Total Solar Eclipse – August 21!

If you live near me or in the path of the total solar eclipse, you know that it’s happening soon! The total solar eclipse will happen on August 21 and there are events popping up EVERYWHERE to see this once in a lifetime event. Here are a few great resources I have found to teach your kids about the eclipse and to learn a little more about it yourself! It is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the information out there, so here are a few of my favorites and the ones I think cover it all!

Here are some links to educational resources for lesson plans, videos, etc.:

Here are a few crafts you can make to celebrate the big day:

  • Make a pinhole camera for viewing the eclipse (although, honestly, I’d still use “real” glasses that you get from your eye doctor or from another reliable source. Not going to lie, I’m a little nervous about looking at this with something I made from home, but still fun to create!)
  • Make an eclipse with coffee filters! This is a craft even the littlest of kiddos can do. This would be a great connection/extension activity with a read aloud about the moon or the sun!
  • Make a puffy paint moon and sun! This looks fun (and messy). The directions are for making a moon…add a little yellow food coloring to make the sun.

Here are a few special snacks you can eat/make:

  • Totally easy is to cut bread for sandwiches (with whatever filling you want) into circles and call them moon/sun bites or whatever you want to call them. Serve with SunChips and a Moonpie for dessert!
  • Oreos are perfect moon food!
  • I’m sure you’ve seen the activities where kids can bite off the phases of the moon?
  • Astronaut ice cream would be fun to eat on Total Eclipse Day.
  • Make sugar cookies and decorate either with frosting or using food coloring in the dough to make moons and suns.
  • Buy some moon cheese! I have seen this for sale at Starbucks.
  • More food – MilkeyWay candy bars, gumballs (or anything round that you can call a moon, sun, or planet), Mars bars…

I geek out about this stuff, so I’m excited and will definitely be doing some of these things at my house on August 21! I’ll be adding more things as I find them on this Pinterest board…follow along if you’d like!

VBF

 

 

 

 

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June is PRIDE month! #LGBT

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT) and chances are/hopefully there are a lot of festivals, programs, and other events going on in your area to celebrate! Here are some books you may want to read to your students, children, or just for yourself to learn more and to celebrate people – everyone is different, we love who we love, and we are who we are, so let’s honor that and treat everyone with respect and kindness. Here are some of my favorite books to share that might help you with that!

George by Alex Gino – Excellent novel for upper elementary/middle grades. The main character, George, looks like a boy. But, inside she knows she is a girl. No one knows how George really feels until it’s time for the class play, Charlotte’s Web, and George decides to try out for the part of Charlotte.

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart – Middle School/Young Adult novel. From Amazon: “For readers who enjoyed Wonder and Counting by 7’s, award-winning author Donna Gephart crafts a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. Their powerful story will shred your heart, then stitch it back together with kindness, humor, bravery, and love.”

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle – Upper elementary/middle school. Nate is one of my top 10 favorite book characters. I wish I knew this kid personally. From Amazon: “Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he’d settle for seeing a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There’s an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.” If you can, LISTEN to the audio version of this book. Fantastic. In fact, every book I’ve read/listened to by Federle is fantastic.

The Family Book and Be Who You Are by Todd Parr – Picture Books. Parr is one of my favorite authors/illustrators. I love his bright art and the letters to his readers at the back of each book are perfect. In The Family Book, many different kinds of families are introduced and in Be Who You Are, he encourages readers to do just that.

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall – Picture Book. This book is all about how it is okay to be different and that sometimes you may not look on the outside, the way you feel on the inside.

I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings –  Picture Book. From Amazon: “The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.” Autobiography!

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; illustrated by Henry Cole – Picture Book. True story!

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian; illustrated by Mike Curato – Picture Book. Worm and Worm want to get married! They help others realize that a marriage/wedding does not have to be “how it’s always been done.” This one is one of my FAVORITES!

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman; illustrated by Kristyna Litten – Picture Book. Fun to read with lots of great information included in the back matter.

Other great links and resources:

Common Sense Media – https://www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/lgbtq-books

Library of Congress – https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month

GLADD – https://www.glaad.org/tags/lgbt-pride-month

PBS – http://www.pbs.org/specials/lgbt-pride-month/#.WUEgkhPysWo

GLSEN – https://www.glsen.org/

LOVE!

VBF

 

 

Posted in Themed Book Lists | 2 Comments

Library Goddess UPDATE

Readers!

You may have noticed some changes happening on my blog and social media pages and I wanted to fill you in on what is going on…if you read my blog regularly, you know that I have a toddler. When I was on maternity leave, I went to my principal and asked what I could do at my school part-time. I felt like I could not stay home full-time, nor could I work full-time. It was his idea to “job share” and I have been working part-time in my library (with another certified school librarian as my other half) for the past two years. It has been wonderful and I am very lucky to have an administration at my school who allowed me to do this. However, even working part-time, I never felt like I had enough time with my daughter. My husband and I decided that this school year would be my last (for now). Much respect to those caregivers who work full-time. Even more respect to caregivers who work full-time and who are doing this whole parenting thing on their own.

After I announced that I was going to stay home, I got a lot of “but, what are you going to DO?!” Here is my answer to that question. First, I am going to spend time with my kiddo. She turned two in March and it is amazing each day to watch her grow. I am looking forward to being able to do all of the things I dreamed about when I was pregnant – story time at the library, picnics in the park, visits to the zoo, going to the movies…mom stuff! Yes, we did all of that while I was working, but usually, it was either on the weekends, when it wasn’t so enjoyable (I do not love crowds) or it was rushed because the place we were at was about to close (or I was worried about being stuck in traffic) or I was busy thinking about and planning upcoming events or programs at work. I wasn’t really present with what I was doing with my girl. So, mostly, I will be available for and present with my kiddo.

When she is sleeping, I will write about books, reading, libraries…my passions still. I will tinker with technology and explore author websites and read journals about libraries and children’s literature. Stay tuned to the blog. It’s not going anywhere. I am kind of excited about being able to fully express my thoughts and opinions without worrying about offending someone or stepping on someone’s toes. I will continue to teach Children’s Literature at the University of South Carolina. I will be available for special projects and I will also suggest books and do reader’s advisory. I love my career, but it is time to take a break from the school library and spend time with my family.

What’s new with you?

VBF

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Columbia, SC Summer Reading Programs!

New post I wrote about summer reading for the Columbia SC Mom Blog!

Check it out! http://columbiasc.citymomsblog.com/summer-reading-programs-columbia/

VBF

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June 2016 – 2017 Learning Commons Newsletter!

Here is a link to my Learning Commons newsletter – last one for this school year…I’ll be writing a post about the changes mentioned in the newsletter SOON! Our official last day of school is June 2! https://www.smore.com/egaag

VBF

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Update and Solar Eclipse BreakoutEDU!

If you haven’t realized it by now, I am writing about the highlights happening in my school library, as opposed to weekly updates. There just isn’t much happening this year that is different than anything I’ve done in previous years (and that I’ve already written about). HOWEVER, there has been a LOT happening. Believe me! April went by in a flash with an author visit (JJK – kids are still asking for his books, so I say that day was a success); Meet @ Main at the public library (we had the largest turnout ever); Spring Break; Poem in Your Pocket Day; and other special events and programs. May has been just as busy with testing, Star Wars READS Day, Book Fair, and more.

One new thing that I did last week with students was a BreakoutEDU lesson. I think I started hearing about BreakoutEDU last summer? I couldn’t wrap my head around it…kind of like Escape Room, but with boxes instead of rooms? I went to a couple of PD sessions on it and felt like it was something cool for middle and high school students but that my kids just wouldn’t get it (in reality, it was ME who wasn’t getting it).  It wasn’t until talking to one of the fantastic librarians in my school district who does Breakouts with K – 2nd grade students did I realize or feel like I could actually do this with my students. After speaking to her and others, I decided that I was going to try it before the end of the school year. Around the same time, my STEM Lab (Science Lab) teacher emailed me to say that she wanted to do a BreakoutEDU lesson before the end of the school year too, so we went to work planning something together! At first, we started brainstorming different topics per grade level. We looked at their standards and tried to figure out something for each grade. THEN, we had a GREAT idea…we live in Lexington, South Carolina. The Total Solar Eclipse will be coming through our area in August…in fact, we are THE BEST PLACE to view it! We decided to focus on the solar eclipse with all classes. Another super librarian in my district had done some Solar Eclipse Breakouts with her staff, so she gave us some tips and got us started on clues. We had SO MUCH FUN. Here’s how we did it:

  • We borrowed 3 BreakoutEDU kits from another school in my district and 1 “homemade” kit (toolbox) from a different school, so we had a total of 4 kits.
  • Each box contained Starburst candy (we wanted something space themed) and bookmarks I made about the eclipse.
  • The story we told students was that we got a weird email and we needed their help figuring out what the email was about. The email said something about posting pictures and included a list of cities in South Carolina.
  • Each group had a magazine article about the eclipse, a map, and an encyclopedia article about the eclipse. There was also a key hidden in some books about the sun, the moon, etc.
  • Students had 4 locks to figure out – a number lock (date of the eclipse); a directional lock (had to use the map and the list of cities in the email to figure out); a key lock; and a word lock (the word was solar).

It was awesome to see them work in groups to figure out the answers. With Kindergarten and 1st grade, we each took a group and did it that way. We had to walk them through it, but they were really good at figuring out the clues once we gave them some hints. The 2nd – 5th graders really just kind of figured it out on their own.

After they opened the box, they ate candy, colored the bookmarks, and watched a great video about the solar eclipse along with a quick mini-lesson with our STEM Lab teacher. Loved this lesson and would totally “breakout” again! Students clearly loved it, we used collaboration to set it all up, students had to use collaboration and teamwork to figure everything out. It was wonderful – have you ever done a BreakoutEDU lesson?

VBF

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May Newsletter and Teacher Appreciation

Check out the May Learning Commons Newsletter!

AND, I wrote a blog post about Teacher Appreciation for the Columbia SC Mom Blog. Read it here! 

VBF

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