Teachable moooo-ment!

As last we left our blogger…

I had connected.  With an actual author.  I had squee-ed!!!  Now what?

The fangirl exited, and Mommy returned.

Teachable moment!  (Or, in this case “Teachable mooo-ment!”)

I had sought out Nina Laden on Facebook because my boys were currently loving her book,

Image courtesy of http://www.ninaladen.com

I first discovered this literary treasure on Storyline Online as read by Eric Close.

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In case you’re not familiar, Storyline Online, a website sponsored by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, “records well-known actors reading children’s books and makes graphically dynamic videos so that children around the world can be read to with just the click of a Storyline Online video book image”.

While, of course, this multimedia presentation will not and should not replace the magical moment that occurs when a child cuddles up to an adult to share a story,  Storyline Online is a wonderful literary resource for anyone interested in biblio|parenting.

Watching and listening to a talented actor portray the characters in a story provides children with yet another way to connect.

My budding artist, Noah, loved this tail/tale of friendship between “a painterly pig and an artsy cow”.  I loved that it exposed him to an important theme, respecting individual differences, and the work of renowned artists.  So much so, in fact, that I interlibrary-loaned (borrowed from another school library) a print copy.

After reading this with both boys several times and closely examining the styles of both Picasso and Matisse, I hit Pinterest for ideas on taking this to the next level.

Luckily, Katie Morris was there to help me take this book to the next level with her blog, Adventures of an Art Teacher.

Though I am not an art teacher, as a school librarian, I certainly appreciate a well-constructed lesson plan.  Katie’s lesson plan inspired me to guide the boys in creating their own Pigassos.

We began by looking carefully at Nina Laden’s illustrations of Pigasso, as well as some of Pablo Picasso’s paintings from his Cubist period.  We discussed how the famous artist Picasso, and the character Pigasso, had “interesting” faces.  The parts of the face — the eyes, the nose (or, in Pigasso’s case, snout), the mouth — were not always in the right places.  They were silly!  In order to paint our own Pigassos, we decided, we would need to make them silly.

Next, we headed to the art studio (otherwise known as the kitchen).  I used a Sharpie marker to draw circles on two pieces of Crayola watercolor paper — one for each artist, of course.

Although I could have had the boys draw their own eyes, snout, and mouth (or cut them out of magazines), I opted to let them direct me instead because I really liked the way that the Sharpie marker would stand out in contrast to the watercolor paint.  The boys are not quite responsible enough to use Sharpies yet and while crayons could have done the job, Magic markers would have smeared and run when the boys began painting.

After each of the artists directed me as to where to draw eyes, snout, and mouth to their circles, I added a jaunty beret and curly tail outside of each circle.

Before freeing the artists to paint their Pigasso’s, I took Katie Morris’ advice and spent a few minutes exploring the concepts of warm colors and cool colors.  One of her stated objectives was:

The students will apply knowledge of warm and cool colors in the creation of their drawings.

After looking carefully at our Crayola Washable Watercolor palettes, we were able to identify the warm colors and the cool colors.  Noah decided to paint his Pigasso in warm colors and his background in cool colors.  In typical twin fashion, Ryan decided on the reverse — a cool Pigasso with a warm background.

Armed with their Take & Toss Toddler Bowls of water, their watercolor paints, brushes, and a paper towel each, the artists set to work at their Crayola Magnetic double-sided easel — a chance garage sale find for this frugal mom.

The results?  Priceless!

Of course, I made sure to connect again with Nina Laden to let her know that we continued to be inspired by her work.

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And, just like that, connecting on Facebook to author crushes became biblio|parenting.


Squeeing like an overexcited fangirl…

I recently attended a regional conference for school librarians that has changed my life and, unwittingly, the lives of my family members.

Keynote speaker, Shannon McClintock Miller, challenged the other members of the audience and I to utilize the technology at our fingertips to do what the library has always done – connect readers to new people, places, and ideas.  Throughout her engaging presentation, she managed to casually mention the names of some of my biggest author crushes as she described her social media interactions while managing to maintain her wholesome, Midwest persona.

Why hadn’t I done this?  Why hadn’t I connected with or even attempted to connect with the people whose books inspire me, my children, and my students each and every day?

Like many out there, I’m a bit of a social media junkie.  I often begin and end my days with Facebook.  Twitter and Instagram are downloaded to my iPhone, though Snapchat is a bit too “youthful” for this over-30 mother-of-two.  Why was I wasting my time browsing the posts of people I never talked to in high school when I could be swooning over picture book authors?

And that’s when the conference fell apart for me and I began to find my biblio|parenting voice.

Instead of giving my complete and total attention to the session speakers (as I would ask of my students), I began obsessively searching Facebook for authors to friend (the verb).

Why was I doing this?

At first, I’ll admit, I was on a bit of a Facebook-stalking kind-of high.  Librarian searching skills do apply to social media too, you know…

Then, I made an actual connection.

Thank you, author Nina Laden, for taking a chance on a random friend request and opening a line of communication…


I had connected.  With an actual author.

The overexcited fangirl in me squee-ed!!!

And then, the adult took over.  I had accomplished my goal.  Now what?