This Blog is on Fire, Part I

If you missed the reference, today’s blog title should be sung in your best Alicia Keys voice. While I’m making clarifications, the blog I’m reviewing today is not literally on fire – just metaphorically (phew, glad we cleared that up!).

I spent some hours today searching for and comparing different Teacher Librarian blogs, and I have decided that today’s award goes to…..(drumroll please)….


Honorable Mentions:

Unpretentious Librarian

Watch. Connect. Read. – Exploring Children’s Literature through Book Trailers

*It should be noted here that this judgement is completely subjective and dependent entirely on my own preferences. No criteria other than personal choice went into this decision. I am simply utilizing this contrivance to expose myself and others to some of the impressive library blogs out there. 

The Unquiet Librarian is a blog created by high school librarian Buffy Hamilton, currently working at Chattahoochee High School in Georgia. Her posts include collaboration ideas, ways to assess student learning, reflections on her library practice, the promotion of student products, and much more.

One post I really enjoyed is titled “Podcasting with Spreaker“. I have never heard of Spreaker, let alone had the chance to read about it or experiment with it. I love hearing about new tech tools that can help me improve my library services. In Hamilton’s post, she discusses how her collaboration worked and the basics for the student assignment. She decided that students would be able to research any topic of interest and then synthesize the information they learn into a podcast. In order to bridge the gap from original research to final product, she created a Google slide show to guide them through the process. If you preview the documents below the slideshow, you will see other resources she provided for the students as well including her own model of the assignment and handouts for planning one’s podcast. Her entire blog post is vital reading though – as it gives a multitude of great advice for ensuring that this activity is successful. She includes a link to the finished products here.

Spreaker Plans & Pricing available HERE (yes, there is a FREE option).

I can see myself trying to replicate her activity, but also using this tool to create student book reviews. Currently, I have created a YouTube page for my high school where students publish book reviews. I would like to give them options though, and allow them to publish either audio or video versions depending on their preference.

I appreciated her End-of-the-Year Review presentation as well, and am interested in making one myself. I think it’s a great way to advocate for oneself and one’s library, and would recommend sharing it with administrators at one’s school. It also works as a reflection tool, identifying what went well and what goals can be set for the upcoming year(s). In this post, she also references using Canva to help create graphics and signs. This is another tool I have never heard of, and so I really started seeing Hamilton as a great resource to add to my P.L.N.

In order to experiment with at least one of these new tools, I made a Canva account and created this sign:


I know I will be utilizing this tool again, especially to create signs to post in my library (displays, flyers) and on my library webpage. It was easy to use, very intuitively designed. It has a large amount of free images to build your collage, and the downloading process for the final product was simple and quick.

In further reading, I found a related article titled “Technology Tuesday – 4 Ways to Use Canva in your Library” by Brooke Ahrens.

From honorable mention Unpretentious Librarian, I loved the program idea of a coloring contest. Yes, you heard that right, a COLORING CONTEST! It’s an easy passive program that everyone can participate in. I work at a high school library – and despite what some doubts people may have, high school students love the chance to color and be creative. I imagine the more finished products that are displayed, the more motivated other students will be to participate as well. Since the materials can easily be printed out, there is no major cost associated with it. She received her bookmarks from Demco, but you can easily print out bookmarks using this template from Dawn Nicole Designs. You can also visit a Pinterest board I created to gather some other templates here. You can easily relate this program to an upcoming event such as School Library Month, Teen Read Week, or Banned Books Week.


Ahrens, B. (2014, December 16). Technology Tuesday – 4 ways to use Canva in your library. Retrieved from

Fitzgerald, S. (2016, May 3). Coloring contest in the library – yes! Retrieved from

Hamilton, B. (2016, March 18). Podcasting with Spreaker. Retrieved from

Hamilton, B. (2016, May 26). Slideshow: Hooch learning studio end of year annual report. Retrieved from





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