Where do they get those wonderful tools

Where do librarians get resources to support subjects related to STEM? At the 2021 IASL session entitled, “Supporting STEM Education in the School Library with Digital Tools,” presenters Johnston, Green, Thompson and Jones offered various websites, applications and digital tools to complement, enhance and support subjects such as math and science.

This type of collaboration and promotion of curated digital tools is clearly delineated in the Texas Library Standards. Strand 4: Dimension 1 states, “The library program effectively uses and promotes the use of technology applications and tools across all content areas for discovery, collaboration, critical analysis, creation, and presentation of learning” (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2017).

Here are some of the resources that I gleaned from this session.

Finding Resources

  • Concord Consortium – Offers interactive and free STEM activites for the classroom; five subjects which include physics and chemistry, engineering, earth and space, and mathematics. Has the option to filter between elementary, middle, high school and beyond and to filter by type – https://learn.concord.org/
  • OER Commons – is an open educational resource that functions as a hub for thousands of digital resources that include STEM subjects and more. Some subjects include ELA, law, physical and social science and arts and humanities. Many of the resources have star ratings and offer such information as the level, and the standards it addresses – https://www.oercommons.org/hubs/imls
  • Explore.org offers live webcams of different animals. Can be used to make connections to various lessons in science. There are an impressive amount of animal cams, ranging from cameras of bears, whales, orcas and birds (See Image 1).As example of the sheer volume, Nestflix has 48 streams of birds that include the bald eagle, spoonbills and hummingbirds.https://explore.org/livecams
  • NASA for students – offers a plethora of resources that deal with science, space, and more. The top part of this page offers drop down lists of topics, missions and galleries. The user is able to select the grade range for resources as well as search. In the NASA for students in 5th -8th grade, as you scroll down, there are additional sections that offer homework help, and stuff to make, do or print.
Image 1
Explore.org-Ocean live webcams




  • Phet simulations – offer interactive simulations for science and math. Include subjects such as physics, chemistry, math, earth science and biology. In addition to provding simulations, it also offers tips for using the website. https://phet.colorado.edu/
  • Neal.fun- is an engaging and fun way to expose math statistics to students. Options include typing in one’s birthday to discover – how many red blood your body has produce, how many times you have blinked and many days of your life you have been asleep (See Image 2). https://neal.fun/
Image 2
Neal fun homepage

These are just a fraction of the digital tools presented at this presentation. I must admit that I do not feel entirely comfortable and ready to provide instructional assistance across the STEM courses and subjects. However, this presentation offered so many tools for me and other librarians and future librarians. This in turn, gives us the confidence and “tools” for our “STEM toolbox.” With these resources, the librarian can truly provide engaging and enriching technology tools across all subjects.


Johnston, M., Green, L., Thompson, E., Jones, A. (2021, July 12-16). Supporting STEM education in the school library with Digital Tools. [Conference session]. IASL 2021 Annual Conference, Denton, TX, United States. https://iasl-online.org/event-3667867

Texas State Library and Archives Commission. (2017). Texas school library standards: Strand 4: Dimension 1. https://www.tsl.texas.gov/sites/default/files/public/tslac/ld/schoollibs/sls/Texas%20School%20Library%20Standards%20E-Version%20FINAL.pdf

Face the Music – Being Honest About the History of School Librarianship

How would you react to history that goes directly against what you thought to be true? While obtaining my master’s in library science, I have come to consider the library as a beacon of truth, and a place that fights injustice and promotes equity and equality. My idea of the library has been a romanticized by my experiences and knowledge. Weigand’s keynote address at the 2021 IASL Conference, and follow up comments and reactions from other library professionals challenged some of my preexisting views on the library, its history and its role in the school.

Image 1
Carrie Coleman Robinson
(Weigand, 2020)

Weigand points out that there has not yet been a comprehensive history of school libraries in the United States. One big finding in his research for his book, American Public School Librarianship: A History, is that, “most of our history shows our professional discourse to be very positive, to be cautious of addressing issues that perplex us” (Weigand, 2021). He tells the story of a black library supervisor, Carrie Coleman Robinson, who was in charge of black segregated libraries in the South and later filed a discrimination suit (See Image 1). Weigand points out that up until this point, the library associations had not dealt with the issue of segregated schools. Then, when the Black Caucus asked the ALA to make a statement about Robinson’s case, they refused. In my mind, this casts a dark shadow on what I believed about the school library as an organization. In one of my first blogposts, I commented on how impressed I was about the comprehensiveness of the ALA and AASL resources and statements. When George Floyd was murdered, organizations, such as the ALA issued statements supporting social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. They offer statements, definitions of terms, and links to resources to take action, from police reform to racial equity in the library. In addition, the ALA admits that in terms of diversity, “the librarian profession suffers from a persistent lack of racial and ethnic diversity that shows few signs of improving” (“Libraries Respond,” 2021). This, now to my understanding, is a transparency that is necessary to uphold the so called values of the library. However, this is history about which librarians and future librarians should be knowledgeable. It makes our work even more necessary and should us proud of how far the establishment has come, while considering how much more it needs to improve.


Libraries respond: Black lives matter. (2020, June 3). American Library Association. https://www.ala.org/advocacy/diversity/librariesrespond/black-lives-matter

Weigand, W. (2021, July 12-16). Conference opening ceremony and keynote address by Wayne Weigand and panel. [Conference session]. IASL 2021 Annual Conference, Denton, TX, United States. https://iasl-online.org/event-3667867

Weigand, W. (2020, October 6). Separate – and unequal.  American Libraries. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2020/10/06/separate-and-unequal-carrie-c-robinson-librarian-challenging-racism/

Changing Representation One Book at a Time

In the Spring of 2021, I attended my first YA book festival, entitled, “North Texas Teen Book Festival,” or NTTBF. One common point that continually surfaced from the authors is the desire to represent a story that has a connection to their lives. Angie Thomas, in speaking about Concrete Rose, talked about writing from a perspective other than her own. She said that she was proud of the  “work that I put in…and the end result in writing about a 17 year old black boy…I was writing outside of my own experience for the first time” (Thomas, 2021). She said that writing out of her comfort zone has given her the pride and in turn the confidence to explore writing about characters outside of her comfort zone more frequently. Thomas is making an important statement for current and future authors.

During the 2021 IASL Conference, I attended “The Harper Collins author panel” which was made up of four writers. These writers include Joanna Ho, Jasmine Warga, Janae Marks and Brady Colbert. Like Thomas, they spoke about how they did not see representations of themselves growing up, whether Asian American, Black or Middle Eastern. However, there were topics addressed that went beyond the author process and addressed real questions about application of these types of stories in the school.

Changes in Representation

Author of Black Birds in the Sky, Colbert says that since the publication of her first book seven years ago, “I have seen such a big change since then..in what educators and librarians are actively recommending…diversity in race, sexuality, disability” (Meik, 2021). This is exciting to hear and author say and bodes well for the future of children’s and YA literature. In my own reading of these past few years, almost every book I read has a character, including many instances of being the protagonist that is identifies as LGBTQIA+. Before then, I had never had that experience.

Milissa Vo, moderator of the panel, poses the question, “As both an author and educator, where do you feel is the best place to start, when examining books in curriculum, particularly with early childhood educators, who may be using your picture books in their classrooms?” (Meik, 2021). This question is directed at Joanna Ho, author of the picture book, Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, who also is a high school teacher. She says, as an educator, it is about looking at the “whole offering and what is the narrative you are telling” and while you are trying to be inclusive, are you falling into the trap of the single-story such as “black pain” or for Latinx people —“immigrants” “refugee stories” (Meik, 2021). The danger is also when educators take a book that is diverse and to still use it in a way that supports white supremacy culture or values. Ho gives an example of and educator taking her book, with an Asian American protagonist. In this example, the eductor presents the moral of this book as being, “her eyes are different, but different is ok” or “her eyes are different, but different is beautiful.” This is still a way of dividing different groups of people. Instead, she suggests educators take a more critical approach. This means posing questions such as, “Why we need this books” or regarding the shape of the eyes of Asian Americans, “Why is that not a standard of beauty in our country?” (Meik, 2021). It is powerful to hear an author, who has experienced life as an Asian American, be candid about the direction educators should be guiding their students.

Every evening, after dinner, my husband and I take our children to our neighborhood park. One evening, I saw a young girl who looked like she was 10 or 11. She looked sad, bored and lonely. Her father was nearby, helping coach soccer. I asked her if she was alright. She said that her one friend had moved away. I asked if she could make new friends in the coming year – especially since next year would be like everyone was brand new. She said, “no, I am Muslim, and my friend was the only other Muslim. Now I am all alone in my school.” I told her I was sorry about how she felt.

Jasmine Warga, author of The Shape of Thunder, said a comment that made me pause and reflect on this interaction. Vo asks Warga about why it was important to write about the “intersectionality of identity and other specific experiences?” (Meik, 2021). Warga says,

“being a Middle Eastern American, can be such a fraught experience…especially in the wake of 9/11…. this experience of feeling somehow being Middle Eastern is in conflict with being American and being Muslim is in conflict with being American….It was a big struggle of my childhood” (Meik, 2020).

She goes on to explain that while she acknowledges that struggle, she now sees the beauty of being both Muslim and American. When I think of that little girl, I see her conflict. It was festering so much and so close to the surface, the she told me all about her feelings, even though I was a perfect stranger. What kind of experience would she have if she read a book in which she sees herself, a Muslim and American girl in a story? She would find that she is not alone and that others before her have felt the same way. She would see these things, but would also see and find hope.

Authors and Books from IASL Harper Collins Panel:

Jasmine Warga- The Shape of Thunder

Janae Marks- A Soft Place

Brandy Colbert – Black Birds in the Sky

Joanna Ho – Eyes that Kiss in the Corners


Meik, J. (2021, July 13) IASL 2021. Harper Collins author panel recording [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-AWActEsO4&list=PLXbDHLKtdGMnFGVh0Es6ARveZEjjeLK2f

NTTBF (2021, March 6).[Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfR-OjgsqUs

Careful with those Picture Books

In our coursework, we have learned what to look for in a quality picture book. Children’s Literature, Briefly, indicates the way in which illustrations tell a story can be through:

  • establishing a setting
  • defining and developing characters
  • reinforcing the written text
  • providing a differing viewpoint
  • extending or developing the plot
  • providing interesting asides
  • establishing mood (Young et al., 2020, pp. 41-46)

The first thing that Donner did in 2021 IASL session was show and read her book The Day the Lines Changed: An Inspiring Story about a Line, a Pandemic and How Change Shapes us All. In it, a family and people are represented by lines and they change as the pandemic affects the world (See Image 1).

Image 1
Donner reading from her books The Day the Lines Changed
More identifying features is not necessarily better

When she started reading her picture book with a bunch of lines, initially I was unimpressed for a few reasons. First – they are just lines. Secondly – where are the faces of the unseen victims? Where are the representations of people of color, who died from COVID at high percentages than their white counterparts? My own biases and concerns created a filter that affected my impression of this work. However, when Donner followed up her reading of a portion of her book about lines with the statement, “it is easier to distance yourself from a character the less it looks like you…the more realistic a character becomes, the less you can relate to it personally” (Donner, 2021)” I stopped immediately and checked my first impression. Note: this is why it is essential to seek to improve oneself and challenge oneself and why it is important to attend session, lectures, watch TED talks, read articlesand books, etc.. So, what does she mean by this?

Donner explained this statement by first drawing a circle as a head, then eyes, and then a smile (See Image 2). She said that as soon as she adds more defining features, the representation becomes more exclusive. This means that if she were to draw pigtails and bows, those features would lessen the amount of people who would relate to the image. This deeply challenged my bias against her book, The Day the Lines Changed. What I saw as a missed opportunity for representing people, was actually doing the opposite. Donner is being as inclusive as possible by omitting, other than shape and color, any identifying features.

Image 2
Donner explaining how defining features limit
Donner, 2021

In the next portion of the session, Donner delved into cognitive psychology and addresses Theory of Mind. She addressed the struggles of children in deducing information and points in certain picture books in addition to counterfactual reasoning.

It was a fascinating session and challenged my thoughts on picture books and will for a long time to come. I plan to further investigate the connection between cognitive psychology and children’s books. See below for her latest publication in the Journal of Visual Literacy.

Further Reading

The impact of theory of mind barriers in interpreting illustrations used in primary school early readers: four brief case studies of false-belief scenarios.

Written by Kelley Donner

Published in the Journal of Visual Literacy.


Donner, K. (2021, July 12-16). (Mis)understanding picture books. [Conference session]. IASL 2021 Annual Conference, Denton, TX, United States. https://iasl-online.org/event-3667867

Young, T., Bryan, G., Jacobs, J., & Tunnell, M. (2020). Children’s literature, briefly. Pearson Education, Inc.

Vision over Small Things

In 2010, I had the pleasure and honor of opening a new middle school in my district. I would be the first choir director of this school and would build its program. After two years, our first principal got a job as Assistant Superintendent for Student Engagement. Our new incoming principal, before the end of that year, sent a survey to the staff asking for our opinion as to the needs of the school or changes we would like to see. When we met him for the first time in the Fall, his observations of the survey were sobering. The feedback given by the staff, outlining changes they would like to see, were specific in nature, but did not address an overall vision of what the school and students in it could achieve. Later, he did something that would become an annual tradition during his tenure at our school. He read a book called, The Spyglass : A Book about Faith, by Richard Paul Evans. In this book, a king rules over a kingdom that is in ruin. A man comes to the kingdom and after having been given room and board in the palace, offers the king the spyglass. Through the spyglass, the king sees a bountiful and flourishing kingdom. This represents what the kingdom could be. The lesson of this gorgeously illustrated picture book, is that in order to achieve success or bountifulness, there must first be a vision.

In the brief, yet powerful IASL session, “Achieving transformational change in the school library,” Green states that if one wants powerful, meaningful change, a few things need to be realized:

  1. There are two types of changes
    1. First-order changes – small improvements but do not change the “system’s core”
    2. Second-order changes – “transformational” and are “deep and meaningful changes” in the system.

2. Change takes time – When one comes up with their vision, it may not take one, two or three years. It may be a goal and vision of one’s career

3. Try to align the library’s vision with the vision and strategic planning of the school, and/ or district. (Green, 2021)

When my new principal polled the staff about changes they would like to see, I suspect the responses he saw were “first-order” changes. For the staff, the annual reading of The Spyglass: A Book about Faith, was powerful. It demonstrated that in order to exact change, there has to be a vision shared with the community, in our case, teachers. This is powerful for current and future librarians, because as Green points out, it is likely that not everyone will support the changes you want. But if you share your vision and that vision aligns with their vision, insofar as the students are concerned, that will make your case more compelling and cooperative. That consequently, will help your vision become a reality.

This year will likely be my last year as a choir director before becoming a school librarian. In these last weeks of summer, it is easy to think of my beginning of the year to-do lists. It is easy to focus on second-order changes – how do we want to arrange seats, how should we go about “giving” music to students? However, through the lens presented by Green, I recognize the difference between these little changes and transformational changes. I am excited to spend ample time considering my second-order changes in addition to my first-order changes. What is my vision for this year and beyond? These reflections, musings, and short and long term goals will be the real precursor to change.

Green, L. (2021, July 12-16). Achieving transformational change in the school library. [Conference session]. IASL 2021 Annual Conference, Denton, Texas, United States. https://iasl-online.org/event-3667867

Ethical Practice

Ways in Which I have Modeled Ethical Practices

Ethics- Treating Co-Workers with respect

The library must be a place where the librarian, and any volunteers or helpers are warm, welcoming and inviting to any of its users. Staff members are a large part of this user population. This means offering a friendly face to the ELA teacher when they walk in to their class, and taking a moment to ask how they are.

One event, in particular that allowed me an opportunity to build relationships with fellow staff members was when my librarian and I hosted a “Visit the Library” event with books on display and hot chocolate and pastries. This not only created a welcoming place for staff, but also allowed an opportunity for fellowship that does not usually occur. I found myself having never-before-had conversations with teachers about their favorite books, and favorite book genres

Ethics- Upholding principles of Intellectual freedom

In my first semester at UNT, I taught a lesson on intellectual freedom to my girls class. In it, I highlighted books that have been banned due to certain topics. I will never forget how upset they were. Some students asked, “what is wrong with that book? I grew up reading it?” while others took offense because “how can they ban a LGBTQ book when there are LGBTQ kids in middle school that need to be able to read theses books?” I have since not taught this lesson, nor have I taught a lesson on banned books, but I plan to carefully incorporate this very real concern in the library profession with my future students. Students deserve to be represented in the books they see and read in the library

Ethics- Encouraging Professional Development of Co-workers

For Black History Month, I found some webinars on race for fellow teachers. These ranged in conversations about upcoming book from Ibram Kendi, Four Hundred Souls and a candid conversation about race from author Jason Reynolds. I posted the information about these events in the library with beautifully designed posters along with QR codes. I look forward to doing more when I get my first library job.

Ethics- Enhance diversity and inclusion

For on of my practicum tasks, I was to create a mock book list to purchase. In this book list, I was to create a mock budget (1000) and select books with at least two favorable reviews. The topic that my mentor and I decided upon was the theme of social emotional learning or SEL. I selected books that ranged from characters dealing with emotion to mental health to grief. This project was important for me because students will come into my library that have a range of needs and with a range of experiences. They will need books and resources to see themselves in and relate to. This both validates their experience as well as allowing bibliotherapy where they can

ethics- accurate, unbias and courteous responses to all requests

The final lesson I taught in the library was all about Summer Reading and learning. In our district, the school library does not circulate during the summer, with books being due by students a few weeks before the end of school. With this in mind, students need access to books and resources. Therefore, my presentation mostly focused on the resources offered by the Plano Public Library. In my presentation, I highlighted not only the library collection, but resources such as Libby, take and makes, steam kits, Virtual book club and book reading challenges. During one presentation, there were a few kids who proclaimed they did not read and were not going to read over the summer break. However, when I mentioned the steam kits, hands shot up in the air, “Does every library have steam kits?” “What about the Richardson Public LIbrary (neighboring library), do they have them” “Are there steam kids about such and such topic?” While it is personally bothersome that so many students have such a negative attitude toward reading, it was wonderful that there was something that they were interested in. The way I modeled courteous responses to these queries were doing my detective work. I called Richardson Public Library and found out that, no they do not offer steam kits, but offer steam events, but no, not for teens, for elementary grades. When I went back to school, I found the kiddos who asked these questions and gave them their answers.

LBOR VII – protect people’s privacy

One of the tasks of practicum is to utilize the library automation system to make overdue notices. It was modeled for me that at the beginning of the week, run reports on their overdue books. This needs to happen when the librarian expects to see a student, whether during their grade level library visit or otherwise. From here, notices are written out, folded, taped and hand delivered to the student. They are folded and taped to secure the information of what book they have checked out. Each school in the district also has the option to make automated calls home informing the parent that there is an overdue book. Even in this case, the parent is not informed of the title of the book. This is to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the student.


American Library Association. 2006, June 30, Library Bill of Rights http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill. Document ID: 669fd6a3-8939-3e54-7577-996a0a3f8952

American Library Association. 2021, June 29. Professional Ethics. https://www.ala.org/tools/ethics

Take Down the Celebrities, Display the Students

How have you displayed inclusiveness, cultural competence or a support of individual and group perspectives during your practicum hours?> What changes could you make to the library to make it more accessible to people with special needs

In one of my Master’s classes, we discussed various elements of library design, ranging from Universal Design for Learning, having a variety of spaces (ex. small group, large group) and how to utilize space.

One particularly poignant video I remember watching was how one library was redesigned to truly represent their users. One of the most poignant aspects of this was that students who attended the school were photographed in various poses. These photographs were them blown up and displayed on the wall of the library as a sort of mural. Imagine, then, having a library that not only strives to represent its students in the books they choose, but to have its very own users adorning the walls.

The casual chat

One day, when I was chatting with the librarian at my school, she mentioned that she wanted to replace the READ posters that adorned our library walls with more up to date posters. READ posters are from ALA (American Library Association) and tend to showcase celebrities reading or holding a book. She lamented that due to district vendor limitations, she was unable to order new ones to update them. I mentioned to her the idea of displaying students.

I asked my husband, who has an eye for photo taking and an owner of a camera of much higher quality than my phone, to help.

We included the information in the announcements which ran for two weeks. It read as follows:

“Attention Students. Do you love to read? Do you want to share your love of reading? The library would like to update their READ posters that are on display in the library. These are the posters that reason on teh bookshelves and are of various celebrities, from cellist Yo-Yo Ma to actors from the Twilight movies. We would like to update these posters to showcase actual students holding their favorite book. If you are interested in a chance to be on display in teh library for years to come, please see us. You will need to fill out a form and permission slip.”

A total of 14 students submitted permission slips.

In addition to students, the library came up with the idea that showcasing our past and present principals would also be awesome.

The day of the photo shoot arrived and students and principals arrived with their favorite books in hand. Students and adults posed proudly with their favorite book around the school and in various places in the library.

After a few follow up photos of students and adults that could not make the initial shoot, we wrapped up our photos and our CTA began printing.

The result was incredible and feedback has been extremely positive.

Meet and greet …and elevator speech

Today, teachers were invited to meet and greet some new members of the district who work in the administration building. When I walked into the “meet and greet,” I walked straight to my former principals, laughing, catching up and saying hello. I shared with them that I was completing my Masters to be a librarian. To this, another staff member who was nearby, said what I have heard before, which is that libraries must be quiet spaces. I laughed and responded with, “actually, libraries are really more like learning commons and learning centers where engagement should be encouraged.” So there it was, not a defiance, but informing a stakeholder that libraries are different.

These are going to be realities I face, and I am so pumped to start changing mindsets one elevator speech at a time. Things to consider:

  • I need to brush up on my elevator speech.
  • Once I get my first position, I need to make a plan for how and what data I will collect to share how the library adds value and impacts student learning.
  • I need to have a quick succinct verbal example of what evidence I have collected to tell stakeholders.
  • I need to keep a friendly and cool countenance and work to not get defensive.

Is blogging really the way to go?

It has been therapeutic, challenging and rewarding to maintain this ePortfolio. Is blogging really the way to go? Even as I went over the bloggers I had initially started following in 2019, many of them are no longer blogging. One person, said, I blog for money now, and directed their readers to a professional journal. I wonder, would it be better to podcast? Or should I consider posting my work and thoughts on instagram or twitter? Something to consider.

How Master’s in LS helped me in COVID times

I started my master’s in Spring of 2019. Since then, it has been compulsory to use Zoom, screencastify, flipgrid, whiteboard, google suites, wordpress, and so many others.

When it all went down last March 2020, one of the first things that became ubiquitous was the Zoom. This is something to which I had been exposed in the summer of 2019. These zoom conferences varied in purpose: some to ask a professor a question, others to meet with group members for a project, other times, to attend a synchronous lesson. Then there was INFO…. where we learned the meaning of synchronous and asynchronous. I remember thinking that these terms were completely absent from my day to day jargon in the teaching field. I remember my first Flipgrid in INFO 5000 where I had to record myself saying a few things about myself.

Here we are, this master’s has not only helped me

Now, flipgrids are a vital part of both assessment and giving feedback to students.

Now, asynchronous and synchronous are just as normal jargon as saying “1st period”

Now, Zoom calls, TEAMS calls and Google Meets are comfortable and normal.

Now, I know what the digital divide is in the flesh.

Now, I know now more than ever, the importance, nay how critical it is to have tools to use with your students.

Assessing Your Lessons

As one plans their lesson, it is essential to consider how the students will be assessed on their learning. I admit that in my daily choral classroom, sometimes this assessment might look as casual and informal (and not data driven). Examples might be as simple as a thumbs up for how much the singer understands a phrase, page or measure, or asking students to , “rate the difficulty level of this sight-reading line using their fingers with 1 as the easiest and 5 most dificult.” Even these simple ideas can give the teacher an idea of how the students perceive the lesson and their understanding of it. I am going to give three examples and ideas of assessments I have used in my choir classroom, and in my library practicum.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay 

Three Assessment Methods

Interactive white board

In my first year of teaching, we had a multiple days long professional development session on Ruby Payne’s, A Framework for Understanding Poverty. This was a confusing time for me. I had not yet started teaching and I believed that my love of music and zany personality would win over any student to love everything I taught them. I very quickly realized, however, that this was not the case and that students come into the classroom with the widest ranges of needs and skills. I was then introduced to the work of Robert Marzano, who impressed the idea that the lecture style that I had grown up with does not lend itself to “sticking” in the mind of a young learner as powerfully as the visual image. For this reason, it was suggested that whenever possible to have students draw visual representations of vocabulary or any concepts they are learning. In this way, the image is more efficiently and effectively processed (Marzano, 2013). The interactive white board is a perfect instructional technology tool to use to assess students on their learning. When teaching an 8th grade PACE lesson on George Washington, in the final part of the lesson, after having analyzed various renderings of GW by different artists, I asked students to make their own depiction of Washington using an online interactive white board. The students not only synthesized the purpose of the lesson, by utilizing the white board, it was done in a way that was engaging, fun, creative and artistic. It is an assessment tool I will continue to use in my time in any classroom.

Collaborative work

While I have not yet spent much time in this piece, having students collaborate and create is a dynamic, engaging, high order thinking and 21st Century form of assessment. This could take the form of students creating their own podcast, Google site, or Wiki. This could be students creating a presentaiton using VoiceThread, Loom, or Google Slides. The creation of Wiki’s or websites could be used to “facilitate peer review” (Perez, 2013, p.23). This not only allows students to create in formats of their choosing, which leads to greater autonomy and buy in, but also builds 21st century skills of creating, reviewing the work of others and oneself. In addition, it allows students to practice a multitude of digital citizenship skills ranging from honoring copyright policies which include using the work of others in a ethical manner and being aware of the digital footprint one leaves.

Exit Ticket via google forms

The exit card is a gem. It is a way for students to put into words and synthesize what they have learned. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it is another opportunity for the librarian to offer a safe place for students and offer their service and care. I always end my exit tickets with “What would you like me know?” and, “What questions do you have?” It allows for all students, whether outgoing or introverted to share what they are thinking. This allows a venue for introverted students to pose a question they wanted to ask in class, but were afraid to. It can also result in students sharing information that should be shared with counselors. Lastly, it can result in students asking me questions about myself which leads to relationship building.


Marzano, R. J. (2003). Instructional strategies. What works in schools : Translating research into action. Alexandria, Va: Assoc. for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Perez, L. (2013). Master librarian. Knowledge Quest, 41(4), 22-26.