Library Video Company Blog Posts

It’s National Poetry Month!

Poetry is a beautiful way to express yourself. In poetry, words mingle and tingle, create and berate, illustrate and celebrate. Poems tell tales of love and loss, victory and defeat, hopes and dreams, joy and salvation. And sometimes, poetry is just plain fun and silly.

Poetry is so prevalent in our world. We find it in books, in songs, on posters, in memes and of course, in love letters. And there are so many different kinds of poetry. There are sonnets, haikus, couplets, cinquain and acrostic poetry just to name a few. In other words, there’s something for everyone.

It’s just poetic justice that there’s actually a National Poetry Month! This year marks the 20th anniversary of the literary celebration that was inaugurated in 1996 by the Academy of National Poets.

Why not spend the month propelling poetry to the forefront of your students’ minds? Hopefully, they’ll learn to appreciate and love the power of poetry and carry it beyond the month of April.

Read a Poem a Day
Assign each student a day to bring in a poem to read aloud. Then define what kind of poem it is and discuss what it means.

Write a Poem a Day
Have your students write a different kind of poem each day. Explain that not all poetry has to rhyme and not all poetry makes perfect sense!

Poem in Your Pocket Day
April 21st is Poem in Your Pocket Day, a day in which people pick a poem and carry it with them throughout the day. Your students should be encouraged to share it in the classroom, with friends, family or even on Twitter with the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Check out for ways to celebrate National Poetry Month and for ideas on how to make poetry a part of your students’ lives. And, of course, Library Video Company has many DVDs about exploring, writing and enjoying poetry.


What if I have to commute to college?

Many colleges and universities ask for acceptance deposits by May 1st, making these next two weeks rather stressful for many students – and their parents!

Some students know exactly where they want to go, but as the song goes, “You can’t always get what you want…”

When push comes to shove, the best laid plans and the highest hopes may come tumbling down when a parent’s hand freezes over that deposit check. Sometimes money, or lack of it, is what ultimately makes the college decision for a student.

While student loans are relatively easy to obtain, students often need co-signers and some parents are not able to do that. And many parents can’t get behind the notion that their child will come out of college with a debt as big as a mortgage. With room and board costs hovering around $10,000, commuting to college is an option to consider.

Will I get a college experience if I commute?
Everything you do in life is an experience. While it won’t be the same as if you were dorming, it will still be your unique experience. And what you choose to do with it is up to you. If you are commuting, you can make efforts to assimilate yourself into the student body by:

Being a night owl.
Go to plays, concerts and guest speaker engagements that are held at night time.

Being a sports enthusiast.
Go watch a baseball game or join an intramural sports team. You don’t have to be on the pro track to shoot some hoops or play in a friendly softball game.

Studying at school.
Instead of rushing right out after class, join a study group or do your work in the college library.

Hanging out.
Whether it’s the student center, the dining hall or the quad on a sunny day, go where the students are.

Joining a club.
Every college has dozens, if not hundreds, of clubs and organizations. Find a couple that are of interest and check them out.

Going Greek.
You can pledge a sorority or fraternity or join a religious organization on campus.

Serving the community.
Getting involved in a community service project with other students is a great way to make yourself feel a part of things.

Being social.

Just because you don’t live on campus doesn’t mean you can’t go to parties, hang out in dorm rooms or even sleep over every now and then.

To get the most out of your college experience, just take the plunge! Take advantage of every on-campus opportunity that you can and before long, you’ll feel as much a part of the college as any student out there!

Just Say No: The Life of Nancy Reagan

Just Say No!
Slogans are powerful little creatures. Some are carefully created like Nike’s Just Do It!, m&m’s Melts in your mouth, not in your hand and Burger King’s Have it your Way. And some other long-lasting slogans, like Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No, were no more than impromptu responses uttered in the right place at the right time.

Nancy Reagan, the former first lady and wife of President Ronald Reagan, passed away on Sunday, March 6, 2016 of congestive heart failure at the age of 94. President Reagan was in the White House from 1981 to 1989. The first lady was known as a fiercely loyal spouse to her husband, both personally and politically, an advocate for Alzheimer’s disease and the spokeswoman for the Just Say No anti-drug program.

Unlike other marketing campaigns, the slogan Just Say No came about accidentally. Quite involved in the anti-drug movement, Nancy Reagan spoke at an elementary school in Oakland. A child raised her hand and asked, “Mrs. Reagan, what do you do is somebody offers you drugs?” Nancy Reagan responded simply, “Well, you just say no.” And that off-the-cuff comment became a slogan as well-known and enduring as any advertising campaign of recent history.

But, it takes more than words to make an impact. Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No campaign was born in the height of the crack cocaine epidemic. During her tenure as first lady she spoke at many schools and appeared on different television shows including Dynasty and Diff’rent Strokes, enlisted the help of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, Kiwanis Club International and the National Federation of Parents for a Drug-Free Youth to help promote her cause. Over 5000 Just Say No clubs were established in schools and youth organizations across the country, many of which are still in existence today. Nancy Reagan believed that if you just save one child, it’s worth it.

Here are some ideas as you discuss the life and legacy of Nancy Reagan in your classroom:

Create a slogan

Agree on a classroom cause (bullying, poverty, discrimination, violence, etc.) and have your students come up with a slogan, either individually or as a group. Make posters and hang them throughout the school. After a week, take a survey of the student body asking if they are aware of the slogan and if so, what cause it represents.

Research the Reagans
The Reagans were a fascinating couple who both had Hollywood ties. Have your students research their back story and their climb to the White House.

Learn about anti-drug campaigns
Ask your class to research different anti-drug campaigns throughout history and how awareness and education can help the movement.

Moving up to Middle School: Show Don’t Tell

Middle school can be a scary transition for even the bravest of the brave. It marks the move from little kid to adolescent and from being the oldest in the school to the youngest. The most confident of kids become weak-kneed as stories (mostly untrue) start to circulate. Students quake as they imagine forgetting their locker combinations, getting lost as they switch classrooms and being teased by upperclassmen.

You can preach to your students all you want about how middle school is going to be So. Much. Fun. How they are going to feel so grown-up. How much they’re going to learn and how many new friends they’re going to meet. But, behind those frozen smiles are sweaty palms, swirling thoughts and little hearts pitter-pattering a mile-a-minute.

The best way to ease those anxious minds is to show, not tell.

Plan a trip (or two, if possible) to the middle school. Have your elementary students move from class-to-class, eat in the cafeteria, explore the gym and art rooms, and meet the principal and other important administrators.

See if you can get the middle school to arrange for a student-to-student Q & A. Hearing it right from the horse’s mouth makes a world of difference. Encourage your students to come up with questions in advance so they won’t be star struck when meeting the “big kids.”

Change can be hard. Fear can be crippling. But transitioning to middle school doesn’t have to be either hard or crippling. It can be a positive experience if students go into it informed, prepared and comfortable.

Election 2016: What the Heck is the Electoral College?

The Electoral College is not a school. It is not somewhere you can go. Or something you can see. It is a process, not a place. And, it can be awfully confusing!

The Electoral College is the institution that elects the President of the United States every four years.

But wait, if an institution elects the president, then why do we vote?

In our country, we don’t directly elect the president. Instead, our votes elect intermediaries called electors who have pledged to vote for a particular president. The number of electors in each state is equal to the number of members of Congress to which the state is entitled. There are a total of 538 electors which includes 435 of the nation’s representatives, 100 senators and 3 electors that are given to Washington, DC.

So, when we go to the polls to vote, we are actually choosing which candidate wins the state’s electors.

The candidate who wins the majority of electoral votes (270) wins the election.

What does winner-take-all mean?

In all but two states, the candidate who wins the majority of the votes in a state wins that state’s electoral votes – winner-takes-all. However, in Nebraska and Maine, they do it differently and assign electoral votes by proportional representation. The top vote-getter in those states gets two electoral votes and the rest are allocated by congressional districts. This means that in those two states, both candidates can win electoral votes.

Who are these electors?

Electors are usually nominated by political parties at their state conventions. They are usually state-elected officials, party leaders or people who have strong ties to one of the Presidential candidates.

Who came up with this idea?

The founding fathers established the Electoral College in the Constitution as a compromise between electing the President by Congress and electing the President by popular vote.

So, can someone lose the popular vote and still become president?

Sure can! And it happened in 2000 when George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore by 51% but won the Electoral College 271 to 266! And that’s how George Bush became our President!

Library Video Company is a proud supplier of educational resources for classrooms, homeschools and libraries worldwide. Check out the Drug Education for Teens DVD and visit our website for other ideas to help enhance your students’ learning experiences.

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