I recently wrapped up a project with our third grade classes using Zooburst, “a digital storytelling tool that lets anyone easily create his or her own 3D pop-up books.” The site has been around for a while–in fact, it was named an AASL Best Website for Teaching and Learning way back in 2011–but this was my first time using it. It was very easy for me to create a class and student accounts using the Premium account, which costs $10/month or $50/year. With young students, this was absolutely necessary since they don’t have email addresses.
Once each student had an account, it was simple for them to start working. The students were learning about different African countries and were tasked with writing a story about an animal or animals from the country they’d been assigned.
Zooburst creates pop-up books. When you turn the page, the images on the page pop up in 3D. The images can be rotated, resized, or moved anywhere on the page. Students can either select an image from Zooburst’s media bank or they can upload their own. Additionally, with a premium account, teachers can create a custom database of images for students to use.
Once the images are on the page, students write a narrative for the page itself, as well as add dialogue for each character, if they choose. They can also customize the background and the page color, and they can add background elements. And finally, students and teachers can comment on each book. The books can be embedded into a website or simply emailed home to parents.
Check out our third graders’ books here!
Just a quick post today to tell you how much I love Astrid. This productivity app and website is extremely effective and useful. With Astrid, you can create multiple lists, which can be anything you want. I use Astrid when I go to the grocery store, but I also live and die by it at work. I can sort items by priority or due date, and I can add collaborators for every task in any list–or add a collaborator to an entire list (my husband, ahem, is on my “home” list, which is a list of chores). When I complete a task, I check it off, which feels great…and if you check off a lot in a day, Astrid tells you how productive you are!
Astrid is a bit bossy at times. It sends reminders to your phone. Excuse me! You said you would vacuum! Sometimes I feel like Astrid is my mother, and I get a little annoyed. But ultimately, I appreciate the nag. After all, I clearly need the help.
I also like that you can create repeating tasks. There are certain things I do every week, every day, or every month that I like to remember. I can add notes for each task, too, so if I’m half-done with something, I can note that.
And finally, like all awesome things, Astrid has a Chrome add-on! Turn any website into a to-do item. And with the add-on, when you open up Gmail, an Astrid box appears that allows you to seamlessly add to a list. (You can also forward your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Hooray for efficiency!
(PS: Astrid was acquired by Yahoo! last week. Some Astrid users are concerned that our beloved app will go away or change. Stay tuned, and I’m hoping for the best.)
Similar to the presentation I gave at the CASL mini-conference, but now with links and some new tools to try.
My students made this hilarious video for National Library Week using an iPhone and iMovie.
Lately, there’s been more drama than usual in our library. At the moment, one of my students is swapping some diamonds—yes, diamonds—for a hefty amount of railway ties. Another is secretly plotting to swipe an unsuspecting classmate’s body armor. And a group of friends can’t believe their luck: they’ve just stumbled across a trove of valuable chests in an abandoned mineshaft.
Well, since my current job is being posted online as a vacancy (APPLY!!), I guess I should share my news. I am leaving Hamden Hall at the end of the current school year. I will be starting at the Ethel Walker School this summer as their Dean of Digital and Library Services.
It’s really hard for me to write about leaving Hamden Hall without getting too emotional. I am very, very sad about leaving. I am going to miss my colleagues and my students terribly. I feel as though I’ve grown so much as an educator in my three years there, due in great part to the mentorship and friendship of Lorri Carroll. But really, so many people there have touched me in various ways, both professionally and personally. I have been so lucky to be a part of that warm, supportive, and student-centered community.
I am SO excited, though, to be joining Walker’s. It’s a beautiful school with a stunning library, and everyone I’ve met has been so kind and positive. I am moving on campus–into a dorm!–with my family, and we couldn’t be happier to be rejoining a residential school. I have very fond memories of my time as a dorm parent at Wilbraham & Monson in western Massachusetts, and I know this will be an equally amazing experience.
This will be a chance for me to continue to grow as a librarian, and to push myself even further as an educator. I can’t wait to give my all to this exemplary school, and to help further the Walker’s mission through developing a 21st century library program that supports student learning and exploration. Thank you, Walker’s, for giving me this incredible opportunity!
I have never been comfortable with the scare tactics that I sometimes see in courseware for Internet education. I nevertheless find myself resorting to them at times to get students to understand the seriousness of the topic. Partly because I’m short of time. These lessons often get mashed into two or three days out of a students’ academic year. That’s not enough. These lessons need to be woven right into the curriculum. Any time students are asked to do online research or create a digital product, their teacher reminds them of their expectations: use fair-use images only. Credit all media, not just text. Represent our school well. Take a moment to analyze the source of your information.