Friday, August 31, 2012

Teaching teachers

Before school started, the art teacher and I worked together to present a 45 minute professional development session on media literacy, visual literacy, copyright, and DISCUS (our state's research database) during our teacher workdays.  Our art teacher did a great job sharing what she learned about media literacy during our district's SC Midlands Summit.  At the conclusion of her presentation, she had teachers participate in an activity inspired by Ken Shelton's visual storytelling session at the summit.  (To learn more about Ken Shelton's visual storytelling session, please visit media specialist Heather Loy's blog post about it here.  She took great notes.  I did not.)

In our PD session, the art teacher showed the teacher three slides:
slide 1. one picture - teachers had to give the picture a title
slide 2. one picture- teachers had to write a caption
slide 3. three pictures- teachers had to write a story

Our teachers wrote some hilarious stories and captions.  (I work with some really fun people.  Coming to work is never dull.)  Everyone had fun and walked away with ideas on how to use images and photography to help students write.

Here is a list of digital storytelling resources from our session & from the AASL's Best Websites for Teaching and Learning :

I followed up with information about copyright, fair use and creative commons.  My middle school librarian peeps pointed me to Ronnie Burt's blog post to help me with my presentation.  I also created a list of websites and web tools to help teachers learn more about copyright.

Over the summer, the South Carolina State Library held several training sessions to introduce the new research databases available in DISCUS.  I was eager to share this information with our teachers because the new databases are easy to use with our middle school students, include reference books, e-books, pictures and videos while including MLA citations for all of it.  With the focus on common core standards, I thought this was a great time to point out how the resources in DISCUS will help us provide students with a variety of reading & research materials.

I talked about the following research databases: Credo Reference, History Reference Center, Science Reference Center, NoveList K-8 plus, Bloom's Literary Reference Online and Newspaper Source Plus.

Discus 2012 2013 from Lorena Swetnam

As much as presenting in front of a group makes my heart drop down to my knees, it is definitely worthwhile.   Each time I've had to present about our school library, technology and research, it has opened lots of doors for new collaborations and learning relationships.

Hope your school year is off to a good start! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making Movies

I know it is back to school time when I start making videos.  Animoto has been a lifesaver!!  Animoto is super easy to use and the final product looks very snazzy and professional.  I've used Animoto for just about everything- advertisements for school basketball games, AVID parent interest night, PTO fundraiser, school open house night, library orientation, news show intro, book trailers, book fine commercial, Women's History month, father daughter dance, and the list goes on.  I first heard about Animoto four years ago while working on my internship.  After that, I signed up for an Animoto educator account and have been a fan ever since.
It's been a great tool for sharing what goes on in our school and in our school library.  Here is the first video I created about my school.

To get started in Animoto, select a video style, import pictures, videos,  music and it does all of the work putting it all together in a professional looking video.  Animoto also has a selection of media you can use.  I usually select a song from the Animoto music library because it is royalty free and they have a nice selection of music without lyrics.

Here are some tools I use to edit pictures that I later import into Animoto:
Microsoft PowerPoint

Have fun making movies!