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Making Connections to Make Magic Happen

Last week the North Carolina School Library Media Association Conference (NCSLMA) was held in Winston Salem, NC.  Several of my colleagues attended from lots of schools in our area, but I was not one of the lucky attendees. I happened upon the many great things happening there by following the #ncslma18 hashtag on Twitter.

The first tweet I saw was from the one and only, Stacy Lovdahl: 

Stacy is traveling the state serving districts from far and wide as an Educator on Loan with DPI while she also serves her home district, I knew good things would be coming from her all day.  My excitement for the conference was elevated by the incredible authors and speakers they had lined up, one being Pernille Ripp! 

Pernille is the creator of the incredible Global Read Aloud project.  Her passion to ignite the love of reading in kids around the globe is infectious, and she has inspired me in many ways! I've shared her project with many teachers, and have had participants in the project at my schools for several years.  Her project drove me to create a Local Read Aloud project to connect the schools and students within our own district to connect and collaborate on a common book.

The Local Read Aloud in Burke County Public schools started two years ago with three books for different grade levels; Kindergarten-second grade reading Clementine, third-fifth graders reading Wish, and sixth-eighth graders reading The Last Boy at St. Edith's.

I don't know how Pernille can choose such wonderful books year after year, after year. It is so difficult!! I settled on these choices, having only read Clementine, but based on the summaries and reviews, I was confident in both of the other selections.  I reached out to the authors on Twitter, and wouldn't you know, Barbara O'Connor replied enthusiastically!

Ms. O'Connor not only engaged with our teachers and students via Twitter, she also joined our shared Google Classroom and interacted with our students! What an amazing experience for everyone! I could never have imagined the impact this made on our students and teachers! Wish was loved by everyone, and many inspired teachers purchased multiple copies to use with small reading groups.

So.... you can imagine my excitement when two women, who have impacted my practice in great ways, were heading up sessions at the very same conference not far from home!! AWESOME! Unfortunately, it wasn't on my radar before hand so I didn't attend, but the power of Twitter is incredible. I reached out Stacy, and she so graciously purchased a copy of Wish, and got it signed for me. She magically was sitting at a table with Lori Eggers, a media coordinator that I work closely with at East Burke Middle School, to whom she handed the book off to.
I got the book a few says ago, and wow... What an incredible journey of learning and connections all thanks to Pernille Ripp, and her Global Read Aloud, Barbara O'Connor, Twitter, and personal/professional connections.

So, my friends, reach out to others, try new things, connect with strangers! You won't be disappointed!


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