Friday, November 17, 2017

A Dream Come True....Sharing and Celebrating My New Books At The AASL Conference!

When I was little, my sister Heather and I wrote and illustrated handmade books all the time.  It was one of our favorite things to do.  After they were finished, we would add cards to the front and stamp them as we checked them out to one another and to our little brother Ryan.  

I still have the wooden box that we used to keep the cards and the stamp. We had a basket for books that were checked in before we proudly placed them on our very own library shelves.  

It was one of my favorite childhood memories.  

And one that means so much to me, because as I went to college I dreamed of becoming a fine artist and illustrating children's books...or Hallmark greeting cards.
This year when my first picture books with Cantata Learning were published, I thought about these memories dozens of times and can't help but smile when I know my dream has finally come true.  

You can read more about the road to becoming a children's author with Cantata Learning here
Last week, I had another dream come true.  

At the AASL (American Association of School Librarians) Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, I had the honor of sharing and celebrating my books at three different events.  

I would love to share this week and a few memories with you.  
When Eric and I arrived in Phoenix on Wednesday, we went to a wonderful event that Follett hosted at a local school.  Librarians and teachers came to meet authors and add several new books to their libraries and classroom collections at the Author Marketplace. 

I met so many local teachers and librarians....and saw several old friends from around the country too. 

I loved signing Find a Book for all of them.  
After the Follett Marketplace event, Eric and I went to dinner with two of my most favorite people, my Uncle Grant and Aunt Nancy, who live in Phoenix.

This was one of the best moments yet in sharing my books. 

They were so excited and happy...It was just the best.  I loved signing them and know they will have a special place in their home library.
The next day I couldn't be more excited for the author signing that took place in the Capstone booth at the opening of the AASL exhibit floor.  
I hoped that lots of people would show up and guess what? They did! 

I was super happy and couldn't wait to see who was there.
I loved sharing and celebrating my books at this event.

I signed Fiction or Nonfiction. 
 I met lots of new friends and...
loved seeing several dear old friends too.  
I loved it when Andy Plemmons, 
Diana Rendina (who shared her new book with me too!), 
and two of my besties, Joyce and Michelle, showed up. 

This meant the world to me and I couldn't be more thankful to have them there. 
The next day, Follett sponsored me to sign in the AASL Authorpalozza.  This was a neat experience because I was signing with other authors at the same time in this space.

I signed Manners in the Library.  
As the conference went on and we shared the Library Skills with other librarian friends, I had the honor of sharing and celebrating the books with them.

This was a week I will never forget.  It was a dream come true.

And I can't wait to continue to share and celebrate my new books with you and your students too.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Creative Profile Avatars Now In Buncee!

I was so excited to see this post a few days ago on the Buncee Blog...

New Creative Profile Avatars!  

This will be fun for students to add a personal touch to their Buncee profile.  It will also be easier for teachers to find their students in the Dashboard.  

I couldn't wait to learn how to change my profile picture in one of the adorable and fun avatars Buncee has created.  

Let me show you how! 
1. Log into your account and click on the little icon for yourself in the right hand corner. 

2. Next, click on View Profile and Badges. 
 3.  It will bring up your Profile page.  You will click on the little pencil in the right hand corner of your picture.
4. You can select any of these avatars for your profile picture just like I picked...

this little pink one.  

5. You can also upload a photo for your avatar.  All you have to do is click Upload...
...and find the photo you want to use.
You can crop the image too. 
Now when you go to my Buncee, you will see my avatar.  

What will your Buncee avatar be? 

A Special Collection For Coding & Hour of Code!

With Hour of Code coming up on December 4-10, I want to share this awesome Coding Collection I put together for you and your students to use at school and home. 
This is the Coding Collection filled with sites, apps, games, resources and more.  You will find it here

The Coding Collection can be shared with librarians, teachers and of course students.  There is something for all age levels.  

Coding is also a wonderful and important skill to be practiced and discussed at home so this Collection would be the perfect thing to send to families too.  
When I first starting coding at my school, I brought Hour of Code to our library for the week.  It was a meaningful and important introduction to an essential skill that we must teach our students.  

It was such a success that we used all of the coding resources throughout the year and never missed another Hour of Code again. 

I hope this Collection will bring you the resources you need.  Please reach out if I can answer questions and let me know what I need to add to the Coding Collection too. 

Happy Coding, Friends.   

You can read about and find all of the resources for Hour of Code here.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Tips For Entering The Follett Challenge....From Me, A Follett Challenge Judge!

I know you are in full gear as you get ready to enter the Follett Challenge. 
After all, as I write this there are only a little over 4 weeks until the Follett Challenge entry deadline.  You can keep up with this countdown here too. 
As one of the 2018 Follett Challenge Judges, I am here today to share a few tips for entering the Follett Challenge.  
As you are preparing your entry, make sure you follow the Follett Challenge Judges' Rubric on how you'll be scored.  

You want to pay close attention to the details such as...
  • All submissions must also include a 3-5 minute original video that showcases the program and the positive impact it has had on your school district.   
For inspiration, please watch the video the 2017 Follett Challenge winners created.  You will find it here.  
You will find more archives of the winning videos in the Follett Challenge Archives. 
Also, read through what Belleville West High School, the 2014 Grand-Prize Follett Challenge, submitted. 
This will be super helpful as it also contains Judges' Notes throughout on the yellow stickies.  You will find this example here.

You want to make sure you carefully go through the entire rubric to check off if you have included everything and to see what it will take to make your entry stand out above the rest. 
It is extremely important to pay attention to the key dates.  

The first one is coming up on December 15 when you must have your entry turned in.  

And the next BIG date to write down is January 22-26 when voting starts.  

The team of judges examines all submissions and determines which stand above the rest. But that's only part of the final score — the rest is based on the number of votes your video receives. 

Ask your school community to vote!
There are lots of resources to help you promote your Follett Challenge Entry that you will find here.
As a Follett Challenge judge, I also want you to have all of the information and resources that you will need in one spot to give you the best support throughout the project.  

You can find this on the Follett Challenge website too under Contest Information.  
The Collection is filled with video, image, and sound tools and resources to make your video for the Follett Challenge shine!
You will also find digital tools to spice up your video submission through animations, graphics, special effects,
and so much more.  
I also included the AASL Best Apps and Websites Collections which are full of awesome ideas and resources as well. 
 One of the resources that will be most helpful is the Follett Challenge Symbaloo I pulled together.

At the bottom, you will find 8 tiles filled with resources to help you create your video.
 These include Image Editing Tools, 
 Infographic Tools, 
Video Tools, 

Digital Storytelling Tools, 
 Green Screen Tools, 
 Music Free to Search and Use, 
Slides Tools, 
 and Images Free to Search and Use. 

There is definitely something for everyone as you create your Follett Challenge and tell your story in the most unique and special way.
If you have questions along the way, please visit the Contact page here.
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I can't wait to watch and read your Follett Challenge entry!  

Be creative, be different, be unique and most of all, make this a meaningful, fun and special experience for your school and community.  

That will shine through in your entry too.  

Good luck everyone!