Friday, February 28, 2020

The Six 2020 Future Ready Institutes Have Been Announced! Register Today!

This week the Future Ready Schools® (FRS) Leadership Institutes were announced for the fall. 

As the site states, 

The Future Ready Schools® (FRS) Leadership Institutes are FREE two-day professional learning events designed to support district teams of three to nine people in creating policies, procedures, and practices that empower school and district leaders to transform teaching and learning in their school and/or district.
The leadership institutes will inspire, invigorate, and inform district teams with a wealth of information and resources that will support their Future Ready efforts. District teams will collaborate to build regional networks of like-minded colleagues, generate feedback on practices, articulate actionable next steps, and identify resources to take their learner-centered strategies to the next level.
Here are the locations of the six institutes and you can register for all of them today. You will find them here
We are excited about the FRS Agenda for the fall institutes as we worked on it this week in Washington DC with our FRS faculty team and several of the FRS advisory team.  

You can read all about the Future Ready Schools® (FRS) Leadership Institutes here.   We can't wait to see you this fall. 

A Symbaloo For Digital Learning Day & All Year Long!

For Digital Learning Day this week, we created a special Symbaloo that a lot have asked about so I thought I would share in a post.  
On Digital Learning Day, this is what all of our students visited in order to get to the 10 Technology Playground Stations we had set up around the library. I created a poster in Google Slides for each station and for the Symbaloo. 

I put them into these great holders around the library and printed one off for each teacher to hang up in their classroom too. 

You can read about all of our stations and plans here
You can get to the poster I made of the Van Meter Digital Learning Day Technology Playground Symbaloo here.

Feel free to make a copy and make your own changes too.
Now, just to explain the Digital Learning Day Symbaloo a bit.
There are 10 numbers on the Symbaloo. When you click on one of the numbered centers along the top, 
and on 10 with Capstone Interactive eBooks at the bottom, each will open up into a Google Slide that includes the posters with activities for each station.  Feel free to use these too. 
On each poster, I took the links I included on the Symbaloo under each station and made them into either QR codes or links so it would be super easy for all students to get to these activities within the station. 

I am excited to turn all of these into rotating mobile Makerspace and STEAM activities for our school community and to share this with our students, teachers and families to use throughout the year.  

Read Across America" Bloxels Project....Get Your FREE Template & Directions Here!

With Read Across America coming up on March 2nd, our elementary students will be celebrating literacy in all kinds of ways the entire week and all month long. 
One of the projects I am most excited about will happen in the library as they create Read Across America Bloxels video games! Our students LOVE creating and collaborating with Bloxels and have created lots of amazing video games based on stories and research throughout the last year. 
One of our favorite ways to use Bloxels is to have students tie in literacy through storytelling, especially fractured story writing from popular books and genres. You can read how the 2nd grade did this last year with The Gingerbread Man and the Leprechaun Loose At School and Diary of a Worm. 
Their video games were adorable and filled with such creative and thoughtful writing, pictures and animation. Within Bloxels, they are able to add writing to the white blocks so this is what makes it a very engaging and successful digital storytelling tool.  

After collaborating with my teacher librarian partner, Jessica Burke, we thought up the the idea of having them use Bloxels throughout the month and focus their video game creations around literacy. The students in grades 2nd through 5th, will get with a partner or small group for the Read Across America Bloxels project where they will create a video game based on a favorite book character or fracturing up a favorite book. 
As they begin their work with Jessica in the library on Monday, each group will use the Read Across America Bloxels Project Google Document template that you can find here.  Feel free to make a copy and use this with your students and teachers too.

They will develop the game and story thinking about titles, characters, setting,
 middle and...
...end of their story.  There is also a place for them to sketch out their main character on a little piece of grid paper as they could build it on the...
...Bloxels board. 

The students will be working on these games all through March and will be excited to share them with each other and all of us.
To find out more about Bloxels, you can visit the site here

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The New AppSmash With Buncee and Flipgrid!

There is a NEW appsmash that we celebrated this week!  It the amazing appsmash between Buncee and Flipgrid that lets our students share their visual voice and so much more. 

With this latest integration, we’re excited to announce that you can now embed your Buncees to Flipgrid and keep all of the fun and interactive features intact! Now, you can easily add your Buncee creations to your Flipgrid grids. For example, a teacher could share an interactive language learning Buncee to a grid, and then have students record video responses in Flipgrid to add to the grid. Or, a teacher could add a test prep Buncee to a grid full of test prep videos and resources, for students to review for an upcoming test.

Let me show you how this works. Here are the steps that you take to appsmash Buncee and Flipgrid together.  You will find them in this Buncee to share as you explain and teach this integration too. 
You can also have them add the link to their Buncee to the Flipgrid video, which gives them one more place... thoughtfully connect their work so it is easy to look at each others Buncee's on the Flipgrid as they leave comments and feedback to classmates and friends. 

Thank you Buncee and Flipgrid for making this integration happen and for giving our students another amazing place to be heard and share their visual learning with classmates, teachers, families and the world. 

It's Follett Book Fair TIme, Van Meter! Come Visit Next Week In The Library!

Big news, Van Meter! 

It's time for the Van Meter Follett Book Fair and it is going to be here next week, March 2-6, 2020.

There will be an amazing selection of books and something for every reader at our book fair.  All funds that we raise will go to put more books into our school library and into the hands of our kids here at Van Meter.

The book fair will be open March 2-5 from 7:45am to 3:45pm and March 6 from 7:45am to 1:45pm. 

If there are grandparents, family and friends who would like to support our event, please share where they can purchase a Follett gift card to spend at the book fair.

And take a look at the amazing flyer below, where you and your children will find several of the book available next week. 

Thank you for all of your support, Van Meter.  It's going to be a special and fun week! 

You can find out more about Follett Book Fairs here

Monday, February 24, 2020

10 Digital Learning Day Stations For Our Technology Playground!

For Digital Learning Day this week on February 27, we will be celebrating with The Van Meter School Digital Learning Day Technology Playground.  We will be hosting it in the library and have invited our teachers to sign up for a time to come with their students throughout the day.  
It is going to be such an exciting day and one that will be meaningful and fun for students and teachers alike. 

To prepare for the day,  I created 10 Digital Learning Day Stations that include Building, PebbleGo, Ozobot, Buncee, Interland, Makey Makey, Coding, Art, Music, eBooks and Books. 

Each station has 1-3 activities to include the different age and skill level of our students.  
To keep everything in one spot, I created posters for each station and the Digital Learning Day Symbaloo.  

Here is the Van Meter Digital Learning Day Technology Playground Symbaloo poster I created to give each teacher and will send it out to families in email and post on our social media for the library and school.  
You will find the Digital Learning Day Symbaloo that I created here.  Please feel free to use it for your library, school and community.  
When you click on one of the numbered centers along the top, 
and on 10 with Capstone Interactive eBooks at the bottom, each will open up into a Google Slide that includes the posters with activities for each station.  Feel free to use these too. 
On each poster, I took the links I included on the Symbaloo under each station and made them into either QR codes or links so it would be super easy for all students to get to these activities within the station. 
I will put these posters into plastic holder and place them on the tables, along with the supplies needed for each. 

Take a look at the 10 Digital Learning Day Technology Playgroup Stations we are going to have.... 
Please feel free to use these and make any adjustments for your community.  
And don't forget to register for Digital Learning Day and share how you will be celebrating too!  

Have fun, friends.  Happy Digital Learning Day! I can't wait to follow along at #DLDay and @OfficialDLDay all week long.