Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A Collection of Fonts & Lettering For Almost Anything!

My daughter Brianna and I love creating cool newsletters, flyers, posters, graphics for blog post, letter heads, social media posts...basically about anything tied to graphic design, branding and marketing, we love creating! 

When we work on these things, we like and use a lot of the different fonts that are included in digital tools, apps and presentation tools, but we really like to go to other sites to find fonts and lettering that really makes the things we create stand out and grab the attention of the readers and audience. 
For example, when my teacher librarian partner, Jessica, and I put together the Van Meter Spring Break Smore that we sent out to families and students last week, I wanted to find a font that was fun and really stood out within the newsletter. 
I went to one of my favorite font sites, Font Meme, 3D Fonts, and looked for the perfect one. As you can see, there are a lot of really fun ones to choose from.  
When Brianna and I were working on some Makerspace ideas around gaming in libraries, we went to Textcraft to create these cool Minecraft looking letters for the title of the work. 
And we certainly can't miss another from Font Meme called Graffiti Fonts! We love finding all of these awesome graffiti fonts and being able to change the color too! 

We not only enjoy using these font and lettering sites ourselves, we also love sharing them with others.  My students at Van Meter really enjoy being able to make their projects and presentations extra special and teachers & librarians love being able to make their work stand out even more too. 
To share our favorites and lots more with all of you, we brought them together in a new Collection by Destiny. You can find the Fonts and Lettering Collection here.  

Please feel free to ask to be a collaborator in this Collection or share sites that should be included in this Collection too.  And let us know what other sites you use and we will add them to the Collection too.
Thank you for joining Brianna and I for another post on our blog, Our Voice in Learning.  We love learning alongside all of you. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Bus Book Box Is Coming To Van Meter...Here Is What You Need To Bring It To Your Buses & Readers Too!

My dear friend and partner in lots of collaborative and exciting learning, reading and creative fun, Tracy Ferguson, and I have something cooking!  
After we saw this wonderful story shared on Facebook of sharing books with kids to read on bus rides, we decided to see how this would work in our community.  So Tracy asked one of our bus drivers and awesome teachers, Quin Pelz, if we could try it out and after spring break the...
...Van Meter Bus Book Box is coming!  
To prepare for this new reading program, we went to our favorite digital storytelling and marketing tool, Buncee, and created these little signs. 
I asked Buncee to create a bus sticker with transparent windows so we could add Tracy, Quin and I's...

...Bitmoji's for a personal touch.  
These will go on the plastic book totes, that Tracy found for $1.00.  These would be perfect to hold books, bookmarks and a few pencils for them to write their names on the bookmarks.  We are going to see how they work and could possibly use...
...milk crates, that we found online for $10.00. 
We could use a plastic cup and a few zip ties to attach it to the inside or outside to hold bookmarks and pencils too. 

You can find the poster link from Buncee here....Feel free to make changes and use this for your Bus Book Box signage. 
We also created special Van Meter Bus Book Box bookmarks in Buncee.  It is so easy to do with their new bookmark template and we loved using our 2nd graders backgrounds they created. 
Our kids will love using these in the books they read on the bus.  
It will give them a place to write their name and then place the bookmark in the book if they want to pick it back up when they get back onto the bus.

You will find the bookmark design in Buncee at this link.  Again, feel free to use this one to make your own.
We got lots of bookmarks printed at Overnight Prints so they will be ready to go when we get back to school next week. 
By bringing books to our buses through the Van Meter Bus Book Boxes, we are giving our students another wonderful chance to connect to books, reading and to celebrate #VanMeterReads! 

We will keep everyone up to date of how this new reading program goes!  

Have You Seen Where On Google Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? Check It Out Here!

Something very exciting has come to Google Earth that will allow you to take your students on an adventure around the globe through geography clues and more! 
When you look in the right hand corner, you will see a tiny red figure and when you click on it...
...a familiar character will pop up.... Carmen Sandiego! 

"The Crown Jewels Caper" is a brief but completely endearing throwback in which you talk to locals and use the clues they drop to find Carmen's next location on the map. And because all of this plays out in the Google Earth app, you have a camera zooming around to show you the sights.
The story ties directly to the characters and art style of the Netflix series, though the small handful of cutscenes have more of a pixelated Ye Olde Video Game look. The whole thing doesn't take more than 10 or 15 minutes to play through, though Google's announcement promises "other capers in the near future."
Just to help you better set your expectations: This is a cool, little story but it's not the kind of game you'll play again and again. Where the original Carmen games mixed things up every time with random locations to visit and clues to unravel, The Crown Jewels Caper is a scripted story.
It's still an enjoyable blast of nostalgia and will cost you nothing, so it's worth checking out. You can try it right here on Android, Chrome, and iOS.
To start up this fun new geography game, just click on Let's Go
and it will open up into Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego, 
 where you will be guided through an awesome and secretive assignment with Carmen Sandiego.
When I clicked on the little magnifying glass and airplane, it took me to places through prompts that I read and answered,
 and trips around the world.
I even tried it out on Google Earth from my phone and I found the same little Carmen Sandiego character in the left hand corner that when I clicked on...
 ...opened up into the same geography based game as I did online.
I can't wait to have our students at Van Meter play Where On Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego on our iTouches, iPads and their Chromebooks, when we are back from Spring Break.

You can find Where On Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego here too. 

#ColoringOurCollection... Meaningful Artful Coloring Sheets From Museums The World!

Our kids love to color!  In fact, we all love to color.  And when coloring ties into something meaningful and inspiring, it is even more impactful and special. 

That is where #ColorOurCollections, comes into play.  On this amazing site, hundreds of coloring sheets.....
...from around the world, have been brought together to give all of us access to these on this site.

As stated on this site,

#ColorOurCollections is a week-long coloring fest on social media organized by libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world. Using materials from their collections, these institutions are sharing free coloring content with the hashtag #ColorOurCollections and inviting their followers to color and get creative with their collections.
For the last three years, coloring sheets have been added to this site.  You can check it out here today! 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

See If You Can Guess Our 3rd Graders Mystery State Buncee's!

The 3rd graders in Ann Volk's class were very busy over the last week creating Mystery State Buncee's for their class to solve on Friday.  

I wrote about this project and included all of the materials we used in this first post here
On Friday, after all of the groups had their Buncee's complete and on the Buncee Board,
 we had each student get out their Chromebooks to guess...
 ...their classmates Mystery State Buncee's. 
They used their social studies textbooks, Capstone's PebbleGo Next States, the map on the wall and a few other places that helped them solve the clues.
 As they solved the Buncee's,
 some of them wrote the answers on a piece of paper,
 while others opened up a Google Doc to keep track.
During that time, just like the time we spent on this project everyday this week, the students were completely engaged and excited, while learning so much about the geography of the United States.  

Since they didn't create a Mystery State Buncee for each state yet, Mrs. Volk is going to continue this project and we will be doing it with the other 3rd graders after spring break.  

We loved this Buncee project...students and teachers alike! 
And they would love to share their Mystery State Buncee's with all of you and your students to see if others can solve them too!  You will find the Van Meter 3rd Grade Mystery State Buncee Board here. 

Let us know how you did!  And remember, if you and your students create your own Mystery State Buncee's, they can be added to this collaborative Buncee board here

The Van Meter Voice Library Newsletter....It's Spring Break, Van Meter!


With Spring Break 2019 here for Van Meter, Jessica and I put together a Smore newsletter packed full of places for reading, creating, technology and fun!  You can scroll through it in the window above.

How do you share resources with your kiddos and families during holidays and breaks?  We would love to hear!  

Please feel free to make a copy and use this as your own too. You will find it here

The Van Meter 5th Graders Stop Motion Film Festival!

I have always wanted to do a big stop motion project with our students.  We have dabbled in iMovie and WeVideo, along with several stop motion and green screen apps over the years, but have never created full fledged films.  So, as I watched my friend, Todd Burelson, and his students create films for their film festival earlier this year, I was inspired to do the same at Van Meter.  
I wanted to start out with a grade level, before bringing it to several grade levels at one time, so I went to my friend, Megan Algreen, who teaches 5th grade and works with all three sections throughout the day. Megan is always up for trying new things and with her interest also being in educational technology like me, we have a great time dreaming up projects that involve new, challenging and fun technology for our students and teachers. 

As I shared with her about the project, she was all in! 
The first step was hooking up with Todd and his students at Hubbard Woods School in Illinois.  They would Skype into Van Meter, share the organization and execution of the Student Film Festival, demonstrate and answer lots of questions.  

It was awesome having his students there, empowering ours!  
Todd pointed us to this amazing site he created after the Hubbard Woods School Student Film Festival.  


Under the Resources tab, we found the PDF of the Stop-Motion Planning Packet that he used with his students.  It is packed full of places for brainstorming, 
character development,  set development,  
storyboarding their ideas, rubrics and more.  
As Todd's students focused on kindness as a theme for their film festival, our 5th graders were going to focus on the Van Meter Vision Points.  
They would work with their partners to pick one of our vision points and use the packet to....
...brainstorm, write and develop the story, characters and setting of their stop motion film. 

They did a great job with this stage and couldn't wait to get to work. 
Over the next two weeks, they created their characters out of....
clay, wire, paper, LEGO's, photographs and.... 

....lots of other materials we had available to them in Megan's classroom.  
At this point, each group also got a Casey's pizza box that were donated to our project.  This was perfect for keeping everything together in one place and easy for stacking up too.  
Next, was the development and creation of their backgrounds.  
It was really fun seeing how creative and different each groups background were and how they would play a big part in their films.  
It was now time for the filming!  
We used the Stop Motion Studio app that Todd recommended and that we had used a little bit before ourselves.  It is a free app with tons of amazing features and perfect for them to use on the iTouches that we had available for filming. 
It was really fascinating watching the kids figure out how they wanted to shoot the different scenes in their films.   
Some of them shot downward, using inventive and....
...common techniques, while others....
...shot their films straight on using a tiny tripod, bookends, cardboard boxes, the back of computers and other genius ideas!  
Every group had their own individual film making techniques and this was one of the best parts to take in every day as they pulled together their work into wonderful stop motion films for everyone to see.  
When each group finished, Megan had them airdrop them from the iTouches to her MacBook.  

The next morning, one of our 5th graders and local iMovie expert, Jace, came in early to meet us as we put together the final collaborative 2019 Van Meter 5th Grade Film Festival.  

You can watch it here too! 
It was also fun for our 5th graders to open up their classroom that day to our entire elementary....
... as they went around to different stations, 
 to learn about and.... 
...watch their films.  
The fifth graders all worked so hard on their films,  
so they were so happy to be given the chance to share their work and voice. 
As Megan shared on her Twitter, the very first Film Fest was a success and they loved being part of it. 

Thank you to Megan and to the 5th graders for working together to learn, create and share such amazing work and creations.  We all loved them and can't wait to see what you create next!