Tuesday, May 27, 2014

With MackinVIA Your Library Can Be Open All Summer Long!

School is out for the summer at Van Meter.  

It is time for our young people to have fun, connect with family and friends, and stay busy with camps, sports, vacations, and other summer activities.

It is also an important time in their reading lives.  We want to give them all of the tools, encouragement, and choices that we can to keep them reading throughout the summer months.   
One way that we can do that within our school community is through the eBooks that we have in MackinVIA.  With our students having access to hundreds of wonderful nonfiction and fiction eBooks, they have our digital library at their fingertips all summer long. 

Tomorrow I will send out the "Our Library Is Open All Summer Long....Connect to eBooks, Databases, Audiobooks, Digital Tools, and Us" Smore, which will give our students tips on connecting to MackinVIA and other digital resources within our library such as Capstone's PebbleGO, Tales2Go audiobooks, several digital tools, and the library social networks including Van Meter Voice on Facebook and on Twitter at @vmlibraryvoice
There are lots of different things we have done with our eBook collection over the last two years. 

One of my favorite summer reading programs was when we created the Wanted....Readers For The Summer In MackinVIA program.  The kids read all kinds of eBooks about animals throughout the summer.  We used Edmodo to talk about the eBooks too.  At the end of the summer, we celebrated summer reading by inviting the zoo to the public library in Van Meter.  It was great fun.  
This summer Mackin Educational Resources has also created the very special Custom Summer Reading Programs to support our readers, schools, and families.  

They created summer reading "packages" and put links to those packages on the site. You can see these packages by visiting the site

You can just log into your mackin.com account to see the lists they have created for K-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Scroll down and the first box, light blue on the top right.
On the webpage for this summer reading program, you can also see how Mackin supports schools who have MackinVIA by giving them several additional resources for their summer reading program.
Our students and families will just love what Mackin has to offer for summer reading.  I can't wait for our community to dive in and see what is new!
For more information, you can contact Classroom Services at Mackin at the number or email above.

So just remember....

As we all head into summer, keep your library open for your students by giving them access to MackinVIA and all of the amazing reading and learning opportunities it holds.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Skype & Padlet Full Of Advice From High Schoolers In Florida To Our 5th Graders In Iowa

A few months ago my friend Donna Gephart and I talked about ways we could connect our students. 

Donna is an author and teaches high school students in Southern Florida.  I was going to connect them with our elementary students in Iowa. 

She came up with the idea of having her students write advice for the younger friends they were going to meet at Van Meter.   This was perfect timing with the school years coming to an end and our students moving onto middle school next year, and several of hers graduating.  
Today we Skyped twice and connected our two schools.  

Donna's students took turn reading the advice they wrote and talking with the fifth graders.  

We all loved what they had to say...what amazing young people!  

Our students also shared a little advice too...even though they didn't know what advice they could give to the older students. 
As we finished with our Skype,  I created a Padlet for all of our students to share advice with one another.

I thought this would be a great digital space and a little more comfortable for all of our students to share their advice.
The question was simple......

Our fifth graders used their iPads.....
and some used laptops to add to the Padlet.  I love how a lot of them also found images to share their advice.

By the end of the day, we had a wonderful spot with all kinds of advice.
We also the treat of listening to Donna read from her newest book Death By Toilet Paper due out in August 2014.  She read us part of Chapter 1 and I continued to read three more to my students.
Donna's website is another awesome place to check out!  You can learn all about the other books she has published too.

Thank you to Donna and your amazing students.  We had a great time and will enjoy reading through all of the advice we gave one another.  

Mrs. P Gets Van Meter & Others Around The World Excited About Summer Reading!

We had a very special visitor in the library during our last week of school.  

Our friend, Mrs. P, visited us in a Google Hangout on Air and shared lots of advice, resources, and stories to kick off Summer Reading with the Mrs. Smith's 2nd graders at Van Meter.  

We broadcasted it live and you can find this recording on YouTube now
She shared why it was so important to read, learn, and explore throughout the summer.  
She also told a few very funny stories....starring characters from the class, including Max's dog!  
 We all had a wonderful time!   
Remember to check out MrsP.com for all of her amazing stories, resources, games, activities and much more....like these amazing summer reading resources

Thank you Mrs. P and Dana for visiting us in the library at Van Meter and throughout the year.  We love you.  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Chronicle Books....A Very Special Place To Connect To The "Spirit and Creativity" Of Children's Literature

There was a brown paper box on the table in the Makerspace last Tuesday when I walked in.  As I got closer, I got super happy because I saw that it was from my wonderful friends at Chronicle Books! 

I opened the box to find three new beautiful books to share with the little people in our library.  Every one of the books that they publish is just as perfect as the last.....always a special treat for all of us.  

I love this statement about Chronicle Books' objective because it sums them up perfectly....

Chronicle Books' objective is to create and distribute exception publishing that's instantly recognizable for its spirit, creativity, and value.  
Each of these books come with Press Releases that are so fun to read and share with the kids too.  I always just stick this in the back of the book in case anyone wants to read it again.  
Their website is also a cool place to go!

Chronicle Books is definitely one of my favorite places to find new books, amazing authors and illustrators, and all kinds of news about children's and YA literature.
Especially the Kids & Teen page on the site!  
I just love Chronicle Books YouTube Channel.....It is filled with all kinds of wonderful book trailers, authors interviews, and other things you will love too.
This one for Lately Lily is adorable and was fun to show the kids in the library as I shared this book last month.

Thank you to my dear friends at Chronicle Books.....You are such special people and are making the best difference in the lives of our children, young people, teachers, librarians, and others around the world.  

A Special Connection Between Khartoum, Sudan and Van Meter, Iowa 5th Graders This Week

A few weeks ago we shared the 5th graders nonfiction eBooks that they created.

After they added them to the Padlet below, I shared it on Twitter and Donovan Hall from KICS Primary School in Khartoum, Sudan saw my tweet.  I was very excited to see that his students were reading our students eBooks.  Both of the groups of young people were creating projects focusing on global warming and the earth. Donovan and I thought it would be wonderful if all of us could connect in a GHO to share with each other.

And so this week we did.....Our two schools in Iowa and Sudan connected, shared, and learned together.

Kate Goodwin and Aubrey Stafford, our fifth grade teachers, brought all of the kids to the library.  We started our GHO at 8:30am CST.....It was 5:30pm in the Sudan.  Donovan had his students come back to school, while ours started their day connecting. 
We listened to amazing projects and presentations from our new friends.
Our fifth graders also enjoyed sharing the projects and work they had done within their classrooms. Everyone was so impressed with what they had created.

What a special time it was.
To continue the conversation between our two schools we created a FlipGrid asking the question, 

I added a link to the 5th grade Symbaloo and tweeted the link to Donovan.  

All of our students will add their very own video reflection to the FlipGrid.  This will be a nice way for the students to get to know one another better too.   
We can't wait to hear all of the reflections from the students.  

They have so much to add to this conversation after being involved in such wonderful projects and experiences.

Thank you Donovan and all of our new friends at KICS Primary in Khartoum, Sudan.   

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Today Our First Graders Shared Their "My Safety Projects" And Taught Us About All Kinds Of Safety

In April, we kicked off the first graders "My Safety PBL Project."

They have loved developing their driving questions, researching, and creating a project about their safety topic.
This week it was time to share what they have learned and created.  Each student was videotaped talking about their project.  They were also able to show what they had created.
We videotaped on the iPad and then uploaded each video into YouTube.

I created a new Symbaloo, 1st Grade Safety Projects, to embed each safety video into.

Today, the first graders shared these with the kindergarteners.  It was a perfect way for them to learn from all of the students (see all the pictures below of our fun today).

It was also a wonderful way to share with parents, teachers, our community, and with the world.

I loved hearing them tell me all about their projects this week.  They were all very passionate about what they had learned and created.  Each one took a lot of pride in their work and sharing it with all of us.

I hope you enjoy them too.