Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Make Your Social Media Posts Shine!

I love using social media!  I use Twitter, Instagram and Facebook on a daily basis for all kinds of things professionally and personally. 

This summer, one of my goals is to learn more ways to make my social media shine and be more interactive and engaging.  I just love seeing all of the fun ways others do this on social media. It really does grab my attention and makes me not only stop to look at it, but brings me back to the things they share too. 
After creating these little videos on Kapwing
 Lumyer and....
...Adobe Spark, I decided to pull them together, along with others, on this new Padlet where we can share social media apps, tools, resources and ideas. 
You will find it here

I can't wait to hear and see the tips and tricks all of you have for making your social media posts shine too! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Music Technology Class Made A Difference For This New Van Meter Graduate, Meagan Blomgren!

I want to share a story of two very talented young adults who just graduated from Van Meter Community School in May.  Meagan Blomgren and Tyler Hepworth. When their band teacher, Kyle Pape shared this story with us at the end of the year, I reached out to Meagan to share the story behind this amazing class, project and music they created.  
Here is Meagan's story. 

My name is Meagan Blomgren, and I recently graduated from Van Meter High School. At Van Meter, I was highly involved in almost everything- softball, track, drama, academics, and music.  My last year at VM, I was introduced to a new classroom opportunity- Music Technology. At the beginning of the year, I barely knew what the class was even going to be about. I had known virtually nothing about what it takes to produce songs and put your music out there, but I was still very interested in the topic, so I thought I’d gave it a try. 

Who would have know that Music Tech would be (by far) my favorite class at Van Meter. 

This class was split up into two different sections; the first semester was more focused on the techniques and tools that people use to make, edit, produce, and market their music, and the second semester was all about making your own music using what you learned first semester. I have always been very interested in music and songwriting, so I was super excited to start producing my own music that second semester.
Because we were limited on equipment, my friend Tyler and I paired up together to write and produce our own songs. Tyler (another recent Van Meter graduate) is also very interested in music and is intending on pursuing his music career and using what he learned in this class to create his own studio!  

This is a picture of the “studio” space in one of the practice rooms that we used for recording and editing our projects. This was the beginning of the studio, in addition to a couple more  speakers and microphones.
And this is the logo Tyler and I created for our label name- TyMe (pronounced like time). 

It was very helpful having two minds that were both very passionate about music working on the same project. We both had very creative ideas and worked well together. 
Our very first project was the song Cheat on Me, which is one of the songs featured on our EP. Throughout this process of producing the song, there were many moments of trial and error. It wasn’t a terrible start for our first song, but it wasn’t exactly our favorite project, looking back on the album. 
After we got the process down, it took us less and less time to complete each project. Before I knew it, the end of the year rolled by, and we had completed 5 projects including Cheat on MeSayLie with YouPain, and...
This Love, which is a Meagan Blomgren original. 

All of these projects are also available for streaming on our EP, available on all streaming sites including YouTube Channel
...Spotify and...
I also completed recording a 6th project by myself after the school year was over, which I performed at graduation for my Valedictorian speech. It is titled, Much Different Than Before.  It is now available on iTunes and all streaming sites as of June 11, 2019. 

This entire process was unreal, and I couldn’t have made a better choice for myself by taking this class with Mr. Pape. If this class is offered again in the years upcoming, I would highly recommend anyone with a passion for music to take this class! 

Thank you Van Meter for everything! Next year, I am off to Simpson College to pursue a major in Pre-Med, and a minor in music! I plan to use what I learned in this class to continue recording and producing my own music in the future! 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Celebrate "Family Is A Superpower" With This Book & Poster!

One of my favorite books of the year is Michael Dahl's new one, Family Is A Superpower from Capstone.  

This book is a beautiful celebration of all families by Michael and illustrated by Omar Lozano. 
In fact, this book became the inspiration for our amazing Family Reading Is A Superpower reading initiative at Van Meter this last spring.  We even put up this awesome bulletin board to celebrate family reading when Michael Dahl came to our school for the day.  

You can read all about our reading campaign and how to create this bulletin board in this post, A NEW Reading Bulletin Board & Idea For Our Super Readers & Their Families!
As shared on the Capstone site, 
BATMAN, SUPERMAN, and WONDER WOMAN have many extraordinary abilities, but their greatest superpower of all? Family! In this new addition to the bestselling DC Super Heroes Picture Book series, the diverse family structures of the World's Greatest Heroes mirror the lives of real-life children and their equally diverse families. Along with bright, bold illustrations and poetically spare text, award-winning author Michael Dahl (Bedtime for Batman, Good Morning, Superman, and Be a Star, Wonder Woman) makes all families no matter how big or how small, feel SUPER!
Today, Capstone shared a link to this poster.  I am going to get these ready to give to all of our teachers for their classrooms as we kick off our new year and make everyone feel welcome and loved. 

It's a great way to kick off the year celebrating the diversity in all families and your communities too. 

And you will find Family Is A Superpower here on the Capstone site

QRCodeMonkey Creates The Coolest QR Codes!

As you know, I LOVE using Bitmoji's.  I think it is one of the most cleaver ways to grab attention when marketing your library and work in such a fun and personalized way.

As I update my MOO cards and blog with my author information and new job title, I thought of the perfect way to share this after being reminded about how fun QRCodeMonkey is at the Jefferson County Library event in Kentucky today.
With QRCodeMonkey, you can create a personalized QR code for free using information and graphics that you share on the site.
You will find QRCodeMonkey here where you will add your information that you want included on your QR code.

I created mine by adding....
 ....the link to my...
Then I set the colors.   I just picked black but can choose any color or combination that I want.  I can even pick the background color of the QR code.
Next, is the super fun part...adding a logo image.  
I picked a Bitmoji of me holding my Cantata Learning book Find a BookLike I said earlier, this is a fun way to share one of my books and author page in a fun way.
 The last thing I can do is customize the design with a variety of shapes but I kept it the way it was.
After that, I clicked on the Create QR Code to create this one. 

When it's all done, the QR code can be downloaded in a variety of different formats. 
You can see how I not only used this on my MOO cards, but also used it on my new Books and Activities Authored page on my blog here too

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Paper Toys & Lots Of Projects and Books About Creating With Paper!

Over the summer, I love it when I find extra special tweets and social shares with amazing resources.  It gives me time to really dig in and try things out.  

This happened a few days ago when my awesome friend Kathi shared this tweet above sharing the Paper Toys site. I have seen something like this before as I have been working on paper crafts in our library and other workshop events with teacher librarians and educators but this site was new to me and I just love it! 
You will find Paper Toys here.  It is filled with tons of free paper crafts including the ones Kathi shared,  famous landmarks, familiar objects,
 historical objects, famous places,
 and so much more.
Hagan and I loved finding one of his favorite places...Wrigley Field!  

When you click on any of the paper toys, you will find a place to view and print, and lots of ways to share on social media too.  

For these paper toys, I suggest printing them out on card stock for nice, crisp folds that hold up to being played with too.
My friend, Kristina, also shared another great resource today in this tweet....
where you will find lots of paper projects to download and make!  
As I added these sites to our resources to use next year at Van Meter School, I also thought about how we can tie in books and resources from the Let's Bring Literacy To Life Through Making Padlet under the Paper, Paper Planes and Paper, and Paper Doll categories. 

A few of my favorites are....
 Little Paper Planes which showcases 20 artists...
 ... and their versions of paper planes,
 After the Fall...How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again, 
 Baby Loves Areospace Engineering, 
 My First Guide To Paper Airplanes, 
 and the 4D Paper Airplane series from Capstone.

Over the summer, I will look for other cool books and resources to add to the Padlet and to this project of creating and testing out the paper toys and lots of other fun things to create with paper.  I can't wait to see what our kids come up with for their own designs to make and share too. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Forky In Craft Buddy Day...A Craft & Story To Kick Off The Summer or New School Year!

With the new Toy Story 4 movie being released on June 20, 2019, it is so much fun seeing the excitement around this long loved series of Toy Story movies and beloved characters.
In this new one, there are some new characters including a very special one named, Forky!  The theme of Toy Story 4 still focuses on childhood toys coming to life, but in this one it is a toy made by one of the main characters, Bonnie.

I love the connection between making, friendship and relationships in this movie.  It is so fun seeing Bonnie, along with the other students in her kindergarten classroom, create Forky and other handmade toys with a few art supplies including paper plates, plastic sporks, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, toilet paper rolls, clothespins, bubble wrap and more.

We can't wait to see this movie in our family. 

Then something super fun happened the other day while walking by the Tattered Cover in the Denver International Airport. I couldn't believe it when I saw this new Disney picture book...
...Forky in Craft Buddy Day from my friend and author, Drew Daywalt, along with illustrators George McClements and Stephane Kardos. 
This is such a beautifully illustrated story that Drew wrote, which was inspired by Toy Story 4. 

In the book, Bonnie creates Forky and brings him to school.  Her teacher, Miss Wendy, loves her imagination and creativity so decided to have all of the students create their own toy on Craft Your Own Buddy Day! 
The children create characters with all kinds of craft materials and recyclables while using their own imagination and ideas to create a one-of-a-kind toy for themselves.
When the craft items and recyclables become toys, they have a hard time understanding what their roles are since they are not common objects such as a plate or bag to hold food anymore.
It is fun seeing Forky become a leader throughout the story and help the others understand they are still important and even more special now too.

After I read this book, I couldn't help but think of all the ways this can be used in the classroom, library and art room.  I decided to look for a few ideas and gather them together 
First, I found a couple little figurines and a plush Forky to have at school with the book.  They are so adorable!  This will be helpful for them to look at as they...

...make their own Forky's and other toys out of craft supplies and recyclables.  This video is super fun to watch with creating Forky. 

It would not only be fun for them to make their own toys from sporks, it would be fun for them to make toys out of other recycled utensils and materials too. 
I found a few more books for inspiration and added Forky in Craft Buddy Day to my Padlet,  
Let's Bring Literacy To Life Through MakingThese books are under a new category on the Padlet called Recycled Materials. 
I also created a new Collection by Destiny, Making Toys Out of Recycled and Craft Materials. 
I added several links to ideas, books and projects that will fit perfectly into this theme and book. 

Thank you, Drew for creating such a wonderful and fun book to go along with a new movie I know all of our kids will love.  

I can't wait to see what toys our students will create to hang out with Forky on our very own Craft Buddy Day at Van Meter too!