Win a Skype with Anne Marie Pace


About 4 years ago, I participated in my very first World Read Aloud Day and scheduled Skypes with several great authors.  I was pretty new to using Skype, especially with authors, so I was a bit nervous about how the day would go.  What I discovered during that day was how powerful it can be to connect with an author or illustrator in their studio or home.  Students get to see a side of an author or illustrator that is hard to replicate in a library visit because they can easily reach over and grab items that they are working on, tools that they use, objects that inspire them, and more.  Skypes can also be an affordable alternative for schools on a budget for author visits.


One of the authors that I connected with on that first World Read Aloud Day was Anne Marie Pace.  She knew there was a big snowstorm coming, so she proactively gave me her contact info in case anything happened. That morning, I got a call from her because her power was out. She was so sad to miss our connection, but we immediately rescheduled and had an amazing connection.  Since that first Skype, she has shared Vampirina Ballerina with us, had Kindergartners up and dancing with her on the screen, and shared favorite picture books with our school and 4 others during our picture book smackdown.

She is a delight, and offers her wisdom on writing books and her love of reading.  I’m so excited that she has a new book coming out that started when she was in the 1st grade. It’s so important for our students to hear that adult authors often save writing from their childhoods and sometimes those writings turn into a new published book.

Anne Marie has an opportunity coming up for 1st graders.  I hope you’ll take a moment to read a message from her.


A Message from Anne Marie Pace:

“Because I was a first grader when I wrote the first draft of the story that has become my new book PIGLOO, I’d love to celebrate its release by talking with first graders about reading and writing.  I am happy to offer ten free Skype visits to first grade classes across the United States in November and December (and January, if needed to schedule with the schools).  To enter, I’d like first grade teachers to use this form to send me their information between October 3 and October 24.  I’ll choose ten schools using a random number generator and contact the winners to arrange the scheduled visit.


Skype visits will be 20 minutes long and will include my reading PIGLOO, a bit of chat about how writing is hard but fun, too, and a Q&A.  I’ll also send the winning classes some book-related swag and a teacher activity guide.


If teachers would like to send home a book order form to allow students to purchase a signed copy of the book, I have arranged with my local independent bookseller to ship copies of PIGLOO which I will inscribe and sign before they are shipped.  This is NOT required to enter or to win, but some students and their families like to have this opportunity.


First grade teachers and librarians on behalf of first grade teachers only, please.  Yes, I love kindergarteners and second graders, too, but this one’s for first grade.  (Ks will get a chance in the spring for Vampirina at the Beach)”

Submit your info by following this link!


Congratulations to the Flipgrid 2015 Graduation Voices Winners, Top Voices, and More

I was honored to be one of the judges in Flipgrid’s inaugural Graduation Voices contest.  Graduates of high school and college contributed their voices to two grids to complete the sentence, “To me, graduation means…”  Almost 200 graduates added their voices between the two grids, and I enjoyed watching all of them along with fellow judges Shannon Miller and Alec Couros. Congratulations to the two winners, Eliot and Jay.  They will each receive a new Apple watch.  You can read the full post on Flipgrid’s blog. I also send a huge congratulations to the other top voices on the grids.

Judges’ top choices for Graduation Voices 2015

High School

Watch Ami’s video here. Watch Anthony’s video here. Watch Ben’s video here. Watch Guillermo’s video here.  Watch Kyle’s video here.


Watch Abbie’s video here. Watch Alyson’s video here. Watch Jamie’s video here. Watch Liz’s video here.  To view all entries to the #grad15 grid, click here. Since I had the pleasure of watching every single video, I heard many standout voices.  Every video was special in some way, and some had me laughing out loud.  Graduation means so many things to so many people.  We all might think of it as closing one chapter and starting another, but most of us have other reasons we love graduation.  High school and college are a time to find yourself and further develop yourself as an individual.  Bravo to these students for letting their personalities shine through.  I want to recognize a few of the voices that made me smile in their own way.

Neil’s: I’m done with school!

You know you all want to binge watch Netflix and eat some junk food at 3AM.

How about the freedom to buy baked goods?

The end to regulated lunches?

Here’s to sleeping in!

Spread your wings and prepare to fly from sea to shining sea

Time to do whatever you want

The end to pointless homework

Getting to go home!

Get on board that train

I wish all of these graduates the best as they continue on in what life has in store for them next.  Go out and change the world!

Poem In Your Pocket Day 2013 is Coming!

We are so excited that National Poetry Month is already here!  In just 2 weeks, we will be celebrating Poem In Your Pocket Days.  On April 11th & 12th, students in every class will come to the library to our open microphone poetry cafe.  The tables will be setup with tablecloths, lanterns, and poetry books.  A stool and microphone will be available for students to come up and read their original and favorite poetry for their class to hear.  Once again, we will be broadcasting all of this live online via Adobe Connect.  This has become a very special event for students because they are able to get their writing and favorite poems out to a much larger audience.  When people type comments in the chat feature of Adobe Connect, I always share those with students in the moment.  It creates a big pulse of energy in the group.  We’ve had family, friends, and other schools tune in from as far away as Afghanistan and England and as close by as the classroom next to us!  We hope you will join us to listen to our poems and leave some comments.  Here is the schedule:

  Thursday April 11, 2013                                               

Time Class
 8:30 3rd Shealey
9:00 1st Wyatt
9:30 1st Watson
10:00 1st Hart
10:30 4th Selleck
11:00 2nd Wright
11:30 4th Freeman
12:00 1st Stuckey
12:30 1st Em
1:00 2nd Brink
1:30 K Hocking
2:00 2nd Yawn


Friday April 12, 2013

Time Class
8:00 5th Cross
8:30 K Carney
9:00 K Boyle
9:30 K Li
10:00 PreK Doneda
10:30 3rd Spurgeon
11:00 4th Olin
11:30 K Vertus
12:00 5th Slongo
12:30 PreK Clarke
1:00 2nd Ramseyer
1:30 3rd Griffith


To login to Adobe Connect, follow these instructions:

Leading up to the event, we are having an original poetry contest.  All entries are due by this Friday and prizes/certificates will be awarded in multiple categories in PreK-1st, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-5th grades.

Students and teachers are also contributing to a crowd sources poem that I will carry in my pocket on Poem In Your Pocket Day called “Our Library is Not a Quiet Place”.  They are submitting lines through a Google Form.  You are welcome to submit lines, too.  Just go to this link.

2nd Annual Barrow Media Center Poetry Contest

Our 3 top winners

Almost 90 students entered our 2nd annual poetry contest.  It was once again very tough to decide, but ultimately one overall winner was chosen for PreK-1st grade, 2nd-3rd grade, and 4th-5th grade.  Other winners were chosen in a variety of categories based on the elements of poetry and various forms of poetry.  Some of these awards included list poetry, rhyming poetry, acrostic poetry, descriptive poetry, story poetry, and unique poetry.


The winning Prek-1st poem from Diana:


The winning 2nd-3rd poem from Eli:


The winning 4th-5th poem from Emma:


Here’s a gallery of our other fantastic winners!

Persuasive Writing Contest Kickoff

This week we’ve been kicking off our first persuasive writing contest in the media center.  Students are writing persuasive essays about whether or not picture books are important for today’s kids.  You can learn more about the contest in this video.

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We’ve talked about the contest on our morning BTV show, but we’re also holding lessons on persuasive writing in the media center.  A first grade class came and imagined what the library would be like without picture books.  They made a brainstorm list about what might be good or bad about this.  That list was a spark to begin thinking about their writing.  We also read Keiko Kasza’s Ready for Anything and pointed out persuasive techniques used in the story.

Today, a 5th grade class came and viewed a slideshow of persuasive strategies. Then, they split at tables and read the NY Times article about picture books and essays on the Picture Book Month website using the iPad.  They organized their research into a 2-column chart, for picture books and against picture books.  Many of them said they would continue this research at home.  The teacher plans to schedule a writing workshop time with the media center for students who are interested in the contest.  These students will have time to do more research, write, and conference with me about their writing.

A kindergarten teacher has also scheduled time for a small group to meet with me to work on their writing for the contest.

The persuasive writing is flowing at Barrow.  We’re so honored to be able to support this writing standard that grades 1-5 are working on this quarter.

Mysteries of Harris Burdick Contest

Over the past month, students from all grade levels at our school have been participating in a writing contest sponsored by Avid Bookshop, a new independent bookshop in Athens.  We had over 50 students enter the contest, and I’ve heard that Avid received hundreds of entries from local schools.  Today, the finalists were announced.  They will be honored this Sunday November 13th at Avid from 1-3:00PM.  Some of the students will read from their stories and the top winner will be announced.  The top winner’s story will be submitted to a national contest sponsored by Chris Van Allsburg in celebration of his new compilation, The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.  

Congratulations to our Barrow finalists:

Amelia Ray and Hanna Lee

We hope to see lots of supporters at Avid on Sunday.

Avid Bookshop

493 Prince Avenue

Athens, GA