Summer Learning with Maine’s Wild Seed Project

Summer Learning with Maine’s Wild Seed Project

“Are you a Maine educator ready to strengthen your content knowledge and skills to bring native plants to your classroom? Or are you passionate about supporting environmental education for young people? Join us or donate today.”

See below for more details.  (Registration info)


Photo of a field of native plants with text Summer teaching program. Wild seed project

“Last summer, Wild Seed Project piloted a two-day teacher training program designed to support Maine educators with integrating place-based, native plant ecology in their classrooms. Our educators and 22 teachers across the state gathered to learn and strategize together about the future of Maine’s native plant education thanks to the generous support of individuals and foundations across the state.”

“This August, join Wild Seed Project for a two-day professional development intensive for educators, focusing on decolonizing the language of environmental education, building safety and belonging in the natural world, and fostering relationships with Maine’s flora and fauna. Educators will come away with expanded language for describing place-based relationships, ideas and resources for building outdoor education spaces at their schools, and new curriculum to try! This training also provides resources for integrating Wabanaki studies into environmental education in support of state requirement LD 291.”

“This program is developed and facilitated in partnership with Nell Houde (Wild Seed Project); Kathy Pollard and Ann Pollard-Ranco (Penobscot citizen) of Know yOUR Land Consulting; and educators from MOFGA (Session 1) and The Ecology School (Session 2).”

(Registration info)

Tony Vincent offers “Classy Creativity with AI” Workshop

Tony Vincent of Learning in Hand, will be offering what sounds like a terrific workshop on uses of Artificial Intelligence in education from April 3 to 30, 2024. This workshop is called Classy Creativity with AI. I’ve take some of Tony’s workshops in the past and learned so much from him. He’s a terrific educator and his workshops are very well organized. The workshop fee is $99 if you register by March 13. Even though I’ve been retired for 5 years (omg, 5 years?), I may take this workshop. Hope some of Cool Tools for Schools folks join me!

Here’s the outline for the workshop.

 

Pulitzer Center Top 10 Lesson Plans of 2023

You may already be familiar with the wonderful lesson plan collection from the Pulitzer Center. They have over 150 lesson plans that address a wide range of global issues for all age levels.  Their “lessons encourage students to make local connections to global news stories, while strengthening skills such as critical thinking, media literacy, and communication.”

They’ve just released their top 10 lesson plans of the year and what a great list that reflects many of the issues our world has faced in the last year. The top 10 list includes:

  • The Journey: My Family and How They Got Here
  • One Paycheck Away: Budgets, Evictions, Homelessness, and Who Can Help
  • Community in the Face of Climate Change
  • “Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: Listening Guide for Educators”

The complete collection is searchable by grade level, subject area, topics, country and world regions.

 

 

The Banned Book Club Expands Access

In a recent news release, the Digital Public Library’s Banned Book Club announced it would expand access to everyone in the state of Illinois, thanks to the support of the University of Chicago Library.

“Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)  is pleased to announce a new partnership with the University of Chicago Library to expand The Banned Book Club. We launched The Banned Book Club in July 2023 to ensure that every reader in communities where books have been banned can access ebook versions of banned titles for free via the Palace app. This new collaboration between DPLA and the University of Chicago Library will expand access to The Banned Book Club to all readers in Chicago and the state of Illinois and underscores our shared commitment to ensuring intellectual freedom for all. “

 

Banned Books Week

It’s Banned Books Week!

Timberland Library Banned Books

October 1 – 7 is Banned Books Week. To help spread awareness of frequently banned young adult books, I’ve created a LibraryThing book widget of titles. Feel free to copy the code below and add this widget to your own web pages.

Titles were gathered from the following sources (and a few other lists):

If you’d like to use this book display widget, just copy the code below and add it to your own web pages. Please be sure to give credit to the sources above or link back here for those sources.

<div id="w81d8af700f3f4b7f12a55d022c3eb8de"></div>
<script type="text/javascript" charset="UTF-8" src="https://www.librarything.com/widget_get.php?userid=pollyalida&theID=w81d8af700f3f4b7f12a55d022c3eb8de"></script><noscript><a href="http://www.librarything.com/profile/pollyalida">My Library</a> at <a href="http://www.librarything.com">LibraryThing</a></noscript>

Also, check out this link to a post about the DPLA Banned Books App. It provides free access to books that have been banned by your local libraries. (If your local libraries haven’t banned anything, you won’t see any books, lucky you!)


Handy Tip:

The links in the widget go back to LibraryThing. If you’re using the Chrome browser and have installed the Library Extension, you’ll get links back to your catalog. This works in GoodReads and Amazon too. This post has more info on adult book lists and that Chrome Extension: Powerful Book Lists & Handy Library Extension for Chrome

(Book links may include affiliate links)

Early Literacy and Activity Calendars

Looking for some fun activities for your little ones as the end of summer looms? Check out these fun early literacy and activity calendars.

day by day activity calendarDay By Day NY – A calendar of fun activities for every day of the year. Read along and listen to 2 books from One More Story. Come back every day for 2 different books. Also includes songs to song, some fun activity ideas and more. From the New York State Library.

 

 

Daily fun with your little one Early Literacy and Activity Calendars – Some daily fun for your little one! 2 downloadable calendars per month with lots of quick, fun activities for when your creative well has run dry. (from DemcoJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some recent AI resources for school librarians and other educators

Robot hand touching a human hand.

I won’t attempt to list a zillion specific resources about AI, but simply point to some recent school library related AI sources that might help you find your way into this massive, and massively important, topic.

  • The AI School Librarian is a new Facebook group started by Elissa Malespina. A great place for educators to talk about artificial intelligence, and share ideas and resources. Do join!
  • Elissa also has a Substack newsletter: The AI School Librarian Newsletter. I particularly loved the resources listed in the post Is It AI? Try them out and see if you can recognize AI created content.
  • Vicki Davis, the Cool Cat Teacher, interviewed a student about his AI project on a recent episode of her 10 Minute Teacher podcast: The Human Side of AI: A Student’s ChatGPT Experience. For his senior capstone project, the student ran several of their computer class assignments through ChatGPT to compare how well it completed the projects vs student work. Interesting results and a great take on the student perspective!
  • Phil Bradley, a well respected library-world speaker in the UK, is doing a webinar on AI for school librarians on August 25. In School Librarians and AI participants will gain “a good overview of how AI can be used in school libraries, how it’s evolving and lists of tools that can be used to supplement and assist you in your workplace activities. It’s a perfect short cut to get you on top of AI quickly and effectively. The session will be recorded, and you will have access to it for 3 months.” (£35 fee) And even though most of my readers know I’ve retired, I couldn’t resist signing up for this. I know Phil, he’ll provide a ton of information, insights, and great resources.

About 6 months ago, I pondered adding a new Cool Tools lesson on AI, but quickly became overwhelmed with material to review. And I remembered that I was retired and returned to travel planning instead! Though I think I may return to posting resources here on occasion. Wishing you all well in the new school year ahead.

(Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/bionic-hand-and-human-hand-finger-pointing-6153354/)

DPLA’s Banned Book Club App

Digital Public Library of America. The Banned Book Club. Unbanning every book in America to spread knowledge one book at a time.

If you live or work in an area where books have been banned in your local schools and/or public libraries, the Digital Public Library of America can help you access those banned books for free via their Palace ereader app. Details from a recent DPLA email below. Even if you don’t live in one of the targeted locations, you can download the app to see how it works and what titles are being banned.

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has launched The Banned Book Club to ensure that all readers have access to the books they want to read. The Banned Book Club makes e-book versions of banned books available to readers in locations across the United States where titles have been banned. The e-books will be available to readers for free via the Palace e-reader app.

Utilizing GPS-based geo-targeting, DPLA has established virtual libraries in communities across the United States where books have been banned. When a reader is within a community served by a library that has been forced to ban a book, they can visit TheBannedBookClub.info to see the exact books have been banned in their area. Then, they can download that book for free on any handheld device via the free Palace e-reader app.

To access The Banned Book Club now, download the Palace app and choose “Banned Book Club” as your library, then follow the prompts to sign up for a free virtual library card. For more specific instructions, click here. For more information on The Banned Book Club, readers can visit TheBannedBookClub.info.

It’s time to plant some fall veggies!

Yikes, it’s hot everywhere isn’t it! You might think it’s way too late to plant any veggies, but it’s the perfect time for you and your kids to plant some yummy fall veggies. (And there are some #CoolTools ideas at the end of this post.)

Margaret Roach has a wonderful list of what to plant in July & August on her A Way To Garden site. Margaret grows in the same growing zone as me, so I’ll be scouring her list for some new ideas. She also includes links to lists of what to plant in other growing zones as well. Don’t know your growing zone? Find out at this US growing zone map.

For more inspiration, every garden seed website will be highlighting seeds you can plant now for a bountiful fall crop. Two of my faves are Hudson Valley Seed Company and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Though there are tons more!

I’m planting carrots of all shapes and sizes, a rainbow of colorful beets, baby bok choy, and some beautiful big watermelon radishes that will last for months in the fridge crisper.

All those veggies can grow between midsummer and the last frost date in my area. Don’t know your last frost date? Check out this first & last frost calculator at Dave’s Garden by popping in your zip code.

And keep in mind that things like carrots and beets will keep nicely in the ground well after last frost dates.

Your local garden centers will still have seeds and may have seedlings to give you a jump start. Or check your local library to see if they have a seed library. It’s a great way to get a few seeds to try something new. I’m growing some little pumpkins from seeds that my library was giving out to families earlier in the spring.

A great way to introduce kids to gardening is to get some big pots that you can put on your porch, deck or patio so they can easily water and monitor their seeds and plants. Or give them a corner of your own big veggie bed. Even a small planter hanging on a railing can grow some lovely lettuce, parsley or basil.

So where’s the Cool Tools connection? Some ideas for your kids!

  • Use Google Drawings to sketch a plan of where to plant the seeds. Use the details on the seed packet to figure out how much space they need.
  • Set up a Google Spreadsheet of the seeds and note the dates when you planted, when you expect them to sprout, and when you expect them to be ready. Again, info will be on the packet or on the seed company’s web site.
  • Take pictures of the seed packets and plants as they grow. And of course take a photo of the gorgeous harvest with excited kids!
  • Use a note taking tool like Google Keep, a blog, or Padlet page to post the photos and keep notes.
  • Do some internet searching for kid-friendly recipes that they can make once the harvest is in! The Edible Schoolyard Project has some great ideas for recipes and kitchen skill building.

Most of all, just have some fun helping your kids growing a little bit of their own food. A tiny pot of parsley or a big pot of carrots. It all counts! Share your own ideas in the comments below. And happy growing!

Resources mentioned above: