Category Archives: Schools

Free Virtual Event: Middle Grade Magic

Join School Library Journal for their Middle Grade Magic virtual summit, a day-long celebration and exploration of one of the burgeoning and most important areas of publishing for young readers: literature for children ages eight through 12 and beyond! This free, completely virtual conference takes place on Wednesday, April 8, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. MDT. CE credits will be available.

Learn more and register.

Attendees will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at some of the most anticipated new titles for kids and tweens and have the opportunity to check out the virtual exhibit hall, chat directly with authors, download educational resources, and receive prizes and giveaways.

Can’t make the live date? No problem! The entire environment will be archived and available for up to three months.

April is School Library Month

National School Library month is a celebration of (you guessed it!) school libraries and librarians. Every April, school librarians are encouraged to highlight the role the library and librarians play in strong schools and academic success. You might have to take your celebration online this month, but you can plan for it now with help from the resources on the AASL website including free graphics to download and templates for proclamations from a variety of elected officials. There are also PSAs from the likes of Dav Pilkey, Jason Reynolds, Jeff Kinney, and more!

Need more? Check out this Top 10 Ways to Celebrate School Library Month from EBSCO. Some of them might have to be adapted with schools closed during the current crisis, but there are still some great ideas.

Elementary Age At-Home Learning Activities

Reposted from the National Archives

The National Archives has created activities and ideas for teaching elementary age children. These resources focus on skills like sequencing and finding clues in historical objects, and topics like symbols and national monuments.

Genealogy Activities

Looking for fun ways to engage kids in finding family history? They have downloadable family trees and charts for kids of all ages. Plus, find instructions for making a “food family tree” based on family members’ favorite foods.

(Note to Wyoming residents: Ancestry Library is temporarily available to you for home access with your library card. Find it in our GoWYLD Genealogy resources.)

From Seeds to Harvest

Throughout history, people have grown gardens at home and at school to provide food. Students will look at historical images of gardening and decide what order they belong in, showing how a garden grows, and thinking about the kind of garden they would like to have.

Find full teaching instructions here.

Democracy and Symbols of Citizenship

How are people united by the principles of democracy and symbols of citizenship? This activity asks students to identify symbols of our country, government, and democracy. Then they can create their own symbol representing good citizenship.

Find full teaching instructions here.

Was Laura Goodale an Early American Historian?

Needlework was an important part of a young woman’s education in early America. Many women used their sewing needles to express themselves both artistically and intellectually. They also used needlework samplers to record information. Today, samplers serve as important historical documents that can teach us about the past.

Find full teaching instructions here.

Investigating a Women’s Suffrage Photograph

Students can learn to analyze historical photographs using this photograph of suffragist Alison Turnbull Hopkins from 1917.

Print out their “Analyze a Photo” worksheet for kids (PDF) to walk through the process, or share this online activity. Then ask your student to create their own banner or picket sign using 10 words or less to show support for a cause of their choosing.

Find full teaching instructions here.

Finding American Symbols

How do symbols connect with important American ideas? In this activity, students will investigate symbols in the design for the Great Seal of the United States. Afterward, they will examine a one dollar bill to find the Great Seal.

Find full teaching instructions here.

More Activities on DocsTeach

Find even more online teaching activities on DocsTeach, the interactive website from the National Archives where students can investigate historical documents and photographs to make sense of the past.

Additional topics for elementary students include:

Teaching Digital Citizenship

Reposted from Colorado Virtual Library

Digital Citizenship is character education in a networked world

–  MediaSmarts

Responsible digital citizenship includes the ability to use the Internet safely. Knowledge and awareness are the building blocks of this new responsibility and a source of self-protection for young people who explore the world online.

This includes appropriate online behavior, interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response.

Peruse the links below to view high-quality resources to assist in educating students about internet safety, social media netiquette, and cyberbullying. Games, videos, and simulations are used to guide students to become responsible digital citizens.

By Christine Schein, Digital Literacy Instructional Specialist at Colorado Department of Education

Innovations in Learning Call for Proposals

Are your teaching and learning practices innovative? Is STEAM a working part of your learning environment? Is this you or someone you know?

The 4th annual Wyoming Innovations in Learning Conference is currently calling for program proposals. The conference will be held in Casper, Wyoming on November 5-6, 2020.

Conference organizers are looking for presenters from all fields willing to share their ideas and experiences to help inspire educators to bring their best teaching practices to K-20 learning. Preference may be given to hands on session formats. Sessions are 60 minutes.

Session proposals will be accepted through May 8, 2020. Selected presenters will be notified of their inclusion in the conference by June 1, 2020. Presenters will be given a discounted rate of $30. A registration code will be emailed to the presenters selected.

Learn more and submit a proposal.

This conference is hosted by the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE), the Wyoming Distance Education Consortium (WyDEC), the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming community colleges, the Wyoming State Library, school libraries, and the Wyoming Arts Council.

How Libraries Help Students Evaluate ‘Fake News’

Reposted from Library Research Service

In the digital age, algorithms based on personal data allow information to find us as opposed to the other way around. Have we adequately prepared the next generation, who are predominantly accessing the world through social media platforms and search engines, to filter through the noise?

In a 2019 survey of US secondary school librarians, 96 percent said they teach some form of information literacy. These research skills allow students to “discover and evaluate credible information effectively and ethically by thinking critically.” In other words, students learn to identify biased reporting and suspicious sources, which can be applied to everything from Instagram posts to citizen news sites. Yet, according to a 2017 survey of academic librarians, the knowledge is not being retained — only 28 percent of first-year students enter their institution prepared for college-level research. If information literacy is widely taught in schools, why is there such a large gap?

Librarians cite a “lack of time” (69 percent) and “lack of faculty support” (59 percent) as the biggest challenges to instruction. “I don’t think [faculty] see these skills as important. They also feel so pressed for time covering their curriculum that these skills fall to the wayside.” Survey respondents candidly admitted that higher-ups in the educational food chain don’t see a critical value in information literacy skills. The lack of prioritization from administrators trickles down to teachers who often fail to prioritize “non-tested” material. Librarians note the difficulty in finding instruction time for students and the lack of integration and reinforcement of these skills across all curricula.

Amid the frustration, some respondents offered that one solution could be to start younger. “Students are so hands on with tech, even BEFORE entering preschool, focusing on these skills at the high school level seems too late,” noted one librarian—and they’re right. A 2015 study by Pearson found that 53 percent of 4th and 5th graders and 66 percent of middle school students regularly used a smartphone. Yet, only 28 percent of children learned about “seeking multiple perspectives” prior to entering high school. How to effectively use open web resources was more likely to be introduced in grades 10 and above, meaning there are years of access to information without proper education on how to appraise it.

One librarian who participated in the research study offered this as a final thought, “In our world of ‘fake news,’ teaching our students how to find accurate news sources and how to evaluate them is critical to have well-informed citizens.” Information literacy education needs to be addressed by understanding the critical role librarians play in laying the foundations for information consumption. Librarians are necessary for teaching students how to evaluate sources and make informed decisions to navigate a world increasingly embedded in the internet and social media.

Note: This post is part of the series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, the LRS highlights statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.

Weathering a Library Book Challenge

Book challenges occur across Wyoming, and the most recent one happened in Laramie County School District 1.

A parent filed a complaint against Drama by Raina Telgemeier, saying it was inappropriate for elementary students, after his eight-year-old daughter selected the book from her classroom library. The book is also available in school libraries in the district. Drama came in at number five on the American Library Association’s most recent top banned books list for its LGBTQIA+ characters and themes.

After a public hearing on January 30, the District Reconsideration Committee voted unanimously to keep the book on library shelves with no restrictions. The meeting drew 75 attendees, most of whom spoke in support of the book. A few days later, Superintendent of Schools Boyd Brown oficially accepted the committee’s recommendation. The story was picked up nationally by the Associated Press and appeared in U.S. News and World Report and other news outlets.

“I was impressed, happy, and humbled with just how supportive our community was,” said Sarah Horen, the Librarian at Triumph High School in LCSD1 and the support contact for the District’s elementary libraries. “So many different people came forward in support of the book — older students, younger students, parents, nurses, psychiatrists, and even a suicidologist. Everyone — regardless of their position on the book — was just so respectful and so warm. A lot of moving testimony was shared.”

Two major factors helped in this situation: The district had a good collection development policy in place, and the librarians knew they could reach out to others for advice and support.

The story began in October when the student picked the book from her classroom library as a free reading choice. She was uncomfortable with some of the themes and brought it to her parents, who spoke with the teacher. The district’s librarians became aware of the situation in early November, at which point the parents officially filed their complaint.

Sarah contacted the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom for assistance and ended up working with their Assistant Director Kristin Pekoll. She also reached out to the Wyoming Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Advisor, Janice Grover-Roosa and the Wyoming State Library’s School Library Consultant Paige Bredenkamp, as well as to colleagues in other libraries to see who had Drama on the shelves and who had encountered issues with it.

“Kristin was really helpful,” Sarah said. “We talked on the phone about 40 minutes one day, and she had great advice on different perspectives to bring to the table. She encouraged us to focus on the fact that we’re excited that parents were involved and that the child felt comfortable going to them — but every child should have that opportunity. When we take away the book, we take away that choice.” Parents who want to restrict reading choices for their own children are welcome to work with their school librarian to do so.

“There are kids out there that need this book in their lives. It’s important for all kids to be able to see themselves reflected in literature.”

Having policies in place in advance is critical, Sarah said. “What really helped us is that we have a very strong collection development policy in our district. It shows we don’t pick books randomly. There are specific criteria a book has to meet to be added to our collections. This book checked all the boxes. So the collection development policy is the first thing you should have, and then have a good policy and procedure in terms of what to do in a challenge.”

She added, “A challenge is kind of a scary thing and isn’t necessarily something you look forward to having happen, but it’s good to see librarians rally for the freedom to read what you want. The book was kept and it’s a great book.”

Lucas Seeks AASL Presidency

Jennisen Lucas

Jennisen Lucas, District Librarian for the Park County School District #6 in Cody, Wyoming, is one of two candidates for the 2021-2022 American Association of School Librarians (AASL) presidential term.

Jennisen is currently serving on the AASL Board of Directors as the Region 9 Director. Her most recent AASL volunteer involvement includes chair of the standards implementation committee, member of the school librarians as leaders position statement task force, and member of the leadership development committee. Along with AASL, Lucas is a member of ALSC and YALSA.

“AASL is an amazing group of talented school librarians at all levels,” Jennisen said. “In my roles on various committees and as a regional director, I have come to better understand the overarching concerns and goals of our profession. It’s an honor to be selected to run for president-elect.”

Phoebe B. Warmack, director of the William H. White Jr. Library and Reynolds Family Learning Commons at the Woodberry Forest (Va.) School, is the other candidate for the AASL president-elect position.

The full slate of AASL candidates can be found at Ballot mailing for the 2020 ALA election will begin on March 9, 2020, and will run through April 1, 2020. To vote, AASL membership must be current as of January 31, 2020. The American Association of School Librarians is a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

Govinfo Resources for National History Day

Reposted from govinfo

National History Day© (NHD) is a non-profit education organization established in 1974, that provides educational programs helping students and teachers influence the future through discovery of the past. Their largest program is the National History Day Contest which is a year-long academic program focused on historical research, interpretation and creative expression for 6th- to 12th-grade students. The experience ends with a series of contests at the local and affiliate levels and an annual national competition in the nation’s capital in June.

The 2019-2020 historical theme is “Breaking Barriers in History.” Students select topics related the annual theme, examine the historical importance, and create a presentation. (Source: National History Day.)

Govinfo provides access to a wealth of official publications from the Federal Government to assist students and educators with their project research.

Research Tools on govinfo
Check out the “What’s Available” page to see publications by collection and examples of content.
The “Tutorials and Handouts” page offers information that will help guide students through the search process.

Samples of Content on govinfo Related to This Year’s Theme

Women and Minorities

Civil Rights

Space Exploration

Internet and Data Security


*This is a citation to a title of the U.S. Code that has not been enacted into positive law. To see select unofficial compilations of laws that either do not appear in the U.S. Code or that have been classified to a title of the U.S. Code that has not been enacted into positive law, visit the Statute Compilations collection. Statute Compilations incorporate amendments made to the underlying statute since it was originally enacted. Learn more including the availability and currency of Statute Compilations on govinfo, as well as how to find them.

Additional GPO Resources

Browse GPO’s online bookstore for thousands of publications from the Federal Government.
Search GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) to find additional publications related to your topics. The CGP is the finding tool for federal publications that includes descriptive information for historical and current publications as well as direct links to the full document, when available.

One Book Wyoming at Your School Library

Want to start a One Book discussion at your school library? The Wyoming State Library has book kits you can check out that include copies of Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, a teaching guide, promotional materials and more!

Learn more on our One Book Wyoming page.

Questions? Contact the Wyoming State Library’s School Library Consultant Paige Bredenkamp at or (307) 777-6331.