Skip to Main Content

Check It Out: September 19, 2018

Your monthly news from the OPS Library Services Staff

Important Dates

October 9, November 8 - New Teacher Meetings  at TAC in Library Services from 4:45-6:15

October 24 - Secondary Librarians Team Meeting at TAC, December 12, 2018 at location TBD  12:00-3:00

October 25 - Elementary Librarians Team Meeting  CANCELED as per negotiated contract regarding conferences

Elementary Story Rugs!

Reading Rugs:  Hey, elementary librarians!! If your library does not have a reading rug, and you have space for one, Library Services will order one for you.

  • Consider your library’s color scheme. While a primary-themed rug will work in many spaces, you can also order from the patterned carpets or teen carpet collections.
  • Rugs should either 10’9” x 7’8” OR 13’2” x 10’9”
  • You are responsible for measuring your space to ensure the rug will fit!! This means there should be adequate room around the rug to walk and enter/exit the area easily and safely (No to cramming a rug in between bookshelves!!)
  • Also consider whether you want each student to have a designated spot on the rug. If so, geometric shapes are advisable.

Use the following link to choose a rug suitable for your space:

Once you have made you selection, please fill out the order form:

The form will be open through October 15, so don’t delay!

Kindness Resources

Activities for Fostering a Climate of Kindness

The Middle School Kindness Challenge is an easy way to make kindness commonplace and improve school climate and student learning in the critical middle school years. Open to schools with any combination of grades 4–8, the challenge offers best-in-class kindness activities to teach and foster kindness over a four-week period of the school’s choosing. By learning how to practice kindness, be more empathetic, and manage their emotions and actions, students can become better equipped to navigate a complex world—at school, at home, and online. Offered through an easy-to-use online platform, the challenge can successfully be completed by any school in three steps: (1) The school accepts the challenge and signs up teachers and staff to participate. (2) Teachers and staff complete a kindness reflection exercise and then teach four best-in-class kindness-building lessons drawn from leading content providers. (The “Everyday Gratitude” activity, provided by Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, is offered as a free download for teachers to preview. (3) Educators create a Kindness Ritual to make kindness routine at their school.

Deadlines: The fall 2018 challenge, which began on August 1, closes on December 14. Schools need to accept the challenge no later than November 12, 2018, to allow teachers 30 days to teach kindness activities.


Program Encouraging Respectful Discourse

AllSides for Schools, a multifunctional program of the Mediators Foundation in partnership with AllSides and Living Room Conversations, helps educators teach essential skills in critical thinking, collaboration, listening and respectful discourse, media literacy, and social–emotional learning. The AllSides News Page curates daily news stories by topic categories and with left–center–right bias ratings. Issue searches include background articles, think-tank and policy-group perspectives, in-person Living Room Conversation prompts and protocols, and ConsiderIt online discussion areas. Additional features include the AllSides Balanced Dictionary, defining controversial terms and issues across the political spectrum;, a platform for connecting classrooms and promoting civil discourse; and AllSides Boards, for posting assignments, sharing materials, and organizing research. Common Core–aligned lesson plans and personal-bias discovery tools round out the wealth of resources provided for preparing students in grade 6 and above to participate thoughtfully in democracy—and in life.


Global Connections for Developing Global Competence

The Global Schools Network (GSN), powered by the Partnership for 21st Century Schools (P21), officially launched on July 30, 2018. Schools from around the world may apply to join this global network focused on global competence, global awareness, linguistic competence, and a curriculum enriched by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. P21 has seeded the launch with notable global schools in China, the Philippines, Denmark, Colombia, as well in the United States. This first cohort will serve as mentor schools for the other schools that apply and meet the criteria. A school does not have to be a perfect model of global education to join the network. P21 offers a free preassessment that will provide a reasonable indication that a school has the programs and practices in place to meet the acceptance criteria. To proceed with the full application, the school must submit evidence that it has a vibrant global education program engaging all of its teachers and students. A steering committee and advisory committee comprised of some of the leading global education specialists in the world will evaluate the applications and use the data and evidence submitted to place the school at one of three levels: Developing, Sustaining, and Mentoring.

Deadlines: Application window open year-round to accommodate schools in different countries that follow a different school calendar. Applications reviewed four times per year (September, December, March, June); new cohorts announced the following month.

Plus: A GSN members-only professional development portal will launch in September 2018. The portal will feature weekly Twitter chats and discussion boards on specialized global education topics. GSN will also offer online modules that result in badges and microcredentials. The content, which at present is targeted exclusively at teachers and school leaders, will be a mix of both free and paid professional learning. The focus will be on both skill building and knowledge building.

Library Girl-- Fake News, Alternative Facts and Librarians As Dedicated Defenders of Truth

The same fact can be used by different people to support alternative opinions, but the facts don't change. Different people can use the same facts to emphasize alternative ideas or to inform different theories, but the facts remain the same. Facts are non-partisan. Facts alone are neutral. It's what we do with them that becomes controversial.

That said, there's a not so old saying that goes "we are drowning in information, but starving for knowledge." (Note: the fact that this saying is attributed to at least 5 different people when I do a quick search for the author is an irony that has not escaped me, but I digress). These days, getting answers to your questions is just about the easiest thing in the world. Getting the right answer is more challenging. Librarians (and Neil Gaiman) have known this for years, but one thing is certain, in the information age, discerning fact from fiction is THE "21st century skill."

ASCD--Tools to Debunk Fake News

Fake news isn't going away, experts agree. In "Avoiding the Fake News Trap" from the April 2017 issue of Education Update, educators and news literacy experts share practical ways to build and scaffold news literacy skills in the classroom—from 1st grade through high school. Check out these additional online resources to help your students sort fact from fiction.

Teacher Librarian--Fact or Fake?

Fact or Fake?  Curriculum Challenges for School Librarians by Annette Lamb

The article tips for school librarians to enhance the skills of students on determining the information quality. Among the suggestions includes distinguishing fact and opinion, identifying fake images, and questioning the sponsorship. Also include the application of triangulation, preselection of quality sources, and building effective lessons.

Spooky Book Displays

Storybook Pumpkin Patch

Some of our elementary libraries have had students volunteer to help them create storybook pumpkin patches. Students choose the book they want to use, buy their own pumpkin, and create their storybook character pumpkin by a certain date. Then, the pumpkins are displayed in the library. You could make this a contest of some kind or just plain fun.  TIP: Put some sort of tray or surface under the pumpkin so as not to ruin your shelves if one springs a leak.


Limitless Library Grant

Congratulations to Gavin Flint of the Bryan High School library who ws awarded a Limitless Libraries grant is designed to enrich the learning school library experience and foster Mixed Reality adoption in education.

The grant provides libraries with all the resources for getting a Mixed Reality program up and running, including:

  • Two Windows Mixed Reality headsets and two computers to operate them
  • Technical training of staff and administration
  • Assistance with marketing resources and program scheduling
  • Email support to answer any questions going forward
  • Access to other grantees
  • Updates about new content rollouts

Way to go, Gavin!!

Common Sense Media for 3-5th Grade--UPDATES

Some changes were made to the 3-5th grade Common Sense Media lessons this summer.  If you would like to continue using the previous lessons this year, you may.  If you would like to test out the new lessons for 3rd-5th grade, we would love your feedback.


1)  CSM has organized lessons into specific grade levels instead of grade level bands.  As such, you will see some lessons have changed grade levels from previous years.

2)  While some of the lesson titles remain the same, the lessons themselves have changed.  The videos are located in YouTube and the handouts/documents are in Google.  You will need to download the Google Doc or Slides into Word and PowerPoint.  If you need help with this or run into issues, let me know.

3)  New lessons have been added to the offerings.

4)  The changes are only for 3-5 grade.  K-2, 6-8, and 9-12 have not changed yet.  Recommended lessons for these grade levels can be found at


All elementary librarians must teach 2 lessons from CSM for grades 3-5.  See the previous lessons at

The new lessons can be accessed through the Common Sense Media site with your free educator account.  The following have been selected as the required two per grade level. The bonus lesson is inquiry related.  If you teach all three lessons at all three grade levels in your K-5 elementary school, you will meet one of the requirements for your school to be Common Sense Media Certified!  Contact Keegan Korf or myself with questions about CSM lessons.

3rd:  The Power of Words  and  Password Power-Up  

Bonus Inquiry Focused Lesson: Is Seeing Believing

4th:  Private and Personal Information  and  Super Digital Citizen

Bonus Inquiry Focused Lesson:  Creators Rights & Responsibilities

5th:  What's Cyberbullying?  and  Finding My Media Balance

Bonus Inquiry Focused Lesson:  Reading News Online

Spooky Displays

Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).