Color Coordination and Pizzazz—Pulling Together the Side Bar Outfit

January 31, 2011
COLORWHEEL for the Count and Spell Color Recognition Beanbagsphoto © 2008 Cheryl | more info (via: Wylio)

This challenge was both fun and difficult.  I needed to take a fresh look at how my site appeared to other people.  So here’s what I did and why I did it.


  1. Show Yourself – This widget (which I found at “The Groovy Librarian”) allows you to group all your contact information on the Internet in one handy, dandy tool.  I like that all the lines are hot links to the appropriate pages.  It eliminated the need for a separate Twitter tool.  I added this widget to each page of my site, since it simplified my contact information.
  2. Badges – I added to my “Library Wanderings” page my Badges from the Guide to Online Schools and PBWorks.  I wanted to share the educational aspect of my work.
  3. Categories – I hadn’t used categories up until now.  Now that my site has this page, I have a greater need to have one.  I decided (for now, at least) not to add categories to the review pages because the separate pages do some of that work for me.
  4. Flag Counter – I replaced Cluster Maps with Flag Counter when I began the Teacher Challenge because I think it is more interesting to see the various countries that people are from.  I like Cluster Maps too, but I think the flags are more visually interesting.


  1. Twitter tools – I had included a visual image for people to click on to follow me in Twitter.  With the Show Yourself widget, I don’t need the separate tool.
  2. Voki – While I liked playing with the Voki, I don’t feel an overwhelming need to have it live in my sidebar.  It also makes the page load VERY slowly, which can be an issue for some users.
  3. Poll Daddy – I decided that I will be removing the Poll Daddy poll in my sidebar soon, so as to declutter.

Aesthetics and Organization

  1. Color Coordination – This aspect was what took me the longest, but I like the results.  I went into the html of several of my widgets to make the colors and patterns follow the general color scheme of my site overall.  I was able to tweak the colors in my Twitter feed, the Flag Counter, and the Show Yourself widgets. 
  2. Organization – I tried to group my widgets in an order that made sense to me.  With any luck it will make sense to other people too.  I began with all the contact information, then the material in the blog, then Twitter, tags, and everything else.

So what do you think?  Do these changes work and make sense?  Is there anything else I should drop or add?


Movin' and Groovin': Teaching with Video and Slides

January 27, 2011

I haven't played much with video.  It is one area that I need to work on, technologically speaking.  I have tried a few tools that I find exceptionally easy to use, and that have relevance to my work as a librarian and media teacher. I want to say a "Thank You" to the people who are running the Teacher Challenge.  Without the "kick" to do this entry, I wouldn't have figured out how to embed these videos into the blog.  I also ventured into tweaking html to change sizes of things to make them ...

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My School Library, and "I Can See Winter..."

January 23, 2011

I've posted a slide show from Picture Trail above.  I use picture trail in my Library wiki to share with parents the books that I am reading in a given month to the media classes.  It is an easy way to make the front page of the wiki have a consistent item, but one that I can vary from month to month.  If you would like to see how it works on my Library Wiki, click here.

As you can see, my school library is a lovely spot.  January in Minnesota, on the other hand, is something one learns to l...
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Remember the Simple Tools

January 23, 2011

I was moved to write today by three different things that got me thinking:  a CBS Sunday Morning segment on handwriting, a School Library Monthly blog entry about how students best comprehend readings, and a blog about "old school" computer tools.  Each, in its own way, made me think about what our goals for students should really be.

The CBS story (print version here and video version here) focused on the role of cursive handwriting in American culture, and how fewer and fewer students are ma...
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"Say What?" -- Creative Play with Images

January 22, 2011
Someone posed a question about how I did the speech "bubble" above my avatar back in my All About Me post.  Here's how to go about it.

Most of you probably already know this, but to copy any image off your computer (Internet, desktop, whatever), you can simply press the "PrtSc" key, short for "Print Screen."  This key basically captures the image of whatever your screen looks like at that point. 

Open the program "Paint" which is under "Accessories" on most Windows machines.  In the upper menu...
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Virtual Me—Playing with Avatars

January 20, 2011

I love avatars.  I love that I get to play with my sense of self differently in different settings.  I love that there are bad songs about avatars, like Do You Want to Date My Avatar. I have a Mii on the Wii, a Voki to sing the Hokey Pokey, a Pirate dame to play the Puzzle Pirates game, and numerous other sides of my...

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It’s All About Me, Or 5 Questions an Effective “About” Page Should Answer

January 17, 2011

“About” pages are not usually what we read first in a blog.  We find blogs because they show up in a search we do, or someone sends us a link, or we are reading them as part of a class.  But sometimes, after we read a post, our curiosity kicks in.  In real life, we expect to have a conversation with people who talk to us.  Why should the written word be any different?  I usually want to know more abo...

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Can You Hear Me? -- Voice in Effective Blogs

January 13, 2011

image by dbphotographs via Flickr Creative Commons

I confess--I am a regular reader of the blog Zen Habits.  I find the voice and the tone of its writer, Leo Babauta, distinctive and calming.  On a typical school day, peace and tranquility are not typically around.  But when a post shows up on Zen Habits, I take the time to read it and to find a window of calm in my day.

The post that...

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Taking the Teacher Challenge

January 12, 2011
I have signed up to participate in the "Teacher Challenge" as a blogger, and this new page is part of my effort.  I am charged with taking on the role of a reporter who asks my blog ten questions, so here goes.  I am also posting these entries in my blogger account, because it is easier to comment there.  You can read my postings there at Library Lady's 23 Things.

1.  Why did I start this blog?
I created this website because I felt as if I need to share the many books that I read in my role as ...
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About Me

Lydia Schultz I am a school librarian, a technology teacher, and a part-time college English professor. I hope to review many of the books I read, both in the context of my research about children's books as well as in my pursuit of recreational reading. I want to share what I read--so what else is new?

Please feel free to contact me.  I welcome hearing feedback and advice.  If you would like to comment on a particular post, click on the title of the post and a comment box will appear after the post when the page reloads.



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