Where the Wild Things Are Decorations & Craft

Where the Wild Things Are Decorations & Craft

My son turned 2 earlier this month and we had a Where the Wild Things Are party. My husband and I had fun decorating and coming up with ideas. And of course, I must think the great brain that is Pinterest for much inspiration! I thought if anyone might appreciate what we did, it would be anyone reading this blog!

All of our decorations were simple made with standard craft supplies. Construction paper for tree leaves, crepe paper for vines and tree trunks, craft paper for tree trunk, and balloons for coconuts.

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Here we used craft paper rolled and crinkled to make tree trunks.

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And our friends made crowns out of paper plates, glitter glue, gem stickers, and colors. This was a very inexpensive, passive craft that wasn’t too messy or too complicated. It was great for a crowd with a wide variety of ages. Would be great for an all-ages storytime! The only prep it requires is cutting the plates which doesn’t take much time at all.

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Fold the plates in half and cut slices like a pie, not cutting to the edge of the plate. Cut along where you folded the plate, again not cutting to the edge. Decorate it while it is flat.  The points will naturally push out more when you are crowned king or queen of all the wild things! This video was a great tutorial.


The Library Facebook Images Dropbox Collection

The Library Facebook Images Dropbox Collection

A guy named Ben Bizzle created a Dropbox folder called “Library Facebook Images Dropbox” to collect and share freely images that libraries could use on social media. What a wonderful tool! The collection has apparently grown to over 1,000 images with more than 800 librarians accessing the content. It seems they have outgrown Dropbox and moved the collection to LibraryMarket.com. You can sign up for an account and find images in categories like animals, banned, cover photos, memes, and quotes!

The Dropbox folder will be gone as of June 1.

via The Dropbox | Library Market.


Next time someone tells you we no longer need libraries, show them this map.

Unite for Literacy is a for-profit organization out of Colorado that provides a platform to make digital picture books available for free online to battle book scarcity.

Four of these children are happily on their way to becoming life-long readers. The other six face formidable odds, simply because something is missing from their homes; BOOKS!

They have created an interactive map showing the estimated percentage of homes with more than 100 books around the country.

Unite for Literacy has created the Book Desert Map to make the problem of book scarcity visible. Their purpose was to initiate conversation across the public, private and civic sectors about the geography of books and reading. Unite for Literacy looked at the number of books in 4th graders’ homes, community income, ethnicity, geography, and home language data from the NAEP and the American Community Survey. They performed a statistical analysis of that data and produced this map showing the estimated percentage of homes with more than 100 books at the state, county and census tract levels.

LEGEND: Estimated percentage of homes with more than 100 books.

via Public Libraries – Book Deserts to Book Abundance.

I zoomed in to take a look at Austin. It was no surprise to me that Interstate 35 was a huge dividing line. While Austin can definitely boast to be the most liberal city in a very conservative state, it very unfortunately has also been said to be one of the most segregated. I-35 goes right up the middle of the city. I think you will be able to see where the poorer population lives by taking a look at this map.

Unite for Literacy Austin TX Book Scarcity

Find your city and take a screen shot. Next time someone tells you we don’t need libraries, show them this.

Less abstinence and more PLUS for real information literacy

Less abstinence and more PLUS for real information literacy

I have always been a big fan of Wikipedia but felt I had to keep that to myself when I first began library school. Everyone was so against it. It did, after all, threaten our very existence as librarians! (No, not really). It was really that kind of attitude that made me want to be a librarian in the first place. Why were librarians not supporting the Wikipedia effort? Or really any effort that creates the easiest access to information possible? This also goes along with my thoughts on piracy… but more on that in another post… for another much less crazy couple of weeks.

I know, I know. It is all about the quality of the information. But the myth that it is filled with inaccurate information has pretty much been dispelled. So the stigma has diminished, thankfully. I was happy to see this from Harvard just a couple of weeks ago:

While professors, scholars, and other academics in the early 2000s cautioned students not to consult Wikipedia at all when researching, attitudes concerning the popular online encyclopedia are shifting, according to some Harvard professors.

Some professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences said they see Wikipedia as more acceptable, even as a website that students can peruse for somewhat reliable information. Although they still warned students to be wary when using Wikipedia, some professors no longer look at the site with the same criticism.

Via Professors See Shift in Academic Attitudes on Wikipedia

TurnItIn, a company that processes student papers checking for originality among other things, is giving a free webcast for Plagiarism Education Week all about using Wikipedia as a teaching tool for information literacy that might be of interest to teacher librarians. You can learn more or register for it here.

3rd Annual Plagiarism Education Week

Students use Wikipedia—but have you ever thought of asking them to contribute content to Wikipedia? In this presentation, LiAnna Davis from the Wiki Education Foundation will explain best practices for using Wikipedia as a teaching tool.

In contributing content to Wikipedia, students gain skills in media literacy, fact-based writing, research, collaboration, and critical thinking — a true authentic learning service project for the digital age.

Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Time: 1pm San Francisco / 2pm Denver / 3pm Chicago / 4pm New York (find your time zone)

Cost: Complimentary

“Certificates of Participation” are provided to attendees of the live event.

This webcast will be recorded and a link sent via email to registrants.


LiAnna Davis, Director of Programs at Wiki Education Foundation, is responsible for all programmatic activities. She oversees program administration, including program planning, staffing, development, budgeting, communications, and evaluation.

Jason Chu is Education Director for Turnitin. His focus is on working to build resources for educators, and his personal passion is to find better ways to enhance student achievement.

via Wikipedia in the Classroom: Authority, Trust, and Information Literacy.

I have also been making an effort to learn more about Snapchat as a tool for libraries and I liked this (albeit, old) School Library Journal article about using it to teach students that the Internet does not forget.

Basically, kids are going to have sex(t)! So we might as well be providing them with a comprehensive sex education, right?


How can public libraries collaborate more with school libraries?

April, in addition to being National Poetry Month, is School Library Month. And 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of School Library Month. Julianne Moore is this year’s spokesperson.

The American Associaion of SChool Libraries has lots of free resources like posters, web graphics, and weekly webinars that can be accessed here.

YALSAblog put together some ways that public librarians can help support school libraries and media centers.

Get in touch with your local school librarians! Sometimes, this can be the most difficult aspect of cross-agency collaboration. I’ve noticed that, especially with regard to youth services librarians in larger, more bureaucratic public library systems, outreach specialists may try to follow a chain of command, asking for the building principal or even the superintendent for access to the school librarians. In many cases, those administrators may either not realize that the public library wants to help, rather than place demands, on school staff, and they often have a lot on their plate anyway. Reaching out to school librarians directly can be more effective, or better yet, ask a school librarian you have worked with in the past to connect you.


Give local school librarians and teachers some extra privileges. One easy way to support the educators in your community: create a special patron class in your automation system, with an increased checkout limit. Nashville Public Libraries are on the cutting edge of this, with their Limitless Libraries program. They even have the high school and middle school libraries as routing stops! If your library doesn’t allow holds against on-shelf materials, you might consider a different policy for teachers. No teacher or school librarian wants to swing by the public library at the end of the day to find the audio version of Fahrenheit 451 has been nabbed since they looked it up in the OPAC that morning.

Extend checkouts or waive fines for teachers or librarians who checkout materials for others. It can be difficult for school librarians to get materials they checked out back from others, especially when they are being used instructionally. When I go to the public library to fulfill a teacher or student’s request, and then get tagged with punitive fines, it can be quite discouraging. Once, I paid enough overdue fines (out of my own pocket) on a VHS copy of the Audie Murphy’s World War II biopic To Hell and Back to buy multiples for my own collection.


Create a school librarian and teacher-focused version of your newsletter, paying special attention to highlight the events and additions to your collections with instructional application.

Involve school librarians in your applications for grant projects. This will strengthen your case for funding, and give the school librarians some ownership in what is going on in your building, too.

Acknowledge school librarian realities. Get school librarians in the field to come to your in-services or staff days to share their concerns. It might be supporting common core, it might be teaching social studies and science concepts left out of the standardized-testing intensive curriculum, it might be in-depth reference support and ILL for projects like National History Day or senior capstone projects. Lead times in schools are often more abbreviated than in public library settings, and there can be a domino effect when a teacher springs a last-minute project tying in to holidays or events. When a teacher comes in looking for The Lorax the day before Earth Day, don’t laugh — have some other suggestions, both print and digital, handy.

via Ways Public Librarians Can Support Media Specialists to Celebrate National School Library Month | YALSAblog.

It seems to me that when public and school libraries work together to create a unified message for their communities, they could be unstoppable. The problem is that everyone has their own tasks to accomplish, goals and objectives to meet, and dwindling budgets and resources and time. I wish there could be a local school liaison in every public library to handle this kind of work.

Do you have a particularly great partnership between school and public library? I would love to hear about it!

Search literacy lesson plans from Google for the classroom

Search literacy lesson plans from Google for the classroom

Google Search Education provides search literacy lesson plans that can be used in the classroom to teach students about picking the right search terms, understanding search results, narrowing a search to get the best results, searching for evidence for research tasks, evaluating credibility of sources. Each of these topics has a plan developed specifically for beginner, intermediate, or advanced students.

They also have A Google A Day challenges that ask students to find answers to questions so they can test the skills they learned. The challenges are broken up into categories of culture, geography, history, and science. Every challenge asks a questions such as,

Every national flag in the world shares a common geometric characteristic, except for one country. Which country is it?

When you click “View Challenge” it takes you to a Google Slides presentation that walks students through the thought process of answering that specific question.

Tiffany Whitehead on the School Library Journal blog gives some great tips and activities that she has created to teach information literacy to students. This exercise is for a beginner student on picking the right search terms:

  1. Start by imagining that you are making a quiz on the “Percy Jackson” series by Rick Riordan (Disney/Hyperion). One of the questions for your quiz is, “What food does Tyson like best?” Show students the results for that search, which has lots of hits about Tyson chicken but nothing about Percy Jackson.
  1. Explain to students that in order to become better searchers, it’s helpful to understand how a search works. The video “How Search Works” by Matt Cutts gives a great overview.
  1. After watching this short video, discuss how conducting a search is different from talking to a person. Instead of using a complete question, we need to identify key terms for our search. Work through the original question, getting rid of unnecessary words and adding essential terms. Show students the difference in results when using the search terms: Tyson favorite food Percy Jackson.
  1. Have students work in small groups to work through developing search terms for several other search questions.
  1. Challenge students to take what they learned in this lesson and share it with their parents. Re-teaching a concept is a great way to make learning stick, and it’s a bonus to encourage students to share newly acquired knowledge with their parents.

While she found the Google A Day Challenges great, she also found that if students “googled” the exact question they would be taken to an answer that someone had blogged about. She developed a few challenges of her own:

Quelle est la population de la plus grande ville de France?

Create a question such as this one that requires students to use Google Translate.  Translation will show this question is asking, “What is the population of the largest city in France?” Then, students will have to search to find the name of the city and its population.

• After a trip around the world, you return home with 52 British Pound Sterling, 5300 Serbian Dinar, and 120 Euro. How much would this convert to in U.S. Dollars?

Make a question that requires students to use Google Currency Converter to convert all currency to U.S. Dollars, then add for the total.

• A famous athlete said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” What team did they play for in 1990?

Come up with a question that requires students to to find the name of a famous person from a quote or accomplishment, then search for another piece of information about that person.

• In the city that is at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers is one of the world’s largest churches. What type of church is it?

Use reverse design to come up with questions. I recently traveled to Belgrade, Serbia and visited the Temple of Saint Sava, one of the ten largest church buildings in the world. Use what you know or have experienced to create interesting and complex questions.

These tools and her adaptations are wonderful! I particularly love the question in another language. Instead of complaining about students using Google and Wikipedia, using these tools to teach information literacy is a far better use of our time!