This is a quick commentary and tutorial of sorts about the digital business card that I posted this past weekend on Twitter. Everyone, including the great folks at Buncee, was excited to see it and I cannot take all of the credit!
I saw this digital business card in my feed and it immediately caught my eye! Bethany Hill @bethhill2829 was participating in the #leadupchat and had posted her Buncee as a way to introduce herself to others. What an amazing idea!!! I have used Buncee to create a business card of sorts and featured it on my blog, but never had I thought to use it when participating in Twitter chats. Bethany is brilliant!!! (For reasons beyond this one, so go follow her on Twitter if you aren't already!)
One thing I particularly love about Bethany's design is that she used that adorable clothesline sticker to highlight her social media accounts and some of her educator badges. THOSE BADGES....geez, I have so many and love them, but what to do with all of them?! This is a perfect solution!
I immediately got to work on an updated Buncee of my own. I used two of the clothesline stickers to create a banner across the top just like Bethany did. I then "sent them to the back" so that I could upload my badges and place them inside of each Polaroid window. Bethany added some text beneath hers, mostly because she featured her social media in her windows, but I chose to only feature my professional badges, so I didn't add any text.
Next, I took a cue from Bethany in adding an actual photo of myself. Now normally this would NOT be something I would do, but hers really adds to the professionalism of the Buncee...it truly makes it more of a business card. So...I found another Polaroid sticker in Buncee and after "sending it to the back," added my photo.
Finally, I noticed that Bethany featured her #JoyfulLeaders hashtag and her title. Again, mine isn't exactly the same, but the idea behind it is. I created a little section on the bottom left to highlight my professional interests and passions. Then on the bottom right side, I chose to list my social media connections and the two hashtags of which I am the founder: #happylibrary and #nwgams (that's the Northwest Georgia Media Specialists group if you are interested).
Since I use my digital business card on the contact page of this blog, I decided to use the color schemes and clip art banners that are used here to tie it all together. That is one of the many things I love about Buncee...you can upload your own images and clip art to really personalize your creations!
Take a look at my final creation and see what you think:
And that is it! It is that simple! So what are you waiting for??? Go log in and create yours today. Be sure to go over to Bethany's blog and look for her advice on creating the digital business card, as well. She is an official Buncee Ambassador, so I'm sure her ideas will be even better than mine!
Please share your own digital business card on Twitter and tag @bethhill2829 @LeighaBurnham and @Buncee to let us cheer for your creations!
I have neglected to share a few more ideas that I implemented during November's National Picture Book Month celebration. I'm going to try to keep this post short and succinct, while still providing you with an update on our lessons with picture books and our Picture Book Smackdown.
One of the BEST lessons I did with students during the month of November was a #picturebooksnap lesson. We used one of my favorite digital tools, Buncee. Those who know me, know I'm a HUGE fan of this digital tool! One of the best decisions I've made this year was to purchase a classroom edition for the library. Students in 4th grade classes used their student computers to snap pictures of a page in their current picture book. Then, they uploaded the photo to Buncee as the background. They were then able to add stickers, text, and other Buncee features to create a picture book recommendation in the form of a #booksnap. If you don't know what a book snap is, or what it looks like, I'm sharing a few of my students' creations with you! It is an awesome activity and highly engaging to students. The idea for this lesson originated with the #booksnaps done by Tara M. Martin, which you can read about HERE.
One thing that was so great about the #picturebooksnaps activity is that it gave student experts a chance to shine. Once a particular student mastered the photo uploading or perhaps the use of the drawing tool, they became the "table expert" and were able to tutor other students at their table. It was AWESOME! I purposefully taught certain students who often do not get to be leaders in other ways, how to do particular tricks or skills with Buncee. They were then the table expert in those areas and it was wonderful to see them embrace their new leadership role!
This activity also really empowers students to give honest reviews of the books they've read. Most of them loved their book selections, but not all. Students used star ratings (or other things like snowmen, etc.) to share what they really thought about the books they did for their #picturebooksnaps. It really gave them a voice. I love this.
Another thing we completed this month was our first-ever Picture Book Smackdown! We joined forces with two other schools for a Skype session where we shared our favorite picture books of the month and it was AWESOME! We had a few technical difficulties as we prepared for the week, but we were able to work all of those out with the help of our technical support people. On the day of the event, our Skype connection went off without a hitch!
Fellow media specialists, Diane Hassler of Cartersville Elementary School and Melissa Cairns of Fairyland Elementary School, did a wonderful job selecting students to share and in helping them prepare. The students seemed to have such a fun time and in our library, we had an audience of almost half of our 5th grade! I would be remiss without mentioning again Andy Plemmons of Barrow Elementary School who invented the smackdown concept and so graciously shares his resources with others so that they might begin smackdowns in their own libraries. I hope to share the full video of the event in the future, but for now, I'll just share some photos from the day!
And finally, I wanted to briefly say that the Picture Book Challenge was also a success. Although most students did not completely fill up their stamp cards, they were able to earn a lot of stamps and they gained a greater exposure to a variety of picture books.
I hate that it took me this long to share the final events of our Picture Book Month activities with you here, but hopefully it was worth the wait. Don't forget that if you want up-to-date happenings from The Happy Library, you should connect with us on Instagram and Facebook. I post there almost daily...or at least weekly. And that's a wrap!
December in an elementary school is cRaZy busy! Every day it seems we have a new event happening...chorus concert, Santa pictures, holiday breakfast, and on and on. I had been really looking forward to sharing holiday stories with students and had the idea of doing a passport for a "Christmas around the world" event, but my calendar got the best of me. As it turns out, I only get one week during the entire month of December to have regular library classes. Only one.
I debated over doing STEM challenges or holidays around the world, but I ended up at The Nutcracker. The ballet has been one of my personal holiday favorites for a very long time. I even did a nutcracker themed Christmas in my own home, when my boys were younger, where I put a different themed tree in every room of our house! I had the Dance of the Candy Canes in my youngest son's room, the nutcrackers in the mud room, the Arabian Coffee dance in the kitchen....you get the picture. It was over the top, but the best thing about Christmas that year was dressing our boys up and taking them to the Chattanooga Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker. The boys behaved very well, enjoyed the show, and were exposed to a little "culture," as my momma would say.
Most of my students have not had cultural experiences like these. So, I set upon finding a storybook to share and figuring out a lesson. And, even though you probably don't have time to implement it this year, maybe sharing it here will inspire you to think about personal stories and experiences that you had growing up that you could turn into library lessons for your students!
I found a lovely picture book at Barnes & Noble that is a re-telling of the ballet as performed by the New York City Ballet Company and beautifully illustrated by Valeria Docampo. The text is quite lengthy, but worth it. It does a great job of telling a very complex story, but in language that students can follow with the added bonus of a few vocabulary words you can introduce to them.
I started my lesson by showing students two of my own nutcrackers and talking a bit about what a nutcracker is, why we use them as decoration this time of year, and introducing Tchaichovsky's writing of the music. I then read aloud the book.
After reading, I had a few links to scenes from the ballet placed in a Google slide show. I introduced each scene briefly and connected to our story. The possibilities are endless here, but these are the scenes I chose and the reasons why. I have also inserted the videos so that you can see them.
1. Act 1. Tableau 1. Scene 7. The Battle between The Nutcracker and The Mouse King. I felt like the battle was important to highlight for the boys. Many young boys feel that ballet is for girls. We talked about this and I shared with the boys that many strong men perform ballet. I was pleasantly surprised by how the boys were really engaged watching the video! They noted how strong the nutcracker's legs looked and they laughed at the antics of the mice and the "bang" of the cannon. I did fast-forward into the clip to about 2:10 or so, just to save time and to get to the actual dual of the nutcracker and mouse king.
2. Act 2. Scene 12. Divertissement. Trepak. (Also known as the Dance of the Russian Candy Canes.) This was obviously a choice because of the music. I knew students would recognize the tune and I wanted them to make the connection to Tchaikovsky and the ballet. It was fun to see their faces light up when they heard the music and exclaim, "I know this!" They also loved the jumping and leaping of these dancers! And this scene is only about one minute long, so quick and easy. The only thing here is that the dancers are not dressed as candy canes and that was a little confusing to the children. In the future, I might look for a version that has the candy cane costumes rather than the traditional Russian costumes.
3. Act 2. Scene 14. Variation 2. Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy. We talked about the principal ballerina and why the role of the Sugarplum Fairy is so coveted. I also asked students to listen for the music to see if they recognized it...which, of course, they did. I also told students about the wooden toe blocks placed inside of a ballerina's toe shoes for pointe work and they were fascinated! Even the boys were really into this...they watched her feet very closely, looking for the blocks of wood! Watching their faces was the highlight of my week!!! So fun...and this particular ballerina, Nina Kaptsova is such a delight to watch. She seems to be having fun, so that makes the video clip so much more interesting. The students also commented on how different the sets look in each clip. This opened the door for some conversation about productions, costumers, set designers and so on. Lots of STEM ideas there!
After watching each of the clips, we moved on to the final portion of the lesson. I had coloring sheets that I purchased HERE and I also provided a Nutcracker word search for those who didn't want to color. As students worked on these, I played more of Tchaikovsky's music. They loved it.
As students lined up to leave the library, I handed them a scratch-n-sniff bookmark that was either a gingerbread scent or peppermint candy cane scent. These went over with RAVE reviews!!!
Most of my students had never been to see The Nutcracker. Only about two students in each group admitted to having been and most of those had only been to local productions by student ballet companies and not professional companies. I would really like to find videos that feature dancers with more ethnic diversity and I also think it would be really neat to find variations on the story of The Nutcracker...maybe something by the Alvin Ailey Dancers that is more contemporary would be fun.
I did this lesson with all third through fifth graders and I would say that 3rd and 4th graders were the most engaged. I think that involving a STEM aspect to the lesson, or getting more technical with the ballet or music portions of this lesson would be more appealing to the older students, but overall I think everyone enjoyed the lesson. And teachers were appreciative...they commented that they were so glad I was exposing students to this production, noting that most of these kids have never been to a live performance outside of a school concert. I think I need to find a way to change that.
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