Quality Resource: First 5 California

Talk. Read. Sing. It changes everything. Many states have initiatives geared towards early literacy however few are as interactive and easy-to-use as First 5 California. Plus, they link to the national site of zerotothree.org when their resources fit into the three categories of babies, toddlers, or preschoolers. First 5 uses three birds to encourage families to talk (Franco the talking parrot), read (Orson the reading owl), and sing (Melody the singing songbird) with their children. However, literacy is not their only focus as you’ll see by the menu options listed on the home page of learning center, activity center, health center, services + support, and free resources. Some of the resources I found most useful in a library or educational setting include: Downloadable books a First 5 CA playlist on Pandora Songs, rhymes, and fingerplays in English and Spanish If you’re looking for a specific activity for babies, toddlers, or preschoolers, be sure to choose the group you’re interested in listed under “activities.” Comment below with any other state or national sites you enjoy using for early literacy activities! Happy learning! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Minnesota Love

Guess what!!! In order to celebrate all things Minnesota, I’ve created an artist shop on Threadless (one of my go-to t-shirt shops online). Check it out at: https://circulatingknowledge.threadless.com/ More designs are on the way and if you have something special in mind, please email me using the contact information above. Thank you for your support! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Learning about the counties within Minnesota

As a native of Minnesota, I’m always interested in learning more about my home state. It was this that led me to create a new project for middle and junior high students (or younger if you want a challenge). Through a written report, poster, presentation, or brochure, your students will enjoy learning about Minnesota’s 87 counties via this new PBA (project-based assessment) and learning guide (found via the menu above). This PBA is multi-disciplinary as it involves reading, researching, writing, about a Minnesota county (and therefore includes social studies). Dependent on your needs and interests this project can easily be worked on independently or in a group setting. Each county has been formatted into the form of a bookmark.Simply print these pages and cut (there are four per page). To cut down on total pages, the listing of all 87 counties (designed to be the back of all bookmarks) precedes the individual pages. After learners have selected their county (via taking a bookmark or you have handed one to them), they will need to locate where their county is in the state of Minnesota. Have a Minnesota county map available at this time. You will see through the learner handout […]

The Power of Play

As an alumni of the College of Education and Human Development, within the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, I receive every new issue of CEHD Connect (their magazine). This is one magazine I’m always happy to receive and look through eagerly. For April 2017, it was even more exciting because it was all about the power of play! Therefore, I wanted to share with all of you! Whether you are a caregiver, teacher, librarian, or any other figure within the life of a child, you’re sure to get something out of at least one of the articles. Use the link above if you’re interested in browsing the entire issue or the links below to arrive at specific articles. The Power of Play Play Lab Setting the Stage for Learning A Breath of Fresh Air If you’re a librarian interested in ways to make your library more engaging to babies and their families…I highly recommend checking out Engaging Babies in the Library: Putting Theory into Practice by Debra J. Knoll. She does a great job explaining the ins and out of catering to babies, families, and your library environment. Lastly, I’ve made bookmarks to celebrate the power of play and […]

Book Reports / Book Projects / PBAs

I’m happy to let you know that I’ve been working through many of the book reports and performance-based assessments / project-based assessments I’ve created since my undergraduate degree in order to update and reformat them. All of the PBAs include student choice as well as a range of activities designed to meet the interests of diverse groups of students. Enough are now revised that I’m ready to share a few with you! All of these projects are aimed at middle school and/or high school students. Please download what you find useful and share with anyone else who may be interested. I’ve provided you with three free below however funds are always appreciated as this work is done on my own time. Please consider purchasing through Teachers Pay Teachers or making a donation via the button provided at the end of this post. Amaryllis by Craig Crist-Evans Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett Sold by Patricia McCormick Finally, many of these projects would be suitable in a public library environment as a reading challenge for youth in middle or high school. If you have a book you’d like projects for or you simply want something reformatted, please email me! I’m happy to contract out my time and efforts. Happy […]

Quality Resource: Journeys in Film

The vision of Journeys in Film is to harness the storytelling power of film to educate the most visually literate generation in history. They believe: Most of the critical issues that the United States faces today are international in their scope and complexity, and our abilities as a nation to meet these challenges will be strengthened by a greater understanding of our global interdependence. Aligned with various prominent national initiatives, Journeys in Film believes that helping America’s youth develop this kind of worldview and understanding should be a primary 21st century educational goal. Our educational program has proven to be effective in connecting cultures, broadening world-views, teaching for global competency and building a new paradigm for best practices in education. This quality resource provides educators with numerous lesson plans and opportunities for professional development. It also provides some great resources for librarians interested in hosting an event incorporating both a screening and family learning activities. Learn more about the power of film by visiting the educator’s page and while you’re there check out the curriculum guide for on of the recent nominees for Best Picture, Hidden Figures! Have a wonderful day! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Celebrating Mother’s and Father’s Day

It’s almost Mother’s Day (and then Father’s Day). Celebrate this holiday with the students in your life by creating bookmarks to gift to the caregivers in their lives. Don’t want to start from scratch? Simply head over to Teachers Pay Teachers to purchase pages ready to be colored: Bookmarks on TPT  The bookmarks include mom, grandma, mama, auntie, dad, papa, grandpa, and uncle. Therefore, each student is sure to find someone of importance. Plus, it’s an easy way to promote lifelong learning and adult literacy! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez  

Between the World and Me

I recently read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nahisi Coates. This book not only won the 2015 National Book Award for nonfiction but was hailed by Toni Morrison as, “required reading.” After finishing this book, I can see why! Page after page Between the World and Me reminded me of James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, in the very best of ways. Both of these authors write beautifully as they address contemporary and historical American society (if those two are in fact different), in the context of their personal experiences as well as the communities in which they belong. A few selections that stood out to me: “I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free. Slowly, I was discovering myself.” (page 48) “The writer, and that was what I was becoming, must be wary of every Dream and every nation, even his own nation. Perhaps his own nation more than any other, precisely because it was his own.” (page 53) “The robbery of time is not measured in lifespans but in moments. It is the last bottle of wine that you have just uncorked but do not have […]

Build a Better World

The Collaborative Summer Reading Program this year is “Build a Better World.” What better way to celebrate than with some bookmarks ready to be printed and colored at library or classroom? With six pages containing four designs per page, this resource gives you 24 different designs. Check out a sampling of the bookmarks included through the images below: Build A Better World Bookmarks PDF Love the bookmarks? Please consider donating to support their creation and the creation of similar future resources at: Your support allows for the creation of these resources. Thank you! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez