Monday, March 30, 2015

It's That Time Again.....Time To Celebrate Poetry Month With Our Students & Friends!

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With Poetry Month in April, it is always so much fun to connect with others throughout the month through Skype, GHO, and lots of other ways.

We have celebrated with other libraries, classrooms and schools by reading poetry, bringing in special poetry guests, and creating and sharing poetry together online using digital tools such as Padlet and FlipGrid.  

Let’s use this Google Doc as a way to make connections and share how we are going to be celebrating Poetry Month within our libraries and schools.   It is easy….Just add your name, contact information, and ideas below.  Then look for others to collaborate and connect with.   It is a great time to make new friends and create wonderful learning experiences for your students.  
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Also, if you are looking for a poet or author to connect with for Poetry Month, make sure you check out Skype in the Classroom new Literacy page for connecting with authors, poets, illustrators and others.  They have put together an amazing way to now find and schedule these very special guests.  
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One more thing…. Poem in Your Pocket Day is a fun way to celebrate Poetry Month.  This year it will be celebrated on April 30.  You can find information and resources on the website.
I have put together the Poetry Symbaloo of fun poetry websites and resources. I love using this throughout the month and year.

Have fun and remember….Poetry can be celebrated anytime!  Let’s make April one of those times together.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

You Don't Want To Miss The Iowa Association Of School Librarian Spring Conference In April....It's Going To Be Epic!

In just a few short weeks, something super exciting will be happening amongst the rock star teacher librarians in Iowa.  You see it is time for the Iowa Association of School Librarians Conference.

This year our conference will be held in Des Moines on April 12 and 13.
 You can check out the Smore full of details online here
Just wait until you see the lineup for the epic event!
 I am very excited about our two keynote speakers.

My amazing friend Jennifer LaGarde, better known as The Library Girl, will be opening our conference on Monday morning.
And at noon, my awesome friend Ian Coon will be the keynote speaker at the luncheon.  
Monday is packed full of great breakout sessions and on Sunday evening there will be several Lightning Talks.

Jennifer and I will be giving one together entitled The AASL Best Websites....25 That Rock Each Year! 

You can check out the schedule for both days here.
It is so much fun to see everyone who is coming to the conference on this Google Map.  I am sure we will add more over the next two weeks.  
The planners are also asking everyone to turn themselves into a superhero for the conference.....To show the super powers of teacher librarians and educators.

You can check out all of the Iowa superheros here.

I hope that all teacher librarians, along with their administrators, teachers, and others, plan to come to the IASL conference in April.  It is always an exciting event and so important for us to come together and show our support for each other, our profession, and advocate for ourselves.

This event will be epic.....And our voices together can make each day epic within our libraries, schools, and communities all throughout the year.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Exciting News From Canva As They Launch Their Education Program and Teacher Resource Center!

We had some exciting news from our friends at Canva this week!  They have launced their education program and teacher resource center!  You just have to check out Canva for Education here.....You will love it and all that it has to offer our young people and teachers.  

My friend Hannah at Canva shared this wonderful press release with me, explaining more about Canva for Education...
Canva makes educational resources freely available for school teachers to spread visual literacy to students around the world
  • Canva launches initiatives aimed at helping teachers educate students to communicate visually
  • Partners with teachers to develop lesson plan content and announces advisory board of influential classroom teachers and Edtech consultants

Canva, the web-based graphic design startup, has announced a range of initiatives aimed at supporting teachers to educate students about visual communication. Canva will bring together a new education resource center, complete with teaching materials from an advisory board of classroom teachers and Edtech influencers, as well as a new integration with Google Apps for Education log-in.

With more than 1.8 million users and 15 million designs on its consumer design platform alone, Canva reinforces its commitment to the education space by providing a tool that enables teachers and students to innovate, collaborate, and communicate through visual design. Canva’s new education center is aimed at providing learning resources for teachers looking for dynamic and engaging ways to integrate visual project-based learning into their core curriculum.

“Understanding how to communicate through visual mediums is becoming increasingly important as we live in a world driven by technology and interactive multimedia,” says Canva CEO Melanie Perkins. “By providing teachers with resources centered on teaching visual literacy, we’re facilitating an environment in which students can develop fluency in a skill that will be essential when they enter the workforce.”

In addition to lesson plans authored by classroom teachers, Canva has established an Education Advisory Board comprised of some of the most influential educators in the education technology space. Advisors include thought leaders like Richard Byrne (author of Free Tech 4 Teachers), Vicki Davis (Cool Cat Teacher), and Steven Anderson (#Edchat co-founder), who are internationally respected for their contributions to the education space. Their involvement will include not only creating content for other teachers, but also providing guidance on Canva’s future education initiatives.

Vicki Davis has said of Canva’s education initiatives, “Graphics are an essential part of today’s communication and influence. It isn’t just about making it look pretty. Effective graphics help us better articulate ideas and inspire action.” Richard Byrne said, “Creating with Canva isn’t just about making great visuals, it’s about inspiring ideas too.”

All of Canva’s education and classroom initiatives is available to anyone and can be access by visiting

The key components of Canva’s Education Center are:

  • Canva for Education Access
    • A drag and drop design tool made for teachers and students. Canva for Education includes Google Apps for Education integration, allowing for easy registration and deployment in the classroom.  
    • A comprehensive series of workshops and lesson plans designed for teachers to use in the classroom. Teach your students the importance of visual communication with practical classroom activities.
  • Educational Advisory Board
    • Canva establishes an advisory board of influential teachers in the edtech space. The board provides guidance and insights on the role technology plays in the classroom and day-to-day learning.
I am very honored to be part of this amazing group of educators and friends.  I can't wait to see what we do next.

Canva for Education is one tool you will definitely want to use within your library and classroom.

We can't wait to see how you use it too.