Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Celebrating Ivy + Bean Day with Brook Forest Elementary

This month in the Van Meter Elementary Library the second graders celebrated Ivy + Bean Day! Ivy + Bean are two wonderful characters in a series of books by Annie Barrows.

To make the celebration even more exciting we connected to Brook Forest Elementary Library in Oak Brook, Illinois. Mrs. Miller met their librarian, Mr. John Shue when they attended the School Library Journal Summit in Chicago at the end of October. They just knew that all of the students would have a GREAT time connecting and sharing their celebrations with one another.

During the celebration, we created Double Dare Cootie Catches, designed Ivy's bedroom just like we wanted, dressed Ivy + Bean in awesome clothes, and shared the seven books with one another. As a special surprise, Ivy + Bean even left us tiny cupcakes in the library for us to eat. Everyone had an awesome time and it was so much fun getting to know more about Brook Creek Elementary too!

You can find out more about Ivy + Bean on the Van Meter Elementary Library and Tech Voice Google site at on the Second Grade page.

And don't forget to check out the library for all of the Ivy + Bean books!

Be a Dreamer Too!

Last week the King Dreamers came to visit Van Meter School for the first time. The
Van Meter National Honor Society have become mentors and friends to this amazing group of 5th graders. The Dreamers are part of the I Have a Dream Foundation which adopts classrooms of inner-city, high risk kids in first grade, providing tutoring, mentoring, and personal support along the way. Upon successful completion of high school, financial assistance for college is guaranteed to each Dreamer. I posted A Story of Hope last February on the Van Meter Library VOICE, which tells how our journey started with the Dreamers last year.

We usually travel to King Elementary in Des Moines, but this year we have decided to host the Dreamers at least once a month for connecting, creating, collaboration, and a lot of FUN! With this being the first visit to Van Meter, our students showed the Dreamers around our school and introduced them to Mr. Durflinger, Mrs. Arentsen, Mrs. Wesselmann, the Van Meter cheer squad, and a few of our other teachers and students.

It was inspiring to walk around the library and computer lab to see all of them talking and working together. There were groups of kids that were Skyping across the room to one another and using Photo Booth to take crazy pictures to share. One Dreamer was using Google Earth to show their Van Meter friend where they lived in Des Moines. On the far side of the library, The Cupid Shuffle video was being watched on YouTube while two Dreamers danced for their Van Meter friends. After looking at instruments in the band room, two friends were creating their own music using Garage Band. It was so special to see how their interests and differences were coming together and the friendships were developing even more than last year.

I recently contacted Random Kid and Youth Venture to figure out how the King Dreamers and Van Meter NHS members can raise money to purchase iMacs, Flip video cameras, and other technology for their space at King Elementary. After Thanksgiving, Danny Heggen from Youth Venture is coming to speak with the NHS members to brainstorm ideas of how we are going to make this dream a reality. On December 15th at our Christmas party, we are going to be able to share this plan with the Dreamers. Together they will make this dream come true and it will give the Dreamers a chance to make a difference in their own lives too.

The King Dreamers and the Van Meter National Honor Society members inspire me every time we get together. I am thankful to have the chance to work with and know each and every one of them. They are a gift in my life and in each others. I am very thankful for what they have taught me.

Yesterday I heard Imagine by John Lennon. The lyrics in this song say it so well....

You may say I'm a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you will join us,
and the World will live as one.

The moments I spend with the Dreamers and NHS members, make me realize how we can change the world.
It is moments like this when I think about the difference anyone can can make regardless of who you are, where you are from, or what resources you have.
We have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

If you have a dream, make it a reality and change the lives of others. Be a dreamer too!