Monday, January 31, 2022

Fun Heart and Star Bookmarks To Help Your Students Express Their Love For Books! Download Them Here For Free, Friends.


It's February and time to celebrate lots of special things during the month in our classrooms.  First up is World Read Aloud Day on February 2 and then comes Valentine's Day on February 14.  

Our friends at Follett Classroom have created the cutest book review bookmarks for them to express their love for books in a fun and engaging way.  

On each bookmark, our readers will find a place to write Book Title, Who should read this book?,  Why did you love this book? and a place to Circle your rating...5 Stars being the best.  When they have filled out their bookmark, they can share with a friend, teacher and even family. 

And who doesn't love a new bookmark?  I know all kids will! 

You will find Are You A Heart or a Star? bookmarks here on the Follett site where you can download....

...Heart and Star bookmarks.  

There is 8 bookmarks on each sheet, making it very easy to print off multiple copies at a time. 

I printed these on card stock with our color printer for our teachers to use throughout the month.  

They turned out so adorable and the kids will LOVE them! 
Thank you Follett Classroom.  You can follow them on Twitter or Instagram for even more of these ideas. 

Join Us Friends For The Upcoming Future Ready Librarians Spring Summits On February 26 and March 26, 2022


One of my favorite Future Ready Librarian events throughout the year are the Future Ready Librarian Summits.  I am excited to share that we have announced two coming up on February 26 and March 26, 2022. 

As shared online, 

The Future Ready Librarians® summits are FREE, live, virtual, high-quality professional learning experiences for librarians interested in learning, growing, and expanding their professional practice through collaboration and networking with like-minded colleagues from across the country. These interactive online events will help librarians ground their practice in the research-based Future Ready Schools® framework and define new ways they can lead, teach, and support learning in their schools.

Leveraging the active Future Ready Librarians community, the live summits are designed around authentic problems of practice identified by librarians. The first virtual summits of 2022 will help you understand policies and know your collection so that you are ready to respond effectively when patrons or community members have concerns with library books or instructional materials. 

Building a Materials Challenge Toolkit: Understanding Library Policies, Procedures, and Protocols (Saturday, February 26)

This summit will give you a chance to pose questions and share ideas with other librarians and library leaders. Learn and interact with both administrators and librarians about lessons learned and best practices. Key questions include:
  • How can I identify reconsideration policies and procedures in my school or district?
  • In my role as a librarian, what do I need to understand about materials challenges?
  • How can I work with school and district partners to navigate community concerns over library or instructional materials?
Know Your Library: Proactive Collection Development (Saturday, March 26)

Beyond knowing local policies, procedures, and partners, librarians need to know what is on their shelves—is your library collection reflective of current generations and your community or a throwback to another century? While you cannot predict the concerns of parents or your community, at least you can know and own your collection if those concerns emerge. Key questions include:
  • How do I know what is on my shelves and taught in my school’s classrooms?
  • How is my library collection responsive to the needs and interests of my school’s students?
  • What can I do to understand and connect with parents and my community? 
Here are the links to register....

Session 1: Building a Materials Challenge Toolkit: Understanding 

Library Policies, Procedures, and Protocols

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Register here



Session 2: Know Your Library: Proactive Collection Development

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Register here

We hope you can join us for one or both of these interactive virtual professional learning summits, friends. 

Sunday, January 30, 2022

BIG NEWS... 76 NEW PebbleGo Next Articles Have Been Released!


It's always exciting when our friends at Capstone add new articles to PebbleGo Next. 

In fact, on January 27, they added 76 new articles to PebbleGo Next to Biographies, Science, and Social Studies! 

Check them out....

PebbleGo Next Biographies

  • Amanda Gorman
  • BeyoncĂ©
  • Catherine Cortez Masto
  • Celia Cruz
  • Chester Nez
  • Chief Joseph
  • Coretta Scott King
  • Deb Haaland
  • Diane Nash
  • Dwayne Johnson
  • Edmonia Lewis
  • Ella Baker
  • Faith Spotted Eagle
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Garrett Morgan
  • Henrietta Lacks
  • Henry Cisneros
  • Jacoby Ellsbury
  • Jesse Owens
  • John Herrington
  • Julissa Arce
  • Katherine Johnson
  • Kwame Alexander
  • LeBron James
  • Lewis Latimer
  • Lonnie Johnson
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Louise Erdrich
  • Lynda Carter
  • Mamie Johnson
  • Maria Espinosa
  • Matthew Henson
  • Medgar Evers
  • Meghan Markle
  • Melonie Diaz
  • Michelle Obama
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Nadia Murad
  • Naomi Osaka
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Ralph Bunche
  • Rita Williams-Garcia
  • Roberto Clemente
  • Rosalia
  • Ruby Bridges
  • Russell Wilson
  • Shakira
  • Sheryl Swoopes
  • Shirley Chisholm
  • Stephen Curry
  • Sue Bird
  • Suzan Shown Harjo
  • Tammy Duckworth
  • Tina Thompson
  • William Carlos William

PebbleGo Next Science

  • Algorithms and Programming
  • Computers and Data
  • Computers and Society
  • Computing Systems
  • Drones
  • Machine Learning Engineers
  • Mobile App Developers
  • Networks
  • Robots
  • Self-Driving Cars
  • Simple Machines
  • Smart Devices
  • Smartphones
  • Software Engineers
  • Web Developers

PebbleGo Next Social Studies

  • Celebrating Diversity
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Machu Picchu
  • The Roman Colosseum
  • War and Civil Conflicts
  • Navajo Code Talkers

You can read about the January PebbleGo release on the Capstone site here

Join The Upcoming Flipgrid Live Event On February 15, The Power of Words & Perseverance, With Stacey Abrams and Kitt Thomas

On February 15, 2022 at 12:00pm CST, there is a very special Flipgrid Live Event with author, Stacey Adams, and illustrator, Kitt Thomas, as they share their new picture book, Stacey's Extraordinary Words. 

It's called The Power of Words and Perseverance. 

As shared on the Flipgrid Live Events site, 

What can you accomplish with confidence, kindness, and determination? Author, political leader, and former spelling bee competitor Stacey Abrams shares how her love of words helped her gain trust in herself and overcome challenges she’s faced. Join us for this inspiring Flipgrid Live Event to learn about the importance of perseverance and the power of words.

Kitt Thomas, illustrator of Stacey’s Extraordinary Words, will be joining the discussion to share about their creative process in bringing Stacey’s words to life.

Through Flipgrid Live Events you can connect your students with experts, and they can ask their questions live via a fully moderated chat.

Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams is the four-time New York Times bestselling author of While Justice Sleeps, Our Time is Now, and Lead from the Outside, an entrepreneur, and a political leader.
Read More

Kitt Thomas
Kitt Thomas is a first-generation Lucian American author-illustrator and graduate of the Ringling College of Art and Design with a BFA in visual studies.
Read More

You can register for this free Flipgrid Live Event here

You and Your Students Can Join The Biblionasium Winter "Olympics" Reading Challenge Today As It Kicks Off On February 1, 2022!


Our friends at Biblionasium have a very exciting announcement to share with all of us. 

It's the Biblionasium Winter "Olympics" Reading Challenge! 

As we get ready to celebrate the 2022 Winter Olympics at our school with The Van Meter Reading Olympics, our students will celebrate their reading using Biblionasium.  This special Winter "Olympics" Reading Challenge is the perfect way to help with this celebration of reading all month long. 

As shared on the Biblionasium blog

For the month of February 2022, the top three schools whose students log the most reading minutes on Biblionasium, will win a cash Amazon gift certificate. 

Reading minutes can be logged for books, ebooks, audio books, podcasts, articles, magazines … kids can pick their favorite format. 

If you have existing reading challenges going on, you do not have to create a special Winter Olympics challenge. Any minutes logged in February will automatically count.  Or you can create a special Winter Reading Olympics challenge on Biblionasium to encourage and excite all your students to participate through that challenge. 

It is up to you! But mobilize your students and let’s get the reading started!
Here is how we set up the Winter Olympics Reading Challenge in all of our grade levels within Biblionasium. 
Log into your Biblionasium account.  Go to the Challenges tab at the top. It is circled in blue above.
Next, click on the Start a new challenge tab. 
This walks you there each of the 6 steps in setting up a challenge. 

1. Pick a classroom or group for this challenge.  We have 1st through 6th grade set up at our school so I clicked on Select ALL Groups at the top. This automatically marked all of the grade levels. 
2. Name the Challenge. I typed in Winter Olympics Reading Challenge. 
3. Select Challenge Type.  There are 5 choices. This challenge is based on minutes so I selected Create a challenge based on number of minutes.  It will then prompt you to type in the number of minutes.  For this one, I typed in 500.  We can always adjust this too. 
4. Select a start date. I selected February 1, 2022 as the start date.

5. Select an end date. I selected February 28, 2022 as the end date. 
6. Save It! and click Save. 

Now, this challenge shows up under the My Challenges tab circled in blue above. 
When I click on Winter Olympics Reading Challenge, it will open up the challenge where I can view the progress of each grade level and the each student.  

We want to make this such a fun month of celebrating reading for our students as they read things that interest them in so many different ways. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

You Can Now Find The Recording Of Our Latest Capstone Webinar, Encouraging Curiosity in K-5, Here In This Post, Friends.

Last week, I joined my friends at Capstone for a brand new webinar, Encouraging Curiosity in K-5: Why It's Important and Where To Start. 


As shared on the webinar site, 

Want to learn more about intellectual curiosity? 

Or reasons why your students ask lots of questions? 

Join us as we explore the mission behind wondering and how we can empower students to stay hungry to learn more. Discover how you can inspire and encourage lifelong "why" and "how" questions key to academic and career success. 


• Introduction 
• Intellectual curiosity and fostering it throughout childhood development 
• How PebbleGo supports the curious child 
• Ways to encourage curiosity with ready-to-use examples 

• Q&A 
Presenters: Dr. Amanda Sullivan • Ph.D. in Child Study and Human Development • Early childhood STEAM researcher & educator • Author, Breaking the STEM Stereotype: Reaching Girls in Early Childhood • Co-Creator, ScratchJr Coding Cards: Creative Coding Activities for Children 5-7. 
Dr. Amanda Strawhacker • Ph.D. in Child Study and Human Development • Associate Director, Early Childhood Technology Graduate Certificate program at Tufts University • PreK-8 STEAM curriculum and technology designer and researcher 
Shannon McClintock Miller • Future-ready teacher-librarian • Director of Innovation of Instructional Technology and Library Media at Van Meter School in Iowa • International Speaker & Consultant. • Capstone Author & Librarian Leader

It was such a wonderful hour of learning and sharing.  If you missed it, you will find the recording here. Or perhaps you were there and want to share it with others...please do that too. 

Thank you for joining us, friends. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Create and Share Your Own Custom Wordle!

During a presentation at FETC today, we were talking about Wordle.  In the next one, I heard about this cool little digital site that lets you create your OWN!  How fun is that. 

You can find it here that you can use to...
...Make A Custom Wordle and...
...copy the link to share it with others. 
The creator @pallavman shared How To Play too. 

Monday, January 24, 2022

The 2022 Youth Media Award Winners Collection Of Announcements, Resources, Author & Illustrator Sites, and More!


This morning, people from around the country gathered around our laptops and devices, with our coffee and breakfast, to hear our favorite books of the year win special awards during the ALA Youth Media Awards at the ALA Midwinter Conference. 

For me, I watched along from the Des Moines International Airport as I got ready to fly to Orlando, Florida for the FETC Conference this week. 
If you missed the ceremony, you will find the Youth Media Awards 2022 recording here.  

Afterwards, I hopped on Titlewave to order a whole list of the award books I wrote down during the announcements and went to my library at home to pull out all of the winners from my collection.  

I also went online and visited several author and illustrator sites to read and hear more about the books that won all of the special awards. 
As I found lots of amazing resources, I started the 2022 Youth Media Award Winners Collection by Destiny. 
I added the official ALA announcements, the recording, articles, author and illustrator sites and more. 
And one of my favorite things I added....The ALA YMA Posters from our friends at Follett. 
You can find them here

You will find this Collection by Destiny here.  I am working on adding more sites and resources today.  Please let me know if there are others to share here too. I would love to add them. 

A big congratulations to all authors, illustrators and publishers who were recognized and honored on this wonderful day.  You inspire us and especially our readers every day and we can't see what is next. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Join The StickTogether January Challenge... Random Acts of Kindness. There's A Special Choice Board To Share Too!


Our friends at StickTogether are kicking off a special new monthly activity for 2022. 

They are the StickTogether Monthly Challenges!  

In January, the StickTogether Month Challenge celebrates Random Acts of Kindness

Using the amazing January Challenge, Random Acts of Kindness template found here.... can challenge your students to take part in these mini Random Acts of Kindness challenges.  

I just love these....Play With Someone New At Recess, Sit By Someone New At Lunch, Spend Tie With A Loved One, Call A Friend or Family Member and so many others that will inspire kindness within our students and throughout our school community. It will be fun to share these with our students. 

To participate in the StickTogether Challenge #1...Random Acts of Kindness, share one student's StickTogether Random Act of Kindness Challenge story on this Google Form that you will find here.
You can share photos to tell the story. 

We can #STChallenge and tag @byStickTogether when sharing photos and stories on social too. 

StickTogether will choose one winning StickTogether Challenge story each month.  The winner will get one FREE Standard StickTogether Kit that you choose. 
Also, at the bottom of the Google Form, there is a link for a certificate you can print out to give students for their Random Act of Kindness. Our kids will LOVE these and what a special way to celebrate their kindness. 
To go along with the January StickTogether Challenge, I put together the Random Acts of Kindness Choice Board.  You can share this link with your students or make a copy here

I am so excited for the StickTogether Challenges and can't wait for a new one each month. 

QRCode Monkey Creates The Coolest QR Codes! Look How It Helps Me Make Monthly QR Code Posters To Share!

I make QR codes for a lot of different resources every week and my favorite QR code generator is QRCode Monkey.  I love how easy it is to make a QR code pointing to the resource I want to share, but also how it lets me include a small image of the resource in the center. 

Let me show you how to use QRCode Monkey! 

I use QRCode Monkey each month as I make and share the monthly choice boards. Today, as I was getting the February Choice Board ready to share with our teachers, I put together the QR code too. 

First, I grab the link by clicking on Publish To The Web. Just copy that link and...
...take it over to QRCode Monkey. You will paste that link into Your URL. 
Next, go down to Add Logo Image and Upload a small screen shot of the choice board. 
Click on Create QR Code and watch as your...
....QR Code is created.  
You can download the QR code or take a little screen shot. 

Then I head back to Google Slides to make the QR Code poster I will share with our teachers and students. I upload the QR Code and a screen shot of the choice board. I can share this with them digitally by publishing this choice board to share in their Google Classroom or Seesaw or make a...
....paper copy so they can scan it easily with their device.  This is how our youngest learners access the choice boards because they use iPads. 
It's that simple! You will find QRCode Monkey here, friends.