Category Archives: Schools

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.

Innovations for School Libraries

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

Archive of Historical Children’s Books
The digital collection of the University of Florida’s Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature currently holds more than 6,000 books free to read online from cover to cover, allowing readers to get a sense of what adults in the UK and the US wanted children to know and believe in the 1800s.

Guide to Hiking the Scenic Trails of National Parks
REI Co-op National Parks Guide is among the most comprehensive guides to the National Parks System. Covering 50 popular sites—from Acadia National Park, in Maine, to Zion, in Utah—this photo-rich app for iOS and Android devices leads users through every step of their journey, from planning a trip to finding the most scenic trail once they’ve arrived.

Story-based Game on the Aftermath of a Hurricane
Community in Crisis is a story-based literacy game in which students take on the role of director of a community center dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane. In that role, students will need to work with their staff to prioritize relief efforts to best serve individuals and the community as a whole.

Virtual Walk Through Archaeological Sites
Harvard University’s Digital Giza Project allows scholars to virtually walk through archaeological sites and examine artifacts that might otherwise be inaccessible.

Digital Resources for Student Collaboration

Reposted from Colorado Virtual Library
By Christine Schein, Digital Literacy Instructional Specialist at Colorado Department of Education

“Collaboration is essential in our classrooms because it is inherent in the nature of how work is accomplished in our civic and workforce lives. Fifty years ago, much work was accomplished by individuals working alone, but not today. Much of all significant work is accomplished in teams, and in many cases, global teams.” The National Education Association, An Educator’s Guide to the “Four C’s “

Here are some educational technology tools to use with students allowing them to collaborate and think about the power of collaboration.

Book Creator – “Book Creator is a simple tool for creating awesome digital books. Create your own teaching resources or have your students take the reins.” Have students collaborate in creating a digital book – for the class, with a partner, or with a group.

Breakout EDU – Breakout EDU is an immersive learning game platform that brings the challenges of an escape room to the classroom promoting critical thinking and collaboration skills.

Breakout EDU Free Games – Learn how to sign up to access free games

Breakout EDU Digital SandBox – online breakout games developed by fellow educators for free!

FlipGrid – Every student has a voice, so let’s amplify! Students record short, authentic videos and can reply to each other’s videos. Educators are 100% in control with video moderation, access controls, and much more. “Flipgrid is jam-packed with features you’ll love like video downloads, stickers & drawings, custom assessment rubrics, video feedbackMixTapes,

Topic invites, private share linksVibes, and more! The entire #FlipgridFever community is here to support you!” – FlipGrid

GridPals  – Take your classroom global and connect with another educator to set up a #GridPals collaboration. Check out this amazing GridPals guide created by the first ever GridPal, Bonnie McClelland!

Google Apps for Education – “The Google Drive apps enable students and teachers to collaborate more effectively on papers, spreadsheets, and presentations. The beauty of the Google Suite for Education is: several people can contribute simultaneously, so it’s truly designed for collaboration.”

Kahoot – makes it easy to create, share and play fun learning games or trivia quizzes in minutes. 

“Boost collaboration through encouraging students to be the leaders and “quiz-makers”: to research, create, and present their own quizzes to the class.” (GoGuardian)

NowComment  – Online comment application –  Teachers can control when comments can be made on a document and when students can see each others’ comments, thus creating a period of time when students can share opinions without seeing what others say. Teachers can also have students upload their own documents for group projects or peer-reviewed activities.

Skype – Skype in the Classroom is a free community that offers live transformative educational experiences for students including Virtual Field Trips, talks from Guest Speakers, classroom to classroom connections, and live collaboration projects.

Padlet – Padlet is a “virtual wall” which promotes collaboration, communication, creativity and more because of its versatility. Students can write a response to a discussion question, add resources for a collaborative class project, work in small groups, use it for brainstorming or connect with other students and classrooms.

Teachers can create special brainstorm sessions where they invite students to discuss some topics, all with excellent opportunities provided by Padlet, such as sharing Internet findings, ideas, and visual aids.

Visit CommonSense Media at Find an EdTech Tool for more ideas and reviews of tech tools for your classroom. EdShelf will also provide ideas, reviews, and recommendations for education tech tools.

Upcoming Webinar: Summer ILL and Chill

This event has been canceled.

In the meantime, we’d like to recommend you take a look at this video of School Library Resources — you’ll find much of the same information that had been planned for the June 25 webinar. You can download the slides here.

Summertime for school librarians is not just time off. It’s also time to reflect on the past school year and prepare for the upcoming year. Join Paige Bredenkamp, School Library Consultant for the Wyoming State Library, for her free webinar “Summer: Time to ILL and Chill,” on Tuesday, June 25, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. MDT.

Paige will share resources from the WSL that you can use when developing your plan for next year. She’ll also talk about how to use the statewide interlibrary loan system that lets you access books from any library in Wyoming, including the librarian’s professional collection at the State Library.

This event will be recorded and posted to the Wyoming State Library’s webinars index for later viewing.

Have questions in your school library? The WSL can help. Contact Paige Bredenkamp, School Library Consultant, at or (307) 777-6331.

Innovations for School Libraries

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

Google Earth Quiz Blending History and Geography
Tucked inside Google Earth is a geography quiz created in partnership with Atlas Obscura. The Natural Wonders Quiz is a multiple-choice challenge that asks students to identify special locations around the world.

Comic Books Raising Awareness of Basic Economic Principles
The New York Federal Reserve Bank’s Educational Comic Book Series teaches students about basic economic principles and the Federal Reserve’s role in the financial system.

Game Stimulating Productive Dialogue About Race and Ethnicity
Developed by a cultural anthropologist, the two-player Who Am I? Race Awareness Game is designed to stimulate a productive dialogue between adults/educators and children regarding the complex and sensitive issues of race and ethnicity in a multicultural world.

Innovations for School Libraries

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

Game Integrating Computational Thinking and Environmental Problem Solving
The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) pioneered Design–Make–Play, a novel approach to learning and engagement, drawing on deeper learning research and supporting the creation of learning experiences that develop critical thinking, knowledge integration, innovation, and creativity skills.

Assessments for Evaluating Historical Thinking
The Olympics Protest is a new assessment from the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) that gauges whether students can identify the historical event depicted in an iconic photograph and evaluate its historical significance. Successful students will draw on their knowledge of the past to identify American track athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith raising their fists to protest racial injustice while on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics and then explain how the event was historically significant.

Documentary Illustrating Storytelling and Meaning Making with Children
Eric Carle, Picture Writer: The Art of the Picture Book is a 32-minute portrait of Eric Carle, creator of more than 70 books for children, including the bestselling classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. In this documentary, Carle methodically layers a tissue paper collage of the caterpillar, pours over thumbnail sketches, and ruminates on drafts of his books.

Learn and Connect at School Library Summit

The Wyoming Library Association Conference has a special pre-conference just for those working in school libraries. The School Library Summit will be held on August 7, 2019, at Cheyenne’s Little America Hotel.

This year marks the first year of the Summit, formerly the Information Power Summer Institute. There will be some great sessions, including one about the One Book Wyoming project, a breakout box activity, and more! It’s also a great time to network with other school librarians.

Register here. The cost to attend the School Library Summit is $20.

Innovations for School Libraries

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

Videos Featuring Authors Commemorating Children’s Book Week
KidLit TV has partnered with the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader to produce 100 book creator videos for teachers, parents, librarians, and educators across the country to share with their students.

Videos to Deepen Understanding and Spark Curiosity
Boclips for Teachers offers an extensive library of engaging videos that bring academic topics to life for all ages while deepening students’ understanding of a variety of subjects. A school-safe alternative to consumer-focused video platforms, Boclips for Teachers gathers video clips from more than 120 partners, including Visual Learning Systems, Intelecom Learning, and Crash Course. Educators who sign up before June 30, 2019, will get free access for a full year.

Crest Hill Students Build Little Free Libraries

Robot and Dragon Little Free Libraries

Robot and Dragon Little Free Libraries built by students at Crest Hill Elementary.

Fifth graders at Crest Hill Elementary in Casper made two Little Free Libraries that they auctioned and raffled to support their Parent-Teacher Organization’s fundraising efforts. As part of the project, they investigated libraries and their impact on their communities. Each class had to work as a team to design and complete their libraries, through the school library’s makerspace.

“We also registered the libraries with the Little Free Library organization,” said Crest Hill’s librarian, Devin Hodgins. “So they appear online on the LFL’s worldwide map. Incidentally, the shells students used for the libraries were a couple of old newspaper dispensers that the Casper Star-Tribune had retired and consigned to the junk heap.They gave them to us, just asking for pictures when they were completed.”

The school was awarded a Carol McMurry Library Endowment grant through the Wyoming Community Foundation for the project. Grant dollars purchased tools, paint, and supplies, as well as a handful of computers for students to use in the library for research. Devin was also able to round up support from a few local businesses. Jereco Cleaning Systems primed and coated the newspaper racks so they’d be ready for the students to paint. Much of that paint was donated by Sherwin-Williams. The Glass Warehouse also donated some shop supplies.

Between the raffle and the auction, the students raised more than $400 for the school’s PTO, which will then use those funds to help support the school library.

Fifth graders designed one library to look like a robot. The other they designed as a dragon, their school’s mascot. After one student’s parent won the silent auction on the dragon library, the raffle drawing began. “Lo and behold!” Devin said. “The same person who put in the highest bid for the dragon also won the raffle for the robot. What’s even more spectacular about that is they live relatively close to the school, so there’s a good chance many of our students will have the opportunity to visit.”

The winning family’s father works at a local hotel, so he’s going to see if they can place one there. “What a great location for a Little Free Library, welcoming visitors to our community!” Devin said.

The class project became the catalyst for transforming the event into an entire Spring Book Festival that drew about 200 people. To accompany the raffle and auction, the PTO held a free spaghetti dinner, doing all the cooking with some donated support from Olive Garden on the breadsticks.

For the event, reading centers were scattered throughout the school commons. The centers were based on a few literary genres: mystery, fantasy, realistic fiction, traditional literature (folklore), and poetry. One station invited folks to examine the WE READ program through the Casper Star-Tribune’s MY TRIB publication. The last station allowed people to visit the Little Free Library website and to investigate the organization for themselves.

Initial feedback from participants was positive. “Students, families, teachers, and staff seemed rather impressed by the whole event and thought it was an enjoyable evening all around,” Devin said. “We now have quite a strong foundation on which to build.”

The entire project stemmed from Devin’s attendance at last year’s Wyoming Library Leadership Institute. “I wanted to help strengthen a sense of togetherness among the school, parents, and stakeholders and to expand awareness of the impact of libraries throughout the school and even broader community. I’d like to think that we took some respectable strides toward that end.”