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March 2013, Volume 5, Issue 3

Continuing Education Alert

Check Your Calendars!!

One Book SD

Read Across America Day
March 2

World Read Aloud Day
March 6

Teen Tech Week
March 10-16

PLA Virtual Spring Symposium
March 20

School Library Month

Month of the Military Child

National Library Week
April 14-20

World Book Night
April 23

El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros
April 30

Featured e-Resources of the Month
Is there an app for that?

School Libraries


School Library Survey opens on April 1

The 2012-2013 School Library Survey will open on April 1 and close May 15. With 100 percent of all districts/school systems completing the survey last year, we are looking to repeat that percentage this year. We have clarified a few definitions, created some new choices in the checklists and added a few new questions. For example, you'll be asked to input your interlibrary loan statistics for this year. There will be a webinar offered on March 21 to go over the basics of the survey program. For registration details, go to

Between now and April you may want to look at your data from previous years. Go to and use your district login and password. You can also look at the complete statistics and make comparisons at using the same login and password information. Contact Joan Upell (email) or Mary G. Johnson (email) if you have any questions or need your login information.


Digital learning in South Dakota: sample activities from school librarians

Digital Learning Day was celebrated on Feb. 6 across the country. Thousands of educators took part in the online activities sponsored by the Alliance for Excellent Education both before and after the designated day. So many SD educators registered on the national site at one time that contacts at the State Library and TIE received an email stating, "South Dakota is Rockin'." The SD Virtual School, as well as the State Library, held a showcase on Feb. 6 for legislators at the Capitol Visitor Center, too.

But digital learning happens every day in South Dakota. Here are just a few sample activities from school librarians:

  • Jack Batchelder and Denise McCormick at Black Hawk Elementary School, RCAS: We have been working on a collaborative research project with third graders and the library. So, we created a video to answer the question, "What does digital learning look like?"
  • Marilyn Mendenhall at Colman-Egan School: We have been having a great time using the site in several ways. First, I read the book Dog Food by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers to all the PK-sixth grade classes. The art teacher had the sixth grade class make their own characters out of fruits and vegetables and photographed them. We then used the character photographs to blabberize the Dewey Decimal chants shared in the last issue of the Cornerstone. I also added a joke and a reminder of the best way to return books to the library. One of my sixth grade library helpers also created a newscast of what was going on at the evening Celebration of Reading we hold each month for families. The blabbers were highly successful in exciting the children.
  • Kay Dahl at Tri-Valley School: We are celebrating all week (since I don't see all K-6 students on Wednesday only) by talking about searching the Internet – how to search using pictures for the younger students and keyword searches for the older ones (specifically, the more – and more precise – keywords, the better your search results should be).
  • Angela Ostrander at Faith School: We have been working on searching references using the databases on the State Library website. Since there are so many great databases and not enough time to search each, I have created a project for each pair of students to draw four of the databases from a cup and then take a look at those four. Then in a couple of weeks (since the students only come to the library once a week for 25 min.), they will present what they found with examples.
  • Sharlene Lien at Discovery Elementary School, Sioux Falls School District: Our fourth graders researched a state, created a PowerPoint slide and then added an audio file. They used both print and online resources. The slides will be used by their teachers and classmates as they study the regions of the U.S. Take a look at two examples (below links will open new windows in your browser):
  • Laura Allard at Memorial Middle School, Sioux Falls School District: As winter seems to close in, there seems to be kind of a "reading lag," so we decided to try to perk up the students with a Winter Reading Blitz! Besides a variety of reading activities, including a snowball contest, we set up a Skype session with author Lisa Schroeder. The Skype went really well. Lisa gave about a 30-40 minute presentation about the writing process, and how it taught her about trying new things, being different and being persistent. She answered student questions for about 15 minutes or so. She was very gracious and the students really enjoyed it!

Memorial Middle School's skype session with Lisa Schroeder


21st Century School Library Award application process now open

Remember to complete the 21st Century School Library Self-Assessment tool and see if you want to apply for the first annual 21st Century School Library Award. Award applications and required supporting materials will be accepted from March 1 through May 1. Complete details may be found in last month's Cornerstone and





21st Century, activities, Black Hawk, Colman, Colton, Faith, school libraries, Sioux Falls, survey

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The Cornerstone monthly e-newsletter is created by the South Dakota State Library. For more information on how to be a part of this newsletter, please contact us via e-mail with your questions and ideas.