Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Look Back

As I started building my Wiki page and gathering my videos together I began thinking about some of the first ones I did and what got me started doing them in the first place. I started out with Dr. Loopy and the Blinding you with Science series. It's funny how such a simple idea can grow. I started out thinking I would just do a couple and ended up with 12 full length videos and several in which I cut out smaller bits that could stand on their own. They are all available on my Wiki, Vimeo, Teachertube and Schooltube pages which can be accessed at the top of this page. I hope to complete a new one this summer! It would be the first I shoot with HD and I have so much more experience now that I can't imagine what it will look like. Here is an example if you have never seen Dr. Loopy.

Blinding you with Science #5 Magnetism from Doug Valentine on Vimeo.

Another series I enjoyed doing was on Classroom Teacher and Librarian Collaboration. I divided the topics into smaller sections and they have been popular with librarians who show them at staff orientations. You can see the full length version here. The smaller sections are available on my Wiki.

Librarian and Classroom Teacher Collaboration from Doug Valentine on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The New School Year

A new school year is about to start and despite my good intentions of doing so much planning this summer, I find myself in the same position I do every year...where to start. Perhaps I'm not being fair to myself. I'm much better at being given a specific task to overcome than I am at planning from nowhere. I'm sure once the school year starts there will be more than enough to do but right now I feel a little...lost. Maybe lost isn't the right word. Maybe "unfocused." We will be getting a new Principal, Assistant Principal and several new staff members this year and that's always a challenge. Sort of like starting over again. Maybe I just feel this way because my birthday is the 22nd and I'm taking stock of what I have done and what I still have to do. You would think things get easier with time but when you are constantly evaluating, innovating and evolving what you do it's just not like that. I guess I set the bar high with what I expect from myself and right now I need to get a little further back to get a good running start. Wish me luck!
In other news...I found a little tool I like to help teachers collect all those sites i give them in one place. It's called Symbaloo and it is a neat little way to customize a desktop with shortcuts to important websites. You can even e-mail it and then update it. Hopefully I will be able to demonstrate some apps and them give them a way to store them easily so they can call them up whenever they need to. Check it out!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

School Video News

We currently have a profile in an online magazine called School Video News. They provide tips and information on good practices in school media production. They are featuring our Shortie Award winning "Starship McKillop" news broadcast and a reworked version of a video we did for an earlier contest called "Sweet Dreams (of Technology)Check out our article!
Starship McKillop Profile

Friday, July 9, 2010

Working on a Wiki

I have had a wiki for quite awhile but I have not been keeping it up. What with summer and all I decided to revamp and work on collecting a lot of our video work into one place (besides the Starship McKillop Glog Page). Anyway, this is a work in progress: Doctor Loopy Wiki
I bought myself a Sony Vaio laptop for my birthday and have been using it to update the pages. I LOVE this laptop! It was on sale at It has the power I need to edit and has a blu-ray built in. It also has a little program that makes videos similar to Animoto. I will post one when I get it together.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

ISTE Smackdown

One of the sessions I wanted to attend most at ISTE was our SIGMS smackdown. It was a very quick overview of tools and tips that librarians around the country are using right now. If you are interested here is a link to an article on the tips:
or if you'd like to see a video of the entire session check this out. Yours truly makes an appearance about an hour and four minutes in:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

More Hot Dog book reviews

Some of you may come here in search of my animated book reviews. Each week I give 3rd and 4th graders who have done well in the library the opportunity to do a book review for our Starship McKillop Glog site. I've gotten a little behind in posting some of these. Yesterday I found a few I still need to post but I thought I would show them here as examples of what we do. These reviews are great because they protect the identity of the students while giving them a very personal way of expressing their opinions online.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Using Old Technology

You know, in this web 2.0 world it's fun to sometimes go back to old technology. Kids today are unfamiliar with 8-tracks, albums, dial telephones, and in the case of my wife's third grade class...floppy disks! They had no idea where to even begin to put one into a computer. So I go waaayyyy back sometimes and do lessons using what I can my "long ago and far away" machine. It's a circa 1957 Predicta black and white television. Using this, I can teleconference with characters from the past and interact with "history." The kids really love it. One of the lessons I used last year was based on the book Abraham Lincoln Crosses a Creek. In this book we have an account of Abraham Lincoln nearly dying at age 10 when he tried to cross a creek with his best boyhood friend. It's an interesting book to study historical fiction vs. fact and makes the kids think about what history really is. A little research shows that the character of his boyhood friend did exist and that the book is based, at least partially, on a true event. Anyway, I start out my lesson by showing this video on the Predicta:

Yeah just an old black and white video. Big deal. Where is the color Mr. Valentine? But now imagine seeing it on this:

or this:

It makes all the difference. The kids get a general background of what was going on at that time and the television (my system of delivery) really gets their attention before I read the book. Of course there are details in the news that I pulled from the book to make it tie in nicely. At the end we have a discussion on whether the book was a true account or not. Just as they reach some conclusions I pull out research and photos about the boyhood friend in the book and watch their faces change. They are interested, they are wanting to know more. And that is where I give them material to do their own research. It's fun and the 50+ year old technology was what got them hooked.
LESSON: You never know when that overhead projector might be useful in a new way :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

White Water Rafting

Last year we went to Durango on vacation and has quite a time riding trains and going white water rafting. We were so brave. We went on a white water trip down the Animas river and took on class I and II rapids. We had this down and were ready to step up...

...or so we thought. It was fun but as you can see there was not a lot of "white water." Since we were in Colorado this summer once again, we decided to try another white water adventure. This time we went to Royal Gorge where they said there were class III and class IV rapids...

See the difference? We certainly did! When we put our raft in and went about 100 yards from shore we hit water rougher than the ENTIRE TRIP on our first try. It was fun but it really forces you to focus and work together. It would be a great team building excercise. Here is a little footage of us going down the River:

...and another thing....

Besides seeing Karen accept the award at ISTE I also got to go to some great sessions and see some interesting displays in the poster section. I was happy to attend the TL Smackdown with a lot of great librarians from around the country. Many of them I have communicated with through listserves and e-mail only so it was nice to put faces to names. I spoke briefly to tell them about edu Glogster and my animated book reviews. I can't believe how popular they have become. When I first started life a few years ago as Dr. Loopy doing my science videos, I never would have dreamed it would go this far. It is gratifying and humbling to have people contact you about your work.

The real point of going to Denver

O.K. So I didn't go to Denver just to take pictures of a Conspiracy Theory. The real reason was to attend ISTE and see Karen get her award for being the ISTE INTERNATIONAL Teacher of the Year. I don't think it really hit home how big this award was until we were there and saw the stage. It was huge! And all of the people were very nice. We were fed and given the opportunity to attend great workshops. I got to meet with many of the Librarians I have only known through e-mail and online. I hope we get to go back....I have a project up my sleeve to enter into next years collaboration competition. Here is a video of Karen accepting her award:

Karen Wins the ISTE Educator of the Year from Doug Valentine on Vimeo.