Monday, March 31, 2014

Celebrate Poetry Month With Lots Of Awesome Digital Tools & Resources.....and Have Fun Connecting With Others

Tomorrow is the first day of April and the start of one of our favorite months at Van Meter.

It's National Poetry Month and time to celebrate poetry, connect with poets, create all kinds of poetry, and share with all our friends.

One thing that I have created to help our students and others celebrate poetry is the Poetry, Poetry, Poetry Symbaloo.

This Symbaloo filled with lots of fun websites for our young people to create poetry....They love visiting these sites to learn how to write and create all kinds of poems.  There are also places to read wonderful poems and connect with amazing poets.

I have placed this Symbaloo on all of our grade level webmixes so they can find it easily and connect with poetry all through the month.  We have a lot of wonderful activities and projects plans.

And the BEST part....Lots and lots of exciting connections with our friends around the world are being planned!
A few weeks ago I posted It's Almost National Poetry Month....Time To Start Connecting & Planning Some Fun.  It gives you a few ideas on how to get connected to others too.

And there is a link to the Google Doc where several of us have already started connecting.  Please visit Let's Connect For Poetry Month & Poem In Your Pocket to sign up and start making fun plans for your students and school too.

Happy Poetry Month, friends.....Please share your ideas on Twitter by using #PoetryMonth.  If you have any websites and resources I should add to the Symbaloo, let me know too.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Wonderful Time Connecting, Presenting, and Learning At The AAIM Conference In Fort Smith, Arkansas

Today I had the honor of being part of the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media Annual Conference in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  
I am having such a wonderful time getting to know new and seeing dear friends at AAIM.  

And to see my amazing friend Kathy Schrock was so much fun.  I am looking forward to hearing her present tomorrow too.  
At 12:00pm today, I presented Ten Digital Tools (and a few extra) and Projects.  This is one of my new favorite presentations to share....I love all of the digital tools we have access to. 
Later in the day, I loved sharing my keynote Be The Change with everyone.  It is always very special for me to share the voice of our students and how we have made a difference in education at Van Meter.  
Throughout the day and this evening at the special DEN (Discovery Education Network) dinner, I had a lot of people ask me about being a connected educator and the different networks that I use.  

I am excited to share this presentation in the morning and to be able to answer a lot more questions.  
You can find these three presentations on the website I put together for the AAIM conference.

Also, follow the conference on Twitter using the #aaim14 hashtag and on the AAIM Facebook page.

Thank you to everyone in Arkansas that made me feel so welcome.  It has been great fun and I am excited to present and connect with all of you tomorrow.  

Especially to Tracy McAllister, President Elect, and Karen Wells, President, of AAIM.  It has been a pleasure working with both of you on the conference and becoming your friend.  Thank you so much for everything. 

Be The Change!  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

First Grade Is Inspired By Eric Telchin to See A Heart, Share A Heart With iPads, Words, Photography, Haiku Deck, and The World

During World Read Aloud Day we had so many wonderful celebrations with other libraries, schools, authors, illustrators, and friends around the world.
One of my favorites was Skyping with our new friend Eric Telchin.  
Eric read his beautiful book See a Heart, Share a Heart with our first graders that week.  
On WeGiveBooks, you can read See a Heart, Share a Heart.  This is fun sharing eBooks from WeGiveBooks as a class or they can read them on a computer.  There are hundreds of amazing books here. 

We also ordered the book for our library.
Eric's website Boy Sees Hearts is such a special place to visit for even more hearts, artwork, information about his book, and much more.  
We especially loved seeing the photograph and reading that started it all.  It showed all of us that we can find hearts everywhere.  
It was also fun to "Explore the Found Hearts" on his website.....You can scroll over each heart and see the story behind them. 
After hearing Eric's story and learning how to see things around us just a little bit better, the first graders and I decided to create our very own Heart book.  

It was important that they take their own photographs and write the words, so I found an app on the iPads that would be perfect for this project. 
I would teach the first graders to use Haiku Deck. This is a free app and also available for the web now too.
With Haiku Deck, they will take their photographs and create a really special presentation using the special features this app contains.  

It is very easy to use and I just know that the first graders will create beautiful heart books to share with others.  
With the help from the teachers, we put them into groups for this project so they could collaborate with a friend on this work.

I then did a little mini-lesson on taking photographs with the iPad and then set them free in the library and around the hallways close by.
They had the best time finding hearts in all kinds of places.  They were very drawn to finding hearts in all of the books....this was fun to see.
Even on Eric's website that was up on our computer in the library. 
 And in other places all around.
Each group has quite a few photographs now on their iPad.  With warmer weather predicted for next week, we are going to take them outside to get just a few more hearts in nature. 

Then it will be time to put our heart stories today in Haiku Deck and share them with each other, our families, and the world.  

Thank you Eric for inspiring us to....

See a Heart, Share a Heart

The first graders especially can't wait to share their stories with you. 

Children From All Over The World Are "Banding Together" With Rainbow Loom To Bring Happiness To Others In India

We have been "Banding Together" with other children, teachers, and school communities around the world to bring happiness to other children in India.  

What started as a research project about Rainbow Loom has turned into the organization called "Banding Together", which is bringing all of us together to create bracelets for our new friends in an orphanage in Mangalore, India.  

These acts of kindness are going to bring so much love, friendship, and happiness to all of us.  

Over the last month, it has been been wonderful receiving bracelets, photographs, letters, and tweets from others around the world.  

Here is just a little glimpse into how a few of the schools have been "Banding Together"....
My sister Heather Fox and her students at Amana Elementary Library in Iowa have made hundreds of bracelets during the last week.  
It means so much to me to have Heather and her students be part of this project.....
especially with my niece Riley (in the middle), nephews, and friends involved too.  
My friend Elissa Malespina and the SOMS students in New Jersey sent us all of these and are making even more for Banding Together.  I have loved the stories of how excited they are.  
 Our friends at Shawna Ford's school in Texas and
 Melvina Kurashige's school in Hawaii have sent beautiful ones too.  
The little notes being included in the packages are so sweet and will mean a lot to the children in India. 
Our very own 6th graders at Van Meter had a Rainbow Loom Fundraiser for Sandy Hook.  They gave over 100 that were leftover to our Banding Together project.
And I loved receiving a package from my friend Marjan Gharajedaghi collected dozens of them from her own children's school to send to India.  
We love following the the #BandingTogether hashtag on Twitter and all of the messages from other librarians, teachers, and schools.

The one above is from my friend Kim Keith....We can't wait for yours to arrive too, Kim.
And lots of pictures from our friends at their homes and school.  Rachel Langenhorst from Iowa sent this one of her daughter Ella looming away....along with the students at their school, Rock Valley.
One part of the project we are really enjoying is creating charms with Tinkercad and our MakerBot 3D printers along with Andy Plemmons students at Barrow Elementary in Athens, Georgia.
My son Hagan and his friends love this part!  It has been fun to see all of the photographs and news about the different designs they have been creating and attaching to bracelets.  
When there are spare moments in the library and after school, this is a common scene.  A few of our friends were making bracelets during the Technical Difficulties Library Club after school last week.
 Hagan and his friends Carter and Luke spoke to our school board about the project last week.  The third graders spoke to a reporter from a newspaper in India on Friday to share the story.
Luke even found a couple different looms to produce on the Makerbot.  Our students are going to collect bands and make looms to send along to India with all of the bracelets.

As you can see, we are off to a terrific start in making a difference in the lives of these young people and within the world.

This is just the start.  There will be more and more children that will need us and we will band together again to bring happiness to them.
 You can follow all of us for this journey on the Banding Together Facebook page and
on the Banding Together Tumblr.  You can also follow the hashtag #BandingTogether on Twitter that we all have been using....And please do too when sharing your news about Banding Together.
Please send your bracelets to:  Shannon McClintock Miller, Van Meter School 520 1st Ave. Van Meter, Iowa 50261

Thank you again friends for "Banding Together" with all of us.  We hope that others join us too.
You will find all of the information that you need on the Banding Together Smore.