Writing Tips from the King

I really enjoyed reading “22 Lessons from Stephen King on how to be a Great Writer.”

Each reason is brief and to the point, and a great refresher and motivator. I’ll leave the link to the site below:

I myself intend to keep referencing it. As always, happy writing, and enjoy!

22 Tips from the King

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 2.49.31 PM.png

4 Steps to a Novel Study

Hello everyone! As a writer, I know its important to read a lot in order to grow in the craft. Read for enjoyment, grow as a writer, right? Yes, but I also believe that simply reading to be a better writer can be taken one step further by studying a novel that embodies a well-written, enjoyable tale. By doing this, you’re being mindful about techniques that work, enabling you to apply it to your own craft. But what works?

That is going to depend on personal choice. Once you find a book that you not only love, but has exemplary writing, too, you can either read or listen to specific parts, focusing on specific elements as you go. Dialogue? Action? Pacing? You name it.

Join me as I begin a novel study.

Below are 4 steps I’ll be taking to grow myself as a writer, focusing on areas I struggle with or just want to improve.

Step 1:

Pick a book. While it can be argued that we can learn from books that do and don’t work, I specifically want a book that works, that wows.

Think of it as learning from a master. Maybe that master for you is Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin, or Marie Lu. You pick a book that makes your heart sing.

Step 2: 

Pick your area of study. Examples include dialogue, dialogue tags, description, length of paragraphs, action, pacing, plot, character development, transitions, voice, etc.

For me, I want to focus on the craft of conveying my story more smoothly. I’m picking transitions.

Step 3:

There are three ways you can study transitions. What you are doing is being mindful about your craft.

  1. You can start reading a novel from scratch – but be careful, lest you get caught up in it and forget/overlook important examples of your area of study.
  2. Pick a novel you’ve already read, and read from the beginning, being mindful as you read.
  3. Read from a novel you have OR haven’t read, skimming for various passages that exemplify what you want to learn.

I am using choice #1. I’m currently reading, “A Court of Mist and Fury,” by Sarah J. Maas, ch. 49. She uses vivid detail without overly describing. It just flows.

Step 4:

As you read and find examples of how to transition well, effortlessly, (or whichever skill you choose) pause and reflect on how it was done. If it helps, you can jot down your notes.

Then try it in your novel or writing.

And that’s it! As you grow, continue changing your area of inquiry. And yes, you can work on more than one at a time, too!

Good luck, and happy writing!

Podcasts in the School Library

The use of podcasts in relation to a library could be very useful and interesting. Not only could you direct students to them over various topics of interest to them, but you could use it in lessons, as well; just assign a podcast and let the students learn at their own pace! I think the biggest key is awareness – students need to know that they exist, as well as what kinds exist, and how to access them. A bulletin or other means of displays, would aid in educating them about this great resource at their disposal.

To see what goes into making a podcast, which staff and students could do, as well, I created a mini podcast on the role of Librarians as Teachers: Collaboration. Here is the link to the podcast! I used Podbean, in which I could create a free account and make several podcasts that are easily saved. It’s easy to use, much like YouTube. It’s very user-friendly. If you want, you can upgrade to a premium account, too.

Other means to creating a podcast can be done through Soundcloud and Audioboo. Soundcloud looks easy to use; just create an account: you can use your Google or Facebook account, and go from there. It allows you to use images for your podcasts, too. Audioboom also looks user-friendly, allowing you to create an account for your podcasts, though it does have a monthly fee with many distribution avenues to popular venues. I choose to use Podbean because it’s free and looks the simplest. Ease: The use of podcasts in the library and with students is beyond easy. Challenge: The only challenges I can foresee is the students having headphones to listen; not everyone will have them.

If you’d like to find educational podcasts, you can look here:

Even authors and popular YouTubers often have podcasts!
Again, here is the link to my podcast:

Practice with Comic Strips

Have you ever wondered about making an avatar, or using comic strips for and with your class? If so, below are three websites that are briefly explained with visuals. Whether a teacher, librarian, writer, etc, they can be fun and useful.

1. Pixton – I really enjoyed getting to try this cartoon maker. I always wondered how to make an avatar and was actually able to make one. The site is very easy and fun to use. Below you can see a snapshot of my comic. I used a screenshot of it because in order to download it, I would’ve had to use the upgrade feature. I really recommend it as an eye-catcher for flyers and even instructions for assignments! I would like this site better if I could download/save without upgrading. However, the avatars were free! There was a lot of variety! Students would be able to use this, and I think they would find it fun!

pixton-avatar-headshot (1).png pixton-avatar-full-body.png Screen Shot 2019-11-01 at 9.10.16 PM.png

2. MakeBeliefsComix – This was not the easiest to use at first, but after continuing to try and figure it out, I was able to make a cute cartoon! (in my opinion, anyway). At first, I was like, there is no way I am going like this, but if you scroll to the right, there are many more options than that which first meets the eye; the variety it offers is important.Screen Shot 2019-11-01 at 10.24.17 PM.png

3. ToonDoo – unfortunately, did not work. I tried for over two hours, on my laptop, desktop, my phone, and my boyfriends phone! I could only advance as far as the registration part, wherein the site would not move forward/load from there. Regardless, I am happy with the two I was able to use and could see myself using them in the future! In order to save your image on this site, you had to create an account; log in. Students could use this, too, and after exploring, would likely have fun with it.

Sharing: I would love to create a comic to invite teachers to learn about creating comics in their rooms and with their students during their lunches or for a brief time during their plan (conference period) – like 15 mins, max, as a way to encourage them to learn about it.

Hope you enjoyed!

Videos and QR Codes in the Library

This post discusses several library based YouTube videos that serve as examples that other librarians can get inspiration from. Not only that, but teachers and librarians can realize the potential of personally created videos in the classroom and library through the use of a program called Animoto. Not only that, but what better way to share those videos but through a nifty tool called QR codes, which will also be briefly discussed as well. Let’s get started!

As a librarian, there are times when using videos can prove conducive to the educational purposes of a library. Here are some examples of YouTube videos you can create as a librarian in a public school setting:

1. Youtube Name: Calypso Gilstrap:

  • Most helpful video: “Getting Started with the MHS Library Website.”
  • Most liked video: “Tiger Visits the Norman High Library.”

2. Youtube Name: Theunquietlibrary:

  • Most helpful video: “Finding CC Licensed images in Advanced Flickr Search.”
  • Most liked video: “New Arrivals, April 2012.”

3. Youtube Name: Pikesvillehslibrary:

  • Most helpful video: “Ms Johnson’s Advisory Group.”
  • Most liked video: “Hip Hop Day @ The Panthers Library.”

4. Youtube Name: Bbmsmedia:

  • Most helpful video: NoodleTools – How to Make a Website Citation.”
  • Most liked video: “I’m the One by DK Khaled Overdue Library Book Parody.”

The most useful way I could see using videos would be for a monthly news update covering new arrivals and upcoming events in the library. I’d also use it as instructions for NoodleTools and other research necessities.

Concerning videos, you can make some on Animoto.com. I made a sample video; a book trailer for the children’s book:

Image result for spooky stories a collection of haunted tales and creepy rhymes

“Spooky Stories; a Haunting Collection of Ghostly Tales and Creepy Rhymes.” A synopsis from the publisher is as follows, “Climb aboard and hold on tight for the scariest ride of your life! Travel through this spine-chilling collection and along the way you’ll meet ghouls and ghosts, vampires and witches, mummies and monsters and a whole host of other unspeakable spooks! With tales to make your toys tingle, and rhymes to make you roar, this hilariously horrible book is just great when bedtime beckons…” (Dempsey Parr).

 

To view the sample video, just scan the QR code below:

Visual_QR_DO_NOT_RESIZE_BELOW_25mm.jpg

This video was very easy to make and has a step by step tutorial on how to create a video. There are many features already available to you as a creator, and the program allows you to upload images, etc, to use and personalize. If you want even better features, you can pay for membership, but for now, I’ll stick with the free one.

As for QR codes, I think it’d be super helpful to record a video giving instructions on how to use Google Slides, or on formatting a paper, and to have the students individually scan the QR code to watch it at their desk. I didn’t realize they were so easy to make and that the scanners were so easy to download. I’m no where as immobilized by them. Probably wrong word usage there…

How to Create a Flyer using Canva

Watch the screencast here to learn how to create a flyer for free on Canva.com!

To create this video, I used Screencast and downloaded a free file to allowed me access to record my screen while speaking. I also used QuickTime Player, where I recorded the screen and an audio at the same time. Tonight proved more difficult when it came to remembering how to record my voice at the same time as the screen, as it’s been a while since I’ve used it. In all, Screencast was very easy to use and is efficient.

It’d be nice to sue screencast for showing students how to use Google Slides, or how to format a paper using MLA.

I’d definitely use screencast again, and prefer it’s ease of use over QuickTime Player.

7 Reasons People Read Infographic

1570853834927.jpg

I created this infographic on Easel.ly (http://www.easel.ly/) as a way to practice creating an infographic. I looked at Easel.ly.com, Piktochart.com, and Infogr.am.com. After browsing these three programs, I decided that Easel.ly was the most user-friendly.

Easel.ly: It took some getting used to, with minor trial and error, and would most likely be a good tool for those who are comfortable using the computer. The major downfall was that it’s cartoon graphics were extremely limited unless you upgraded for a small fee. It’s upside was that it offered a lot of templates with relatively easy use.

Piktochart: Had a lot of templates to choose from, but didn’t look as appealing for the younger generation as the other templates on Easel.ly did. It looked more career/work focused. A lot of really nice infographics could be made on Easel.ly if I had paid for the upgrade, much better than the one you see above where I had to resort to stock images.

Infogram: I didn’t explore this one near as much, as it didn’t look as user-friendly. After finding a template to explore, it didn’t seem to have as many options as Easel.ly, etc. It could be just as good, but didn’t appeal to me.

In all honesty, I think using Canva.com would have been just as good, more user-friendly, and would have offered more images (stock and cartoon) to pick from with higher quality downloads.

The information in the infogram, “7 Reasons People Read,” came from Pew Research Center, which you can find here: Facts

APA Citation:

Why people like to read. (2012, April 5). Retrieved from Pew research center website:

https://www.pewinternet.org/2012/04/05/why-people-like-to-read/.

 

On the Side – Helphousepets

I love writing, but I also love helping out at my local animal shelter, which has over 500 pets on any given day. Along with writing and taking care of the home, I’ve been taking care of 4 kittens, prior to taking care of 3 puppies. Right now, just feeding the kittens is costing about $80 a month! Yikes! If you have 2 minutes to spare and $2 to go with it, we’d love your help so that I can keep fostering after these babies get a home! #helphousepets

Check out the cuties below:

Left is Bitsy, right O’Malley, and the twin black kitties are unnamed as of now. 🙂

70381679_2456430857811411_892988275671695360_n.jpg 70554591_2456430914478072_2905200897892024320_n.jpg

70340140_2456408847813612_4790361133296910336_o.jpg 70979529_2456455514475612_3372746618213236736_n.jpg

70897541_2456455641142266_5810629716813545472_n.jpg

If you’d like to donate, just click the following link:

https://www.facebook.com/donate/461327427798706/

Or go to Twitter: #helphousepets

 

 

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

This post is for teachers and librarians, and possibly writers, too, over popular apps: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Facebook is, in my opinion, outdated except for personal use among family and friends. When I checked out two high school library facebook pages, (Alvarado and Pasadena) though done nicely, there were very little comments or interaction. The disadvantage is

Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 8.06.26 PM.png

that the K-12 population is less likely to use it, thus hindering the promotion of the library. The advantages, though, is that it is interactive and informative, allowing for various video posts and announcements.

Unfortunately, I do think the popularity is going away.

 

Twitter, however, offers a great flow of materials and resources for teachers, and would be effective for continuing educating, promoting the library for staff and teachers, more so than for students. Some people to consider following in the education world are:

Jim Lerman @jimlerman: Shares teacher news, as well as resources and websites to help teachers. Leans heavily on improving teachers’ lessons as well as giving insight to the instructional world in general.

Linda W Braun @lbraun2000: She shares a lot from YALSA, and retweets a lot of opinion based material on what needs to be improved in the world of education.

Alan November @globallearner: He shares a lot of information on the art of teaching and the use of the first 5 days, to projects, etc…

The Daring Librarian @GwynethJones: She has interesting posts, like the world exclusive true face of Shakespeare revealing, to band events at school, to Back-to-School Tech recommendations for teachers.

Kathy Schrock @kathyschrock: This account is full of technology information, such as edtech websites to Chroomebook simulators. You can even read about the Immersive Reader and other helpful resources when it comes to technology, as seen below:

Instagram is an app that I discovered to be super efficient and fun. I’ve shared a video for the first time, as well as three pictures. Instagram is a great tool for something as simple as a quick and easy posting of a class assignment. You could also have the students use it to share teaching moments with one another over various topics, etc… A sample of my home library that needs cataloging is seen below:

View this post on Instagram

Home library

A post shared by Crystal Pierce (@author_e.l.pierce) on

I didn’t see a con to using Twitter that couldn’t be easily overcome; for example, simple advertising to check out their Twitter account, etc for various news and events would be sufficient. Instagram was a lot more user friendly and assessible than I thought, you’d just have to make sure you weren’t violating students’ privacy.

In short, Twitter for professional use and Instagram for in-class use.

Feedly – the blog reader

Hello everyone. Ever thought about using a blog reader? Feedly.com is one of many, and I chose it because it seemed to be the most user-friendly and simplistic out of several. It’s nice because it houses all of your favorite or most frequently visited websites for quicker/easier access. All of the links below will appear on my Feedly feed where I can access them quickly. It’s like a place to organize your favorite websites, etc…

Being in the teaching and writing business, here are a few I found:

Book Riot: I chose this one because it seemed simplistic and because it had many articles, as well as poems, too, to read and enjoy keeping up-to-date on.

Bookish: I choose this one while I was looking for websites that offered book reviews. It looked professional and full of various books to explore.

Goodreads Blog: I decided to follow goodreads blog because they’re very well-known, both for readers and authors, and offer consistently new resources of many types.

Children’s Illustration: I chose this blog because I love to illustrate and want to learn more about the process. It looked like a fun website to explore.

Design of the Picture Book: This website also looked comprehensive and like it offered a lot to garner from the world of illustration.

Also, here is a link to my Tumblr site where I just found a neat illustration and short story based on the novel series: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare.