Saturday, August 27, 2011

"From Small Beginnings Come Great Things"......and What a Start It Is!

Two weeks ago we started a new school year.  My daughter Brianna is a senior and little Hagan is a first grader. Before it even started I knew that it was going to hold exciting changes, many firsts, and a few lasts too.  However, I had no idea that so many small things would bring such an amazing start to this school year.  

Just as this quote says.....


And just take a look at what is going to make this one of the greatest years yet!  These are a few of those special moments that I won't forget as we go through the school year.  
I loved seeing the 8th graders for the first time in the library for their bi-weekly checkout time.  It is so much fun to talk to them about new books, favorite authors, and classics that they should read.
It is always scary and exciting for the 6th graders to join the older students in the secondary on the first day,but by the second day my technology literacy class was presenting Wordles they created confidently.
On that first Thursday back, a group of six of our students were being trained by JDL Productions for Governor Brandstad's Student Roundtable at the Iowa State Fair.  Our students, including Meg Enos who is in this photo, did the video taping and production for this very special event.  I was so proud as I watched them learn alongside JDL's crew that Thursday after school.   And excited for them as I followed the tweets coming from the fair grounds the very next day.
I smiled as two of my 8th grade friends, Ben and Isaac, read the book The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray to our first graders.
I loved creating this display in the secondary library with Brianna (who is my teaching cadet) for Banned Books Week the week of September 24-October 1st.  The conversations that have started because of this display are exciting to listen to and have sparked lots of reading at Van Meter.  
The Mac lab has been moved down to the elementary and a few new ones were added to complete this space.  The kids were so excited to see that they were going to learn on all Mac's this year.  The 3rd-5th graders signed into their Destiny accounts and caught up in "My Quest."  
Mrs. Merical's class was excited to hear that she was one of the characters in The Grey Griffin's, The Brimstone Key  in a book talk that I did on their first visit to the library. 
I cried as the amazing 8th graders, who started the Van Meter She's The First chapter, told Tammy Tibbetts, founder of She's the First, that they had raised over $1,000 to sponsor a Kisa Scholar in Tanzania.  After winning the Connecting People Shorty Award last spring, Tammy and I connected on Twitter and we quickly put the first secondary school chapter of She's the First into action.  The ambition, love, and friendship that have went into their fundraising efforts is so awesome! These girls are 12 and 13 years old.....never underestimate the power of a young persons VOICE.  
After John Schu and I discussed Follow That Peach, which is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Roald Dahl's book James and the Giant Peach, we kicked off a global project connecting five schools.  I created the new blog A Peachy Project to showcase the projects that we are going to do over the next few months.  

I met with the three 3rd grade teachers, Eldonna Skahill, Jennifer Stephens, and Ann Volk one afternoon.  We planned social studies, science, math, literacy, technology, and library activities.  
For the introductory project, the 3rd created "paper peaches" to send to the first school on the journey.  They had a wonderful time filling out their location and a reason they loved Roald Dahl's book.....which wasn't hard for any of them.  
The peaches are all ready to go and will take off for Sarah Ducharme's school in Budapest this coming Monday. 
I created a QR Code Scavenger Hunt for my 6th grade technology literacy class. 
They found answers to questions involving the library itself and online, created a Voki for one of the questions, raced their partners in a typing game, and became more familiar on how to be a successful secondary student.  
We used the iPads to scan the QR codes and they worked in a Google Doc on their MacBook to record their answers and work.  
The 6th graders turned the library into a place for investigation and discovery.  
Since the internet was down on Friday, I couldn't have the K-2nd graders do the QR Code scavenger hunt to find the gingerbread man.  I had to quickly come up with an activity in a few minutes so I copied the adorable little coloring sheet from the back of this poster.  
I told the little ones that they were able to create a gingerbread man any way they would like to.  All of them were so excited....They were able to SHINE by creating something all of their own from a simple coloring sheet that everyone had.  
And the loft OPENED this week too.  We are calling the students who get to go into the loft each week the "Little Library Lizards".  I even let them work up in the loft....it is a very special new place in our library.  
I loved this activity.  It was so fun to watch them create and then share their very own gingerbread man.  
And the small things didn't stop over the weekend.  

Two of my NHS (National Honor Society) students called me at 7:30am to tell me they needed the paint for the pawprints they were making in driveways for our fall fundraiser.  
I went to the Van Meter Farmer's Market to see the girls selling muffins, cookies, and drinks. During their phone conversation with Tammy the other day, they learned that they could sponsor the second year of education for the young woman in Tansania.  Well guess what.....they are already on their way!  
So as you can see, all of these small beginnings created some pretty wonderful things over the first few weeks.  

I happen to think I have the best job being the "Librarian Girl".  

And the very best part.....I get to make a difference in the lives of others and they get to make a difference in mine as well.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

John Schu and I Are Excited To Be NEW FableVision Learning Ambassadors!


John and I love this statement found on Fablevision's blog The LiveWire. These are all qualities that we hope to bring to our library and instill in the students and teachers we work with everyday.  

So when Terry Shay, Lead Ambassador for FableVision Learning, asked us to be part of the Fablevision family this last week by being FableVision Learning Ambassadors, we were thrilled!  
Peter H. Reynolds and his wonderful team at FableVision Learning are committed to helping all learners reach their full potential.

As the FableVision Learning site states, "We're on a mission to make every classroom a center of innovation and creativity.  Our software, professional development, and films help teachers inspire kids to develop essential 21st century skills and move their lives, and world, to a better place."

We would like to start out our FableVision Learning Ambassadorship by sharing some of our favorite FableVision resources with you.
to the software that Fablevision Learning creates...
to the educational resources from free classroom mini-postersFableVision clip art17 Tips for a Creative Life-Long Learning Journey, a guide to Sparking the Creative Spirit....there is something for everyone to make a difference in a child's life.  
The LiveWire Blog is a great place to read about all the wonderful happenings, thoughts, new books and resources from FableVision Learning.
FableVision Learning Place  is a website your students will LOVE to visit.  There is a library, post office, school, cafe, Fable TV, Fable Museum, Fable Radio and more.  
On The North Star page  you can read the story, share, and find wonderful activities to go along with this book.  
On September 15, 2011 we will be celebrating International Dot Day together and with others around the world.  Peter's classic book THE DOT was released on September 15, 2003.  THE DOT has inspired readers to "Make your mark and see where this will take you."  This will be a special day to celebrate one of our favorite books and also the unique qualities of all of us and impact we have on the world.  

When I was in Boston a few weeks ago for November Learning BLC Conference, I attended a reception that Peter and his colleagues hosted at FableVision Studio.  It was so inspiring to see the studio, meet other authors and creative developers, and of course visit with Peter, his brother Paul, and the lovely Nicole Maher again.  Also, I met them all at ISTE in Philadelphia earlier in the summer so it was nice to catch up.  
So as we head into this new adventure and a brand new school year, we hope to spread the same things that Peter and FableVision do each day. 

Let your students be heard. Let them create. Let them make their mark on the world. Let them be themselves.  

That is how you can make a difference in the lives of children, teachers, families and the world. 

And just as this beautiful poster says....."Working together we can make this the best year yet!" 

You can follow FableVision Learning on Twitter at @FableLearn and the FableVision Learning Facebook page.