I am so excited to share with you some information related to makerspaces.  Makerspaces have become a “hot topic” over the past two years!  Students are being given opportunities to use their creativity to create “things.” No, this is not an arts and crafts, coloring, or free time.  This is a scaffolded, higher level opportunity for collaboration, conversations, failing and trying again, inventing and much more! Please take a few minutes to watch my voicethread and see if this is something that you could find value in!


Web 2.0 Storybird Lesson and Example

Hello everyone!  I am excited to share with you a new Web 2.0 tool that I cam acroos, Storybird.  This is a great tool for anyone grades k-12.  I am excited to share with you a 2nd grade poetry sample that I created!

When we are teaching word choice, specifically adjectives, we often lose the attention of our students.  By using Storybird, I believe that you will not only have their attention, but you will also have engaged students.

Lesson Plan:

Standards Addressed:

Pennsylvania Common Core State Standards

1.4.1.E Choose words and phrases for effect.

1.4.2. F Demonstrate a grade-appropriate command of the conventions of standard    English grammar, usuage, capitlaization, punctuation, and spelling

  1. 1.4.2. K Use a variety of words and phrases to appeal to the audience.
  2. 1.4.2 M Write a narrative to develop real or imagined experiences or event.
  3. 1.4.2. T With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
  4. 1.4.2. U With guidance and support, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing including in collaboration with peers.


Explain to students that today you are going to create a poem. The catch is that you can only use “juicy words” to describe something. We are all going to go to our Storybird page and complete the assignment that I have created for you. It will be located in the Poetry section.  First, you will choose a picture that sparks your excitement. Then, you will choose at least 5 words from the word list that I have provided to describe your picture.

Now I will show students my Example.

Then, I will show them the assignment. I will model for them how I can move the words and choose words that I can explain.  If I choose a word, I will need to be able to tell how I think it describes the picture.

After you publish it, you will get to look in our class library to see your classmates poem.  In the comment section you can ask they why they chose a certain word, what the word means, etc. You can agree with a word, or give a suggestion of another word that they could have used.

Finally, you will be able to go back to your poem and add more words, and/or change words that may not have made sense.


Teachers will be able to see each student’s rough draft and final draft to determine if students can accurately describe a picture.

Teachers will be able to read the comments, suggestions, and feedback that students are providing. This will be a great way to determine who can give construct feedback, who can’t, what types of words were tough for students, etc.

After this lesson, students will be asked to include adjectives in a picture book to improve word choice.

Library Blogs to Support YOU

Title: “Great Kid Books”

Blog Link:

Purpose of the Blog: To help parents find excellent books for their child. (Ages 4-14)

Effectiveness in Achieving the Purpose: Mary Ann Scheuer is a librarian at an elementary school. She does an excellent job at sharing new and old interesting books for children and/or students. She includes interactive book trailers, excerpts from the books, different content area books, recommends age levels, links you to Amazon or other purchasing sites, and even gives you a tease to make you want to read the book. If you are looking for some specific there is a key word list on the right that could help you narrow your search. If you are looking for some great books to read, books to add to your collection, or a new book to fall in love with…this is the place to come!

 Types of Posts:

  • Math Books- Huge Numbers (Ages 6-9)
    • This blog post is great for helping teachers to get students excited and interested in “big” numbers.  Many times young students thing that one hundred is a large number, but when you can talk about a million or a billion you will have their attention for sure. This also helps to inspire students learning (ISTE Standard #1). Teachers will be excited to share the book trailers and then also display the books for students to check out.
  • Current Events/Weather (Ages 5-16)
    •  As current events and trends occur in the United States and neighboring countries, librarians and teachers will want to be prepared to help students connect and relate. This year we have been hit with some major hurricanes that have inspired many, but also caused a wave of curiosity.  This blog does a great job at keeping up with current events and sharing some great texts that can be used in the classroom, as well as for individual student interest across multiple grade levels.
  • Resource: How to Download Audiobooks (all)
    •  This blog post is a great resources for connecting students to a tool that can help them download audiobooks. This is also a great tool for teachers that have students who struggle with reading.  Students can use these tools to download books and listen to them.  Using this resource will model digital citizenship by meeting the needs of diverse learners. (ISTE: Standard #4 B)
  • Professional Resources: Engaging News Stories with adjustable Reading Levels (ages 8-14)

My Thoughts about the Posts: This blog is updated frequently. She does a great job with current events and keeping the reader up to date on the new award winners as well. I like how she has a variety of texts and isn’t biased as to what she posts. She offers suggestions on summer readings, audio-books, professional resources, and much more. Overall, this blog is one that I will be coming back to monthly just to get some new titles and check out here seasonal/current event suggestions.

How I may use this Blog in the educational setting: This is a blog that I could see myself using a lot for current events, new award winning books, quick snap shots on great new books to read across multiple grade levels. I will also share this blog with the parents that attend back-to school nights, parent teacher conferences, etc. Many times parents are asking for some good books that are specific to their child’s ability level and/or age level. Since I teach second grade, I could also recommend having some of these books used a family reading time, not just for the student by his/her self.


Title: Van Meter Library VOICE

Blog Link:

Purpose of the Blog: “A place to be heard through creating, technology, connecting, reading, collaborating and noise. “

Effectiveness in Achieving the Purpose: This blog does a really great job at giving ideas geared towards a library that is interactive, includes maker spaces, and leaves the traditional idea of everyone be quiet behind. Instead, there is collaboration and engaging lessons that get students up, creating, and moving in the library classroom. Shannon adds a new post daily. Her posts are lengthy with examples, links, and more. She does a great job at making this very user friendly.

Types of Posts:

  • Maker Space Idea: Creating Mini Books

My Thoughts about the Posts: Shannon, the creator of this blog, has provided librarians with very creative resources, activities, and technology that will be engaging for all grade levels. It was amazing to read through her blog and begin to see the librarian that I would like to become. I want to create this environment. A library where students fall in love with books that they want to unlock their creativity.

How I may use this Blog in the educational setting: Right now as a classroom teacher I could use this blog to enrich my literacy units. I could also share these ideas and concepts with my current library in hopes that we could begin to create some maker spaces for our students.


 Title: The Adventures of Library Girl

Blog Link:

Purpose of the Blog: Jennifer, the creator of this blog, says that she simply thinks of her blog as the place where she will ponder and share out her thoughts on libraries and students learning. She wants to share her thoughts to help librarians do their best work so that libraries can stay here for as long as possible.

Effectiveness in Achieving the Purpose: She helps to promote the love of reading throughout the entire building, not just students and herself but all staff. She shares ideas and ways to get other staff involved. Many of her posts have additional links that take you to additional resources. Jennifer posts about once a month. Each post is lengthy and meaningful. Many librarians will be able to apply what she shares right away in their classroom.

Types of Posts:

  • Information for getting staff reading: When Adults Don’t Read Kids Lose
  • Creating a Great Annual Report: Effective Tips-More Than Just Data
    • Many librarians need to collect data and show how the library is contirbuting to the overall growth of student learning.  This post demonstrates and gives suggestions on how to create an annual review that will empower your library and demonstrate the value of school libraries.  This post will be able to help the librarian grow professionally.   (ISTE: Standard #5)
  • Book Talks- Ways to make them exciting and interactive
    •  This post is all about making those 30 second book talks memorable.  There are many ideas and suggestions for engaging students into the book talk.  It is great that there is a blog out there that can continue to allow teachers and librarians to continue to improve what they are doing everyday! (ISTE: Standard #5)

My Thoughts about the Posts: I like that she is “real” in the way she writes. She simply says it the ways she wants. It helps the reader know that she is human and wants to make you feel like you are too. Many of her posts are geared towards teachers/librarians. As an instructor it will be nice to follow this blog because you won’t fall behind since she posts monthly. It will be nice to get a once a month meaningful update that does not seem to overwhelm you with ideas and make you feel like you need to take on the world. I also liked that she isn’t trying to sell you anything that she has created or is advertising on behalf of someone else. It is a true human just sharing her thoughts, which is refreshing.

How I may use this Blog in the educational setting: This would be a blog that the librarian would use to help educate and update his/herself. There are ideas that can be taken away to support instruction with students in the library, teachers within the building, and some topics are just for the reader. As a classroom teacher, I will be keeping this as a resource for myself when I have a library of my own.


Works Cited:

LaGarde, Jennifer. “The Adventures of Library Girl.” The Adventures of Library Girl,

Miller, Shannon McClintock. “The Library Voice.” The Library Voice, 1 Jan. 1970,

Scheuer, Mary. “Great Kid Books.” Great Kid Books,

“Top School Library Blogs.” Teacher Certification Degrees,


Ideas, Positive Vibes, and Technology…What more could you want?

Outstanding Classroom Blogs that all educators should check out!  Read my reviews, check out some of the links, and see how these can be a great addition to your instructional tool kit!

Elementary Blog (Primary K-3 focus)

Title: “Teaching Heart”

Blog Link:

Purpose of the Blog: This blog was created to share that teaching is more than just teaching. Education is more; it is communicating, loving, caring, showing, and growing.

Effectiveness in Achieving the Purpose: I thought that the author, Collen Gallagher, does a great job keeping a positive spin on this blog. She shares things that have worked for her, without sharing the negatives about something that didn’t. For me, that was a great positive! You can tell in her writing that she truly loves what she does. She shows examples of her work and her students’ work. She also provides photographs, which will help teachers to envision the end product. By doing this I can see that, yes it really does work. She shares additional resources that have helped her to grow professionally too. She gives examples, and also provides links to the text or resources that can help other teachers too. Finally, I also like that she shares ideas that are non-educational, but family related too. It is great to see that she is “real” and has a life outside of school!

Types of Posts:

  1. Resources to print/create to use in your classroom.

My Thoughts about the Posts: I really enjoy reading her posts. They are short, sweet, and to the point. A lot of the items shared are geared to the primary classroom. (K-3) She includes many holiday items, birthday ideas, and fun ways to teach content. Many of the items were self-created. There are free items that you can download and then there are items that you can purchase. She also includes some professional resources and links for you to gain more knowledge on the concepts. She shares personal success stories and links you to further learning opportunities. The Blog is very user friendly. The links work and you can also type into the search engine to find items related to what you are teaching or what you may want to learn more about.

How I may use this blog in the educational setting: As a primary teacher, I feel that I will use this blog often. It provides me with additional lesson plan ideas, techniques, professional development opportunities that I can use for myself personally or I could even host a Primary Learning Cohort (PLC) group with staff at my building. Finally, it helps me reflect on my current teaching practices and what I could do differently.


High School- English Teacher

Title: “The Zen Teacher”

Blog Link:

Purpose of the Blog: You will get practical advice about creating a more mindful teaching experience and improving calmness and peace in your classroom and for yourself.

Effectiveness in Achieving the Purpose: Dan does a great job and helping the reader identify the stresses of his/her job, and then gives the reader guidance on how to re-balance. Whether it is re-balancing life, classroom management, or maybe a little of both there are suggestions that everyone can apply/try as soon as they read the post.

Types of Posts:

My Thoughts about the Posts: This was a blog that I was interested in straight from the title, “The Zen Teacher.” As a teacher in a trauma sensitive school, I am always looking for additional calming strategies to put into place. This blog is a great resource not only for myself but also for my school. Many of his posts are to help you, the adult, find peace. Although they are written for us, it is easy to see how you can apply them in your classroom. One of my favorite quotes from his blog is, When I think about you and why you should prioritize reduced stress and improved self-care, please know that two of my main themes are:

  1. You are worth it.
  2. You are okay EXACTLY how you are.

This blog is not only about helping your students, but also about helping you!

Types of Posts:

  • Back in the Trenches- Recapture your sense of peace
  • Additional Resource for Professional Development-
    • For Principals: “The Four O’clock Faculty: The Rogue to Revolutionizing Professional Development”
      • This post provides principals/school leaders some strategies and a book that can help to refocus and redefine professional development for your staff.  It also talks about showing your staff gratitude and how a few simple things can go a long way to empowering your staff.
  • Sacred Spaces and Bliss Stations
  • Teacher Activity Pages
    •  If you can’t afford to purchase the book or kit, you can download these free sheets to get your classroom started.  Why not create a peaceful, calm, and stress-free location for you and your students? We all know things can become challenging and this is a great way to help regain focus.

My Thoughts about the Posts: This was a blog that I was interested in straight from the title, “The Zen Teacher.” As a teacher in a trauma sensitive school, I am always looking for additional calming strategies to put into place. This blog is a great resource not only for myself but also for my school. Many of his posts are to help you, the adult, find peace. Although they are written for us, it is easy to see how you can apply them in your classroom. One of my favorite quotes from his blog is, When I think about you and why you should prioritize reduced stress and improved self-care, please know that two of my main themes are:

  1. You are worth it.
  2. You are okay EXACTLY how you are.

This blog is not only about helping your students, but also about helping you!

How I may use this Blog in the educational setting: Creating a sacred space or bliss station in my classroom will be beneficial for many students. This space will be calming and it will allow students to seek refuge to calm down and get their body under control safely. “The Zen Teacher: Creating Focus, Simplicity, and Tranquility in the Classroom” would be a great book to share at a faculty meeting with staff. I may pull specific clips or sections to share, but this could also be used a book study. It would also be great to get Dan to come and speak to the staff. He offers workshops and additional programmatic items that we could put in place within the school setting.


Middle School- Teacher/Librarian

Title: “Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch”

Blog Link:

Purpose of the Blog: This blog focuses on technology and technology tools to support classroom instruction. She gives you ideas and her discoveries about technology and technology tools that you can use in the classroom.

Effectiveness in Achieving the Purpose: It was great to see that she actually tries out the programs before posting them. This enabled Kathy to share feedback that is relevant to the readers. She even went as far to say which devices she tried them on. (Mac, PC, Tablets etc.) Kathy does a great job at letting the reader know which grade levels each specific tool would be good for. She has many for all grade levels. I like that the technology items even reach social skill needs, which can support some of the Autism and special needs classrooms.

Types of Posts:

  • Financial Literacy –Star Banks Adventure Game
    • This is a free game that is provided by T-Rowe Price. It will be a great tool to a classroom that is trying to teach students about making good financial choices.  You can access this through T Rowe Price’s site or there are apps that you can download. There is also a teacher’s guide to support middle and high school teachers.  This would be a great way to engage students online. (ISTE: #2)
  • Civil Discourse in the Classroom- Point of View, Responding to Others, Listening Skills
    •  This post shares some great teaching resources for grades 3-6. Teachers have free access to lesson plans and printable pages that go along with the trade book shared. There are also links to Discovery Education videos to support your instruction and much more. If you are working with students that need to work on their listening/speaking skills there are links, resources, and attachments. This post is very long but there is so my imbeded I feel like it is worth the time to read through it. (ISTE: #2)
  • Product Reviews-Tablet Cases For Educators
    •  Many times teachers are looking for some good quality equipment, devices, protectors, etc. that will withstand the use of many students over time.  Kathy takes the time to review many different items related to the tech field.  This review is of tablet cases.  Many schools use tablets and this post helps the educators see if this would be something that would work for them personally or maybe even school tablets.


My Thoughts about the Posts: Many of her posts are re-posts/discoveries that are related to technology. Some of the items are programs, products, curriculum concepts, etc. Each post is very detailed and gives multiple opportunities for classroom use. There is also a tool bar on the side of her home page so that you can click on relevant topics that you may be searching for.

How I may use this Blog in the educational setting:  The tools that Kathy is sharing will simply open the door to the world for our students. When our administration is talking about preparing students for the “real world” this is a great resource for all grade level and content area teachers.

Works Cited:

Gallagher, Colleen. “From a Mom with a Teaching Heart.” Teaching Heart Blog,

Schrock, Kathy. “Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch.” Kathy Schrock’s Kaffeeklatsch, 1 Jan. 1970,

Tricarico, Dan. “Blog.” The Zen Teacher,

“Top 100 Teacher Blogs And Websites With Classroom Resources For Teachers.” Feedspot Blog, 26 Oct. 2017,