Tuesday, February 23, 2021

SLJ free virtual event: Middle Grade Magic


Event Hours: 9:00 AM ET - 5:00 PM ET (6:00 AM PST - 2:00 PM PST)


Join School Library Journal for their third annual Middle Grade Magic virtual event, a day-long celebration of authors and creators dedicated to crafting literature for children ages eight through 12. Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at some of the most anticipated new titles for kids and tweens, from modern coming-of-age tales to eye-popping graphic novels to immersive fantasy. Attendees will also have the opportunity to check out the virtual exhibit hall, chat directly with authors, download educational resources, and enter to win prizes and giveaways.

Visit the event webpage for event details.

Please note that the event environment and the sessions have attendance capacity limits. If on the day of the event you find that you are unable to access the environment or join a session, please know that sessions will be available for on-demand viewing within 24hrs., and the entire event will be accessible for three months from the event date.

Friday, February 19, 2021

New Items in the ERS Library Circulating Collection - February 2021

Click on each book cover to access more resources via TeachingBooks.net
K-3rd This is the story of a little girl who just wanted to go, even when others tried to stop her. Experience the true story of lifelong activist Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins and her participation in the Capitol Crawl in this inspiring autobiographical picture book. 
K-3rd A joyful celebration of individuality--and staying true to you! Be curious, Be adventurous, Be brave, 'Be you!
3rd-6th Agent Moose, the best (worst) secret agent in the Big Forest, and his slightly-more-intelligent sidekick Owlfred are on the case in this new graphic novel chapter book series from Mo O'Hara, author of My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, and illustrated by Jess Bradley!
3rd-6th Act is the funny and honest follow-up to the middle school graphic novel sensations Click and Camp. Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier, Shannon Hale, and Victoria Jamieson.
3rd-6th Discusses what COVID-19 is, how the virus makes people sick, how to detect and treat it, and more.
5th-8th In this graphic novel, Jim Ottaviani and illustrator Maris Wicks capture the great humor and incredible drive of Mary Cleave, Valentina Tereshkova, and the first women in space.
5th-8th Narrated by one extraordinary ten-year-old girl, this inspiring memoir tells the story of a daughter of Mexican American immigrants who finds her voice through the power of words and performance of Cervantes’ Don Quixote.
Young Adult One girl must make a name for herself--or die trying--in this royal fantasy where an unknown peasant becomes the ultimate ruler. But how long can she keep the crown if everyone wants her dead?
Young Adult A group of students are trapped in their school after a bomb goes off, and must fight to survive while discovering who among them is the bomber.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Technology Tips - February 2021

                                                                                                                            by Steve Woods, Instructional Technology Specialist

Since the Pandemic began, I'm sure that you have learned about a variety of methods to record your screen, to perform a virtual book reading, provide technology tutorials, or communicate with your learning community. If you'd like to branch out your screen recording repertoire, you might want to give Loom a glance.

Loom is a free resource that allows you to record all or part of your screen, while adding you and your voice while presenting. Loom's interface is minimal and easy to use, allowing you to choose what you want to record (just your screen, a portion of your screen, and even your face). You can pause during recordings, and then start right back up when ready.

You can choose to keep your Loom recordings online, or download them to your machine, which is our preferred method, as there are storage limits on Loom.com. Upgrades will allow you to have a highlighter follow your cursor when clicked, as well as a do-not-disturb feature which turns off bothersome screen notifications during recording.

Looms can be shared directly from their website via hyperlink, Gmail, Facebook or Twitter, while downloaded recordings can be put into Google Drive or YouTube for further sharing.

To download the free Loom application, visit the educator's version at https://www.loom.com/education and click Get Loom for Free. Create your free account using your school email account, then visit the link again, and click to verify you are an educator. You'll be asked to input the email address you utilized to create the account, the name of your campus, and your school's website. Loom may take up to a week to verify your campus account, after which your account will indicate you have a free educator's level account. Educators receive additional storage space on the Loom servers for recordings you wish to keep online.

Please note that a verified educator's account is not necessary to use Loom, and there are ways to bypass their online storage limits, as listed in our Google Slides presentation on Loom.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Junior Library Guild -- Virtual Middle Grade Author Talk

Magnificent Middle Grade: Mysteries, Missions and Merengue in Middle Grade Fiction

February 24 | 2p.m. ET  (11a.m. PST)  REGISTER HERE

It is so important to provide books with relatable characters for middle grade readers. Bold heroes and heroines that readers can see themselves in bring more credibility to a story and encourage readers to dive deeper into the world created for them. 

Join JLG Wednesday, February 24 at 2pm ET as they sit down with 3 incredible authors, whose stories embrace strong heroes and heroines who solve mysteries, uncover secrets and most importantly, learn about themselves. They'll be sitting down with Newbery Award winning author Meg Medina, Newbery Honor author Christina Soontornvat, and Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner T.R. Simon, to chat all about their relatable characters, building stories for middle grade readers and more. 

Perfect for librarians, educators, parents and students of all ages.

Can't make the live webcast? Don't worry! JLG webcasts are recorded and available to watch on-demand at juniorlibraryguild.com/jlg-webcasts

Meg Medina, Author
Merci Suarez Changes Gears
Christina Soontornvat, Author
A Wish in the Dark
T.R. Simon, Author
Zora & Me
Meg Medina is an award-winning and New York Times best-selling author who writes picture books, as well as middle grade and young adult fiction. Her works have been called “heartbreaking,” “lyrical” and “must haves for every collection. ”When she’s not writing, Meg works on community projects that support girls, Latino youth, and/or literacy. She serves on the National Board of Advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and is a faculty member of Hamline University’s Masters of Fine Arts in Children’s Literature. She lives with her family in Richmond, Virginia. Christina Soontornvat grew up in a small Texas town where she spent many childhood days behind the counter of her parents' Thai restaurant with her nose in a book. She is the author of many books for young readers, including The Blunders, illustrated by Colin Jack. She now lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two children. T.R. Simon is a children's book writer. Her first book, Zora and Me, co-authored with Victoria Bond, won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent and was nominated for an Edgar award in the category of Juvenile Fiction. Her second book, Oskar and the Eight Blessings, co-authored with her husband Richard Simon and illustrated by Mark Siegel, won the National Jewish Book Award for Children's literature. Her latest book, Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground, a Junior Library Guild Selection, was nominated for an Edgar and won a Whippoorwill Book Award for Rural Children's Literature.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Calling all students in grades 3rd through 8th --- Join the 2021 Writing Bee!

BoomWriter hosts the free annual Writing Bee, which is open to students in grades 3 - 8. This year's featured authors are Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Jerry Craft, New Kid.

Class-based Qualifying Rounds
Qualifying rounds are conducted by classroom teachers on their own schedule and with their own students. After reading the Guest Author’s engaging story start, students within the class independently write their version of the next chapter. When writing is finished, students then view the anonymous submissions of their classmates in small batches and vote for their favorites. A winning submission is identified and becomes the middle chapter in the story, and the process repeats as the class moves on to write the story’s final chapter. When finished, the class will have completed an original story and the class chapter winners will advance to The Writing Bee Finals.

The Finals
Qualifying round chapter winners will be invited to compete in The Writing Bee Finals (spring 2021). Plus, all Qualifying round participants will be eligible to participate in the voting to help determine this year’s Writing Bee Champion!

To learn more, visit https://boomwriter.com/thewritingbee or view the video below.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Hey fourth graders**! See America’s natural wonders and historic sites for free.

A world of learning, discovery, and fun awaits every kid! Calling all 4th graders! What do you know about America’s federal lands and waters? You can find them almost everywhere! From Puerto Rico to Maine and Virginia to the Pacific Islands, some of America’s most spectacular destinations await your discovery. Connect with nature while you explore more than 400 national parks and millions of acres of federal lands and waters. Visit cool places like Land Between the Lakes, Channel Islands, the St. Louis Arch, San Antonio Missions, the Frederick Douglass home, Canyon of the Ancients, and the Florida Keys. Listen to howling wolves, check out prehistoric dinosaur tracks, paddle a river, walk in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, or look up into a dark night sky and reach for the stars!

Educators -- Get free National Parks passes for your 4th grade students!
As a fourth-grade educator, you can download an activity and print paper passes for each of your students. This program only provides passes for fourth graders. **For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, U.S. fifth graders can bring their families to national parks, national forests and grasslands, wildlife refuges and other Department of the Interior, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-managed public lands and waters for free! Download and print the 5th grade voucher here.**

Parents and guardians -- Plan a trip!
Your child can take you amazing places! With a pass, fourth graders (and fifth graders, until August 31, 2021) can bring family and friends on adventures free for a full year.

Click here to review the new Every Kid Outdoors Program brochure for full details.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego?

The world's greatest super thief has struck again! Can you track her around the globe to recover the stolen loot? 

From the site: "Gumshoes, we need your help to track down the notorious VILE operative, Carmen Sandiego. She's stolen the Crown Jewels from London and is on the move in Google Earth. Created in collaboration with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, our game is an homage to the original. It’s for all those gumshoes who grew up with the chase, and for the next generation feeling that geography itch for the first time."

The game's interface will be familiar to anyone who's played past Carmen Sandiego games. Click the blue magnifying glass icon to search your current area for clues by talking to locals at notable landmarks. If you need to refresh your memory about a response, simply return to the landmark you previously visited and ask again; there's no time limit. Once you've figured out where the suspect is headed next, press the orange airplane button to select your destination and zip off to the next exotic locale. 

Click to play these exciting Carmen Sandiego games --

Friday, February 5, 2021

Did You Know? - February 2021


Britannica Fundamentals! is a brand new resource in the ERS Portal! Students from Pre-K through 2nd grade will love the activities offered - from language and literacy to geography and mathematics. Implementation ideas for each section offer teachers guidance on how to best integrate the sections with their teaching.

The four sections include:

  • Read: Animated e-books introduce young learners to fundamental concepts while building language, critical thinking, and comprehension skills. The books cover the following topics: Animals, Colors, Me and You, People and Places, and Shapes.
  • Explore: Students can click icons spread across a map of the world with the major biomes highlighted in different colors. Each one will bring up an image or video with information about the plants, animals, and people of that biome.
  • Play: Ten collections of games covering basic topics in mathematics and language arts. Each game features ten questions introduced by an animated character who reads the questions aloud, game show style.
  • Create: Students can illustrate a concept they have learned or just have fun drawing and expressing their own personality.

Lesson Plans include instructions and activities that will help teachers connect Read and Explore to their curriculum. The Tips and Ideas identify ways to use Play and Create with one student or a small group of students. Also included are ideas for differentiation and extension.

Log in to the ERS Portal, click on Britannica Elementary, then you’ll see a banner announcing Britannica Fundamentals! Click "Visit the Site" to access the content.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Upcoming Holidays & Observances - January 2021

February is African American History Month, also known as Black History Month. It is a point in time to pay honor and remember the past and present accomplishments of African Americans. Established in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History,” it began as the celebration of Negro History Week, because it aligned with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. The ERS Library has books available for check out as well as online resources by logging into our ERS Portal.

Discovery Education resources:

                  K - 2                   3 - 5                    6 - 8                     9 - 12

In the ERS Library circulating collection: