Thursday, May 31, 2018

Mrs. P Shares Exciting News About The 10th Anniversary Of Her Be-a-Famous Writer Contest

It’s the 10th anniversary of Mrs. P Be-a-Famous Writer Contest.  

Today, Mrs. P shared some exciting news on how teachers are using her writing contest in the classroom.

Mrs. P (aka actress Kathy Kinney) has a mission to spark the imaginations of students. She started her free literacy website for teachers and parents 10 years ago along with the Be-a-Famous Writer Contest.  She’s visited countless schools with Skype visits or Google Hangouts and is a staple for classrooms celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day.  I caught up with Mrs. P to find out all about the theme for the 10th annual writing contest.

You’ve been running your Be-a-Famous Writer Contest now for 10 years.  What the one thing you’ve learned since you started - and how have you used that knowledge?
I’ve meet thousands of inspiring teachers along the way.  I am so impressed at the extra things they do for students and how they truly have a passion for what they do.  I learned how many teachers were on Twitter sharing resources and ideas, and realized that was the best place to reach them and learn and share along too.

What’s been the biggest surprise over the years? How teachers have used it as an opportunity to have their class do research on the theme, or  use it as a way to understand the mechanics of writing. Also the impact the contest can have on a student. 

What’s the most important message you can give a teacher for their students entering the contest?  To let them explore their creativity and get their ideas down first.  There is time for editing later.
How did you pick the theme this year?   Over the years I’ve met so many inspiring librarians, teachers, and literacy advocates sharing their stories. I realized they were my heroes and were out their providing a magical experience  for children every day.  So I thought that children all have some hero in their life too. Whether it be a pet, a teacher, a friend real or imagined, and I wanted to read about their heroes.  

Here’s the important information!  
The contest opens on October 15 and close on December 15th.  

The contest is free to enter! It’s for K-4 classrooms in the United States. Teachers can have their class either write it collaboratively, or have students write individually and then have their class vote on which entry to submit.  There’s only 1 entry allowed per class. You can find the rules at my contest page.
A special trailer for students was made by some extraordinary 5th graders in Atlanta.  So teachers and parents can share this trailer with their K-4 writers.
And of course, there is a promo for the teachers, so they know about the amazing sponsors who will support many literacy efforts.  They help fill the winning classrooms with books in every format, as well as some other technology to help students be creative. Mackin Educational Resources, Tales2GO, Powells Books, Flipgrid, and Buncee.  
I’ve also rounded up more prizes than ever this year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the contest!

The past author judges are providing books and Simon and Schuster is giving me books. Yes, books from Chris Grabenstein, Peter Reynolds, Josh Funk, Bonny Becker, and YOU! (Thank you)  So many books for classrooms!

I hope teachers will find a bit of time to unlock the power of the imagination in their students with my writing contest.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Registration Is Open For 2018 Future Ready Schools Institutes!

We have some exciting news, friends! 

The Future Ready Schools Institutes for 2018 have been announced and registration is now open.
If the FRS Institutes are new to you, let me share a bit about these amazing two day events. 

As the Future Ready Schools site states,

Future Ready Schools Institutes are FREE two-day professional learning events designed to support school and district leaders in creating policies, procedures and practices that empower them to transform teaching and learning in their school and/or district.  
During the institutes, attendee with learn, discuss, build, collaborate, and grow as they connect with others within like roles and those within roles that are different from theirs as well. 
The institutes are ran by our wonderful FRS Advisory Team which includes leaders from around the country who have demonstrated success in innovation in education. 
This fall there will be 5 FRS Institutes including: 

September 10-11 - Mansifeld, Ohio 

September 17-18 - Chicago, Illinois 

October 25-26 - Atlanta, Georgia

November 12-13 - Portland, Oregon 

November 29-30 - Loudoun, Virginia 

I hope that you and others from your district will consider joining us for one of the FRS Institutes.  They have made an impact on so many around the country already and we can't wait to see the change and excitement they bring this year too.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Uncle Mike's Journey With Cancer

This is Uncle Mike, as we like to call him around our house.  

He is my brother-in-law and one of my very best friends.  He is also the best uncle around and our Hagan loves him we all do. 

Two months ago, Mike starting experiencing horrible pain in his side.  Fast forward to today....Mike has been diagnosed with cancer and is about to embark on the hardest fight of his life.  

He isn't alone and we would love to share his story in hopes that it helps others and to spread the word of bringing even more prayers, positive energy, hope and love his way.  

Today, Mike shares his story on the Caring Bridge that we started.  Before Michael shares his story, we would like to share Michael's GoFundMe link with all of you. If you would like to donate, please go here NOT to the link at the top that says "Donate to CaringBridge". There has been some confusion about that.  Thank you.

This is Mike's Story...
My Story

By. Michael Miller

Over the course of my life, the letter “C” has become synonymous with who I am....many consider me a fairly passionate Cubs fan for some reason.

Unfortunately, another “C” has entered my life. It’s a pathetic and cowardly disease that I will fight and refuse to ever let define who I am. I truly hope my story can help others who may be going through something similar.

On the evening of Thursday March 1st, I began to have a pain in the right side of my body, just below my chest yet above my appendix. This pain gradually got worse as I laid there wondering what it could be. It eventually got so bad that I could barely gasp for a breath. Between this and the pain, I truly felt that my time had come. I’m still surprised I didn’t call 911 as I fought for air and through unbearable pain all night.

The next day I scheduled an appointment with my Dr. for routine blood work and more importantly, to find out what the previous night was all about. 

A couple of days after visiting my Dr. I received the first bit of alarming news. While my routine blood work came back fine, my liver was showing severely elevated numbers. Referrals were quickly in order and an ultra sound was scheduled shortly after. 

With my first ultra sound completed a few days later, more alarming news came my way. Multiple tumors were located within my liver. A strong sense of urgency became very prevalent with my Dr. and the diagnostic office. More referrals and required approvals from my insurance for chest and abdominal CT scans were on the horizon.

The results from these provided additional alarming news, possibly involving lymph nodes and an area in my stomach. The liver remained concern #1. For the first time in my life, the word oncologist became part of my personal vocabulary.

Erin, my significant other, as I like to playfully call her was ensuring that I wouldn’t be going through this alone. My Brother (Robbie) joined me in Texas the very next day following my conversation with him about everything. Additionally, my Sister-in-Law and her husband (Shannon and Eric) offered me every single aspect of support imaginable to make sure I would not be alone. 

The oncologist visit initially provided hope as he and I had the same idea....a liver biopsy to find out for sure whether the tumors were cancerous or not. Logistics got in the way with my upcoming relocation to Ohio which delayed this biopsy. Additionally, it meant I would be losing this compassionate oncologist who seemed to take a true interest in my condition.

In Texas, I was feeling mostly pain. Oddly enough, this seemed to subside for awhile once in Ohio but it was replaced with nausea, dizziness and very little energy. I likened it to feeling hungover everyday.

I was introduced to a new Dr. that Erin and her family see. More referrals for the liver biopsy, liver specialists and an Ohio oncologist quickly took over the excitement of my relocation. 

After a bit of a delay, I was finally having the liver biopsy. The hope was for fatty tumors instead of anything cancerous of course. 

I experienced the worst pain since this all started (on March 1st) a few hours after getting home from the liver biopsy. From this point forward, pain has re-joined the feeling of constantly being hungover. 

Alarming news was replaced with shocking news as the diagnosis of cancerous tumors were provided to me about a week after the liver biopsy was performed.

A few days later, shocking news was replaced with the feeling of numbness when the OH oncologist delivered his assessment stating that the liver cancer was non retractable (in-operable). His plan was to find a treatment that will give me the best quality of life for the time that I am still alive. 

Erin, Robbie, Shannon and Eric visited with me about the importance of being as close as possible to my family and friends for the best opportunity of fighting this. They reiterated how it would be good for me to be around Hagan and for him to be around me. It’s an absolute blessing that I will have this opportunity to spend quality time with him. I also had an amazing conversation with JR Sheffer who offered incredible support as a cancer survivor himself. I will be relocating to Iowa the first weekend in June and have already scheduled an appointment for a second opinion with the amazing oncologist who JR had. 

This past Friday I had an endoscopy with a very caring and thorough gastroenterologist. He had my results by the time I woke from the anesthesia. While more cancer was found, he stated we can now be sure of where it’s coming from (another tumor located at the bottom of my esophagus which extends into the top of my stomach) and offered better ideas on how to fight and possibly beat this. 

I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me and kept me smiling despite the news I’ve been receiving for nearly 2 months now. In addition, a huge thank you in advance to anyone who offers their kindness, love, prayers, support during this surreal time. 

Lastly, I wanted to end My Story with 3 things that have always been paramount to me. I think of these all the time now....

Always live, never exist.

Live life with absolute integrity.

Show compassion to everyone and everything that life offers.

Love always, Michael
You can visit Mike's Caring Bridge here.  Please feel free to leave caring words and big prayers. 
We also started a GoFundMe for Michael and his expenses.  Please give what you can if you would like. 

Thank you for reading Mike's story and for giving him hope and strength today and everyday in this journey.  

Monday, May 28, 2018

Celebrate Dads and Grandpas With These Books and a Special Collection!

With Father's Day right around the corner on June 17, it is time to celebrate all of the dads and grandpas out there in the world...and those who are like dads and grandpas to us too. 
One of my favorite ways to celebrate and talk about dads all year long is through books.  

I read Owl Moon by Jane Yolan over and over to my own kids and now we have the wonderful new book A Different Pond by Bao Phi to share over and over too.  
I created a Padlet to pull together all of the books I could find about dads and grandpas. 
I included this terrific Titlewave list from Follett as part of it too. 
I also created a very special Collection by Destiny to bring together even more resources for celebrating dads and grandpas.  You will find craft ideas, songs, more books, games, recipes, videos and much more in this Collection.  

Please feel free to share the Collection and Padlet.  You can even make a copy of the Collection and make changes or additions too.  

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads, grandpas, uncles and others in my life.  You deserve to celebrate all month long. 

The Bookshop Girl...A Love Letter to Books and People Who Read Them!

I always love receiving special packages from Peachtree Publishers, especially when the book inside is about a few of my favorite things...bookshops and young people who love books.
The Bookshop Girl is just that! 

As I read over the notes that came with the book, I couldn't wait to read The Bookshop Girl.  This book is due out in Fall 2018 is by Sylvia Bishop and...
...illustrated by Poly Bernatene. 

It is about 11-year-old Property Jones, who middle school readers will find witty and fun, while cheering her on to solve the mystery and rescue a bookshop her family won from a nasty villan.
As the Peachtree Publishers site states,

Sylvia Bishop's exceptional and fantastical U.S. debut features a cast of memorable, quirky characters, including the resourceful Property Jones herself and her cantankerous kitten side-kick, beautiful descriptions of the tactile pleasures of books, and the magical transporting quality bookstores can have for readers. 

I feel that same type of magic when I walk into a bookstore, as I know so many young people do too.  I can't wait to share The Bookshop Girl with readers in the library as they follow Property Jones in this mysterious adventure. 
I thought The Bookshop Girl would also fit perfectly on the Picture Books and Songs That Celebrate Librarians, Libraries and Books too.  

This book will fill your book loving heart, as it did mine.  As we wait for the debut and after it comes out, please use #thebookshopgirl on Twitter and Instagram to share your excitement and that of your young readers too. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

What PebbleGo Articles Would You Like To See Added?

As our friends at Capstone prepare to begin development on new PebbleGo articles, they would love a little help from all of us.  

Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey and share what you would like to see in all 6 of the PebbleGo databases.  You will find the survey here

Thank you.  

5 Summer Strategies for Families to Rock and Read!

As we are getting ready for the summer months ahead, we have the opportunity to arm our students with wonderful resources and tools that will prevent the summer slide and keep them reading, learning, and creating. 
Here are five meaningful and engaging ways to use your favorite Cantata Learning stories and songs… and a little PebbleGo, too!  

You will find this post on the Cantata Learning blog here

Join The Future Ready Librarians at ISTE 2018!

With the ISTE Conference coming up June 23-27, there are lots of events and opportunities being planned for Future Ready Librarians.  I have started a Google Doc to share these can will it here.

If you have one to add to this list, please feel free to add the information below. We’d love to know when you are presenting too!

Thank you, friends.  See you in Chicago!  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Let's Share Our School Library Mission and Vision Statements

Do you have a mission and vision statement for your school library? 

Something that states the purpose of your library and gives your team a shared understanding of your destination and goals? 

If you do, please share it here on this Padlet so we can use great examples to create our school library mission and vision statements too. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Get Ready To Play The Future Ready Feud At ISTE, Future Ready Librarians!

Get ready to play the feud!  

This is something we have all heard, but have you ever heard it at the annual ISTE conference?  

That's right!  We are going to play the Future Ready Feud at ISTE.  This awesome event will take place at 1:00-1:40pm CST in the Follett Booth #1716.  

To make it even more exciting, we will be broadcasting LIVE via the @FollettLearning Facebook Group.  

We will be using #ISTE18 #FutureReadyFeud #FutureReady and #FutureReadyLibs pre, during and post event so even if you are not there, please join us at these social media places to share in the fun.  

Remember friends, join us on June 25 at 1:00pm for the very first Future Ready Feud!

Raising Readers to Leaders, One Page at a Time

On May 31 at 12:00pm EST, there is a very special Future Ready Schools webinar that you won't want to miss.  

In the webinar Raising Readers to Leaders, One Page at a Time, the members of the Val Verde USD leadership team will share how they use the five-step FRS planning process to create their district's FRS action plan.  They will describe the process used during their two years of intense planning and collaboration with various departments within the district, along with input from parent groups. Through this systematic research-based process, they created a dynamic plan that puts their students first and provides them with opportunities to acquire twenty-first-century career skills that will carry them into the future.

I can't wait to hear their story and gain lots of knowledge and tips from this amazing team. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Globally Connecting Through Stories, Tools and Resources

By globally connecting our libraries, communities, teachers and students through opportunities, literacy, social media, technology and voice, anything is possible.
We would love to hear your stories and know the tools and resources for globally connecting your students, teachers and community.
Please add them to this Padlet, friends so we can share ideas and try them out within our libraries and schools too.

The Librarian and Story Behind The Vintage Library Posters!

Last year, I wrote a post about these sweet little library posters from 1965.  You can read the post from my blog here.
Slate shared it in this post Adorable Midcentury Posters Teaching Kids How To Use The Librarywhich featured 8 of these posters from a 32-poster book Using Your Library: 32 Posters For Classroom and Library by Mary Joan Egan and Cynthia Amrice. 
These were created to help children with topics such as research, finding a book using the card catalog and even borrowing books from the library.  

I love these posters so much.  They even inspired my friends at Buncee and I to create lots of stickers, animations, sayings, background and even more special assets so librarians can create their own wonderful posters and different kinds of branding and signage too. 

You can read all about the inspiration the posters brought and the project with Buncee here

Every book store and antique store we go to, I look for the posters. I have looked for them in lots of public and school libraries. In fact, when I hear that a library is being renovated or weeded, I asked about the posters.  I love thinking about how libraries have changed and how they have stayed the same. 

Then a few weeks ago, I received a Facebook message.  It read...
I was so happy and excited to receive this message from Mary's daughter.  

We went on to write one another back and forth.  It was awesome knowing that Mary Joan Egan worked with artist Cynthia Amtrine to create this set of 32 posters on library skills for elementary school students.  

I wanted to know more about the librarian and artist behind these library posters. 

She wrote this back about her mom, 

Hello!! I will work on getting you a photo. She was at Burnt Hills Ballston Lake for 44 years, I believe, with one year at Shenendehowa. She was very active in NYS School Library and ALA. It would be so nice if you wrote a blog as it seems you are on a similar career-love-of-libraries and children career. Thank you for your interest.

I also received a picture from her.
She shared...

I believe Mary Joan Egan, on right, received an award at this meeting.  

Here we are getting Hubert H. Humphrey’s autograph. 

He was a speaker at the event. This was in Atlantic City. 

Her daughter also shared,

She is going to be honored when the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District names the library at Stevens Elementary School in this professional's honor.  This will be the first time in the BH-BL's 103 history to recognize a woman educator in this way.  

What a special connection. I love that she reached out and now we know a little more about the amazing librarian who had this idea and created them for her library and libraries everywhere.

It also has lead me think about this...

I would love to invite Mary into our libraries now.  I wonder, If Mary created posters now, what would they say? 

Over 100 of Shannon Miller's Collections by Destiny All In One Set!

I am crazy about Collections by Destiny.  

Collections have become my go-to place for curating, organizing, and sharing resources while collaborating with others and working on my own.  I have now created over 130 public and private Collections which are so fun to share with all of you.  

Now that we can create Collection Sets,  
I brought all of my public Collections together in a Collection Set called Shannon Miller's Collections by Destiny.  You can find  it here

I will be keeping this up-to-date with all of the new Collections I create throughout the year, so bookmark this Collection Set and keep it handy for when you looking for a special Collection to use or even make your own.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

10 Ways To Inspire Learning With Buncee This Summer ....Watch The New Buncee Webinar Here!

This afternoon I had so much fun! 
I joined Annie Garrity, Education Associate at Buncee, for a brand new webinar...10 Ways To Inspire Learning With Buncee This Summer! 

It was great hearing all of Annie's ideas and sharing a few of my own, along with ideas from awesome teacher librarian friends too. 

You can watch the recording of the webinar above...
and find the Buncee we used for the presentation embedded here.

It's almost summer, friends.  We hope you have fun inspiring your students and families to learn and read throughout the summer too. 

Find and Follow #FutureReadyLibs, #tlchat and Other Library Inspiration On Instagram!

I love Instagram!  

I love looking at it everyday to see what my family, friends, colleagues, professionals and even places from around the world have posted.  

Instagram gives us a glimpse into amazing libraries, Makerspaces, classrooms and school communities of all kinds. It is such a wonderful platform for finding and learning about new books, ideas, resources and tons of library and technology tools and tricks.    

We can like, save and share posts.  We can even send the people we follow private messages.  

One of the things I LOVE MOST about Instagram is being able to follow a hashtag just like we follow people, libraries, organizations and others.  This is definitely one of the first spots I check! 

Let me show you how you can follow hashtags too! 

At the bottom of your Instagram click on the little Search or magnifying glass.  

You will be able to type in the top what you are searching for.  I am going to search for #FutureReadyLibs.  
It brings up #futurereadylibs and all of the posts that have been tagged with that hashtag.  You can search Top and Recent, which you will find above.

As a Future Ready Librarian, thinking about each of the gears of our framework all the time, I just love how the #futurereadylibs hashtag in Instagram brings these things to life for all of us with stories and celebrations being shared from around the world all the time. 
 The same for #tlchat.  When I searched for that, this is what came up on my Instagram.

You can do this for any hashtag or even just search to see if there is one.  If there isn't, perhaps you can start and tag the images you want to show up too.  

Monday, May 14, 2018

5 PebbleGo Summer Projects For Your Students and Families!

When my son, Hagan, was younger, one resource that he went to throughout the summer was PebbleGo. In fact, he went there all year long
He would open it up on our computer in the kitchen, on his iPad, or ask me if he could use my laptop to look at all of the things he loved and was curious about in PebbleGo. And he wasn't the only student from our community that visited PebbleGo during the summer. In fact, it was one of the top places to go for all of our readers as they learned more about topics they were passionate about and discovered an excitement for new topics too.

As we get ready for summer break, PebbleGo should we be at the top of your list to share with students and families as we encourage learning and reading all summer long. It is something they have online at home, on-the-go and as they travel. As you know, the learning and reading never stop with PebbleGo!

Today, I want to share 5 exciting and engaging ways PebbleGo can be used as a pathway for learning and reading this summer with students, families and throughout your community too.
You will find these 5 ideas, including this PebbleGo Summer Calendar idea here at the Capstone Community.  

I would love to hear your ideas too, friend. 

Save The Date for Digital Learning Day 2019!

Today, Digital Learning Day for 2019 was announced.  Digital Learning Day will be held on Thursday, February 28, 2019!

Digital Learning Day is such a wonderful day as it celebrates the digital learning taking place in classrooms, libraries and throughout school communities. 
As the Digital Learning Day site states,

Started in 2012, Digital Learning Day has provided a powerful venue for education leaders to highlight great teaching practice and showcase innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes. 
To keep up to date on Digital Learning Day and what is planned for 2019, check out their site at; the Digital Learning Day Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and follow #DLDay on Twitter and Instagram.  Make sure you add your ideas and news using their hashtag too.  

It is an awesome community and day to be involved in as we all celebrate future ready learning in our communities and throughout the world. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Join The Oceans Day #SkypeBunceeBuddies With Others Around The World!

I just love the #SkypeBunceeBuddies projects!  

They are such a special way to connect children to wonderful opportunities to be creative while learning something new and exciting.  Also, one of the best parts....they give all of us a chance to collaborate and connect with others around the world. 
This time, Skype in the Classroom and Buncee are joining forces to celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8.  
Classrooms will be partnering up to Skype and share their promises to project our oceans and marine life using Buncee and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development from the United Nations. 

Here is how the Oceans Day #SkypeBunceeBuddies project works....
  1. Have students choose one of the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development related to protecting our oceans and marine life. An example would be, #6. Clean Water and Sanitation. Make a Buncee on how to support the Goal and why it’s so important.
  2. Create a story on Buncee about protecting the oceans. You may choose to write a realistic story of people working to save the world's oceans, a story from the point of view of the animals who live in the ocean, or you might choose to write about an idea that's all your own!
  3. Explain why it’s important to celebrate World Oceans Day and choose one action you’ll take to protect our oceans this year.
Here is a beautiful example above. 
     4. Connect with a classroom over Skype around World Oceans Day, June 8th. Once you register, we will send you a link to join a Skype Group Chat where you can connect with a classroom and set up a Skype call. 
You can sign up and read more about the Oceans Day #SkypeBunceeBuddies here

And don't forget to follow @Buncee @SkypeinClassroom and #SkypeBunceeBuddies on social media. You will find ideas and people sharing soon.  

We can't wait to SEA what you create!