Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Follett Book eFairs...Classroom Book Orders, Reimagined!

Our friends at Follett have an exciting announcement and an awesome new way to look at book fairs! 

In August 2019, they are kicking off a new school year and a brand new offering called Follett Book eFairs! 

Follett has taken a fresh, new look at how to improve on the solution of book fairs that schools have been using for years.  They have re-imagined the whole classroom book ordering process, making it easier and simpler for teachers, and providing new and exciting improvements that will help to ensure that they can support reading/literacy in school and at home, and get schools, classrooms and libraries an additional source of funding.
As the Follett Book eFairs site shares, 

Starting in August 2019, there’s a new way for students to shop popular titles and find stories featuring their favorite characters. Book eFairs build a connection between reading at home and reading at school. Not only will students have an easy place to shop for books, but teachers can also make recommendations for their class. Follett is making it easy to create and manage an online book fair that offers generous rewards for the classroom. For every order placed, teachers get 50% back in rewards to purchase materials for their classroom.

I couldn't me more excited about Follett Book eFairs in my role as a teacher librarian and Innovation Director of Library Media and Instructional Technology at Van Meter Community School.  
In fact, when I first heard about Follett Book eFairs, I instantly thought of several ways this ties into my role as a Future Ready Librarian
Follett Book eFairs are one way a Future Ready Librarian can collaborate with teachers as we build instructional partnerships and support literacy and reading all year long.

We will see a great range of titles available every month in Follett Book eFairs. They are offering titles from thousands of publishers.  So, just like on Follett Book Fairs, they will offer a great variety of books that kids want to read and something affordable for every parent.  
Librarians and teachers can collaborate and come up with the best recommendations together which become part of the Follett Books eFairs site. I love this part, because it not only brings us together through collaboration and readers advisory, it is a way to pull in wonderful literacy to all subjects and themes throughout the school year.
We can also connect what we do as Future Ready Librarians to design collaborative spaces and provide our students with spaces to promote community, learning, collaborative, inquiry, creativity and in this case, a community of reading.
This is where I tie in what Follett Books eFairs will mean to our new library branch program taking place within our school this fall. With four new library branches popping up around Van Meter,
this will allow us to not only collaborate, but also fill the shelves with new books through amazing...
 ...Classroom Rewards! 

The generous rewards offering for the teacher is straight-forward and easy-to-understand.  Teachers will receive 50% of the sales from each eFair to spend on classroom materials in our Follett Rewards Store.  No complex points. If parents purchase $100 worth of books, the teacher has $50 to spend.  These dollars don’t expire and there is no minimum level of purchases required to earn rewards – it’s just a straight 50%.
And right now, you can even earn up to $50 in bonus rewards for spreading the word.  You can learn more about this special promotion here.
Follett Book eFairs help cultivate community partnerships within the school and community to promote literacy and lifelong reading and learning.
A teacher can have their eFair up and running in just a few minutes and can offer an eFair to families multiple times throughout the school year.  

After you sign up for an eFair,
Follett provides flyers and letters to send home with students.
Plus, you can send email reminders to families through your eFair.
Teachers can easily customize their eFair.  Follett will supply a curation of about 200 books each time, but the teacher can add or remove books – and make their recommendations to families.  Teachers know their students best and can add and recommend titles that fit the needs of their classroom.    

One of the best parts of this...families purchase online – no order forms or checks for teachers to deal with.
As you learn more about Follett Book eFairs, check out the site here and remember all of the special things we will get from hosting eFairs within our school and community.

Don't forget to share your contact information and interest now, and you will earn $25 in rewards for your classroom when hosting a Follett Book eFair between 8/1/2019 and 12/31/2019. 

The Follett Book eFair must be completed by 12/31/19. Maximum of one $25 credit per teacher. To be eligible to receive your bonus rewards, you must complete the online registration form found here.

In my next post about Follett Book eFairs, I will be sharing our plan on how we are going to introduce Follett Book eFairs to our classroom teachers and specialists as we go back to school in August. I will even share a few fun tips on kicking off eFairs with families during Back-to-School Night too! 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Adam Bellow Visits Van Meter For Lots Of Learning, Creating & Connecting With BreakoutEDU Digital!

In May, my dear friend and cofounder of Breakout EDU, Adam Bellow, traveled all the way from New York to Van Meter to visit with our students, teachers and a community he has been hearing a lot about for the last 12 years of our friendship. It was such an honor having Adam here at our school and in Iowa. 
You see, our students have been using BreakoutEDU for several years but now Breakout EDU Digital is a BIG hit with our students and teachers too.
With Breakout EDU Digital, teachers can create classes and assign digital games; students can create and share digital games with peers; and teachers can build and use the digital game builder for quick assignments and assessments. 

And that is just what we have been doing at Van Meter, Adam came to join us for the day to see how we were using Breakout EDU Digital and hear from the students and teachers. He also gave us lots of incredible information and tips along the way. 
To kick off the day, he started with Kate Lamoureux and her 4th graders.  Kate uses Breakout EDU with her students often and taught them how to create their very own Breakout EDU Digital games this year. 
 They were so excited to show Adam what they created and....
 ...loved it when he tried to breakout.
 The 4th graders explained the process....
 ...and loved getting feedback on what they already created and how they could make their Breakout EDU Digital games better.
Next, we went to 5th graders where Megan Algreen and I were kicking off a new game PBL with all three sections.
In this PBL, the students were going to be working on creating either a board game with the new...
a BreakoutEDU Digital game or a combination of both.  
Before Adam came, we told them about the project, got them into groups and they chose which type of game they were going to create.
Adam taught them how to create a BreakoutEDU Digital game.
 It was awesome learning with Adam about Breakout EDU and creating games.
And it was so fun seeing the 5th graders brainstorm and collaborate as they came up with their ideas. 
Next, it was up to Abby Tibbetts room in our secondary where we visited with her freshman science class.  Abby and her students have been creating Breakout EDU Digital games so the students had a chance to show Adam and get feedback.
 He had a great conversation with Abby about this process.
While we were in Abby's room, we got a big surprise and were invited down to the green screen room where the 5th grade TAG students were completing a Breakout Room created by other TAG students at Van Meter.
Adam loved seeing that they were using one of the older version of the Breakout EDU boxes and had a fun time helping...
 ...with a little hidden code.
 After that, Adam spent time with more of the students in our elementary and enjoyed....
 ...hearing what they loved about creating their own Breakout EDU Digital games.
 We ended our school day with two more sections of 5th graders as they...
 ...worked on the game project in...
 ..Megan's room.  We couldn't wait to see what they created.
After school, Adam joined our Girls Who Code Club and shared his story.  The girls loved asking Adam lots of questions. 
I am thankful Adam came to Van Meter to share this special resource he has helped bring to education, students, teachers and community around the world.  

And I am especially thankful for his friendship and all he does to inspire me and others.  

Thank you, friend.  We can't wait to see where Breakout EDU will take us and our learning next year.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Buncee Bookmarks for Back-to-School!

Our students and teachers love bookmarks!  They are a special little treat to grab for their books when they come to the library and I carry them in my school bag to give out to them too. 

As we get ready to kick off the school year at the end of the August, I have been working on some new ones for back-to-school night to share information about our library with everyone. 
And guess what, friends?  We can now make super awesome bookmarks with BUNCEE! 

Let me show you how.
When you log into Buncee, there is now a Bookmarks category found on the left hand side.  You have two choices. 
You can Start From Scratch and add all of the different assets yourself.
You can also select from bookmarks they have already created from the Bookmark Templates, by clicking on one.
It will bring up the bookmark and you click on Use This Template in the right hand corner.
 This opens up the bookmark in Buncee where you can....
...add any of the assets to make it your own.  

It's as simple as that and look at all of these....
 ...special bookmarks that your students, teachers and families will love too!