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.
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. “
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):
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!)
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 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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Both New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library are making banned books available to readers across the country. This is in reaction to the huge upswing in book banning initiatives across the US.
NYPL is opening up a small collection of popular banned books to anyone via the easy to use NYPL SimplyE app. The collection also includes access to some 300,000 out of copyright and open source titles. This is available through the end of May. Details on downloading the app are on the NYPL Books for All page.
Brooklyn has an even better deal for teens & young adults aged 13 – 21. A free e-library card for the next year. This is such a great deal! Included access to their complete audio and e-books collection. Plus access to their magazine, newspaper and research databases. Simply send an email to BooksUnbanned@bklynlibrary.org or contact them via their teen-run Instagram account at @bklynfuture.
NOTE: New York State residents can obtain a free e-card at NYPL, Brooklyn and Queens Public Libraries.
Flourish, a terrific tool to “easily turn your data into stunning charts, maps and interactive stories”, is now integrated into Canva, a popular tool for creating graphics, presentation slides, and so much more.
Haven’t yet tried Flourish? Give it a whirl. Lots of templates for colorful, creative data visualizations and storytelling. Help students think about how data can be presented in multiple ways and how visualizing data can make presentation more compelling, powerful and persuasive. And learn how the same data can tell different stories depending on how it’s presented.
There’s even a fun quiz format. See their Harry Potter quiz embedded below. Free accounts are available, perfect for testing and for educational use.