Thursday, April 18, 2019

Does My Collection Reflect My Community? Sign Up Today For This NEW Future Ready Librarian Webinar on April 30!

I am very excited to share our Future Ready Librarian webinar coming up on April 30, 2019 at 3:00pm EST. 

Does My Collection Reflect My Community?  Diversity in the School Library with amazing schools librarians and friends, Sylvie Shaffer and Matthew Winner, is one that you will not want to miss. 

As we shared on the Alliance for Excellent Education site, 

Panelists will discuss the value of maintaining a book collection that not only reflects the school community, but also is reflective of the global community of which we all are a part. Recognizing that centering diversity means centering the stories, experiences, and voices of historically marginalized people, including people of color, indigenous voices, LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies, differently-abled individuals, and neurodiverse voices.

Culturally responsive library programs take into account not only the content and sensitivity of lessons and supporting materials, but also what items are being purchased for the collection, what materials are being displayed or recommended to the school community, what voices are invited into the school or library for author visits or artists in residence, and what impact the work taking place within the library has on the global community.

The panelists will explore
  • What does “diverse” literature mean?
  • What is the value of “own voices”?
  • What would help dissolve your fear of being challenged for including a book in your library?
  • Where do I start? How do I keep going? How do I question practices that I might have thought are best practices that may have revealed themselves to be hurting or marginalizing others?
  • What is a diversity audit and how can information collected through a diversity audit inform future purchases for the library collection?
  • What resources are available for becoming more aware of diverse books?
  • What is the value of a diverse book collection to a class or school with a homogenous population?
You can register for this free webinar here. If you can't attend at the scheduled time, a link will be sent you afterwards too. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Watch The Dr. Jane Goodall Skype in the Classroom Broadcast Today!

Skype in the Classroom and Microsoft hosted an amazing event with Dr. Jane Goodall on April 2nd and 9th.

As they shared,

Inspire the next generation of conservationists to love and protect our planet in this free broadcast and live chat with Microsoft guest, Dr. Jane Goodall, the world- renowned primatologist and environmentalist. 

Dr. Jane Goodall will empower students to care about our planet and take action to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment. 
And now, we can watch this wonderful 15-minute event here with all of our children and communities.  

Not only will you be able to watch Dr. Goodall in this event, 
you will also find several wonderful resources and activities including...
a place to become a Chimp Guardian
and an activity guide, certificate for students and letter for parents.
I put together a Symbaloo for our students, and for all of you, to use and explore.  It includes PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next articles about Dr. Goodall, eBooks, the Cantata Learning story and song, a TEDTalk, EPIC! Books Collection and more. 

You will find the Dr. Jane Goodall Symbaloo here
This is such a special event and one you won't want to miss.  

Our First Graders Create Video Games With Bloxels About Their Zoo Animals!

I have been working on a very special project with our 1st grade teachers, my library partner, Jessica, and our students.  

It all started with an idea while we were collaborating one day about using Bloxels to create video games with our 1st graders.  The teachers mentioned they were going to the Blank Part Zoo in Des Moines on an upcoming field trip, so we thought, Let's have them write and create a video game with a zoo theme.  

Together we then came up with the task.  For this project, they would be writing and creating a video game from the point of view of two characters (animals or insects) of their choice. Their goal in the video game is to tell why these two characters should be part of the zoo.  They will have 3 chances to share why they would be a great addition to the zoo.

This was going to be so much fun for our first graders...and for us too!

Before we started, we wanted to build some background knowledge and interest over a variety of animals.
First, we took them on five virtual field trips using the MERGE headsets, iTouches and YouTube 360 videos of different animals and zoos around the world.
You will find the virtual reality field trips that we took to different zoo animals here in this Google Slide. We projected this on the board and printed it off for our students to scan with their devices.
Second, we visited the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium virtually.  It was awesome having a tour of the zoo and getting to see so many animals over Skype.  After seeing animals like a sting ray, jellyfish, red panda, monkey, bald eagle and polar bear, our first graders asked lots of terrific questions.  
Next, we got the four classes together into two big groups so we could tell them about the Zoo Bloxels Video Game Project.  They were super excited as we explained the project and showed them what we would be writing and creating over the next month in their classrooms and during their library rotation.  
We talked about what online resources they could use as they researched their animals.  I put PebbleGo, our eBooks in Capstone Interactive, National Geographic Kids, San Diego Zoo Kids and DK Find Out together on the Van Meter First Grade Symbaloo so they could find these resources easily. 

Here is the packet we created for each group to use....
The first thing we had them do in the packet was for each student to research the animal or character they chose. This is where they used the online resources such as PebbleGo. 

After the research on their two characters was complete, they wrote their story in the script that we laid out for them within the packet. It is very important when creating with Bloxels that you talk to them about the Story Cubes in Bloxels, because this is where the information and story line will be added to the video game.
In this video game, they will have three parts or chances to share why their animals should be part of the zoo.  They will include an introduction and ending using the Story Cubes too.

You will find the 1st Grade Zoo Bloxels Video Game packet here.
They were all very excited to get with a partner, pick their animals and set off to...
...research, draw, 
write, and...
 ...plan out their story for their Zoo Bloxels Video Game.
We invited our 2nd grade and 5th grade friends, who have created video games this year in Bloxels, to come to the 1st grade classrooms and show them how to use Bloxels.  They even played a few of the video games they have created, which was super helpful for the 1st graders and their teachers to see.

When the writing and drawing was complete, it was time to create their video games.
They are going to be kicking off the creation of the video games during their week long library rotation throughout this month.  Jessica and I will help all four of the classes start their video games and I will go to their classrooms throughout the month to help them get them completed with their teachers.
 It was really neat watching Kelly Hagen's class start last week.
 They used their packets and what they had learned about their animals to create fantastic characters,
art and backgrounds that would become part of the video games they would make. 
Here is an example of one where they have a chihuahua and koala bear as their two animals.  
We worked on animating their characters as they stood, jumped and walked.  This is one way they can include both characters and give their video game lots of movement and interest through the animation. 
On Thursday and Friday, they started building their video games and bringing together the characters, art and backgrounds.  I took a peak at this one today and just love seeing what they have included so far. 

After all of their video games are complete, we will be adding them to the Bloxels Arcade so they can play each others and share them with others around the world.  We can't wait to see what they create and find out why their animals should be part of their zoo as we play their video games. 

We can't wait to share more with all of you soon! 

Our 2nd Graders Created 360º Virtual Reality Tours Of Our School With Google Street View!

This week, our 2nd graders in Tracy Ferguson's room became explorers and creators in a very unique and new way.  
On April 9, we all met a little early before school to tune in for the special Jane Goodall Skype in the Classroom and....
...Microsoft event
It was so wonderful to listen to Jane share her story and inspire us on how to become more involved in caring about and taking care of the world around us.  
You can watch this event and find the materials here
Afterwards, Tracy and I thought it would be fun to gather up the kids and take them on a little exploring of our own.  
She just received this amazing ecoSTEM PolliNATION Kit grant from the Captain Planet Foundation so they brought that along. 
They were super excited to set off to explore outside...
 ... around our school....
...looking and noticing unique things about the world around us here in Van Meter, Iowa. 
To record this exploration, we had our students bring the iPads and...
...take come photos and videos of...
..observations they were making and things they were finding outside. 
This was good practice for what was next!  
The next day, I loaded a new app, Google Street View, onto our iTouches and got the MERGE headsets all ready for them to use. 
They would be taking the iTouches outside and within the school to capture 360º spherical photos with...
...the Google Street View app, which allows... to create 360º photo spheres to add to your very own Google Street View and Map experiences. 

You can get the Google Street View app in the App Store here
This was the first time we did this with her students and it was super easy.  Here is how we did this...

At the bottom of the app, you will see three choices.  You can use your iPhone or iTouch camera or add a one-shot spherical camera to take 360º photography.  I just ordered a Ricoh Theta S for us to use so we can't wait to try that next.  For this project, we used the camera on the iTouch and it worked great! 
All you have to do is click on Camera (at the bottom of the app). It will open up your camera and show you a little box with a round circle, as shown above.  You move the camera around the room, lining up the circle with the orange dot.  Every time they line up, a photo is taken.  It fills in the photo as you move around the room creating the 360º photo sphere. 
When you are finished, you can publish the 360º photos to Google Maps to share your photo spheres with the world. 
Once we showed the students how this worked, we got into three groups and helped them create their own 360º photo spheres at Van Meter.  Tracy and one of our visiting Watch Dog Dads took two groups outside, while I stayed inside with the other one. 
They had so much fun developing a plan and deciding where we would go.  We started in the office where Mrs. Beach was working hard. 
 We went to the library and....
...the STEM room. 
We even went to the East Dining hall and other fun places to show views from our school. 
When all three groups were done, I published them and watched them pop up on Google Map at Van Meter School. 

The next day, it was time to look at their creations...
 ...with the MERGE headsets.  This is where they would be able to view the 360º photo spheres using virtual reality.  
 They were all very excited to...
 ...give it a try.
 Even Mrs. Ferguson was impressed with their work as explorers and photographers.
When they were finished looking around, we decided it would be fun for me to take a 360º photo sphere of all of them too!  

You can check out Mrs. Ferguson's super cool 2nd graders below, along with one of the library and football field. 

We can't wait to create even more and make a tour to share with our community and others around the world.  

For now, we hope you check out their first creations on Google Map.