Thursday, March 17, 2011

2011 Library Journal Movers and Shakers

Congratulations to the 2011 Library Journal Movers and Shakers. I am honored and humbled to be named a 2011 Mover and Shaker. I find it hard to believe that I appear on the cover of Library Journal with such innovative, hardworking, and inspiring librarians.

Thank you, Library Journal, for naming me The Xtreme Librarian. I will try my best to live up to the title.

Thank you to my mentors: Michael Stephens (technology), Anita Silvey and Anderson's Bookshop (children's literature), and Shannon Miller (collaboration.) You are fantastic role models. Thank you to Donna Kouri for traveling around the country with stuffed animals and me. Thank you for the notes and words of encouragement. (Those of you who know me in person know I do not easily accept praise.)

Last, thank you to Jon Scieszka, the former Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, for declaring me "The Best Librarian in the World." ;-)

2011 Library Journal Movers and Shakers - 3/15/11

2011 Library Journal Movers and Shakers

View the full list of the 2011 Movers and Shakers.

Advocates--2011 Movers and Shakers: Tracy Crawford, Rosalind K. Lett, Me, Diane Walden, Donna Walker, and John Watts.


"Ten of those dynamos who are helping shape the future of libraries work with children or teens." -School Library Journal

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Check Out the March Edition of Project PLN

The March Edition of Project PLN is out! This edition is called The 21st Century Librarian and contains so many great entries by librarians around the world.

If you haven't heard about Project PLN it is something you definitely need to check out. Project PLN was created by Kelly Tenkely and Nick Provenzano last fall. Each month they create a new edition which contains amazing articles by others in our PLN. Issues have included Best Practices for the Start of School, Administrator, Web Tools, Goals for the New Year, Passion and of course the first issue was entitled "PLN's". Kelly and Nick use OpenZine which is a free Web 2.0 tool used for creating online magazines like Project PLN.


In this issue, our Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration that we had to celebrate Read Across America was featured. It was fun to see Van Meter & Brook Forest Celebrate Dr. Seuss's Birthday in Project PLN. This is one celebration that we will never forget.

Thank you, Kelly and Nick for including us in March's issue of Project PLN.

Your project is a wonderful example of the power of our PLN!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Day We All Came Together To Celebrate Reading




On March 9, our two schools came together for World Read Aloud Day with 13 other classrooms and 9 authors to read throughout the day. We spoke about the importance of reading and words, shared wonderful books, and connected to other students throughout the world. The authors spoke about why they loved to write and read out of the amazing books they had written. The schedule we posted on the Celebrating the Power of Words and Stories Through Connections wiki looked crazy but really helped everyone get connected and plan their activities.


Travis Jonker and the third- and fourth-graders nearly 200 miles away shared Messing Around on the Monkey Bars with John's students at Brook Creek Elementary. Their story was featured on mLive.com and is entitled Steeby Elementary students share book with Illinois classroom in Honor of World Read Aloud Day.

Rocco Staino who is the contributing editor for School Library Journal wrote Celebrate World Read Aloud. He mentioned our connections along with what others were doing to celebrate World Read Aloud Day too. Also, Steve Schering from the The Doings Oak Brook wrote Brook Forest Travel Country on Skype for World Read Aloud Day. He outlined the amazing connections John and his students had throughout the day.

The day after WRAD, we met in Chicago at the Follett Software User Conference. Shannon presented about using social media in education. At one point, we spoke about the connections between our two schools using social media and what an amazing and inspiring experience it had been for everyone involved. The students at John's school even created hand drawn cards for Shannon.

World Read Aloud Day brought hundreds of students, teachers, and authors together for a day. It all started with the Celebrating the Power of Words and Stories Through Connections Wiki that we created a month earlier. Through Twitter, Facebook, Skype, our blog and email we shared it with the world and brought together 15 wonderful educators who wanted to create a special day for their students.

This will be a day that none of us will ever forget.

Celebrate the Power of Words and Stories and Take Action for Global Literacy from LitWorld

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Connecting on World Read Aloud Day


On Wednesday, March 9, 2011, we will celebrate World Read Aloud Day. LitWorld, the sponsor of World Read Aloud Day, states, "World Read Aloud Day motivates children teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child's right to a safe education and access to books and technology."

We created the Celebrating the Power of Words and Stories Through Connections wiki to connect classrooms, young people, and authors on this special day. Fifteen educators joined and set up connections throughout their school day. We will use Skype to connect with students in Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Texas, Ohio, and Singapore. Students will discuss how literacy differs around the world and will complete a number of activities that celebrate the right to read. They will be sharing books such as Mirror Mirror, Messing Around on the Monkey Bars, and others.

John's library will Skype with seven fantastic authors including Linda Urban, Laurel Snyder, Jennifer Trafton, Donna Gephart, Dee Garretson, Sarah Phineas, and Katie Davis.

Shannon's library will Skype with six amazing authors including Ruth Spiro, Riley Carney, and Amy Efaw, as well as Laurel, Donna, and Sarah.

Students will gain a deeper understanding of the World Read Aloud Day motto--Words Change Worlds as they are included in a day of meaningful reading experiences and connections.

We can't wait to hear how you celebrate World Read Aloud Day too!




A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban









Van Meter & Brook Forest Celebrated Dr. Seuss's Birthday


Theodor Seuss Geisel (AKA Dr. Seuss) was born on March 2, 1904. On March 2, schools, bookshops, and libraries celebrate the power of reading and Dr. Seuss's birthday.

It is also the day we celebrate NEA's Read Across America Day! As the NEA site states, "NEA's national reading celebration takes places each year on or near March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too."

So that is exactly what we decided to do at Van Meter and Oak Brook schools this year.

Shannon's kindergarten students (from Christa McClintock's classroom) and John's third graders (from Mrs. Sompolski's classroom) connected on the morning of Dr. Seuss's 107th birthday in their libraries to celebrate this very special day. After introductions and a little sharing about what the students knew about Dr. Seuss the celebration began.

John's students took turns reading pages from Dr. Seuss's ABC while Christa held up the book in Van Meter for the students to see. It was fun to hear all of the students say their ABC's together too.

They played Seuss Bingo as a group with Shannon and John calling out words such as, "Brook Forest, Van Meter, Fun, The Foot Book, and Read Across America." The students marked their Seuss cards and yelled "BINGO" from both schools.

The students read the NEA Reader's Oath together.

At the end of the Skype celebration, the two schools stood up and sang Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss. To watch the smiles on their faces and to see the excitement throughout the libraries was very special for everyone.

As the children ate their cupcakes in Van Meter and cookies in Oak Brook, this line from the Reader's Oath came to mind....

"I'll read to myself, I'll read to a crowd. It makes no difference, if it's silent or loud."

What a difference reading together made within these two schools and in the lives of the children on this day. This is a celebration of reading with new and old friends that they will always remember.