Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Our Kindergarteners Published Their First Little Bird Tale....."Just Me and Little Critter"

I am so excited to announce that today the Van Meter kindergarteners published their first Little Bird Tale called...

Just Me and Little Critter.  And you can read their book right online.  
Last week I wrote the post A Kindergarten Little Bird Tales...."Just Me and Little Critter", which told the story of how Miss McClintock, Mrs. Caltrider, and Mrs. Gadberry's students have been studying Mercer Mayer and how we were going to write and illustrate our very own Little Critter book using Little Bird Tales.  
The kindergarteners each thought about what they would like to do with Little Critter.  They also thought about what Little Critter's friends were doing in their illustrations.....spider, cricket, and frog show up quite a lot in our Little Bird Tale.
After the finished their illustrations, Diana and I scanned and uploaded them into Little Bird Tales.  The students then recorded the story of their illustration and I typed what they said into the text box on each page.  
When we finished our Little Bird Tales today, the kindergarteners were so excited to watch and listen to Just Me and Little Critter together.  
And as a special surprise tonight, our Little Bird Tale is now in the "Public Tales" too.  

Thank you Mercer Mayer for bringing us Little Critter....

and thank you Little Bird Tales for making our tales into something wonderful that we can share with our friends, families and others around the world.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Adding A Little Buzz, Like The MackinVIA Widget, To The Front Page Of Destiny

This weekend one of my friends asked me to give her directions on how to add content to a Destiny homepage.  On the Van Meter School Destiny homepage, I have text, a scrolling marque, and also the MackinVIA widget, which takes users straight to the MackinVIA website.  

This was very easy to do....but only because someone once shared the directions and HTML code with me.  So here it is....
You will need to log into your Destiny as the "Destiny Administrator."  On the "Home Page," you will find "Edit Page" in the right hand corner.  Click on this and it will take you to "Edit Home Page."
The first line will be "Introductory Text."  To the right of that there are three buttons, "Add Group," "Add Link," and "Edit Introductory Text."  You will click on the last one, "Edit Introductory Text." 
On this page, you will be able to add a "Title" and "Body".  Within the body, you can add text and HTML code.  I have taken the exact HTML code from the Van Meter Destiny page and pasted it below.  You can use this to create your homepage too.  Just go through the HTML code and change the words to match what you want for your Destiny homepage.  
You also might be asking where to get HTML code from.  You can get it from various websites that might have widgets you can add to your sites.  Also, when you create digital products, such as an Animoto video or Smore flyter, you can copy the HTML that they provide when you have completed a project and paste that into such places as well.  Even YouTube provides HTML for videos.  It is very simple to do.  

This is where I found the MackinVIA widget HTML. 

On the Mackin website, under the "My Mackin" tab, go to "My Mackin VIA" to "Settings".  
Under "Mackin VIA Settings", you will see "VIA Widget".  When you click on "Get VIA Widget" it will give you an image and the HTML code for that widget image.  You will need to copy the HTML to take it over to the Destiny website or any other place you want to add the MackinVIA widget.  You just paste it into the space provided.  
I not only added the MackinVIA widget to the Van Meter Destiny home page, I also added it to the Van Meter Library Voice blog and 
Van Meter Library Google Site.  Anywhere that my patrons will be online, I add the MackinVIA widget so they have constant access to our eBook library at Van Meter.  
By adding widgets such as MackinVIA to various online library spaces, we are giving our school community access to the library digitally as well.  

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I would be happy to help you add them to your online spaces too.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Kindergarten Little Bird Tale....."Just Me and Little Critter"

In 1966, author and illustrator Mercer Mayer began to illustrate picture books.  He is a favorite of all of us here at Van Meter and was always a favorite of my own three kids.  

Mercer's books are about the life of Little Critter.  And everyday events like staying at Grandma and Grandpa's and Going to the Dentist.
As many of you know, Mercer hides different little critters in his illustrations from time to time.  In the picture of him above, you will find him surrounded by two little critters, a spider, a cricket, and a mouse.  

When one of our kindergarten teachers, Christa McClintock (who is also my cousin) brought her class to the library yesterday she said to me, 

"They are sooooooo interested in the Mercer Mayer books and loving the author study of him for September.  They love finding the little spider, cricket, and mouse within the book.  And on the website it even says you can write to Mercer Mayer.  Can you please spend some time today on the website looking at all of the different things?  They could even write to him."  

I was so excited....Not only to have her ask me to do this with her class, but he is one of my favorite authors and illustrators.  
We keep track of what is happening in the classrooms in the collaborative Google Doc above.  In this Google Doc, the teachers share what they are doing each month in the classroom.  I can then match up their curriculum with what I am doing in the library and technology instructional time every four days when they come see me.  
The first thing we quickly did was find a video of Mercer Mayer on YouTube.   My paraeducator Diana is the best....She went right into the computer lab after the students checked out new books and found this one of him reading Just A Snowman.  They loved seeing Mercer reading the book to them.  
Next, I showed them our VM Elementary Resources Symbaloo (that we go to each time on the homepage) and where to find the Little Critter tile.  
To be able to spend time with the kindergarteners in the Little Critter World-Wide Network website would be a perfect tie-in for the week.  
The Little Critter tile took them right to the website.  
They had fun watching more videos of Mercer Mayer reading their favorite Little Critter books.  The students also enjoyed playing games such as Tic-Tac-Toe and puzzles.  
After we spent time on the website, the students, Di, and I went back into the library for a little creating of our own.

We decided to make our very own Just Me and Little Critter book using illustrations created by the Van Meter kindergarten students and the web-based interactive eBook creator "Little Bird Tales."
The kindergarteners had a fun time drawing their very own "Just Me and Little Critter"illustrations and made sure they included the cricket, frog, and spider in their drawings.  
After they drew their illustrations, we scanned them into the copier.  They are all so cute.  
I then went into  Little Bird Tales and created a "New Tale" called Just Me and Little Critter by the Van Meter Kindergarteners.
 I uploaded the scanned illustrations into our new tale.
Next week when the little people come back to the library and computer lab, we will have them record their story on each page.  The other kindergarten class will also contribute to our Little Bird Tale tomorrow during their time with us.

Once we have our Little Bird Tale complete, we will not only write Mercer Mayer on his website, we will also send him the link to this wonderful new Little Critter book created by the Van Meter kindergarteners.

We think he will like it too.