Friday, December 28, 2018

Support First Book & Their #BookstoKids Holiday Campaign!

Education offers kids in need the best possible path out of poverty. For my year-end gift, I’m supporting First Book and their efforts to get nationwide.

The First Book holiday campaign is aimed at getting more books and resources to kids. Between now and December 31, every $3 donated to First Book will be matched with a new book from Penguin Random House, up to 200,000 books.
If you donate by midnight on December 31, 2018, Penguin Random House will DOUBLE the impact of your gift!

To date, First Book has distributed more than 175 million new books to kids in need. And you can be a part of that! We thank you for your support.

You can click here to donate to First Book now too! 

Let's Make This Year Awesome With Flipgrid & Kid President....And You Can Too!

As we get ready to kick off a New Year, it makes me think about kicking off a brand new year with our students too.  This is an exciting time for them and we want to make sure we help them make it an awesome year. 

Then I thought Kid President and his AWESOME YEAR Challenge

This is one of my favorites from him!  Take a few minutes to watch this....I know you will love it too.
After our students watch Kid President, they can think of what they will do to make their year awesome and add to the Flipgrid we set up and shared on the library Symbaloo.
 I also submitted this into the Flipgrid Disco Library, so you can Add this Topic....
...use it with your students and community too. You will find Let's Make This Year Awesome here in the Disco Library

We can't wait to hear all of the awesome things our students at Van Meter will do in 2019! 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Skype in the Classroom Events for 2019! Start Planning Today, Friends!

When I saw this tweet from Skype in the Classroom today, I got so excited to think about all of the Skype events we did in 2018 and all of the events coming up in 2019.

This year we have Skyped with classrooms, librarians and teachers around the world,  authors, illustrators, publishers, educational and digital tool creators like Buncee, Kidblog, Blabberize, Bloxels and StoryboardThat, 3D Bear, Merge, CoSpaces, MakeyMakey and many more! 

The events that Skype sets up throughout the year on the Skype in the Classroom Calendar are a wonderful way to get involved with amazing global connections too.
As we get ready to kick off another year of Skype in the Classroom and for several author and illustrator Skype's in January as we work our way up to LitWorld's World Read Aloud Day on February 1, 2019,
I am going to be using these Skype Student Bingo Cards with our students.
By downloading and printing off the bingo cards (there are 30 different ones), your students will be able to track the awesome learning that takes places during each Skype.  This is also a great way to keep your learners engaged during the Skype's.
I love the idea of students all having different cards or even having the same one.  They will LOVE Skype Bingo!
With World Read Aloud Day on February 1, 2019, Skype celebrated literacy in February by.... 
...connecting us with all kinds of authors, storytellers and literacy events for all age and grade levels.  I refer to this page all year long, as it connects us to so many special literacy celebrations and opportunities. 

Take a look at what happens after February through.....
....July with all kinds of events each month!  

I love that Skype in the Classroom brings these special events together for all of us.  It gives us a place to not only connect our students to amazing events, it gives us a place to connect them to others. 

It gives us a place to take down the walls and let the world in!  

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Best Books of 2018 Collection!

One of my favorite parts of this time of year as a teacher librarian and lover of books and reading are all of the Best Books of 2018 being shared on social media and in blogs.

I have been sharing and bookmarking them myself. Today, I brought all of those bookmarked sites together in the new....
...Best Books of 2018 Collection by Destiny that you will find here

In fact, I used these today as I browsed through Titlewave and ordered new books with what we earned at our Follett Book Fair this fall.  It was super helpful to have these available and in one spot. 

I am excited to share them with my teachers, families and students as we go into a new year of reading next week and get ready for a whole bunch of new books in 2019 too! 

If there is a list you don't see yet or want to add to this Collection, please share it with me so I can add it or let me know if you'd like to be added as a collaborator.  

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Happy Book Birthday To Our 4 NEW Adventures In Makerspace Graphic Novels!

Here they are again, back in their library Makerspace! 

One of my favorite librarians, Ms. Gillian, along with four of her amazing students, Codie, Matt, Eliza and Cyrus, are back in another 4 titles that my friend and author, Blake Hoena, and I wrote with Capstone

In this new graphic novel series of Adventures in Makerspace, you will find low and high tech adventures again.
And of course, we love the graphic novel styled illustrations by Alan Brown.  They really bring these adventures to life in such a fascinating and creative way.  This series will surely hook our makers and readers! 

The Capstone site states, 

At Emerson Elementary, students Matt, Codie, Eliza, and Cyrus love hanging out in their library's Makerspace. There, an adventure is always about to begin! When Ms. Gillian presents the friends with STEM challenges, they must use their imaginations and creative thinking as they explore past creations, from movie sets to the Space Needle! Complete with a glossary and further reading list, as well as imaginative Makerspace ideas and a related activity, each book in this series is bursting with resources to spark students' creativity.
Their adventures even inspired a theme song which readers can access, along with an author interview and activity related to each book, via Capstone 4D, Capstone’s free augmented reality app.

We couldn't be more excited about these new titles and can't wait to share them with all of you and your students too! I especially can't wait to share them with the students and teachers in our library at Van Meter Community School in Iowa.  

You will find our new 4,
along with the first 4 books, here on the Capstone site

Our 3rd & 5th Graders Created Amazing #GingerbreadSTEM Video Games With Bloxels!

One of my favorite things to see is when our students teach their friends and peers throughout our K-12 building at Van Meter.  Not only do we, as teachers, love this, but our kids do too as they feel empowered and definitely proud and good about themselves in so many ways through this collaboration, teaching and as they foster new and existing friendships. 
Since our 5th graders are now the resident experts in Bloxels after spending the day with them during the Big Board Game Jam, we have been involving them in a few projects this month with the 4th and 3rd grade teachers and students. 

To learn more about the Big Board Game Jam Day at Van Meter, you can watch this video and read the post here
The first collaboration was with 5th grade teacher Megan Algreen and....
...Amy Garrison, one of our 3rd grade teachers. 
As we collaborated on this Bloxels project, we decided to tie it into the...
....#GingerbreadSTEM Global Project that others have participating in around the world.  

We wanted to put a twist on the traditional gingerbread house building aspect so took it digital using....
...Bloxels!  With Bloxels, you can turn any story into a video game so this was going to be the perfect platform for the....
...stories and video games they would create with a small mixed group of 3rd and 5th graders.  
As we meet with them for the first time, we told them about the #GingerbreadSTEM Project and how we would be sharing their stories and games with others...
 ....around the world through the website and on social media using the #GingerbreadSTEM hashtag. 
Along with developing and writing the story behind their game, the groups worked on story elements as they came up with a game title, characters, a hero, enemy/challenge, and objective to go along with the overall story. 
We loved seeing the gingerbread characters being created like Gingerbread Jim and...
We loved seeing Santa, the Grinch and even Ginger Cat pop up throughout their Bloxels games too.
Every one was truly unique and would add such special elements to the video games..
...they would create and later share with their friends to play.
They worked on all of the different elements...
...of their games with their partners for a week in the collaborative space and...
It was so fun to see them work through all of the development,
issues and...
...successes with their 3rd and 5th grade friends. 

Take a look at what their game building week looked like....
After that week, they had a big day of sharing their Gingerbread Bloxels video games.  
All of the groups rotated and played each others games.
It was really fun and exciting to watch this.  They were so proud of what they had created and couldn't wait to see if their friends would be able to get through all of the different levels.
Their video games will soon be available in the new Arcade feature within Bloxels.  We will let you know when these are available for anyone to play.

In the meantime, Amy, the three other 3rd grade teachers and myself are getting ready to kick off a similar project on January 7 with all four of the 3rd grade classrooms.  
Amy's students will now serve as the resident experts and teach their friends about Bloxels as they create video games focused on the story elements of a New Year holiday story.  You can get to this Google Doc here to use with your students.  This could be focused around any theme.

The #GingerbreadSTEM Bloxels project was so much fun!  I can't wait to see what our 3rd and 5th graders do next this year and in their future as video game creators and coders too.