At-Home Activities for Families with Preschoolers

Now that I’ve got two sets of activities ready to go, I’m ready to tell you about them! I’ve been working with a preschool teacher to come up with fun, age-appropriate activities to accompany her weekly newsletters. She wanted something that was only one page so it could be copied onto the back of her one-page newsletter. The first set includes 14 activities and the second includes 12 activities. This means that downloading both will give you a total of 26 activities to send home with your students (if you’re in a school), patrons (if you’re in a library), or children if you’ll be using these at home yourself. The activities provide a platform to count, talk, write, draw, color, name, give, and story-tell together. My organizational advice… print them all and keep them in a binder (inside those clear sheet protectors). Stick a post-it onto the front of the protector to write the date it was used. This will not only help you in deciding what activity to use next but well also assist in reprinting for a caregiver.As a thank you for following Circulating Knowledge and reading this post, all activities are available to be downloaded for free […]

Balderdash! John Newbery and the Boisterious Birth of Children’s Books

Balderdash! John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books Bringing you back to the 1700s, Balderdash! illuminates the life of John Newbery. John was a boy growing up in an England without children’s literature, or at least not children’s literature as we know it today. Written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, this is a book that held up to its expectations. It will keep you entertained while also providing you with a healthy amount of new vocabulary, information about book printing in the mid-1700s, and beautiful illustrations to keep your eyes entertained. Check it out at your local library! I was especially fond of the marbling in the end pages for giving a nod to classic book printing. This is a book that would fit in well with any elementary classroom learning about the John Newbery award, the history of books, or simply wanting an enjoyable, quality picture book to lay their eyes on. Best of all, after the story there is a history of John Newbery, additional information about the books mentioned in the book, and a bibliography including suggested further reading. While I would read this book to any elementary-aged students, it would be especially fun […]

Teaching about Black Lives Matter

Following up on the previous post about The Hate U Give and text complexity, I wanted to share a few resources I recently came across thanks to Teaching Tolerance. The first gives a history of the beginning, information on the hashtag, myths, criticisms, and a perspective on “All Lives Matter.” The second article gives elementary applications, middle school approaches, and teaching about Black Lives Matter in a High School. But enough of me telling you…read them for yourselves and share with anyone and everyone who may benefit from them: Why Teaching Black Lives Matter Matters: Part 1 (Issue 56, Summer 2017, by Jamilah Pitts) An excerpt from Why Teaching Black Lives Matter Matters: “Not all of us are like Thompson; the students who sit in front of us daily are not always directly affected by the killing of unarmed black people or any of the other injustices that plague our nation. But as teachers who function as caretakers, truth-seekers and advocates of justice, we can acknowledge how the threat of justice in one community is, to borrow from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a threat to justice in every community. We have a civic responsibility to be educated about Black Lives Matter and, as […]

The Hate U Give

Ever since I finished The Hate U Give, I’ve been meaning to write a post about it. This is an important novel recommended for 8th graders through adults. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, is a complex, relevant novel about 16-year-old Starr Carter who is living in two worlds…her home neighborhood of Garden Heights (mostly Black) and her school neighborhood at Williamson Prep (mostly White). Mimicking contemporary society, Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of unarmed Khalil, her childhood friend, by a white police officer. The media explodes however both the police and journalists lack the information necessary to give an honest portrayal of Khalil. Starr needs to decide if and how she will stand up against the systemic racism present in her life. Grounded in family, friendship, reality, humor, and enjoyable nods to Harry Potter, Angie Thomas gives readers an intimate look into an all-too-familiar reality for far-too-many Americans. Read the book and check out a few interviews with the author: NPR Interview School Library Journal Interview HarperStacks Interview The Booklist Reader After reading, I used TeachingBooks to see the Lexile level and what other resources were available to connect to the text. It may or may not surprise you to learn […]

Quality Resource: CCBlogC

This is not the first time I’ve referenced the CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center), nor will it be the last; however, this is the first time I’m highlighting CCBlogC. The CCBlogC is a blog showcasing “Observations about books for children and teens from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center.” It is hosted by the CCBC librarians and is filled with reviews of newly released literature. Check it out if you’re looking to stay informed about great books that have recently been published. The latest book-of-the-week highlights The Lost Kitten, a picture book; meanwhile, a recent favorite of mine they highlighted the first week of August was The First Rule of Punk, a book for the middle grades (ages 9-12). Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Quality Resource: American Indians in Children’s Literature

American Indians in Children’s Literature is a blog that is maintained by the amazing Debbie Reese. Her site is full of highly useful information regarding children’s literature that is by or about American Indians. She started the blog in 2006 and since then has become a go-to source for many librarians and educators when it comes to the evaluation of books including American Indians (or representations of sovereign nations and peoples). Some highlights of the resources you will find while visiting AICL include: Best Books Native Writers, Illustrators, Scholars, Activists…on Twitter Revisions to Racism in Books Books that Reference Racist Classics Plus, I even made her blog back in 2013 thanks to Debbie video-chatting with our Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums (TLAM) class at the Information School @ the University of Wisconsin – Madison with the post, Indigenous Knowledge and Children’s Literature. Have a wonderful day and happy reading! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

Last weekend I was able to watch An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power complete with a panel afterwards that even included Al Gore himself! I appreciated the story grounded in truth, hope, and possibility, as well as the cinematography of the film itself. We all need to fight like our world depends on it, because it does. Though this documentary is a follow-up to the 2006 An Inconvenient Truth, it is its own story. As in, the prior film is not required viewing before watching this latest installment; however, I would of course recommend both of them to see what has happened in just the last 10 years. In terms of learning… Pairing An Inconvenient Sequel (2017) with Before the Flood (2016) would make for some amazing discussions and creative future planning within any middle school, high school, or adult learning group. Both of these documentaries have wonderful resources via their websites (linked below). In addition, I’m working on a learning guide that will incorporate both films that should be ready soon! Please email me if you’re interested in its progress. Check out these website resources to learn more about our climate and what you can do: Climate Reality Project (An Inconvenient Sequel) – https://www.climaterealityproject.org/  Before the Flood […]

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 […]

Quality Resource: International Children’s Digital Library

Are you looking for a new source for online children’s literature that includes books from many languages? The International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the world’s children in becoming effective members of the global community by making the best in children’s literature available online free of charge. Read their mission statement to learn more about why they do what they do and check out their “Using the Library” page to learn how to find just what you’re looking for! Clicking “Read Books” will bring you right into their simple search feature and using the links below will bring you to a few of my favorites, great for projecting for an entire classroom or library 🙂 When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry I SPY: A book of picture riddles Harlem  Remember, use your best judgement to assess the authenticity of the titles included, time period the book was published, and the audience they are intended for. Happy reading! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Resource Curation and Learning Guides

Are you, your colleagues, or friends looking to learn about a particular subject? Are you trying to find the best resources for your students for them to do a research assignment? Sometimes curated lists and learning guides are the best way to go. An open search on your favorite engine (most likely Google) doesn’t always lead to the best items. Why not have you or your students work from a list of links, videos, and additional resources that has been preselected by a librarian? I’m able to make a timeline of events (as shown in the second link below) or simply curate resources for you. If your school or community has a great librarian, awesome! If not, I’m here to help. Not sure what kinds of things I’m referring to? Check out a few examples. One aimed at students and one aimed at adults. Scientists Learning Guide Adult Learning Guide: Gun Violence Simply email me (katelyn at circulatingknowledge dot com) about your topic of interest and we’ll work out an affordable option to make it happen! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez