Lens: something that facilitates and influences perception, comprehension or evaluation

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fall Events at FES

It's been a long time since I've posted on this blog. A lot has happened in the past three months. I recently returned from the American Association of School Librarians National Conference in Columbus, Ohio where I took part in a panel presentation. The panel was made up of members of the AASL's Best Apps for Teaching and Learning Committee, and we shared the 2015 Best Apps with an audience of over 200.

While I was in Columbus, I attended sessions on using technology in school libraries, Genius Hour, teaching transliteracy, and a historical fiction panel with authors.

Members of the 2015 AASL Best Apps Committee 
Special thanks goes out to Scholastic for inviting me to dinner with authors and illustrators Sean Qualls, Troy Cummings, and Maggie Stiefvater. I had a wonderful time getting to know each author, and I returned to school with signed copies of their books.

Sean Qualls signs a copy of The Case for Loving

Another highlight of the conference was meeting author Rita Williams-Garcia at the Author Banquet. Rita moderated a discussion of diversity in children's literature with Sonia Manzano and Matt de la Pena.

The best part of the AASL conference is spending three days with school librarians from around the globe. I cherished the time I  had with school librarian friends and vendors from different states. I'm looking forward to attending the next conference in 2017.

In other news...

The FES Mock Newbery Book Club has been meeting since September. This year 60 students in grades 4 and 5 signed up for the book club. We meet during lunch and discuss the 15 titles on this year's list. The students will vote in December, and the winning title will be announced on December 22nd. Visit the FES Mock Newbery site to see the 15 titles on this year's list:

On November 30, FES will kick off its third annual Mock Caldecott program for all 930 students in grades K-5. Students will read picture books published in 2015 in library classes and with their teachers. Students will vote for the books with the best illustrations, and the Mock Caldecott winner will be announced on Dec. 22nd. Here are the eight titles on this year's FES Mock Caldecott list:

I'm really excited that I've been able to exchange ideas with talented teachers & librarians across the country thanks to my new favorite app, Voxer. I'm currently in two Voxer groups: a Mock Caldecott & a Mock Newbery. Participants have been sharing their thoughts and ideas for implementing Mock programs in schools.

FES has been celebrating Picture Book Month throughout the school with picture book trivia, Skype visits with other states, special 5th grade & Kindergarten Big Buddy activities, and a Picture Book Smackdown.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

AASL's Best Apps for Teaching and Learning

I recently returned from the American Library Association's Annual Conference in San Francisco. While I was at ALA, I had the pleasure of revealing the 2015 Best Apps for Teaching and Learning along with six other members of the committee.

The ASSL Best Apps committee was founded in 2012 by Melissa Jacobs and the American Association of School Librarians in an effort to help librarians, teachers, tech integrators, and parents find the best apps to use with children in educational settings.

The committee selected 25 apps in five categories: Books, Content Creation, STEM, Organization & Management, and Social Sciences.

Best Apps Committee Members: John Schumacher, Melissa Jacobs (chair), Lisa Castellano, Mary Ann Scheuer, Kathleen Roberts, Joyce Valenza and Cathy Potter (me).
After revealing this year's list, this poster was on display at the Lonely Planet booth in the exhibit hall.

Here's a Storify archive of Tweets from the AASL Best Apps presentation at the American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Special Delivery Pen Pal Project

Second grade students in Mrs. Arsenault's class and Mrs. Lallemand's class received packages in the mail last week. Inside the packages were copies of the new picture book, Special Delivery, by Philip C. Stead and Matthew Cordell along with a letter from author, Philip C. Stead.

Students enjoyed reading the story of how Sadie tries to mail an elephant to her Great Aunt Josephine. They learned it would take a lot of stamps to mail an elephant!

After the story, students discussed some of their favorite packages, cards and letters they've received in the mail. Then they wrote messages on postcards to mail to 1st grade classes in Frisco, Texas.

Second graders are looking forward to receiving postcards from their new friends in Texas.

Special thanks to Macmillan Publishing for including FES students in the Special Delivery Pen-Pal Project!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Student Book Reviewers

Several students from Mr. Carter's fifth grade class are serving as book reviewers for the FES Library. Students read and review books and make recommendations about adding new books to the library collection.

In addition to reading books, student reviewers also write reviews that are shared with Mrs. Potter via Google docs. These reviews will help Mrs. Potter make purchasing decisions and promote books to other readers in the school.

Students hold up the books they selected to take home and review.
Special thanks to Mrs. Crumrine for donating new books she received from the Maine Student Book Awards. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Children's Book Award Season

On Monday, February 2nd the American Library Association will host the Youth Media Awards at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Chicago. For the past two years I've had attended the live announcements, which was very exciting. It's hard to describe the energy in a ballroom full of librarians and reviewers as the winning titles are announced.

This year I'll be in Maine during the announcements, so I'll stream the announcements for students in the FES library. Here's the link if you want to watch the awards live on Monday at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Students at FES have been busy reading, discussing and voting for their favorite books published in 2014 before the official awards announcements are made.

Little Elliot, Big City

Three Bears in a Boat 

 The Mark of the Dragonfly

Rain Reign
A Snicker of Magic
Brown Girl Dreaming
The Fourteenth Goldfish

Last year I had the honor of serving on the Sibert Medal committee. I learned firsthand that award committee members devote a year to reading and analyzing hundreds of eligible book based on the award criteria. The discussions and lists of books considered are kept top secret. This makes it really fun to try to predict the winner. There are many books that are contenders for these awards, but I've only listed books that I have read and believe are distinguished compared to other books published in 2014.

Here are my predictions for the 2015 Youth Media Awards.

Caldecott Medal: The Right Word

Caldecott Honors:
Three Bears in a Boat
The Farmer and the Clown
Little Elliot, Big City

Newbery Medal: Brown Girl Dreaming

Newbery Honors: 
Half a Chance
Arcady's Goal
The Family Romanov
Absolutely Almost
The Night Gardener

Sibert Medal: The Family Romanov

Sibert Honors:
The Port Chicago 50
Brown Girl Dreaming
The Right Word
Neighborhood Sharks

Coretta Scott King Author Award: Brown Girl Dreaming

CSK Author Honors: 
The Crossover
The Madman of Piney Woods

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award: Firebird

CSK Illustrator Honors:
All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

Pura Belpre Author Award: Separate is Never Equal

Pura Belpre Illustrator Award: Viva Frida

Schneider Family Book Award: El Deafo

Geisel Award: Hooray for Hat

Geisel Honors: 
My New Friend is So Fun
Number One Sam

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hour of Code

This week is Computer Science Education Week, an annual event that focuses on the importance of making sure all students learn computer science in school.

Students at Falmouth Elementary School will take part in the Hour of Code in their classrooms and in technology classes thanks to the leadership of Mr. Harvey (technology teacher) and Mrs. Macdonald (tech integrator) who have planned and prepared programming lessons for each grade.

Why should students learn how to code?

You can follow Hour of Code events on social media with the hashtag:  #hourofcode.

Here are some resources to introduce students to computer science and programming.

Code.org- Offers a computer science curriculum for grades K-6. Teachers may set up for free accounts for their students.

Khan Academy- Hour of Code videos and lessons

Microsoft- Hour of Code resources

Codecademy- Hour of Code programming projects

Skype in the Classroom- Arrange for a guest speaker from the computer science field.

Kodable- Teach young children the basics of programming.

Scratch- Program a holiday card or create a pong game.

Made with Code- Program a snowflake.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Skype Author Visit with Jaleigh Johnson

The 4th and 5th grade students in the FES Mock Newbery Book Club cannot stop talking about The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson. The first chapter pulls readers into a dark world where meteor showers force residents to take shelter. This steampunk, science fiction novel for middle grade readers has mystery, adventure, trains, and much more!

Twenty students from the Mock Newbery Book Club stayed after school this week to participate in a question and answer Skype visit with author, Jaleigh Johnson. Students had some excellent questions about the plot, characters and setting of the book. In case you're wondering, there is a companion novel in the works! One student took the opportunity to ask Jaleigh for some writing advice. It was a successful visit that will have a lasting impact on FES readers and writers for years to come.

If you are haven't read The Mark of the Dragonfly, stop what you're doing and make your way to the nearest library or independent book store. You can thank me later.