Friday, October 22, 2021

Elementary Social Studies Resources and TEKS Alignments


Engaging in Academic Discourse Secondary Social Studies Resources


Secondary Social Studies Resources & TEKS Alignments


Elementary School November Resources from the ESC Region 13 Distance & Digital Learning Team


Secondary Education November Resources from the ESC Region 13 Distance & Digital Learning Team


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Maximizing Your Digital Resources to Engage Readers

School librarians play an essential role in developing literacy skills by creating an environment that values and encourages students to read for pleasure. In addition, school librarians are trained to vet, curate, and connect resources to the curriculum for maximum teacher support and student engagement. Even before the rapid transition of virtual learning due to the pandemic, school librarians connected educational technologies to support independent student learning and provide support resources for teachers.

The merging of several technologies to support a learning objective has been referred to as app or website smashing. Two favorite educational technologies to support reading development and reading for pleasure are Discovery Education and TexQuest database resources.

Discovery Education has over 1500 audiobooks available, from classic children’s stories and fairy tales to science fiction and famous poetry to modern young adult favorites. Reading aloud is one effective model for teaching reading that has been found to be effective in increasing fluency and comprehension, especially for struggling readers (Montgomery, 2009). Discovery Education’s audiobook resources help teachers meet the needs of students who benefit from this approach to learning.

TexQuest is a statewide digital resources program that provides anytime, anywhere access to high quality, authoritative digital resources to all educators, students, and students' immediate families in Texas K-12 public schools and open enrollment charter schools. TexQuest has full text eBooks accessible in three TexQuest databases.

Another helpful TexQuest database is Teaching Books. Teaching Books provides resources to support teaching with books. Included are:

  • About the authors
  • Author interviews
  • Book guides, activities & lessons
  • Book readings
  • Vocabulary lists
  • Book & adaptation websites
  • Awards & distinctions
Here are a few app/website smashed book combinations curated just for you! Pair these edtech book resources with the print version in your school library.

Kindergarten - 1st Grade


Discovery Education


Chato’s Kitchen by Gary Soto and Susan Guevara

Chato’s Kitchen Audiobook

Chato’s Kitchen Video with Teacher’s guide and Quiz

Chato’s Kitchen Video (Spanish Version)

Chato’s Kitchen Studio Activity

TeachingBooks Database

These Hands: My Family’s Hands/ Estas manos: Manitas de mi familia by Samuel Caraballo

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Channel

Resources in Spanish Channel

2nd Grade - 3rd Grade


Discovery Education


Geronimo Stilton:

It’s Halloween

You ‘Fraidy Mouse

by Elisabetta Dami


Stilton: It’s


You ‘Fraidy





Sidney & Sydney by Michele Jakubowski

Story Map Activity

4th Grade - 5th Grade


Discovery Education


Goosebumps Horrorland: The Scream of the Haunted Mask by R. L. Stine

Goosebumps Horrorland: The Scream of the Haunted Mask Audiobook

TeachingBooks Database

National Geographic Kids: Animal Zombies! and other bloodsucking beasts, creepy creatures, and real-life monsters by Chana Stiefel

Animals Channel

Insects Channel

  • Gale National Geographic Kids eBook

6th Grade - 8th Grade

9th Grade - 12th Grade


Discovery Education


Top Pick on #BookTok

Common Sense

Education®: Media

Balance & Well-Being




Montgomery, J. R. (2009). Using audio books to improve reading and academic performance. In Online Submission. Online Submission.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Revising and Editing: State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Support Resources

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are coming to the Reading Language Arts STAAR. Discovery Education provides a host of grab-and-go revising and editing support resources for teachers to begin using with students today!

One of my favorite revising and editing support resources is the Daily-Fix-It. Discovery Education creates monthly Studio Slides that help teachers establish a daily classroom routine that combines historical events with a daily sentence fix-it. Project the premade slides each day to allow students the opportunity to brush up on their spelling and grammar skills while exploring high-interest events.


Discovery Education is known for its high-quality, engaging videos and video segments. Aligned with the TEKS (or your state curriculum standards), you will find videos about editing and publishing, writing and revising, and more! Beyond videos, Discovery Education provides teachers with easily accessible interactives, lessons, activities, images, text, audio, and instructional strategies to enhance teaching and engage learners.

An SOS Instructional Strategy that helps develop skills in identifying key ideas and details, and summarizing is Journals. Journals is a teaching strategy that encourages students to summarize their learning by drawing a picture and writing a few phrases or sentences. This activity allows for students at various levels of knowledge of academic vocabulary to participate, by writing a few words, short phrases, or complex sentences. The Journals SOS instructional strategy meets the commit, make sense, and practice phases of McREL’s 6 phases of learning model. Learn more about using the SOS Instructional Strategy, Journals, by typing “journals” in the Discovery Education search bar. 

Contact the Distance and Digital Learning Team at ESC Region 13 in Austin, Texas, or your state Discovery Education representative for more great STAAR or other standardized test support resources available through your Discovery Education Experience subscription.

Extend your knowledge of McREL’s 6 phases of learning model by signing up to take the ESC Region 13’s Six-Phase Model For Student Learning That Sticks course.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Fall Into Fun At Your School Library

Fall has arrived, scaring up a bountiful harvest of school library events wrapped up and ready to use. Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week, along with other teen-related activities, have been blended into TeenTober, a month-long library celebration with observations and activities designed to connect teens with services, materials, and opportunities to help them develop new skills and fuel their passions for learning. TeenTober heightens awareness as to the critical role school libraries play in the lives of teens (Young Adult Library Services Association, 2020).

Beyond connecting students with books that serve as windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors (Oxley, 2006) librarians help keep students safe online by teaching media and digital literacy skills and by promoting the positive use of technology and social media use (Young Adult Library Services Association, n.d.). One positive use of social media by teens is finding books they want to read by following the #booktok hashtag on TikTok. School librarians, authors, publishers, and retailers, have seen a significant increase in the demand for books featured and reviewed on #booktok TikTok (Murrary, 2021). School librarians should tap into #BookTok as a resource for book recommendations, reading promotions, and increasing literacy in their schools (Merga, 2021).

Check out Texas school librarian Andrea Keller’s #BookTalkTues at @akbusybee, or view TikTok from the teen perspective of @moongirlreads. One activity you could do in your library to get kids actively involved in the #BookTok trend is to set up a #BookTok recording studio in your MakerSpace (Jensen, 2016). All you need is a quiet (or semi-quiet) space and a recording device. Add in a green screen and video editing tools for a little extra spice. Then display the completed videos (with student permission, of course) in your library on a running loop. FlipGrid is another easy-to-use and share video creation platform your students can use to create their very own #BookTok videos from Kindergarten all the way to high school seniors (FlipGrid, 2020)! 

November ushers in World Kindness Day, a holiday that focuses on why it is important to be kind to others, yourself, and the world. Kindness: The World We Make, is a great video to introduce the concept of World Kindness Month. There are so many simple ways we can show kindness every day:

  • Send an uplifting text to a friend

  • Talk to someone new at your school

  • Call your grandparents and ask them about their childhood

  • Read a book to a younger sibling

  • Secretly do a household chore that you don’t normally do

  • Tell your principal how great your teacher is

The Great Kindness Challenge toolkit provides schools with a detailed plan that can involve students, school administrators, teachers and staff, PTA/PTO members, and the community. One super easy activity you can set up in your library to celebrate kindness is to provide a place where students can write uplifting messages. Here is a picture of a tree I used year-round to pose a variety of topics to encourage student voice. 

Discovery Education is filled with Social Emotional Learning resources including the Prevent Bullying channel.

Start December and finish out 2021 with Hour of Code

Hour of CodeTM takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week in recognition of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper’s birthday. Knowing computer programming and basic coding builds the problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity needed for student success in any 21st-century career path (Roy, 2020). Unfortunately, fewer than half of all schools teach computer science which puts our students at a disadvantage when vying for jobs in a competitive job market. Currently, computing jobs are the number one source of new wages in the United States. Unfortunately, students entering the workforce do not possess the skills to fill the over 500,000 computer science jobs currently open (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021). 

The Hour of CodeTM website has free coding activities available from pre-readers to high school students. Coding activities are designed to work on computers, Android, iPad/iPhone/no internet, or unplugged. In addition, Hour of CodeTM allows teachers to filter coding activities to complement the curriculum with activities related to science, math, social studies, language arts, and more. Learn how to plan an Hour of CodeTM event at your school, whether you are teaching in-person or virtually, with the Hour of Code planning guide


George, B. (2020, March 25). Write a book review. FlipGrid

Jensen, K. (2016, February 11). MakerSpace: Green screen photo booth, app review and tips and 

tricks. School Library Journal


Merga, M.K. (2021). How can Booktok on TikTok inform readers’ advisory services for young 

people? Library and Information Science Research 

Murray, C. (2021, July 06). TikTok is taking the book industry by storm, and retailers are taking 

notice. NBC News


Oxley, P. (2006). Rudine Sims Bishop: Making a difference through literature. Language Arts, 83(6). 552.

Roy, N. (2020, June 16). Coding is the new literacy. Harvard University

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021, September 8). Employment by major occupational group.

Young Adult Library Services Association (n.d.). Issue brief #2: Libraries help keep teens safe 



Young Adult Library Services Association (2020). 2020 YALSA TEENtober toolkit.