Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thing 10

Today's assignment was to have fun with online image generators.  I did just that - had some fun!  A couple of these were familiar to me, but most were fun to play with.  Here are examples of what I did:

Comic Strip Generator

From Spiffy Text, through the Custom Sign generator.  Blake's homecoming date (Delaney) won Friday night.  I had nothing to do with any of it, but I sure felt proud as if I had!

Word Mosiac, through Image Chef:
custom image

I have used Wordle before.  This site is a lot of fun, but there are some things you should know about it: The more times you type a word, the larger it will appear. Also, you~must~use~this~symbol between words in phrases, otherwise the words will be split up in the image. I haven't figured out how to save any images yet.  I made saved screen shots for this assignment, and even those I'm having trouble copying and pasting into this blog without putting a whole Word document in here.  Make sure you print any randomized mix you like; once you hit the Randomize button you won't be able to get that image back.

I used Wordle in the library last year.  I had the students write down the title of a favorite book and at least 3 characters in the story on paper.  I may have had them list the setting and genre too.  They then typed the title 5 times and the rest of the list one time each and put it into a Wordle.  They were able to randomize their work and print one screen they liked.  I have since learned that it is much easier to type everything into a Word document and copy and paste it into Wordle, especially for 4th graders who don't realize they've misspelled a word (and because most of them still type using the hunt-and-peck method - it takes them SO LONG to finish typing!).  I've also thought of using Wordle by typing a certain genre mulitple times, and then listing some books in our library that match that genre.  I would print this into half-poster size to put around the library.  The trouble, though, is time: rotation doesn't leave much of that.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thing 9

Tonight I did a little exploring of blogs and library-related feeds.  It's so easy to get lost in the never-ending places the click of a mouse can take you, so I tried really hard to stay concentrated on the reason I logged on to the computer.  For the most part I did ok, but I did stray some when I got to the Edublog Awards site.

The site itself at first seemed impressive, as it talks about the year's best blogs in several categories.  But when I looked into some of the categories, I ran into several that were either dated 2009 or 2008.  It may be that the "best" blogs aren't awarded until the end of the year, but that doesn't explain the 2008 list.  I ended up reading a series of posts from a former teacher; this is where I strayed.

I found the Google Blog Search easy to use (I found out that Barbara Billingsley died today).  Just like Google itself, there are countless blogs to search through.  The links to Blogline and School Library Blogs were not working.  I thought the overall look of was too overwhelming - I did very little wandering, for lack of a better word, on this site.  When I opened Technorati, the first thing I saw was titled 5 Tips to Creating Travel Porn.  I decided to not attempt to find out if this was a play on words or not.  One thing I found interesting when I looked at is that according to their survey, Perry is about 5 percentage points ahead of White, based on submissions from Brazoria County voters.  I'm never asked about my choice candidate from survey record-keepers; I'm a little curious about who they target.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thing 8

Today I had a chance to work with RSS feed.  I've seen the symbol often, but was never curious enough to figure out what it was.  However, I now feel slightly superior to my husband, because I don't think he knows what it is and I do!   I do think that I will like the convenience of having the information coming to me rather than me taking the time to check for it. 

This summer I found a couple of blogs accidentally when trying to find a certain recipe.  These blogs are all about families and food, so I checked back rather frequently (especially when I realized that periodically the blog host would give away items, such as a Nikon camera or a KitchenAid mixer).  I did post a comment once to put my name in the drawing, and saw that about 45,000 other people had too!  It didn't take long to realize attempting to win anything would be futile, but I really like the frequent recipe idea updates.  Cooking is a real hobby for me; this way I can save space and money by not having to buy a cookbook!

I also found several library blogs too.  One is all about weeded books, with people posting examples of what they have found in their libraries, while another has updates about what is going on in an elementary school library.  There was another one I connected to that has a great look about it, but it appears that the only post was the one she probably did when she set the blog up at an in-service day (I'm assuming).  It seems to have great potential; I decided to add it hoping that the librarian will find the time to start it back up. 

One way I see a usefulness to readers is in time management.  I know that my day at school is busy enough as it is.  Having updates waiting for me makes sense in managing that time.

Thing 7

Today I explored some of the Google extras:  Google Earth, Google Docs, Google Calendar,...  Even though I am familiar with several of the features Google offers beyond searches, I have to admit that I have not taken the time to play around with most of them.  Today I did register with the Google calendar and posted the due dates of all of the assignments I have coming up for this semester.  I'm  hoping that I will be alerted a little in advance for the next assignment.  However, since I have not used this feature before, I am not quite ready to completely rely on that - I do have everything written down on a freebie calendar I got from the UHCL bookstore.

I also looked into Google Earth.  I tried to pull up Smoky Mountains.  It came up as a search that it did not recognize and offered me the Appalachian Mountains instead.  Rather than showing pictures of the pretty countryside that I had expected to see, I saw images of the destruction coal mining can bring.  I clicked on a few other buttons and found a Google Earth lesson plan about animal habitats for 3rd grade.  How timely!  Our 3rd graders are starting a 6-week unit this week about that.  The lesson plan is written for four, one-hour sessions.  I can't cover that in the time our students come into the library, but I do plan to share it with the team leader as another resource for them.