Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Adventures In Makerspace! It's The Book Birthday Of Our New Capstone Series!

Who doesn't love an exciting adventure with a school librarian?
Especially when it is an adventure in a Makerspace!  This is exactly what you will find in the new series Blake Hoena and I wrote, which come out today from Capstone!

In fact, there are four books in the series including....
both low-tech and high-tech missions.

The Capstone site states,

STEAM ahead with these graphic novels perfect for your makers! Matt, Codie, Eliza and Cyrus love hanging out in their library’s maker space. Their librarian, Ms. Gillian, has a bit of magic about her, sparking their imaginations and the occasional journey through time! These four friends really get creative as they explore everything from fairy-tale forests to the planet Mars. 
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 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 any maker and reader!  
These will now available from Capstone. 
You will find them on the site to order

I will be sharing more over the next several weeks on how these books came to be and the process of writing these books with Blake.  

We can't wait to hear what you and your students think as you bring our Adventures to Makerspace to your library, classrooms and community too.  

A Back-to-School Collection by Destiny Filled With Books, Projects, Tips, Crafts and More!

It is almost August and that means back-to-school time is right around the corner.  

With so many things to prepare and think about, I thought it would be helpful to start pulling together back-to-school resources in a Collection by Destiny to share with my school community and all of you.  

One of the first things I added were books focusing on back-to-school.  Reading books like The Kissing Hand were always very important as we got ready for back-to-school time in our home when my own children were younger. I know this is a special way we can help families and children too.  

A new one that we will be sharing in our library at Van Meter School during the first week is All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman. 
 This is such a beautiful story celebrating everyone who makes up a classroom and all of the....

...similarities and differences which makes us special and unique.  It is one that every library and classroom needs! 
In fact, All Are Welcome and several other back-to-school books can be found in the National Back to School Month Titlewave List that our friends at Follett put together for us.  

This makes it very easy to find several more that are special to share during back-to-school time. 
You will find this Titlewave list and several resources in the Back-to-School Collection by Destiny I started too.  There are craft ideas, online resources, more book suggestions, articles and helpful tips for parents, and more. 

I will continue to add things to this Collection, so please let me know if you have things to add. I would be happy to put them in the Collection or even add you as a collaborator if you would like to contribute to it as well.

Happy Back-to-School time, friends.  Enjoy the rest of you summer and getting ready for another super year!  

Monday, July 30, 2018

Check Out These AR/VR Tools & Resources! What Do You Use?

As we collect all kinds of tools and resources to bring augmented and virtual reality to our K12 students, teachers and community this year at Van Meter, we thought it would be helpful to curate them into different subjects and areas of focus. 

We have created a Padlet to bring together all of these tools and resources.  
You will find the Padlet here

As you can see it is broken down into different columns such as Art,  Language Arts, Music, 
Science, Social Studies/Geography, and more.  

We would LOVE to know the tools and resources you are using and having success with in your libraries and classrooms too.  Please add them to the corresponding column in the Padlet.  

Remember...they might even go into more than one column.  I added several this way too.  
 We even created a column to share tools for creating AR and VR experiences and....
...of course a column to hold our special VR, AR and Mixed Reality Tools and Resources Collection by Destiny too.

Feel free to use it and you can even ask me to be a collaborator if you'd like. 

We can't wait to see what you are using too.  Thank you for sharing, friends. 

Buncee...The Perfect Tool For Supporting, Modeling and Teaching Digital Citizenship

According to Common Sense Media,

Being a good digital citizen is more than knowing your way around the web. It's about connecting and collaborating in ways you didn't even know were possible.

When you teach digital citizenship to your students, you help create a positive school culture that supports safe and responsible technology use.
As librarians and teachers, we need to cover these topics outlined by Common Sense Media to prepare our students.  Using digital tools, apps, and other resources are powerful and meaningful ways to support, model and teach digital citizenship.

Buncee is the perfect choice for supporting, modeling and teaching digital citizenship for all ages.

Here are 10 ways Buncee will shape and support your digital citizens too!

1. Students build and manage their digital identity within Buncee by showcasing their knowledge and creativity respectfully and responsibly within the interconnected digital world.

2. Within Buncee Boards, students also have the opportunity to build their skills as positive digital citizens through commenting and reaction emoticons.

3. Buncee gives students a platform to be successful as learners, storytellers and citizens in the digital age. This amazing digital tool gives our students a voice as they create and share their thoughts, knowledge and passions using the creative elements included within Buncee.

4. Buncee provides a digital space where collaboration between students is possible in a creative and meaningful way.  By using the Stitching feature within Buncee, teachers are able to bring Buncee’s from multiple students together to create a collaborative story which everyone can read, celebrate and share.  

5. Students are able to share Buncee’s they create with others not only within their class and school community, but with others around the world.  This will give them a chance to model and practice their skills, while being empowered by the global voice and impact they have on the world.

6. Buncee Boards provide our students a place to collaborate with others by seeing what classmates have created.  Being in this collaborative space Buncee provides, students can practice their digital citizenship skills by being respectful, safe and true to themselves.

7. By using digital assets such as images, sound, video and other elements, students are able to practice and become more aware of creative credit and copyright.  With lots of elements included within the platform, Buncee gives all students the guidance, practice and support they need to be successful.

8. Students can practice giving positive, constructive and kind feedback as a digital citizen to classmates within Buncee Boards.

9. Students use Buncee to enrich their learning and expand perspectives while connecting with others locally and around the world. The Buncee Buddies program is an amazing way for students to collaborate and connect globally using Buncee and Skype in the Classroom to enrich their learning experiences and communication skills as global collaborators.

10. Ultimately, Buncee provides students a place and community to build a positive digital footprint that can follow them throughout their education and life.  It can and will make a difference in the lives of your students too!

Digital Citizenship. (2018, June 26). Retrieved from https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-citizenship

Friday, July 27, 2018

The NEW Fall 2018 Stories and Songs From Cantata Learning Have Arrived!

 One of my favorite publishers is Cantata Learning!
As the Cantata Learning site shares,

Cantata Learning flips the script on reading...with the power of music!  

They combine wonderful stories with engaging songs and beautiful illustrations to bring unique and fun learning experiences to our children from preschool to 3rd grade and beyond!
Cantata Learning has done a fantastic job covering all of the different curriculum topics from language arts, social emotional learning, fairy tales, library skills, math and more the last several years!
Last week, I was so excited to receive a great big box from Cantata Learning... 
...with all of the NEW 2018 Fall titles!  

They are filled with amazing stories with diverse and special characters, family, friendship, movement, animals, fun, fairy tales and love.  

Let me show you the four series from Cantata Learning that will be available in a few days on August 1, 2018.  
As you look through them with me, remember that every one of the titles is online where you will find the music available to stream and download.....even as an instrumental piece too.  You will also find the sheet music that you can download for each title too.  

This is included in the back of each book with additional resources and discussion questions as well. 
The first is one of my all-time Cantata Learning favorites and one that every library and school needs. 

It is called How We Are Alike and Different.  
This series includes one that is especially perfect to share, My School, Your School, Our School which focuses on schools around the world.
As they sing along, your students will love learning about schools,
families and...
pets around the world too. 
The next series Bark wanted to introduce. It is the Pets! /¡Las mascotas! series. 

Cantata Learning shares, 
For the first time, Cantata Learning delves into bilingual nonfiction to offer kids a musical learning experience in both English and Spanish! 
There are 6 stories and songs that will help our young readers with the skills they need to learn about and take care of these different kinds of animals.
You will find this great series here.  I am sure this will be a favorite of all kids!   
OHHHHHH, the next is so much fun!  I can't wait to share this with our physical education teacher at Van Meter, Bart Jones!  
There are four books that make up the Creative Movement series. 

I just have to share what the Cantata Learning site says,

This series takes a concept-based approach to introducing the many ways our bodies can move. From breathing and stretching to yoga and meditation, kids will have fun while relieving tension and improving focus. Upbeat music and basic dance moves combine to build a comprehensive, yet age-appropriate, sequential and movement vocabulary. 

Through movement we become more aware not only of our surroundings but also of ourselves. So let’s get moving!
I can just see these being used during PE to teach children so many lifelong physical education skills.  
You will find the Creative Movement series here
The last but certainly not least are four more that fit into the Fairy Tale Tunes series, which have been out now for a few year.

These four join a rock star lineup!
And you will find the Fairy Tales Tunes series here.

As you can see, Cantata Learning has done it again and created one out of this world reading, creating, moving, speaking and sharing experience for all of our students.  

You can check these four new series and every other title from Cantata Learning on the website or you may also visit their YouTube Channel here

Have fun singing lessons with your students this year too, friends!  

Books & Ideas For Box & Cardboard Creations!

When my daughter Brianna received the awesome #morethanabox Amazon boxes at their home in Belgium this week,
I couldn't help but get excited about the possibilities and follow along with this amazing initiate from Amazon!

The first thing I did was check to see if we had received any at our home yet, because these will be perfect for our students in the Van Meter School Library.
I put out a call to our families and communities through our Van Meter Library Voice FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep a look out for these and bring them into the library.
I also looked at the Padlet we created filled with books about boxes and cardboard.  I thought how wonderful it would be to take these boxes from Amazon and turn them into not only the things printed on the side, but mash them into other projects like found in...
 ...Epic Cardboard Adventures 4D from Capstone and...
...Out of the Box
from DK.  
And to share all of the special stories about boxes and cardboard too. 
I then visited Amazon to find out more details and learned from their site,
Amazon recently surprised customers with playful shipping boxes inspired by child-like imagination. We introduced fun ways to treat adults, kids and pets to ... more than a box! Channel your inner pirate, yogi, thrill seeker — like River the cat (above) — and more by following the instructions below.
This page shows all of the different boxes that you and your kids can collect from Amazon including these....
...fun masks too.
I especially loved visiting the #morethanabox hashtag that is featured on the box and filling up with awesome pictures and ideas on Twitter and....
and Instagram.

As we get the #morethanabox boxes (which I don't know about you, but we get A LOT of Amazon boxes in the mail at our homes), think about all of the fun your children will have with the boxes and the amazing creations these will spark!

This is just a start!

By using the books included in our Padlet, visiting the #morethanabox hashtag, being inspired searching on Instagram and best of all, using imagination and creativity, #morethanamox will surely inspire our students this year as we go into a new school year within our libraries and classrooms.

So, add even more storybooks and books to create on the Padlet, share your creations and those of your students on social media, and have fun with boxes, cardboard and other recycled goods!  
I know that when my sister Heather and I were little, there was nothing better than the fun a giant box brought us on our family farm.  

We can't wait to see what they bring to your life too!