Thursday, September 29, 2022

Giving Our Readers Choice In Book Clubs With The Kwame Alexander Bookfest! Read How We Are Kicking It Off At Our School.

We are so excited to be kicking off something new for our readers this fall. 
It's the Kwame Alexander Bookfest! 

Kwame Alexander Bookfest, brought to you exclusively by Follett, creates a uniqu book club experience - available for Grades 3-8 - by allowing students to choose their books and giving teachers the resources to inspire robust student-led discussions. 

Each book, chosen by Kwame, ensures students will see themselves reflected in what they read, promotes academic achievement, and provides opportunities for students to engage with each other in lively discussions.
Each grade-appropriate collection includes the resources teachers need to encourage student choice and guide meaningful discussions to strengthen student identity and develop community and empathy.
Each grade level collections includes books, discussion guides, a Kwame Alexander Bookfest bin, an educator guide and Just Read Podcasts. 

I especially can't wait to share the Just Read Podcasts with our readers!  These provide access to interviews between Kwame and select authors to further engage students. 

As I sat down with my 3rd, 4th and 5th grade teachers at Van Meter to plan how we were going to bring Bookfest to our school, the resources online were super helpful. 

When we received our book sets and the other materials, the Bookfest Discussion Guide for each book we chose and the Bookfest Educator Guide, helped the teachers and I plan how we are going to make this an amazing reading experience for all of our students. 

It also gives me the best feeling to know my teacher colleagues will have what they need to support their readers within their classrooms throughout the Bookfest too. 
This Friday, we are kicking off the Kwame Alexander Bookfest with our 5th graders by introducing three of the books using this choice board.  If you would like to make changes to this choice board, you can make a copy here.

This choice board will give students a chance to listen to the book trailer for each book and make a decision on what book they want to read first during Bookfest. 
I also made this poster to set up by the books on the new book shelf we added to Katie Flaw's 5th grade classroom. This will get the kids excited about Bookfest as we kick it off. 

You will find the Bookfest kick off poster we are using here where you can make a copy for your own poster. 

We will be sharing our Bookfest journey on my blog and on social. We hope you follow along, friends. 

We can't wait to see what the Kwame Alexander Bookfest brings to our readers this year! 
You can find the Kwame Alexander Bookfest here on Follett's Titlewave site. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Color Sudoku....A New Weekly Group Activity From StickTogether!


Our friends at StickTogether have created a super fun new group activity! 

It's called Color Sudoku and it is FREE for everyone to do each week. 
On the StickTogether Twitter @byStickTogether, they will be posting a weekly Color Sudoku puzzle. There are no numbers, just colors. Each row of 9 squares, and each 3 x 3 squares of 9, can only contain one of each color. 

When you have solved the puzzle, place your time in the comments of the tweet. 

You will find this weeks Color Sudoku here, friends. Let us know how you do! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Join Us For A Capstone Live Event With ¡Hola, Lola! Author, Keka Novales On October 3rd As We Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!

Next week, on October 3rd at 12:00pm CST, we will be hosting another amazing Capstone LIVE Event! 

Hispanic Heritage Month is about celebrating who you are, your family’s traditions, culture, and the accomplishments of those who came before you! In this Capstone LIVE Event, meet author Keka Novales, as we learn about her heritage and how her new Capstone series "Hola Lola!" came to be!

Keka Novales is a children's writer, mother of 3 kids and 3 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

You can register for this free event here. A recording will be sent out to all who register after too. 

NEW Amazing Video Resources From The Achievery For Supporting Digital Literacy In Meaningful and Fun Ways!


I am getting ready for a whole month of digital literacy activities, learning and activities to kick off in October. 

With Digital Citizenship Week coming up on October 17-21, 2022, this is the perfect time to add some amazing NEW resources from The Achievery to our plans, bringing them to all our students in elementary, middle school and high school. 

Created by AT&T in collaboration with Warner Bros. Discovery and other partners, The Achievery is a free digital learning platform that helps connect students to a new world of digital learning through stories that spark curiosity and content that entertains as well as teaches. 

The platform features clips from some of the most popular, well-loved movies, TV shows, and cartoons from Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network, paired with lessons and learning activities that students can engage with everywhere they are – at home, in the community, and the classroom.

Let me show you what I found to support Digital Literacy and citizenship on their site. 

At The Achievery, click on Digital Literacy where you can... by grade level, academic standard, media type, subject or collaborator. 
With The Achievery resources being lined up with the ISTE Student Standards, you can also search by each of them as well, as shown in the image above. 
Of course, Units can be searched as well. It is very easy to see the grade level and collaborators within each Unit. 
Here is one for our elementary students called We Bare Bears Unit 2 in collaboration with Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network with three Learning Activities including videos and...
...lesson plans that can be downloaded. 
And one for our older students called Connecting with Purpose: Digital Footprint in collaboration with Common Sense Media, which includes a video and...
...downloadable lesson plan. 

As I continue to plan the month, I will be using these videos and lesson plans to put together wonderful learning and teaching resources including interactive choice boards, Pear Deck activities, Kahoot and Gimkit games, and so much more.   

I will share these ideas and resources soon. 

In the meantime, you can sign up for The Achievery here, friends. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Staff Pick Cards I Created For Our Staff Members To Share Books With Our Students & Teachers!


I love that our students have been making book recommendations in our library this fall with the new sticky notes we made. You will find that post here. 

When I was at the Strand Book Store in New York City last week, I saw another idea sticking out from the top of several books on a book cart. 

I pulled one out to see this fun Staff Pick note! 

It was super simple but so very effective. It included three words to describe this book, highlights from the book and a place for the staff members name. 

I wanted to make these for our libraries too. 

I went into Canva to create the Staff Pick note. 
After I created several different colored Staff Pick notes, 
...and created a black and white copy as well. 

You will find all of the different choices for the Staff Picks that I made in Canva here
I can print two on a page so they will be the perfect size to fit into our library books.  I will print them on card stock so they stick up from the books. 

I hope that you can take this idea and use it in your library too, friends. 

Apply To Be Part Of The Future Ready Librarians 3rd Annual App Smash, Friends!


I am so excited to announce the Future Ready Librarians 3rd Annual App Smash! 

We are looking for 25 Future Ready Librarians and/or Instructional Leaders to share their success creating amazing learning experiences for students in face-to-face, virtual and blended learning libraries!

You will have 2 min and 30 sec to share your ideas. 

We will be hosting this event live on November 16, 2022 at 4:00 pm ET.

To apply, please visit

You have until November 5, 2022 to apply. 

I can't wait to hear what you want to share, friends. This is always one of the best Future Ready Librarian events of the year! 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Season 5 of the Future Ready Podcast Series, Leading From The Library, Is Now LIVE With 12 NEW Episodes With Amazing Librarians!


It's here!  

Season 5 of the Future Ready podcast series, Leading From The Library is now LIVE with 12 new episodes with amazing librarians. We couldn't be more excited about this new season full of special guests, timely topics and inspiring conversations. 
We kicked off Season 5 with Blake Hopper, Toot Your Horn...Show Off Your Library This Year. You will find it here.

On the Leading from the Library podcast site, you will find all of the future and past episodes as well. 
There are so many important, interesting and exciting topics for all of us as Future Ready Librarians and educators. You won't want to miss them. 
You can subscribe to wherever you listen to your podcasts. 
A big thank you to our friends at Follett for supporting our Future Ready Librarian Podcast Series. 

We hope that you join us each week for the Leading from the Library Podcast, friends.  

You Are Invited To The First Ever LIVE Capstone Trivia Event! Join Us For Trivia, Prizes, Connecting And Fun!


Friends, we have a special invitation for you

On Thursday, October 13 at 5pm CST, Capstone will be hosting the first ever LIVE Trivia Event. 

Please join us for trivia, prizes, connecting and fun!  

After you register, we will send you the link for the event. 

This is going to be so much fun and one event this fall you won't want to miss! 

Hope to see you there, friends. 

A Choice Board To Share With Our Readers For Katherine Applegate's Special New Book, Odder

One of my favorite new books this fall is Odder by Katherine Applegate.  In fact, it is one of my new all-time favorites. 

A touching and lyrical tale about a remarkable sea otter, from Newbery Medalist Katherine Applegate, author of Wishtree.

Meet Odder, the Queen of Play:

Nobody has her moves.
She doesn’t just swim to the bottom,
she dive-bombs.
She doesn’t just somersault,
she triple-doughnuts.
She doesn’t just ride the waves,
she makes them.

Odder spends her days off the coast of central California, practicing her underwater acrobatics and spinning the quirky stories for which she’s known. She’s a fearless daredevil, curious to a fault. But when Odder comes face-to-face with a hungry great white shark, her life takes a dramatic turn, one that will challenge everything she believes about herself—and about the humans who hope to save her.
Inspired by the true story of a Monterey Bay Aquarium program that pairs orphaned otter pups with surrogate mothers, this poignant and humorous tale told in free verse examines bravery and healing through the eyes of one of nature’s most beloved and charming animals.

As I shared Odder with my teachers and students last week, I made a choice board to share too as they learned more about the otters and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is where the story took place. 

You will find the Google Slide here where you can make a copy to use with your students and teachers. 
I included a PebbleGo article about otters so you will want to add your own link to that image. 
And remember, once you have your choice board ready, you will want to Publish to the web. 

Go to File and down to Publish to the web. 
Click on publish and...
....copy that link to share with your students. 

I know that you and your students will love Odder too. 

Using Virtual Sticker Posters From StickTogether Is A Fun Way To Reinforce and Celebrate New Skills and Knowledge!

With fall here and our students learning all about the season, apples and harvest, I have been looking for things to share along with books, eBooks, resources and other experiences. 

After a week of having our TK and kindergarten classrooms explore apple orchards through virtual field trips, my daughter, Brianna, reminded me of the seasonal virtual sticker posters in StickTogether. She thought the Fall Apples would be the perfect fit! 
I went to the StickTogether site for the virtual sticker posters here. There are FREE for everyone now. 
I set up a Fall Apples for each of the classrooms and made the link into a QR code. Our littles use iPads so this will make it easy for them to scan to get to the virtual sticker board. 
I then used Google Slides to make each QR code into a poster, with the teachers name at the bottom.  
I printed each poster and gave it to the teachers. I can't wait to visit their classrooms this week to see what our youngest learners think of working on a virtual sticker poster together. 

It's such a fun way to reinforce and celebrate new skills and knowledge! 

The September 25-30 Capstone Holiday Calendar Is Here! You Can Turn It Into An Interactive Calendar For Your Students Too.


The September 25-30 Capstone Holiday Calendar is here! 


During the first of September, I shared the 2022-23 Capstone Holiday Calendar. 

This is one of my favorite resources to share in our library and with our teachers and students for their classroom, and even with our families to use at home. 
On each monthly calendar, all kinds of special holidays and events are shared. 

Capstone then paired up their Capstone Interactive eBooks and PebbleGo/PebbleGo Next articles with these special holidays and events. 

I use them to look ahead each week and pull books and Capstone Interactive eBooks for our students and teachers to use to explore, learn and celebrate. 
This week there are several special events. I went into our Capstone Interactive to search to see what books we had as eBooks and articles from PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next. 

I can share the links to the eBooks and articles in Seesaw or Google Classroom. 
I also thought of an idea!  

I could take the calendar apart and make a Google Presentation, one slide per week, for the whole year! 

On the slide above, I just took a screen shot of next week and then added screen shots of the PebbleGo articles and eBooks below. Then I went back into Capstone Interactive to grab all of the links attaching them to the images. 

This will be so much fun to create and share with the teachers and students all throughout the year. 
You will find a copy of the 2022-23 Capstone Holiday Choice Board here if you'd like to follow along and use it for your school too. You will have to add your own links to PebbleGo, PebbleGo Next and the eBooks that you have within your own collection. 
And just remember, to share it with your students as a choice board, you will go to Edit and then down to Publish to the Web. It will give you a link and that is what you share with your students. 
I am leaving the past weeks in the Google Slides presentation....just scroll through them to find the past weeks. 
I also share this as a poster for our littles with iPads too. 
You can download the 2022-2023 Capstone Holiday Calendar here

And as this tweet from Capstone shares, if you want a physical calendar, please reach out to your Capstone rep. 

I find it so helpful to have this handy so I can get the books I want to add to our library collection.