Monday, May 28, 2012

A Weekend of Collecting New Art Ideas, Wonderful Books and Resources For A Little FUN In The Library!

To celebrate the beginning of the summer, Brianna's 18th birthday, and Hagan doing an awesome job all year in 1st grade, my family and I went to Kansas City for a long, holiday weekend.  We love staying on the Country Club Plaza and seeing things all around the city.  

When I travel, I am always looking for unique, creative ideas to bring back to the library, classroom and share with others.  I love finding little book stores, fun shops, museums and historical places.  I always have my iPhone and journal ready to capture these ideas and experiences.  

And this weekend was one full of them! 
Being an artist and loving to share this with my own children and the ones I work with, I always enjoy finding art museums. We went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which was a new one for us.  I was so excited to see that the museum featured one of Claude Monet beautiful Water Lilies paintings.  Monet is my favorite artist and his Water Lilies paintings are the most beautiful.  Admission is free. You can find the museum on Twitter at @nelson_atkins. 

On the last day of school, one of our elementary art teachers asked me if I could copy all of the VHS tapes onto DVD's for her over the summer. I just smiled and suggested we find new resources over the summer to support the art curriculum.  By July, we are going to have access to SAFARI Montage at Van Meter.  With the extensive video library that we will have access to, we will be able to find amazing resources to tie into the art curriculum.  I can't wait to start building lessons and units around the resources included in SAFARI Montage.

One of the artists she wanted new resources for was Monet and others Impressionists.  I did find several videos on YouTube.  I really like the Getting To Know Artists series I found and will be looking for these over the summer.
Another one I was excited to find goes along with my favorite children's art book, Linnea in Monet's Garden by Christina Bjork.  I have shared this with my daughter since she was a little girl.  

I will be able to get the movie through my Netflix account. You can also get it from Video Detective. I will love sharing the book and movie in the library with the little ones, while they are studying Impressionism in the art room next year.
Outside of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kansas City Sculpture Park can be found throughout the grounds.  Brianna and Hagan were pretty small next to the Shuttlecocks created by the husband and wife team of Claes Oldenburg and Coosie van Bruggen, who were commissioned in 1994 to design a sculpture for outside of the museum. 
As I looked online for more information about the sculpture park, I found Studio 33 from the Nelson-Atkins Museum. This is an online place to "Look, Listen, Interact, and Connect" with the museum...inside and out.  I am excited to share this with the students and art teachers.  
I couldn't wait to take Hagan to the Crown Center.  I have always loved the Crayola store that they have there.  There are so many cool things to see like the giant Crayola Color Wheel.  Hagan and I tried to guess how many crayons there were in this wheel.  And what is really really fun.....the NAMES of the crayons.  They are the best!  I think it would be super fun to be the person who names the crayons.  
On the Crayola website, one can even "Explore Color" and find out more information about each Crayola color. I clicked on one of the pinks and it was called "Cotton Candy."
When I double clicked on the little pink square it gave me even more information about the crayon color Cotton Candy.  I found the year it was introduced and the hue family it belonged too.  I also think it is so cool that you can share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, or in an email.  I LOVE that connective piece of sharing the new color knowledge with others.

When I was checking out the Crayola site I also wanted to see what else was available online for young people learning about colors.  I found this interactive color wheel that is easy to use but also gives tons of wonderful information about colors.  This is a site that would be popular with all ages.
Hagan also learned lots of facts about crayons at the Crayola store like by the time a child is 10 they have used on an average of 700 crayons.  
When I was looking at art supplies, I found this big box of crayons that said "Morph photos into cartoon characters" on the front.  I not only love buying brand new big boxes of crayons, I now couldn't wait to try this out in the Crayola Story Studio.
With boxes marked with this, you get a free code to sign up for Story Studio free.  Hagan and I are going to try this out over the summer so we can use it in the fall with our friends at Van Meter.  
Also, at Crown Center you can find the Hallmark headquarters.  When I was in high school, we went on an art trip to Kansas City and Hallmark was one of the stops.  I LOVED it and that was one of the places I thought would be great to work at when I graduated from college.

The Hallmark Vistor Center is a great place to learn more about how the cards are made, the artists, and much more.
A visit to The Kaleidoscope, which is sponsored by Hallmark and located at the visitor center, is also a really fun thing to do while at the Crown Center.  It gives little people a place to be heard through their creativity and express unique ideas.

And of course don't forget that anyone can create their own eCard at the online Hallmark card creator website.  It is so much fun sending eCards to family and friends.
Over the years, I have collected dozens of unique children's books from different places.  Even when I was little, I loved buying books from the places we had been.

When I am looking at books, I always try to find a connection to either that place we are visiting or something I could bring back to my students. On this trip, I found four new picture books that gave me all kinds of ideas. 
The first is The Word Collector by Sonja Wimmer. This is a beautifully illustrated book about a girl named Luna who loves words. 
She realizes that others need the magical gift of words too and gives all of them away to people around the world who are in need of them.  This lovely story shows the gift of positive words and what happens when we share them with others. 
As I read this book in the art museum gift store, I thought of all kinds of activities we could do within the library.  There are websites that play with words, create new words and even write words upside down and backwards.

I have used two websites with my students that let them create poetry from magnet type words.
Magnetic Poetry for Kids kits from Magnetic Poetry has two kids poetry kits to choose from...First Words and Kids Kit.  I created a poem using the FirstWords Magnetic Poetry Kit.
Once you have created a poem out of the magnetic words, you can save and send it to someone.  I like how you can even give the poem a title and include the authors name. also has a fridge magnet site which lets you create a poem from the magnetic words right on the front of a fridge.  Once a poem has been created, you can take a screen shot to share and save.  
Another fun thing to do with words is to create them out of different things, like nature, junk, household items, and much more.  There are several websites that let you create words like this.  I love the website called The Found Alphabet, which is actually a company that creates these really neat signs out of letters.  
After you have created your word, you can even pick a custom frame and colored mat.  You could have students create their words and then take a screen shot of the framed work to use with a group, as a title, to create a collage, or even as an one-word description of themselves.
At Spell With Flickr, your type in a word or phrase and photographs of letters are put together.  I like how you can click on the letters until you find one that looks just right.
The second book I found in the art museum gift shop was Virginia Wolf  by Kyo Maclear.  The illustrations and the way they played with the color and words on the pages, drew me in to use my own imagination as I read the story.
Children will love listening to Virginia Wolf.  It would be fun to create ears with this little ear kit before or even after they listened.  They could pretend they were Virginia Wolf too!
The book trailer to Virginia Wolf does an incredible job representing the beauty of this book. 
There are a lot of websites to paint and draw online.  Hagan and I tried out Paint Online...Sketch and Paint.  We picked the brushes, color of paint and even moved our painting around on the screen.  
Another website is called Sumopaint, which has so many different options for painting original works.  Little people will feel like they are painting just like Vanessa in the book.  
The third children's book I found was at the Crayola store.  It is called The Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel.  
In this story, the school supplies all work together to help the little red pen grade stacks of papers.  

Not only will they love this book trailer, students will also enjoy all of the activities in The Little Red Pen Activity Kit.  There are a lot of activities included in the kit that will be nice extensions to the classroom as well.  
Finding little bookstores is one of the best parts of traveling.  I was so excited to find The Reading Reptile in Brookside, very close to The Plaza.  
From the minute we walked through the alligators mouth, Hagan and I had a great time looking around.
In every corner there was another story being told.  
We ended the day with a trip to the dime store next door to The Reading Reptile.  I spotted a display of Little Golden Books.  I even found The Friendly Book by Margaret Wise Brown, which was my favorite when I was a little girl.  
The kids always like when I share my old Golden Books with them in the library.  Now I can share this new one and the adorable Golden Books website with them too.  

This is just the first weekend of summer break and I am already excited to share these new books, resources and art ideas with the students, teachers and others.  

I can't wait to see what I find next week, too!  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The 2nd Graders Created Their Very Own eBook Using FlipSnack, Evernote, Mackin VIA and Skitch!

Over the last two months, the 2nd graders, their teachers and I have been working on an Evernote pilot within our school.   You can read all about the pilot in the first post, Our 2nd Graders Are Piloting Evernote At Van Meter.   
We not only taught the 2nd graders how to use Evernote on the iPads and computers, they also used
Skitch, another amazing resource from Evernote, 
to annotate and edit the photographs that they took on the iPads on our community walk around Van Meter and within the school.   Once the photographs were Skitched, they saved them into their very own Evernote accounts.  
For this project, we purchased several wonderful community themed eBooks to add to our growing collection within Mackin VIA.  The students loved reading the eBooks within the classroom, library, computer lab and at home.  
After they read several of the eBooks, the students used Skitch to annotate a few of their favorite pages.
It was fun to see which pages they picked and what they had to say about what they had read, learned, and made connections to.  As they Skitched the eBooks pages, they saved them within their Evernote accounts too.
The last few days of school, we took several of the saved pages within the student Evernote accounts and put them together into a FlipSnack flippable eBook.  Once the pages from Evernote were saved onto the laptops, we then saved them as PDF's to upload into FlipSnack.  All of the students logged into my FlipSnack account to upload their pages into the class eBook. 
The pages with text were created using Wordle.  
I love how Evernote even gave the students the information about the specific eBook within Mackin VIA that they Skitched on.  This is what we used when we put our FlipSnack eBook together.  We took small screen shots and turned them into PDF's to include at the end of our eBook.

We created Our Awesome Community...By The Van Meter 2nd Graders eBook to share with each other, parents, our school community and YOU.  Click on the link to read the entire FlipSnack eBook. 
This was just the start of all of the FUN and innovative ways we can use all of these wonderful tools and resources within the classroom and with our students.
Next month, at the ISTE convention in San Diego, my friend Nick Provenzano, @thenerdyteacher, and I will be presenting together at the Evernote for Schools Workshop on June 26th.   This will be a fun opportunity to listen to other ideas for using Evernote and to share our ideas too.  
You can find out more information and register for the workshop on this EventBrite page.

We hope to see you all there.