Monday, March 30, 2015

It's That Time Again.....Time To Celebrate Poetry Month With Our Students & Friends!

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With Poetry Month in April, it is always so much fun to connect with others throughout the month through Skype, GHO, and lots of other ways.

We have celebrated with other libraries, classrooms and schools by reading poetry, bringing in special poetry guests, and creating and sharing poetry together online using digital tools such as Padlet and FlipGrid.  

Let’s use this Google Doc as a way to make connections and share how we are going to be celebrating Poetry Month within our libraries and schools.   It is easy….Just add your name, contact information, and ideas below.  Then look for others to collaborate and connect with.   It is a great time to make new friends and create wonderful learning experiences for your students.  
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Also, if you are looking for a poet or author to connect with for Poetry Month, make sure you check out Skype in the Classroom new Literacy page for connecting with authors, poets, illustrators and others.  They have put together an amazing way to now find and schedule these very special guests.  
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One more thing…. Poem in Your Pocket Day is a fun way to celebrate Poetry Month.  This year it will be celebrated on April 30.  You can find information and resources on the website.
I have put together the Poetry Symbaloo of fun poetry websites and resources. I love using this throughout the month and year.

Have fun and remember….Poetry can be celebrated anytime!  Let’s make April one of those times together.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

You Don't Want To Miss The Iowa Association Of School Librarian Spring Conference In April....It's Going To Be Epic!

In just a few short weeks, something super exciting will be happening amongst the rock star teacher librarians in Iowa.  You see it is time for the Iowa Association of School Librarians Conference.

This year our conference will be held in Des Moines on April 12 and 13.
 You can check out the Smore full of details online here
Just wait until you see the lineup for the epic event!
 I am very excited about our two keynote speakers.

My amazing friend Jennifer LaGarde, better known as The Library Girl, will be opening our conference on Monday morning.
And at noon, my awesome friend Ian Coon will be the keynote speaker at the luncheon.  
Monday is packed full of great breakout sessions and on Sunday evening there will be several Lightning Talks.

Jennifer and I will be giving one together entitled The AASL Best Websites....25 That Rock Each Year! 

You can check out the schedule for both days here.
It is so much fun to see everyone who is coming to the conference on this Google Map.  I am sure we will add more over the next two weeks.  
The planners are also asking everyone to turn themselves into a superhero for the conference.....To show the super powers of teacher librarians and educators.

You can check out all of the Iowa superheros here.

I hope that all teacher librarians, along with their administrators, teachers, and others, plan to come to the IASL conference in April.  It is always an exciting event and so important for us to come together and show our support for each other, our profession, and advocate for ourselves.

This event will be epic.....And our voices together can make each day epic within our libraries, schools, and communities all throughout the year.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Exciting News From Canva As They Launch Their Education Program and Teacher Resource Center!

We had some exciting news from our friends at Canva this week!  They have launced their education program and teacher resource center!  You just have to check out Canva for Education here.....You will love it and all that it has to offer our young people and teachers.  

My friend Hannah at Canva shared this wonderful press release with me, explaining more about Canva for Education...
Canva makes educational resources freely available for school teachers to spread visual literacy to students around the world
  • Canva launches initiatives aimed at helping teachers educate students to communicate visually
  • Partners with teachers to develop lesson plan content and announces advisory board of influential classroom teachers and Edtech consultants

Canva, the web-based graphic design startup, has announced a range of initiatives aimed at supporting teachers to educate students about visual communication. Canva will bring together a new education resource center, complete with teaching materials from an advisory board of classroom teachers and Edtech influencers, as well as a new integration with Google Apps for Education log-in.

With more than 1.8 million users and 15 million designs on its consumer design platform alone, Canva reinforces its commitment to the education space by providing a tool that enables teachers and students to innovate, collaborate, and communicate through visual design. Canva’s new education center is aimed at providing learning resources for teachers looking for dynamic and engaging ways to integrate visual project-based learning into their core curriculum.

“Understanding how to communicate through visual mediums is becoming increasingly important as we live in a world driven by technology and interactive multimedia,” says Canva CEO Melanie Perkins. “By providing teachers with resources centered on teaching visual literacy, we’re facilitating an environment in which students can develop fluency in a skill that will be essential when they enter the workforce.”

In addition to lesson plans authored by classroom teachers, Canva has established an Education Advisory Board comprised of some of the most influential educators in the education technology space. Advisors include thought leaders like Richard Byrne (author of Free Tech 4 Teachers), Vicki Davis (Cool Cat Teacher), and Steven Anderson (#Edchat co-founder), who are internationally respected for their contributions to the education space. Their involvement will include not only creating content for other teachers, but also providing guidance on Canva’s future education initiatives.

Vicki Davis has said of Canva’s education initiatives, “Graphics are an essential part of today’s communication and influence. It isn’t just about making it look pretty. Effective graphics help us better articulate ideas and inspire action.” Richard Byrne said, “Creating with Canva isn’t just about making great visuals, it’s about inspiring ideas too.”

All of Canva’s education and classroom initiatives is available to anyone and can be access by visiting

The key components of Canva’s Education Center are:

  • Canva for Education Access
    • A drag and drop design tool made for teachers and students. Canva for Education includes Google Apps for Education integration, allowing for easy registration and deployment in the classroom.  
    • A comprehensive series of workshops and lesson plans designed for teachers to use in the classroom. Teach your students the importance of visual communication with practical classroom activities.
  • Educational Advisory Board
    • Canva establishes an advisory board of influential teachers in the edtech space. The board provides guidance and insights on the role technology plays in the classroom and day-to-day learning.
I am very honored to be part of this amazing group of educators and friends.  I can't wait to see what we do next.

Canva for Education is one tool you will definitely want to use within your library and classroom.

We can't wait to see how you use it too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It Is Time To Choose Our AASL Leaders.....Hear Dorcas Hand Speak About Her Presidential Candidacy

It is that time of year again.....Time for all of us to support libraries, librarians, and the organizations we belong to including the American Association of School Librarians and the American Library Association by voting for our leaders in both.  
Tonight, my friend Craig Seasholes and I had the honor of speaking with our wonderful friend Dorcas Hand, who is running for AASL President.

We hope that you take the time to listen to our conversation and to vote for this office and the others, including Craig, who is running for the District 9 Representative. 
You can find out more about Dorcas and her campaign at her website, Strong School Libraries.   
It is an important time for school libraries and school librarians.  It is essential that all of us become members of our national and state organizations.....and to advocate wherever we can.  

And to vote, you can go to the AASL 2015 Elections page.  What an amazing group there is this year. 

It is an exciting time for all of us.  Make sure your voice is heard too. 

You Will Love These Fun & Engaging New Songs and Books From Cantata Learning! Check Them Out On Our Symbaloo's!

I love new finds in children's literature.....In fact, it is one of my favorite things to do.

My friends at Cantata Learning have 42 amazing new books, along with fun and engaging songs, coming soon for the fall.... And I LOVE them all!
One of the best things....

there are three ways to get the music from each Cantata book....a CD in the back of each book, downloadable from iTunes, and also on their website at the Listen and Look page.
You can see all of the titles and listen to the music on the Cantata Learning Listen and Look page under Fall 2015.

From all of these, I created a new Symbaloo for the Fall 2015 Cantata Learning books and songs.

On this webmix, each tile links to one of the 42 new songs from the books.

You can use this with your students, teachers, and others since Symbaloo is a social bookmarking site where once the webmix is made public, it can be used by all of us.

And even embedded onto other sites, such as the front page of Follett's Destiny...perfect for any library and school.
I also created a webmix for the Fall 2014 Cantata Learning books and songs.

In the right-hand corner of each webmix, there is a hot pink tile which takes you back and forth between the two webmixes.  This makes it very easy for your young learners to use.
I hope you have fun listening to all of the wonderful books from Cantata Learning just as much as we do in our home.  There is something for everyone.

And remember one of the BEST things about the Cantata books.....You can send them home with your students and they can listen to the songs anywhere with the online access through the website and these Symbaloo's.

How fun is that!

Now you can see one more reason these are some of my favorite new books.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My 2nd Grade Friends & Their Teacher Mrs. Ferguson Created A Beautiful Book About Their Dreams With Cantata Learning & FlipSnackEdu

There is a little group of kids in Van Meter who are LOVING a bunch of new books.  
They are Tracy Ferguson's 2nd graders.  And the books they love are the Cantata Learning books! They have all of the first season books within their classroom and are using them everyday. 
Tracy and I decided to do a special project together using one of their favorites... Peaceful Leader....Martin Luther King Jr.   
After they reading the book and singing the song, we thought it would be so much fun to create their very own book filled with their dreams.

Tracy and I decided to use the illustrations and their words to create a FlipSnackEdu eBook.

Every one of the students created an illustration of their dream on a white sheet of paper.  They also wrote it out somewhere on the paper and signed their name.
They did an amazing job creating their dreams. 
When every one of the students had their own illustrated dream created, Tracy took the stack to the printer and scanned them.

I had her scan them all together into one downloadable file.  By doing this, it is then very easy to connect to....
FlipSnackEdu to create their own flippable eBook.
It is so easy to do this with FlipSnackEdu.

When Tracy scanned the stack of illustrations, she sent it as one file.
I also created a title page within Google Presentation (I like using that tool because I can create pages from a blank template)....
and two opening pages too.
I added these three pages to the beginning of the file.

I then downloaded it and saved it all as a PDF.  I then created a new FlipSnack and selected that PDF file to upload.
Once all of the pages are uploaded into your new FlipSnack it allows you to choose a lot of different editing options like adding Text, Action, Multimedia, Illustrations, Covers, and more.  

You can also move pages around, delete and add too.
One of the things I am most excited about with FlipSnack is that we can now add Multimedia, including Video and Sound.  

This added another layer to our book with the 2nd graders because they were also able to record their Dreams over the top of the pages each illustrated within the book.

When everyone was finished recording within their page, the FlipSnack was published.
You are able to share the finished FlipSnack in so many ways, plus it can be Downloaded and Embedded as well.
To view the FlipSnack, you click on Click to Read in the middle of the book....
and it take you into a full screen of the book, with the pages viewable on the bottom.
My 2nd grade friends created a beautiful book and we can't wait to share it with all of you. 

You can view it here and it is embedded below. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

SXSWedu With Cantata Learning....Where We Sing Our Lessons!

Last week I traveled to SXSWedu with my friends at Cantata Learning and songwriter Lucy Michell
It was so much fun to share the wonderful books and songs that Cantata Learning has created for our young learners.
 They fit in perfect to all of the music that we heard going around us at SXSWedu in Austin.
As their website states,

Cantata Learning is an educational publisher, creating books and music audio that addresses content areas, especially for Pre-1 and Grades 1-3, using recognizable and original music, simple text and age-appropriate illustrations. 
The Cantata Learning books focus on different topics such as science, social studies, history, math or of course those traditional and folk songs all of our children love.

And what fun to Sing Your Lessons as you are learning new and exciting things.
Lucy and I presented Learning and Creating Through Songs and Books.  

 It was fun to see Lucy sing a few of the Cantata Learning songs like....
as I shared ways to integrate these books and others into the curriculum and classrooms with engaging activities and digital tools.
We really enjoyed seeing what SCSWedu was all about and meeting lots of great people, including many students and parents who were there participating in the festivities too.

You can read more about Cantata Learning in this post Our Little Ones Will Have A Song For Every Story With Cantata Learning

These are definitely books you don't want to miss!
You can contact Capstone or go to their website at to order the Cantata Learning books for your library and school too.