Librarians and Books and Grammar, Oh My!

Three blogs that I have found beneficial to my practice are Teen Librarian Toolbox, Lessons by Sandy, and Quick and Dirty Tips featuring Grammar Girl!

Teen Librarian Toolbox has been a terrific resource with lots of reviews of books that are carefully vetted for teen perusal. My favorite part of the blog however, is the guest posts that invite actual authors and librarians to write about a topic that they are especially knowledgeable about. These guest bloggers usually talk about topics that really encourage thought, discussion, and debate. Two of the posts that stick in my head are one that talks about the controversy surrounding euthanasia, and one that talks about the accessibility of mental health treatment in Young Adult Literature, What makes these guest posts so beneficial are that at the end, they include an entire list of the books either referenced in the article or books that are written by the guest blogger that usually deal with the topic at hand in depth. Students can learn more about topics that are interesting to them through these book recommendations.

Lessons by Sandy is more geared towards elementary school, but I have found some great resources within the teacher-turned-librarian’s blog concerning Digital Citizenship. Sandy has developed an awesome infographic that is easy to understand for all ages and very adorable to boot! She sells the digital package for $3.00 in her store and on Teachers Pay Teachers. In the future, when I get my own classroom, I am definitely bookmarking her posters for purchase to hang on my walls!

Quick and Dirty Tips is actually a website that is a conglomerate of different blogs covering everything from lifestyle tips to education. Their education portion of the website is headed by Grammar Girl (a.k.a. Mignon Fogarty), who writes user-friendly treatises on the nooks and crannies of grammar. I like her articles more than all the other grammar bloggers out there because it is personable, easy to digest, and provides clear examples for optimal understanding.

Here is an infographic I made using Piktograph as a nice and easy way to see all the good points of these blogs quickly!



Digital Citizenship in the Classroom

In today’s society, where students are creating virtual identities for themselves online, it becomes integral that teachers and families teach their students how to use this new resource responsibly and correctly. Students need to realize early on, if they have not come to this realization yet, that what they post online stays online even if they delete their post, and can have either a positive or a negative impact on them in the future. Students also need to learn what is appropriate to share, and what should remain private, as well as knowing that they should ask for permission before posting anything that involves another person or was created by another person.digital20citizen201

This infographic comes from Livonia Public Schools, which does a good job of breaking down how to be a good digital citizen. The page that the infographic comes from is also an informative and easy read, so you can access the link by clicking on the infographic above!

An important part of becoming a good digital citizen, especially in the classroom where teachers and students are using the Internet to find information from different sources, is understanding the differences between copyright, fair use, and creative commons so that we do not make the mistake of using someone else’s intellectual property without their permission. Below is a graphic of the different types of permissions that creators can give to others who wish to share their work. This graphic was created by langwitches on Flickr, and the website with the original image is linked on the image down below.


If something is copyrighted, that means that under the law, that piece of intellectual property belongs to the person who created or came up with the ideas. They alone hold the rights to own it, control what happens to it, and to profit from it. No one else can use that property without the creator’s consent.

Fair use helps streamline the process of copyright law so that creators are not inundated with requests to reference their work from other creators out there (and so that new creators are not sued for getting inspiration from a copyrighted work). Under fair use guidelines, new creators are not breaking copyright law if they are not using the original work for commercial reasons, if the new work is decidedly different from the original (it is obvious that it is not a copy), and if only a small portion of the original work was used.

Creative commons helps creators mark their work with the rights they want that work to have. For example, an artist may not want a drawing of theirs to be public domain, which would mean that anyone could use it without crediting the original artist. Perhaps the artist wants to allow the work to be shared or modified as long as there is a link directing people to the original work on the same page as the new drawing. By using creative commons, that artist can specify how they would like to be accredited for their work.

It is important to teach students that not everything they find online is free. If students do not grasp this concept, how can we as teachers be certain that they understand what cheating and plagiarism even are (understanding creative commons and plagiarism are very similar processes)? Students need to realize that intellectual property is just as important and valuable as physical property, like their phones and laptops. This can be a crucial step to guiding students to realize that their own thoughts and feelings have weight and thus encourage them to think before they post!

Takeaways from ED358: Media and Information Literacy

Before starting this class, I had very limited knowledge of technology usage in the classroom. Sure, I already knew how to use Google Docs and Slides, and how to use some applications available on both Microsoft and Mac for video editing, but what I could not do was contextualize this in my classroom. The most I was ever using it for was to show my students some pictures, or project some notes for them to write down. Sometimes I used it to show quick clips from YouTube.

Now, I can proudly say that I have become a more savvy technology user, both in my personal life and especially in my professional life. This class introduced me to so many new technology apps that I never even knew existed or were possible. It even opened up for me some new search terms that I can now type into a search engine to continue to find even more resources out there on the Internet that can be used in my future classroom for my future students. I have learned about the existence of PearDeck and how useful it can be for engaging all students, and even got to use it in my classroom to teach my students about two poems, “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen, and “The Hero” by Siegfried Sassoon.

Here are links to those two PearDecks, as well as some samples of student work from these PearDecks!

Dulce et Decorum Est

dulce answers edited

The Hero

Using these technologies help me access my students’ various strengths, and enable me to connect these strengths to the work that we do in the classroom. I look forward to incorporating more technology into my lesson plans in the future!