Poetry isn’t my favorite, but it is what it is. I think I’ve only ever written two poems in my lifetime. In the past, I loved blackout poetry because it gave my students a creative outlet to express their thoughts. Last year I wanted to do something a little different. I looked to Buncee to help me create a digital magnetic poetry template that I could share with students during poetry month. I know many of you may not be familiar with Buncee or have a subscription, so I am including two versions in this blog post for you to reference. The first is my Buncee template which you can also find on Buncee’s Ideas Lab. All you have to do is login to Buncee, visit the link, and make a copy. You can then share the link with students when they’re logged in to their own accounts and have them create their own digital magnetic poetry. They can use the audio, video, or both features to record their poem. It would also be fun to curate all their poems on a Buncee board to highlight their work.
Now, if you are a Google Slides user then the good news is that I created a separate template for this purpose. It took some time to create because while I used the backgrounds I created on Buncee, I made the “magnets” on Canva. I did this because if I created a “magnet” in a text or shape box on Google Slides, the students would more than likely double click and they could accidentally reformat the text. There are a total of 200 words included. I am attaching the links to the Canva template in case you’d like to change the words. Since there is a maximum limit of 100 pages on each Canva design, I made two sets. I downloaded them, extracted the zip file, and drag & dropped them into the Google Slide. I was able to resize them with ease.
Digital Magnets Set 1 Canva Template
Digital Magnets Set 2 Canva Template
This link to the magnetic poetry Google Slides template will prompt you to force copy the template. As you can see in my example, I rearranged some tiles to create my poem, titled it, and added my voice by using the Mote Chrome extension. If students need to add video, they can use the Screencastify extension and upload their video if needed. Another idea would be to use the screenrecording feature on Flipgrid and students can add their poetry readings to a class collection. I prefer Mote...lol. If you've never used Mote before for Google Slides, I recommend watching the video tutorial below on how to make that happen. It's such a great and simple tool. Hope this is helpful and if you have any questions please reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram @cuethelibrarian.
Well, friends. It's the end of July. I can't believe how fast this summer flew by. It seems like just yesterday we were all thrown into the midst of a pandemic with only uncertainties to guide us through a new era of digital learning. Maybe technology wasn't your strong suit. Or maybe you wanted to pursue different applications but weren't sure where to begin. It's like this pandemic provided some learning opportunities that we might have not pursued otherwise. I used my summer to build my skills and take on learning opportunities that will guide how I shift my programming and lessons for a more digital-inclusive library—to ensure that it's implemented with fidelity and not simply because I "earned a badge". I also participated in and created some PD opportunities and I'm honored to say that RGV Library Squad hosted our very first RGV LibCamp this summer! We really tried to provide an open opportunity for librarians seeking some guidance on how they can implement new practices for the 2020-2021 school year. Along with an amazing virtual conference, I presented multiple times--RGV LibCamp, TxASL, TCEA, and NTX Lib Camp--and even had some amazing interviews with some AMAZING people such as Charlene Martoni (Feminist Librarian aka my new friend!) and Alfonso Mendoza (My EdTech Life). I even represented the Rio Grande Valley in ALA's Virtual Tour with ALA President Julius Jefferson! OH! & let me not forget-I have a YouTube channel now! Exciting!
This summer really led to some meaningful opportunities and I am eternally thankful for a profession that allows me to flourish in so many areas of education. Learning never stops. Teaching never stops. I wanted to hone my skills, so I also pursued different micro-credentials. Mainly, yes, because I'm a hyper-nerd and I love learning, but because I really want to advocate for my position and promote my services as a library media leader. As an educator, I like to lead by example and learn as much as I can. If I encourage my students to do this—to seek knowledge, to question, to participate in thoughtful discussion—then I must do the same. So, where did that lead me this summer? I am now a Certified Google Trainer, MIE Trainer, MIE Expert, Newsela Educator, Kami Educator, a Flipgrid Level 2 Expert, and I am pursuing my Newsela Trainer credentials. Yes, these courses take time and preparation, but it's totally worth it. I can't think of a better profession that integrates the use of technology to its fullest capacity. That love of learning doesn't just stop there, though. Lispy Librarian and I kicked off a live show called "Tech It Over" in hopes of centering discussions around women in technology roles. Will conversations get serious? Definitely. Will we have fun doing it? FOR SURE! I consider myself very lucky to have her by my side for this project and what I know will be an amazing journey together! Okay, but, why do any of it? Why go for it? Because—I know what I want my library and profession to reflect: a welcoming, inclusive, innovative, and engaging environment (both physically and virtually). How I begin to prepare for the incoming school year is definitely going to be different and a challenge, but I am 100% positive that my training and experience have prepared me for this moment. Thankfully, I am part of an amazing network of librarians that encourage each other daily. (Shoutout to my new friends Amanda Hunt, Deb Zeman, Jessica Fitzpatrick, and Kaitlyn Carpenter! Make sure to follow them!) If you find yourself feeling unsure of yourself, reach out! Engage with other librarians that share the same vision and that build each other up. This isn't a competition. We're not here to see "who wins the virtual library award". These are uncertain times and we should join forces to ensure the success of our communities whether we’re from the same region or not. Isn't that why we're educators? So, I leave you with this: Pursue opportunities that you feel will make you a better librarian, educator, leader, and colleague. Encourage librarians to join you in a planning session if you're feeling overwhelmed about where to begin planning for the incoming school year. Create checklists or calendars and take it ONE task at a time. Lastly, remind yourself that you're doing the best that you can with the situation at hand. We're not perfect and neither is this current state of education--but together we can provide each other with a support system to make our year less daunting. Also, by all means, never hesitate to reach out to me if you need some advice, encouragement, or a funny meme to get you through the day 😂. I'm always an email, tweet, or Instagram message away. I may not always have the answer(s), but I can always connect you with someone who might. This may be my last blog post for a while since I'm going to begin work and school soon, but don't forget--Be brave, be resourceful, & continue to advocate for meaningful change.
I've officially transferred some of my video tutorials to my YouTube channel! Please visit and subscribe by clicking on the banner above. I recently became a Google for Education Certified Trainer, so this is where I'll be posting some Q's GSuite Tips videos. I'm excited to finally join this platform! Below are some of the videos I have on my channel and I hope you can visit the page and subscribe. Check it out!
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.
Hello, friends! Check out the guest blog post I contributed to the Library Learners page moderated by Cari White. Make sure to follow her on social media by following Library Learners on Facebook! This blog post goes a little more in-depth about video game tournaments in the library. In the post I do make reference to a Wakelet collection of resources, setting up the tournament on the Switch, and differences in pro-controllers. Check it out by clicking on the image below.