Friday, September 13, 2019

Join Me At Achieving Together, A New Event From LJ and SLJ In Indianapolis

On October 3-4, I am excited to be part of the new event, Achieving Together...Activating the Partnership Continuum Between Schools and Public Libraries produced by Library Journal and School Library Journal. 

This special event will be held at the Indianapolis Public Library and has a wonderful line-up of speakers and events from public and school libraries.  

You can read more about it and register at this link.  Please use the promo code SPEAKERVIP to save 35%. 

I hope to see you there, friends. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

A New Twist On Library Orientation!

One of the most important things for us to do at the beginning of every year is to make sure we see all of the students to connect them to the library resources and technology that we have at our school. 

With over 900 students, we have to get creative on how we see and share this information with them and with our teachers and families. 
This year, I decided to put a new twist on library orientation by putting together a fun Google Slide presentation to share with the students and teachers when I visit their classrooms.  

I use this time to also help them bookmark the library website, Symbaloo and a few other places in the Google Chrome. 
First, I shared the Van Meter School Library website.  I made some changes this year and pointed these out so everyone could navigate it successfully.

I made the url's that I shared into new ones with so it would be easy for them to type, search and bookmark.
Next, I shared the Symbaloo.  We have two main for the elementary and one for the secondary.
On the elementary Symbaloo, each grade has one so we had them bookmark the one for their grade on their Chrome. This will take them right to all of the resources they need for class work, related arts, etc...  We love how easy Symbaloo is to set up and share.  And the kids love it!
On the Secondary Symbaloo, we link specific grade levels, classes and resources they need too. 
This is so handy to also link the awesome Collections by Follett Destiny that we create for projects and classes.  Last week, we linked the Collection I put together for the freshman science class as they worked on their first big project of the year.  
By having the Collection on the Symbaloo, they will be able to locate these resources at home, school and on their devices. 
In addition to the's, I added QR codes for them to scan for their devices.
We can have the students scan these with our iPads and add them to the home screen.

They can also scan them with their own devices to assure they have the resources with them all the time.
It is also very important to make sure they have these links and resources at home.
I created a simple poster and encouraged them to take it home and hang it in a safe and handy spot. 
At the end, I offered my help....just like I do every time I talk to them.  I included my email in this message.

As I shared these resources with them in their classrooms, I also made sure to share them with teachers and families.
I shared it with the teachers in Google Classroom so they would be able to go back to the information throughout the year and could even share the links... their Google Classroom for students and Seesaw for families. 
 I printed off the posters on heavy bright paper for the teachers classrooms.
And I made sure to share the library orientation presentation on the Van Meter Library Voice Facebook page for families to see and keep. 

By doing all of this work at the start of the year, we can be assured that our students and school community have what they need.  As we share more resources, we can update these online to make sure this sharing continues all year long. 

You will find a copy of our Library Orientation Google Slide presentation here.  Please feel free to make a copy and use the ideas and template too. 

Future Ready Schools Is Coming To Austin! Hope You Will Join Us, Friends.

The Future Ready Schools® (FRS)  Leadership Institute is coming to Austin, TX on October 21-22, 2019.  You and your team are invited to attend this FREE professional learning event designed to improve your policies, procedures, and practices ensuring each student has equitable access to opportunities.

The FRS institute will inspire, invigorate, and inform participants (district leaders, technology directors, principals, instructional coaches, and librarians) by providing a wealth of information resulting in strong learner-centered system design, positive school culture, and collaborative leadership.  No matter your level of expertise, you and your team will leave with tangible skills to take your innovation strategies to the next level. The brand new agenda designed by our team of practitioners will inspire you to collaborate, get feedback, and set actionable steps for improvement in your schools.

Still need help deciding? Apply for a $1,000 travel stipend for your team by contacting Lia Dossin, for more details.

Space is limited so register you team today – it’s FREE!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Join Me For The New Webinar, Young Learners & Literacy!

On September 18, 2019, I will be part of a brand new webinar called Young Learners and Literacy...10 Top Ways Educators Can Encourage, Intervene and Make A Lasting Impact.  

The webinar is at 4:00pm CST and is sponsored by our friends at Voyager Sopris.  

As the site states, 

In America’s schools, many of our youngest learners are falling behind in reading. As educators, it is imperative to quickly identify a student who is struggling and help them before they fall too far behind. In this insightful and applicable webinar, we will explore a list of strategies and ideas you can use to help avoid literacy struggles, build strong readers from the start, and encourage a love of reading that translates into academic success as students move from elementary school, to middle school, and beyond. We will discuss research-based practices and intervention methods, as well as:

  • Techniques to make reading part of a young learner’s daily routine
  • New strategies to involve families and friends in building literacy
  • The importance of using differentiated lessons that allow teachers to respond to specific student needs
  • How to help even the youngest learners find formats, authors, and and illustrators they will enjoy
  • How to overcome lack of teacher time to give students the attention they need
  • Why efficient and research-based intervention is key
If you have K-5 students who have not made adequate progress in core reading instruction, register for this helpful webinar and learn about new strategies, ideas and the resources you can use to make an impact on literacy success. 

Register at this link today.  I hope to see you there. 

A Special Collection by Destiny for Dot Day!

With Dot Day just around the corner, I created a Dot Day Collection in Destiny Discover today.

And one of the great things about Collections....We can make it a Public Collection for everyone to see!

You will find the Let's Celebrate Dot Day and Making Our Mark On The World Collection here.

What else should I add to this Collection?  Let me know in the comments below. 

Start A Google Classroom To Share With Your Teachers This Year!

Last year, I wrote about being at the Future Ready Institute in Ohio and getting this awesome idea for curating and sharing resources with our teachers.

As we discussed the different wedges of the Future Ready Librarian Framework and roles we have, I gathered ideas on a piece of paper that really stuck out to me and ones I wanted to put into place in our library.
I spoke about how awesome Collections by Destiny are to curate resources and share with teachers and students. We also brainstormed and shared ideas on the best ways to get the word out about all of the things we do as we gather, curate and share them too.
This is when one of my new teacher librarian friend from Ohio gave me the BEST idea!  As I was sharing how we created Google Classrooms for each elementary class this week, she said,

I created a Google Classroom for my teachers too.  This is how I share resources and news with them.  
Brilliant!  I love this idea!  In fact, during our next break at the Institute, I created the new Library Media and Technology News, Resources & Fun Google Classroom.

Over the last year, this has become the place for us to share news from the library and technology departments around the school such as author Skype's, new books, special projects, events, and more.  We also share lots of resources such as book talks and trailers, Collections by Destiny, blog post links, AEA Resources, and much, much more!  The possibilities are endless!

Every time we post in our Library & Technology Google Classroom, the teachers get an alert in their email.  If they use the Google Classroom app on their device, they will get these updates pushed out to them too. This will not only mainstream the things we are sharing, it will also be nice to go back and look year and year at what was shared.
By giving each post a Topic, this will be a super easy way to put all of the things you post to Google Classroom in curated lists. You will find the list of Topics on the left hand side of Google Classroom.

I find this one of the most helpful pieces of Google Classroom as I refer teachers to the various Topics all of the time as they are looking for resources and other information.  And this year the Topics are really handy as I can go back and reshare the things we shared throughout the first year of our Google Classroom.

For me, Google Classroom has been one tool that truly changes the way I do things as a teacher librarian everyday.  

How do you use it within your library and school?  

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Connecting Your Students To The World Through Mystery Skype!

One of our favorite ways to connect to others around the world is through Mystery Skype
A Mystery Skype is an educational game which is played by two classrooms trying to guess the location of the other class.  The two classrooms ask yes or no questions back and forth, until one of the classrooms correctly guesses the location of the other classroom.  
It is so much fun and we all learn so much about the location and classroom we are Skyping with! 
My colleague and friend, Ann Volk, who teaches third grade at Van Meter, wanted to kick off the year with Mystery Skype's as we had so much success with them last year.  
Mystery Skype's are a wonderful way to teach and practice geography skills.  By kicking off the year with Mystery Skype's, we are making sure we hook them with a passion for wanting to know more about the geography of the United States and the world. 
 On Friday, we set up a Mystery Skype with my friend and fellow Skype Master Teacher,
Steve Auslander and his students in Indianapolis, Indiana. 
To prepare for the Mystery Skype, our 3rd graders discussed the geography of the United States and familiarized themselves with the map of the United States and other landmarks and geography facts.
As each class asked yes and no questions back and forth, we all learned a lot about the geography of the United States.
To make sure everyone was involved, I created these Mystery Skype Yes and No Signs for everyone to hold up during the Mystery Skype.  You will find them here.  Please feel free to copy and make changes.
The Mystery Skype Yes and No Signs, ensure that every student is involved and engaged during the Mystery Skype. 
It is also important to have students maps, globes and classroom wall maps available during a Mystery Skype.

The students can look at the maps and have wonderful conversations around the questions asked and things being learned.
We loved our Mystery Skype with Steve's students and can't wait to many more this year with Ann's group and all of the other classrooms at Van Meter too. 
As we head into the new year, we will be visiting the Skype online, especially the Mystery Skype page here

If you are new to Mystery Skype, there are lots of helpful resources on this page on the Microsoft site. 
First, click on Opt in for Mystery Skype. 
You will find the Mystery Skype Activity Plans here
 Second, click on Mystery Skype Resources. 
You will find the Mystery Skype Curriculum OneNote here

As shared on this page, This OneNote was created by educators just like you and includes free resources and ideas on how you can incorporate this game in your classroom and will help you plan and play Mystery Skype with another classroom across the globe … or around the corner.
And third, you will find the Mystery Skype GoNoodle Song here too!  This is a great way to get your students excited about Mystery Skype
You will find it here
You can find another classroom or guest speaker to play Mystery Skype with here

The sky is the limit of who you connect with and who you bring to your students. 

This year, Ann and I can't wait to bring lots of amazing and meaningful connections to her students.  And we can't wait to bring to even more to other classrooms at Van Meter.   

You can find out more about Mystery Skype here and please let me know what questions you have and how I can help you too. 

Hey, Future Ready Librarians.....Let's Grow Our Community & Invite A Friend or Two To Join Our Group!

This has been quit the week for amazing conversations within the community we have brought together of Future Ready Librarians. We are starting back to school, trying out new ideas, taking over new spaces, and finding lots of way to develop wonderful years with our students, teachers and families in our libraries and communities.  
As I do this in my library and school, I am constantly turning to the Future Ready Librarian Facebook Community we have built and fostered together over the last two years.  It is now over 22,500 special members who come together to share, support and celebrate the impact we, as Future Ready Librarians, have on our communities every single day.  

As we kick off this new year, let's reach out and bring others into our special community too by inviting them to join us in the Future Ready Librarian Facebook Community here.  Share it with other librarians and also remember to share it with teachers and administrators too.  I even had two parents join over the summer, because they want to advocate and support our library program and others too.  

Future Ready Librarians
Facebook Group · 18,688 members

Join Group
Welcome to the Future Ready Librarian Facebook Group,

Thank you friends for the amazing community we have as Future Ready Librarians.  We are all so lucky.  I hope your year is off to the best start yet!