Students Rebuild

In December of 2016 I posted about Students Rebuild and wanted to follow up on this thanks to the summer reading theme of Build a Better World in our public libraries. There are lots of great ways to extend our children and youth’s ideas of what it means to build a better world in our homes, classrooms, and community centers locally. However, if you’re looking for something global…I can think of no better way to extend the theme of building a better world this fall than through participating in the challenges put forth by Students Rebuild. Students Rebuild is a collaborative program of the Bezos Family Foundation and tackles some of the world’s most difficult problems, issues that one cannot affect alone, through challenges. They believe in coming together to make a collective impact and that every young person should have an opportunity to help others. Not everyone is able to fundraise but everyone is able to create simple, symbolic objects that the foundation matches with funding. They inspire young people worldwide to connect, learn, and take collective action on critical global issues. The Youth Uplift Challenge was the most recent way for students to give back. For each hand […]

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 […]

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

Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy

I wrote about Countdown by Deborah Wiles back in February of 2017 and am pleased to share a few resources for Revolution, the 2nd in the Sixties Trilogy by Deborah Wiles. While this documentary novel took me a bit longer to finish, I enjoyed it almost as much as the first in the series. I found the middle of the novel to be a bit slow however the storyline picked up once I reached the third part of the book. Revolution also steps it up a notch in terms of the maturity of the content included. I appreciated this as most of the readers of this novel would be older than they were for the first in the series and they would be building off of their prior knowledge. Just as the first novel did, this one includes a variety of primary documents throughout the text. This is one of the things I liked most as it asks readers to look into the time period and seek out information about the actual events of the time. I believe these novels would fit in well in any middle school or high school library collection. Additionally, these would be a great addition to a course […]

Countdown: The Sixties Trilogy

Having recently finished Countdown by Deborah Wiles, I wanted to share that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this documentary novel. It is the first of The Sixties Trilogy and is so fascinating because though the story is fictional, there are primary documents including photos, advertisements, song lyrics, and speeches interspersed throughout the book. I’m anxious to read Revolutionary (the second) next once my library hold arrives! I believe these novels would fit in well in any middle school or high school library collection. Additionally, these would be a great addition to a course on the 1960s. Have you created a course like this for middle or high school? Email me, I’m working on one! To the resources: Scholastic Book Discussion Guide – includes discussion questions, post-reading activities, an author interview, and websites for additional learning. Countdown PBA (performance-based assessment) – This PBA was created to give students a choice of activities to complete after reading Countdown. There are three different set-ups for this PBA. The first uses the tic-tac-to method of project choices (requires students to complete 3 activities), the second utilizes lists (requires students to complete 2 activities), and the third gives students a choice between all the […]

Book Awards

Since the last post was about book clubs and book discussions, this one features some great awards to give you more resources in selecting and curating the books in your home, classroom, or library. These are also great lists to consider when gifting books to young readers!   State Awards  First of all, make sure to look into whether or not your state has a “student’s choice” book award. Minnesota has the Minnesota Youth Reading Association (MYRA) which is home to the Maud Hart Lovelace and Star of the North Awards. The Maud Hart Lovelace Award is separated into two divisions: Division 1 – For 3rd through 5th grade students Division 2 – For 6th through 8th grade students To vote for their favorite book students must read at least three of the twelve nominees within their division. One thing a few classroom teachers I worked with did was to choose three of the titles and use them as read alouds. This way all their students were able to vote. It’s easy to become a member of the Minnesota Youth Reading Association as it’s only $15/year. Being a member means you have access to more resources and can submit student votes. I […]

Book Clubs and Discussion Guidelines

Most educators and librarians are familiar with book clubs. They are an excellent way to get young people and adults discussing topics with one another and there are a variety of successful ways to go about implementing them. In general, I find using books that are nominated for different awards to be a great list to work from if you’re looking for quality books within different categories. Many students are only familiar with current publications and those used within curriculums. Therefore, it can be fun to create a book club based on all the winning or honor books within an award category. This gives students a focus yet introduces them to novels they are unfamiliar with. Look for an upcoming post for more information on book awards! Once you have the list of books and the participants comes the true work of the book club. I’ve found  the two most important aspects of the physical meeting of the book club to be: Sitting in a circle Using the book discussion guidelines provided by the CCBC Sitting in a circle, whether this is around a table or not, gives all participants the ability to be included and have a direct vantage point of […]