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On being more genius


I’ve been thinking a lot more about the notion of Genius Hour since Matthew and Sherry shared their plan for GeniusCon with me at AASL. I woke up to the New Year to discover Susan Oxnevad’s inspiring post and 6th grade teacher Chris Kesler’s Genius Hour site and his explanation: Everything about the Genius Hour model […]

School Library Story: When libraries thrive and when they crumble

School Library Story from joyce valenza on Vimeo. I’ve been wanting to tell this story for a long time. My very talented student friend, Walter Lynch, offered to help me tell it. A day doesn’t go by when I am not inspired to action by the inventive ideas I discover from my generous teacher librarian colleagues who […]

Matthew and Sherry introduce GeniusCon

Let’s use our ideas and voices together to make our schools better. Let’s show the world our genius. When the Busy Librarian, Matthew Winner and, Sherry Gick shared their dream of a kid-powered GeniusCon at the AASL Unconference, I was so excited.   I asked if they’d allow me to help spread the word by posting […]

Remix-t: a new kit for remixing student projects


I’ve just discovered the ridiculously useful Remix-t and I cannot wait to share it with our teachers and students. Created by the Learning Technology Lab at the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Notre Dame, the site presents a full-blown kit for inspiring media-rich, project-based instruction and suggestions for hours of engaging professional development. Designed for the […]

Kaizena: improving voice feedback for student writing

Back in May I was excited to discover Voice Comments–a great tool for personally adding voice feedback to student writing or collaborative work. Recently, the app relaunched with a new interface and a bunch of impressive new features, as Kaizena.  (In Japan, Kaizen refers to a philosophy of continuous improvement.) If Google Docs is a way of life at […]

Meet Club Academia, uncommon kids (who, BTW, love their library)


Shilpa, Roya, Ahran, and Karan Mission: Club Academia strives to organize existing knowledge in ways that make learning easily accessible while simultaneously inspiring people to discover and innovate. Sometimes you meet a group of kids for whom being college and career ready is simple not enough.   As a high school librarian, I am often honored to work with […]

Poetry Slam: There will be poems (& art & Springfield flavor)


After our first/last highly successful poetry slam, demand grew for us to schedule a second event before the school year ended.  And last week we did. Although I worried that final projects, prom, graduation, finals, etc. would get in the way, the kiddos from my dear Literary Mag, Gay Straight Alliance, Book Club and Gallery […]

An interactive video round-up (seven tools to explore)


Interactive video is a powerful new tool that allows teachers and learners to enhance video they make themselves–as well as the videos they discover on the Web–with text, images, maps, links, and other media. It transform video from static to dynamic, enabling the traditional medium to morph from monologue to conversation, often crowd-sourced style. It […]

I love these markers! (But it’s not about the markers)


I discovered Crayola’s Crystal Effects Window Markers purely by accident at Five Below.  No one wanted them as a prize at our Poetry Slam and I am so glad. Last week, my student assistant Amber yawned at the suggestion of book reviews, logo making, working on our website, and other activities that I myself consider […]

Anatomy of a slam: “there will be poems”


April is Poetry Month.  Last week, just a little early, we hosted our first ever Springfield Slam.  The kids from Literary Mag, Gay Straight Alliance, and Gallery Club, who helped me organize the event, assured me, Dr. V, there will be poems.  I worried anyway. No need for that.  There was a poem or two […]