Author: Leslie Lewis

Educational Technology Specialist at Salt Lake City School District.

Getting Involved

   Saturday, December 2, I went to a rally for Bear’s Ears at the Utah State Capitol.  It was heartening to see so many people, (5,000 according to KSL) involving themselves in the politics of this country IN A PEACEFUL manner.   I found out afterward that one of my students was there.  Several people I know were there whom I did not see.  

   Little kids were dressed up in teddy bear costumes.  I could not believe how many old people were there, people older than me with canes and walkers.  A little old lady with a walker asked me to sign a petition against gerrymandering.   The protest signs were amazing some very funny, some clever, and some pretty risque.  I had the opportunity to talk to law enforcement.  I started a conversation with a canine officer and ended up talking to his human partner.  Aaron was a very interesting and friendly human and AAros was such a handsome dog.  He was wearing goggles so his eyes would not accidentally get poked by a wayward sign.  

Officers Aaron & AAros

   I ran into one of my friends and a member of my book club while there.  We read mostly non-fiction books like, Hillbilly Elegy, Sons of Witchita: The Koch Brothers, This Fight is Our Fight by Elizabeth Warren.  Every month we whine, “What can we do to make our country better?”   “Encourage people to vote.”  “Have frank discussions.”  “Listen to both sides.”  “Write to our legislators.”

   Going to that rally was something I could DO.  I could be NOT NEUTRAL.  I could take a stand and make my voice heard.  That’s what I did.  I felt empowered, righteous, proud.   It was great.   I wish I could have attended the rally again today but it was not possible.  

   This is what I am going to tell my book club I am doing.  Getting Involved!  Are you?

UELMA Award Nominations

2008 UELMA Award Nominations

Do YOU know a school librarian who embraces challenges, spends her/his time

Future Ready Librarians
UELMA 2018 Conference Logo

collaborating and being all-around indispensable?  Do students flock to the school library because they enjoy books, reading, giving and getting feedback and suggestions from that librarian?  Do you go to that librarian for advice about Nearpod, Kahoot, Adobe Spark or other technology questions?  Nominate that jewel for a UELMA award!  We need to encourage those amazing library teachers who advocate and support student learning with

The UELMA CONFERENCE is March 9, 2018 at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.

For more information visit UELMA’s website,


Tooele Techtoberfest 2017

It seems like a long drive to Tooele. It is about 34 miles and 40 minutes along I-80 from Salt Lake City to Tooele. Techtoberfest, held at Stansbury High School on Friday, October 6, was well worth the trip.
Derek Larson, a St. George native, gave an inspiring keynote that included an homage to his friends and others who were in Las Vegas on the day of the tragic mass shooting.

Derek Larson is the Educational Technology Director for the Southwest Educational Development Center. Formerly a 4th grade teacher, he encouraged all of us to take time out to unplug from our technology and our hectic lives and plug INTO nature and most importantly our families, books, hobbies and other things we love in order to relax and recharge.

Derek did not fail to put in a plug for #utedchat every Wednesday night at 9:00 P.M. It’s great fun AND informative if you can stay up that late.

The first session I attended was Derek’s Breakout Box session. That was exciting! A Breakout Kit is a unique set of resettable locks, boxes, and items that can be used to play many games. The best part of the game, (the one we played was the Never-ending Faculty Meeting – OH THE HORROR!) was the debriefing afterward that included discussing how each clue was found and decoded.   BreakoutEDU

Tooele School District has come up with a great method for combating phishing in their district and they are willing to share. After including all the people who support learning; district bus drives, secretaries, teachers, administrators, custodians and kitchen staff, in a training involving this short video, they noted a BIG decrease in the number of computer viral infections and a BIG increase in the number of phishing scams reported. Link to their FINE PHISHING VIDEO.

Other sessions included Smart Board, Near Pod, Blended Learning, Student Data Protection, Canvas, Plickers, Sway, Gamification, and Virtual Reality.  There was something for everyone!

Thanks to the clever, hard-working people who planned and implemented Techtoberfest; Jim Langston, Thane St. Clair, Nicole St. Clair, Katy Challis, Curriculum Staff, Deb Bushek, Chantet Cowan, Patricia Baldwin, Hal Strain and the Tooele School District IT Department.

UCET Enjoys “Luck of the Irish”!

Day One of #UCET17 began with a smooth check-in process for attendees and volunteers.  We all felt the magic of Big Band Era music as The Mixed Nuts Band enlivened our early morning.   A hilarious video starring the UCET Board had everyone laughing.

Guitarist Jim Fish rolled out the day with Ozark Mountain beats that had us all tapping our toes on Day Two of #UCET17. 

An all-star cast of super heroes crashed the opening meeting on Day Two.  Dora the Explorer, Batman and Darth Vadar showed up to fling socks and Tshirts into the audience along with Tina Fey, (a Dani K. Sloan lookalike).

Alice Keeler’s presentation, What if School Were More Like World of Warcraft, caught and kept our attention as we learned about gamification in the classroom.  Her slides are located here.

As an educator, climber, and base jumper, Steph Davis encouraged and challenged us to take risks and embrace failure as a teaching tool.  Visit her breath-taking blog here

Travis Allen, President and Founder of the iSchool Initiative, presented both days.  On Thursday he spoke about Becoming a Lifelong Learner and Friday about Overcoming the Top Ten Barriers to Technology Adoption.  Visit his website here

There were so many excellent presenters it was hard to chose who to visit.  The playgrounds, the vendors and the Wonderment Bus added to the general excitement and enthusiasm for topics dear to our hearts, educating students and ourselves and technology!  There we many innovative ideas, lessons, and products available. 

If you missed it this year, mark your calendars for next #UCET18.  Coming Spring 2018!

UELMA Conference

UELMA, Utah Educational Library Media Association, will be holding their conference on March 3 at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.  UELMA is the only organization in the state that was organized specifically as a support and community for school libraries.  UELMA provides a yearly conference to enable professional growth in a dynamic and changing environment.  One of UELMA's ongoing goals is to publicize the components and dimensions of school library media programs.  

The theme for the UELMA conference this year is "Librarians: Agents of Change".  School Librarians work to create welcoming, fun, interactive library experiences for all students.  Join us at UELMA to learn more, have fun and lend a hand in spreading the word about Utah's school libraries!

Guest Speakers and Authors/Illustrators this year include

Chris Raschka, author of Yo!Yes!
Emily Wing Smith, author of The Way We Lived
Judd Winick, author/illustrator of Pedro & Me
Jake Parker, creator of the Missile Mouse graphic novels

The Service Project for the year is YouthLinc & the Santa Isabel, Peru Library Project. Youthlink is dedicated to creating lifetime humanitarians of Utah young people.  

UEN presenters this year include Dani Sloan, Shannon Ririe, & Jami Gardner.  

Stop by the UCET Table to enjoy sit down comedy with Michael Hackkarinen and Andrew Clark.  

Here is a sampling of the Utah School Library Media Specialists who will be leading workshops.

Celia Powell & Cindy Moyle – Picture Books with Secondary Students
Jeff Curran – Twitter & Google+
Jessica Moody – BookTube
Chris Haught – Research 2 Write
Cindy Mitchell – Book Frenzy
Sarah Herron – Every Student Succeds with Strong School Libraries
DaNea Lau – Censorship Vs. Selection
Brad Butcher – Hosting an Author
Warren Child – Hosting a Book Group
Sheri Haderlie & Jadene Denniston – Fake News & Real Strategies
Complete Conference Schedule – March 3, 2017 – Utah Cultural Celebration Center – 1355 West 3100 South, West Valley City

To register for UELMA visit this website.  




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