Distance Learning and the Elementary Librarian




Hi librarian friends!  It has been a week since all schools in my state were shut down indefinitely and I still have a hard time believing that we may not be back for the rest of this school year.  We are all still in shock about this pandemic and scrambling to figure out how to continue to teach our students during these closures.  Based on the experiences that I've had in the past seven days, I've come up with 5 tips to help keep your sanity during this time.  Read on to download a free lesson planning guide!

1.  Promote and utilize the digital resources that you already have as much as possible.  This is a great time to let parents know what databases you already have in your district as well as your public and state libraries.  I just recently visited my public library's website and noticed that they have the Mango Language Learning Software available for patrons to sign in and use.  My two girls are both taking Spanish and can use this resource to continue practicing at home!  I know that many subscription-based educational sites are offering free access right now and that's great.  I'm going to have my students use them so that they can have as many online reading and learning choices right now as they can.  Just keep talking up the resources that will continue to be available to them after this crisis is over.

2.  Refrain from sending multiple emails to parents and staff about new resources that you find.  My neighborhood association has a Facebook group and many parents were posting that they were overwhelmed by the amount of emails they were getting from school.  Realistically, they are not going to examine every link that is sent to them.  I'm doing my best to curate and only send out links that I truly think parents and students will use.  My current favorites are Mo Willems Daily Doodles and the Cincinnati Zoo Home Safari Videos.  

3.  Send a personal message to your students.  Whether it's a video you post on your library website or an email, keep that connection with the kids.  Aim for once per week.  My short little videos have featured my dog (who willingly loves to do this) and my own kids (who weren't as willing, but finally relented for the greater good!)  I've had students email me after I post to share pictures of their own pets and families.  It definitely warms my heart and makes me miss them even more!

4.  Keep your lessons simple.  Our district has asked that specials teachers send weekly lessons to our students.  Teachers are not to assign anything or require that anything be turned in for a grade.  I've decided to pick a theme for each week and have a "Read, Research, Make" format.  Click HERE if you would like copies of what I have created so far.  I've also included a couple of generic distance learning library templates for you to create your own "Read, Research, Make" themes. (New templates added 5/5/20) IMPORTANT:  Please make sure to DOWNLOAD and SAVE your own copy so that you can edit the text to suit your needs.

5.  Practice Self-Care.  First and foremost, we have to take of ourselves and our families.  This is such a stressful and uncertain time for everyone.  All teachers in our district were told that we would be lucky if half of the students utilized or even looked at the distance learning options that were given to them during this closure, for various reasons.  We were told to do our best to provide meaningful learning opportunities, but to also not spend hours doing school work and to take care of ourselves and our families.  I really appreciated that!

I've designed some fun shirts to wear while you are "zooming" with your students.  These designs come in multiple styles, colors and sizes.  Pick the one that best suits you! 



I hope and pray you and your families are healthy and happy!  We'll get through this together!  


37 comments

  1. This is great info, thank you! Will you be adding more to the "Read, Research, Make" lesson plans? I love the two examples you've shared.

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    1. Thank you for reaching out! I may add more lessons as I go along. We're all just stumbling along with this, aren't we? Stay well!

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    2. Hello! If you do add to these, will they be here or will they be on your store? You're lessons are always amazing! Willing to purchase them!

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  2. Thank you so very much. These are simple and easy to do.

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  3. Thanks so much for the green lesson plans. I create a site to hold all resources and sent the link to teachers so they are not overwhelmed.

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  4. This is all new to me...I am not tech savvy and was just informed that we are going remote. Could you share any library lessons that you are sending home? I will pay for them...need help fast!

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    1. You are welcome to use the freebie downloads in my post to send or link home. They are what I'm currently sending home to my students. Please stay well!

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  5. These are AMAZING! Love the look, layout and simplicity. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing this!. As a "newbie" I was more than a little anxious about the distance learning. Stay safe and well.

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    1. Thank you so much! Trust me, I'm just a much of a "newbie" as you to this and I've been a teacher/media specialist for several years. We just do what we can. Take care and be well!

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  7. I’ve loved your ideas and resources for years but this is the best ever. Thank you so much for sharing and helping me get started! It’s been a struggle for me, personally, to not be totally overwhelmed by this entire situation we are all in.

    I love the simplicity of “Read, Research, Make” and how it applies to all students, K-5. I hope you don’t mind if I adopt that framework! I am planning to use your free lessons to get started and go from there as I prep a lesson a week as part of my Specials Team at school. We are currently out of school until May 15 so I’ve got plenty of planning to do. I would love to share your blog post with the other e-librarians in our district if that is ok with you.

    Thank you AGAIN. You inspire me! Take care, and stay safe.

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    1. Hi Kimberly,
      Thank you for reaching out! I am so appreciative of your kind words. Feel free to use the the downloads as is, change them to better suit your needs and share them out to any other librarians/media specialists who might use them. We're all sorting this out together! I hope you and your family are staying healthy.

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  8. Hi those lesson were amazing. Love the layout and simplicity of them. Will you be adding to them? I would love it if you would share more of your lessons.

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    1. Thank you so much! I may add more as I go along. These are surreal times, aren't they? I hope you are staying healthy. Take care!

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  9. This is fantastic. So helpful! Truly appreciate your kind generosity in these difficult times. Would truly appreciate if you were able to share more lessons going forward.
    Take care of you and yours!

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    1. I'm happy you like these! I hope you and your family are staying healthy!

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing. I love the lessons you shared. We definitely need to adapt things for this new teaching format.

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    1. Yes, this is definitely new to all of us! We'll get through it together!

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  11. Thank you very much for this work that you do. You are so creative and generous.

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  12. Thank you so much for these lessons! Maybe we should all do a week and share them here! Or do you think you will be selling some?

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  13. Thank you!!! You are a lifesaver!

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  14. Thank you for sharing these. I love the format. Can I ask which clipart do you use? It's very engaging.

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  15. Hi, These are wonderful, thank you for the share! May we share the username and passwords for Pebble, Capstone etc.. with our teachers or other librarians?

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  16. Yes, these are the passwords for the free distance learning access through June 30, 2020.

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  17. I'm wondering where I can find the (New templates added 4/19/20)

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  18. Hi Kathy,
    There's a link found in the paragraph "Tip 4" that says "Click HERE". All of the templates are there, including the ones I just added that have an outer space theme.

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  19. Thank you! These are awesome!

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  20. Hey...a friend and fellow Librarian in my district shared your site with me just now and I"m excited to find something new to maybe share with my students this week...thanks for sharing! I"m having a little trouble figuring out how to actually share just one of the pages with my students tho and she can't remember how she did it last week!! Can you give me a pointer or two?? I downloaded it, made my own copy, but not sure how to share with my students just the one page for this week? Thank you!

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    1. Hi Sara,

      Once you have saved a copy of the file, you could hide all of the slides that you don't want the kids to see and then save the slide you want as it's own file. I would save it as a pdf before you send it out to the students.

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  21. If you don"t mind proceed with this extraordinary work and I anticipate a greater amount of your magnificent blog entries KIU Community News

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  22. Hi there! Thank you for your practical advice. You are absolutely right that we should not overload parents and colleagues with too much information. I think sometimes as professionals we feel the need to over share to show that we are working hard, but this can backfire. You are absolutely right that making connections with our students is so important. They need to see us and know that we are happy and okay and that we miss them. I also hope many parents will continue to use the many online resources we have shared with them. I hope this teamwork approach to educating their children continues!

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