Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday at MAME

The MAME conference opened with Dr. Ross Todd as the keynote speaker. I definitely left the session with things to think about and happy with some of the things that I already do with students in the classroom.

The major point of his session was about teacher-librarian collaboration with classroom teachers. He mentioned that there are 3 levels of interaction between librarians and teachers:
Instructional Collaboration

I'm pretty happy that we have a lot of instructional collaboration going on. These are usually the projects that I show off when we have visitors who come to our school. After attending sessions like this one, I am very thankful to be working in an IB school because the IB program embraces the goals of teacher-librarians, information literacy and technology integration. The curriculum is strong in evidence-based practice and inquiry. I believe that the IB program gives school librarians the framework to be an integral part of the curriculum. This is something that I always tell visiting librarians :)

The keynote session closed with the quote "Without evidence we are condemned to be oblivious. With it, we have a shot at being part of the future". –Dr. Ross Todd on the role of school librarians

International Academy East

It's been a while since I have had to time to work on this blog. This is not to say that I have not been doing anything...rather the opposite. I've been splitting my time between 3 IB campuses and working on the things I normally work on. At this point, I have taught 9th graders at all 3 campuses how to do website evaluation, MLA format & plagiarism, what databases are and how to use them. WHEW! It basically took me until October to accomplish this feat.

During this time, I have also been working on opening a new library at our East campus. Not easy considering it needs to be aligned with the IB curriculum. So, that project has been going on since March 08 and it's not quite done. Fortunately the library is finally open, electronic resources are up and running and the lab is functioning as it should.

Monday, August 18, 2008

PBwiki Back to School Challenge

Since I am a big user of pbwiki, I am doing a bit of advertising for their Back to School Challenge. It's a great way for new wiki users to earn a premium wiki. It's worth it :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mr. Sketch

I needed some markers for orientation. We went ahead and ordered 192 Mr. Sketch scented markers for the whole school to use. It's probably the coolest order I got all year :)

Who doesn't love scented markers. I made sure that all 12 of the colors still smell like they used to.

They do.

Monday, August 4, 2008

PB Wiki

So, I decided to sign up to become a pbwiki mentor over the summer. I've used that site a lot for creating collaborative assignments and I figured why not? So, I set up a bio page, listed some of the sites I have worked on. Then I got an email asking me to help present a webinar. Eeks! My first one ever....lots of people (100+) and I was feeling some pressure to make sure it was good. But I thought it would be a good experience and it's always fun to try something I did it.

It's about using interactive media on a wiki. The whole session is here (it's about 1 hour and 15 minutes), but I share some of my experiences, another pbwiki user talks about what she has done and Kristine (from pbwiki) shows users how to embed interactive media into pb wiki.

I think it ended up rather well :) My phone didn't cut out, my interent connection was good and people seemed interested. So yay! A great experience. And I got to upgrade on of my wikis into a platinum one. I now have 5GB of space on my wiki. What to do with all that???

Here's the video of the webinar:

Here is the link to my mentor bio page:

Here is the pbwiki summer camp with lots of great ideas and resources:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

FLIBS IB Training was awesome!

How awesome does this conference location look? The 8:00am to 3:30pm sessions were most informative. I received my IB Level 2 training certificate :)

Evenings were spent networking with other IB teachers and librarians. Good food, amazing conversations and overall one of the most fun conferences I've ever been too. It's amazing how much IB teachers all over the nation have in common. I'll start the next academic school year off with some great new ideas and resources.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

At FLIBS for IB Librarian Level 2 Training

Made it to St. Petersburg all safe and sound.  Found my way to the hotel, the conference center and attended the first plenary session at 5:oopm.  So far, it seems to be well organized and there are over 500 people here from about 32 countries.  That is pretty impressive.  It's hosted by the Florida League of IB Schools (FLIBS) and so far so good.

Got a quick overview of IB: Diploma, Middle Years and Primary Years.  Went over the newer IBO mission statement and the IB Learner Profile.  Speaker was Ruben Valencia from the Gulliver Preparatory School.  He did a great overview!  I might have to ask for his presentation.

We start our subject sessions tomorrow at 8am (on a SUNDAY!!!).  That's pretty early for the summer :P

Wordle Fun

I found something new on the Internet. I can see a few ways this can be integrated into the classroom. Kind of a concept map. I like it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Vacation

It's summer vacation...but I'm still working :o Actually, it's not really's somewhat vacation like. I'm chaperoning a enrichment trip to Stratford, ONT. It's a theatre enrichment. We got to see Cabaret, Hamlet and Taming of the Shrew. Tomorrow we get a tour of the costume warehouse. The students seem to be having a good time, the food is good, the plays are amazing, hotel is nice and the weather could be warmer.

I've spent 2 days without internet access and I couldn't take it anymore, so I went to log on to the wireless network in the hotel lobby. I'm not used to not being on a computer for most of the day. Strange. Anyway, here we are waiting outside of the Festival Theatre just before the Taming of the Shrew performance.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

International Academy's Newsweek Ranking

I got a phone call this morning which ended up being my reminder to post our big news. We made Newsweek's list of top high schools again! WooHoo. We've dropped a bit :) But #12 is still a pretty good spot on Newsweek's list.

Here is the article in the Detroit Free Press.

Here is the actual Newsweek site.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cool new internet things

Just started playing with PicLens today. It's pretty cool...but it doesn't work with all my stuff just yet. AND the viewer has to have it installed. Fun for me, but it doesn't really translate to much in the classroom. is also a pretty cool site. This site will take your documents (pages and pages) read them, create a MP3 audio file to embed into a webpage, blog, email, etc. That could be quite useful for school purposes. It's not perfect and you have to be careful about how you word things (like not using acronyms or initials). I could create a podcast of my whole blog for you to listen to on your commute ;)

Friday, April 18, 2008

WWII Homefront Digital Story Wiki

Some of our American History classes started a digital story project on the US Home Front during WWII.

Our entire project is on a wiki found at . Students will be using either Windows Movie Maker or Windows Photostory3. They will be using propaganda posters, photos, narration and music to teach us about the role of minorities, women, industry, agriculture, war bonds, victory gardens and the news/censorship during WWII.

When I introduced the project, I was able to use the SMARTBoard to show students what they were supposed to do and see all the resources I had set up for them. We want them to use one of our Gale ebooks:

American Home Front in World War II. Ed. Allison McNeill, Richard C. Hanes, Sharon M. Hanes, and Kelly Rudd. Vol. 1: Almanac. Detroit: UXL, 2005.

This project will be finished next week and I will embed the movies into the check back later.
Mega-technology integration.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Great Depression and New Deal

10th Grade American History students came down to take a test on Blackboard. It was a 50 point True/False test that students REALLY had to study for. Mr. deZwaan and I worked together in coming up with the questions. While most of the time on our part was coming up with the questions, the grading part was a breeze! It's nice to have automatic scoring and students got instant feedback. Here are our students focused on their test.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Poll Everywhere Experiment

We tried out something new today in a 10th grade American Studies class. I had the kids take a poll where they voted by cell phone. In the 1st block, only about 12 out of 30 students had brought their phones since they are banned during the day. The students that did participate really enjoyed it! It was something new and they were pretty excited about not getting in trouble for using their phones. Is it possible that more and more applications like Poll Everywhere will lead us to rethink using cell phones in the classroom?

Here are our results:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

MACUL Conference

I spent March 5-7 at the Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning conference in Grand Rapids, MI. The Keynote Speaker was Mary Cullinane, from Microsoft who was part of the School of the Future project in Philidelphia. Definitely very inspiring and it was a great conference kickoff. (thanks to Michael Porter for a nice photo on his MACUL Flickr site).
Steve Dembo from Discovery Education had some of the best ideas that I came away with. Here is his wiki about a lot of the content covered in his presentation. It's definitely worth checking out.

Monday, March 3, 2008

IB Community Theme

Our staff is starting to explore the IB Community Theme online, just unveiled by the IBO. It's open to students and the rest of our IB community (parents, neighbors and those interested in the IB philosophy).

Take a look.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Microeconomics Quiz on BB and TOK research

It was a busy day today in the lab! Just a few of the different things we had going on today...

Mr. E's 9th grade microeconomics students took their first quiz on Blackboard. All in all, it went pretty smoothly and the students got immediate feedback when they were done with their quiz. When the whole class was done, they went back to the classroom to review their answers.

At the same time, 11th graders were in here doing research about "knowing". They have to use a current magazine or academic journal to do their research. The most heavily used databases were Gale InfoTrac and the custom Religion and Philosophy collection. I think they are getting the hang of research ;)

While all this was going on, we had my product team in the library working on their Detroit projects or doing some work on their IB Prep work. It gets a bit crazy in here some days...

Friday, January 25, 2008

9th graders start ancient China project

This week our 9th graders have begun to explore the "Cultural Diffusion of China's Technology". Students are working in groups and have topics such as firearms, silk, ceramics, acupuncture, kites, etc. They need to integrate the movement theme from the 5 themes of Geography. They are also expected to have 3 book sources, use the sources in Blackboard and find an article in one of our Gale Databases.

It's a great project that shows collaboration between our Media Center program and the History department (World Studies classes). Students are also expected to integrate an MYP Guiding Question into their project.

Students started out in the library with a "Book Feast". Topics were posted on each table and books on their topic were there. They were supposed to take notes on their research. Then the classes moved into the Tech Center and we went over the resources in Blackboard, utilizing our new SMARTboard and finally they had to find a database that suited their need. It was definitely and engaging activity and most students were quite productive. Although after every class the evidence of research was scattered all over the library;)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Academic Intregity at the IA

We've been discussing putting more emphasis on the concept of academic integrity here at the IA. For the past several years we have had a account for all of our students. We've also had a few professional development sessions discussing plagiarism and academic integrity.

We were given a suggestion to read "Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students" by Denise Clark Pope.

There is also a small group of teachers going to Oakland University on Thursday, January 17 to listen to a lecture by Dr. David Callahan who is the author of "The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead. All are welcome to attend. More info here. Contact me if you would like more information at

I'm sure there will be more of a discussion later on about this topic (after the lecture).

9th graders using History Resource Center

Happy New Year!

I had to blog about this right away. A 9th grade history class came in a few minutes ago. They all sat down and the first thing they did was to navigate to our Database page and start using the History Resource Center all on their own. 9th graders!!!! I'm impressed and thrilled to see them being such advanced users of our databases. My lessons must have sunk in...or perhaps it's because Mr. McGuire told them that's what they should be using. Either way, I have proof that the databases are being utilized at the IA for all grade levels. Yay!

Our studious freshmen.... :)