Friday, October 19, 2018

Kathy Kinney and I Brought A Little Magic To OASL In Portland!

Last Saturday was a very special day for me.  It was the day my dear friend Kathy Kinney and I finally met in person after all these years. 
You see over the last 10 years, Kathy, or Mrs. P as my students know her, have connected virtually on Skype and Google Hangout dozens of times.  We have celebrated Dot Day, World Read Aloud Day, Poem in Your Pocket, Poetry Month, Children's Book Week, 
for her special Be-A-Famous-Writer' Contest and so much more. 

And you might not know this little fact about Kathy, she also played Mimi on the Drew Carey show so she has connected with our older students to talk about improv and public speaking too.  
In fact, next week Kathy is kicking off a new Poetry Slam project with our 8th graders at Van Meter School.  We can't wait! 
When I was asked to come give the keynote at the OASL (Oregon Association of School Librarians) Conference in the fall, I contacted Kathy's amazing Head Elf or assistant, Dana Plautz, to tell her and Kathy I was coming to Portland.  
The three of us knew we just had to make it work so Kathy and I would have a chance to share our story and the power of connecting through storytelling and technology at the conference.
Thanks to Holly Gardner and Stuart Levy, who planned the conference, they made it possible for both of us to be together on this very special day along with our friends at....
Follett. We loved sharing the excitement of the conference with all of them.  
As I gave my keynote Let Them Be Heard....Giving Our Students A Voice, I thought a lot about the connections my students, teachers and community have made over the years and what these have meant to all of us. 
I thought about the connections we have made with Kathy and what these brought to all of us, especially to me as a teacher librarian, professional and especially to me as a person and friend. 
As Kathy and I told our story, she shared what librarians and libraries mean to children and the power that all of us have by being there for them and making these valuable connections within their libraries too.  

By the end of our time together, I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.....including Kathy and I. It was just so special. 
After our keynote, we had a breakout session is a room packed full of librarians.  We had a terrific, heartfelt conversation about the magic of storytelling and again, what these moments and experiences bring to our students. 
We all loved when Kathy shared, Because I was a reader, I knew I wanted to travel.  The world is a bigger place. This opened up such a lovely and important conversation that all of us took so much away from on that day.
To make my time in Wilsonville High School even more special,
they also asked me to be part of the OASL Author Panel with....
 authors and illustrators Mitali Perkins, Kathleen Lane, Mike Lawrence and....
...R. Gregory Christie. That was magical too! 

I can't thank Holly, Stuart and my friends at Follett enough for bringing me to OASL and giving me a chance to share with so many amazing teacher librarians, authors, illustrators and others. 

And especially to give my beautiful friend Kathy and I a chance to be together, to share our story and to make great plans for future collaborations, stories and magic. 
Together, we are going to continue to make a difference and transform the lives of children, teachers, librarians and of course, for one another. 

The Workers For Our 2nd Grade PBL #OurHouse Have Been Hired!

Our 2nd graders in Tracy Ferguson's class at Van Meter had a very exciting Friday.  It was the day they were interviewing for their #OurHouse PBL jobs! 
When they kicked off their PBL, Let's Make A House Together last week, our friend and author of What Can You Do With A Toolbox, John Colaneri,
announced the six different jobs they could apply for.  You can read all about the kick off day with John and our 2nd graders here

They were so excited as they saw the...
 help that was wanted to build a house.

Each student in Tracy's class would fill out a #OurHouse Job Application for two positions they were interested in for the project.

After Tracy had all of the job applications, she put them into six groups within the job categories and found special people to interview the students.
Mr. Tibbetts, our elementary principal, interviewed the roofers;
 Mr. Barack, our industrial arts teachers, interviewed the electricians;
Kylie Carey, one of our high school students, interviewed the interior designers; and....
John interviewed the construction workers.  
 They all did such a wonderful job....
 ....filling out the #OurHouse Job Applications.
We loved reading through them as we prepared for the interviews too. 
 John, on Skype, and I went to Mr. Tibbett's office for a quiet place for the interviews.
 The students were all dressed so nicely for their interviews and....
 ....came very prepared... talk about their applications and wanting to be a construction worker.
 We loved the thought and....
 ...passion they put into their answers.
All of them had very special stories to share about building, creating, collaborating with their families and their...
 ...interest in doing a good job on the #OurHouse PBL project. We loved how they listened to one another and were interested in their classmates answers and passion too.
As the interviews wrapped up, John had them gather around the laptop to hear who got the jobs as construction workers for the project.
And guess what?  All eight of the 2nd graders got the construction worker jobs!  And boy, were they happy!

We know that our construction workers will join the others in their class to create, build, decorate, market and sell the best cardboard house they can!

Next week as they dig into their jobs, John and the others will be there supporting these kids along the way. By bringing this opportunity to our students, we are giving them a real life experience they will not forget.  It will tie into reading, writing, math, communication, science, social studies, art, research and so much more.

And the best part, they are in charge of their learning.  They are being given a platform to share their talents, passions, knowledge and most of all, their voice.

Stay tuned for more from #OurHouse in Mrs. Ferguson's 2nd grade class at Van Meter!  

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Adventures In Makerspace! A Creative & Fun Way To Kick Off Making This Year!

It has been so much fun seeing all of the making, creating, communication, investing, writing and collaboration going on throughout the classrooms and library at Van Meter this fall. 

It has been awesome sharing my new series Adventures in Makerspace with the students and teachers to go along with all of this excitement as they inspire our makers too!  I loved seeing this tweet from Amy Garrison, as she shared how her 3rd graders at Van Meter kicked off making with A Robotic's Mission. 

What cool robots they created! 
If you remember, this new series celebrated a book birthday on August 1! 

This is a special series involving a teacher librarian and who doesn't love an exciting adventure with a librarian, especially in a Makerspace! 
This is exactly what you will find in the new series Blake Hoena and I wrote with Capstone.

In fact, there are four books in the series including....

both low-tech and high-tech missions.

The Capstone site states,

STEAM ahead with these graphic novels perfect for your makers! Matt, Codie, Eliza and Cyrus love hanging out in their library’s maker space. Their librarian, Ms. Gillian, has a bit of magic about her, sparking their imaginations and the occasional journey through time! These four friends really get creative as they explore everything from fairy-tale forests to the planet Mars. 

Their adventures even inspired a theme song which readers can access, along with an author interview and activity related to each book, via Capstone 4D, Capstone’s free augmented reality app.

We love the graphic novel styled illustrations by Alan Brown.  They really bring these adventures to life in such a fascinating and creative way.  This series will surely hook any maker and reader!  
These will now available from Capstone. 
You will find them on the site to order

We can't wait to hear what you and your students think as you bring our Adventures to Makerspace to your library, classrooms and community too.  

Thank you Mrs. Garrison and your 3rd graders!  I love that you kicked off making with Ms. Gillian this year!  There are more adventures in making to come.