Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thing #12

I have always been intrigued with the blogging world. Many years ago, I decided to create my own blog where I posted my random thoughts. Every once in awhile someone would comment, but more often than not it was just me posting. It soon became obvious that I was just posting to see my words on the computer and decided to delete it. If I had known some of the tips on how to get those lurkers to comment, maybe...just maybe...I would have one of those Top 100 blogs!

There have been many blogs that I have visited, but never participated in the discussion. One of the reasons I never participated was because I didn't think I had much to contribute. After reading the Passion Quilt post by Meredith Farkas, I realize that if no one ever shared their thoughts, experiences, and ideas, new information would not be availiable to everyone! It is important to share your ideas...even if you think it's not important, someone might find it extremely helpful!

I have posted on many of the Library2Play blogs, but here are the latest five:
1. Books are People Too - Thing #11
2. Blogger Babe - Thing #20
3. Muggle Studies - Thing #6
4. Library Dog Blog - Thing #7
5. Adventures of Luka Blogwalker - Thing #13

One blog that I visit regularly is Jones to the Grindstone. This blog is written by a very good friend of mine. She is currently working on her Master's in Journalism at Harvard University. As a military wife, she began writing for a local military paper and gradually worked her way up to the blog. We met when we were both military wives, so I enjoy reading her perspective on all things military.

Another blog that I visit is Reality Steve. This is where I catch up on all the reality TV gossip. Reality Steve is sacrastic and provides me with a lot of laughts. This blog is one of my guilty pleasures!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thing #11

I found LibraryThing very easy to use. The search engine was clear, simple, and user friendly. I recently joined Shelfari, which is another online book website that allows readers to catalog and organize books that they have read. Both LibraryThing and Shelfari allow users to create goups and join groups to discuss their favorite books.

Searching for different book groups on LibraryThing was very simple, as well. I looked through several groups, but ended up joining only one group. I chose to join the group "Biographies, Memoirs and Autobiographies" because I am a HUGE fan of memoirs. This group encourages readers to share their favorite memiors, autobiographies, and biographies so that others can discover new and interesting books.

I think LibraryThing, as well as Shelfari, are great tools for students to use to review and recommend books to their peers. Adolescents are very interested in social networking sites. Well, with these websites, students can enjoy the social networking with their friends, while learning and understanding more about their reading.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thing #10

One of my favorite sayings has always been "Bite Me!" Well, I felt this heart graphic was very appropriate with tomorrow being Valentine's Day. At ImageChef, I found this candy heart graphic and entered the text I wanted to appear in the hearts. I'm not sure that this site has any educational value, but it was fun to play around with! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

I also created an image using one of my favorite image generators...Wordle! With Wordle, the user simply types in the words he wants to be displayed and the computer chooses a random display of the words. The user can change the display, font, and colors to match his discretion. Many of my students use Wordle to study for their spelling words. They think it is fun to play around with the words, but they are learning at the same time!

Wordle: Valentine's Day

Finally, I have created a glog using Glogster. I created this glog as a sample to show my students for their Big 6 project that they will be researching in a few weeks. The students will be researching a famous Texan, so I created a blog using a famous American...George Washington. Glogs are extremely easy to put together. There is a basic menu that pops up with different choices (text, images, etc.). Click on the item you want to enter, choose your image or font, and there you go. I think making a glog will excite the students into learning about their famous Texan and sharing it in a fun way with their peers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thing #9

I found technorati to be very easy to use with regards to searching for blog and news related information. The site is very organized and aesthetically pleasing. One feature I really liked about this site is that there is a button in the search feature that allows you to search "blogs" or "posts."

Syndic8 was very difficult for me to understand. Although it was easy to find the search area, it was extremely difficult to comprehend the results that appeared. When I did a search for "popular books," a list of related blogs appeared but they each were followed with various numerical information that I felt was unnecessary and confusing.

I found several interesting blogs on Technorati. is a blog written by a librarian consultant that has some very interesting posts related to anything library.

Kids Lit is a VERY cool blog that details various books from toddlers through teens. This site includes a cover of the book and a short review of each book. Check it out!!

On my quest for unique and interesting "librarians," I came across a blog for The Video Game Librarian. When I think of librarians I do not think of video games. However, this blog is dedicated to the latest and greatest video games.

I had no idea there was a way to search blogs for certain keywords or tags. This tool can be useful to educators, as well as, information seekers everywhere!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Thing #8

After watching the video and reviewing all the information on RSS feeds and readers, I realized that I had been using a RSS feed of sorts on my Blog Dashboard. When I subscribed to all my classmates blogs, any updates that are made are displayed in a box on my dashboard. I loved the convenience of having all the new information available to me without having to visit everyone's blog to see if they had posted anything new.

Imagine how excited I was to learn I could view all my favorite blogs and websites in this same manner! Personally, having a RSS Google reader available to organize the various types of blogs and websites I visit is a tremendous help! If I'm looking for information on current Entertainment News, all I have to do is click on my Entertainment folder and the latest and greatest information rolls out! No more spending countless hours hunting and searching through the internet!

As an educator, this tool can help us stay up-to-date on all the latest research in our fields, as well as, provide us with new ideas to engage students in their learning. The usefulness of this tool is endless!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thing #7

Who knew Google had so many useful applications! With iGoogle, you can customize your homepage to include various personal gadets. My homepage includes news, temperature, quotes, and humor. Check it out!

One feature of iGoogle that is very useful to education is that you can add tabs to your homepage. For example, you could create a tab and have various pertinent information on that subject located under that tab. I created an Education tab that displays the top-selling children's books, 20th century poet quotes, a word game, and various other educational news related information.

Another beneficial application through Google is Google Advanced Search. This allows the user to customize their search by choosing things such as: topic, file format, language, how many records on a page, etc. As an educator, I am constantly looking for PowerPoints on different topics. Using Google Advanced Search, I was able to find many PPTs on author's purpose without having to scroll through pages and pages of results that do not meet my criteria.

One of my favorite things about Google is the creativity that the staff displays with their Google logos. Keep the vampire theme going, Google! v-v

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thing #6

Although I have heard of mashups, I really had no idea how much fun they could be! I spent a lot of time exploring the different mashups out there in the world.

One of the mashups that I explored was Spell with flickr. With this application, you simply enter letters (or words) to create a unique picture that represents each letter. I think this would be a fun and engaging activity for younger students to explore with while learning to spell new words.

Here's my name in pictures:
M as in Marina letter I C H letter E letter L L letter E

Also, I created my first trading card using bighugelabs. I think the trading card idea would be a great project for older elementary students to make. For example, if students are researching Famous Texans, they could create a trading card on their Texan after their research is complete and share it with their peers.

Here's my trading card: