FETC 2015: Part 1

I’m only on Day 3 of FETC 2015, and it’s already been an amazing whirlwind of awesomeness.  I’ll be writing more detailed reflection posts when I get back to Tampa, since I know I’m only going to have bits and spurts of time for blogging while I’m here. Day 1, January 20, 2014 On Day … Read more

A Christmas Story: YOU Make a Difference

That’s a picture of my paternal grandparents, Howell and Irene Loper.  My grandmother, Irene Garris Loper, was a school teacher in the same district I work in now.  She got her education degree at Florida State Women’s College (now Florida State University).  She taught in other counties before she settled with my grandfather and my … Read more

5 Tips for Starting a Makerspace on a Budget

5 Tips for Starting a Makerspace on a Budget | This post links to my article for the ISTE Scanner. In the article, I talk about my five tips for starting a makerspace on a budget, including cultivating a vision,

  When I talk to other librarians and educators about starting a school Makerspace, one of the most common things I hear is: “I’d love to do (insert cool Maker activity) at my school, but we don’t have a budget for that”.  What many people don’t realize is that the idea that you need a … Read more


This year marked my fifth year at the Florida Association for Media in Education conference.  I have to say that this year was definitely my best FAME experience yet.  We had an amazing slew of awesome guests, a fabulous keynote speaker (my friend, Tiffany Whitehead) and it was my first time presenting at a conference. … Read more

10 Tips for Writing Grant Proposals That Will Show You the Money

10 Tips for Writing Grant Proposals That Will Show You the Money - I've raised over $10,000 in grants for my school library. I've also read and evaluate grant applications before. Here's my top tips for writing grant proposals that will get you the money you need.

Show me the (grant) money! I’ve written a lot of grant proposals since I became a media specialist in 2010.  And while I certainly haven’t received every grant I’ve ever applied for, I have been successful at getting quite a few, including two $5,000 grants and several smaller grants.  Like many other schools throughout the … Read more

How to Create DonorsChoose Projects That Will Get Funded

How to Create DonorsChoose Projects That Will Get Funded | I've raised over $13,000 through 20 funded projects through DonorsChoose. It's an amazing funding resource for public schools. Here's my advice on how you can create successful DonorsChoose projects.

DonorsChoose: A Hidden Goldmine for Public Schools My first experience with DonorsChoose was in 2011.  They had a promotion with Starbucks where gift cards were given out to patrons to spend on projects.  I had several successful projects at that time, but I didn’t really use DonorsChoose much again until 2014. It was around the same time that I … Read more

My Summer of Connecting

When I first got into education, I thought of networking as something that only people in big businesses did.  It was an ugly word, with sleazy, self-serving connotations.  Fast forward a few years, and I realized that my favorite thing about going to conferences was getting to hang out with like-minded, passionate, inspiring educators.  I … Read more

The STEM Maker Library Grant

In all the craziness of last year, I forgot to blog about one of the grants we received.  Almost every year that I’ve been a media specialist, I’ve applied for a grant from the Hillsborough Education Foundation.  In previous years, I’ve applied for more graphic novels, books geared towards reluctant readers, and audiobooks.  This year, … Read more