Monday, May 16, 2011

Schoolkids Host ‘Alex’s Lemonade Stands,’
Fight Childhood Cancer

A group of students at Ralston Middle School in Belmont, California, literally turned lemons into lemonade. The students, who are members of Ralston’s student government, sold lemonade to raise money for Alex's Lemonade Stand, an organization that supports children afflicted by cancer. [see video above]

At Garnet Valley Elementary School in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, students ran an Alex’s Lemonade Stand event. They sold more than 1,000 cups of lemonade and raised $370. [read more]

One day last October, third-graders at Prairie Ridge Elementary School in Shawnee, Kansas, sold lemonade and cookies for 50 cents apiece. Their lunchtime effort ended up raising $1,303 for Alex’s Lemonade Foundation. The event helped students learn about childhood cancer, empathy, and how they each have the power to make a difference by overcoming obstacles they face in life, said teacher Brandi Leggett. [read more]

Last fall, members of the Key Club at Summer Creek High School in Houston hosted a lemonade stand at a local Chick-fil-A restaurant. They were so excited with the results that they set up another stand a couple weeks later at a Friday night football game. [read more]

Kathy Andrade’s second-graders at Our Lady of the Assumption/Holy Family School in Fairfield, Connecticut, have set up lemonade stands since 2008 to support the efforts of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The monthly lemonade functions raised more than $2,000 last year. [read more]


Those are just a handful of hundreds of stories of schoolkids who have followed in the footsteps of a young girl named Alexandra (“Alex”) Scott.

When Alex was just four years old, she told her parents she wanted to set up a front-yard lemonade stand. Her plan: to give the money to doctors to help them find a cure for the cancer she had lived with since she was a year old. Her first “Alex’s Lemonade Stand” raised an astonishing $2,000 in one day. While bravely fighting her own cancer, Alex continued to set up lemonade stands every year. As news spread, people everywhere were inspired to start their own lemonade stands -- donating the proceeds to her cause. By the time Alex passed away at the age of eight, her stand and inspiration had raised more than $1 million towards finding a cure for the disease that took her life.

Alex's legacy lives on in Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, established by her parents in 2005. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised more than $40 million to fund more than 150 cutting-edge research projects; create a travel program to help support families of children receiving treatment; and develop resources to help people everywhere affected by childhood cancer.


At Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, staff members know that young people can make a big difference. They saw it in Alex, and they continue to see it everyday as children hold fundraisers to keep Alex's dream of a cure alive. To support teachers and students, the Foundation team has created many resources to help teach important lessons about giving and to empower students to act.

“We want your school's experience to be rewarding for students, staff, and the entire community,” says the Foundation’s Connie Funston, “so we are proud to introduce our exciting new service-learning program, which aims to teach Alex’s inspiring message of making a difference, helping others, and overcoming obstacles.”

The curriculum comprises three units each for Grades K-1, 2-3, and 4-5 and was developed with emphasis on enhancing the literacy skills of children while teaching them about the “Power of One.” It is also geared towards reinforcing key lessons from the Foundation’s children’s book, Alex & the Amazing Lemonade Stand. Lesson plans include supplemental handouts as well as special instructions for English-as-a-second-language learners, struggling learners, and gift-and-talented students. For teachers new to service-learning, materials explaining this method of teaching are also included.

Funston encourages anyone interested in creating an Alex's Lemonade Stand fundraising event in their school community to spend some time checking out these resources the site has to offer:
Lemonade from Lemons Service-Learning Program
Hold a Stand at Your School (and Other Fundraising Ideas)
Lesson Plans for Teachers
Schools & Service-Learning: Downloads
Request a Copy of the Book: Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand
Discussion Points
Getting Involved: Ways to Fundraise
Get Your School Involved: Register Now

Calling all kids across this great land!
You can help kids with your own lemonade stand.
As Alex once said,
“It’s easy and it’s fun.”
You need lemonade, ice, and a little bit of sun.
The money you raise can help kids who are sick.
A cure might be found, perhaps even quick!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Don’t Give Up:
Fun End-of-Year Activities
Keep Interest and Learning Alive

Over his years as an elementary school principal in Texas, Mark Lukert enjoyed sending his staff off with a bang! at the end of the year. The centerpiece of his end-of-year celebration was a cake tied to the year’s school-wide theme. Then he purchased plastic champagne glasses and several bottles of a beverage that looks like champagne -- sparkling apple cider, for example. He also purchased party poppers for each staff member. (Party poppers are little plastic bottles with strings attached. When you pull the string, streamers shoot out of the bottle. These inexpensive novelty items are sold at most party stores or you can purchase them online).

“I give a little talk about the year, we serve the ‘champagne’ and have a toast, then pop the streamers,” says Lukert. “Everyone enjoys the event and it is a nice way to wrap up a great year!”

The idea can be just as effective when introducing a theme and toasting the start of a new school year, Lukert adds. [learn more]

Education World columnist Diane Hodges offers dozens of fun ways to celebrate the school year's end in her books Looking Forward to Monday Morning and Season It With Fun: A Year of Recognition, Fun, and Celebrations to Enliven Your School.

Among Hodges’ end-of-year ideas is to hold a "Thanks a Latte" party. Obtain latte machines and make a variety of lattes for staff members. Serve biscotti, scones, or other treats as well, Hodges recommends.

Or maybe you can plan some special awards to present at an end-of-year gathering. You might have staff members vote in advance for special recognitions such as
  • Most Willing to Help a Team Member,
  • Most Positive Attitude,
  • After-Hours Award,
  • Cheerleader Award (pom-poms),
  • Adhesive Award (a bottle of glue for the person who held everyone together), or
  • Rookie of the Year Award.

    For more great ideas for all year long, be sure to sign up for Hodge’s free Looking Forward to Monday Morning newsletter, which is packed with practical ideas for motivating and recognizing your staff. [see a sample newsletter, then sign up to receive this free newsletter on Diane Hodges’ home page]


    The grounds of The Ellis School in Pittsburgh are covered with trees planted by the Arbuthnot family, who once lived on the school’s property. Identifying those trees was the job of some students who took part in last May’s “Ellis’ Trees Please” mini-course at the school. The task was not an easy one, since many of the trees were purchased abroad at the turn of the 20th century, when importing plant material into the U.S. was legal.

    Ellis School faculty and friends have offered mini-courses since 1972 as a way to keep learning alive between final exams and the end of the school year, according to Jack Gaddess, a Spanish teacher and the school’s mini-course coordinator. The courses offer students time to explore nontraditional topics of study or a particular topic more in-depth, Gaddess told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazettte. Besides “Ellis’ Trees Please,” last year’s courses included offerings that explored the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, mountain biking, traditional West African dance, and personal finance. [read more ]

    Education World columnist Larry Ferlazzo has many favorite activities for the final days of the school year. In one of those activities, he has students draw and write a simile about themselves (I am like a _______ because _______) that he will pass along to their next teacher. “I explain this will be the first impression their new teacher will have of them,” Ferlazzo wrote in his Teacher Magazine blog. “This is one more way students can reinforce a positive self-image. It also opens the way for the student and new teacher to make an early personal connection when they meet in the fall.” [read more ]

    Educator Elena Aguilar encourages teachers to give kids time and tools to reflect on their school year. “They can write, make scrapbooks, record a video piece, or create drawings,” writes Aguilar in her Edutopia blog. “Prompt them to think about what they learned, how they learned, what was challenging, how they dealt with those challenges, what they feel proud of, how they changed, what advice they have for kids entering that grade next year, and so on.” [read more ]

    For more ideas from teachers, see these Education World articles:
    Closure Activities for the End of the School Year
    Favorite End-of-Year Activities


    Over the years, Education World has shared numerous ideas for end-of-year lessons that provide fun and learning – and help bring the year to a close on a high note. The links below will take you to some of those lessons.

    Wind Up Learning as the Year Winds Down: Activities For The Last Days of School
    The last few days of the school year are upon you, and you're at a loss for what to do. Do you emphasize fun or attempt to squeeze in some last-minute learning? Education World offers suggestions for keeping kids focused during the last hours of the school year. Included: More than a dozen great end-of-year ideas.

    End-of-Year Lessons -- Volume #3
    You're tired, and you're eager to get through the last few days, but you feel guilty about showing videos or letting the kids play games. Education World offers five more end-of-year activities that will engage students, and maybe even include some new learning.

    Making the Most of End-of-School Days
    "No more pencils, no more books, no more..." No more time? The last days of school may be upon you, and your students may already be chanting the traditional end-of-school cheer, but that doesn't mean that you have to succumb to the temptation to start summer early. Blow your students away with some cool end-of-year activities that combine fun and learning.

    More End-of-Year Lesson Ideas
  • Reviving Reviews: Refreshing Ideas Students Can't Resist
  • A 'Boring' Lesson in Geography
  • Invent Your Own Poetry Form: An End-of-the-Year Activity
  • Mystery States Game
  • It's Up for Debate
  • Math Fun -- Volume 1
  • Math Fun -- Volume 2
  • Make the 'Write' Impression
  • Ten Games for Classroom Fun
  • Don't Waste a Minute
  • Crisscrossing the Country: Scavenger Hunts for Kids of All Ages
  • Rock or Feather: A Critical-Thinking Activity
  • ABC Books Aren't for Babies
  • Summer Reading Lists Abound on the Web
  • Student Essays Describe 'Perfect' School
  • Wax Museum Biographies Teach and Entertain
  • Students Create a Virtual Tour of Their Community
  • Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    BLOG BITS #6:
    Sun Safety
    Suicide Toolkit
    Full-Day K
    Principal’s Cookbook
    Civil War Lessons

    Did you know that there are more cases of skin cancer each year than cases of breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancers combined! That adds up to more than one million Americans getting skin cancer annually.

    To help reduce the rising rates of skin cancer, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day – May 27, 2011 – as Don't Fry Day. The Council's goal is to encourage sun safety awareness by reminding everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors on Don't Fry Day and every day.

    The Council provides many free resources to help educators recognize Don’t Fry Day in their classrooms and throughout their schools. Visit the Don’t Fry Day website to learn more about how schools across the U.S. can recognize this special day. Don’t miss the Don’t Fry Day Resources for schools, which include

    As many communities closely examine school budgets for possible cost savings, some are considering cutting all-day kindergarten programs back to half days. A new report from the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children illustrates the connection between full-day kindergarten enrollment and later success in elementary school. School districts that provide full-day kindergarten see improved performance on standardized assessments, the report notes. For example, Pennsylvania school districts with full-day kindergarten saw third-grade math proficiency scores rise nearly twice as much as districts with part-day programs when compared to overall district performance three years prior.

    First-grade teacher Katie Richter, of the Baldwin-Whitehall School District in Allegheny County, has witnessed the difference in reading skills between full- and part-day kindergarten students. “My experience is the full-day K students are better readers in first grade than the part-day students were,” she said. Students who come from full-day kindergarten can jump into lessons at the start of a new school year without having to spend prolonged time on letter names and sounds, she added.


    After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools

    A new free resource, After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools, is available to help schools cope in the aftermath of a suicide. The guide was created by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and the American Foundation for Suicide Preventions (AFSP), two of the nation’s leading organizations devoted to suicide prevention. Developed by a team of national experts, including clinicians and crisis response professionals, the online toolkit draws on scientific research and best practices.

    “Suicide can leave a school struggling with tremendous uncertainty about what to do next,” said Joanne Harpel, AFSP’s senior director for public affairs and postvention. “We also know that schools worry about the possibility of further suicides. This toolkit will answer frequently asked questions and help put school personnel at ease.”

    “Our toolkit also advises schools to treat all student deaths in the same manner, and not to inadvertently romanticize suicide,” added Peggy West of Education Development Center, Inc., a senior advisor for SPRC. “This is especially important as school communities consider how to handle events such as memorial services and graduation, and student activities such as the yearbook.”

    Free Civil War Lessons

    As we recognize the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, the Civil War Trust recently unveiled free lesson plans that explore the causes of the Civil War as well as its impact on the political, economic, military, and cultural life of the times. Separate sets of nine standards-based lessons were developed by teachers for students in elementary, middle, and high school grades.

    The Principal’s Cookbook

    The Principal’s Cookbook has arrived! The Cookbook is filled with more than 100 recipes for you to try out at upcoming end-of-year staff events or at this summer’s school/family cookouts or picnics. Click to order your copy.

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Ten Contests Inspire Student Learning

    With National Poetry Month winding down and National Pet Week (May 1-5, 2011) just around the corner, what better time could there be to get kids writing poems about the animals that are so near and dear to them? Post some of those poems in your next newsletter or on your school’s website. Or, better yet, watch the American Pet Products Association’s Pets Add Life Poetry Contest page and enter your students’ poems in next year’s contest. Who knows, one of your students’ poems could be a winning entry, like this poem by a fifth grader from Newton, North Carolina.
    Where do I go to feel joy all around?
    I always go play with my trusty hound.
    What do I do when something troubles me?
    I always go see my sweet dog, Jolly.
    Who do I tell all my secrets to?
    I always tell my dog, there, now I've told you.
    If ever I'm feeling a little blue,
    I always know just who to go to.
    She's my best friend,
    Always loyal to the very end.
    Everyone I know has been told,
    She always has a gentle heart, pure as gold.
    She's such a treasure,
    I will always love her forever and ever.


    Contests are a fun way for students to earn recognition as they learn. Here are ten additional contests in which your students might participate.

    Doodle for Google
    You’ve missed this school year’s deadline (March 16), but your K-12 students will be invited again next year to use their artistic talents to think big and redesign Google’s homepage logo for millions to see.

    ‘Kids Are Authors’ Contest
    Scholastic offers this annual contest designed to encourage students to use their reading, writing, and artistic skills to create their own books. Open to students in Grades K-8. This year’s deadline (March 15) has passed, but watch this site for information about next year’s competition.

    Bridgestone America’s Safety Scholars Video Contest
    A great way for student ages 16-21 to have fun, be creative, and win money for college. Videos must be 25 or 55 seconds in length. Contest deadline is May 13.

    ‘Together We Play’ Essay Contest
    Do you dream about creating a playground where children of all abilities can play together? Your essay could win $100,000 in inclusive playground equipment and $50,000 in project development, design services and comprehensive educational programming. Contest deadline is August 1, 2011.

    National Handwriting Contest
    Click the link above to sign up for an email notification about next year’s contest. Open to students in Grades 1-8 in schools that use the Zaner-Bloser program.

    ‘Listen to Life’ Essay Contest
    This contest is an opportunity to develop important skills in areas that include interviewing, listening, writing, and technology as it fosters connections between young and old. Open to students ages 8-18. New contest cycle begins in September.

    SchoolTube Video Contests
    SchoolTube offers a variety of contest opportunities that provide great ways to integrate media into your school’s classrooms. The site offers many tips and tools for producing effective videos, too.

    Emerging Writers Short Story Contest
    The Young Voices Foundation offers this contest for students in Grades 3-12. Submissions accepted through May 31, 2011.

    ‘Save the Frogs’ Art Contest
    Maybe you missed the opportunity to recognize Save the Frogs Day (April 29), but your students can submit their art to this contest through October 15, 2011.

    EdSteps Creativity/Problem Solving Contest
    This contest from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is open to students across the globe. Contest ends May 14.


    Pet Week Lessons from Education World
    Pet Week Lessons from Crayola

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Celebrate Your Entire Team During
    Staff/Teacher Appreciation Week

    Education World columnist Diane Hodges has great ideas for improving school climate all year long. Her free Looking Forward to Monday Morning newsletter is packed with practical ideas for motivating and recognizing your staff. If you were on her mailing list last April, you received the Teacher Appreciation Week ideas below -- and more -- in your e-mailbox. [see a sample newsletter, then sign up to receive this free newsletter on Diane Hodges’ home page]


    Teacher Appreciation Week was established in 1985 by the NEA [see National Teacher Day 2011] and National PTA [PTA Teacher Appreciation Week 2011] and takes place annually during the first full week in May.
    Many school districts have changed the week to Staff Appreciation Week in an effort to honor teachers as well as all other staff members -- school nurses, custodians, paraprofessionals, and so on -- who play a role in supporting students. Some even designate a different day of the week as Support Professional Day or Bus Driver and Crossing Guard Appreciation Day or Custodial/Maintenance Appreciation Day… Holding all those celebrations in one week promotes team spirit.

    One of the most appreciated gifts is to not have to go home after work to make dinner. For the day or the week, give staff members a dinner break. Seek assistance from community and parent volunteers to prepare homemade dinners that staff members can simply heat and eat. Dinner ideas include lasagna, chili, or casseroles. Be sure they are presented in disposable packaging so staff members don’t have to worry about returning bowls and dishes. Be sure to include heating instructions with the item. You could also arrange for pizza delivery or give take-out restaurant coupons for a dinner for the whole family.


    Supply the staff lounge with gourmet teas. Put notes on the teas that incorporate the use of the word tea. Some examples include
    • Our staff is Tea-rrific!
    • We appreciate your creativi-tea more than you know
    • Have a break and enjoy the tranquili-tea
    • You generosi-tea toward students is appreciated
    • This is said with all sinceri-tea: Our staff is great!
    You could also host an after-school tea party in which you serve tea sandwiches and cookies.


    Set a festive, tropical theme for the week. Encourage staff members to wear tropical clothing -- flowered shirts and dresses, straw hats, and so on -- that reflects the theme. Decorate the staff lounge with palm trees, parrots, and tiki lights. Have daily drawings and award the winners with tropical items such as pineapple, flamingo décor, and other fun, inexpensive prizes.
    Decorate a cart with fresh fruit and summer beverages such as tropical punch and lemonade. Go to the various classrooms and serve staff members a tropical treat.
    Host a festive gathering that continues the theme. Dress up the lounge with summer décor and give leis to staff members as they enter. Serve tropical fruit smoothies to everyone. Be sure to put a little umbrella in the glass!


    Organize a week that’s filled with myriad special scents. Each day, give staff gifts such as candles, lotions, or bath salts. Ask a local Bath and Body Works, The Body Shop, or spa top have one of their employees visit the school to host a scent-sational foot massage event. Have hot, homemade bread waiting for the staff members when they arrive in the morning. Be sure to have peanut butter, jams, jellies, and butter (make it real butter!) available. Have fresh, hot just-baked scent-sational (or is it sin-sational?) chocolate chip cookies delivered for an afternoon treat. Serve popcorn -- another favorite aromatherapy -- in the lounge.


    Visit Diane’s web site to sign up for her free monthly newsletter or to learn about workshops she offers. You can order her books there too, including Looking Forward to Monday Morning and Season It With Fun: A Year of Recognition, Fun and

    Diane Hodges on EducationWorld
    Award-winning educator, highly acclaimed speaker, and bestselling author Dr. Diane Hodges' weekly Looking Forward to Monday Morning columns present a wealth of ideas administrators can use to drive staff members happy!


    Teacher Appreciation Week Ideas from Education World
    Education World's "Principal Files" principals share 65 things they have done to show their appreciation. Plus Teacher Appreciation Week cards and letters and more ideas. Also

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Plan a Heroes Fair for
    National Heroes Day

    At Arthur Rann Elementary School in Galloway, New Jersey, students look forward to the annual Heroes Fair. Every fifth grader participates in this event that brings together the entire K-6 school community for a celebration of heroes and the character traits they possess.

    The Heroes Fair idea is one that Ginny Bisignaro, a fifth-grade teacher at the school, admits to “stealing.” She got the idea from a college professor who had students choose and report on a hero as part of a Teaching Social Studies class she took at Millersville University.

    “When I was hired at Rann nine years ago, I jumped right in and organized a Heroes Fair with my homeroom,” Bisignaro told Education World. “The students do most of what I had to do in college, but on a level they can handle and at which they can succeed.”

    The college professor from whom Bisignaro stole the idea is Dr. Dennis Denenberg, a national expert on the use of heroes in the classroom. “Heroes can change a kid’s life because they expose kids to positive character traits,” says Denenberg, whose Heroes4US website should be the first stop for anyone interested in learning more about Heroes Fairs. Denenberg is also the co-author of 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet. [view a related video]

    As it turns out, Dr. Denenberg has inspired other teachers to start Heroes Fairs, too. It was a graduate class with him that spurred two teachers at Denver (Pennsylvania) Elementary School to introduce a fair there.

    “A Heroes Fair is the ultimate form of subject integration -- social studies meets communication arts, math, science, music, art, and physical education,” Georgette Hackman, a fifth-grade teacher at Denver Elementary, told Education World. “Since students choose heroes based upon their own passions and interests, multiple disciplines become integrated into the project.”


    Interest in the annual Heroes Fair at Rann Elementary has “exploded,” Bisignaro told us. A few years after she first organized a classroom Heroes Fair, another fifth-grade teacher joined in. By 2008, the entire fifth-grade team participated. Now students come into fifth grade looking forward to their chance to put on a Heroes Fair – and the entire school body visits the fair. [view video coverage of Rann’s 2008 Heroes Fair]

    “Younger students write thank you notes to share what they have learned about the heroes,” said Bisignaro. “One of the moms actually shared with me that her son has been looking forward to doing the fair since third grade.”

    In the seven years since the Heroes Fair debuted at Denver Elementary, Hackman and her colleague, Rebecca Culbert, have had several younger students approach them in the hallway to announce who they want to "be" when they come to fifth grade.

    “The fair is a school-wide event that also brings in people from other schools and the community at large,” noted Hackman. “Any event that brings so many varied individuals into our school and showcases the hard work our students do is a good thing.”

    The Denver Elementary Heroes Fair has also grown over the years. It began with two classes and now it’s up to five classes in two schools. The fair has also changed to reflect best practices in education. “For example, we have integrated a primary document piece into the project," explained Hackman. "Each student must include at least one primary document in their presentation.”

    The Heroes Fair is one of those “perfect” events. It involves teachers, students, and families in learning together as it helps contribute to a positive school climate. But Bisignaro said the biggest benefit is its impact on students.

    “Students learn about individuals who hopefully will inspire them to greatness,” she told Education World. “The heroes that are chosen exemplify determination, compassion, perseverance, courage, generosity, and many, many more wonderful qualities. At the conclusion of the Heroes Fair preparation, students know their heroes so well. Their knowledge of those heroes, along with what they can learn about life from their heroes, is the biggest benefit of the Heroes Fair.”


    National Heroes Day
    It has become fashionable to overstate the idea of heroes in our culture today. Historically, there are countless heroes who have become lost or forgotten. The major goal of National Heroes Day is to inspire students of all ages to rediscover the forgotten heroes from the past and bring them back into the spotlight. Heroes Day aims to plant the seeds for the growth of real heroes for the future.

    Dr. Dennis Denenberg’s website serves as a nice starting point for anyone interested in learning more about heroes and Hero Fairs. The site includes photos from a Heroes Fair as well as Tips for Organizing a Heroes Fair.

    Heroes Fair Project PowerPoint
    This is a PowerPoint presentation that Pennsylvania teacher Georgette Hackman created to motivate her students’ participation in a class Heroes Fair. The presentation includes a definition of a hero, the process students used for choosing a hero, project requirements, pictures of exemplary projects from years past, and a quiz that ensures students understand the project's goals and requirements.

    Education World Special Archive: Honoring Our Heroes
    Where are the real heroes for today's children and young adults? The major goal of National Heroes Day is to bring them back into the spotlight they deserve. Education World has put together some lesson ideas and other resources to help you do just that. Join us as we pay tribute to those individuals who inspire us by their great strength, courage, and perseverance in facing challenges.

    Is a Digital Library in Your School’s Future?

    These days, the library at Lamar High School in Houston, Texas, is looking a lot more like a café than a library. And Principal John McSwain has never seen so many kids in the library before. As a matter of fact, the library’s hours have been extended; it is now open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Kids are showing up in droves to grab a laptop, an e-book, a cup of coffee, and a snack as they dive into books – online. The library’s newest additions include hundreds of e-books and a bunch of large databases for academic research.

    "This place will be full at lunch, full before school, and even after school," McSwain told Houston’s Fox TV station. "The resources we now have are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere in the world for all of our students." [read more]

    A handful of private schools are taking the leap too. After a lightning fire destroyed the 100-year-old library at the Hackley School, a K-12 boarding school in Tarrytown, New York, school leaders decided to switch from print to digital.

    "We went to the different departments and said, 'This is your chance to create a perfect collection. You tell me what you think we need on our shelves,'" Laura Pearle, head librarian, told THE Journal. "When they said, 'We need these reference books,' I looked to see if we could purchase them digitally."

    The decision to go digital wherever possible was not hugely popular with the faculty at first, Pearle said. “Now the majority of teachers feel that, for reference, digital is absolutely the way to go." [read more]

    Lamar High and the Hackley School are leaping into territory where few schools have gone before. But lots of other schools are taking steps in that direction too. A 40-minute drive north of Houston, the library at Wilkerson Intermediate School in The Woodlands, is planning some changes. Librarian Jennifer Minichiello says the school's library will become more interactive, provide a variety of e-books, and adopt a café style.

    "We're going to make it a little more interesting," she told the Houston Chronicle. "We want it to be more active, with a variety of things going on. If we want [students] to keep coming in, we have to use the technology they are used to." [read more ]


    April Is School Library Month
    School Library Month (SLM) is the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) celebration of school librarians and their programs. The 2011 theme is "Create Your Own Story." This year, AASL will help school librarians tell their stories and advocate for the value their school library program brings to their school and local community.

    National Library Week
    National Library Week (April 10-16, 2011) is an annual celebration of the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate in this celebration spearheaded by the American Library Association (ALA). Are you looking for ways to raise awareness about libraries and library services during National Library Week? Check out the ALA’s free promotional tools for new ways to promote the message of National Library Week.

    Education World Special Theme: Library Week
    Education World presents dozens of book-themed activities, lessons, and projects from our archive. Included: How to write better book reports, stage a "Literature Day," compose Harry Potter haiku, plus additional classroom activities for teaching about fairy tales, folk tales, biographies, and more.