An Educator’s Guide to Blogging

Ed Tech RoundUp

Michael Karlin, a biology and technology teacher from Kansas put together this blog as a resource for teachers to have access to the latest and greatest tech tools for the classroom. Karlin reviews various tech resources and tools and provides and summary and feedback for others. In one review he take a look at PebbleGo from Capstone, a research tool for early learners. The state of Delaware has a PebbleGo subscription for free through UDLibSearch. We use PebbleGo frequently with our first and second graders, as well as our struggling readers. PebbleGo makes researching topics easy and the program will read to the students. There are a lot of wonderful images, videos, and quick activities as well. Happy Numbers is a wonderful site that offers interactive math games for students. Teachers can create an account and then add students to classes. They have the option of assigning students various lessons. As a teacher you can track their progress and proficiency. This is set up for the primary grades, but could be used for struggling learners as well. ClassHub is a class management program. This is a paid service, but offers features such as Screen Peak, Screen Sharing, Lock in App capability, and more. This is would be a great tool for a library media specialist or middle/high school teacher to have. I think that teachers who use a lot of technology would enjoy this blog. There is a wide range of topics covered from primary to high school.



Free Technology for Teachers

Richard Byrne, a former high school social studies teacher from Maine, is well known for the creation of his blog, Free Technology for Teachers. He is a certified Google Teacher and his blog has won many awards. The blog was designed to share information about free resources that teachers can use in their classroom. In one of his posts he compares two similar tools, Diigo and Google Keep. I had used Diigo in the past with students. It is a tool that allows the user to highlight and make notes on a live web page. You save your edits using the toolbar app and can then access them the next time you return to that site. Google Keep is a new Google Extension that also allows user to make notes and highlights on a page. I think this would be easier as it is a part of the Google family and our Chromebooks use that same system. He also mentions Otus, a learning/classroom management system that allows users to generate and analyze student data in order to make decisions on students improvement. It is also a paid subscription, but you can try it for free. Screencastify and Nimbus are two more tools that he compares. Screencastify allows you to record, live, your computer screen. It is like a video of everything you are doing on your screen with audio and visual. Nimbus, the Google Extension has a free version, but not as good as Screencastify. This blog offers wonderful posts for teachers who are looking for free resources to incorporate into their classroom. Byrne includes a lot of great videos and tutorials to help as well.




My Paperless Classroom

My Paperless Classroom blog was created by Sam Patterson and educator, podcaster, and puppeteer. Patterson’s blog looks a little different than a lot of blogs I have been too before. It is set up more like a traditional website, which can be good. He organizes the page by topics or categories and includes links/videos that relate particularly to that topic. For example, one hot topic is STEM Education. Below you can see what that section of his site looks like.


There are a lot of options to explore there and you can see more by choosing one of the subcategories at the top. STEM and coding are two popular things in education right now. I think Patterson provides a lot of great resources for both novice and experienced teachers. He even includes how-tos and tutorials for setting up websites and blogs as well as product reviews. His page is a great resource for library media specialists to have linked to their website. I think a lot of teachers would be happy to take a look at some of the things he has included.


Blogging from Library Media World

Never-ending Search ( Search

Created by a professor of education at Rutgers University, Joyce Valenza, this blog keeps readers up to date with news and new releases that cover a variety of library needs. Looking at her most recent posts, I was impressed by them all. In her first post she talks about the new features of Padlet, which is a great tool for students to use in the classroom. I have used Padlet in the past, but not as of late, so these new features were exciting to read about. She also posted about 123 Video Encyclopedia. I had never heard of this website, but love the collection of classroom appropriate videos for lesson introductions and hooks.  Canva, a graphic design program, also has some new templates released. I have never used Canva, but after reading her blog and looking at the site, it definitely looks like something I could use in the future. More posts about new features and releases were mentioned, including Google Earth, Spiral, Toontastic 3D, and more! I think this is a great blog for teachers looking for new tech tools to incorporate into their classroom. I would love to link this blog to my own school site, so that other teachers can see these awesome resources. I could see having a blog with things like this on there as well. If all librarians were able to blog about what they were doing in the library, there would be a great bank of resources to use.


The Daring Librarian ( result for the daring librarian

Gwenyth Jones, a library media specialist at Murray Hill Middle School, has created a wonderful website, which includes her blog. This blog has resources that cover a wide range of topics, including book suggestions, a summer reading program, going green, women’s history, STEAM opportunities, and so much more. This is a one stop shop of resources for a middle school librarian. Some of these ideas are easily adaptable for elementary and high school too. She featured a great idea on Book Speed Dating. We all know the premise of Speed Dating, but she has utilized that process for sharing books. She sets up piles of books (based on genre or topic), there’s even a “blind date” section with books covered and just a few word synopsis. Students wander around and look through some books. After a while she signals to move on to something else. This continues until students have found the perfect match. There are a ton of pictures, and videos to check out on her link to that post below. She includes so many videos and pictures of her own students in her library participating in these activities. I love this site! Library Media Specialists would benefit from seeing her ideas. Being new to the library world, it is hard to come up with ideas for lessons and activities. This is a great place to start. She includes book suggestions for all ages, not just middle school. I also enjoyed the Going Green post and all of the resources that she provided as examples for what their school is doing to go green.

Ms. Yingling Reads (

Ms. Yingling, an experienced middle school librarian has spent a ton of time reading and compiling book reviews. She blogs almost daily with new book reviews. Each review includes the book information, a picture of the cover, a summary, the pros and cons, and a final thought about the book. In one particular post about The Orphan Train Girl, Ms Yingling gives a great review. I know the Orphan Train is a popular topic with the older students. I like that this book is written in alternating perspectives. I really would like to get more novels written that way. If she had not shared that information, I may not have stopped to keep reading that one. Her opinions are honest and helpful. I think this information can be useful for students and teachers/librarians alike. If she is sharing this blog with her students, it is a great way to preview a book and decided whether or not they want to check it out. Sometimes, just reading the back cover doesn’t give you enough. This is good for other librarians because they can use the reviews to decide if this is a title they want to add to their collection. Although she is a middle school librarian, some of the books still could be used in upper elementary or even high school. I think this could be something students could do as well. If they write a little review about each book they read and submit it, you could easily post it to a blog on a school website. This would allow other students to read reviews written by their peers (which are usually more meaningful).