogged about. A new website that has come to my attention is Basically bookcrossing is the world’s biggest library. You register your book, put a sticker inside and then leave your books anywhere in the world. People find the books, read them and release them. You can track the books progress on the website. You can also go to the website to locate books where you are. I have signed up for an account but I haven’t released any of my books yet.  I think I will do this with my own children and my grade class.

The bookcrossing website says: “don’t be ‘shelf’ish with your books – read and release!”
a) Wouldn’t this be a great project for students?
b) How to the children at your school share books? I know at our school we’ve done a book swap once a year and the kids love it. Bring a book and take a book.


Maker Movement Isn’t For Everyone

In my EC&I class we had a guest speaker, Sylvia Libow Martinez, who wrote the book Invent To Learn.  She talked to us about the maker movement and shared many of her ideas with us.  To be perfectly honest, I had no clue what she was saying for most of her presentation.  She was excited about the topic and she used lots of fun words like Makey Makey.  My seven year daughter watched her presentation with me.  She was so excited and thought that we needed to get some of the materials that Sylvia had mentioned.   She showed us what a Makey Makey was and what it did.  I decided to order one even though I still really didn’t have a clue.   When our Makey Makey arrived my two daughters decided to explore and play with it.  My 9 year old is a thinker, she likes things to be just so, and she doesn’t like to take risks.  My 7 year old is a risk taker and a colour out of the line sort of kid.   They are complete opposites and both had different experiences with the Makey Makey.   My 9 year old was frustrated that it didn’t work exactly as she thought it should.  She got frustrated and walked away telling me that I had wasted my money.  My 7 year old was engaged and played with the Makey Makey for a long time using different materials.  Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of tinkering with the Makey Makey.  My 9 year old and I have similar personalities.  This experience has taught me to think more outside of the box and to find ways to engage my 7 year old with her tinkering projects.  I teach grade 2 and have many students who like to tinker.  I need to find ways to embrace their tinkering play.  My plan is to get my hands on Sylvia’s book and invest in some more materials.  I will provide tinker time and see what happens!  A classroom is filled with many different types of learners and tinkering is definitely one way to learn.

“Fortunately for educators, this maker movement overlaps with the natural inclinations of children and the power of learning by doing.” 

Do you like to tinker?

Are there any materials that you think are a must have for my tinker box?

IMG_0575Look at her concentrate!


After our EC&I lecture on Digital Citizenship, Harmony McMillian and I decided that we needed to reach out to our parents at the school where we both teach.  We needed to share the information that we learned from class to help them raise connected caring citizens.  We decided to host a parent engagement night and present some of the good and some of the not so good.

Originally for this project, I had wanted to make books for the K-2 level about The Best Digital Me I Can Be.  I haven’t given this up.  I am still writing the books and want to get them published on paper, not digital form.  There are already tons of great digital resources but not as much in print.  If a parent is uncomfortable with online activity these books may educate them and give them a push.

With that being said, I still want to create something useful for parents.  I am searching for and creating activities for parents to do with their kids to encourage positive online activity.  My questions for you are:

What positive experiences do you have with your kids online?

What ways to you teach them be a positive digital citizen?

How to you share your rules and expectations about online behaviour?

If you don’t have children, what ways could you see all of the above looking like in a home?

Thank you in advance for sharing your expertise and experiences at home!

Who Knew?

I am constantly amazed with the tools that are being created today.  My jaw is forever hanging open.  I love sharing these tools with people and watching their expressions!  Twitter has been leading me in all sorts of directions.  I kept reading about #augmentedreality on Twitter and thought that I should investigate further.   One day a read a tweet from a teacher that said you know it’s a good app when the children are asking for the name of it when walking out the door.  The app she was referring to was colARMix.   I decided to check out this free app and was I ever glad I did!  I printed off the free coloring pages and had my kids colour them.  Then I put my iphone over top of the picture and it came to life!  My entire family was amazed!  The bird came to life and started eating the worm on the page.  It was so cool.  I decided to upgrade and spend the $2.99 for more coloring pages.  I can see using these pages when working on writing with my students.  My daughter wants to use this colouring pages at her birthday party.

How could you use these pages in your classroom?

Do you use any other augmented reality apps/sites in your classroom?

Here is a video of my daughter and the hotair balloon colouring page.

Here is some articles and tweets:

Two Guys and some iPads write about some other augmented reality apps.

Here is are:  15 Sites and Apps for Augmented Reality.

Small Accomplishments!

Over the past few weeks I have accomplished a few small things that I am proud of and I thought I would share them with you.

1. I have added categories to my blog!  I don’t know why I haven’t taken the time to do this before.  It was pretty simple to figure out and I feel so much better now that it is done!


2. I participated in a Twitter chat. It was #cdnedchat and the topic was Professional Learning Networks.   I thought that it would be harder to keep up but it wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought.  There were lots of friendly people with great ideas.  The questions they asked were:

  • How do you build and use your PLN (outside of Twitter)?
  • How has your PLN improved your teaching?
  • What proportion of your professional development is online?
  • Have online PLNs replaced traditional PD?
  • For those new to PLNs, which educators/educationalists would recommend they follow on twitter?

I tried to find the archive but I couldn’t find it.  The link to the page is  If you haven’t participated in a chat you should try it!

3. It seems that the more I tweet the more followers I get.  There have been a few times where the number of my tweets has matched my followers.  Right now I have more followers than tweets but by the end of this class I want to have more tweets than followers! I know this isn’t an accomplishment but it’s neat for me to see!  The number of people I follow has also increased.  It is interesting for me to be reading something and come across a name and decide to look them up on Twitter only to realize that I already follow them already.  Building my PLN on Twitter has been one of my favourite things about EC&1 831!

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Right now I am working on creating an Aurasma.  I  decided to download the app and play before reading the instructions which is always fun and frustrating at the same time!  I have also ordered a MaKey Makey and I can’t wait to get that so I can try to figure it out!  My daughter is also teaching me how to play Minecraft.  I even have my own world. I will post about these experiences later.

What small things have you accomplished during this class?


A few weeks ago Alec Couros was presenting to our EC & I 831 class.  He had us watch a few videos that he had shortened using TubeChop.  I decided that I needed to try this out it and it is so easy.  All you do is take a video from Youtube and past the URL into Tubechop.  You mark the time that you want the video to start and stop. Simple!

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I used a video of my daughter singing  We’re All In This Together.

I will definitely use this tool in my classroom!  It is a great editing tool.  I think sometimes I turn the video off because I don’t know where things are going.  Now I can capture more moments knowing I can chop out what I don’t want or need.

Have you used Tubechop? 

What tools do you use to edit videos?

One Of My Favourite Apps!

I read somewhere (Twitter) “that reading is a social act” and “we aren’t done with a book until we pass it on.”


As an avid reader, I truly believe these statements to be true.  I am a huge book lover.  I worked for the Regina Public Library during university. I started my teaching career as a teacher librarian.  After being in the classroom for ten years, I would love to return to a library position.

During university I kept a book journal and recorded all of the books that I wanted to read. I would then highlight the title once I had finished reading them. Now some genius has developed the website.  I don’t use the website but I am obsessed with my Goodreads app on my phone.  I have some family members and friends on Goodreads and I can see what they are reading and what they want to read.  I can read their reviews and their ratings.  I can search books by authors and titles.  Goodreads sends me book selections based on the books I have read.  When I am out and I come across a book I want to read I just scan the barcode and it will bring the book up and I can store it in on my “to-read”shelf.  I have even had an author send me a message because I added his book to my “to read” shelf.


Looking at the classroom, kids love to share things that they have read.  Funny things, mysterious things, factual information.  We must encourage our kids to share, talk and listen about others book choices so that they will develop a love a reading.  If they don’t love reading then chances are they haven’t found the right book.

 A classmate from EC&I 831 mentioned her students using Aurasma to create book reviews for the library at her school.  Students recorded a review and then she placed a sticker on the book showing a review had been done.   I looked at this program and it seems like a great idea.  Here is a a video of someone doing a quick review.

How do you have your students share books with other students?

Do you have kids rate the books in your classroom and if so, how?