Quality Resource: PBS Learning Media

Are you looking for a free online platform designed to improve not only your effectiveness as a teacher but also the achievement of your students? Check out: PBS Learning Media As the site states, “PBS LearningMedia provides PreK-12 educators with access to free digital content and professional development opportunities designed to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement. PBS LearningMedia was developed in partnership with the WGBH Educational Foundation and is offered locally by 155 PBS licensees, representing 356 stations in 55 U.S. states and territories.” Some of my favorite finds thus far: Waadookodaading: Ojibwe Language Immersion School (checkout theways.org for more videos like this one) What’s the Deal with Fossil Fuels?  Earth Days: Rachel Carson & Silent Spring Happy exploring and happy learning! Your Librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Teaching about American Indian Peoples

What better way to teach about American Indian Peoples than invite contemporary American Indian Peoples into your classroom? Teaching Tolerance recently published an article by Dr. Susan Faircloth, an enrolled member of the Coharie Tribe. She calls on educators and school leaders to become more responsive to Native children and families through her article, With and About: Inviting Contemporary American Indian Peoples Into the Classroom (Issue 56, Summer 2017). An excerpt, “When American Indian parents and families speak out against culturally inappropriate practices and educators are open to the possibility of new ways of teaching, it benefits not only American Indian students but their peers as well. Professional development and training can help educators adopt culturally relevant practices, but—beyond changing the way we teach—this process also requires attitudinal change. One of the easiest ways to change attitudes is to get to know the families we serve, particularly those whose culture(s) may be different than our own. When educators take the time to do this, they find that American Indian families want what all families want: for (in the words of Dr. Debbie Reese [Nambe Pueblo]) “the air [our children] breathe, and the books that [they] read to nurture [them], not hurt them.” […]

Quality Resource: The Climate Reality Project

The Climate Reality Project began in 2006 when, “Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore got the world talking about climate change with the Academy Award-winning film An Inconvenient Truth. It was just the beginning of a climate revolution, and later that year, he founded The Climate Reality Project to move the conversation forward and turn awareness into action. The Climate Reality Project is a diverse group of passionate individuals who have come together to solve the greatest challenge of our time. We are cultural leaders, organizers, scientists, and storytellers, and we are committed to building a better future together.” The mission: To catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every level of society. The wonderful part about this project is that it completely relies on you, and me! The resources available will assist you in learning what you need to know in order to go out and education your friends, neighbors, classmates, colleagues, elected officials, and anyone else you’re approaching. You can download the “Truth in Ten” slideshow as well as the “Make it a Reality: Action Kit” at: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/  Finally, I’ll have a learning guide ready focused on […]

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 […]

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

Quality Resource: Planned Parenthood for Educators

Most people are familiar with the name Planned Parenthood; however, did you know they provide digital tools and lesson plans for educators? The videos use a variety of couples, alongside a narrator, to role play different scenarios (don’t worry, there is nothing explicit about these short clips). I find their video section to be especially helpful in assisting with a dialogue on: Safe Sex STD Testing Telling someone you have an STD Consent Follow the links below to learn about various lesson plans, videos, and even apps to be used with students. What is sex education?  Digital Tools  – There are even a list of apps split into middle school and high school usage. Happy learning! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

Quality Resource: Kevin Henkes Website

I’ve been a fan of Kevin Henkes’ books for quite some time yet somehow had no idea there were such great resources to accompany them. From memory games to coloring to recipes and even teaching guides (Common Core aligned Author Study as well), there’s sure to be something you’re interested in. Check them out at: Keven Henkes for Teachers and Librarians Happy reading! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez

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

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

Quality Resource: PBS Kids

This post is short and sweet 🙂 On January 15th, PBS announced it was expanding access to PBS Kids! While there was already a great selection, it’s now even better! Check out their array of children’s educational media on your local PBS station or online through pbskids.org. After arriving at the website, click on “videos” and then “live TV” and you can watch your local station anytime, online. By clicking on “learn more” above the show you can even see the intended audience, the goal, and a description of the show. In addition, PBS Kids brings you videos, games, and shows suitable to most audiences. This site is a great option for “fun fridays” or other times students are using devices within a fun free time setting. It’s also a great thing to recommend to parents and families who may be wondering what is appropriate to use with their youngest children. Happy watching and interacting! Your librarian, Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez