Tuesday, September 22, 2020

A Personalized Way To Store and Use Merge Cubes and Other Makerspace Materials

As we learn together this fall, we think a lot about all of the ways we can safely share library and Makerspace materials between our students and classrooms.  Two of resources we use a lot at Van Meter are Merge EDU and the Merge Cubes.  


In fact, our friends at Merge have made the cube pattern available free online so a few weeks ago we started having all of our students create their own to keep with them at school and home. 

After they created their very own Merge Cube, we had every student write their name on a plastic bag and put their cube inside.  The teachers then found a safe place for them to keep their cubes, often times in their desks. 

You can read about how we used the paper Merge Cube pattern and where to find it here.

Today when our 4th graders did a lesson in Merge EDU it was super easy for each student to grab their cube and scan it using the iPads.
When they finished, each student place their cube back in their plastic bag.  

This is an easy activity for us to share with our virtual learners too. 

We need to think of creative and safe ways for our students to continue this exploration, learning and creativity.  How are you doing this with your students? 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Lots Of Fun & Inspiring Downloadables For Our Readers...Zoom Backgrounds, Bookmarks, Posters and More!


As we look for ways to inspire and engage our readers and reading community, check out all of these awesome new materials from #AllBookForAllKids! 
As I shared in a post about #AllBooksForAllKids last week on my blog, this new reading campaign from our friends at Follett is to develop lifelong learners by encouraging reading across all genres and all platforms.  It is about getting all students to read what they want, how they want. 
And that is exactly what they have done with the free resources they have created for all of us to download from the site. 

On the #AllBookForAllKids, we will find...
posters, 
bookmarks, 
shelf talkers and...
...Zoom backgrounds, all designed so creativity and fun with the #AllBooksForAllKids theme.  

These are easy to download and print off to use with your learners at school or to send home with your learners learning virtually too.  
And one of my favorite parts...the Zoom backgrounds, can be used to brighten up your learning connections and make them even more special for your kids. 

The Candy Mafia....A New Middle School Comical Mystery You Don't Want To Miss!

From the minute I had this new book in my hands, I couldn't wait to read and share it!  The Candy Mafia is one that will be such a huge hit as this comical mystery hits the shelves this month. 

As our friends at Peachtree shared, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Bugsy Malone in Lavie Tidhar's middle-grade debut, The Candy Mafia. 
In Lavie's first book for young readers, 
along with illustrator, Daniel Duncan, they have created the perfect book for every mystery fan, especially those who love candy, fun shenanigans, and comical and mysterious stories. 
As shared inside the front cover of The Candy Mafia

In a city where candy is outlawed, Nelle Faulker is a twelve-year old private detective itching for her next client.  So when notorious candy gangster, Eddie de Menthe, struts into her office and asks her to find a missing teddy bear, Nelle is on the case.  But as soon as the teddy turns up, Eddie himself goes missing. 

As a seemingly innocent investigation unravels into something mores sinister, Nelle and her friends quickly find themselves swept up in a shady underworld of sweet smugglers, back alley deals, and storefront firebombs.  If Nelle has any hope of tracking down her missing client, first she will have to unmask the true faces behind the smuggling ring.  Or else, this might turn into a care with a sticky end. 

When I read The Candy Mafia, I couldn't wait to read this one aloud to our students at Van Meter.  In fact, this is our next read aloud for Virtual Chapter Book Fridays!  I can't wait! 

You can read all about The Candy Mafia here on the Peachtree site.

This is one all readers will love! 

The Virtual Librarian....Two New Follett Webinars You Won't Want To Miss, Friends

I am excited to tell you about my upcoming double feature webinar, The Virtual Librarian, with our friends at Follett. 

As remote learning has changed the way all educators do their jobs, and librarians are no exception. Flexibility and new ways of working with students, teachers and parents are essential. You won’t want to miss these idea-packed discussions designed to help you be the best librarian you can be – virtual, blended or face-to-face!

On October 14, I will be presenting...

The Virtual Librarian: Promoting Literacy with Technology Tools, Collections and Destiny (Part 1)

4:00pm CST


How can today’s librarian transfer what they’ve always done into today’s remote learning environment?


This webinar will take you through new ideas and best practices for using technology, including Follett Destiny® and Follett Collections by Destiny®, during an unprecedented time in education. 


Being a teacher librarian during a pandemic in virtual and blended learning settings brings a host of opportunities, challenges and celebrations for change. While connecting with each student and helping to promote literacy is at the heart of everything a librarian does during a “normal” school year, teaching and learning virtually requires additional skills and expertise. 


How can today’s teacher librarian transfer everything they’ve always done into today’s remote learning environment? What new approaches, resources, and programs can help every librarian succeed and help their patrons succeed?


Learn all about: 


  • How to use Collections and Destiny to build meaningful and exciting places for reading, learning, creating, connecting and more
  • Several special programs she has created around Destiny and Collections while creating exciting remote learning opportunities
  • How to make Collections and Destiny a big part of your virtual libraries


The Virtual Librarian: Engage Your Entire School with an eFair (Part 2) 4:30pm CST


How can today’s librarian transfer what they’ve always done into today’s remote learning environment?


This webinar will take you through new ideas and best practices for hosting an online book fair during an unprecedented time in education. 


Being a teacher librarian during a pandemic in virtual and blended learning settings brings a host of opportunities, challenges and celebrations for change. Connecting with each student and helping to promote literacy is at the heart of everything a librarian does during a “normal” school year. Historically, students, parents and teachers have been fans of book fairs – now, eFairs give librarians another tool with which to promote literacy and a strong reading culture.  


I will share new ideas and best practices, plus ways to make your eFair a memorable and dynamic learning experience.


Learn all about: 

  • How I kicked off the year with a virtual Follett Book eFair to celebrate and strengthen the reading culture within her school district
  • Ways to use the various parts of the online book fair to foster collaboration between teachers, students and families
  • And I can't wait to share one of my favorite parts...how to create and share virtual book lists!

You can register for both of these webinars here.  And afterwards, the recording will be shared with all who register too. 

I hope you join me, friends.  I can't wait to share with all of you.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Don't Miss A Hour Full Of Fun With The Future Ready Librarian® Digital Learning App Smash Event! Register Today, Friends!

I don't want you to miss this super fun event coming up on September 29.  

It's the Digital Learning App Smash For Future Ready Librarians®, friends. 

Join me, along with 20 amazing librarians, as we share lots of awesome digital apps and tools that support digital and anytime learning.  We will be announcing our lineup soon and if you are interested in being one of the presenters, please apply here.

This is going to be such a fun event.  We hope you can join us. 

#AllBooksForAllKids...A Special New Place To Support All Readers

I have a favorite new site I am excited to share. It is called #AllBooksForAllKids!

Our friends at Follett, have created this special new space for us, as librarians, educators, families and champions of reading and literacy, to encourage all students in their journey of becoming lifelong learners and readers.

As shared on the front page of the #AllBooksForAllKids site,
...as part of #AllBooksForAllKids means making sure all students have access to books. It’s our mission to help put books into the hands of all students.
When students have a choice in what they read, it leads to a generation of enthusiastic readers and a hunger for learning. Building a lifelong love for reading starts with choice, so let’s empower students to take ownership in what they read.
It doesn’t matter what they read, or how they read it. Whether a student picks up a graphic novel, listens to a novel in verse audiobook, or reads an article from a database, #AllBooksForAllKids is about seeing students’ faces light up because they’re reading and learning about the topics that interest them.

At the top of the page, you will find several pages.  The first, Just Read includes lots of highlights including...
...timely and important book lists and..
..informative webinars from leaders within our field.
Under the tab, Hear From Authors, you will find the Behind the Book interviews and Author Takeovers are also included here and these are always a favorite to share...
 ..with our readers and teachers as they connect...
 ..to our favorite authors and the books they write.
The next tab, Resources for Educators, includes so many ideas fun idea around reading and learning like...
 ...Sketchnotes and...
...Booksnaps. 
 You can find inspiring blog posts and webinars around important reading and learning topics, and...
 ..one of my favorite things about #AllBooksForAllKids, these amazing free downloads for spreading the love of reading.
There are lots of ways how we can partner with Follett to get students reading including Follett Book eFairs, Destiny Discover, Collections and more.
To read about all of these ideas and more, you can stay connected by going here. I love getting little updates and I know that you will find this informative and helpful too. 

And the main #AllBooksForAllKids can be found here, friends.  

Check Out The Recording Of The First Buncee Idea O'Clock & Learn About Start of the Year Journals!

Did you catch the very first Buncee Idea O'Clock last night?

It was so much fun to join Eda and Sooj, and lots of friends on our Facebook Live as we talked about..
..Start of the Year Journals and Time Capsules. 


We talked about how to create Buncee Journals and Time Capsules with lots of the new templates, backgrounds, messages and more.  You will find them in the creation canvas within Buncee too. 


For more ideas and conversations, please join the next Idea O'Clock session next Wednesday, September 23 at 7:30 PM ET. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Making Your Mark With Buncee For Dot Day

It's Dot Day this week, friends.  On September 15ish, people around the world will celebrate by making our mark, just like in Peter H. Reynold's book, The Dot. 
At Van Meter, our celebrations have been underway for the last few weeks as our students make dots, 
create dots to bring to life with Quiver and augmented reality, 
and even shared art with our friends at StickTogether to create these virtual stickerboards. You can find how to get them here.  They have been having so much fun collaborating on these online together.
And our wonderful friends at Buncee have put together several amazing Dot Day activities, templates, stickers and backgrounds that make the perfect place for students to make their mark too.

Let me show you around Buncee, so you will know all of the choices for your students.

First, there are several new Dot Day templates, which...
...gives students a place to make their mark...
 ..using the templates and adding..
 ...text, stickers, animations, web images, photos, videos and so much more. They could even take their own picture and video to add that shares verbally how they will make their mark.
In the Buncee Ideas Lab, there are four different Dot Day activities that make it easy and inspire your students with a description, template and..
 ...example.
I was very excited to see the Dot Day Buncee Board where anyone can share their Dot Day Buncee.  These will spark creativity as students make their mark in Buncee. 

By using Buncee for Dot Day, we can do these activities with our students in school, face-to-face and while we are virtually learning together. It makes it not only easy to create anywhere, it's easy to share too. 

Enjoy celebrating Dot Day, friends. We can't wait to see how everyone makes their mark with Buncee.
You can find out more and sign up for Buncee here.