Saturday, January 18, 2020

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Dear families,

January 31, 2020 is Multicultural Children’s Book Day. At Dothan Brook School we are preparing for MCCBD 2020 and hope you will join our celebration of diversity through children's books. As you may know, it is critical to expose children to books where they can see and learn about people like themselves (mirrors), as well as see and learn about people who are different from them (windows).

Multicultural Children’s Book Day‘s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators. According to their website, this non-profit has donated over 7,000 books to kids and that number continues to climb.

We will be celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day for a whole week at DBS! Starting on January 27th, class council lessons and library activities will focus on diversity in literature. We will also be introducing the concept of books as windows and mirrors. Lodge circles that week will focus on diversity in literature as well.

We would love for you to take this opportunity to discuss the importance of diversity in the books with your children as well. We understand that talking about diversity can be challenging and uncomfortable, even for parents and teachers! For many, there is a fear of saying the wrong thing, or opening up a conversation you aren’t able to fully address, and often it feels easier to just not even begin the discussion. We would encourage you to take this opportunity to give it a try. Remember, we are all learning together!

Here are a few suggestions for talking about diversity in literature with your children:

  • As you’re reading, pause to ask questions, such as:
    • What is it like to feel different and not fit in?
    • Was there a time you felt like this?
  • Don’t skip over foreign words. Make an effort to learn them. Practice saying them together.
  • Point out foods and clothing in stories that might be different from typical American food and clothing.
  • In your home library, have students find a book with a picture of someone who looks like them and a book with a picture with someone who doesn’t look like them.

If you are interested in exploring further, check out these sites:

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Top 20 of 2019

In a Facebook librarian group I follow, someone posted their top 20 for the year and it got me thinking.  As I scrolled through the replies I thought for sure my list would be all Minecraft, Dogman, and Amulet. Much to my surprise, other books made the list! I think the difference is in requested books versus checked out books. Certain books circulate much faster (Ninjago with the kinders) than others (Minecraft handbooks with the 3rd graders, for example).

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Lindsey Stoddard

We were so lucky to have author Lindsey Stoddard visit DBS yesterday!  She is the author of Just Like Jackie (a Dorothy Canfield Fisher book award nominee) and Right as Rain, both excellent YA novels based (in whole or in part) in Vermont. Lindsey spoke with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. She told them how she finds inspiration, how she has fed and watered "seeds" from her past that then grew into novels, and how they should look to their own experiences for inspiration as well.  We even got a sneak peek at her newest book, coming out this summer. The kids were super excited. They had great questions and I now have a long reserve list for her books in the library. :) 

Thank you Lindsey for signing everything they threw at you and inspiring our budding authors!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Battle of the Books

This year's Battle of the Books is in full swing! Once again I'm doing brackets on the bulletin board.

5th grade

4th grade

The first round is to make a digital poster for your book.  Students used the website to create posters that represented their books in tone and style. This week the students will vote on their favorites from each bracket set and we'll see who moves on to round two - book trailers!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

VermontFest 2019

I had the great opportunity to attend Vita-Learn's VermontFest once again this year, thanks to a scholarship from VLSA!  VermontFest is a fantastic tech-ed conference held at the Killington Grand Resort each fall.  There are vendors and presenters from all over New England and I always leave with new ideas and inspiration.

This year's conference had two amazing keynote speakers: Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad and Dan Ryder.  Dr. Lang-Raad has an extensive list of accomplishments for a guy who looks way too young to have such a long list!  According to the Vita-Learn website, Dr. Lang-Raad is an "Author, Google Certified Educator, Microsoft Innovative Educator, 2016 Apple Teacher, Solution Tree Consultant, Chief Education Officer at WeVideo." He led sessions on instructional coaching and using WeVideo in the classroom, as well as delivered the keynote speech on the first day. He is relatively new to the New England area and has a brown bear story that will leave you in tears!

Dan Ryder, the keynote speaker for Day 2, is a "Success & Innovation Center Education Director
idea wrangler, design thinker, improviser,  author, and award winning educator
Apple Distinguished educator, NEA Foundation’s 2018 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence, and Co-founder of education consultancy, Wicked Decent Learning."  He led sessions on design thinking and critical creativity.  We had fun using Play-Doh, Legos, action figures, and other manipulatives to explore ways we can help bring creativity and whimsy into the classroom. I walked away from his Design Thinking session with a clear plan for handling one of my trickier classes!  Dan's keynote had us all thinking about ways we can implement change within our own environments using creativity and fun.

While there I also got some podcasting questions answered during Joe Bertelloni's podcasting session, learned about new AR opportunities from Maureen Yoder and someone from CoSpaces. I ended Day 2 with Kelly McGee and Linda Mullin, both from Rutland Town School, talking about incorporating STEAM in the library (McGee) and using PLPs in kindergarten (Mullin).  I got to use a 3D pen to make a cool snowflake, learned that I'm not persistent enough finish a Breakout box, and had my mind blown by the success Mullin is having getting her kinders using PLPs. I'm eager to talk to my kinder teachers about and share some of Mullin's tips and templates.

Modeling creative solutions to tricky problems.

Representing books with Legos!  Can you guess what my book is?  (Creepy Carrots, by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown)

Making 3D snowflakes to tie-in with the book Snowflake Bentley, by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Mary Azarian.

Once again I had an enjoyable and educational two days at VT Fest!  I'm already looking forward to going back again next year!

Fun with paper circuits.. or in this case ribbon circuits!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Book fair time!

Another book fair has come and gone.  As usual, the kids were thrilled, the fair did well, and I am exhausted! This year we had a different schedule and a special visitor. 

Parent conferences this year were on Monday and Tuesday, so I ran the book fair Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of one week, then Monday and Tuesday of the following, moving the fair down the lobby for parent conferences again.  It was a mental challenge to keep the schedule straight in my head and, based on the number of questions I got, in the heads of everyone else as well.  But we did it! 

We also had a visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog on the day before the fair. He joined a guest reader (Mrs. Giroux or Mr. D) and read stories to prek, kindergarten, and 1st grade.  Clifford was also kind enough to visiting the older kids upstairs for lots of hugs and smiles.

Now it's time to spend those Scholastic dollars!  

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Banned Books Week

Each fall Banned Books Week rolls around and I never feel quite prepared for it.  This year will be different.  I've spent all weekend putting together a display and activities and, most importantly, words to have the discussion.

According to the American Library Association,

"Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular."

Every year books are challenged on the basis of gender, sex, language, racism, witchcraft, and many other topics. Libraries have a formal process for reviewing a book challenge and the American Library Association tries to document these events. Each year they publish lists of the most challenged and banned books and celebrate Banned Books Week in order to draw attention to the dangers of censorship. Libraries around the world participate in events and activities to bring awareness to these issues.

A challenge occurs when a person or organization attempts to remove or restrict materials or services based on content.  A ban occurs when the outcome of the challenge process results in the removal of the challenged materials or cancellation of the challenged services, based on their content.

For more information, visit the ALA's Banned & Challenged Books website and the Banned Books Week website.