Back to School Special:
7 Web Savvy Starts to a New Year!

It's back to school time again! Darn those Target & Office Depot commercials! Last year around this time I blogged about using Google forms to create community conversations and decorating your library media center & classroom. This year I'd like to invite you back by popular demand to a FREE TL Virtual Cafe webinar called Back to School Special: Savvy Starts to a New Year! Join yours truly & The Mighty Little Librarian Tiff (on right) for a casual discussion to generate ideas on how to build school allies, support new teachers & become indispensable to admin & staff at the beginning of every school year. Featuring how Google tools (forms, docs, & presentation, and more!) can supercharge the library program & classroom throughout the school year. For Teacher Librarians, classroom teachers, tech teachers, admins, & well...everyone!
1. Make this the Year that You Share Shamelessly!

So many times we are reluctant to share what we create because we're afraid of either looking like we're showing off or we're afraid of critique. Consider shameless sharing as not shining a spotlight on your practice but a lamp post to guide your community to your program! Also consider that there are losts of new teachers & librarians out there that are hungrily looking for ideas & examples! So make this year the year that you GIVE and then GIVE some more! Embrace Creative Commons, Flickr, Slideshare, Wikis, & Twitter and share your AWEsome stuff!
Never one to give advice that I wouldn't follow...I created a simple PPT presentation template for my teachers (& FREE to you!) to use for back to school night which you can download from either Slideshare or my wikipage. Why not download it and give it to your teachers to modify & personalize to mix up their presos for back to school night? Save them time & aggravation AND be a superhero!

Or you can download the graphics from my Flickr stream to make up your own PPT!

2. Why Not a Wiki?
Another thing you can make for both students and parents is a Tech Tips & Help wiki or web page for home use. Answering dilemmas such as:
I can't open my report!
I don't have Microsoft Office on my computer!
Saving Word Documents for use at Work/School
Why Can't I Use Wikipedia?
How to Teach Wikipedia Comic Tutorial
How to Download YouTube Videos for School Use
Keeping Your Computer Clean of Viruses
Making a PDF
Feel free to cut & paste anything on our creative commons wikipage for yours (you don't need to join our page to snag stuff!) and as long as you give attribution somewhere, it's all good!

3. Got Parents?! Start a School Facebook Page!
Yeah, sure...Facebook and I are "seeing other people" but that doesn't mean I don't get that it's a place a lot of my parents hang out & we need to be there! Creating a local page for your school (the kind that is just a Yellow Book!) is another great way for parents to get the school hours, phone numbers, link to the official web page, & event announcements! I followed directions from Brad Flickinger, a Elementary tech teacher from Fort Collins, CO - who posted how to create a Facebook local page for your school! @bradflickinger

4. Create a School YouTube Channel!
Sure, YouTube is blocked in your school - but that's where your kids, parents, & teachers are at home. Why not upload your school promotional creations, PSA's, animations, & professional development vids there to share with the world? Using teachers can easily download any video to their hard drive! This year inspired & directed by my Principal and as part of my Google Certified Teacher Action Plan we created a Murray Hill PD YouTube Channel! This is a total work in progress but I'll write more about it later! Promise!

5. Tweet for Your School or Library!
Now this is going to be tricky because Twitter is blocked by my district but I believe in social media, web presence, & Twitter enough to give it a try! I created a MHMS_Media Twitter account to make announcements about exciting new books, fun contests, & ways to publish Twitter styled & sized book reviews! You're invited to Follow US to see how this is gonna work - or not work! LOL

6. Why Not Try an EduBlog This Year?
I realize starting a blog is a big endeavor & commitment! It's also sometimes a pain in the butt! Internal blog guilt when you don't post for a while nags at you (don't let it! that's self-defeating!) and finding the time to write is a challenge. But honestly, blogging has given me more in the last 6 or 7 years than I can say. It's great to share what you've created - hoping to save someone else the time doing the same thing! It's a great way to "think" about the practice of teaching and express your beliefs about our profession. And....It's also great way to remind yourself what stuffs you've done when it's report time! There are two kinds of blogs...a school one (as pictured above) and a professional blog like the one you're reading now! For a school blog I recommend creating an Edublog - no chance of those being blocked by a district filter! (one would hope!) For a professional blog I love me my Blogger! (even with it's unsavory sexual content policy!) I'm gonna write soon about tips for blogging but until then...if you don't have a blog already (or you haven't posted in a while) consider trying it! It's a great way to start a conversation with your students, parents, the community, our colleagues, and the world!
Once you create your school based blog promote it on Back to School Night, in the hallways and library...using cool ways like a QR code & humour!
7. Transparency is the New Black

What about You?

All graphics except for the Librarian Tiff avatar were created by Gwyneth Jones are Creative Commons & available for use on my Flickr stream.


  1. Just FYI...that yellow and light blue font is terrible to read on Google Reader. i know you have a whole look going here with the black background, but it definitely doesn't translate well!

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Jenn! And you're right the graphic design grrl in me LOVES to play with colour fonts on my black background...but I guess I never thought of it in Google Reader. Sorry to irks ya, maybe you can visit my blog in person to get the whole gorgeous experience? [grins] How does RED look, and Turquoise?

  3. Love this post! You inspired me to try some fun stuff last year, and I totally agree this is the year to let your light shine! I am excited about all the collaboration and fun that I am going to have in the coming months!

  4. Do you still have the back to school virtual cafe?


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