Wow oh wow! When I was writing up the Part II for this Cool Tool I was so confident that it would be easy to whip up a Pinterest board for the library and share it with teachers before we went on February break. I wasn’t entirely wrong, creating the library Pinterest account was a snap. Coming up with boards was pretty easy breezy as well. It wasn’t even that difficult to get started pinning to the boards. I had meet with a technology liaison from my district about an entirely different project a few weeks before starting this and she shared the link with me to the New York Model Schools Pinterest account she is helping create. I used many of their board ideas and pins to start my library Pinterest account. And that’s when I hit a wall.
Suddenly, tasked with pinning things that not only would appeal to teachers (instead of random things I liked) and would represent the library well, I froze. I’m a librarian, not a classroom teacher or a content specialist. I found myself second guessing the things I was finding and thinking of pinning to my boards. I thought this math activity looked cool and fun but would teachers think it was silly or stupid or would it be something they’d already seen a million times before?????? Slogging through all the different Pinterest search results and online search results and articles I’d saved to Pocket took what felt like FOR.EV.ER. And when I was done, I’d only pinned 5 things, tops, to each of my 24 boards. I’d had a goal of at least 10 things pinned to each of my 24 boards before I shared it with my teachers. I wanted it to seem well developed and worth their time to check out, something they could explore and discover new things through, not something they could glance at and be done with in 5 minutes. So, board by board, I set aside a little time each morning, afternoon and evening of break to reach my goal and FINALLY, the last weekend of break, I got it done.
But, before I could share my Pinterest board, I had another problem to solve. The results of my teacher survey were an almost even split between wanting a Pinterest account and a digital newsletter to keep them up to date on new resources. As such, I had decided to do both, send cool stuff to our Pinterest account whenever I found it and, every other week or so, send my teachers a digital newsletter highlighting some of the Pinterest finds. So now, I had to figure out what digital newsletter I wanted to use for monthly updates. I thought I was going to use Scoop.It but I honestly wasn’t feeling it so I keep looking and looking and looking. There are a lot of results when you search for digital newsletters but none of them were blowing me away. I wanted it to be slick looking but easy to put together, easy to add my contacts to and, easy to add my Pinterest finds.
Oh a whim, I decided to look at Smore.com. Our department head had recently created and sent us flyers for the district Battle of the Books competition using Smore.com and I had used it in grad school for some assignments. It’s really easy to use and looks pretty great for the effort so I decided to noodle around and see if I could make a flyer work as a newsletter when I discovered the best thing EVER! When you click on “start new flyer”, one of your flyer set up options is news bulletin!!! It was exactly what I had been looking for and not finding with all the other digital newsletter options online and even easier to setup than I had hoped. I was able to add a “button” linking people directly to the library’s Pinterest page and, embed links from our Pinterest page as well. Then, I emailed the flyer to myself at work. After I opened it, I forwarded it to a custom mailing list I have saved on my work email account of all the teachers (after taking out all the obvious bits and pieces that showed I had forwarded the email to myself). WordPress doesn’t let you embed a Smore flyer into your posts but I’ve attached a link to the news bulletin I sent my teachers below. And of course, feel free to check out my Pinterest board!
I’m hoping this helps my teachers stay up to date on what’s fun and cool out there without me having to run all over the place tracking them down!
And with that, I’ve officially finished Thing 22 and have FINALLY created a resource guide….now to just keep it up and keep it fresh!