Monday, July 31, 2023

The August Novel Effect Read Aloud Calendar & Back-toSchool Book Activities Are Here, Friends!

Our friends at Novel Effect have created such a special August Read Aloud Calendar.  As shared online. 

As August approaches, back-to-school season begins. With the onset of cooler evenings, it’s a wonderful time to initiate those August read-alouds. As dusk sets in, backyard breezes flutter the pages, creating a perfect reading ambiance. Besides fostering a love of literature, reading aloud enriches language skills and fosters empathy. Let’s make the most of this transitional period with our August Read-Alouds. Join us in gearing up for a new academic year with this month’s read-aloud calendar.

You can find the August Read Aloud Calendar and resources here on the Novel Effect site.
I love that you can also edit the calendar in Canva too. The link is provided in the post. 

Read-aloud calendars aren’t the only thing Novel Effect has for all of us! 

They also have back-to-school book activities and back-to-school tips & tricks!

Learn all about bringing Novel Effect to your school and library here

Novel Effect is one of our favorite resources at our school and we can't wait for what it will bring to our readers in the new school year. 

Guess What? Our Friends At Capstone Are Also Releasing 50 NEW Articles In PebbleGo Next This Week Too!


Guess what? 

Our friends at Capstone are also releasing 50 NEW articles in PebbleGo Next this week too! 

The 50 NEW articles that have been added to PebbleGo Next are awesome. I can't wait to share these with our students and teachers. 

Check out all of the new PebbleGo Next articles in Biographies, 
Social Studies, 
...and States. 
You will find the complete list here in this post from Capstone. 
You can learn more about PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next here on the Capstone site

BIG News! 51 New Articles Added To PebbleGo In July!

I LOVE it when our friends at Capstone announce when new articles are added to PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next.  Our learners and teachers do too! 

This month, 51 NEW articles have been added to PebbleGo

Check out all of the new PebbleGo articles...
You can learn more about PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next here on the Capstone site

Create Your Class Pixel Art Portrait Mural To Kick Off The New School Year With Your Students!


As we get ready for a new school year, we are dreaming up amazing ways to kick off the year with our students.  

At my school, we are excited to kick off our new school year with a very special project to celebrate each students uniqueness and creativity.  
We are going to create Class Pixel Art Portrait Murals to hang in our classrooms! 
Each student will create their self portrait using the StickTogether Pixel Art Canvas. It is free for everyone. 

They will do this on the first day of school.  This activity can even be done with their family before they come to school. 

Let me show you how to do this with your students too! 
1. First, they will create their portrait in the StickTogether Pixel Art Canvas. 
They will go to the StickTogether Pixel Art Canvas found here.  This link can easily be shared with the students on their device. We use Google Classroom to share links. 
For our littles using iPads, I use this choice board. They can scan the QR code or type in the at the bottom. 
Instruct your students to put their First Name and Last Name Initial. 
2. Have students create their self portrait in the Pixel Art Canvas
SUPER IMPORTANT... If you want to create a mural, you might want to have students use the same format, either vertical or horizontal. I find that the vertical format gives them the best layout for a self portrait. 

I talk to the students about making the background interesting too.  It's amazing what they create. 
3. Once they have finished their pixel art portrait, have each student click Generate PDF's. 

This box pops up and they click on Confirm, which downloads two files onto their Chromebook. 
One is the pixel art in full color and the other... the pixel art worksheet they fill in with the stickers. 

4. To make it easy to get these files from each student from their Chromebook, I created a Padlet and shared the link with them in their Google Classroom. 
Each student shared their two pixel art files to the Padlet. 
When they download from the Pixel Art site, their name is added to each file. This makes it really easy to identify the art on the Padlet and when they are printed off. The name is at the bottom as you can see in the image above. 

And guess what?  Coming very soon, there will be a MUCH simpler solution for saving both the art work and the coded worksheet directly to the teacher's dashboard. Stay tuned for this.  I can't wait! 

5. Once you have gathered all of the portraits on the Padlet, print out each students coded worksheet.
6. Now, it's time for them to "sticker" their portraits! 

You can set up a sticker station using leftover stickers from kits using the StickTogether Color Key.
Each code (letter) on the worksheet is tied to the StickTogether Color Key. 
You can also buy the Pixel Art Class Pack.  This amazing pack gives you 10 pages of each colored stickers. Each page contains 221 stickers.  
7. They will fill up their worksheet to create their Pixel Art Portrait. 

When our students did this project last year, they all loved how they turned out! 
8. Once everyone is done, you can put them together within your classroom, or in the hallway outside of your classroom, to create your class Pixel Art Portrait Mural. 

I can't wait to see all of the beautiful portraits throughout our school. 
Both creating the image, and "stickering" the worksheet are special ways to kick off the year with your new students as you celebrate individually and build community in the classroom and throughout the school. 

And that is something wonderful to celebrate with your students all year long! 

Friday, July 28, 2023

Do You Want To Share Your Story & Work On Season 7 Of The Future Ready Librarians Podcast, Friends?

We are getting ready to kick off Season 7 of the Future Ready Librarians Podcast! 

Over the last six seasons, I have welcomed so many wonderful librarians, educators and industry leaders to share their stories, passions and to discuss important and relevant topics to all of us as we lead within and from our libraries. 

You will find the Leading From The Library podcast page here

As I get ready to start recording Season 7, I am looking for new guests to join me. If you have a topic and story you would like to share and talk about, please reach out by emailing me at and let me know. 

Thank you so much. I would love to hear from you, friends. The best part of the Future Ready Librarians Podcast is all of YOU. 

Thursday, July 27, 2023

The August Virtual Stickerboard Calendar Is Here and Filled With So Many New Stickerboards!


The August Virtual Stickerboard Calendar from our friends at StickTogether is here and filled with so many new Virtual Stickerboards! 

Every month, StickTogether creates a wonderful calendar that shows special events throughout the month. And the BEST part...they have created a monthly Virtual StickTogether Sticker Board Gallery to go along with these special events and celebrations!  

You will find out more about Virtual Stickerboards and how to use them with your students here.

Once you click on Create a Virtual Stickerboard, you will find the August 2023 Gallery.  

Check out the August special days and Virtual Stickerboards below...

This gallery has all of the Virtual Stickerboards that correspond with the days on the new StickTogether Virtual Stickerboard Calendar. 

The Virtual Stickerboards are FREE for everyone to use.  

Have fun using the August Virtual Stickerboards with your students and community as we get ready for a brand new school year, friends. 

11 Virtual PINK Stickerboards To Celebrate Barbie!


To celebrate Barbie, our friends at StickTogether created a Virtual Stickerboard Category all about PINK!

You will find the PINK Gallery on the SticKTogether site here.
There are so many fun Virtual Stickerboards to pick from as you celebrate PINK too. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Celebrate International Dot Day With Peter H. Reynolds At This Live Flip Event On September 15, 2023!


I am so excited to start planning our celebrations for International Dot Day.  This year, we will be celebrating 20 years of The Dot! 

To kick off the celebrations, Flip has announced a very special event on September 15, 2023 at 12:00pm CST with Peter H. Reynolds. 

As shared online, 

Join FlipFableVision/Reynolds Center TLC, and Candlewick Press in a LIVE global celebration of creativity, courage, and collaboration: International Dot Day! In this event, students will meet Peter H. Reynolds–New York Times best-selling author and illustrator of The Dot–and his twin brother Paul A. Reynolds who will challenge everyone to believe in themselves and find the courage to “make their mark.” 


This year features a very special 20th anniversary celebration of The Dot booka peek at the new Dot Dot Dot musical, along with spotlights from the Dot Day community around the world! Sign up now to join this exclusive, live streaming Flip event from Boston’s historic Shubert Theatre at the Boch Center.

You can register here for this special event today, friends. 

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Summer Fun + Quality Time with Friends & Family + a little Magic… with Puzzle Face™.


This week we are spending the week at our house in Denver with my sister, Heather, and her family.  With several of our kids and adults together for the week, it is the perfect time to pull out some games to keep everyone busy and enjoying our time relaxing and having fun together.  

Heather and I brought the perfect product for this fun! 

It's called Puzzle Face and is from our friends at StickTogether.  As you read in my blog post a few weeks ago, 

Inside each Puzzle Face box, there are 300 puzzle pieces, and with these same 300 pieces, you can make any face, take it apart, and put them back together another way to make any other face.  You'll notice that the 300 pieces have different shadings on one side, and are coded 1-60, in one of five colors, on the other side. 
As shared on the Puzzle Face site, 

One puzzle. Infinite solutions. 

With Puzzle Face, one single 300-piece puzzle can be assembled and re-assembled again and again to make any face. 
Like all of StickTogether products it is for all ages and abilities. It is not competitive. It's relaxing, social, casual and fun. 

Let me show the fun Puzzle Face brought to our family!  You can follow these steps to play Puzzle Face with your family and friends too. 

First, scan the QR code on the Puzzle Face box. 
If you want to try it now just go to on your phone or if you are viewing this post on your computer, here is the QR code. 

The Puzzle Face Image Key app only works on mobile. 
It will bring up the Puzzle Face app.  It allows you to upload a photo. This can be any photo of yourself....a new one or one saved on your device. 
My niece, Riley, took a photo on the Puzzle Face app to upload. 

Riley really wanted to use her dog, Milo, picture but I mentioned to her that human faces work best. She agreed and even decided to take off her glasses for Puzzle Face. 
Once her picture was uploaded into the Puzzle Face app, she took 2 fingers and enlarged the face in the frame. You want to do this before you save the Image Key. 

The Puzzle Face image you see on the right (in the app) is what you’ll be creating so make sure you like it before you save it.  
One note... every time you see a black and white Puzzle Face on the right, there is a code behind it - you can build that image. Just play around with the framing and size on the left and choose a Puzzle Face you like. 
You will then save the Image Key. It will look like the photo above. The Image Key tells you which piece to put where, and in which orientation, using the coded side of the puzzle pieces. 

Since we were going Puzzle Face with a group of people, Riley sent the save Image Key to her... 
...iPad so it was larger for everyone to see. I love how handy it is to share the Image Key digitally. 

You could also print the Image Key. I did that at school while we were working on Puzzle Face this spring. It worked great for our students. 
As Riley looked at the Image Key, she saw her face at the top. She didn't want anyone to know it was her so she used editing tools to black it out. I thought that was such a smart thing to do. 
She was ready to share and get everyone started on the Puzzle Face of the day. 
Since we will be assembling the puzzle code side up, we first sorted the pieces by color in the center of the table. There are 5 colors numbered 1-60. 
We roughly organized them in rows by 10's. There was no need to put in numerical order, just in rows of 10's.  It only took us a few minutes to organize them as we all worked together. 

Note that there is no number 9.  StickTogether did this because 6 and 9 were often confused.  Instead of 9, there is a piece with an icon of a puzzle piece. 
Once the pieces were organized, we started working on the Puzzle Face.  

We assigned different sections of the Image Key to three groups of two as we worked. 
When assembling the puzzle make sure you have placed the right piece in the right orientation.  Both the shape of the color and the line under that shape is design to help you match the orientation.  
If you can’t find a piece that you are looking for for your section, ask around to other players.  

Hagan was awesome at finding mistakes and fixing them. That was part of the fun. 
Once all 6 sections are assembled, attach them using the Image Key as a guide. 
Then Heather flipped the image.
It is important to have someone hold up the Puzzle Face like Heather did with our kids. 

And YES!  It holds together perfectly. 
It is important to have the group stand back,  
Puzzle Faces are best viewed from a distance - like magic, they actually pop into focus when you stand back.
They actually guessed the image was Riley right away. 
It was so special to see how happy Riley was with her Puzzle Face. 
And just remember, the 300 pieces inside this little box will create ANYONE'S face!  You can do this over and over again with the same Puzzle Face. 
Our family had so much fun playing Puzzle Face together.  

One of the BEST parts of Puzzle Face, they were already planning whose face was going to next as this is a game that can be played over and over again. 

As we all completed our first Puzzle Face, we also shared it online.  It would be so much fun if everyone did that too. 

You can take a picture of your group with the finished Puzzle Face tagging @byStickTogether #PuzzleFace

Then take it apart and create a new Puzzle Face of another family member or friend. 

Puzzle Face is definitely equal to unlimited fun!  I can't wait to see all of the Puzzle Faces our family creates this year!