Teaching students about plagiarism, creative commons licensing, and how to find, download and cite copyright-friendly images for research projects is an important part of what school librarians do :
Finding good images for student projects is complex not only because the pictures need to be copyright-friendly, but because image sources are not always appropriate for elementary student use. For instance, Pixabay users must be 16+ and Unsplash and Pexels 13+. Our school district flat out blocks some image sources such as Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons. And then there is the step of explaining how to cite the source!
How do I address images, copyright and creative commons in my school?
First, I sometimes build the students' background knowledge with the following YouTube videos:
However, Google is still not a great source of images for students because often the websites which are the sources of the images on Google (e.g., Pixabay) are blocked, making it impossible to download the image or create a robust attribution. Sometimes we take screenshots of the images from the Google images page and use the link found in the "share" feature for a jury-rigged attribution. I figure it shows a good-faith effort and does point back to the original source.
The best source for creative commons license images that I have found is Wikipedia (not Wikimedia Commons). I can tell the students with confidence that the images used there are creative commons licensed and expect that the images will be appropriate for their consumption. Best of all, Wikipedia makes it easy to download an image and attribute the source.
When teaching on sources of copyright-friendly images, I usually push out a list in my Google classroom of the following places students can look for images. (FactCite, a subscription database, explicitly grants students permission to use their images for class projects with proper attribution.)
The first thing I explored related to Google drawings was Eric Curts' Create Your Own Story Cubes with Google Drawings. It was a cinch to download his templates and incorporate them into one of my already existing lesson plans about the basic elements of fiction. I can easily push the templates out to my students through Google classroom and give them a choice of words, pictures, or emojis.
The story cubes make it easy to differentiate learning for non-readers, non-writers, and English Language Learners. Students can either write or verbally tell a story with prompts from the cubes which have either words or pictures.
Next, I looked into creating badges in Google drawings that I could award to my students through Google classroom. Michelle Luhtala and Brenda Boyer have successfully used badges to help motivate students and provide feedback, but they use a feature embedded in Moodle.
To assign digital badges to students through Google Classroom involves a two-step process of creating the badges in Google drawings and awarding the badges through a Google sheets add-on called "Magical Digital Badges." Creating the awards in Google drawing is not too difficult, although I had to Google some steps to get the job done. The Google sheets add-on is very cumbersome at this point. I don't think most educators will take the time to figure it out. Hopefully, Google Classroom will have this feature embedded in the future.
The Information Management & Technology department at the Rochester City School District is rolling out a new platform that will make it easier than ever for students, faculty and staff to access databases and other frequently used resources!
Users can sign into ROConnect and automatically get into a myriad of platforms without having to enter a second set of usernames and passwords. These virtual dashboards are tailored to each school so that a subscription paid for by my school (e.g., PebbleGo) appears here but not when someone from another school signs in. I expect we will see a bump in usage for our databases because of this very handy tool. Also, the ability for students to log in to Destiny and use additional features has been made much simpler!
I chose to explore this topic because I wanted to pick up some pointers for helping students understand what databases are and why students should use research databases. Also, I hoped to find some lesson plans ideas for teaching databases and discover new databases to use with my students.
What databases are, why we should use them, and how to teach them
I explored the full list of Databases for Elementary School Students on the NYPL website, but I found the Flix series to be the most useful for my purposes.
I chose to explore Creating Comics with Google Slides by Sylvia Duckworth. She generously shares easy-to-use templates. Here's the result of my creating a comic to talk about story elements. It was a lot of fun to make!
I think my students would love to create something like this. I can see a lot of uses for it. However, some hurdles to using Bitmoji with my students include the fact that not all Bitmojis are appropriate for students, and it would require an extension on their Chromebooks.
My school, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., School #9, has the largest Spanish-speaking ELL population of all the elementary schools in the Rochester City School District. We have two bilingual classrooms per grade level. So I eagerly turned to this topic to learn how the library could better meet the needs of the parents, students, and teachers.
The slideshow School Librarians Can Support English Language Learners made useful suggestions:
Some of the suggestions made in the slideshow I have seen proven to be true in our own library:
As a result of exploring this topic, I have added a link on the sidebar of my library homepage entitled "English Language Learners Resources."
Looking back at the blog posts from this year's Cool Tools for School, I'm amazed at how much I explored, learned, sifted, and implemented.
Here are some examples and reflections:
In conclusion, as always, I learned a lot. This blog is my curation tool that I come back to often during the year to refresh my memory about a specific tool and to find a corresponding set of directions (that I hot-linked into the blog post) to help me use it.
My students love to play around with Google Maps, but I've never used them in instruction. As a librarian, I got excited when I read the idea of creating Google Lit Trips or mapping significant locations tied to research. I followed the directions of Eric Curtz to create a Lit Trip using Google Tour Builder about the Civil Rights Movement.
The image below shows the dashboard for creating the tour with Google Tour Builder, but Eric Curtz provides directions for importing it into Google Earth.
Matt Miller's blog post, 20 ways Google MyMaps can enhance lessons in any class, has given me lots of inspiration for other uses of Google maps, too!
At our orientation session at the beginning of the school year, the librarians in the Rochester City School District had the opportunity to experience BreakoutEDU and Google Expeditions. Tackling these two new technologies felt a little overwhelming to me, but I jumped in the water and tried out Google Expeditions with a set of 10 VR glasses at our school for 2 weeks in January 2018. (We supplemented it with tablets for the students not using the glasses, then switched after a certain period of time.) It was a great experience!
We can borrow a Breatkout EDU kit through our School Library System, but I haven't had time to fully explore or prep for using it. So here goes . . . .
One free game that I found that I want to try out revolves around the fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood. I do a lot with fairy tales and fractured fairy tales, and this BreakoutEDU game is free and does not look too complicated for starters. Taking things to the next level, it would be great to have the students design their own fairytale-related BreakoutEDU game.
The BreakoutEDU "lesson plans" are so well organized that it makes me feel like I can try this out without too much prep time. The game includes a story summary, lock combinations, set up instructions, game resources (which you can save to Google Drive), a facilitation tool, and reflection questions. The fact that I had a chance to experience BreakoutEDU helps make sense of all of this.
Breakout EDU Digital Sandbox
As an alternative to physical lockboxes and clues, some educators have created virtual games where all the clues and locks are embedded in a Google site. These are community-created and free. They work well with ChromeBooks. Amy Carpenter suggests projecting the game for the whole class to see, assigning the locks to different groups, and working together as a class. Lock combinations are filled in on the main computer used to project the game.
Creating a Game
Here's the link for resources to create a Breakout EDU game. If you succeed in making a game that makes it into the official BreakoutEDU directory, you can win fun things like a swag bag, full access to the platform, and even a free kit!
This topic caught my eye because I have not done anything with this application before. I read Jessica's blog post for starters, which got me excited about the possibilities.
Using Google Drawing for Infographics
This fall I tried out using Piktochart with four classes of 4th graders to show their learning by creating a digital poster about the great horned owl. The students already had experience using Google slides, so I wanted to branch out and let them experience another platform. I liked Piktochart because it allowed the students to use their G Suite for Education account to sign up, and (unlike Canva) all the images were free. However, Piktochart was not fully integrated with Google which meant that I could not watch the students' progress, leave formative feedback, have them work collaboratively, or print their posters. So, I'm looking for a new platform for next year.
I started with Tony Vincent's Get Creative with Google Drawings blog post, and was immediately gratified to learn that Google Drawings integrates seamlessly with Google Keep. (I want to try teaching my students to curate research resources in Google Keep, but I'm waiting for my district to enable the Chrome extensions for Google Keep.) So it looks like translating the research curated in Google Keep into a infographic could be quite efficient. Also wonderful to note is that fact that the Explore Tool is accessible in Google Drawings. Jeff Herb provides 8 free infographic templates that he created with Google Drawings.
Before experimenting with Google Drawings, I watched Intro to Google Drawings in the Classroom by Jocelyn Buckentin where I learned a handy new tip--that png's have transparent backgrounds. Next I studied Alice Keeler's Getting Started with Google Draw
where I read that a Google Drawing can be embedded in a website, and it will be automatically updated as changes are made to it in Google Drive. This is great feature if students want to embed their work in a blog post. Also, Google Drawings can be shared, so they are perfect for collaborative projects. I remixed my Piktochart poster using Google Draw, and it was a snap!
Using Google Drawing for Graphic Organizers
I was ecstatic to see Tony's use of Google Drawings to create graphic organizers that could be easily shared with students so that they can fill in the digital copy of the graphic organizers. What is more, I can project and fill in a digital copy of the graphic organizer as I model the process for the students. Tony generously shared multiple graphic organizers. Here is one that I modified for a unit that I'm doing with the 5th Grade on the Rainforest.
And so much more . . .
Besides infographics and graphic organizers, Tony Vincent shows how Google Drawings can be used for other types of activities--games, comics, sorting and arranging, and much more! Eric Curtz provides a list of creative commons-licensed resources created with Google Drawings.
Last year I delved into Thing 6: Curation Tools and ended up using LibGuides to curate resources for Black History Month at our school. Since then I've continued to use LibGuides to curate resources. However, while blogging about curation tools last year, I said the following: "Michelle Luhtala uses Destiny to curate much of her school library's content including student book review trailers. I would like to figure out how to use Destiny for curation because it is a tool the students are already using."
Recently my Follett Destiny sales representative demonstrated a new curation tool to use within Destiny called Collections by Destiny. So, this year for Thing 6: Curation Tools, I decided to explore Collections and will use it curate resources on the rainforest for an upcoming 5th grade project. Then I will compare it to LibGuides.
But first I read Joyce Valenza's SLJ article - "Curation Situations: Let us count the ways." Joyce inspired me with her reasons to curate and to teach curating:
"Librarians are uniquely qualified to curate digital assets. . . . Digital curation is a translation and amplification of our traditional practice. . . . K12 digital curation is about getting our users/students/teachers to the good stuff, pointing them to content and resources they might not themselves discover with their own intuitive strategies. It’s about saving teachers instructional time. . . . In teach a man to fish style, rather than continuing to push resources to our students, we can transfer responsibility and engage them as curators of their research-in-progress and their other original works and encourage them to curate the tools they need for workflow."
Things I like about LibGuides:
Things I like about Collections by Destiny:
It feels a lot like Pinterest. I think the format is visually appealing and comfortable for students and teachers to use. You can place "add to collections" on your browser bookmarks bar to quickly add resources to the collection.
The resources show an image, a URL, a summary (sometimes) and tags.
Things I don't like about Collections by Destiny:
Working on this project reminded me that all digital curation requires upkeep. I ran across many broken links when exploring OERs within Destiny Discover.