Friday, September 23, 2011

What a FUN Week Celebrating DOT Day!

What a wonderful week at Brook Forest and Van Meter Schools!

All week long we celebrated International Dot Day.  The students and teachers showed their creativity and let their voice be heard by making their mark in the library, art rooms, and between our two schools.

We loved sharing The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds with our students.  Teachers, students, guest readers, and others read the book, along with us, to all of the students within our schools. It was so much fun seeing beautiful watercolored, coffee filter dots being made; amazing iPad art being created and shared, and our "red (read) carpets" fill up with hundreds of marks and signatures.

In the art rooms at Van Meter, a GIANT DOT was created and signed by over 600 people within the building.  The students created 2-D and 3-D art work making their MARK!  This art work is now decorating the libraries and hallways of our schools.

On Thursday afternoon, we also welcomed two amazing authors into our schools via a Skype conference call.  Erica Perl, author of Dotty and Chicken Butt, and Eric Wight, author of the Frankie Pickle series, shared with our students and answered questions.  It was so much fun.
Shannon's 6th grade technology literacy created Google SketchUp Candy Lands and Candy Lands created from DOT boxes.  They were amazing.  We Skyped with John's students so the Van Meter creators could present their projects to them.  After the presentation, all of the students voted on their favorite Candy Land using the VM Candy Land Competition Wiki.   Over 500 people around the world have now voted.....VOTING ends today so please cast you vote on the wiki too.  

Our celebration was mentioned in Publishers's Weekly this week in the article "Kids Make Their Mark on International Dot Day."  John's student will be so excited to see himself on the site with his iPad Dot artwork too.  

We both agree that our Dot Day (Week) Celebration was the best event we have ever had together....although we say that every time. :)  Next year we will be so excited to celebrate too.  

But until then, we will empower our students every day to make their mark on the world!  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Next Up....."DOT DOT" Celebration!

We are so excited! 

This week we will be celebrating "International DOT Day" together. DOT Day is on September 15th, which is when The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds was first published in 2003. On this day, Peter and FableVision Learning challenges people all over the world to "make your own mark and see where it takes you."  

We have been doing a lot at our schools to get ready for this super fun day.  
The students are welcomed into John's library at Brook Forest Elementary with this amazing display.  
And can learn more about Peter and FableVision here.  
Shannon and her students created this new display in the Van Meter Elementary Library and they are enjoying all of the new books they added to their collection too.  
Last week, a big group of Shannon's 7th and 8th graders created beautiful DOT art work outside.  She wrote about this day on the Van Meter VOICE blog.... Today The Students Made Their Mark....On Each Other, The World, and ME!
She created signs for DOT DAY on the library and art room doors.  The students created signs throughout the school with the banners.  
And John's students started decorating paper with their DOTS too.  

To celebrate in the libraries this week, we have planned a lot of literacy and art activities for the students. We are going to be painting and drawing with watercolors, finger paints, crayons, colored pencils, and sidewalk chalk.  There is even an activity involving coffee filters, markers, and water bottles...Oh my.  
Our kids are going to create DOTS using the iPads and drawing apps.  We will be sharing these creations with each other over Skype.  
John had a great idea today.....ROLL OUT the "Read" carpet for the week and have our students add dots throughout the week.
And even our students are planning Alissa.  
We will be sharing The Dot and other special books like Dotty by Erica Perl
and Dot by Patricia Intriago over Skype with our students.  

And of course a DOT Day celebration would not be complete without DOTS for everyone.  :) 
So just as the sweet character Vashti learns in The Dot, anyone can make a mark on the world.  

This week in Oak Brook, Illinois and Van Meter, Iowa, we will celebrate the marks of every single person in our schools and the uniqueness of them all. 

We cannot wait to hear how you are going to celebrate DOT Day too!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Deadline Extended for SLJ's Trailee Awards

Did you miss the August 31 deadline to nominate your favorite book trailer? Fear not! The deadline has been extended. You have until September 15 to submit your favorite book trailer in any of these six categories:

  • Publisher/Author for elementary readers (PreK-6)
  • Publisher/Author for secondary readers (7-12 grade)
  • Student created for elementary readers (PreK-6 grade)
  • Student created for secondary readers (7-12 grade)
  • Adult (anyone over 18) created for PreK-12 grade
  • Educator/Librarian created for PreK-12 grade
According to School Library Journal's website, anyone is eligible to suggest a video for consideration that was originally posted between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011.
To recommend a trailer, send an email to in a mp4 format. Please do not send actual video files via email-they will not be accepted. Include the name of the video, the url of where the video is available online, the video's creator(s), the book's author and the title of the book featured in the video, along with publisher and copyright date. Also describe in no more than 150 words how the trailer draws in potential readers.
Submissions will be judged by a committee of six librarians who will verify that the entry meets the all the necessary criteria.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Our Great Beginning To A New Year!

We have both started our new school year.  Our students are back in the libraries and ready for another exciting year.  

And we can't wait either!  

One of the things we are most anxious about.....connecting our students in Illinois and Iowa through new projects and learning experiences.  
Today, we connected our 1st graders.  Last year, when they were kindergarten students, we connected for "Read Across America Day"with a birthday party for Dr. Seuss.  They were so excited to see their friends again.  

John showed the video from his Reading Road Trip over the summer.  All of our students loved watching as John traveled throughout the United States with Eric Wight's adorable book character Frankie Pickle.  
The first graders in Van Meter were especially excited when Frankie Pickle showed up in Van Meter (even though Shannon is still sad she missed John and Donna on their journey back to Chicago). 
Right around the corner on September 15th we will celebrate FableVision Learning's  International Dot Day.  On this day, the students and teachers within our schools will leave their own personal mark on the day and on the world!  We cannot wait to spread creativity, fun, and friendship on this day......and throughout the year.
Thank you, Peter H. Reynolds for being so inspiring and bringing us such wonderful writing and creativity.  
And just a week after #DotDay on September 21st, we are heading to Washington D.C. for the School Library Journal Leadership Summit.  This week on the SLJ Blog, Tech Trends: SLJ Summit 2011 Preview was posted by Kathy Ishizuka.  This gave a preview of the amazing lineup for the Summit.

Our presentation entitled Networked Librarians Take Reading Promotion to the Next Level will highlight the work that we do together with our students, school communities, and throughout the world. 
We are not only excited to present at the School Library Journal Leadership Summit, but we cannot wait to meet all of the authors, presenters, attendees and others.

Thank you SLJ for inviting us to be part of such an incredible event.
And one more thing!  For two days after the Summit on September 24th and 25th, we are going to attend the National Book Festival together.  Neither one of us have ever been, so this will be a fun experience.

So as you can see, we have a very busy month.  But this is only the beginning of the best year yet!