Thursday, March 23, 2017

Future Ready Schools’ 2017 Events – Sign Up Today!

Future Ready Schools® (FRS) has announced a series of eight free regional events to support educators who are planning to implement personalizing learning strategies for their students. Building upon the success of the popular FRS Summits and Workshops  the FRS Institutes broadens the audience and are  designed to help to build a regional network with like-minded colleagues where district and school leaders can work together in real time, get feedback, and find support they need to take the next steps in the Future Ready journey.
Registration options have been expanded to include district leadership teams, and individual principals, teachers, IT directors and librarians. FRS is working with an advisory board of leading educational experts to create a research-based, two-day agenda that is action packed with personalized professional learning that models high-quality professional development practices lead by expert facilitators.
Same as in past years, the 2017 FRS institutes are FREE with limited space available, Dates and locations are as follows:
  • July 13-14: Denver, CO
  • July 20-21: Albany, NY
  • August 3-4: Palm Springs, CA
  • September 25-26: Indianapolis, IN
  • October 11-12: Philadelphia, PA
  • October 26-27: New Orleans, LA
  • November 14-15: Sacramento, CA
  • November 29-30: Detroit, MI
For more info and to register for a free FRS Institute in your region, visit:
The FRS Institutes are generously supported by our partners Follett Software, McGraw Hill Education, Pearson Education, and Summit Learning.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Did You Know You Can Search And Find #OER In Destiny Discover?

Earlier this week I shared a post about all of the amazing open educational resources we have access to as part of the #GoOpen initiative. 

You can read Future Ready Librarians Hold The Key To #GoOpen and OER...Here's One Idea For Curating and Sharing These Too here.  
In this post, I want to share how Follett supports our efforts in using and integrating OER into our libraries and school communities too.  

To start, I just have to ask...

Did you know you can search and find the open educational resources in Destiny?  

I recently learned about this and couldn't wait to share this awesome news with all of you!  

In 2016, Follett announced their commitment in joining the U.S. Department of Education's #GoOpen campaign by making it possible to search and access the Learning Registry, a shared repository of learning resource metadata, within Destiny Discover.  

"This new functionality will make it easier for teachers to search for and find free, open educational resources from the Learning Registry alongside print and digital resources owned by their school, creating lesson plans and playlists that drive appropriate content to students" (Follett, 2016)
Nader Qaimari shared, "As a company with deep roots in K-12 libraries, we are particularly excited about how this will help teacher-librarians further curate and guide teachers where to find the best content and use it effectively.”

I couldn't agree more and let me show you how easy it is to do. 

I did a search for Poetry with Poetry Month right around the corner.  

It brought up all resources about Poetry including Books, eBooks, Databases and Open Educational Resources.  
You will find it at the top of each search page.

It is also very easy to filter the OER content in different ways including by Format, which I find super helpful with the vast amount of open educational resources.  You will be able to search such things as Assessments, Lesson Plans, Activities,  Articles, Videos and more.
To make it easy to connect with the OER in Destiny Discover, I have included a link in the OER Resources and Tools Symbaloo too. 

You will find it here

It is wonderful how Follett has embraced #GoOpen and OER by supporting us within our libraries and schools, leading to even more leadership, collaboration, and connections for our teacher librarians, teachers and students. 

Now make sure that you share this with your teachers and even your students as a Future Ready Librarian too.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

AASL Social Media Superstar Finalists Announced!

AASL has launched a brand new recognition program called the Social Media Superstars.

Librarians were nominated by their peers over the last several weeks and today the Social Media Recognition Task Force announced the finalists in seven categories including....
And I am honored and excited to be part of the three that were nominated for the Tech Troubadour, along with my colleagues and friends Heather Moorefield-Lang and Krista Welz.

You can read more about the Tech Troubadour category here.

This award recognizes a librarian who uses one or more social media platforms to share technology expertise of benefit to school libraries and school librarians and their work.  

To look at this list of these amazing individuals and think about how they have influenced me as a teacher librarian and professional is humbling and inspiring.  We are lucky to belong to a profession that not only teaches, surprises and connects with us everyday, but also embraces and lifts us up in such celebrations.

According to the AASL Social Media Superstar page....

Now through April 14, members of the school library community and the public are invited to post endorsements of their personal superstar by leaving a comment of each category's post.  After April 14, the Social Media Recognition Task Force will consider the endorsements and the original nomination and select an overall Superstar for each category.  Superstars will be announced during a live webcast on Thursday, April 27 at 6:00pm CST.  

Be sure to visit each of the seven hyperlinked category postings to read information about all of the finalists and get links to their social media platforms.  You will no doubt want to follow those you aren't already.  

We want to hear from you!  Comment and share how these Superstar finalists have helped you improve and enhance your practice. 

You can get to the AASL Superstar Finalists page here.

Congratulations again to all of the others who have been nominated.  And friends, please know that you are all superstars to me!  Each and every one of you have inspired my practice and enhanced my life. 

Thank you for that!  

Read. Question. Think. With These 4 Free Amazing Posters From Andrea Beaty!

Ada Twist, Iggy Peck and Rosie Revere are three of my favorite children's book characters.  They are from my friend and amazing author, Andrea Beaty's wonderful stories focused around making, science, technology, engineering, architecture and all things STEAM.

Andrea's stories and characters are my favorite.  They are also the stories I used as I introduced the library Makerspace to our students and teachers.  The kids could relate to the characters and stories and their minds would race as they listened and dreamed with the illustrations.

Today, I was so excited to see Andrea's tweet above.  She has created four amazing posters for us to download and print from her site.

I LOVE what they say...
Be An Engineer. Read. Question. Think.  

Be A Citizen. Read. Question. Think. 
Be A Scientist. Read. Question. Think. 

Be An Architect. Read. Question. Think.  

These will be a wonderful addition to any Makerspace, library or classroom.  They will inspire conversations about so many things, including jobs that fit into the STEAM fields.

And they will bring a little piece of Andrea's special stories to our spaces.

You can download these four amazing posters from Andrea's website here.

Thank you Andrea for this sweet gift.  I can't wait to see what you create next.  <3 can="" create="" i="" nbsp="" next.="" see="" t="" to="" wait="" what="" will="" you="">

Future Ready Librarians Hold The Key To #GoOpen & OER...Here's One Idea For Curating and Sharing These Too!

One of the things that is most important to me as a Future Ready Librarian and educator is making sure educational opportunities and resources are available to all students. With 1:1 initiatives and technology within school districts growing even more popular, the need for openly licensed educational resources is a must.  

And this is just what the 2016 National Education Technology Plan put into place. 

"The Department defines openly licensed educational resources as teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under a license that permits their free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with others.  Digital openly licensed resources can include complete online courses, modular digital textbooks as well as more granular resources such as images, videos, and assessment items." 

The openly licensed educational resources or OER have changed the way students learn and the way teachers teach.  They are making such an important impact on education by giving all of us open access to a wealth of amazing teaching, learning and research resources and content.  OER is free for us to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute. 

As stated on the Office of Educational Technology website, open licensed educational resources also...
  • Increase Equity – All students have access to high quality learning materials that have the most up-to-date and relevant content because openly licensed educational resources can be freely distributed to anyone.
  • Keep Content Relevant and High Quality – Traditional textbooks are perpetually outdated, forcing districts to re-invest significant portions of their budgets on replacing them. The terms of use of openly licensed educational resources allows educators to maintain the quality and relevance of their materials through continuous updates.
  • Empower Teachers – Openly licensed educational resources empower teachers as creative professionals by giving them the ability to adapt and customize learning materials to meet the needs of their students without breaking copyright laws.
  • Save Money – Switching to educational materials that are openly licensed enables schools to repurpose funding spent on static textbooks for other pressing needs, such as investing in the transition to digital learning. In some districts, replacing just one textbook has made tens of thousands of dollars available for other purposes.
To support the openly licensed educational materials, the United States Department of Education started the #GoOpen campaign. This brought support and encouragement to the integration of these resources and celebrated how the OER's were making a difference in the teaching and learning within libraries, classrooms, school districts and states. 

It has made a special impact on so many places and continues to do so.  You can find out how to be a #GoOpen District or State by visiting this site here

If you have questions about being a #GoOpen district, watch how Williamsfield Schools decided to #GoOpen.  

As the YouTube video states,  The Williamsfield School District is a small, rural district serving approximately 300 students in one building—Pre-K through 12th grade—with fewer than 100 students attending the high school. Building on openly licensed resources, the Williamsfield School District leveraged education technology to save families and taxpayers money while providing unique, targeted learning opportunities for each student.

Today, the use of openly licensed educational resources is a vital part of what it means for Williamsfield School District to be Future Ready.
You can also view and download the #GoOpen District Launch Packet to find all of the important steps when choosing to become #GoOpen with openly licensed educational resources.

I am enjoying learning more and more about #GoOpen and OER.  I hear stories, read, research and put all of this into play within my work as a teacher librarian and educator.

Also, everyday I find more and more openly licensed educational resources.  There are sources for lesson plans and activities, open alternatives to textbooks, websites that tie to all parts of the curriculum, online repositories, articles, cases studies and much more.  It is our job as teacher librarians and curation experts to organize and get this content to our teachers and students.

With all of these things, I put together a new Symbaloo....
The OER Resources and Tools Symbaloo.

As you take a trip around the Symbaloo, you will find the Department of Educational Technology website I shared above, plus the #GoOpen information.  There are videos, articles and lots of openly licensed educational resources.

Creating a Symbaloo is one way you can curate everything OER for your school and district too. Using Symbaloo is a great way to bring together these resources in a platform that can be easily shared and embedded on your school website, library blog and even on your Destiny homepage.

In my next post, I will also be sharing how Follett has embraced #GoOpen and OER by supporting us within our libraries and schools, leading to even more leadership, collaboration, and connections for our teacher librarians, teachers and students.

Please feel free to use, share and even take this Symbaloo as your own to make changes.  Together, we will continue to make a difference with the openly licensed educational resources and for the children that we serve every day.

You can read all about the Open Education initiative on the Department of Educational Technology website here.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Celebrate Poem In Your Pocket With Us During Our LIVE Event On April 27!

April is filled with poetry fun as we celebrate Poetry Month.  

And on April 27 is one of the best celebrations of all!  It is Poem In Your Pocket Day and this year we have a wonderful celebration for all of you to join.  

Four libraries and their librarians and teachers will be coming together to celebrate including Craig Seasholes in Washington; Heather Fox, Tracy Ferguson and Kim James in Iowa; and Michelle Griffith and Karyn Lewis in Texas.  

To make this Poem In Your Pocket Day even more special we have invited....
Mrs. P,  
Mr. Forbes,  
and Blake Hoena with Cantata Learning.  They will be sharing poetry, singing songs and having fun creating and listening to the poems in the pockets of all the children too.  

We will be connecting using YouTube Live which is something all of you will be able to watch on April 27 from 12:30-1:00pm CST too. 

I will share a link as our event gets closer and on that day too. 
We hope you all join us and have poems ready to share.  We will be asking you to share these on Twitter during our live event to be highlighted LIVE too!  

To learn more about Poem In Your Pocket, please visit here.   

Nimuno Loops, The Toy Block Tape, Takes Hagan's Imagination Out Of This World To New Places!

Hagan loves building, making, creating and using his imagination to take over any space that is available around him.  
 He build towns, castles, football fields and things straight out of that imagination of his.
Even though he has this giant 3-ring binder full of books and patterns that came with sets, Hagan can be found building without these, by himself and equipped with the skills of his own.
And even when his family builds with him, Hagan is the one who goes off on his own without the patterns and videos.  

He is equipped with his very own amazing ideas....hoping and knowing he will create something even more wonderful than what the blocks were intended to do and become.  
A lot of times though, he needed just a little bit more space, a few more extra sets, and something that would take his pieces and imagination off of the table, carpet and out of the space he was creating within.  

Well now we have it!  A few days ago, Hagan and I saw something online that we knew would become a vehicle for his imagination, making and creativity.   
It is called Nimuno Loops...The Toy Block Tape, which instantly transforms virtually any surface into a base for toy building blocks and components, as the Indiegogo site states here
Watch this short video to see how Nimumo Loops, the toy block tape works!  
Hagan and I love how you can cut it, shape it and stick it almost anywhere to carry your building to brand new places and ways you never thought possible before.  
When looking at the Indiegogo site, we read all about the two people who created Nimuno Loops, Anine Kirsten and Max Basler.  Their story and passion for creating and building is fascinating and one that will bring change to the building with blocks that we all know.
Hagan and I couldn't wait to support this Indiegogo campaign by purchasing several rolls of black, grey, purple and blue.  You can visit the page to purchase yours and support Anine and Max's dream too.

I can't wait to watch where Nimuno Loops takes Hagan and where the toy block tape takes your students in the library, Makerspaces and classrooms too.

Remember to visit the site here today!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Flipgrid Unplugged....Catch The Awesome Recording Here!

My amazing friends at Flipgrid kicked off their Unplugged series with the first one...Making The Most Of Student Voice.  You can watch it above. 

Please tune in for the next Flipgrid Unplugged on April 16 at 6:00pm CST.  Flipgrid Ambassador Jornea Erwin will lead this one with a great conversation about appshamshing.  They will send out the link soon. 

Join the conversation on Twitter at #flipgridfever too. 

Loud Libraries & Future Ready Librarians At PSLA This Month!

When I saw the theme of the PSLA Conference this year, I couldn't wait to be part of it!  
At the end of the month on March 30, I will be traveling to Hershey, Pennsylvania to be part of their annual PSLA conference with librarians from all over the state.  

I am excited to be presenting several times over two days.  My presentations include: 
On Thursday, March 30, I will be presenting Loud Libraries in the Exploratorium.  I can't wait to share amazing projects, resources and ideas for bringing music and stories into the library and school.
On Friday, March 31, I will be presenting the following sessions: 

Session A 9:15-10:45am What Does It Take To Be A Future Ready Librarian? in the Crystal Room

Session C 2:00-3:30pm Digital Tools and Apps To Connect, Create and Collaborate in the Red Room

Session D 4:15-5:15pm  Brand Your Library: More Than A Logo in the Red Room

I hope to see you there and please check out the conference website here too!  

Join Me At The NCCE Conference In Portland Next Week For Exciting Presentations and Fun Giveaways!

I am excited to travel to Portland, Oregon next week for the NCCE Conference!  This is a new one for me and I couldn't be more honored to join such an amazing group of people.  

I will be presenting several sessions on Wednesday, March 22 and Thursday, March 23.  

Here is my schedule....

March 22, 1:00-1:30pm I will be part of the Makerspace panel. 

March 22, 2:00-2:50pm Digital Tools To Connect, Create and Collaborate in Room D133. 

March 23, 8:00-8:50am My Favorite Things: Celebrating Good News In Libraries in Room D135

March 23, 9:00-9:50am Igniting Innovation and Creativity in Makerspaces in Room F151

March 23, 3:00-3:50pm Technology Inspires Great Instruction: Using PebbleGo in Room D146 

March 23, 4:00-4:50pm Teacher Librarian Birds of a Feather Round Table in Room D146
I also have something very exciting to share!  At all of my presentations, you will be able to participate in a Twitter contest to win amazing titles and songs.  

And for an extra special treat, everyone who attends the Birds of a Feather event on Thursday afternoon will receive a free Cantata Learning title too!  
You can register for the event sponsored by Capstone and Cantata Learning here

Also, you will find the entire conference schedule here. There are so many wonderful presentations and events to be part of during the three days.

And don't forget to follow and use #NCCE17 and #NCCEChat on Twitter and Instagram.  It will be a terrific conversation there too. 

I hope to see you there....and can't wait to learn, connect and share with all of you. 

Promote Student Voice & 21st Century Skills With Capstone's New Interactive Learning App....pivotEd

One of the most exciting new learning platforms I learned about at TCEA last month was pivotEd from Capstone

I spent time in the Capstone booth learning how this amazing new interactive learning app will help us, as teacher librarians, develop the 21st Century Skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity within our each and every one of our learners.  

pivotEd supports students making deeper connections while developing critical thinking through a variety of lessons focusing on reading, writing, reviewing, creating, sharing, discussions and more. 

As students work together in pivotEd on engaging lessons with their teacher librarians and teachers, they are also developing essential digital citizenship skills in this online platform as a participant and member of this social community. 
Today I was excited to see Capstone officially launch pivotEd!
As the press release on their website states,
pivotEd integrates thinking skills lesson templates (KWL, Text Features, Cause and Effect, Compare and Contest, and Primary Sources) with any print or digital content, allowing librarians to easily customize lessons for different grades or objectives using the resources they have already curated in their library’s collection. 
Equipped with their own device, students respond to librarian-led prompts, encouraging critical and original thinking. 
After contributing to the discussion, students then see the real-time responses of their peers, which build on their understanding of the lesson. 

Librarians monitor the lesson and responses, making formative assessments in the moment about which concepts are mastered and which need more discussion.

With more than 500 lessons already connected to more than 250 Capstone titles, teacher librarians have a wealth of content and resources to pull from as we teach library specific skills and collaborate with classroom teachers to tie pivotEd into content-area objectives and curriculum too.

I am looking forward to creating my own lessons in pivotEd and have started to brainstorm several ideas. Let me just say...the possibilities are endless!

I can't wait to learn more in the webinar series Capstone is hosting!
You can join one of the 30-minute webinars too by signing up at this link.

I am excited about pivotEd. I know pivotEd is going to make a difference within our libraries as teacher librarians lead students in the development and engagement of 21st Century Skills through this platform, technology and the amazing Capstone books and digital resources.

And most of all, I love how pivotEd will allow every student's voice to be heard.

Visit to learn more.