Andrea Bolton

Creativity can take on many forms, but combined with technology it can reach new heights. Andrea Bolton, an elementary library media specialist and technology integration specialist for the Town of North Attleborough, knows this first-hand. After hearing a presentation at MassCUE regarding the use of green screen in the classroom, she immediately knew this was something she wanted to get started in her district. She submitted and was awarded her first grant, North Attleborough’s Richard A. Smith Grant. With the funds awarded, Bolton was able to purchase a green screen, iPad, lighting and a tripod. “My students loved it and the iPads were the big deal,” stated Bolton, who found recording with the iPad to be easier for her younger students.  

After her students’ success with green screen projects, Andrea wrote a Donor’s Choose proposal to obtain an additional iPad. She has also written a grant to start coding in each of her schools. “I started with games that teach strategy and computational thinking such as Mastermind, Blockus and Othello, and also bought Ozobots, Robot Mouse, and Osmo’s for more hands on coding instruction,” states Bolton, who has taken on the role of Technology Integration Specialist this past school year due to her passion for STEM integration. She also has been awarded funding through Donor’s Choose to buy books for the undersupplied libraries at her schools, specifically catering to modern high-interest books for a low-income school in her care.

Andrea shares her innovative practices with others in her own district and beyond.  She has presented at MassCUE three times, is a facilitator for her district’s professional development days, and welcomes other schools to observe her classes. She was also chosen as a lead educator to bring a team of students to MassCUE’s Education Evolution at the Massachusetts State House this past June. In her presentation, #thisislibrary: Makerspaces in Today’s Libraries, Bolton shared how she uses various makerspace activities to promote literacy and teach library skills with visiting teachers. “For example, I read The One and Only Ivan to my third graders every year. We started using cardboard tubes to replicate the movement in elephant trunks.” stated Bolton. Another lesson involved getting her students more engaged in their book reports. “We took pictures of our students in front of the green screen and put them in their book covers to use with their book report assignments.” said Andrea. Bolton also teaches the nonfiction section in the library by having students code their way through each section. “I have never seen my students more engaged and happy to learn the dewey decimal system!”

Andrea reminisced about her experience at Education Evolution, a MassCUE-sponsored opportunity for teachers and students to present at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. “I loved how the Education Evolution was all about our students. We helped get them set up and the kids took it away from there. They were not shy in asking representatives if they could take their picture and make a green screen picture out of it. They walked each person through the process of how they make the pictures. Since this experience, these kids are constantly asking when we are using the green screen again, and what they can do to help.”

Andrea is always working to improve her teaching practice and has tips to share with other educators. “MassCUE has been a game-changer for me! The Fall Conference and various professional developments have given me many ideas. After each session, I follow the presenter on Twitter to see what they are doing in their classrooms throughout the year.”, she said. This leads Bolton to other educators, leaders, and organizations to follow. “Educators are more than willing to share their ideas and talk to you about what you can do in your own lessons,” said Andrea. She also keeps close contact with the teachers and administrators in her schools. “As a tech integration specialist, I learn about programs or technology that they have come across and I add it to my repertoire.”

Andrea’s commitment to education is clear to see. The positive impact she is making for her students and her district will benefit many in the years to come. Congratulations from MassCUE on a job well done!

Andrea Bolton is an elementary library media specialist and technology integration specialist for North Attleborough Public Schools. Over her years of service in North Attleborough, she has written several grants to bring technology and supplies to support student learning. Follow her on Twitter @bookwormbolton

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