Monday, February 29, 2016

A Place For Our Makers.... Whole Kids Foundation Kids Club and ScrapKins!

Today I stumbled onto a really cool website for kids from Whole Foods. 
It is called Kids Club from the Whole Kids Foundation.  You can go to Kids Club here.

Each month we can find activities which focus on Reading, Eating, Coloring, Gaming, Making, and more.  These are wonderful activities that have downloadable resources to support these different areas.

We can go back and look at past monthly downloads as well.
The area that first caught my eye was the Make activities.  When I clicked on Make over on the left hand side I was super excited to see that it took me onto another page for ScrapKins!  How fun is this!
On the site it states, Whole Kids Foundation is proud to partner with ScrapKins to bring you these great conversation starters. 

ScrapKins was created by Brian Yanish, an educator and former member of Jim Henson's creative team.  He drew these when he was young and his mom saved them.  Today they make up the ScapKins.

These are the ScapKins that you can find.....

The patterns can be downloaded to print or save. 

They are amazing with so many fun details and illustrations to walk you through creating something unique and special.
Also, make sure you check out the ScrapKins website here.....You will find Project Videos, Characters, Books, and even more creative fun from Brian here.
I especially LOVED finding ScrapKins on Sesame Street!  You can see these videos and more here.

It is really exciting finding one more AWESOME place for our young makers....I know you will find lots of creative inspiration here too.

Help Your Students Think About Their Learning With The NEW ClassDoJo & PERTS Mindset Video Series

Our friends at ClassDojo have something new and exciting to share! 
They have partnered with PERTS, Carol Dweck's lab at Stanford, to bring the belief of intelligence "mindset" to classrooms everywhere through a five episode video series.  

In 1978, Carol discovered that children who believed their intelligence could grow did better in school, and better in life.  She called this basic belief about intelligence "mindset". 
These five "chapters" can be found on the ClassDoJo website here. 

You can play them from the ClassDoJo website or open them up in the ClassDoJo YouTube Channel.

Here is Episode 1/Chapter 1...A Secret About the Brain above....I just love this one and the other four as they explain learning, the brain, and mindset to our young people.
At the bottom of each video, you can also find a place to Download Discussion Guide, which gives you a two page handout to be downloaded and used with your students and parents.
This is Episode #1 Discussion Guide which included four Class Discussion Questions to engage students to think about their learning after watching the video.
I love the Take-Home Questions that can be downloaded, printed and cut into four parts to have them take home to discuss with their parents and family.  
You can also click on Find Related Resources under each video. This will take you to Mindset.
On this site you will be directed to the Mindset Kit, which is a free set of online lessons and practices designed to help you teach and foster adaptive learning mindsets.

You can sign up to receive updates and join The Mindset Community here.
With all five of the videos in this series now available, it will be fun to follow ideas for using them on ClassDoJo's Facebook page...
and Twitter.
Just look at this wonderful idea that @msgrochowiak shared this week already.  And make sure you check out the hashtag #growthmindset too.

Thank you again Class DoJo and PERTS for bringing us these wonderful resources to teach our students the importance of learning.  These videos are going to make an impact on our school libraries, classroom and communities.  

Sunday, February 28, 2016

School Libraries Transform Learning..... In April For School Library Month & All Year Long!

As a parent, teacher librarian, educator and learner, I have seen how school libraries transform learning, inspire dreams, and make a difference in lives.

It is the reason I love being a teacher librarian and the reason I support school libraries and teacher librarians every day.

And in April all of us can do the same as we celebrate School Library Month with our friends at the American Association of School Librarians.
On the AASL website, you will find a page dedicated to School Library Month that is filled with helpful information and wonderful resources.
This year Megan McDonald is the School Library Month spokesperson.  I love her story of wanting to be a school librarian and how she became a writer.  It will be special to share her voice and stories during the month.
Make sure you visit Megan's website to bring even more of her fantastic work and voice to your kids!

There are also several free resources on the AASL School Library Month page including....
 Complimentary Web Graphics,
 Printable Posters, 
 Professional Development Courses and Free Webinars, 
and Proclamation Templates. 
Tonight I read an article on the AASL Knowledge Quest blog, entitled Celebrate School Library Month.  This post was awesome as it included lots of lots of ideas and resources to help us as we prepare to advocate for school libraries in April.
On the right hand sidebar of the AASL website, you can also find links to other amazing resources including the Free School Library Advocacy Pack and Public Relations Toolkit for School Libraries.  

They have everything we need to make a difference......And I can't wait to hear how you and your students, teachers, parents, and school community celebrates School Library Month too!

"Open eBooks" Will Bring Thousands Of Books & Inspire Reading For All Children In Need

A few days ago there was a buzz on Twitter and online focusing around something new and exciting for our young readers.

It is called Open eBooks.

In fact, the hashtag #openebooks and @openEbks told an exciting story of this wonderful new initiative which will give children from households in-need equitable access through thousands of popular and award-winning titles with the Open eBooks app without checkouts or holds.
From the Open eBooks website...

Open eBooks is a partnership between Digital Public Library of America, The New York Public Library, and First Book, with content support from digital books distributor Baker & Taylor.  This effort is made possible by generous commitments of publishers with funding support provided in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and is part of the White House ConnectED Initiative

And I love the goal of Open eBooks which is to encourage a love of reading and serve as a gateway to children reading even more often, whether in school, at libraries, or through other eBook reading apps. 

Can you imagine the difference this amazing initiative will bring to children, families, and school communities throughout our country?  It will make a difference. 

First Lady Michelle Obama's message captured the excitement of what the Open eBooks initiative will mean to so many as it brings books to all young readers. 
The publishers above provided access to their eBooks in a collection that is valued at more than $250 million dollars.  
The titles for the Open eBooks app were selected by the DPLA Curation Corps, a group of librarians and other information professionals who will help coordinate books for inclusion in the Open eBooks program. 

The DPLA Curation Corps were challenged to craft an Open eBooks collection that is diverse, compelling, and appropriately targeted for our that there is something for every child to read, enjoy, and learn from. 
All educators, program leaders and librarians who work with in-need youth in libraries, schools, shelters, clinics, out-of-school time programs, military family programs, early childhood programs, and other capacities can access Open eBooks by registering with First Book. 

Your school (Title 1 or Title 1 eligible school) or, a program or library must serves at least 70% of children from families in need to qualify for First Book and the Open eBook app. 

You can get started by going to this link
The First Book website will walk qualified adults through the process of receiving access for Open eBooks.  

Once registered, educators can request access codes for Open eBooks which they will give the children they work with. 
The eBooks are then access using the Open eBooks app, which can be found on the Open eBooks website.   

This app can be used on an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Android device.  
The Open eBooks app will give students the ability to borrow up to 10 books at a time which will be available for 56 days before they are renewed. Children may borrow as many new books as they would like.  

There are different ways that all of us can support and spread the word about Open eBooks.   
Please check out @openEbks on Twitter and Instagram.... I smiled at the picture of Shaq checking out his book Little Shaq on the Open eBooks app.

You can also connect with Open eBooks on Facebook and find the answers to questions you may have here

This initiative will inspire and help millions of children develop a love of reading.  And what a beautiful difference this will make while bringing them stories, imagination, hope and opened doors. 

Thank you to everyone involved.....I hope that other publishers, organizations, educators, communities, and families will be inspired to help with Open eBooks too. 

A New Way To Connect Our Students Around The World.... "Harmony Projects" Global Connections With Cantata Learning!

We have a very exciting announcement from Cantata Learning!  

It is called Harmony Projects and these are going to be wonderful global connections with Cantata Learning, children, teacher librarians, educators, families, publishers, writers, artists and others around the world.  

Harmony Projects will tie in literature, music and art, along with other core subjects such as math, science, social studies, and more.  Throughout the projects, students, libraries, classrooms, and communities will connect to others to collaborate, create, and share.  This will lead to rich learning experiences that our young people will remember and definitely lead to more of these projects and connections throughout the year. 
After we had such amazing success during our first global project Winter Around The World with over 250 schools connecting around the world, we decided to make these official and give these connections an official name....Harmony Projects

(You can read all about our first project, Winter Around the World, here.) 
You can find Harmony Projects on a new page on the Cantata Learning website.

This is where we will post information about current and past projects, tips for participating in these projects, and other fun information along the way.
I also added a Harmony Projects widget to the side of my blog.  All you have to click on the logo and it will take you to the page too.
You will find a place for Current Projects and right now we have a new global project called Celebrations Around the World.   
Using Cantata Learning's new Happy Birthday...Feliz Cumpleanos book and song for inspiration, you can gather your students together to share stories, songs, art work, recipes, decorations and other things to lift up all of the different events, special occasions and creativity that are celebrated around the world.

(To read and sing along with Happy Birthday...Feliz Cumpleanos, go to with username happy and password birthday)
You will find everything you need for the Celebrations Around The World Global Project here.
And of course there is a place for Past Projects too.  
We are really excited for what these global connections with the Harmony Projects will bring and we can't wait for all of you to get involved too.

For now, please sign up to share your celebrations in the Celebrate Around the World project and follow our hashtag #harmonyprojects and the Cantata Learning blog for even more ideas, projects and exciting news throughout the year.