Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Guest Post: Twitter: Best Professional Learning Around

With all the professional development opportunities out there, how does a busy educator find the best resources? My favorite Professional Learning Network is Twitter, which I explored at the urging of colleagues. Many people form negative opinions about Twitter based on how it is portrayed in the news and in popular media. In actuality, it’s a very powerful tool for collaboration and professional support. Here are a few reasons you might like to use Twitter, and how.
Twitter is a free, always available resource. I’m connected with teachers, librarians, thought leaders, authors and publishers all over the world. I can find content at my fingertips - articles of interest are posted where I can find them quickly, with topics highlighted concisely. Sharing my own ideas through tweets brings me more followers with whom to share, and from whom to learn. I can find countless targeted discussion groups to follow and join. There is much more to this social media tool, including surprises... I’ve won apps, books, and even an author Skype through Twitter! Ready to join in the conversation? Here’s how:

Join Twitter! You’ll need a username, email, password, and a profile. Write your profile in 140 characters. Highlight your interests. Discover! Use the hashtag symbol # immediately followed by a topic to search for folks like you, or groups that interest you. Some good ones: #nerdybookclub #runteacherrun #bookaday and #edtech. Follow others! You can read their tweets first to see if what they have to share is relevant to you. Try these: @MrSchuReads, @jenniferlagarde, @iChrisLehman, and of course, @cybrarian77. Write a tweet! You can include a hashtag along with a topic and see if anyone is listening. Check out these two great Twitter cheat sheets for educators.  and

Guest Blogger Info
Valerie Stein is long-time Library Media Specialist for Soundview School, an authorized International Baccaluareate World School in Washington State: She reviews books for Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children’s Media: . Valerie’s tech interests include exploring the uses of Social Media to connect to high-quality resources, and demystifying tools and technologies for her patrons. She blogs at where she features the writing process, select book reviews, and teaching news. You can follow her on Twitter @stein_valerie. She’d love to follow you back!

Collaborative handshake attribution: Berdea, on Wikimedia Commons:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Where I Have Been the Last Month.....

Before the Internet and digital photography came into my life, I was a serious children's photographer and songwriter. My high school film making teacher helped me purchase my first SLR (Single-Lens Reflex) camera and showed me how to develop negatives and make prints in the darkroom. My songwriting began when I was ten years old (of course the song was only about a pet hamster) and I have written over 100 songs since. Perhaps you have seen the icon on the left side of this blog which is my CD for newborn babies, "Welcome to the World: A Musical Collection for the Nursery.  It is available on , CD Baby and iTunes. of my big summer projects was to spend time writing more music and possibly a children's musical. (Any good lyricists out there??)

Another thing which has been taking up my time is my photography. I've been taking classes trying to hone my skills and doing several photo restoration jobs. (I had a website but couldn't keep up with the work and a full-time teaching job)

(Photo of the 911 memorial was taken last October.)

No longer in the darkroom, I fell in love with Photoshop® when it was first released and spend many hours on my Mac. Here are some samples of the work I have done:

So, that's where I've been since school came to an end in June. I wanted to thank all my guest bloggers and fellow media specialists for keeping the blog alive. Oh, and thank all of you for allowing me to tout my songwriting and digital photography skills. Have a great summer everyone!


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