Screen Schooled

Are you a caregiver, teacher, or librarian looking for a new book to read (individually or with a group)?

Look no further than:

Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How Technology Overuse Is Making Our Kids Dumber by Joe Clement and Matt Miles

Screen Schooled makes the case for using technology wisely. Children are inundated with technology at this point in time but is it helping them? This book asks its readers to answer questions in order to help them decide if the technology used is helping or harming their children. Additionally, there are take-aways after each chapter to bring the concepts into your home, classroom, or library.

There are plenty of quotes I could include within this post but I’ll limit them to these eight:

  • Saying that the advent of television and smartphones is similar since they both have screens is like saying that lightning bugs and lightning are similar because they both give off light.
  • To a digital immigrant, someone who is staring off with a base of unenhanced, self-developed knowledge, technology can act like a springboard, expanding the potential of existing abilities. However, for the digital native, who has a reduced baseline of fundamental knowledge from a lifelong dependency on technology, tech offers little potential for enhancement because there is nothing to enhance in the first place.
  • Make-believe is a mentally rigorous exercise that helps a child develop critical thought and creativity. But kids are systematically replacing this important form of play with games created by the minds of others.
  • It’s these forms of early play that can create imagination, which can lead to creativity later in life. Lacking in creative thinking can likely lead to difficulty with outside-the-box thinking, which is essential for problem solving.
  • Always being connected has allowed the pressures of school to encroach on their mental sanctuaries. Only when students and schools learn to balance connectedness with common sense will schools be the truly safe places they are supposed to be.
  • Dr. Barbara Frederickson and her research team found that a person’s ability to develop friendships is biologically diminished the more he or she replaces face-to-face human interaction with screen interaction. They found that at the cellular level we are changed by our habits and actions, especially with regard to screen time. If we do not actively seek out connections with other people in real life, we actually lose our ability to make them. 
  • When using tech, ask: 1. Does this tech simplify instruction? 2. Is this tech easily accessible for all students involved? 3. Does this tech SUPPORT rather than REPLACE instruction?
  • People have long accepted the truth that when it comes to improving one’s body gain comes from pain. It’s a hard truth…If we are willing to accept this truth for our physique, why would be expect anything different for our social, learning, and brain development? 
  • Three fundamental questions parents should ask their kid’s teachers and school leaders: 1. Why is the digital version (of whatever the school is doing) better than the “analog” version? 2. Do you have any research showing the advantages of using screens for instruction? 3. May I opt my child out of screen-based instructional activities?

If any of these sentences speak to you, check out Screen Schooled at your local library!

Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Jane Discussion Guide (Journeys in Film)

One of my favorite documentaries from last year was Jane. Jane Goodall is one of my role models and I was was lucky enough to meet her after a screening of this documentary in Los Angeles! Check out the trailer:

Jane (Directed by Brett Morgen)

Not only is this an exceptional documentary but it has a wonderful back story. Most of the footage used within the documentary was filmed by Hugo van Lawick (a man well known for his work with National Geographic). Hugo and Jane were married for some time and his ability to capture Jane is remarkable. You can read more about the process of making a film from 100s of hours of footage at:

National Geographic Team Revives the World of Jane Goodall With Enhanced Footage

If you’re interested to read more about the recreation of her experience, check out: How ‘Jane’ Director Brett Morgen & Editor Joe Beshenkovsky Recreated Jane Goodall’s Experience In ’60s Gombe

However, to move forward to the purpose for this post…

Journeys in Film, a resource I’ve shared in the past focused on global understanding through film, has a wonderful discussion guide available for download that includes additional information about Jane’s childhood, Louis Leakey, Gombe, Jane’s mission, resources for further study, and women in the biological sciences today! You can download it yourself at:

Jane Discussion Guide

Have a wonderful day.

Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Author & Illustrator Spotlights

Happy Friday! I’m VERY excited to share a new resource that is finally ready to go live. In the “EXTRAS” menu above you will find a page titled:

Author & Illustrator Spotlights

As of today, there are 22 authors and/or illustrators included (in alphabetical order by first name). As stated at the top of the page:

I believe author spotlights are a great way to encourage readers to try new materials. This list includes a variety of authors and/or illustrators I’ve spotlighted in the past (and plan to in the near future) in order to encourage their readership. I’ve tried to include their hometown, a quote, and extra resource (video or article) with each of them.

Use as you please and notice there is a PDF (8.5 x 11 info page) to accompany most authors/illustrators. They are a wonderful addition to displays and make for fun signage to highlight parts of your collection (if you’re a librarian that is). The first page always contains the author’s photograph, a short bio, and a quote. The second page (if one exists) features the covers of their books.

If you have an author you’d like to see information for simply message me. It’s hard to make them for authors who are brand new or those that are private but I’ll make one if I’m able to!

Happy reading!

Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Quality Resource: WeAreHealers.org

For students to be “college and career ready,” they need to be able to see themselves within the careers they desire. The stories that make up We Are Healers will assist you (as an educator, librarian, or caregiver) in this process. In their own words:

“We Are Healers is a 501c3 non-profit initiative featuring stories of American Indian health professionals.

We aim to inspire American Indian youth to envision themselves as dentists, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, etc. – all through stories of Native role-models.

Through a wide reach and national partnerships, we are able to connect American Indian students with Native-centric programs proven to provide successful academic enrichment.

We Are Healers opens doors and provides opportunity.”

Check out the 11 stories to learn more about American Indian health professionals. After each video there is a follow-up story and some additional information to better know each healer. They include (alphabetical by last name):

Finally, a shout out to Finn Ryan. I first met you when you were working on The Ways and am very happy to see you’re using your vision and skill to bring these wonderful stories to all of us!

Happy learning!

Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

The Science of Skin Color

Have you ever looked for a short, digestible video explaining the science of skin color? Well TED-Ed has you covered with:

This video is just one of many great videos at TED-Ed just waiting to be sharing with your students and/or children.

Happy learning!

Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

The 57 Bus, Dear Martin, and The Hate U Give

If I can say one thing for certain about 2017, it’s that it was a great year of publishing in the world of books written for young adults. Besides the many great books that I read (and continue to) with a 2017 publication date, The 57 Bus by Dashka SlaterDear Martin by Nic Stone, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas continue to pull me back to them. These three novels not only contain powerful stories, exceptional writing, and contemporary settings but also tie in with each other as if they were meant to be. If they all came from the same publisher I’d say it was planned. For whatever reason they came about in the same year, I’m glad. And I’m also glad to have had the opportunity to read each of them.

There are links to each of the books and authors through the text above where you can find reviews, summaries, and other information. What I wanted to share in this post, other than my excitement for these three titles and authors, are the resources you can use with the young people you care for. Though I have not had the opportunity, I would love to listen in on a discussion of these three books and/or read essays by students about them as they carry over into each other explicitly and implicitly.

Onto the resources (for each book and those made by me):

The 57 Bus

Dear Martin

The Hate U Give

My plan to use the resources above (with a PBA that includes all three):

Happy reading, learning, and discussing!

Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!

Elephant & Piggie books. What more can I say? I LOVE Mo Willems and all of his books. Since the series is now complete (sorry to break the news to you if you didn’t already know), there is a whole new set of books coming out by a variety of wonderful authors called the….wait for it…

Elephant and Piggie Like Reading!

I was fortunate enough to see Dan Santat read The Cookie Fiasco in person a few months back and knew I had to check out the rest of the books. Currently, four books make up this series, they include (all are humorous):

What a wonderful collection not only to add to your library or classroom but to use for storytimes!

Mo Willems even has an activity kit just for this series that you can find at:

Elephant & Piggie Like Reading Activity Kit

Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

P.S. For all of you who work with teens, keep your eyes open for the next post coming soon! I’m almost finished working on my plan and printouts of how I would use three novels (published in 2017) in a high school classroom!

Celebratory Bookmarks

Happy thursday! Quick resource to share today that makes a great passive programming station at your library or fun addition to your classroom or birthday party. I’ve created a set of celebratory bookmarks that include:

  • Anytime
  • Birthdays
  • Reading
  • Seasons
  • New Year / Noon Year
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Independence Day
  • Back to School
Additionally, there are a few printable activities located after the bookmarks. Finally, I’m available to personalize or create something just for you. If you have an idea in mind simply reach out to me and we can make something happen!
They are also available on TeachersPayTeachers.
Have a wonderful day.

Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Read and Win

Teachers, Librarians, and Caregivers,

Every summer there are numerous reading programs available for students but what is available the rest of the year? Outside of what’s happening in schools that is.

First of all, check with your local public library! There are usually plenty of fun activities and programming happening for people of all ages.

Second, check with the pro and/or pro-am sports teams in your state (or nearby) to see what they have to offer. For example, in Minnesota, the Timberwolves offer Read to Achieve:

  • Minnesota Timberwolves – Read to Achieve
    • This program offers students the ability to to win a prize pack (if the deadline is met). The prize pack includes a poster, bookmark, Timberwolves drawstring backpack, and a ticket to a Timberwolves game during the current season.

Third, if you happen to have these businesses within your community (or close by), offer your students the following opportunities

  1. Chipotle!
    • Reading is FUNdamentally delicious with their easy logging system. Readers are rewarded with a free kid’s meal. For this program your school or library needs to apply.
  2. BOOK IT! with Pizza Hut
    • This long-withstanding program (started in 1984) offers readers rewards in the form of certificates and/or food. Your school simply needs to enroll on the website. There are also a variety of printables and ideas you can find by visiting their site.
  3. Chuck E. Cheese’s
  4. McDonald’s Rewards
    1. Contact your local McDonald’s to see what they offer if you’re looking to incentivize reading with your students.

And lastly, just for educators. Did you know that the Minnesota Lynx offer you a complimentary voucher to select home games? Check it out at Minnesota Lynx Group School Programs.

Happy learning!

Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

School Librarian for Hire!

It seems as if every day I hear about more and more jobs for qualified school librarians being cut. With sharing my time between MN and CA, I’m looking to be hired for remote assistance!

I was recently the school librarian for Fairmont Area Schools in southern Minnesota. As the elementary librarian, I was responsible for 900+ students and over 100 staff. Needless to say it was a BIG job that I was happy to put my efforts into. Though their was no way I could ever accomplish everything on the job description, I did make positive change in the two years I spent as their librarian.

They were a school that hadn’t had a qualified librarian in many, many years and it showed both in the collection and the utilization of library services. I’m not here to say I could ever accomplish that job remotely however I do know there are certain elements I am able to fulfill thanks to the internet and other amazing technological innovations.

The main tasks I’m able to fulfill for you include:

  • Professional Development
  • Learning Guides
  • Project-based / Peformance-based Assessments
  • Literacy Stations
  • Curriculum Development and Resource Curation
  • Fun Stuff (Personalized bookmarks, scavenger hunts, flyers, printables)

Please contact me if you are interested in contracting one of the services listed above (or something else entirely). If you want to read more about me, simply head over to the “About Me” menu. I’d love to be able to work from home and assist you in meeting your needs. Therefore this site and all of its resources run through my own passion and drive.

Last, (but definitely not least) if you are aware of any awesome PreK-12 schools in Minnesota (or the Madison, WI area) that are hiring a school librarian for the 2018-2019 school year, please let me know.

Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez