Friday, October 22, 2021

Find The NEW Future Ready Librarian Webinar, Empowering Student Voice and Choice From The Library, Recording and Resources Here, Friends!


Earlier this week was our October Future Ready Librarian webinar, Empowering Student Voice and Choice From The Library.  It was filled with amazing ideas, sharing, inspiration and so much fun.  

Our libraries and librarians play a very special role within the school community. They give students a place and chance to be heard and seen through unique programming and opportunities. During this webinar, our guest panelists shared how they empower student voice and choice from the library and within their school community.

During the webinar, panelists discussed how to

  • empower student voice and choice from the library;
  • encourage student feedback in the library;
  • use student feedback to guide library programming; and
  • encourage/support student choice in school reading assignments/curriculum.

View the panelists slideshow.


    • Kelsey Bogan, Library Media Specialist, Great Valley School District (PA) (@kelseybogan)
    • Karina Quilantan-Garza, MLS, Library Media Specialist, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District (TX) (@cuethelibrarian)


  • Shannon McClintock Miller, Future Ready Librarians Spokesperson, District Teacher Librarian and Innovation Director, Van Meter Community School (IA) (@shannonmmiller)

And all Future Ready Librarian webinars are supported by our friends at Follett

And the Google Slides can be found here which contains the resources shared by our guests. 

Thank you for joining us, friends.  We will be sharing news on our upcoming November and December webinars soon.

Our Origami Wish Tree For The Global Traveling Mural Project....A Special Collaborative Project At Van Meter


One of our favorite collaborative projects every year is the Global Traveling Mural Project.  You can read about it here in this post

This year, our related arts team is collaborating on the Global Traveling Mural Project at Van Meter.  We decided to to go with a Wish Tree theme with Zentangle trees, origami hearts with pockets and little handwritten wishes from all of our students and teachers that we will be sending around the world with the mural pieces.

Here is how this collaboration works and what they are doing in the library, in S.T.E.A.M. and with our guidance counselor.

In the library, my library partner Brittany Marks and I are working with the 3rd-5th graders on the origami part of the project. 
In the Van Meter Origami Wish Tree Global Mural Project Choice Board here, I first added a video that I created to help kick off the project. 
In the video, I start out by sharing what Wish Trees are and showed them a few that my family and I saw when we traveled to India and Hong Kong. 
I also talked about the ideas around the mural and showed them a few pictures I found online to get them thinking about the feel of the mural. 
Next in the choice board, there are two places they can go to learn how to make an origami pocket heart. 
I found the instructions for the Pocket Heart in the Capstone eBook, Easy Holiday Origami and grabbed the cover image and link from Capstone Connect
Lastly, the choice board explained how they would be writing a wish to others on a skinny slip of paper and folding it up to put inside of the hearts.  Once our mural is complete, the kids will help us hang the hearts on the trees like leaves and add them to the packages being sent to the other schools and libraries. 

You will find the choice board here to share with students and here if you would like to make edits to use with your school community.
After Brittney shared the video, choice board and talked about the Global Mural Project, the students got to work by...
...selecting origami paper and...
...watching the video and eBook... learn how to fold their origami hearts. 
She had each class during the four week rotation make several hearts so we lots of extras for our little ones to have a heart to add their wish to with Sara Cook, our school counselor. 
In this next related arts rotation, all of the grades TK-5th will be contributing to the actual mural part of the project in S.T.E.A.M. 
Our S.T.E.A.M. teacher, Megan Algreen, and I will be collaborating on this part. We will be teaching them about Zentangle and giving all of them a change to draw and color within the ten Zentangle trees that will be part of the ten pieces of the mural. 

We kick this part off next week so I will share more in another blog post at the end of the week. 

If you would like to be part of the Global Traveling Mural Project, there is still time for you and your community to join.  You can join one of the Groups in this Google Doc. 

We are so excited about our mural and can't wait to send our wish trees out into the world. 

Join The Upcoming Follett Webinar, Teaching Tough Topics With Literature


There is an upcoming webinar from our friends at Follett that you won't want to miss, friends. 

Teaching Tough Topic With Literature with Larry Swartz, author and literacy expert, is on November 11, 2021 at 2:00pm CST. 

Educator Larry Swartz will provide an overview of recent literature sources that support the teaching of equity and can be used across a range of curriculum areas and grade levels. He will highlight practical strategies for talk, writing, and arts responses that consider better literacy practices for today’s classrooms. He will also introduce his book Teaching Tough Topics and offer teachers a list of literature sources to consider for classroom use.

In this webinar, participants will discover:

  • Book recommendations for seven tough topics, why the books work and how an educator might use them
  • Opportunities to reflect on what makes a topic tough: What are the tough topics? Why might some topics be considered tough?
  • Introduction to recent examples of children's literature that address tough topics (racism, poverty, gender equality, physical and mental challenges, bullying, kindness) 
  • Practical literacy strategies to build social justice, diversity and equity understanding  
You can register for this free webinar here. It will be recorded and you will sent the recording afterwards too. 

The October Library and Technology News From Our Library Is Out! Check It Out Here, Friends.

It is very important to share all the great news happening within and from our libraries and programs. 

There are lots of ways to share our library and technology news including sharing on social media accounts like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok; within Google Classroom and Seesaw; on library and school bulletin boards and electronic displays; the main school website; social media accounts and newsletters; through emails; using digital tools like Flipgrid and Buncee; at the public libraries and more. 

I use a lot of those methods together to make sure I get our library and technology news out to everyone, no matter where they pick up their news. 
To start, I love using Buncee by Capstone to create my newsletters.  
Using Buncee, it allows me to upload lots of pictures and student work, which everyone loves to see what the kids are up to and what is new to our library and technology program. Buncee also lets me add stickers, animations, text, shapes, images and even more to create an engaging and fun newsletter. 
For the Van Meter Schools October Library and Technology News Buncee Newsletter this month, I included news about our Follett Book Fair, new books and technology we have, our October choice boards and a little paragraph about the innovation happening with technology, literacy and more. 
In our newsletters, I always make sure to share how to connect with our library through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at the Van Meter Library Voice.  This is helpful as we share our newsletter at these places. 

If you would like to see our Buncee Newsletter, you can check out a copy here. Feel free to use this template for your newsletter too. 

Carve A Pumpkin With These Favorite Capstone Character Pumpkin Stencils!

As we get ready to carve pumpkins, here is a super fun treat from our friends at Capstone.  
They have created four Character Pumpkin Stencils including...
...Katie Woo, Sadiq, Yasmin and Max Axiom. 
When you click on Download it will give you the stencil that can be downloaded and printed to use on a pumpkin.  

You will find the Capstone Character Pumpkin Stencils here on Capstone's Spooky Site, along with more stories, activities, jokes, games and holiday fun. 

This is such a special activity to share with our families and students as they love the Capstone characters and stories. 

Stay Tuned For This Special National Novel Writing Month Event Coming Up In November, Friends!


November is National Novel Writing Month. This is such a wonderful time to celebrate the creativity, student voice, reading and writing of our students in very special ways.

An event that I can't wait to share with my students and teachers is one that Joyce Bronwyn, creator of 'The Global Write' is launching internationally which will spark creativity and engage students in writing and reading.

She will announce the details soon. It's going to be lots of fun, friends.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Don't Miss The BEST Podcast Lists For All Kids Throughout The Year!


One of my favorite resources to share throughout the year with my teachers and students are these wonderful curated lists of podcasts from my friend and fellow Iowan, Jeff Glade

On Jeff's website, Jeff Glade Tech, you will find lots of podcast lists around all kinds of topics and special events.  

This week, Jeff shared the Halloween Podcasts with podcasts for preschool to 12th grade.  
You will find Halloween Podcasts here.  It is easy to share these with your students in their Google Classroom or Seesaw, listen to them together in the library and classroom, post on your website or newsletter and so much more. 

A BIG thank you to Jeff for creating something so helpful that we all love! 

The Digital Citizenship Week Choice Board For Educators and Librarians Filled With Special Resources To Use In Your School Community Too!

It's Digital Citizenship Week!  

To support our teachers at Van Meter, I put together a few of my favorite helpful and valuable resources to support digital citizenship work within our school community.  I created this choice board and am excited to share with all of you too. 

On the new choice board, It's Digital Citizenship Week, I included...
...Capstone's PebbleGo, PebbleGo Next eBooks & Buncee Resources and a Project Idea for your students, 
Be Internet Awesome from Google For Education and Pear Deck, 
Common Sense Education, 
...and The News Literacy Project. 

Feel free to share this with your school community too. Have a wonderful week, friends. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Join The Upcoming Crayola Education Read Along, Draw Along To Celebrate The Newly Released Questioneers book: Aaron Slater, Illustrator!


One of my favorite children's authors is Andrea Beaty.  I just LOVE the wonderful picture books series, The Questioneers, she has written, and the amazing illustrators by David Roberts, with characters....

...Iggy Peck, Architect, 
Ada Twist, Scientist, 
Sofia Valdez, Future Prez, 
Rosie Revere, Engineer and now we have....
....Aaron Slater, Illustrator! This new picture book comes out on November 2, 2021. 

To celebrate this special picture book and the work of Andrea and David, our friends at Crayola Education and Abrams Books for Young Readers, are hosting a LIVE event on Wednesday, November 17 at 7:00pm EST on the Crayola Education Facebook Page

As shared online, 

Don’t miss the Read Along of the newly released Questioneers book: Aaron Slater, Illustrator!
Hear author Andrea Beaty tell the empowering story of a boy with dyslexia who discovers the power of art, finding your voice, and telling your story. Then Draw Along with illustrator David Roberts, using Crayola art tools, as he creates scenes inspired by the book. 

You will find the event on the Crayola Education Facebook Page here.

I can't wait for Aaron Slater, Illustrator!  My students are so excited too so this wonderful event will be the perfect way to celebrate another Questioneer!  

And don't forget to visit The Questioneers site for lots of terrific information, activities, videos, fun and more. 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Celebrate Digital Citizenship This Week With This Choice Board Including Common Sense Education, PebbleGo & A Buncee Activity!


This week we celebrate Digital Citizenship Week from October 18-22, 2021. 
There are lots of activities and wonderful information that will be helpful in guiding your Digital Citizenship Week on Common Sense Education here.  All of the lessons and activities are free. 
When planning for this special week at our school, I created this Celebrate Digital Citizenship Week Choice Board for our TK-2 and...
 3-6 grade. 
They can watch the We Are Digital Citizens video on the front slide from Common Sense Education and then learn more in...
PebbleGo Next and... 
...Capstone eBooks.  
On the 3-6th grade choice board, there is also a game called Digital Passport where they can practice their Digital Citizenship skills. 
After they research and read, they can create a Buncee about what it means to be a digital citizen.  

You can find this template here to use with your students too. 

If you want to use this choice board template and add your own links to PebbleGo and eBooks, you can find the choice board here to make a copy
And remember, all you have to do to share it with your students is Publish to the Web as shown in the image above. 

Have a great week celebrate Digital Citizenship Week with your students and teachers, friends.