Friday, January 30, 2015

Let's Raise A Stink To Make A Difference With Well Aware's Shower Strike!

Children in Africa lose more than 400 million school days a year because they’re drinking dirty water and getting sick.

We have the opportunity to do something about that, have fun, and teach our students some great lessons. Please consider being part of the Iowa 2nd Grade Shower Strike for Well Aware.
It happens the week of April 17, 2015.

If 30 2nd grade classes Shower Strike, our kids will have a life-saving water system named in their honor. And they don't have to be 2nd graders....Anyone can take part in this amazing campaign!

Second graders in Dawn Scholtens class at Sunset Heights Elementary in Webster City have gone on a Shower Strike three years in a row.

Dawn shares, "They love it, their parents love it, and the media love it. Students commit to not showering (sponge baths and other “work arounds” encouraged) until they raise $1500 as a class.

We personally thought it was crazy at first but gave it a try and for three years my class has very enthusiastically raised over $2,000 each year in less than a week! The kids have SO much fun and really begin to understand that THEY can change the life of another 7-8 year old in Africa."

This is not your ordinary fundraiser. You’ll be provided simple instructions, phone support, T-shirts, messages from the kids you’re helping, and lesson plan ideas.

We will get in touch with you very soon with simple instructions to set up your fundraising page and get your fundraising kit (Kids love the T-Shirts!).

People all over the United States participate in Shower Strike each year, but Iowa is the first state organizing its students to fund an entire water system that will impact thousands of lives.

And the kids in Iowa want to include kids from all over the world to make a difference in the lives of others!

For every $15 raise, Well Aware can provide water to someone for decades. Let's all raise a STINK to make that difference together!

Thank you,

Dawn Scholtens and her 2nd graders,

Julie Graber @jgraber

Shannon McClintock Miller @shannonmmiller
Check out how the 2nd graders at Sunset Heights Elementary in Website City, Iowa made a difference with the Shower Strike last year. 
Starting in a few weeks you can sign up for your own campaign here.
Let's all raise a STINK and make a difference together.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Look What Flocabulary Has For All Of Us! A FREE 90-Day Trial!

One of my favorite online resources is Flocabulary.
As their website states,

Flocabulary is Educational Hip-Hop!  I like to compare it to School House Rock for todays students and teachers.  It is so much fun to learn along with everything Flocabulary has created.

Flocabulary offers more than 500 educational hip-hop videos for grades K-12, plus lessons and activities for every subject includes math, science, social studies, ELA, vocabulary, current events, and now life skills (which features a full series on financial literacy, plus units on social & emotional learning).

Their Common Core Guide can help teachers find what standards they're meeting with the ELA and math content. It can be found at
Right now they have a 90-day free trial available for schools and districts.  This 90-day free trial provides unlimited access for all teachers, staff and students at a school or district!)

Here is the school trial link:

Here is the district trial link:

Schools and districts can sign up for the trial until February 28, 2015.  

Their trial page for schools and districts will then go back to the standard 30-day trial, so this is a limited-time trial offer!
Flocabulary is creating new content all of the time.  You must check out one of their latest videos for Natural Resources.  

Sign up today and make sure you share this great news with all of your friends.  

I just know your students and school community will love learning, moving, and singing to Flocabulary too!  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Save The Date For The Close Reading Twitter Party From SnapLearning!

How fun!

A Twitter party about close reading!  On January 28th from 8:00-9:00pm EST, our friends at SnapLearning are going to be hosting a party right on Twitter.

You should register for the party because this is going to be a lot of fun....and there even chances to win great prizes!

We will be using the hashtag #snapreading and you can participate in the party there during that hour.

I am excited to learn more about SnapLearning, close reading....and seeing all of you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Join Us For "Creating Engaging Online Reading Communities For Your Students".....EasyBib Webinar On January 27, 2015

On January 27, 2015 at 3:00pm EST, my dear friend Marjan Ghara, founder and CEO of Biblionasium, and myself will be facilitating a webinar hosted by EasyBib.

You can sign up for Creating Engaging Online Reading Communities For Your Students by going to this MeetingBurner page.

It is going to be a wonderful hour of sharing how to use reading, technology and social networks to engage and excite our young readers.

We hope you will join us too.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Celebrate MLK Day With BoomWriter's WordWriter Activity

 Martin Luther King Day is right around the corner on January 19, 2015.
As stated on the website....

MLK Day is the perfect opportunity for Americans to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.
I am excited to see that my friends at BoomWriter have created something so special for this day as well.  

You can go to the Civil Rights Movement Activity Pack on the BoomWriter website to download the vocabulary sheet...
and lesson plan to conduct a WordWriter activity focused around the history of the Civil Rights Movement.

Everything you need is right here on the site.

I am excited to see what our young people have to say about this very special day.  Thank you BoomWriter for bringing all of us such a wonderful resource to celebrate civil rights, MLK, and the voice that we all have.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

We Let Our Students Be Heard At The IASB Convention In Iowa

As a parent, teacher, and librarian, I feel that the voice of our young people is one of the most important things in the world.  They have the passion,  motivation, and intelligence to drive their own education, future, and make a difference for themselves and those around them.  
On November 21, I had the honor of being the closing keynote speaker at the Iowa Association of School Boards Annual Convention in Des Moines, Iowa.  
To be part of a day with my friends and educational leaders Will Richardson and Chris Lehmann was exciting enough,  but the best part...

I was going to present with five amazing young people that not only made an impact on all of us at the convention, they made a difference in my life forever.   
After I was asked to be the closing keynote at the convention, I thought of the message I wanted to share.  They wanted me to focus on the voice of our young people.  I would share the voice of my students at Van Meter including those of Gunner, Hagan, and Luke.  But I wanted to also include the voice of students in other parts of Iowa.   

They all have something to share!  

I asked my friend Jimmy Casas, who is the principal at Bettendorf High School if I could bring a few of his students.....they are doing amazing things there!  
He sent my new friends Chelsea, James, Ryan....
and Archie to share their voice. 

I also asked my wonderful friend Ian from Waukee High School.....They just had to hear his story about the Iowa Student Learning Institute that he co-founded two years ago.   

As we prepared for the conference the weeks before, I was so inspired by their stories and how they are making a difference.  They all had stories I couldn't wait for the Iowa school board members, administrators and educators to hear.  

Above is the video of our closing keynote from that day.  I hope that you take the time to watch, listen, and take in the message that we shared.  
And remember that we all have the chance to listen to the voice of our young people.  

We have the power to let them be heard within their classrooms and libraries, to make a difference in their lives, education, and the world. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Let's All Connect For LitWorld's World Read Aloud Day Again In March

World Read Aloud Day — LitWorld.png
On March 4th, we will celebrate World Read Aloud Day with LitWorld.  This special day “calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories”.  

For teacher librarians and other educators, it has come to be a week-long celebration of sharing stories through Skype and Google Hangouts. 

This year, these connections will happen on March 2-6.
Jenny & Ame (2).JPG
Connecting through stories is always such a rewarding experience for our students.  Students often discover that we are all very much the same even though we are different.

Andy Plemmons and I invite you to post your schedule to our shared Google Doc and start making connections for this special week.  You may even discover a long-time collaborative partner through this one experience.  
World Read Aloud Day 2014 Connections   Collaboration  Recovered    Google Docs.png
You can read about our 2014 World Read Aloud Day experiences in our Smore journal. Also, I have posted about it several times over the last few years on my blog.

And read Andy's post, “World Read Aloud Day Final Thoughts”, as well as others on the Barrow Media Center Blog.  

Be sure to check out the LitWorld site for more information on planning for World Read Aloud Day. They even have a special classroom kit with ideas for schools.
World Read Aloud Day — LitWorld.png
If you are interested in connecting with others on this day, please add your name, schedule, and ideas to the informations in the Google Doc that we started.  

This will begin to fill up with others around the world as they want to connect their students and schools too.  We plan to celebrate throughout the entire week of March 2-6th.  
Google Tour.JPG
We think it’s important to know that there’s no “right” way to plan for World Read Aloud Day. Whatever you decide to do will be the right plan for your school and your students.  Whatever you do, your life will be richly rewarded with the power of spoken word and voices connecting together across the miles to lift up our right to read!

In the words of Kate DiCamillo, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, “Stories Connect Us”.  

We can’t wait to connect students around the world through story.