Nominate your TOP TEN Young Adult books by 10-10-10

Join a collaborative project.  Go to:

Get Involved:

This wiki is open to anyone who loves YA books. You don’t have to be a teacher-librarian to share your love of reading!

Choose a theme:

You can recommend your TOP TEN YA books of all time, TOP TEN YA fantasy books or even your TOP TEN YA paranormal romance books (you know who you are!) or any genre you want — and you get to decide how to organize your list!

Create your own page:

Add a new page (click link on upper left hand side) to the wiki with your name and then list your YA books in any order. Write a short summary of the book and give a short explanation of why it is included in your TOP TEN. If you use summaries from Amazon or TeenReads – please be considerate and cite your sources. Feel free to share your blog URL or Twitter name on your page. Please keep the listing of pages in alphabetical order.

Get your students involved!

Do you teach Middle or High school students? Do you have a book club? Have your class vote and nominate their TOP TEN list.


Take time during the week of October 10-16 to look over the recommended lists and do something special to celebrate reading. This is perfect way to get teens excited for ALA Teen Read Week the following week: October 17-23.

The wonderful world of wikis

What is a wiki?
A wiki is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the best-known wikis. (Wikipedia)

Recommended Wikis:
Wikispaces – (sign up for ad-free wikis for teachers)
Getting Started with Wikispaces –

PBworks in Education
How to Make a Wiki 101 –

A few examples of Wikis used for an “online classroom”:

Wikis in the Classroom- – by Bill Ferriter
New Tool Workshop:  Wikis – – by Joyce Valenza
Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and other Powerful tools in the Classroom – book written by Will Richardson

***  Check out a wiki that I started:  VoiceThread 4 Education at  There are over 300 educators who have contributed VoiceThread projects to that wiki.

Directory of Classroom partners for VoiceThread projects

voicethread.pngA year ago I began the VoiceThread 4 Education wiki.   It has grown into such an incredible resource for educators who are looking for real VoiceThread samples from classrooms of all grade levels and subject areas.

The VoiceThread Ning is another great place to meet other educators who love using VoiceThread.

At the suggestion of Brad Wilson, I added a new page to the VoiceThread 4 Education wiki: Classroom Partners. On this page, educators can add their contact information, VoiceThread project description, project dates and grade level if they are looking for collaborators on projects.

Consider adding your information and help spread the news about this directory. Thanks!

First Day wiki

Dan Meyer at dy/Dan has started a first day wiki for teachers to post what they do on their first day of class. Do you hand out a syllabus? Do you go over rules or just start right in teaching?

Here is what I added to the wiki for my beginning computer applications classes (Middle school and 9th grade):

I am the one who … I start with a part tech and part ice-breaker activity. Students open up Word processor and type “I AM THE ONE WHO …” at the top of page. I ask them to list things about themselves that we may or may not know. At the bottom of the page they write “I am … NAME”. I ask them to format the page with various fonts, color, alignment, bullets, border, images and we usually include a photo (2nd day). They need to space out the text and photos so it fills a full page.

This assignment gives me a good idea of their tech ability from the first day of class. We hang them up in the classroom and it helps students to get to know each other and connect names with faces. They usually are very creative and interesting to read.

Pay it forward

I spent last week as a Graduate Assistant for the Pepperdine Master’s of Arts in Educational Technology [online] program in Malibu (yes, Malibu!) California. VirtCamp is a chance for the new cadre members to meet face to face and learn the communication tools for their online year ahead. The excitement in the air was contagious and as I sat there and reflected about my 13-month journey through OMET – I was struck about how much I learned this year and how my community taught me most of what I now know.

Pay it forwardI admit – I had to hold myself back from gushing all kinds of advice like: You’ve got to learn about and other social bookmarking sites. If you work on multiple computers like I do you will love having all your bookmarks in one place (plus it’s fun to snoop through other people’s bookmarks!). Wikis? I love wikis. I use them all the time. Whenever my cadremates and I were discussing a situation I was always to first to suggest, “Let’s add a link to our wiki and add our ideas there”. Wikis are so great for collaboration and giving each person a voice. Oh … and you must post all of your pics on flickr and play around with flickr toys! I found myself proclaiming the wonders of blogging – even though before this program I could barely keep a diary for more than a week. Now I find that I have so much swimming around in my head that I have to write it down so I can digest it slowly, let it mull around in my brain for awhile and then come back to the idea later on and discuss the idea some more.

I was so busy during the week that I didn’t have time for much blogging and realized how much I missed it. Now that I am finally reflecting on what happened I am realizing that blogging is so much more about the process of my thinking and actions – and less about “what happened”. I definitely missed a golden opportunity – oh well – next time.

During the course of VirtCamp, class members are thrown into social learning activities where they share how they learned what they know and are asked to complete activities in groups where they are given little direction of how to complete the project. It is basically organized chaos. Some people love the open-endedness and interactions and others crave some written directions. There is no better way to reflect on your preferred learning style than to be thrown into a situation where you are challenged to grow and be a learner again. Most of the people in the program are K-12, Higher Ed or corporate trainers and I am sure they are used to being the experts and “knowing how to do it all”. Being placed back in a position of a learner is good for educators. I think it is critical to experience and remember the feelings of nervousness, fear, frustration, exhilaration, and sense of accomplishment. It will make each of use more sensitive to the learners in our environment.

My main role was to assist the new students when they needed help with communication tools, setting up blogs, designing websites or answering basic questions. The students were eager to learn and there was A LOT to learn in a short amount of time. After teaching someone how to set up a template in Dreamweaver or how to add tags to a blog entry I found myself saying to them, OK now, pay it forward. Teach this skill to at least one other class member”. I am happy to say that after two or three days I observed many new Dreamweaver templates, lots of interesting blogs and many new skills being shared with classmates.

Just think. Individually we know a lot – but what if each of us really takes on the theme of “Pay it forward”. Collectively we know so much more and we can accomplish a great deal together. The OMET program embraces social learning at it’s best. Educators can learn a great deal from each other if we take the time to share best practices and be open to learning.

Pay it forward!

Sharing Web 2.0 tools – wikis

I’ve been sharing some of my favorite Web 2.0 tools lately and I’ve been reflecting how my learning has changed during the past year because of these communication tools. Before I start my list I want to share about the SEOmoz Web 2.0 Awards. The site gives you the best of the best of Web 2.0 tools as voted on by 25 knowledgable users. I have to say that for the tools that I am familiar with – I mostly agree but I also learned a ton of new tools to check out. These posts will discuss the various tools I use and why. Simply put, a wiki is a very simple web page.

Wiki – I like wikispaces. It’s free for teachers and simple to use. It doesn’t have a lot of formatting features but it gets the job done. I heard a presentation given by Adam Frey (the founder of wikispaces) at NECC on EdTechLive. It’s great to hear how wikispaces is trying to meet the needs of teachers and improve their product.You use wikis for any type of document that you want several people to access and edit. I have used them with my students when groups are planning and organizing projects – that way everyone can add their comments or easily participate. Here is a simple video from The Common Craft Show that will explain the basics of how wikis work.

Wikis aren’t just for planning. They can be the platform for classroom projects too. Let’s say that each student has chosen a specific topic in class. An easy way to share information is to place each project on a wiki and have every student’s project linked on the side navigation bar. This will encourage students to view each other’s work and even add comments if the pages are open for editing (peer review). I’ve heard of other teachers using wikis for cross-class collaboration – like the Flat Classroom project.

Wikis are great for staff development. By encouraging teachers to share their knowledge by using a wiki – you are helping to foster a community of practice where sharing is the standard and knowledge management is well organized and expected. Don’t just place a lot of links – document class/school procedures, share tips, collaborate on curriculum planning, plan staff parties, outlinefor staff development and more!

Some other great wiki tools: