Cool Tools for 2014-2015

Cool Tools for SchoolI’m excited, it looks like there will definitely be another Cool Tools for School learning program for this coming school year. Based on the feedback from the BOCES School Library Systems that participated last year, we’ll have enough participants to run it again. And room to offer it to other regions as well.

After we got started last year, I heard from some SLS directors who said they wished they had known about the project. So this year, I want to make sure everyone knows about it.

For those not familiar with the project, here are some details. The program is conducted completely online. New lessons/topics are posted on a regular basis over about 6 months and participants choose 5 or 10 topics  to explore and then write blog posts about their learning. This project was modeled after Helene Blowers innovative 23 Things project that has been replicated and reinvented many times over the past 8 years.

Last year, we offered 20 different topics for participants to choose from since many people were participating in the program for a second time. There will be more new topics this year. Professional development hours are awarded by each BOCES SLS.  Each system used their own methods for deciding who and how many could participate, depending on budget constraints. Many systems encouraged librarians to collaborate with other teachers.

For more information, take a look at the About the Project and FAQ pages on the project website. If your SLS is interested in participating, let me know and I’ll send you more details. My gmail account is pollyalida, twitter is @pollyalida or post in the SLS Cool Tools Facebook group.




Posted in News

Completion Log Spreadsheet

A number of you have asked to see the completion log spreadsheet to make sure your entries are correct.  You can view the spreadsheet at:

If you see an error in your entry, just resubmit. I’ll be sure to eliminate duplications.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

May 31 deadline

Your deadline is MAY 31 – that’s this Saturday. 

And to get your PD hours you must complete this form.

A couple of the systems that joined the project late, have extended their deadlines. But unless you’ve heard something from your SLS director to the contrary, the deadline is May 31.

I’ll be doing one last sweep through the posts late Monday night, so that gives you a little bit of wiggle room. :)  But I have to get the list of participants and PD hours to the SLS Directors by the end of Tuesday in order for them to have time to process your PD hours.

Posted in News

Your final posts are pouring in!

There are over 1,000 posts now and more coming in every day. You guys are amazing. And it’s not just the quantity, the quality is extraordinary. So many interesting ideas, resources, tip and thoughtful reflections. Thank you for sharing so much of yourselves through these posts. If you want to read posts from your colleagues, visit our Cool Tools Netvibes page.

The official end of the workshop is steaming towards us – May 31. Remember that you can earn 10 PD hours by finishing 5 things, so if you got started last fall and dropped out for a while, you might still find time to finish a couple more things to get PD credit. And 10 things earns you 20 PD hours.

Once you’ve finished your 5 or 10 things, fill out the Completion form and check off the things you completed. Your SLS admin will be contacting you with details about when & how the PD credits will be awarded.

All of the “thing” pages will be archived in a public Evernote folder. (I haven’t added the last things yet.)  This way you’ll have access to this year’s version of the program. Hopefully we’ll run this again next year and all the topics will be updated and some new ones added. But let’s not think about that yet…. :)

Posted in News

Tada!! It’s Thing 20!


The end of the road is just the beginning. photo credit: elviskennedy via photopin cc

We made it through the winter weather and we made it to Thing 20! Our final topic covers tools for creating websites, pathfinders and more. Maybe this summer is the time to revamp your library’s website or create a personal portfolio. Or maybe you need a new tool to create resource pathfinders or help students create personal portfolios. Lots of options in this final topic.

You have till May 31 to finish the program. When you’re done, make sure you fill out the final completion form to help us award your PD credit accurately.

Posted in News

When you’re done, fill out this form

We’re getting close to the end of the Cool Tools for Schools learning project. May 31st is the deadline. Finish 5 or 10 Things by May 31 to receive 10 PD hours (for 5 Things) or 20 PD hours (for 10 Things) from your BOCES School Library System.

Even though most of you have been reporting each of your posts on the class log form, we’d like you to take a minute to fill out this final form, to make it simpler for your SLS Directors to award you the PD credit.

You can fill it out anytime after you’ve completed your 5 or 10 things.  We’ll start compiling the lists of PD credit later in May. Each SLS director will be handling the process a bit differently, so watch for updates from them.  

And yes, I’m still reading blog posts! It’s taking me forever because there are so many great posts and I want to read them all! Keep up the great work!


Posted in News | 3 Comments

NYLA SSL Conference, LibGuides, LibraryBox

Expect MoreI’m really looking forward to the NYLA-SSL conference coming up this week. Sounds like many of you will be there! Yay! Looking forward to seeing old friends and new! If we haven’t met, please say hi. (Forgive me, but I’m absolutely terrible with names and faces, maybe that’s the result of online teaching?)

For those of you planning to do our last topic, “Thing 20: Websites, Pathfinders and Portfolios”, do take a look at the Friday program on LibGuides that Andrew Dutcher and Annarose Foley will be presenting. It’s a terrific option for creating pathfinders and even a library website.

And if you’re curious about Jason Griffey’s LibraryBox project, I’ll have a LibraryBox with me. Turn on your wifi and look for the LibraryBox wifi signal. It will have conference information, David Lankes “Expect More” ebook, info on the 2014 Teen Book Festival and more for you to download. The signal won’t run through the whole conference building, but if you see the signal popping up, you’ll know I’m probably in the same area as you.

Posted in News

The last Thing for Track 1

The last lesson for Track 1 has been posted. Thing 10: Productvity Tools.

Remember, the program ends on May 31, 2014. Finish 5 or 10 Things by then to receive 10 PD hours (for 5 Things) or 20 PD hours (for 10 Things)  from your BOCES School Library System.

Later this week we’ll post a form for you to fill out to get your PD credit. You’ll just need to check off all the things you completed. The School Library System directors will use this to issue PD credit when the course is over.



Posted in News

Recent Tidbits


Posted in Stuff

Spring Break!

For those of you on spring break next week, ENJOY! And because it’s spring break, there won’t be a lesson posted this week. We’ll be back on schedule on April 21 with the final Thing in Track 1.

My goal for the next few days is to read lots more blog posts and make sure that everyone has received some comments on their blogs, though I won’t be leaving comments on every single blog post. And you’re all encouraged to read posts from your colleagues and comment on things that interest you. You’ll find all the blog posts listed on our Netvibes board.

Posted in News