Saturday, April 15, 2017

Speed Dating for Book Lovahs!

Hello Book Lovahs!
I want to share with you a favorite book selection activity that the kids dig, is super silly and fun, creates a lot of excitement, and makes the books fly out of the library! I first blogged about this with you back in 2013, added a genre twist last year, and now I've added a video and a few new tweaks! 

With my middle school kids this activity is guaranteed to make them grin, giggle, and cringe a little. Give yourself permission to really ham it up. Because prepare yourselves, book lovahs, this is super cheezy!  

All the resources, printables, graphics, and videos are FREE for you to take, use, & share because they're made using the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  

 Set Up & Book Your  Date

To get ready, I take a book cart around first the fiction area, grabbing armfuls of favorite, popular, and good looking books, grouping some by genre like my Teen, realistic novels, and Bluford High series.  

Then I collect a passel of Manga, comic, and graphic novels, and finally I cruise around my non-fiction and add popular like Guinness World Records, DK, Cooking, and sports books.  Lucky for me I also have a couple great kiddos who pitched in and selected some of their favorite books to add, too!  

The trick to staging this activity is to create messy inviting piles of books on each table (by subject, genre, or type), leaving some some flat, some standing up, and just pile it up and add signage

Hey Baby, Give me a Sign!

Next, I printed up some of the posters I designed last year when I blogged with my Californian librarian friend Mary @SEMSLibraryLady about Speed Dating by Book Genre. (Take them, they're FREE! - Wow, I seem to mention that a lot, don't I? But, Who doesn't love FREE?)

Super sports fan 7th grader Dominic, of course, chose all the Tim Green and Mike Lupica books to add to the sports table!

A post shared by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

YouTube it for a Partial Flip!
Then, using the fun, silly, super cheezy script I wrote a couple years ago, I created a new iMovie with photos, music, and voice over to play for each class giving the directions.

Which I really needed because in the past 3 months I've had bronchitis twice and the days I was leading this activity, my voice was super croaky! (Yeah, that's part of why I've been a slacker about posting lately. But, I'm not apologizing for it, because life and bronchitis happens! So, not apologizing or making excuses!  Reflective Blogging Tip #3) Srsly, the video above saves your voice, time, is a partial flip addition, and it adds extra cheese to the lesson. Besides, let me make a fool of myself with the cheezy delivery and you can just sit back and roll your eyes with the kiddos. You're welcome!  ;-) 

Be Daring - Try a Blind Date!
Laminate some butcher paper book covers with cuts out on the back for bar codes! I made just four. (Yeah, I'm lazy!) Choose a few books, write short provocative blurbs on oversized post-it notes and rubber band em up! (I deliberately chose books I had several of copies of that I hid on a cart- so that if they were checked out I didn't have to do all the work over again - pop in the next copy! Boom! 

Now, set the time bomb timer  (I start with 30 seconds) and go! 
Switching a lot means that kiddos keep moving, talking, and it creates a sense of urgency. I tell the kiddos: "No sitting down  - to find true book love, sometimes you have to be quick on your feet & ready to pounce on the right book! During the 3 or 4 activity rounds you can also play Love Boat Theme by Barry White.

Sort of like musical chairs, but with books! Encourage kids to try a new genre or type of book. Make suggestions! Let the cooperating ELA to Reading teacher wander around making suggestions or pointing out a "good lookin possibility!"


After a couple turns I'll call out that the first 6 kiddos checking out books will get a scratch and sniff bookmark and then they can go, put up their feet, read their new book and hang out in our READING LOVE LOUNGE. ("VIP: Space is limited - hurry kids!") 

Not in the mood? Already got a date? 
Baby, it's all good!
To the kiddos: "Don't want to check out a book today? Not in the mood? Already got a "date?" It's OK if you're already in a committed reading relationship  - I don't want you to cheat on book you've already checked out!  I'm not gonna to force you - I just want you to see what's out there! It's all good!" LOL  

I'll then ask the cooperating teacher now to help out with the timer as I scoot over to the circ desk and check out the books. (Of course I do it myself! Esp, if I don't have a media asst there or a parent volunteer available- and most times, I don't [sad face]) The last round the kiddos can go anywhere in the library to find that "just right" book and then-- in the space of about 15 min almost every kid has a book & they're all smiles! W00t!

I hope you can give it a whirl! I know there are a LOT more ways to do this and some of my favorite teacher librarians do even more intricate dating and book set ups. But I'm kinda lazy! This is easy, fast, fun, cheezy, and effective. 

Your Turn! 
I'd love to hear how YOU do it, additions you would suggest, any changes or opinons in the comments! 

Though I did try and link most of the parts while I was writing this, here's the nuts and bolts of what you'll need to run this activity as described. Feel free though to add your own flair!

FREE online Love Time Bomb!

Speed Dating by Book Genre: Personal Ads  Collaborating with my friend Mary - where it's more about the Genre and it includes a Kahoot exit ticket game!
Feel free to steal and enjoy the posters!

My original Speed Dating with Books! post where I tried to do Vocaroo and it turned into a total fail in the long run! See the update to find out why.  



Book Speed Dating | Mighty Little Librarian

Blind Date with a Book --or--Speed Dating for Books

Book Speed Dating - YouTube

Get On Board the Book Speed Dating Train 

From the Archives: Speed Dating with Books! – School Library ..

Get On Board the Book Speed Dating Train | Programming for Teens ...


Saturday, March 4, 2017

12 Insta Easy Instagram
Library & Literacy Promotion Ideas

This is a mirror to a guest blog post on the YALSA blog
WARNING: This post may take a while to load because of all the embedded Instagram posts. 

What’s the point of Instagram and why should you spend your precious time and money on it? Well, don’t worry about the cost, because it’s FREE! So, all you really need is creativity and a few
minutes a day to make meaningful, fun, and lasting connections with your community. And with Instagram you get a twofer! Even maybe a threefer, fourfer?! (is that a thing?) That’s right, for the amazing low price of FREE, each Instagram post can cross pollinate to your Twitter, Facebook (:-P), Flickr, Tumblr, and that thing called Swarm that kinda took the place of the annoying Foursquare? That’s pretty powerful!

But to be truly effective with those connections using social media, your graphics, caption copy-writing, conversation, and photography skills should strive to be, positive, professional, and on point. Realize, however, that those skills will be mostly self-taught. But that’s ok, that’s where I come in. We’ve got this! I’ve gathered ten really easy Instagram ideas you can implement tomorrow. You know, librarians can do anything when they set their minds to it! Using social media for library, literacy, book, and program promotion is all about storytelling. And we are born storytellers! The idea is that you’re curating your feed to include online what you would do in person -be influential, personal, relevant, humorous, and educational. 

A post shared by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

1. Shelfies
The easiest way to share on Instagram is taking the humble shelfie. Like a selfie, but with a book? Asking teens and patrons to hold up the book they just checked out or are returning are called shelfies. I always ask if they want to take a shelfie, and never give any guilt trips if they’re too shy or would prefer not to.

A post shared by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

But most of my teens love to show off their latest book, and even tag themselves in the picture! Holding up a mustache bookmark is just a bonus. I mustache you to believe me in this!

2. Book Promotion

Using both Instagram stills and up to 60 seconds of video you can easily create engaging book promotions or mini book advertisements using Instagram. Consider the theme, setting, or characters in a book and create a mini-tableau for a photo shoot. Consider taking a few favorite books on a field trip. Some of the best examples of this can be found on Maxwell J Lucas’s Instagram for his school, Glenthorne Library High School Library in South London aka @glenthorne_library. In fact, Maxwell’s whole Instagram account is a best practice for a most of these tips and ideas. He’s the real deal. For example, the photo above - The Man in the High Tower by Phillip K. Dick - did he find the tower first and bring the book later? Either way, brilliant! 

A post shared by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

Video book promotions can be staged as mini-commercials, trailers, or as book talks. Above is an example of one of my teens Dominic, who is a loyal Tim Green sports book fan, and his impromptu book talk on Instagram that was straight from the heart. We had to shoot it twice, because the first time included a spoiler! Make sure to tell kiddos, never include spoilers in their book talks. Not every kid can do a book talk like Dom, without a script, so give the kiddos the option to write it out, practice it a couple times, and are willing to do a few takes before they’re truly comfortable.

Dear @timgreenbooks Hi! This is my 7th Grade student Dominic who is a SUPER FAN of yours. He's read every Tim Green book we have of yours in our school Library 📚, which is pretty much every book! For him, I make sure to pre-order every new book you write. He also likes to book talk & encourage other kids to read your books! He's like a one man PR machine for your work! It would be really cool if you could give a shout out or say hi and I would pass it along to him! Also, since this is the time of year of giving in miracles, maybe in the new year you would consider a quick Skype visit to his Reading class. Thought I would just throw it out there, you know like a football! 🏈 And from me, thank you for writing books that get my kids excited about reading! ~Gwyneth- The Daring Librarian 😎
A post shared by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

Promotional Post-It-Book Reviews

Here’s a low tech example of easy book promotion using just post-it notes. To create this interactive display, I just put out a clipboard with sticky notes, a small tin of golf pencils, and a color

copy of @librarian_tiff’s Awesome poster in a plastic stand up. Have kiddos write a quick sticky note about what they liked about the book and stick it on for other kids to read it. Instagram a picture of that note for posterity, and so that other digital kiddos can see it.

I had this display set up about three years ago, and it ran strong for about year then petered out so I put it away. How did it make a come back? With a kiddo just deciding out of the blue and unprompted to write the above fantastic review last week brought the interactive display back out into our library. It’s good to move things around and be ready to cycle displays in and out of your facility - keeps them fresh! Voila! 

3. Book Face
Book covers that feature faces or part of faces, or backs, or legs, or arms are great to hold up and take for what is now called a #BookFace picture. Try to guide teens not be so literal with biographies or celebrity face covers. Though literal interpretations can start the ball rolling!

A post shared by Ferndale Area District Library (@ferndalepubliclibrary) on

Creative staging again can be key - costume and props add to the fun! Bookface duo’s are also charming! For some inspiration, check out the 27 thousand plus examples if you search out the Instagram hashtag #BookfaceFriday


A post shared by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

These are super addictive to do! I could see a fun activity where kids compete for the best and most creative #BookFaceFriday.

4. Program Promotion

 Got a great story telling event coming up? Have a Coloring Corner, Lego Wall, or a Makerspace area? How about an upcoming author visit? Or just a regular storytelling day! It’s easy to either promote or share that program using Instagram. Events become fun fodder for great program promotion, when you have your phone handy and are ready to snap and share the awesome things that happens every day in your library. 

5. #BookDropLife
This one is easy and fast to do and I’ve yet to try it! Just stack and take a picture of the popular books that just got returned! Right now, mine would always include Sisters and at least one Manga! This way, teens can come in and grab what was just returned!  
UPDATE: I did a #BookDropLife! And really, people - it's SO easy! 


A post shared by SEMS Library (@libraryatsems) on
6. New Book Reveal 

Unboxing new books is the BEST! Let others get into the fun of that exciting reveal by taking pictures or videos of the unveiling. This example is from my friend and California library professional, Mary Clark, who has been on the forefront of leveraging the power of Instagram and information curation for years. I’ve gotten some of my best ideas from her.

A post shared by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

7. Caught Reading
Catch teens and patrons reading. Take their picture, then ask if it’s OK to post on Instagram. OR, totally pose it! It encourages teens to rest, relax, and read.
Or listen!

A post shared by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on
I’ve also taken pictures of my teens listening to audio books - almost seems like they’re napping! Wake up Gabe, 8th grade recess is over! Either way, these caught reading photos are contagious, you’ll find that kids will come in, read conspicuously, and almost beg to be highlighted on your Instagram.

A post shared by SEMS Library (@libraryatsems) on
A post shared by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

8. Reading and Library Quotes
It’s great fun to mix it up and create a graphics maker like Photoshop,, or to create good looking quotes that inspire the reader in all of us and post to Instagram! Tech tip: I use my Dropbox or Flickr to get them to my mobile devices.

9. Mini-Virtual Tours

Use Instagram video to create mini virtual tours of your library and it’s features. Get creative, remember stop action, add music, use interesting angles, and add signage or text overlay to jazz it up. Tech Tip: Flipagram is a great FREE video editing app that lets you include animated drawings, text overlay, stickers, and popular music in 30 second clips and then either download to your phone or share with Instagram. For a $1.99 you can even take off the Flipagram watermark. 

10. Insta-Contests
Instagram is a great way to share and run a contest with the community! It gives an opportunity for people to chime in, answer questions, and interact with you. Pick your winner from those who leave comments, follow, or share related original content. It’s a fun and easy way to get the community involved. 


A post shared by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

11. Book Displays
Confession, I hate making book displays. My creative powers are there, but mostly for graphic design. So, when I do create a book display, I try and show it off using Instagram. 

12. Be on Trend
Jump on the latest hashtag trend but give it a book or library spin! This can happen on both Instagram and on Twitter. In fact, one of my most liked and re-tweeted posts was the one above. When you see a trending hashtag in the Social Media or Instagram world, why not have some fun and give it a whirl?  

So, give a professional Instagram account a whirl! Connect it to your Twitter and any other Social Media outlets that you utilize to promote the awesome that happens every day in your school! 


Resources & Credits:

Lowering the tone: doing social media at Bodleian Libraries

Some of the best and most inspiring ideas I ever got about sharing on Instagram for libraries was from this article by @AdamKoszary the guy who sparked Bodleian feed.


This inspiring and illustrative blog post was written by my friend Mary Clark of @libraryatsems. She’s a must follow on Twitter, too! Mary Clark (@SEMSLibraryLady)

Social Media Resources 101 for the School Librarian from School Library Journal

20+ EASY Ways to Make Picture Quotes Online!

Some recent and related posts:
4 Fun FREE Apps to Win The Instagram Game
Social Media Mind Shift
6 Ways to Avoid Those Social Media Landmines

A Shockingly Private Blog Post About Social Media


Sunday, February 12, 2017

6 Ways to Avoid Those Social Media Landmines

This article is planned to be published in the May issue of NEA Today Magazine  (sadly, without my nifty custom graphic) but it's already online! So YAY! I guess I can share it with you early!

I’ve been sharing on social media professionally for eight years now, and I have to admit, it can be kinda tricky. There is a goldmine of information out there for teachers, but also landmines that can be quite treacherous if not deftly avoided.  As educators, I passionately believe we should use social media to push the positive, celebrate student successes, share resources with our colleagues, and connect with parents and the community.  But how do we professionally use these tools without torturing ourselves over every Tweet, update, or Instagram pic? Easy! Try these six tips to share sensibly online.

Follow School District Policy 
Does your district have a technology and social media upolicy? If so, read it and follow it to the letter. I’m so proud that my district has had a “Responsible Use of Technology and Social Media Policy” since 2002 and has updated it every three years. Here’s one of the many parts that I agree with:  

“Any postings by employees will not reference, link or contain: Statements that could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening or intimidating; that disparage students, employees, parents or community members; or that could be viewed as harassment or bullying.” 

Well, duh! Seems obvious, right? But with some people, you HAVE to say that explicitly. Before you Tweet, post, or share—make sure you’re following the rules. I’m daring, but I’m not stupid, and I kinda love my job. (A LOT!)

Should You Follow Students? 

No matter your school policy, the easiest answer is no. Do not follow or “friend” students. Sure, we all want to be cool, connect with our kiddos, and be there for them in a crisis, but there are too many potential hazards in following their lives on social media. My pat answer to students who ask me to follow their private Twitter or Instagram accounts goes something like this: “Sorry, no can do. Until you graduate I’m a teacher, not a friend. After you graduate, then maybe I can become a friend and a mentor.”

But the answer to students who ask me to follow their public accounts is a definite maybe, depending on whether the account is open and transparent, they’re over 13 and out of my school, and that they asked me directly to follow them. The clear caveat that could turn a maybe into a yes is this: I would make sure to clearly and firmly tell them that “anything I see that you post that is the least bit inappropriate, bullying, uncivil, illegal, against our school policy or state law, I am ethically and professionally impelled to act upon, inform the authorities, and call your Mama! Yes, I would totally tell on you in a heartbeat for your own good and because I care.” Then I grin and say, "but someday, when you graduate, and are all grown up I'd be honored and pleased to follow you, sing your praises, and celebrate all of your future successes!"

I recently talked to my supervisor, Julie Alonso-Hughes, district coordinator of instructional technology and library media, about additional social media guidelines. She said, “It’s really all about common sense. If you saw suspicious behavior in the hallway, same rules apply, you would have to report it.” She also added a few handy hashtags to keep in mind: #youwouldntsaythattomyface, #thinkb4upost, #commonsense

Don’t Share the Private. Do Share the Personal (Maybe) 

On social media, it’s good to overshare the professional; under share the personal; and NEVER share the private. Because that’s just creepy! 

There’s a big difference between sharing what is personal versus sharing what is private. We all know the professional tone to take when we talk face-to-face with kids, parents, and the community, but sometimes with the buffer of a keyboard we lose proper perspective. What sounds funny in your head doesn’t always translate to hilarious in the written word. You can delete a Tweet or a post but they can always be captured…and BOOM! Landmine! Best to err on the side of professional. 

That’s not to say that I don’t occasionally post personal stuff on Twitter, Instagram, Scoopit, and Pinterest. I might share a Kindle quote from what I’m reading, a picture of my Mom’s perfect Thanksgiving turkey, or a selfie with a friend at an Ed Tech or Library conference. Sharing personal info shows you’re human, approachable, and authentic.
Do Share the Awesome!
I think the best way to use social media in school isn’t with kids but about kids. Without being preachy, we can be a role model for effective and ethical social media use to our kiddos and colleagues. Most of us have smartphones on us all the time, making it so easy to capture those exciting daily lessons, activities, projects, and general fun. With Instagram tied to my Twitter, I like to catch pictures of my students being awesome. From #Shelfies (kids posing with books they’ve checked out), science projects, robotics, school plays, impromptu dancing, lip dubs, to our Makerspace —this is an opportunity to connect with the community.  

Make sure to check your school policy about publishing the faces of kids. If that is a concern or a confusion, or if you have kids who are camera shy, consider taking dynamic pictures from behind, not showing their faces but their hands doing, making, writing, and creating.
You Are What You Like and Re-Tweet 

It may not seem fair, but you are what you and like, favorite, and share on social media. Sure, you may not have said it yourself, but a re-Tweet or “like” is an endorsement. Just ask any politician or public figure who has felt the heat for it. People can also see what you like or favorite. So, it’s best not to re-Tweet bad language or something controversial.  

Be Human, but Avoid Dinner Party Topics  

When it comes to controversial topics, think of social media like an enormous dinner party, taking place in public. Even if you have a disclaimer saying “opinions my own,” people will judge you (and your colleagues, your school, your district) for every touchy, snarky, hot-button personal opinion that you express. Keep personal topics for face to face conversations. 

Of course, using the term “Bless your heart” is always correct and ever so nuanced!  Believe me, I know that in these challenging and complicated political times and climes,  this is harder to pull off than ever. But as my Mama would say, "there is such a thing as an unspoken thought."  

I pray every night to never forget:

Bottom line: Social media is here to stay. It’s a powerful tool for educators that can transform your professional practice or blow up in your face. Before you get started, consider just lurking and listening for a while. Know this: You will never regret being kind. Don’t give toxic people, situations, or haters the time or energy…in life or on social media. Passion and positivity go a long way in almost all situations—and it’s a super start on social media!   

Resources & Credits:  

What do you think? What people are saying, and further reading:

I Tweeted out the following question to our #EdChat PLN: “Do you follow students back if they follow you on social media? What's your school district or personal policy on that?”

 and I got several interesting answers and opinions - why not add yours?

For more on this topic, search for my blog postings:

On Twitter: To Follow or Not to Follow | Edutopia
by Nicholas Provenzano @TheNerdyTeacher - Edudemic

Search for the Howard County: Policy 8080: Responsible Use of Technology and Social Media

Social media boundaries: Should teachers and students be friends?” Today Show   

This article was greatly inspired by Keegan Korph, @OPSMrsKorf and her excellent Edublog post: “When Students Ask to Follow or Friend: An Ethical Response Guide for Educators.” (For additional online sources and material, check out the NEAToday app)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Warning: Do NOT Read This Blog Post!

(This is an example of one of my Daring School Library Edublogss postings- written in the style of Lemony Snicket) 

Hello dear readers, this is Gwyneth Jones - your one and only ridiculously humble Daring Librarian here with dire 
As Sophia (the delightfully cheerful girl above) reported on MHTV News we must share something distasteful with you.  

Why? Because I recently awoke feeling a dreadful malaise and a lingering doleful fear about something I just uncovered. When I say "uncover" imagine turning over a mossy rock expecting cute wriggly earth worms and rolly polly pill bugs only to find a suspect piece of butterscotch candy wrapped in a soggy cellophane wrapper...well, read below for our news story. 

Oh, and don't be angry with me OR with the smiley Sophia...we HAD to give this news 
Here's the Script:  

We here at #MHTVNews usually like to share uplifting and heartwarming stories about young people who joyfully create amazing things and are rewarded for their Scientific, Literary, Artistic, and or Academic Achievements.
We’re here to give a warning that there is a pernicious, which means here deadly, and terrifying new series now available for streaming on
(And as a wry aside, may I add that this is surely a silly name for a terribly sinister author! I met him once back in 2004, at the Howard County Public Library - He signed a book for me and though I was introduced to him by one of my favourite students as the Evil Daring Librarian Ms. Jones - he said I was only 
As if!  [snit] /a)

Of course, we have all the books in this horrid series in the Murray Hill Daring School Library Media Center, we consider that fair warning so that you may read them, if you are so inclined, to be properly prepared. They are terrible books of horrible events and only appreciated by those who are slightly tetched in the heid (Scottish variety) or bloodthirsty.
Oh and Count Olaf? We’re keeping a weather eye on you sir! Be sure of that! No more sneaking around and hiding in my Library Office.

Find Count Olaf Hiding in my Office!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

FETC, Flocabulary, & FREE RAW Pixels

Welcome back dear readers! And welcome to any who are here for the first time, I'm so glad you're here! I've got exciting news!
I'm super thrilled and honored to have been invited to be a Featured Speaker at this year's Future of Education Technology Conference! (OR #FETC!) I have a very busy schedule, speaking for 7+ hours with four presentations starting at 8am and finishing at 7:30 pm! Whew!  
I know, just like Elaine on Seinfeld I use WAY too many exclamation points. Sorry, that's kinda my jam. 

If you're going to the conference or just curious, visit my  Landing Wikispaces Page w/ MAPS, Wireless Passwords, my Speaking Schedule, Resources, & MORE!  This is my first time going and I've followed the resources for years on Twitter by following their hashtag. How brilliant of them to use the same hashtag all year long. No need to add a year since all Tweets are chronological anyway.

On My Presenting Style 
& Teaching Philosophy
But you'll have to see me in person for my unique (and humble!) brand of immature middle school humour, & corny jokes, amusing anecdotes, and bonus Ed Tech tips in person!  Although I do have a graphic version of my professional mission statement, in words here it is. 

My style of presenting and teaching (as you may have noticed on this blog) is daring innovation mixed with a fearless attitude of positivity and passion. All put forward with the idea that you don't have to try them ALL right now (new tech toy or teaching innovation) no one can! 

Oh, and you don't have to Marry IT! Just pick one thing & give it a whirl. You'll never get any guilt trips from me! Just lots of options, lesson ideas, free printables, graphics, posters, and practical suggestions for implementation into any classroom, subject area, or school library. And FUN. It's always gotta be fun!

I'm excited to be staying and presenting two sessions at the beautiful Hyatt Regency and SO looking forward to be having lunch with my Hip Hop Flocabulary & MC Educator pal Emily Gover @edtechjam
including dear friend the Digital Diva herself, Joquetta Johnson and new MC Educator friend Allison Schalk.

I'll be conducting a couple of longer workshops with presentations and featuring  hands-on group practice of lots of cool stuff!  In my presentations, I like to feature arresting images (like my buddy over and up there - OK, I'm slightly obsessed with Storm Troopers), deft graphic design, cartoon avatars, interactive activities, and engaging short videos and music clips. Just like in my library classroom, I like to mix it up baby! I readily confess, I have font lust and graphic desires.
Speaking about arresting images, one of my favorite new things is:

RAW Pixel is a collection of FREE stock Images with very liberal license use for blogs, presentations, school displays, and more! Combined with PicMonkey makes graphic image magic that ANYone can do!   I joined RAW Pixel last year and have now collected a whole gallery of great photo resources. (Some of my FREE Flickr Creative Commons photos are in there, too!) and I edit them with the awesome PicMonkey - which is also FREE ...did I mention FREE? 
(Psst. It's FREE but the Royale features are SO worth the extra $!)
When it comes to Images: Always Respect the photo license,  give attribution, & enjoy the gorgeous my friends! 

Special Thanks to:
My dear long time friend Luke Allen who believed in me and put my name forward to be invited to speak at FETC! I met Luke in 2010, the first year I was on the ISTE Board in Denver and he's been so kind & generous to me over the years. You rock, pirate dude! Arrr!
Also thanks to the vision, hard work, & inspiring leadership as FETC Program Chair Jennifer Womble I'm grateful to her for making this all happen and including my visit & appearance at this significant and powerful global education event! Thanks, Jen!
I'd also like to thank my super new Principal Mr. Rick Wilson, dear Assistant Principal, Mrs. Andrea Harmon...AND my Media & Tech Supervisors Melissa Grabill & Julie Alonso-Hughes for supporting me and for letting me attend! Love you guys!

So, if you see me at FETC, maybe even sporting a #SproutHead, please make sure to say HEY! I'd love to meet you in person! This is how we grow our PLN. Together. Online, in person, at conferences, and all year long on Twitter! (and Instagram, Scoopit, blogs, and in webinars) Thank you dear reader for sticking with me and I truly hope we can meet in person and become friends - SOON!
More later, I gotta now drive through the fog back home & start packing for FETC! Flip flops...are gonna be a must for Orlando!


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