Tuesday, August 3, 2021

2021-2022 Back-To-School Time in the Library

It is back-to-school time and that means looking forward and planning for great activities for our students whether we are in person, virtual, or a hybrid model. In 2019 Shannon Miller created a wonderful Google Sheet, “Library, Learning and Literacy Celebrations Throughout The Year!”, that provides dates of monthly celebrations, resources, curricular tie-ins, display and bulletin board ideas, web links, and more. While this resource is “out of date” and some links are no longer valid, it still provides a jumping-off place for planning library activities. I’d also encourage you to keep an eye on Shannon’s blog for new lessons, choice boards, and collaborative ideas. 

Two of my favorite dates in September for the Elementary level are International Dot Day and Talk Like a Pirate Day. While it isn’t mandatory to sign up to participate in International Dot Day to create activities for your students, I would recommend doing so. Signing up will enable access to the free Educators’ Handbook for International Dot Day that is filled with many learning activities and blackline masters. Shannon Miller has also created a new STE(A)M Choice Board exclusively for International Dot Day. In addition, Discovery Education has an entire channel dedicated to International Dot Day. One of my favorite Discovery Education Dot Day resources is the virtual field trip

Kids love pirates and pretending! Sandy Kendell, a  digital learning coach in Texas at Georgetown ISD, wrote a blog post with seven fun ideas to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day with your students. Of course, my favorite of the seven ideas Sandy suggests is pulling out all of the pirate books in your library collection.  Melinda Long and David Shannon team up to write some of my favorite pirate books, including Pirates Don’t Change Diapers. Similar to their International Dot Day channel, Discovery Education has a channel dedicated to Pirates as well. Access the EBSCO eBooks K-8 collection through TexQuest to provide your students with virtual access to pirate books as well. Talk Like a Pirate Day is also the perfect time to introduce your students to the Story Pirates! The Story Pirates is an award-winning Podcast that takes stories written by students just like yours and turns them into sketch comedy and songs. You might also want to check out some of the YouTube videos created by the Story Pirates as well. They are always good for a big belly laugh! The Story Pirates are a great motivating tool to get students excited about creative writing. 

At the High School level, my September focus is on Banned Books Week and Library Card Signup Month. The theme for this year’s Banned Books Week is Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us. Jason Reynolds, Inaugural Honorary Chair of Banned Books Week, participated in a Twitter chat, #BannedBooksChat, on August 2, 2021. The chat is full of information about how librarians (and more) observe Banned Books Week in their schools. Question #3 of the #BannedBooksChat is a reminder that all school librarians need to review their requests for reconsideration policies and procedures should a book challenge arise. 

September is also the perfect time to partner with your public library for Library Card Signup Month. Many public libraries will come to your school and allow students to sign up for a public library card. Marley Davis, author, executive producer, and founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks is the honorary chair this year. It makes my heart sing to see her in this role! 

Although we have just dipped our toes into August the #LibraryCardSignUpMonth on Twitter is already generating buzz. Use #LibraryCardSignUpMonth on Twitter to access ideas from September 2020.  The American Library Association has provided free, downloadable, social media headers, covers, for you to use all month long. 

No matter the month, a visit to the library is always a reason to celebrate!