Tag Archives: Drupal

Our new and improved Independent Reading Site is up and running at @The_School thanks to @finlaycm.

Cristina Martinez-Finlay is the Network Manager (and ever so much more) at The School at Columbia University. Last year, she decided to embark on a personal journey to revamp our beloved but kinda ugly Independent Reading Site which had been a labor-of-love Google Site that Marisa Guastaferro Mendez and I launched in 2007. We even won an award for it back in the day.

Marisa wanted an internal space for kids to keep track of their independent reading, post book reviews, and social network about literacy. We examined GoodReads, Shelfari, and other sites before deciding to just have an internal Google Site that anyone in our school community could access and edit. The site was alive and kicking and heavily used for 6 years. Then last year, Cristina showed me her pet project. She used Drupal to build the site (because, lordy, that woman knows Drupal), and she built up a site that is internal, robust, and legitimately way more attractive to use. The kids love it.

Today, Eve Becker (8th grade English) and I reminded the kids how to navigate the site, add books, join groups, post reviews, and comment on other people’s reviews. Cristina was there to answer questions too, and I’m glad the kids had a chance to appreciate her to her face.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

6th graders are sharing their Renaissance Photoshop projects

6th graders are uploading their finished Renaissance Photoshop collages to a shared album on The Gallery (our online photo repository powered by Drupal). I chose a few to include here. Katelin O’Hare and I are pretty pleased with the results.

We asked each student to write a reflection about the project on their personal digital portfolios. These are Google Sites that they curate and maintain for multiple years. Each academic year has its own Announcements Page on the site, and they add Posts for each artifact/description they include.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Notes/slides from a conversation about digital citizenship and social media


Last night, I facilitated a conversation on teaching digital citizenship and social media use to middle schoolers. Around the table were teachers, librarians, media specialists, technologists, curriculum coordinators, and administrators from Friends Seminary.

Their specific questions were:
1. How can we help middle schoolers be safe, responsible netizens?
2. How would you define digital citizenship and how does that play a role in your school?
3. How does social media play a role in your school and what do you do to prepare kids to use it responsibly?
4. What are some activities that you have done with middle schoolers on digital citizenship?
5. What is your scope and sequence in your school on digital citizenship (and others that you may know)?
6. What tools do you use, such as ELGG, to help kids understand digital citizenship and social media?

Besides showing projects I’ve developed/supported using Google Sites, our internal media repositories (powered by Drupal), or our internal social network (powered by Elgg), I shared how I weave in reminders, anecdotes, news stories, and life lessons at every opportunity.

I shared these three recent relevant articles which I’d seen on Twitter:

And this post recommended by Don Buckley to be a good conversation starter:

I also shared my collection of mantras that I repeat endlessly in class:

  1. Everything you put online is public, permanent, traceable.
  2. Use our technology academically, respectfully, responsibly.
  3. Make wise choices.
  4. We are a community.
  5. There’s no such thing as privacy online. It’s public versus less public.
  6. The only thing worse than kids behaving badly are adults behaving badly.

Rather than proceed through the slide deck I’d prepared, I ended up ignoring most of it and just sharing examples from specific projects (most of which are documented on this site). I embedded the slides below if anyone is super curious…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized