Marty Mcguire

Yesterday marked the (fun!) end of a blogging book group with two students from my school and eight from four other schools in our region.  We all read Kate Messner’s book Marty Mcguire and used a blog for students to answer and ask questions and reflect on their reading.  (Each Sunday night, one of the librarians posted the prompts for the week.  We shared the work!) A great discussion guide for the book is available from Scholastic  if you want to introduce some students to this spunky character!

Because they were second and third graders there was a bit of a learning curve with the features of the blog and the mechanics of posting comments, but they learned quickly.  I dare say my students improved their keyboarding skills somewhat just from the twice weekly practice for this project.

To make the project’s culmination more special we agreed to meet face-to-face at one of our schools to Skype with the author and enjoy a celebratory lunch (complete with frog cookies!).  Kate Messner was a wonderful author to Skype with.  She was enthusiastic, pleasant, and “real.”  She wove great comments into her chat about writing and how students might think about their own creative process.

Both boys and girls enjoyed the book and are now excited to read Marty Mcguire Digs Worms, the sequel which came out a few weeks ago.  Kate Messner has posted links (think compost and worms) to accompany the second book on Pinterest.

Thanks to LibraryStew for planting the original idea in my head!

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First 6 weeks: Dare to inspire!

As a group we teacher librarians model lifelong learning and continually share what we’ve learned, provide professional development, etc.  This can be challenging in an already hectic schedule and overloaded curriculum.  But this year, if you can entice your teachers to let you show them just ONE new thing, maybe it could be Ideas to Inspire.  

I learned about this site from this post by Kelly Tenkely at her blog I Learn Technology.  According to Kelly’s post, the creator of the site–Mark Warner–“invites teachers from around the world to share their inspiring ideas for using technology in the classroom.  These are pulled together as a presentation that teachers everywhere can benefit from.  Ideas to Inspire has a handy new filter tool that let’s you find the exact resources and ideas you are looking for easily.” 

The home page is a collection of well-labeled thumbnails with a ton of topics of interest to teachers.  Clicking on these brings you to a presentation that Mark put together with ideas from teacher contributors.  (Double click on the presentation to expand the image once you open it up.)

I took a look at quite a few of the embedded presentations and found some useful ideas.  Here’s a list of some I’m planning to share with my staff:

Techy Tips for Non-Techy Teachers

Ideas for Class Blog Posts

(Ways to) Encourage Pupils and Families to visit your Blog

Make your class a Sparkly Place to Learn

Interesting Images to use in the Classroom (visual literacy)

Google Earth and Google Maps

Ways to present (Internet) Research  (end-products ideas!)

Show this to your teachers during this first six weeks.  You’ll be a hero!