Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Let's Get Busy with Jenny Lussier

Jenny Lussier (@jluss), elementary school teacher librarian in CT, stops by to talk about amazing experiences you can share with students via Skype, celebrating worldwide literacy holidays, and staying student-centered at all costs.

Download for FREE on iTunes, using the Stitcher mobile app, or at LibSyn.

Episode Notes Read - Learn - Innovate! (Jenny's library homepage)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dot Day Lesson Seeds 2014

(Encore post-ish)

I love International Dot Day! Love Love LOVE it!

I love that it's a chance for our school to unite around a common celebration. I love that we get to connect with other educators from around the world. I love that it's an opportunity for students to see the good in themselves and in one another.

If you're new to Dot Day, I know you're going to love it, too!

Get ideas from a jam-packed educator guide here. Connect with classrooms around the world here. Find tons of educators eager to Skype with your class for Dot Day here. Or take inspiration from what's going on under our roof.

Our teachers are pulling great ideas from the Free Educators' Handbook for Dot Day, so I wanted to make sure I tried something off-book in order to avoid duplicating lessons. Last year each grade did a special dot-inspired lesson in Library Media (check them out here). This year we're in the second year at our brand new school and the building is already a buzz with Dot Day ideas. We're going to pull ideas from the past two years in order to be as intentional with our projects and this year our big emphasis is making meaningful connections through collaborative projects. I've added some adaptations where necessary so that you can peek into where my brain is going with this whole meaningful connections thing. Enjoy!

We can't wait to share our work with those classes with which we're connecting via Skype the week of September 15th to celebrate Dot Day!

As always, feel free to borrow, improve on, collaborate with, or share any of these ideas. I can't wait for you, too, to make your mark and see where it takes you!

(Encore 2012 Lesson) My Name in Dots (Kindergarten) - Kinders are working on letters and writing their names. So, why not do it in dots? Each student is going to write the first letter in his or her name in pencil, then decorate the lines in crayon dots. Using watercolors, the students will then paint dots over their letters to create a brightly colored crayon relief. (Using The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds)

Lots of dots in every color and shape make the final product really stand out.

(Encore 2013 LessonDots Made with Friends (Grade 1) - 1st graders are going to explore halves and quarters by creating dots, using scissors, and sharing dot sections. Each student will decorate a dot in his or her own unique way, then will cut the dot in half and cut one half in half again, resulting in one half and two quarter sections. Students will keep the half piece and will exchange their quarter pieces with classmates in order to form a complete dot. The pieces are glued onto a colored square of paper and can be decorated by glueing on more paper cut out dots. When all of the dot squares are pieced together, the result will be a mural of connections. (Using The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds)
NOTE: This activity can also be tied into the following 1st grade Common Core Math Standard:
CCSS.Math.Content.1.G.A.3 Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halvesfourths, and quarters, and use the phrases half of,fourth of, and quarter of. Describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. Understand for these examples that decomposing into more equal shares creates smaller shares.
Who will you meet to make your dot complete?

(Encore 2012 LessonPress the Dots eBook (Grade 2) - Focusing on cause and effect, students will take inspiration from a sensational picture book in order to create some magic of their own. Have you read Press Here? It's amazing. We're aiming to recreate some of the book's magic through this project. We'll make a plan using an organizer and incorporate action words to come up with some creative effects for our dots. But rather than sticking with dots on a white paper, we're going to stick cut-out dots onto students and take before/after photos in order to recreate the effect from their plan. It's an ambitious project, but it just might work. (Using Press Here by Herve Tullet)

Adaptation: This year instead of doing the art entirely on the iPad, we're going to mimic Tullet's style and bust out the acrylic paints. Each student will create two pages to contribute to a book that will be bound and mailed to a sister school. We want them to be able to enjoy a book that we made, well... for others to enjoy!

This book is really special and the Press Here app is amazing!

(Encore 2012 LessonDot Day-ish Paintings (Grade 3) - One of my colleagues at a neighboring school has students create their own paint mixes and name the paints in a process inspired by Ish by Peter H. Reynolds. Students create colors like sunset-ish, happy-ish, and goldfish-ish. The class's swatch collection is always an easy go-to for smiles. Our students will take this project a step further by recording a recipe for their Ish color that a classmate could follow in order to create the color. The colors will then be used in original artworks inspired by things we love. (Using Ish by Peter H. Reynolds)

Grape-ish could end up being the color used to create a painting of
a ferocious dinosaur or, perhaps, some towering mountains. Who knows!
The end result should be something like this (Dot Dat blog post following this activity) and should be something the kiddos treasure for a long while.

(Encore 2013 LessonTrophy Dots (Grade 4) - Taking inspiration from the Dots: a Game About Connecting app (available free from iTunes here) our 4th graders will test their connecting skills in attempts to set a high score or earn a trophy on the popular iOS game. After familiarizing themselves with the game, students will make dots using highlighters and, with the help of a black pen, transform the dots into cool achievement trophies. It's a chance to level up in school while making up some really awesome (and probably really silly) awards. (Using The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds and Dots app)

Adaptation: I've played so much DOTS and TWO DOTS with friends, I can't help but feel like these dots need to find a home with new friends who can appreciate them even more. That's why this year, similar to the Dot Day Trading Cards below only without all of the trading) we're going to mail these to a connecting class so that their students can have some awesome awards to share with one another. Should be pretty awesome!
I wonder who will create the Mr. Winner dot?

(Encore 2012 LessonDot Day Trading Cards (Grade 5) - This idea, adapted from the Free Educators' Handbook, might be my favorite activity of all our Dot Day plans. This is mainly because it's already revealed so much about my 5th graders and they're so readily offering up their ideas and creativity to make it something awesome. The idea is that we're creating trading cards that we look forward to actually trading (potentially with some of you!) Each student will create three original trading cards. Each card will contain a handmade dot and the artist's signature on one side and a suggestion for the recipient to try on the other. The students are brainstorming things they love that they'd like others to try. We're making three cards so that they can each trade one with me (yep... I'm making a whole bunch of cards!), one with a Skype school, and one with a classmate. Some kids are actually making four cards so that they have one to keep for themselves. Want to get your hands on some of these cards? I guess you'll just have to Skype with us for Dot Day! (Using The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds)

Geeking out over these is no difficult task. We can't wait to share our cards with our Skype classes!
So, that's it for now. I'm really excited for the students to share their hard work with all of you, via this blog and Skype. I'm also excited to see what you come up with. Make sure you share!

Happy connecting!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

New from Candlewick Press

New releases from the good folks at Candlewick Press! Here are a handful of choice titles that will find a home in the hands of your readers in no time flat.

Gigantosaurus by Jonny Duddle (August 5, 2014)
In the tradition of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, four young dinosaur pals are warned to not wander off while they play, lest they fall pray to the Gigantosaurus. One friend agrees to play look out and alerts the others as one earth-shaking creature after another approaches. Rhyming text and absolutely beautiful illustrations contribute to a story that's fun to read over and over again.
Follow Jonny Duddle on Twitter (@duddledum) and check out his blog (jonnyduddle.blogspot.com).

Gigantosaurus by Jonny Duddle, Jonny Duddle (Illustrated by)
On Sale Date: August 5, 2014
Ages 3 to , Grades P to 2
32 pages

What It...? by Anthony Browne (August 5, 2014)
On the way to his first big party, Joe walks with his mom and asks a series of What if... questions revealing the apprehension many kids feel on the way to an event without their parents. Browne's storytelling excels at depicting universal childhood feelings and each fantastical image we see in the front window of one neighbor's house to the next will leave readers to wonder if Joe is projecting his fears or if he just lives in a very bizarre neighborhood. Either way, it's worth taking your time with these illustrations as you walk along with Joe.

What If... ? by Anthony Browne, Anthony Browne (Illustrated by)
On Sale Date: August 5, 2014
Ages 5 to , Grades K to 3
32 pages

Benny and Penny in Lost and Found by Geoffrey Hayes (August 5, 2014)
Geoffrey Hayes' Benny and Penny series has quickly become a favorite among young readers in our library. Benny lost his pirate hat and it's put him in a bad mood. He and Penny wander into the backyard in attempts to find the hat and to get lost, but when the latter happens the sibling mice are quite frightened. The graphic novel format serves the story well and the story's setting contributes nicely to Benny's mood from beginning to end.

More sample pages of Lost and Found can be viewed here (http://www.toon-books.com/benny-and-penny-in-lost-and-found.html).

Benny and Penny in Lost and Found: Toon Books Level 2 by Geoffrey Hayes, Geoffrey Hayes (Illustrated by)
On Sale Date: August 5, 2014
Ages 4 to , Grades P to 3
Toon Books
40 pages

Giant Vehicles by Rod Green (August 5, 2014)
And now for the book I wish I had as a kid. The book my kiddo and I visit over and over each day. The one I know my library students will just destroy and I couldn't be happier over it. There are eight giant vehicles with ready-to-discovery lift-the-flaps throughout each page, most of them detectable on the first read most easily by running your fingers over the page. Ample facts are provided about the workings and working parts of each vehicle and the precision of Bietsy's illustrations makes it easy to for eyes to endlessly explore the pages. The giant vehicles span land (super-train, Caterpillar 797F dump truck), air (Airbus A380 passenger plane, Russian Mil Mi-26 helicopter, Saturn V rocket), and sea (Oasis of the Sea cruise chip, Typhoon submarine, Maersk Triple-E container ship) and are truly awesome sites for readers to experience.

Check out more of Stephen Biesty's amazing art here (http://www.stephenbiesty.co.uk/home.html)

Giant Vehicles by Rod Green, Stephen Biesty (Illustrated by)
On Sale Date: August 5, 2014
Ages 5 to , Grades K to 4
16 pages

Las fresas son rojas by Petr Horacek (August 5, 2014)
Translated to Spanish from the original (c) 2002 text, this book about fruit and its colors is great for early readers. Cut-edged pages overlap to build a rainbow of colors as you progress through the story, culminating to a final page with a bowl shape cut-out containing a fruit salad. The translation is good and the concept is nice for early school-aged children who are learning Spanish.
Follow Petr Horacek on Twitter (@phoracek) and learn more about his other books at his website (http://www.petrhoracek.co.uk).

Las fresas son rojas by Petr Horacek, Petr Horacek (Illustrated by)
On Sale Date: August 5, 2014
Board Book
Ages 2 to
16 pages

Las manos by Cheryl Willis Hudson (August 5, 2014)
Translated to Spanish from the original (c) 2003 text, this story explores all of the things for which hands are used. The images still look current and each photo does a great job complimenting the text. There's a good balance of cultures depicted in the children in the photos, allowing a great number of readers to "see themselves" and their friends in the different situations depicted. The translation is accurate and the book builds on a concept that can work well for young Spanish learners as well native speakers.
Follow Cheryl Willis Hudson on Twitter (@diversitymom_ch) and learn more about her on her blog (http://cherylwillishudson.wordpress.com/about/).

Las manos by Cheryl Willis Hudson, John-Francis Bourke (Illustrated by)
On Sale Date: August 5, 2014
Trade Paperback
Ages 2 to
32 pages

Note: Review copies sent from the publisher.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Let's Get Busy with teacher librarian Nancy Jo Lambert

Nancy Jo Lambert (@NancyJoLambert), teacher librarian at McSpedden Elementary in Frisco, TX, stops by to talk about opening a new school a school library, aligning the heart of the library with the mission of the school, and being at the table when it comes to opportunities to advocate for the library media program.

Download for FREE on iTunes, using the Stitcher mobile app, or at LibSyn.

Episode Notes
McSpedden Elementary Library's homepage
Nancy Jo's Library YouTube channel
#TXLChat (Texas Librarians Chat on Twitter)
#YALove (Young Adult Lit Love on Twitter)
#TYSLibs (Tell Your Story Libraries on Twitter)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mr. Schu!

Dear Mr. Schu,

Today is your birthday and the publishing world has cooked up quite a collection of awesome releases, all clearly intended to align with the celebrated birth of one of the most super reader-y, book advocate-y, student hero-y guys I know.

But did you realize that these publishers actually had something craftier in mind all along. By carefully studying the titles on your book release calendar for the week of your birthday, you may start to see the hidden message surfacing.






Clearly your birthday will be full of equal parts wonder, adventure, espionage, and underpants. Who knows what sorts of beguiling creatures, intimidating geography, or indefatigable stunt sous chefs await these amazing days of wonder, but the have surely escaped and it looks like you need to find this mysterious Leroy as soon as possible. Bypass goldfish numbers one thru three. The treasures waiting for you on the other side will far outweigh the time spent on the journey. It is a quest after all.

May your year be full of incalculable adventures, both through the written word and in your work at large.

Happy birthday, my friend!

- Matthew

The following titles were scoured in hopes of unravelling the hidden message left for Mr. Schu.

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