Hour Zero: Social Distancing #24in48 Readathon

Oh, hey! I was so glad to hear about #StayHome24in48. I really need to pull back from distance learning with my students and practice some self-care. I’m hoping I can concentrate! How about you? Care to join me?

24in48 Readathon

Helloooo Readers!

While this is not exactly the situation in which we’d hoped to be back with you, we are happy to be able to gather our little community together and maybe spend a few days curled up with a book (or eight) and not leaving the house. More and more of us are under lockdown or shelter-in-place rules, and while we stay in our houses, we welcome you to social distance, stay home, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and read.

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The guidelines for this #24in48 weekend are going to be a bit different than normal. We’re not doing prizes or challenges. Check-ins will happen every 12 hours here and every six hours on Twitter and Instagram (Facebook will receive automatic pushes, but we won’t be checking in there and Litsy will not be updated at all for this round. However, we encourage you to use your favorite…

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And the Winners Are…Global Read Aloud Choices 2018 #GRA18

The Global Read Aloud

After incredible reading moments, thousands of people voting, countless hours spent thinking, and much discussion had, the moment is finally here….the reveal of the books we will read aloud and connect through.

The choices of these books were not done haphazardly.

Picking our books for the Global Read Aloud is never easy, in fact, I think it gets harder every year since we try to match the incredible experience from the year before.  Every year so far, we have been able to do so, and I hope this year is no different.

With an emphasis on perspective, on understanding others, on connecting and change, I feel that all of the books and picture book authors chosen will help us see the world in a new light.  Will help us make connections.  Will help us build community both within our own classrooms, but also with all the thousands of classrooms that will…

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Time to Vote for Early Readers Global Read Aloud Choice #GRA18

Won’t you cast your vote for the Early Readers Global Read Aloud 2018 title of your choice? Voting closes March 20. #GRA18

The Global Read Aloud

Since the GRA started, the category for early readers has only grown stronger and this year is no different.  With some stellar selection to choose from, I know we will have another incredible read aloud experience.  Here are the contenders for this year.  Please vote on the form at the bottom, voting ends March 20th.

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

Fortunately, the…

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Hunting for Spring Bulletin Board Ideas for Elementary Library Using Cricut Maker

pexels-photo-356548.jpegSpring is in the air!

I’m on the hunt for Spring bulletin board ideas for my elementary school library. My creative juices are leaning toward birds and flowers with some connection to prompt a fresh look at reading. What’s on your board?

To add another layer to my creative endeavors, I just ordered a Cricut Maker and am so excited to try it out. It is my first Cricut, so I expect a learning curve. Of course, I spent some time on Pinterest. No sense starting from a blank screen when there are experts ready to share. I might as well set myself up for success by following in the steps of those who have gone before, right? So, in order to find some free flower templates that can be uploaded to Cricut’s Design Space, I entered this search term: flower template svg free.

Here’s what I found:

On Bird’s Cards: Free SVG Cut Files, there is a free download named ‘Flowers and Leaves’ which has an interesting looking rolled flower template. She even added link to a photo tutorial. You’ll find that here: Birds Cards Rolled Flower Tutorial . Here’s how my first rolled flowered turned out using cardstock:


first attempt at a rolled flower using Bird’s Cards ‘Rolled Flower 1’

On Jennifer Maker, you’ll find several free SVG and PDF files including her post ‘How to Make Giant Paper Flowers – Easy and Fast! She includes the PDF files for hand cutting and the SVG files for using a Cricut cutting machine. Here’s how my first giant paper flower turned out using colored paper:


first attempt at a giant, paper flower using Jennifer Maker’s Giant Paper Flower SVG template

I think this would be a fun project for the Art Club. Maybe they’d like to help me make all the flowers for the bulletin board. We’re on Spring Break so I have another week to figure out the rest of the bulletin board idea, but I think I’m well on my way.

Hey, thanks for reading this post. Cheers!

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STORYSTORM 2018 Registration is OPEN!

Need some fresh story ideas? Join #StoryStorm.

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

What a glorious feeling!

It’s that time of the year again, when you will be showered with inspiration!

Story ideas are gonna rain down like cats and dogs! (And maybe some will be about cats and dogs!)

Last year I changed the name and month of my annual writing challenge, from Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) to Storystorm. Why? Answer’s here.

Any writer interested in brainstorming new story ideas in January is invited to join. Any genre, any style; student, amateur, hobbyist, aspiring author or professional.

How does STORYSTORM work? It’s simple…

  • Register here by signing your name ONCE in the comments below. Teachers participating with a class can register under the teacher’s name.
  • Registering makes you eligible for prizes.
  • Visit this blog daily (right here at taralazar.com) in January for inspirational essays by guest bloggers—professional authors, illustrators and experts in creativity.

  • Instead of visiting the blog directly, you can…

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Meet the All New Flipgrid! #flipgridfever

Meet the all new @flipgrid. Fresh out today! #FlipgridFever

Expect the Miraculous

The all-new Flipgrid is here! We’ve been teased for months with what improvements were on the way to this already phenomenal tool, and at a live stream announcement, the details were released.  If you are new to Flipgrid, there’s no better time to get started than now. At it’s core, Flipgrid is a tool that allows you to post a topic and have students respond with video that is instantly uploaded to one location. It gives every student in class an equal voice and makes it easy for the teacher to share those voices beyond the walls of the school. 

Today Flipgrid announced that more than 100,000 educators and more than 5,000,000 students use Flipgrid across 141 countries.  In addition, a new Flipgrid video was shared every .48 seconds of every minute of every day since Jan 1 of 2017.  Today more than 1.2 billion seconds of video have been…

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The 40 Book Challenge Revisited | Donalyn Miller

Next week I begin another school year as a library media specialist in an elementary school. I am changing schools. I am excited about the possibilities and a little nervous too. I can’t wait to connect with another community of readers. It is my desire to help students love reading and grow as readers. 

I read about the 40 Book Challenge in The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. I love how the challenge helps each student grow as a reader. I long to help my new students reach personally set reading goals that will help them become lifelong readers. I found this article, The 40 Book Challenge Revisited, to be a thoughtful response to misuses of Mrs. Miller’s original intention. I hope you find it thought provoking too. Happy reading!


Teaching Special Thinkers: Back to School Books for Week 1: All About School

Gabrielle, at Teaching Special Thinkers, has started an amazing series of blog posts sharing the books she is reading aloud and how she’s incorporating activities around the books throughout the day. The picture shows the books she’ll be using the first week of school.


Daniel Coldstar Goes On Tour!

. @DanielColdstar Thanks for the #BookExcursion shout-out on your blog. #WhoDisturbs? 🚀

This was a busy week for Daniel Coldstar: The Relic War.

The book has been invited to join three book tours featured on Twitter this Summer! They are #bookjourney, #bookvoyage, and #bookexpedition. These are reading crews made up of authors, teachers and librarians across the country, who read a handful of middle grade ARCs during summer break and then tweet and blog their reviews. It is a great and personal way for followers to learn about exciting books coming out this Fall!

So, Daniel Coldstar: The Relic War got packaged up and sent off to these great groups of readers. The first book in the Daniel Coldstar series should be in their hands soon!

If you want to learn about some awesome middle grade books coming out this Fall, do a search for these hashtags on Twitter and follow the wonderful people who are their members. You’ll be so glad you did!

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Control Alt Achieve: 6 End-Of-Year Google Classroom Clean-up Tips by @EricCurts

Ah, I learned something new through this article. I need to make sure I returned all student work so ownership reverts back to the student. Did anyone else forget to clean up your #GoogleClassroom at the end of the school year? Here’s a step-by-step guide to the process by Eric Curts. #edtech #edtechteam @ericcurts


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