With Thanksgiving around the corner, I wanted to share a little something with you all. First of all, this year has been far from what I imagined. Regardless of many obstacles we all have had to face these crucial months, the truth is we all succeeded. We did the best we could and continue to to the best we can to ensure the success of all our students. However, don't forget to take time for YOU. Set limits, take breaks, disconnect, and most importantly, remind yourself that you are doing the best you can.
Working from home has forced me to stay organized and you'd be surprised how creating a custom background for my desktop with an updated calendar helps me out tremendously. Plus, I keep all of my computer files nicely organized. If you feel like this would be beneficial for your workspace, feel free to download the background I'm using this month by clicking on the image to direct to you the download. I hope these help and while this month is extremely busy, if you need anything at all don't hesitate to reach out. Thankful for you, my wonderful PLN!
Oh! & if you want last year's November bookmarks you can find them here.
If it's one thing I've enjoyed about working from home, it's the real-world application of all the digital tools I have learned to use from workshops and courses. My favorite finds though are the ones I stumble upon whenever I scour the Internet for productivity tips. Many of us are working from home and the key to anything during this time, especially if we have kids, is to make sure we're using our time efficiently. I made a collection of screencasts for my students highlighting various apps that I knew they'd need access to during their distance learning. Based on a survey I sent out, more than 60% of my students are working solely with a cellular device therefore, I needed to make sure my screencasts provided that additional support. I had to think of a way to mirror my iPhone to my MacBook so I could create a Screencastify videos displaying how to access GSuite/Office apps both on a desktop and phone. I didn't want to purchase any form of 3rd party application to install a screen mirroring program, so I began my search for the easiest way to achieve this. I found something that is completely free and super easy. Using Quicktime and your iPhone USB! Please note that this method is for Apple devices. I am not sure how it works for Windows, but I can always post an update the screencast once I figure that out.
Okay, so that's done. I don't know about anyone else, but once we started working from home I needed to do some major file management on my laptop. I made a customized desktop background on Canva and customized my folder icons. I made a tutorial on how to do this for your Macbook if you'd also like to check that out.
I hope you can find some use out of these tips and as always, I want to make sure you have something to literally "take away" from this post! I don't want to leave you empty handed! Below is a link to some PNG files for your desktop icons and a customized desktop background for April. Wishing you all the best during distance learning and stay safe! ILC You Online! - Q.
Happy New Year, friends! 2019 flew by so fast I feel like I'm still catching my breath. Let's raise a glass to new beginnings! I'm making it a point to stick to documenting my reading journey on Goodreads. I've even joined the 2020 Reading Challenge and set a realistic goal of 50 books this year. It seems that January is synonymous with the word "resolutions" and reevaluating our habits to make room for personal growth. As a librarian, I like to refer to my yearly reading goals as "readolutions". This is something I love to share with my students. One of my favorite lessons at the beginning of a new semester is brainstorming what makes a good reader, making lists of what kind of reading resolutions are attainable, and deciding on what readolution is best for us. Students then create a visual of their readolutions using Buncee. We then add everyone's individual creations to a "vision board" and share with the class. The lesson example is below.
My goal for this month is to make their projects into an interactive bulletin board using Buncee's QR code feature. Feel free to make a copy of the lesson if you'd like to spark a discussion with your readers about the importance of reading for pleasure and setting attainable goals. You can also use the free bookmarks I have listed at the end of the post if you'd like them to jot down their ideas first. I also use these to write down books people recommend or quotes or words that resonate with me while I'm reading. If you happen to create your own readolution Buncee share it with me on Twitter by tagging me @cuethelibrarian. Until then, I wish every single one of you a wonderful New Year and hope it is filled with many opportunities and blessings!
I love December so much!!! It's a month that I cherish because it's a wonderful time to share what brings us together as family, friends, and as a community. My dad and sister both have birthdays this month and it's always fun to gather at our ranch and share funny stories and eat cake. What's a party without cake, amiright? Not to mention the fun time I have Pinteresting holiday dessert and drink recipes and text messaging them to my mom so we can come up with our annual Christmas menu. The presents are fun too, but above all it's the moments I get to spend with my family that I look forward to the most. It's also a great opportunity to meet up with friends who I don't get to see often. One of my FAVORITE things to do during the month of December is the holiday romance book swap that Lispy Librarian (check out her vlog lispylibrarian.weebly.com!) and I do every year!! It's become our annual tradition and it's been SO FUN reading a book together and then pouring out our emotions. I highly suggest you do the same with a friend, or group of friends, because it's such a cute thing to share with people that you love. This is our third year doing this so we've only read two, but this year's is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice which paired nicely with last year's because it was a modern twist on A Christmas Carol. Below are the books we've read/are currently reading--
I can't wait to get through this year's novel and share all my emotions on my blog and Twitter. I'll be adding a review of the book to my digital bookshelf Wakelet collection "Cue's Book Queue" that you can find by clicking here. And in case you need something to help you keep your place in all the amazing books you'll be reading this season, feel free to download some of my free December bookmarks! I wish every single one of you the best this holiday season and an even better NEW YEAR! See you in 2020!
October may be over, but November inspires a sense of a calm and clarity. Although Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what for what we are most thankful, I try to make it a habit to count my blessings as often as I can. My life is pretty cool. I have a great home, a wonderful and supportive family, and a wicked awesome job. And because my job is so wicked awesome, I want to dedicate this post to the best PLN and library crew a little librarian could ever ask for. This is for all the amazing RGV librarians who work tirelessly to bring the best library programming for our students. They do this on ever decreasing budgets and they do it with a smile and with an enthusiasm that lights up a thousand suns. You all bring a type of tenacity that is so inspiring and I hope that we can find opportunities collaborate more in the future. So, with that said, keep doing what you're doing because you're doing a FANTASTIC job. I'd like to also add a little freebie to this post in case you all would like to use it in your libraries for the month of November. I want to make this a little monthly custom because I love celebrating all the possibilities a new month brings. I wish you all a great November and very Happy Thanksgiving!
Karina Quilantan-Garza (aka Q./Cue) is a middle school library media specialist in the Rio Grande Valley. She is an award winning blogger, social media enthusiast, book reviewer, and technology lover.