Category Archives: Schools

Traveling Trunks from the Smithsonian

Reposted from Smithsonian Libraries

Traveling Trunks is a new resource-lending program of the Smithsonian Libraries. These multimedia library kits are packed full of resources from across the Smithsonian Institution that deliver immersive experiences. Through touch, tech, sound, and sight, Traveling Trunks creates a screen-free sensory-rich environment.

Through the current four themes students can listen to authentic songs and stories by the Latinx community, solve intricate mystery games based on US presidential history or ancient texts on zoology and herbology, and hear under-told stories of American women’s history. The program is a free resource for young learners and their educators, and Traveling Trunks can be sent to libraries, schools, community centers, and other learning sites for a month-long lending period, with the option to renew. All costs, including shipping costs are covered; access to a FedEx office is required.  ​​

Interested in learning more about how Traveling Trunks could come to your space? Pre-register to stay in the know. and to submit your questions and comments.

Upcoming Traveling Trunks


Coming January 2020
Cost: Free
Ages: All


Coming Spring 2020
Cost: Free
Ages: Middle School and up

Coming Spring 2020
Cost: Free
Ages: All


Coming Spring 2020
Cost: Free
Ages: Middle School and up


WDE Supporting Digital-Age Teaching

From the Wyoming Department of Education

One hundred Wyoming educators will have the opportunity to earn the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Certification for Educators with financial support from the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE). The certification is the only competency-based certification focused on digital-age teaching practices.

Today’s students are “digital natives,” but need skilled educators who can channel their use of technology for high impact learning. For success in their future, students need to be creators, not just consumers of technology, use digital tools to solve open-ended problems, work in design teams to address real-world issues, and communicate complex ideas that demonstrate their knowledge.

ISTE Certification for Educators training includes in-person workshops and online learning, followed by teachers applying what they have learned in the classroom. Teachers document their innovative classroom activities and submit the evidence of the activities in a portfolio as the final step to become certified. The certification process is rigorous, but Wyoming educators will be well-supported by the WDE.

The Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB) announced that educators who complete the ISTE Certification training are able to receive an Instructional Technology endorsement. Wyoming is leading the way as the second state in the nation to offer the endorsement after ISTE certification.

The WDE also introduced Wyoming Digital Learning Guidelines for any educator who wants to learn more about integrating education technology to deepen student learning in their classroom. The guidelines are based on the ISTE Standards for Students. For educators interested in putting the guidelines into practical use in the classroom, the WDE will also offer a Wyoming Digital Learning Guidelines online course. The PTSB will offer .5 licensure renewal credits for educators completing the online course. Completion of the Wyoming Digital Learning Guidelines online course is a prerequisite to engaging in the ISTE certification training program. The guidelines are available digitally on the WDE website. Hard copies may be requested.

“With this financial and program support, we hope to empower Wyoming educators to embrace new trends in digital-age learning,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “Anytime we can support our educators in professional development and professional growth is a win for our students as well.”

ISTE developed the ISTE Standards for Students for use all over the world. These standards include “Empowered Learner,” that build student self-direction, “Computational Thinker,” and “Innovative Designer” that establish powerful problem solving skills.

For more information about the ISTE Certification for the Wyoming educators visit here.

Britannica School Resource for PreK-2

Britannica Fundamentals NEW! from Britannica Learn on Vimeo.

Check out the newest offering from Britannica School: Britannica Fundamentals. This replaces the Learning Zone with an updated platform. Activities align with what younger students are learning about in school in language, literacy, geography, and math. Fundamentals has four paths for learning: play, read, create, and explore. Get acquainted with Britannica Fundamentals with the video above.

You’ll find Britannica Fundamentals within Britannica School — just click on Elementary, then look for Fundamentals in the icons.

Questions? Contact Chris Van Burgh, Wyoming State Library Database Instruction Librarian, at or (307) 777-3642.

Teaching Resources for Letters About Literature

Wyoming students in grades 4-12 are invited to read, be inspired, and write back to the author (living or dead) of a book that changed their lives. The 2020 Wyoming Letters About Literature reading and writing contest will open November 1. Both individual and classroom entries are welcome.

School librarians, teachers, and homeschoolers should note that a Teaching Guide is available to walk your students through the book discussion and letter-writing process. The guide addresses the LAL teaching strategies and ways in which the program can dovetail with curriculum for teaching reading and writing. Included are worksheets for duplication and assessment checklists. Students might want to read the letters from last year’s winners, posted on our website, for examples of what a winning letter looks like.

Learn more and find ready-to-print flyers to promote the contest to your students.

Postmark deadline for Wyoming entries will be January 11, 2020. No electronic submission is available for this year’s contest. Questions? Contact Susan Mark, Wyoming State Library Outreach Librarian, at or (307) 777-5915.

Innovations for School Libraries

Found in the Big Deal Media K-12 Technology newsletter

Guide for Conversing with Parents About Learning with Technology
Your Edtech Conversation Guide, a free downloadable resource from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), is the definitive handbook for changing the conversation with parents about how students are learning with the use of technology.

Program Based on Real-World Writing
This school year, The New York Times is offering a free, flexible, seven-unit writing curriculum based on real-world genres found not just in The Times, but in all kinds of print and online sources. Woven into each unit are multiple opportunities for students to publish and have their writing read by authentic audiences.

SPOTLIGHT! On Coding for Children with Autism
Learning to code is about learning how to solve problems, work with others in creative ways, and think in a new language. Teaching children with autism employs the same skills—creating logical connections, breaking tasks into smaller parts and sequencing them—but it is also much more. Teaching children with autism to code is teaching them the thinking skills they need to address the challenges they face in their everyday lives—to frame their thoughts, to prompt them through routines, and more.

  • Autism Coding Academy: Coding Autism is building the first autism-specialized coding academy, pairing online coding education, community, and an autism-savvy support team to help transition autistic talent into the technology workforce.
  • Coding Guide for Children on the Spectrum: Coding for Kids with Autism: The Ultimate Guide for Parents and Educators offers answers to some of the most common questions the authors have encountered while operating a successful coding school serving hundreds of children on the autism spectrum.

Nading Receives Celebrate Literacy Award

Ginny Nading at work. A student took this photo of her when they were layering liquids to bring the spiders to the top.

From Natrona County Schools

Journey Elementary librarian Ginny Nading was named a recipient of the 2019 Celebrate Literacy Award from the Wyoming State Literacy Association. Ginny has been a part of the Natrona County School District team for 13 years and has spent the last 6 years as an elementary school library media technician. She’ll graduate with her bachelor’s degree in Library Sciences from Valley City State University this coming spring.

The Casper Literacy Council nominated Ginny Nading for the impact on literacy she makes in the school community and beyond through her work with students, teachers, and families. She devotes countless hours to organize, plan, teach, and deliver literacy activities in many forms.

Ginny’s passion for literacy was instilled in Cody Wyoming through her fifth-grade teacher Mr. Smith, “I loved going to my school library and looking for that special book while thumbing through the card catalog and listening to the read-aloud,” she said.

Ginny takes pride in running her library differently. She gives students a choice of flexible seating options and opportunities for hands-on learning. This year she is beginning to explore with Breaker Space, a work station that has “misfit” toys and other broken electronics for students to disassemble and discover with.

“This award means so much to me,” she said. “It was humbling to be nominated, let alone be a recipient. I think literacy is so important to everyone, whether it is for pleasure, research, or work. Literacy is a functional life skill that we all need to have. I love being able to share my love of reading to my students, all 400 and some, through different tones and excitement.”

Ginny was honored and received her award at the Young Authors Celebration in Casper on September 7, 2019.

Register Now and Save on Innovations in Learning Conference

The Wyoming Innovations in Learning Conference regular registration rate of $40 expires on October 14, 2019. The rate will increase to $50 on October 15, so register now to get the savings. The conference will take place November 6-8, 2019 in Gillette, Wyoming.

Registration includes all pre-conference activities, all conference sessions, entrance to the Innovations Showcase on Nov. 6 (appetizers available), lunch at the awards ceremony on Nov. 7, and snacks throughout the conference.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity for educators to share and explore innovative teaching and learning practices for classrooms and distance learning environments, from kindergarten through higher education. Tracks include computer science, innovative practices in teaching and learning, integrating technology in the learning environment, learning management systems, online and blended learning, and student learning assessment.

The Innovations Conference will offer up to 1.5 PTSB credits with an additional .5 available for the pre-conference sessions on November 5. Educators will need to sign-in each day of the conference with their PTSB ID in order to receive credit.

The Innovations Conference will also offer two pre-conference sessions for English learners:

  • Professional Development: Practices and Strategies to Expedite Academic Growth, Access and Equity for English Learner Students
  • Parent Engagement, Participation, and Partnerships

Learn more and register.

Intellectual Property for Children and Teens

Want to teach kids and teens what intellectual property is and how to respect it? The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has resources to help. Their Office of Education and Outreach has resources for children and teens that explore innovation and the copyrights, trademarks, and patents that protect it.

Visit the website here. Available resources include downloadable Build/Make Invention projects, activities hosted by the USPTO, downloadable wallpaper, educational videos, and links to other IP resources. Parents and teachers can access IP resources specifically designed for Elementary, Middle, and High School kids. Parents and teachers can access IP resources specifically designed for elementary, middle, and high school kids. Selected ones are listed below

Coloring books:

Maker projects:


Beyond the USPTO, parents and teachers might want to check out these two sets of lessons:

  • Building Respect for Copyright – supported by funds-in-trust provided by the Republic of Korea, consists of five units designed for children aged 10 to 15 years. The site is available in English and Spanish. Downloadable Teacher’s Support Notes
  • Building Respect for Trademarks – supported by funds-in-trust provided by the Japan Patent Office, offers three units for young people aged 14 to 19 years, focused on the role of trademarks in modern society and the creativity which goes into the development of brands.

All of these great finds are in our “Intellectual Property Law” featured resources for October. Questions about IP? Contact Karen Kitchens, Wyoming State Library State Publications Librarian, at or (307) 777-7281.

Wyoming Afterschool Alliance Conference October 2-3

The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance (WYAA) is holding its annual conference on October 2-3, 2019 at Little America in Cheyenne, with a Leap into Science pre-conference on October 1. This is an opportunity to build collaborative relationships with people who work with kids, as well as to add knowledge and skills to your library practice.

The experiences young people have outside the classroom are often the most powerful components of their development, and WYAA is committed to supporting the efforts of afterschool leaders at all levels to engage young people and to help them to grow.

This year’s state conference will feature subject matter experts to help you create environments where students thrive. Learn from statewide and national innovators and have time to incorporate ideas of your own into the conversation. PTSB and STARS Credits will also be available.

WYAA has organized its speakers and workshops around the following themes:

  • Employing the arts to create engaging and deep learning;
  • Developing effective social emotional strategies so that children of all abilities blossom;
  • Creative approaches in literacy and STEM to help all kids succeed;
  • Fostering young entrepreneurs to enhance Wyoming’s future workforce.

Registration deadline is September 25, and some scholarships are available. Questions may be directed to the WYAA at (307) 335-9922 or

Learn more and register.

Innovations for School Libraries

Photo credit: NewseumED (

Found in the Big Deal Media K-12 Technology newsletter.

Virtual Classes for Evaluating Media
NewseumED’s virtual classes bring the museum to your students. The classes are offered Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mountain Time. They are typically 30 to 50 minutes in length and can be adjusted to meet classroom schedules. Currently, ten classes, along with training, are offered.

Open-Source Science Materials Aligned to College & Career Standards
In 2017 philanthropists, state leaders, and curriculum writers formed OpenSciEd to get materials to teachers implementing the Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize hands-on projects and integrate several scientific disciplines.

Game Using Computer Science to Solve a Nancy Drew Mystery
Nancy Drew Codes and Clues Mystery Game sparks an interest in coding, especially for girls, through a fun and engaging story. The mystery adventure also builds critical thinking and reading skills, as students read along with story dialogue. As members of Nancy Drew’s De-TECH-Tive crew, players choose disguises, find clues, and program a robot puppy to solve the mystery of a missing project at the Tech Fair.

App Creating Musical Story Worlds by Coding
“Coding, the Musical,” by TechSpaghetti, is a free interactive app designed for iOS mobile devices that introduces children aged 4–8, specifically girls, to coding as they create characters and build musical story worlds.