Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Poor Roxy. She just discovered cats have claws. Score one for Boots on behalf of cats everywhere.

Monday, December 13, 2010

FYI: Open library for tonight at Brookhaven Elementary is CANCELLED.
Made it to school safely. Summer School is clear. Brookhaven is really not too clear.

Monday, December 6, 2010

My compliments to the WVDOH. Summers School Road and Brookhaven Road were nicely treated.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Regrettably I cannot post my
library blog right now. Site is down.
I am pleased to report
my first drive on snow this winter was a success.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Basically I think this voice recorder is pretty cool. Who knew you could record your voice and turns into text

The Trouble With Filters

When my daughters were students at South Middle School and Morgantown High School they were members of what I think is the most marvelous student group ever, Technology Student Association (TSA).  Their main advisor was South's vocational arts teacher Paul Kimbrew.  I remember vividly sitting in a parent meeting at South as Mr. Kimbrew gave guidelines for appropriate non-uniform dress at the conference.
"What plays in Morgantown does not play in the rest of West Virginia.  Heck, what plays in Morgantown does not even play in Fairmont."
(Fairmont is a town about 20 miles south of Morgantown.)

Mr. Kimbrew's point was that Morgantown is a relatively progressive community and more forgiving of extreme fashion trends than many areas in our state.  He suggested, for the sake of students not being removed from mixers due to "inappropriate" attire, that discretion and parental oversight by used when packing for this trip.

Herein lies the problem with filters, particularly those that are imposed over a large geographic area.  Norms of one community may impinge upon the intellectual needs of others.  It is my belief that those who control the filters tend to do so for the more conservative, if not extreme, members of the community.  This limits the rights of others to explore topics that may be of interest to some for fear of possibly offending others.

There is a difference between political correctness and censorship.  In this blog I do not feel it is appropriate to share religious views or personal criticisms of...anyone!  In restraining myself, I am hoping my blog stays accessible to the widest range of educators. But education, lifelong learning in particular, is a personal experience for each recipient.  Ideas should not be censored.  We need access to a wide variety of ideas to learn how to make sound decisions.

There is growing concern that in schools, if we are to continue using the wide technology opportunities available to our students, the use of filters must be radically reduced. As Ian Quillen notes in Education Week's Digital Directions, no one in his right mind would advocate totally open access to everything, filtering restrictions must be relaxed in order to fully take advantage of the resources available to our students.  Quillen's post also notes that too often filters are set not to protect students from inappropriate content, but to protect administrators from inconvenient complaints.  A balance on the side of open access is needed.

Pets are Muggle Patroni. Yep, you heard it here first.

Monday, November 29, 2010
Nice to see that three of my students used Destiny Quest over Thanksgiving Break to find new books and update their personal reading lists!
Open library night from 4 to 7!
"Hunger in America is a political condition." Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just finished reading my first novel on my kindle app for Android.
Just finished reading my first novel on my kindle app for Android.
Open library tomorrow from 4-7. Come join us!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - North Pole man succumbs to injuries from propane explosion

Check out this website I found at

My best friend's nephew died as a result of this explosion. Prayers for the Reed family.

Posted via email from suzimartin's posterous

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am very grateful to my shelvers Jadyn L., Peyton V. Perry M., and Paige D.
A monthly long technology boycott? A new post to

A Month-long Technology Boycott

@Librarianbyday Bobbie Newman tweeted that danah boyd, the digital ethnographer, is forsaking all electronic forms of communication during her upcoming vacation.  Essentially, all emails will be bounced back to the server, and no feeds will be waiting for her when she returns from vacation. She will return to work a month later with a clean inbox, a clean feed, and a refreshed mind. Newman comments that she wished she possessed the nerve to do the same. I doubt I could do this.  I don't know that I would want to.

I have learned so much by being plugged in 24/7.  I feel a sense of connectedness with my PLN and my social circle. I learn about trends and best practices in the library world and education. I learn what is relevant in the lives of my Facebook friends. I stay in tune with current events in my community and throughout the world.  It is through my feeds on Google Reader and through Twitter that I learn about new technology and it's applications and about online learning opportunities.  If I disconnected from all this for a month, I would feel like one would if he were in total isolation, solitary confinement.

So, I don't think I could abandon social media for a month, even though I did cut down on Facebook last winter. (Too many complaints about weather were bringing my down, so I chose not to look at status updates, except those of family.)  I think I would be fine for a day or two, but then anxiety would get the better of me, and I would reconnect.

Still, I think there is something very romantic about being alone with your own thoughts.  My writing would be clearer, if without as many references.  I would feel an inner peace and calm without the white noise of media and the dings of email alerts and TweetDeck notifications.  I might even be able to clear my environment of all noise by unplugging everything in my bedroom and truly getting some rest.  It sounds very peaceful and inviting.  I may try it someday, for a short period of time.

But not now!  Too much to do, even on vacation!

Mrs. Johnson Would Be Proud

Our annual Veteran's Day Program at Brookhaven Elementary School was held November 10, 2010.  It was a service, a word I would not use lightly, attended by all faculty, students, family members and active military.  Mrs. Helen B. Johnson would be have been proud.

Helen Johnson was a third grade teacher in our school who retired way too young. I believe she was in her late sixties when she retired, but because her age was a carefully guarded secret, no one really knew.  She met retirement with all the resistance she could muster, finally giving in to the ill health that caused her to give less than what she thought her students deserved.  Her students and colleagues certainly would have disagreed.  Shortly following her retirement she passed away, leaving all her colleagues somewhat lost and forsaken.  Though she is gone, her spirit certainly lives on in our school.

A few years ago, our Partners-in-Education program at our school instituted the Helen B. Johnson Memorial Essay contest.  Each year two winners are chosen who have written the most compelling essays explaining what America means to them.  She would have been pleased with this year's winners, who stressed their freedoms to read and receive an education.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The next big thing is "Us." From the Unquiet Librarian

Friday, November 12, 2010

Very proud of my November readers! I have seen AR points soar this week!
Very proud of my November readers! I have seen AR points soar this week!
Is it just at my school, or are students sleepwalking through school all across America today? Amazing how one day off can disrupt routine.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fourth Grade Book Club in Progress! A new post to
Finally! A new post to Are we really the average of the five people we spend the most time with?

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

As I go through my Google Reader account, I always find something that makes me think about life and my purpose.  I don't always have time to reflect upon and to write about my findings, but starring gems of interest allows me to revisit intriguing items when hopefully I have more time to think.  The quote that is the title of this post falls into this category.

I found this quote from motivational speaker Jim Rohn on my feed from LifeHacker. Adam Dachis, the author of the post, invited readers to think about whether we really are the average of those we spend the most time with.  Certainly, I agree that the company you keep can either lift you up or drag you down.  We always want our children to hang out with children who consistently make good choices rather than with those who are constantly in trouble.  Guilt by association is a heavy burden we have all been threatened with.

So, who are the five that compose my average?  At school, I probably associate most with Rob McIe, our physical education teacher, Davene Burks, our principal, and Keith Wolfe, our behavioral disorder teacher.  I can't say I really seek out other people or that other people seek me (we are all too busy!) although I certainly interact and have a cordial relationship with all our faculty.  Since I think these three are wonderful, caring people, I have no problem considering myself the average of these three.

In my personal life, I find myself surrounded most by my husband, my daughter Lora and my dog, Roxy.  Life is certainly interesting and raucous around them.  Am I the average of them? I'm not sure about that!  I think I am more the average of my three cats!

Mathematically, I have to reject this theory:  If we all are the average of five people, how can we contribute to our own individual traits to this equation?  Individually, we have a lot to offer, both at home and at work.  It sure does help if our contributions bring a little more light to those around us!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Open library night until 7PM. Also open on Nov15, Nov29 and Dec13 for kids needing points for the bowling trip. Point cutoff Dec15.
All the books that were returned during the book fair have been checked in. Not shelved, but it's a start.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The book fair was a huge success, but boy, am I glad it's over. Read the report at

Friday, October 29, 2010

The book fair is 2 hrs. and 10 minutes until its conclusion.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One week from today, friends, we will wake up to media free of derogatory campaign ads. For a while.
One week from today!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Had a good first day of the book fair. Bring on Day 2!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Laugh of the Day: Kindergartener Zoe looks around the book fair and asks, "Mrs. Martin, are you SURE you want to have a book fair?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Internet being down makes for an interesting day of research.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Busy day: 3 4th gr. social studies classes, a 2nd gr. reading group, two checkout periods. Whew! I love it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

First research class with Mrs. Henderson's social studies classes went well. Two more at 10:00 and 11:15, with 2nd grade RTI in between.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New posts to detailing conference sessions I recently attended. More in store this week with CRSTE conf.

CRSTE Keynote: Alan November Says Empathy is Our Most Important 21st Century Skill

Alan November presented this keynote address on empathy as a 21st Century Skill.  November has written extensively on web literacies.  A former social studies teacher, November heads his consulting firm, November Learning, which custom designs professional development for educators.

November postulates that empathy, particularly global empathy, may be our most important 21st century skill.  He cited conversations with human resource managers who stated that the most important skill his people working abroad need is the ability to understand and work effectively within the culture he is assigned. November feels that this can be achieved by exposing our children to alternative points of view.  An example of this would be exploring the Vietnam War, which the Vietnamese call the American War, through the eyes of the Vietnamese or the American Revolution through the eyes of the British.

I don't disagree with November's thesis, nor do I doubt the necessity and virtue of seeing all points of view.  I certainly think empathy is essential and could even bring about something as miraculous as world peace.  However I think November's approach to viewing history from the opposing point of view would be received as kindly in some communities as Darwinism and sex education.  Educators must be selective in how they proceed. Maybe that's just election year cynicism talking.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of this session came from the input of a session attendee named Samantha who has recently taught units on empathy with her sixth and seventh grade students.  She held a parent meeting prior to beginning of the unit and explained what the unit would entail.  Parent support was extremely positive.  Samantha explained that her next unit was on cyberbullying; a student asked "If we have empathy for him, why would we bully him?"

I really appreciate that sessions such as these can be used for TIS renewal credit.  I think West Virginia's entire professional development plan for teachers should be reworked to include these opportunities in lieu of some of the other face-to-face workshops we must attend.  Exposure to a more global view of education would certainly expand our thinking about how we will present our curriculum.

CRSTE archives its recordings for anyone to view.  To find the archive,  for this session keep checking the CRSTE Global Symposium site.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Library Apps for Hand-Held Devices

SRO was the seating arrangement for this morning's first session, Library Apps for Hand-Held Devices  The session was presented by Penny Pugh, Head of Reference at West Virginia University Libraries. The focus of the session was the ways in which WVU has implemented these applications for their patron use.

Pugh cited a Pew's Mobile Access Report that was released in July 2010.  Not surprisingly, study revealed that mobile Internet usage has grown by more than 8 percent from 2009.  The study also cited that people who are making the most of their cell phone features seem to be African-American and English-speaking Hispanic-Americans.  A great number of this growth is among 18-29 year olds with income of less than $30,000.

I am very much in favor of providing any service that increases my library's usefulness to its public. In 2008 I attended Pugh's session on WVU's Ask-a-Librarian service, and upon my return home, I set up my AskMrsMartin AIM account.  This account was not used until I created my own wiki with the AIM widget embedded.  Since that time, the AIM account has been useful to teachers, students and parents, who all use the service to contact me.  I love that I can be accessible to more people than ever.  It is only natural that I should consider the some of the directions that Pugh indicated a mobile presence might take.

The easiest mobile strategy to embrace would be that of an SMS service.  WVU Libraries have embedded cell phone numbers in its MARC records, allowing students easy access to librarian interpretation.  Pugh told the audience that Yale purchased an iPhone to be passed among reference staff members.  While, this approach was deemed impractical for WVU libraries, it could work nicely for Brookhaven.  The main obstacle, of course, is funding.  Perhaps a pre-paid service could fill this need.  Perhaps a cell phone provider would be interested in piloting the service.  With the current ban, if unofficial, on cell phones in schools, this may not be the best route to take, simply because students would have limited access to the service.

I know that I use my laptop less and less.  I only keep a desktop at work for the convenience of a substitute.  More and more I am using my cell phone as a main computing device.  I makes sense to make our resources available in a popular format.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Had a great first day at the Conference. Wonderful tour of the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Was I scared? No, but it was fascinating.
REALLY looking forward to the WV Library Association conference later today. Hope to see good friends!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Brookhaven Open Library Nights Mentioned in National Blog! Julia Benincosa briefly referenced us in the FCC's Blogband blog.

Brookhaven Open Library Nights Mentioned in National Blog

Julia Benincosa of the West Virginia Department of Education briefly referenced our Open Library Nights in the FCC's Blogband blog.  Thanks, Julia!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Open library night at Brookhaven Elementary from 4:00 to 7:00 PM.
Today is Google's 12th birthday. What search engine did I use before there was a Google? I can't remember!
The truth about Obamacare and Medicare cuts, according to Forbes. Finally!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sending best wishes to "my kids" at Morgantown High as they play Steubenville at "Death Valley" tomorrow! Let's go, Mohigans!
"Literacy is the road to freedom, and libraries line that road." Anthony Molaro.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Morning Adventures and Its Impact on My Flow

I am the site coordinator for Morning Adventures at Brookhaven Elementary.  Frankly, I thought I was insane to take this position, which meant I would have to wake up at 4:00 in the morning.  I predicted I would be dragging bottom by noon, which is not unlikely considering that beforehand I was beat my 3:30.  Still, I agreed to the position because I knew parents were desperate for before-school care.  I remember very well the days of worrying about my own children's morning care when I worked at the public library.

To my surprise working these extra hours has been energizing.  I use the quiet times when I have one or no children here to work on shelving, reports and the AR display.  This reminds me of how I used to get to Central Preston Junior High an hour before everyone else, just to have my Diet Pepsi and quiet time. The quietude of the early morning has proven to be quite productive for me.

Of course the quiet does not last for long.  By 7:15 I have children piling around my desk, looking at my cell phone or asking to help check-in books.  The kids need the extra attention, and I am happy to oblige, even if I do think I should have had more Diet Pepsi beforehand.

Getting up at 4:00 a.m. has not made a huge impact on my time at home.  Yes, I go to bed an hour earlier than normal, but there were many times last year that I fell asleep at 7:00.  That sounds so pathetic!  While I am mindful that I do need a full eight hours sleep, I have to make myself turn off the laptop, the lights and TV at 8:00.  I think this is a positive change.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking forward to the season premiere on NCIS - if I can stay awake for it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Very grateful for the two wonderful adult volunteers I had today, as well as the marvelous 4th and 5th grade research helpers!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The greatest thing about this evening is that I have absolutely no plans!

On Personnel Change

This year's personnel changes at my school had me discombobulated when the school year began.  It was the first time this school had experienced such major changes in staff since Title I teachers were added in the late 1990s.  Of course adding new teachers is never a problem.  It's the loss of the existing faculty members that bothers me. This year we lost seven teachers.

But even though I miss my familiar colleagues, change is good.  The art teacher and music teacher have been enthusiastically received by the students.  Our two new first grade teachers are on a roll.  The new fifth grade teacher is wonderful, original and a team player. The two new special ed teachers also are bringing their own personalities to the positions and are working fantastically with the other teaching staff.  Finally, our new assistant principal is a breath of fresh air, giving our principal much needed help.  Yep, change is good.  I am thrilled that each of these teachers is here

But for what it's worth, I still miss Marcie, Nicole, Elaine, Beth, Molly, Leah and Rachael.

Monday, September 13, 2010

34 people have attended Open Library night so, and there is still an hour left. Very thankful for family involvement!
It's Open Library Night at Brookhaven Elementary!
New post to Random Thoughts: How I am utilizing the services of student volunteers this year.
New post to Brookhaven Library Media Review: How do you know if you have "good" information?
Morning Adventures starts today at 6:30 AM. Open library tonight from 4 to 7 PM. Sleep at 8 PM

First Week with My Library Helpers

Last spring I developed a Google form for rising fifth grade students to use to volunteer as a library helper.  I was really disappointed when only nine of 60 students expressed interest.  While nine would be a nice number to work with most of the time, it is totally insufficient to do the one-on-one kindergarten training I have done in the past.  I decided to ask fourth graders to be library helpers.  The response was outstanding. 

And now, of course, I have had an onslaught of fifth graders ask to be helpers, too.  My solution?  The more the merrier!  I now have about 38 recess helpers to spread across the five-day week.  This will be ideal for teaching kindergarteners how to use the library.  But how will I use them the rest of the time?

I have developed a calendar that rotates jobs weekly. These jobs are computer checkin and checkout, sorting returned books into categories, preparing date due cards, straightening shelves, shelving books, and displays.  The display job means not only setting up book displays in the library, but updating the Accelerated Reader points display daily.

In my not so humble opinion, that last idea was a stroke of genius, and I am disappointed I didn't think of it sooner.  I can never keep the AR display updated, and this disappoints children who want to see their points markers move.  The helpers thus far seem very motivated in helping maintain this display.

The first four groups of volunteers have all done quite well.  (Once again it is my special needs kids who best grasp the concepts of shelving. I always find that interesting.) I will meet with the last group for the first time tomorrow.  I am looking forward to it!

The kids will spend the remainder of this month learning their jobs.  Next month we will begin with kindergarten checkout in earnest.  Let the good times roll!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Productive morning! Helped teachers with AR logins, posted blog to , car rider and breakfast duty.

Monday, September 6, 2010

10 Days in and I Am Finally Getting Organized

 The 2010-2011 school year is finally coming together for me.  Even though the library has been open from Day One, I cannot say that I have felt "ready.". I had no schedule for the library helpers and had not begun to think about book clubs or writers club.  Now, two days into a three-day weekend at the farm, a library helpers schedule has been set and book clubs have been planned.  After the library helpers get their first week under their belts, I will turn my attention to writers club and the kinds of transliteracy activities I envision for them.

Two weeks into the school year the library is exceptionally neat.  I have always maintained that the library could be busy or neat but not both. I think the library has been adequately busy this early in the school year, but certainly the busy season has not begun. I do think, however, that I have tried extra hard to maintain neatness, since it is very important to my principal.  Even my office is (relatively) orderly!

Programatically I will experience two changes this year. First, I will be teaching an enrichment RTI reading group consisting of five second graders. Although I was initially reluctant, I am looking forward to working with this group.  My early resistance stemmed from two factors: principle and fear. In terms of principle, I have been the last elementary librarian in Monongalia County to have a totally open, flexible schedule.  It is hard to forfeit an operating plan that research has shown to be most beneficial to all students.  I will simply need to be better organized, maybe by scheduling parent volunteers during RTI time, to continue to meet the needs of all our students.  Self-checkout is also an option.

The second reason for resistance was fear of the unknown.  I have never taught reading before!  What am I supposed to do with five second graders?  Fortunately, after giving the issue consideration, I am looking forward to working with this group.  I have received and know I will continue to receive much needed support from our reading mentor teacher/academic coach, Leslie Phares. This is going to be fun!

The second programatic change is that I will be running the before school daycare program at Brookhaven under the auspices of Visiting Homemakers.  I am not sure what this program will entail, but I am looking forward to learning more.  I know it will start on September 13 and that so far eleven kids have registered.  I will find out more on Tuesday, when I meet with program director, Judy Brennen.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How Many of These Thought Leaders Do You Recognize?

In his August 29 post to the Blue Skunk Blog, Doug Johnson posted a list of 72 leading thinkers in "libraryland." How many of these leaders do you recognize?

  1. Alice Yucht
  2. Amy Oberts
  3. Anita Beaman
  4. Annette Lamb
  5. Barbara Jansen
  6. Barbara Stripling
  7. Bob Berkowitz
  8. Brenda Anderson
  9. Buffy Hamilton
  10. Carl Harvey
  11. Carol Gordon
  12. Carol Kuhlthou
  13. Carol Simpson
  14. Carolyn Foote
  15. Cathy Jo Nelson
  16. Chris Harris
  17. Daniel Callison
  18. David Loertscher
  19. David Warlick
  20. Deb Levitov
  21. Deb Logan
  22. Debbie Abilock
  23. Diane Chen
  24. Diane Cordell
  25. Dianne McKenzie
  26. Donna Baumbach
  27. Doug Achterman
  28. Ernie Cox
  29. Fran Bullington
  30. Frances Jacobson Harris
  31. Gary Hartzell
  32. Gail Dickinson
  33. Gwyneth Jones
  34. Heather Loy
  35. Hilda Weisburg
  36. Jacquie Henry
  37. Jamie McKenzie
  38. Jeri Hurd
  39. Jim Randolph
  40. Joyce Valenza
  41. Judi Moreillon
  42. Judy O'Connell
  43. Karen Kliegman
  44. Keith Curry Lance
  45. Ken Haycock
  46. Kristin Fontichiaro
  47. Laura Pearle
  48. Laurie Conzemius
  49. Leigh Ann Jones
  50. Leslie Farmer
  51. Lisa Perez
  52. Marcia Mardis
  53. Mary Alice Anderson
  54. Mary Ann Bell
  55. Mary Ann Fitzgerald
  56. Mary Woodard
  57. Mike Eisenberg
  58. Nancy Everhart
  59. Nicola McNee
  60. Patricia Carmichael
  61. Rob Darrow
  62. Rob Rubis
  63. Ross Todd
  64. Sandra Hughes-Hassell
  65. Sara Kelly Johns
  66. Shannon Miller
  67. Shelee King George
  68. Stephen Abram
  69. Stephen Krashen
  70. Susan Sedro
  71. Vi Harada
  72. Wendy Stephens

Granted, there are some names on this list that I don't know, but I posit that if you aren't familiar with most of these leaders, you need to step up your professional development efforts.  This is where a statewide or local PLN could be beneficial, as it would be inefficient for all of us to follow everyone.  What do you think?

If Andrew Clements Had Waited Ten Years, Would Frindle Have Been Written?

Andrew Clements wrote Frindle in 1998.  It is the story of a boy who tried to get out of  homework and a teacher who loved words and dictionaries.  If Clements had waited ten years to write the story, I wonder if Frindle would have ever been written.

Today's Dominion Post was one of the many news outlets that reported the Oxford University Press may discontinue its 130-pound Oxford English Dictionary in favor of its online subscription version.  The fact that the OED as I have come to know and revere it will soon be no more is not news I can readily dismiss. Long the final authority in proper English usage, the OED to me represented to epitome of everything a dictionary can and should be.  If it was not noted in the OED, it was not worthy of my attention.

It is amazing how things have changed in the past decade.  Dictionaries, once a mainstay of any reference collection, are barely consulted.  Truly, I don't lament the printed dictionary's demise.  Online dictionaries offer ample definitions.  Usually all one has to do is right click on a word in a subscription database and the database will pronounce the word and display a dictionary entry.  Google will provide the definition of a word if the word "define" preceeds the word in its search box.  Why do we need anything else?

I never thought I would see the death of the OED, although it will live on in a digital format.  Apparently the online version still receives about two million hits per month.  Certainly, the annual price, $299, is not excessive.  Still, I wonder who the subscribers and users are.  My guess is members of the academic community rather than those of us in the P-12 environment.

Back to Frindle:

Prior to the beginning of the school year fifth grader teacher Mrs. Granger sends parents a list of "acceptable" dictionaries they might buy for their students. On the first day of class Nick tries to trick Mrs. Granger out of assigning homework by asking her a question about the origin of dictionaries.  Being no first year teacher, Mrs. Granger sees through Nick's ruse and assigns him - only him - the task of researching dictionaries and reporting to the class the next day.  Although initially stunned to be outwitted by a teacher, Nick is hooked by what he learns about the history of dictionaries and creates a social experiment to create a new word for pen -frindle. A war of words between Mrs. Granger and Nick ensues, until finally, seventeen years later the word frindle appears in the new edition of  Webster's College Dictionary.

Seventeen years from 1998 (the date of publication) is 2015.  Will we still have print dictionaries then?  I certainly doubt we will have them in 2025.  So if Andrew Clements had waited ten years to write his story, would he still have the same story to tell.

It would be nice to know what Mrs. Granger's reaction to electronic media is.

What I really want to know is how much longer Frindle will be relevant to our students.  The thought saddens me.  It's a great story.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Open library night. So far 11 kids and nine adults. AlsoI am trying to work on blog posts. Still in shock about demise of OED.
Tonight is the first Open Library Night of the school year. The library will welcome students and parents from 4-7 p.m.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just constructed what may well be the world's ugliest apple pie. Loretta Lynn would be terribly disappointed.

Really Random Thoughts

  1. I am thrilled with the reaction students, teachers and parents have had to this year's Accelerated Reader Theme, Reading Rainforest.  This is very gratifying to me, since I have never considered myself an artsy person.  
  2. I am excited that Christina has given my her old  Cricut.  It is wonderful, kind of like an Ellison machine on steroids.  I used her new Cricut to make the die cuts for this year's reading theme.  
  3. The first week of school was pretty good.  It would have been excellent if we did not have to deal with the new meal program.  I am sure there are lots of beneficial features   in the new program, but in terms of data-entry efficiency, the old system was better.  (There, I said it.)
  4. I still haven't decided about the first training session for library media specialists.  Let me know what you want.  Teachers could come to these, too.  There are a lot of cool things I have learned this past year that could make life easier and information more accessible.
  5. It's gonna be a great year, Tater.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Looks like a beautiful day ahead. Have a good one!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Feeling Very Productive

Wow!  I have to say that I feel very good about today's professional development for Monongalia County's library media specialists. Wow!  I don't think I have ever felt this good after a day-long meeting, especially one that ran over the end of our designated work day. Wow!

I was pleased by the combination of library media specialists and technology integration specialists in today's meeting.  Although our job descriptions differ, we share overlapping roles.  Certainly there is ample need for sharing support for integration of resources in each school.  By bringing us together, county technology director Nancy Napolillo highlighted our shared and complementary responsibilities.  Unfortunately, time did not permit each school's library media specialist and technology integration specialists to collaboratively plan for the upcoming year, as Napolillo had envisioned.  Hopefully the common ground broached today will encourage further collaboration as the school year proceeds.

[Just as an aside, isn't this great?  It is as if we are no longer isolated in our buildings.  I am sure our TISs will appreciate a collaborative approach to meeting our common goals!]

What was on our common agenda?  The National Technology Plan, reading promotion, copyright issues, acceptable use and cyber safety, EdLine, Discovery Education, Thinkfinity.  In other words, library issues.  No piece of information shared today was irrelevant to today's library media specialist.

The afternoon session was only attended by library media specialists.  We discussed ebooks, our online reference sources and looked at ways of editing our Destiny webpages.  We discussed how we could implement Destiny Quest as a substitute for book reports and looked at how we could enable our database to give students review writing privileges.

Our afternoon concluded with a discussion of resources to use to build our professional learning networks.  We discussed Elluminate and Classroom 2.0, Teacher Librarian Ning, Elementary Library Routines wiki, and TL Virtual Cafe.  We discussed how we can learn together and made plans to inform future library professional development sessions.  Nancy Napolillo stated she would test the waters as to official support for our staff development efforts.

I am so excited.  We have so much to learn and so much to teach each other.  I can't wait to be in touch with my Monongalia County Library Media/TIS tribe!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The First Day Back, 2010=2011

It feels good to get the first day of the year out of the way.  Today's agenda consisted of a very long faculty meeting, composing a new Glog for my webpage and the Destiny page, and lots of decorating.

Of course the best part of the day was seeing all the wonderful people I have not seen in months.  Over an unexpected breakfast provided by the Boosters Association we visited, catching up on the summer's events.  We made new friends and promised to guide the many new teachers. Together we all built a path for the new school year to take.  By the end of the day many teachers had set their schedules for the year.

I wish there were somethings teachers did not have to deal with during these first few days.  I watched as teachers unboxed new textbooks and roled their classes' supplies down the hall.  I shared the library with a crew of paraprofessionals who assembled the back to school packets for all the students.  The teachers' and paraprofessionals time would be much better spent preparing for instruction rather than performing these clerical tasks.  Alas, such is the life of the busy elementary teacher and his aide.

One thing this teacher-librarian would prefer not to deal with is the back-to-school headache and sinus congestion caused by the overheated laminator.  Such is the life of the elementary school LMS.
I regret to inform myself that my kitchen is out of key sandwich ingredient, bread, and dangerously low on Oliverio Red Hot Peppers.
And so it begins. Welcome, 2010-2011 school year!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Bugs. There seem to be an extraordinary number of them this year. If I were an orthinologist, I would find this fascinating. It is simply annoying.

While the winter was quite wet, the spring seemed especially dry. Starting in March the temperatures seemed warmer than usual. I would have projected that the dry conditions would have deterred the propagation of these critters. This projection is unsubstantiated by evidence.

Despite the diversity of insects we've seen this year, there have not been the many mosquitoes. Also absent are the large numbers of wasps we have seen in past years. So far this year Dan has only encountered one swarm. The horse flies, however, are thick. Despite the bugs, today is quite pleasant. It is warm, but there is a nice breeze blowing, promising the afternoon showers to come.

Those showers should keep the insects at bay. Or breed mosquitos.

Suzie Martin, NBCT

Posted via email from suzimartin's posterous

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What Would You Like to Learn?

This past year has been a fantastic one in terms of professional growth.  I have learned so much and have in turn helped spread some of what I know to others.  Most importantly, I have implemented ideas, strategies and technologies that make me much more effective at my job.

In years past I have heard lots of moaning that school library media specialists don't have staff development sessions that meet our needs.  I think this is very justified, even in a county that has many library media specialists such as Monongalia County.  The great news is that now we have more options to take charge of our own learning and to cut down on the isolation that we face in our daily professional lives.

I think we have a lot to teach each other, as demonstrated by the notes sent to this blog by Vicki Smallwood, Leigh Ann Hood and Sandy Wiseman from the WV State Technology Conference.  I propose that we develop our own learning communities and share what we know, helping each other and ourselves.  I am willing to lead some sessions and be a hostess, but perhaps we will need to find hosts or hostesses in other areas of the state that are more geographically equitable. 

I have posted a survey in Google forms.  Please take the survey and let me know how you feel about forming an informal professional learning community. I think we need each other.  How about you?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Brainhoney by Anne Meadows

Sandy Wiseman reports from the West Virginia State Technology Conference:

Anne reviewed the purpose and benefits of Blended instruction.  Experts predict that by 2012 5% of instruction will be blended and by 2019, 50%  will be. You should use blended delivery to teach content that students need to review a second or third time, when you need to differentiate instruction, to cover material you don’t have time to present in class, and to provide additional practice.  A learning management system is necessary to organize blended delivery.   The rest of the session provided practice using a free system called Brainhoney.  It does have a paid version with more features.  Session participants then had hands on practice creating a Brainhoney account, exploring features, and adding content. 

Digital Storytelling – Adam Fresel

Sandy Wiseman reports from the WV State Technology Conference

Adam provided tips on how to use Photostory 3 to do digital storytelling with students at all levels.  In Photostory you can batch upload pictures, you can easily arrange pictures once they are uploaded, and you can add titles on top of the pictures. 
  • ·         Write the story first
  • ·         Use story boards to help students organize their thoughts.  You can find free examples on the internet.
  • ·         Using your own photos eliminates copyright issues
  • ·         You should allow student time to explore the software before working on their project
  • ·         Older student can use cell phones to take pictures and email themselves the pictures
  • ·         Allow students to work together ; you can randomly group them by dealing a deck of cards
  • ·         When students are taking their own pictures make sure you check permissions before posting any work

Bridging the Presentation Gap – Angie Urling

Sandy Wiseman reports from the WV State Technology Conference:

Angie reviewed the use of Glogster and Animoto to create student projects.  She showed a funny YouTube video called Death by PowerPoint to start things off.  Glogster creates interactive posters and Animoto uses still pictures to create music videos.  Both are free and educator accounts are available. Information from the presentation can be found at:

Meet The iPod Family

Leigh Ann Hood reports from the WV State Technology Conference:

iPod in Education with Dave Marra

Meet the iPod Family

Shuffle-music only
Classic-really large capacity 160GB
iPod nano-built-in video camera 16 hours of video; built-in mic and speaker; voice memos, spoken menus for accessibility
iPod Touch- built in Wi-Fi; built in web browsing, e-mail, 3rd party apps
�� built-in accelerometer (changes screen from landscape to vertical); safari web browser; 15 built-in apps; wi-fi locator, weather, calculator, photos; Apps for every grade and subject area (Apple in Education-search by subject and function (

32GB/64GB-different electronics.� 50 % faster, built-in headphone, voice control, built-in Universal Access (voice over, screen zoom, white on black text).�

Introducing iPad
Design-tablet computer
LED-backlit display with IPS Tech can be seen from many angles
Precision Multi-Touch technology
.5 inch thin / 1.5 pounds light� includes 30 pin Connector and Speaker
Battery lasts 10 hours
Built-in Universal Access (see above)

iPad Apps
App Store-260,000 Apps
17,000 in Education Store
Examples:� Nat Geo World Atlas, MathBoard, Shakespeare Pro, English is Easy (ESL), Quick Graph, Proloquo2Go, On-Track Time, Money and Fractions, eClicker (also for iPod Touch), Star Walk, The Elements (video of every single element).

Access iTunes U-for colleges and universities; prof create podcasts of their lectures.

iBooks:� free e-book reader
60,000 books on iBookstore
30,000 books for free on public domain
Books are voice over ready supported 7 languages

iWork for iPad-Keynote, Pages, Numbers; compatible with Microsoft and can be exported back to Microsoft.� 3 different purchases on App Store for $9.99 each.

Friday, August 6, 2010

e-WV: the online West Virginia Encyclopedia

Vicki Smallwood reports from the West Virginia State Technology Conference:

e-WV:  the online West Virginia Encyclopedia
presented by Ken Sullivan, Executive Director, WV Humanities Council

The WV Encyclopedia is online.  It should be available to teachers and students on September 13.  This has all of the articles and pictures from the book and will be updated daily by 2 full time editors.  This is an interactive website that houses pictures, audio & video clips, and an events calendar of what’s happening in our state.  It will offer transcripts of the videos.  It also offers a feature that lets users request that articles be updated or new topics added.  These suggestions will go to the editors for review.  Quizzes can also be found on the site.  The quizzes would be a good starting point for a scavenger hunt through the encyclopedia.

Check back on September 13 and see all of the cool features for yourself.   The site is

WV Teach Conference: Live Video with Ustream

Vicki Smallwood  and Leigh Ann Hood report from the WV State Technology Conference: 

Vicki's Report:
World’s Easiest Podcasting and Live Video
By Joshua Ratcliff, TIS, Cabell Co. Schools

Joshua told us how he uses Ustream to send a live video feed from his classroom.
The session can also be recorded for students to play back later.  He said he uses this when he has a planned absence – the sub can play his recorded feed and it’s almost like he’s in the room.  The students see him doing examples of the assignment – he doesn’t have to rely on a sub that may or may not know algebra. 
Students who are absent can see what they missed by watching the video.  He doesn’t have to keep teaching it over and over to each student who missed it. 
Parents can also watch the lesson in order to better help their children with homework or to just see what they are learning.

To learn more about Ustream go to:

click on Ustream notes

Great Ideas For Getting Teachers Excited About iPods

Vicki Smallwood reports from the WV State Technology Conference:

Great Ideas For Getting Teachers Excited About iPods
Presented by Libby Jarom & Tina Sulsona from Harrison County

They discussed how they incorporate the use of iPods into the curriculum and what they did to get fellow teachers excited about using them.  Can you believe they held a sleepover at school and that their colleagues actually attended?

All of their iPod resources can be found at
Genealogy quest somewhat successful. I can write more now.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mark Moore: What 21st Century Teaching and Learning Looks Like

Leigh Ann Hood reports from the WV State Technology Conference:  
Department of Education specialist Mark Moore presented a session demonstrating the essence of what 21st Century teaching and learning should look like.  To sum it up: the learning is active. Below are Leigh Ann’s notes from this session.  (Anything in parentheses is my addition to the notes.)

Moore stated that what many people think is a 21st Century learning scenario in fact is not.  The following are examples of simulations and activities that require deep thinking skills.

Power Up Game ( :  Collaboration, Team Work, Civics, Science, Math, Problem Solving,Critical Thinking.  Teacher works as a guide.  Engaging.  (I have used this game with a 5th grade science class and with a third grade class.  Both groups were totally engaged.  This could be modified for use with classes through high school, as the issues are very complex and the thinking skills can be progressively intensified with the age level of the student.  Check out my 5th grade project page for this game: .)

Intel Thinking Tools Ranking etc.  Decide which animals are most like humans?
Dolphins:  Play and Communicate
Bees:  Society, Royalty, Defenders, Workers
Venus Fly Traps:  Eats meat
Primates:  98% DNA with us.

Gang Warfare:  Block out on the floor squares.  Fill the squares with people.  Names are
Good Boys(Great Britain), Franks(French), Bears(Russians), Germs(Germany), Waffle(Belgium), Food(Austria-Hungary), BS(Bosnia-Serbia).  A way to teach World War I beginnings without the kids knowing what they’re doing.

Mock Trials:  Fairy Tales (Jack and the Beanstalk on trial for murder).  Have a trial between
schools.  Use third school as jurors.  

You can make and launch rockets for approx. .75c

Assessment:  Get away from papers. 

Move toward demonstrations, projects, building things, etc.

Building a Sod House:  Game and primary source documents from Smithsonian.

Mark Moore will pay for Thinkfinity and Intel training if you call him about it.

Sean Tuohy: "Turn Around"

Leigh Ann Hood reports from the WV State Technology Conference:  

Sean Tuohy: In a Heartbeat

Sean talked about being careful how you value people. His book centers on how life can change in a heartbeat to families just like yours. It can be summed up in the two words his wife uttered when they saw Michael Oher walking past them on the street: "Turn around." Those two words can make a difference in a person's life.

Sean discussed how Michael had gone to eleven different schools in nine years and for two years didn't go at all. Academics had no value to him.

Teachers are one of the most giving professions. Technology is wonderful unless you fear it which is how unknown students and people can be as well.

Sean felt that although the director of the movie got the story, most of Hollywood by their questions didn't. His family feels that the power of a cheerful giver is what life is all about. The people who sat in the theaters got it by putting themselves in the movie as givers. Most people's favorite time of the year is Christmas, and  Christmas all about giving. It is the only time of year when people are cheerful givers. If giving makes us so happy, then why do we quit? His family got to give everyday cheerfully.  Michael got a house, the Tuohys got Christmas.

 If every household in the US adopted one child, there would be none left to adopt.

 People want to make a difference.  The kids are watching, so give with a cheerful heart. He then quoted 2 Corinthians passage about how one shouldn't give grudgingly.

The power in a cheerful giver is because the recipient can tell whether it is cheerful. Michael never had to ask for anything; it was given cheerfully.  Michael also has in incredible ability to forgive and doesn't have time to be mad about his past.

Sean reiterated his main points again-turn around and give cheerfully.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

From the WV Technology Conference: Podcasting

Leigh Ann Hood presents these podcasting resources and tips:

2010 Statewide Technology Conference
Introduction to Podcasting (Monday, August 2)
Audacity for Windows (visit for downloads for other platforms)
LAME MP3 encoder for Audacity for Windows (visit for downloads for other platforms)
Project Files
FreePlay Music (podsafe music)
FindSound (sound file search)
Podcasting and Education (from Shambles)
Small Business Podcasting Kit (great for education too!)

New Audacity finds the Lame files by itself.

Effects in Audacity are cumulative.

You can mute previous tracks while working on others.

Microphones should be in front of your chin.

Do not stop if mistakes are made.� Just edit out mistakes.