Category Archives: Schools

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.

Free Toolkits for Earth Science Week

The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) is once again offering free toolkits to junior high school classrooms statewide in celebration of Earth Science Week Oct. 13–19. This year’s theme is “Geoscience is for Everyone,” and emphasizes both the inclusive potential and the importance of the geosciences in the lives of all people.

The American Geoscience Institute (AGI), which has held Earth Science Week every October since 1998, provides 50 complimentary toolkits to the WSGS to distribute to Wyoming teachers on a first come, first serve basis. Toolkits include learning activities, posters, fact sheets, and a calendar. Additionally, there are resources from organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Park Service, Soil Science Society of America, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Topics range from mineral science, to dinosaurs, to seismology, and earthquakes.

To request one of the 50 complimentary toolkits, teachers can contact Christina George at Toolkits can also be purchased on the AGI’s website.

2018-19 Wyoming School Library Statistics Released

Second grade student at Dildine Elementary during the 2018 Wyoming Snapshot Day event.

The numbers are in: the results of the Wyoming School Library Survey 2018-19 have been released and may be found on the Wyoming State Library statistics page.

Annually, the Wyoming State Library conducts a voluntary survey of school libraries to collect basic information on staffing, budgets, student use of the library, and other measures. A large body of research has shown that a strong school library program — with sufficient staffing, collections, and budget — is associated with higher student test scores.

The response rate for this year’s survey was lower than in 2017-18. There are several possible contributors to the decline, including high staff turnover, and school closures, as well as a trend in staffing school libraries with non-certificated personnel

Questions about the survey, or about other school library issues, may be directed to Paige Bredenkamp, WSL School Library Consultant, at or (307) 777-6331.

Innovations for School Libraries

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

Native Stories with Native Voices
The Molly of Denali series and podcast follow the adventures of a feisty and resourceful Alaska Native girl, as she helps her parents run the Denali Trading Post in their Alaskan village. Students are introduced to the rich history and modern-day experience of family life in the heart of the Alaskan tundra through the eyes of Molly, her parents, and her friends.

AR App Takes a “Giant Leap” into Space
The JFK Moonshot app is an epic retelling and recreation of the Apollo 11 mission and its connection to President John F. Kennedy. Using the latest in augmented reality (AR) teaching, the app immerses users into 1969 with a full-scale recreation of the Saturn V rocket and a five-day real-time tracking simulation of the mission and moon landing.

Fiction and Nonfiction Books to Inspire a Love of Mathematics
The Mathical Book Prize recognizes outstanding fiction and literary nonfiction related to mathematics for youth aged 2–18. The intent of the prize is to engage youth in the power and beauty of mathematics—to give them confidence to consider and solve arithmetic, spatial, logical, structural, and algebraic problems; to see that math can be employed to better understand and appreciate the wonders of nature and human artistic expression (in fine art and music, for example).

AASL Commends Wyoming Reads

Happy kids at the Greybull Branch Library holding up the books they chose at Wyoming Reads 2019.

Wyoming Reads was one of 12 events and programs formally commended by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) for their support of the school librarian profession and the learners the profession serves. Honored programs align with AASL’s “National School Library Standards” and the principles expressed in the association’s mission and value statements.

Wyoming Reads celebrations focus on the joy of reading, highlighted by every first grade student in Wyoming receiving a hardback book with their name printed inside the cover, donated by the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation. John Jorgensen established the foundation in 1996 and founded the Casper Cares, Casper Reads festival to honor his late wife’s commitment to children and reading. The celebration was expanded statewide as Wyoming Reads in 2006.

Events are held in all 23 counties. During the 2019 celebrations in May, more than 7,500 students received a book to cherish that they picked from this year’s selections.

See the rest of the commended programs.

AASL commended Wyoming Reads and the rest of the programs based on recommendations made by its Affiliate Assembly, which provides a channel of communication between AASL-affiliated school library organizations and the AASL Board of Directors. Affiliates nominate outstanding programs and events for official AASL commendations, which are then reviewed and approved by the AASL Board of Directors.

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.