Dressing Up Destiny

This post is based on an article published in the South Carolina Association of School Librarians’ Media Center Messenger (Volume XLVIII, Issue 4).

My school district upgraded our library catalogs to Follett’s Destiny over the summer of 2010 and provided training to the school librarians in August.  I was disappointed that the training provided little  information on creating a Destiny home page.  As I usually do, if the professional development I need is not provided by my district, I went in search of information to meet my needs.

I began combing the Internet to find great examples of Destiny home pages, and serendipitously stumbled across Alicia Vandenbroek’s Destiny home page.  Not only was her home page not just a list of links, it was colorful and animated.  How did she do that?


The answer:  www.wix.com.  Alicia discovered this awesome free web site creator that allows web pages to be embedded into other sites – including Destiny!  Not only has she created an inviting home page for her school catalog, but she has also shared detailed directions that all school librarians can use to dress up their Destiny home page.

Using her directions, I created our Destiny home page as seen in the screenshot above.  Wix offers many options, but one that I love is the Mini Page option.  Using this option, you can create hyperlinked sections to be displayed on your home page. I created three:  Library Info, Recommended Reading, and Book Trailers.

In the screenshot below, you’ll see that the left column of our home page has changed to the Recommended Reading Mini Page where I have inserted hyperlinks and a book trailer. (Disappointing news at this point for my school district:  the embedded YouTube book trailers played perfectly for the first week or so, but the district once again blocked YouTube so I am currently looking for other options, including a Vimeo player that can be embedded into Wix.)

The third Mini Page I created is solely for book trailers:

Our new Destiny home page is colorful and informative.  At this point, Destiny is only on our district’s Intranet so we still use our library web page as our Internet home page on library computers, providing access to more research oriented links.  Although you cannot visit our page on the Internet, you can find Alicia Vandenbroek’s and her detailed directions for dressing up your own Destiny home page!

Shack Stacks, Shackelford Junior High’s Library Wiki:  http://shackstacks.wikispaces.com/Find+a+Book

“Wix and Destiny” found on the Librarian’s Lounge page of the above wiki:


(The “Wix and Destiny” directions are the fifth embedded document on the page.)

Going Gaa-Gaa for Google

It is no secret to those who know me:  I am a Google fan.  Google offers great (FREE) tools that have simplified my life and allowed me to accomplish more  – efficiently and effectively.  Some Google services I use:

Google’s Educational Uses

For those educators who are still not sold on Google, here are some links that either offer more information for educators, or give examples of educators’ use of Google for their students.


Google Search Options

Google Docs


Make Word Mosaic

Earlier this week, someone requested a link to a concrete poetry making site on the SCASL (South Carolina Association of School Librarians) listserv.

Today as I was reading and tweaking my Google Reader, I came across a new tool through Jane’s E-Learning Pick of the Day that looks very promising: ImageChef‘s Make Word Mosaic.

ImageChef’s simple description: “Write a comment or poem in the shape of hearts or other symbols.
Send a greeting or post to MySpace or your blog.”

After you have chosen your symbol and typed in the text you wish to include, click on the heart symbol to the right of the text box and you can add a variety of symbols to your word mosaic. In the example below, I added musical notes, envelopes, stars, and people to the mosaic.

Another Free Digital Storytelling Tool for Teachers

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Garden
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Smilebox offers free Club Smilebox accounts for educators (normally costing $39.99 annually).  This tool is perfect for educators who want to create and post a scrapbook slideshow in just moments.

Club Smilebox also allows you to create animated photobooks, email cards,  and postcards to share with others.  You’ll find over 850 design templates from which to choose.  Creating one is as simple as choosing a design, importing photos from your computer, and then arranging the photos by simply clicking and dragging them onto slides.  Want to share your creation online?  It’s as simple as clicking on “share” and either copying and pasting embedding code or signing into an account like Facebook and letting Smilebox post your slideshow.

Sign up for your free account here.

(I first wrote about this tool here.  After playing with it again this morning, I felt that it was worth a repost due to its ease of use.)

Save the Words!

save the words  certificate of adoption

The English language is growing by leaps and bounds with new words entering our vocabulary daily.  Unfortunately, some existing words are used less frequently (or not at all) because of this.

Enter SavetheWords.org.  Visit this site and words bordering on extinction will literally call out to you. Click on any word to see its definition and its use in a sentence.

Sign up for a free account and save a word (or two or three).  I am now the proud parent of “pudify.”  Because I am often pudified when I stick my foot in my mouth, I decided to rescue this word.

I hope that my readers (all three of you) will step up to the plate and rescue a word from extinction.  Otherwise, I will be pudified that my attempt to bring light to this worthy cause failed.

I wish to thank “A Library by Any Other Name” for posting information on this site.

Another Po Folk* Resource

I found an interesting post  from Bright Ideas in my Google Reader this morning on Teacher’s TV.  The site is operated by Education Digital, an independent media consortium in London.  The site offers thousands of educational programs both online and on tv.

Since this is National Poetry Month, I thought I would focus on the resources the site offered on poetry.  One video, Resource Review -Secondary English, discussed three online resources and how they were used in the classrooom. One interesting one that was new to me is the BBC’s GCSE Bitesize – English – Poetry Slideshow.   


Although the concept of creating a slideshow with images to accompany the reading of a poem is not new, I found the teachers’ discussion to be interesting.  One teacher disliked how literal the images were – which could detract from the overall meaning of the poem.  Another disliked that only one line of a poem was displayed underneath an image; she would prefer that the entire poem be displayed on the side as the images were shown. 

The number of poems on the website is limited, but some include more than just the slideshow. “Dulce Et Decorum Est,” for example gives background information on World War I, helping to place it in context for students. 

A contest that combines celebrating National School Library Month and National Poetry Month idea:  students create slideshows using Photostory that can be shown during the last week in April. 


* Po folk = poetry folk, those with poetry in their souls

Pic Lits

PicLit from PicLits.com
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com

Pic Lits is magnetic poetry – only better for a couple of reasons:

1.  You use a photo as a visual stimulus for your writing

2.  You are not limited to a selected set of words

To get started, go to the home page and choose a picture that inspires you and then add your thoughts directly to the picture.  You can choose to drag and drop words from a menu below the picture or use the “freestyle” option (like I did for the one linked to above) so that you aren’t limited by the available words.

If you want to save or share your PicLit, you must register for a free account.  Very easy – you provide your email, a password, and a pen name and you are ready to unleash your inner poet!

Interested to see how others were inspired by the same photo once you have completed and saved yours?  Click on the option beneath your saved work.