Four Ways to be the HEART of the School


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  • Slide 1: minute 1
    Hi, welcome to my session, “Four ways to be the HEART of the school.” My name is Becca LaVoie, and I am an 8th grade language arts teacher at William Monroe Middle School in Greene county and graduate student at ODU in Education and Library Science. Today we will look at four tools you can use to collaborate with classroom teachers to meet SOLs in fun, new ways.
  • Slide 2: minute 2
    The first thing we will look at are blogs. Blogs are a very easy first step to take in the world of technology and social media.
  • Slide 3: minute 3
    One of the most popular free blogging platforms is Blogger. Blogger is now part of the Google suite, so if you have a google account, you have a blogger account. For an example, here is my blog.
  • Slide 4: minute 4-5
    (Screenshot if connection does not work.) You can see the posts by date on the left. And posts can be tagged into categories. Mine is for ODU, so it is tagged by course number. Your blog could be tagged however your users would benefit.
  • Slide 5: minute 6-7
    So  how will a blog be helpful to students and teachers?  One way is to use blogging to host a book review blog. Collaborate with a language arts teacher or grade level English department to have students write book review blog entries as part of a reading project. This helps students meet SOLs 8.5 and 8.6 :
    8.5 The student will read and analyze a variety of fictional texts, narrative nonfiction, and poetry.
    8.6 The student will read, comprehend, and analyze a variety of nonfiction texts.
  • Slide 6: minute 8
    Also, we all know students love technology. Why not help them stay up to date on the latest and greatest in devices and apps with a blog about technology. On my blog you saw where I explored tools each week and talked about my experiences. It can be as simple as that or your blog can be a very interactive project. Free apps could be downloaded and available for students to experiment with and rate. This could be in a computer class, during a free period, during lunch, before or after school, or any time! You could always be open to students giving you a write up of any new device or app they purchase. Teachers could contribute. Even parents could contribute.
  • Slide 7: minute 9-10
    As a librarian, you could also use a blog to showcase the value of your library program. Blogging is a great way to get your information out there. Your blog could feature a weekly post of “Library Happenings.” This is where you could showcase the classes coming to use the library and library resources, what technologies the students are able to access in the library, and pictures of students working along with pictures of final projects. All this takes is a quick email, tweet, or status update on the school Facebook page to let the community know you have a new blog post. Keep the title the same every week, so your audience begins to expect them and knows what format to expect. This is a great way to get teachers, parents, and students excited about what is happening in the library, plus your advocacy for your school library program will impact the future students at your school.
  • Slide 8: minute 11
    So, you can see that blogs have plenty to offer, but now let’s go one step further and look at websites.
  • Slide 9: minute 12
    Websites are a great, centralized place for the presentation of information and resources.  A great, free website builder is Weebly. The biggest downside to Weebly is that they do charge for more advanced features. Here is an example Weebly site I made for a class at ODU.
  • Slide 10: minute 13-14
    (Screenshot if connection does not work.) So this is my fictional library. I have tabs across the top showcasing the contents. For example, if I click on the Virginia Reader’s Choice tab that takes me to a book review of each choice this year plus links to book and movie trailers where applicable. I chose a simple, natural wood background, and weebly offers many choices and themes.
  • Slide 11: minute 15-16
    Weebly is a great tool for creating National History Day projects. The 2014-15 theme for NHD is Leadership and Legacy in History. This meets two US History II SOLs: USII 4 and USII 5.
    USII.4 The student will demonstrate knowledge of how life changed after the Civil War .
    USII.5 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the changing role of the United States from the late nineteenth century through World War I.
    Here is a great example of a NHD project made with Weebly.
  • Slide 12: minute 15
    (Screenshot if connection does not work.) This student has everything represented to thoroughly cover his topic, and the website neatly contains it all. You can see that he chose a solid color background as opposed to my woodgrain. Weebly themes are very easy to match to the tone a student wants to set.
  • Slide 13: minute 15
    Because Weebly is so quick, easy, and painless to use, many teachers use this as a classroom website. Here is my teammate Jason’s website.
  • Slide 14: minute 16
    (Screenshot if connection does not work.) As the librarian, you can become the building go-to person for Weebly questions. Help teachers who have never heard of it build their first website. Show teachers how it can be used in projects even beyond the National History Day. As teachers realize that you know useful tools, they will want to collaborate with you more and more.
  • Slide 15: minute 17-18
    Finally, a website is a great place to brag about your school, your library, and your students. This is where you can advertise the library, and it is a great central location to house the links to various blogs ran by students, faculty, and the library staff. Websites can be used to give general information about the library such as operating hours, links to SOL resources for teachers and parents, links to databases for students, and technology links and sign ups for teachers.
  • Slide 16: minute: 19
    Let’s move on to video! The idea of making videos was very intimidating at first, but I found some great programs that take the guesswork out of making great videos.
  • Slide 17 minute 20
    One of my favorite free programs to use is Animoto. It is VERY easy to use. For free, anybody can make 30 second videos.  $5 a month allows you to make videos up to five minutes long. Educators can sign up for special accounts that allows for 50 users and the ability to make ten minute videos for FREE! You just have to remember to renew that every six months. Here is their website.
  • Slide 18: minute 21
    (Screenshot if connection does not work.) You can see that all users need to do is log in, choose a style, then start uploading their pictures and/or videos. This is one of my personal favorite tools.
  • Slide 19: minute 22
    Students love to make movies. In eighth grade science, SOL PS.4 states: The student will investigate and understand the organization and use of the periodic table of elements to obtain information. One project my school does is assign each student an element to design a poster for. Then when all posters are created, the students form a “human-sized periodic table” by holding up their element signs in the correct order. This would be an incredibly fun video to make. Students could photograph each poster and show the whole table coming together. A few students could be assigned to document the entire process and create a video that shows the assignment from start to finish. No matter what, Animoto can be used to enhance just about any current project happening in your school.
  • Slide 20: minute 24-25
    (Screenshot if connection does not work.) Here is a great example of a video explaining the periodic table to students using animoto.
  • Slide 21: minute 26
    Students in language arts class could create animoto videos during their study of persuasion techniques. SOL 8.3a asks students the evaluate persuasive techniques. What better way to demonstrate understanding of persuasive techniques than to make a persuasive video? sults. A video can be made to thank volunteers in the library. Students can make these videos too. Recap videos are wonderful avenues for student reflection and self assessment.
  • Slide 22: minute  27
    Finally, if the classroom teachers takes pictures of students as they work on a project or if you take pictures of students working in the library, these pictures could be easily uploaded into an animoto video to share with parents. Parents, grandparents, and guardians love to see what their children are doing at school.
  • Slide 23: minute 28
    The last item we will look at today is a QR code.
  • Slide 24: minute 29- 30
    A QR code is essentially a barcode that your user scans and then is instantly taken to the website, video, or photo you chose for them. To create QR codes simply visit It is free to use. The only negative aspect of QR codes is that users must have a device to read them.
  • Slide 25: minute 31
    (Screenshot if connection does not work.) When you visit, click on Create Barcodes. Then you will copy the URL you want your QR code to lead to in the box. Give it a title, and watch your QR code pop up in the box. The html code is given if you do want to imbed this in your blog or website. If you just want to print, right click the image to save then print.
  • Slide 26: minute 32
    (Screenshot if connection does not work.) QR codes do require your user to have a smart phone, tablet, ipod, etc. Right next to where you create QR codes is the link to download the reader.  You can also go to the app store and download for free. You will want this on all school devices and encourage students to have it on their personal devices if you are a BYOD school.
  • Slide 27: minute 33-34
    QR codes can be used to collaborate with the math department to create QR codes that lead to websites that offer tutorials related to that week’s material.  Print the QR codes and hang them in the math hallway! This is a very discreet way for shy students to access some extra help. For example, SOL 8.10 reads: The student will a. verify the Pythagorean Theorem; and b. apply the Pythagorean Theorem. During this unit, create a QR codes that links to the Khan Academy page for the Pythagorean Theorem {use smart phone to scan QR code and show how it links to website}
  • Slide 28: minute 34-35
    (Screenshot if connection does not work.) And the student is instantly taken to the exact page they need for help.
  • Slide 29: minute 36-37
    Also, QR codes are a great way to display tons of information with very little print. A great use of QR codes is for library orientation. Ideas include: Placing a QR code by the reference computers that links to the library website database search instructions page. This means if a student needs help, they know exactly where to look even if you were busy teaching another class in the library. QR codes could be placed by the non-fiction books that links to an explanation of the DDC. Whatever questions are frequently asked – create QR codes in those areas to help students.
  • Slide 30: minute 38-39
    The most fun use of QR codes are as links to entertainment for students. When students are getting really excited about Insurgent being released in March 2015, have a QR code next to the Divergent Series that Iinks to the movie trailer! For popular authors, you could have QR codes to their websites. The possibilities for using QR codes in the library are really endless.
  • Slide 31: minute39-44
    Those were the four tools I wanted to share with you today. Are there any questions?
  • Slide 32: minute 45
    Thank you for coming. Please feel free to email me with any questions you might have later. This presentation is available on my blog.
  • Four Ways to be the HEART of the School

    1. 1. Four ways to be the heartof the school
    2. 2. Blogs
    3. 3. Blog 101 Blogger Easy and free Must have a google account Example: my book blog
    4. 4. Applications 1. Book Review Blog A. Read B. Comprehend C. Analyze Example: My Book Blog
    5. 5. Applications 2. Technology A. Reviews B. Instructions
    6. 6. Applications 3. Weekly Review of Library Events Classes hosted Technology used Let everyone know what the library is doing!
    7. 7. Websites
    8. 8. Websites 101 Weebly Easy and free Pay to upgrade Example: Sample School Weebly Website
    9. 9. Applications 1. National History Day: Demonstrate Knowledge Dasarathy, D. (n.d.). The Camp David Accords. The Camp David Accords. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from
    10. 10. Applications 2. Teachers use Weebly Example Herron, J. (2013). Mr. Herron: 8th Grade Language Arts. Mr. Herron: 8th Grade Language Arts. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from
    11. 11. Applications 3. Get the word out that the library is the HEART of the school!
    12. 12. Video
    13. 13. Video 101 Animoto Educators get a free account Accounts only last 6 months
    14. 14. Applications 1. Create concept videos Example here A. Investigate B. Understand Animoto in education. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from
    15. 15. Applications 2. Advertisements 8.3 A Evaluate Persuasive technique
    16. 16. Applications 3. Share with parents
    17. 17. QR Codes
    18. 18. QR Codes 101 i-nigma Free Users need a device
    19. 19. Applications 1. Links to study aids A. Verify B. Apply The Pythagorean theorem intro. (n.d.). Khan Academy. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from pythagorean-theorem
    20. 20. Applications 2. Library orientation
    21. 21. Applications 3. Adds digital information to your print collection
    22. 22. Questions?
    23. 23. Becca LaVoie