S.T.E.A.M. Lab “Inspiration”

I am so stinkin’ excited because I just found out that the library is going to receive funds from the Shelby County Education Foundation so that we can purchase some new items for our library S.T.E.A.M. lab.  Back in February, I put in an application for an Inspire the Journey Grant.  My proposal was called, “Problem-Solving and Innovating with S.T.E.A.M.”  Today, Kendall Williams from the Education Foundation showed up at my school with a big ole’ check!

I’m not sure when I actually get to purchase everything but I’ve got my fingers crossed that when the kids return in the Fall, they’ll be greeted with our new gadgets and gizmos.  This grant will allow our kids to gain additional skills in construction, engineering, programming, robotics, mathematics, and electronics.  Specifically, I’ve been approved to purchase the following:  a Keeva Contraption Kit, an Ozobot set, a Goobi Construction Set, Makey Makey programming items, a Hands on Equations Kit, a Lego Large Creative box (we’re going to have a Lego Wall), Arduino Electronics, and a Hummingbird Robotics Kit.  What a great day!!!

Keyboarding Championship

This week, my STAR hall friends are participating in a county wide keyboarding competition.  Throughout the year, the children have been accessing an online program called Typing Agent.  This program teaches kids the “right” way to type.

The Keyboarding Championship is a fun way for the kids to show off their skills and the school with the highest score will win some new technology for their students to use.  Here’s some of our kiddos who have participated so far.


The Honeybee Man

Last week, my preschool friends and my buddies on the MD hall got to hear the story of The Honeybee Man by Lela Nargi.  This is a LONG picture book so I had to pick and choose parts to read but basically it tells the story of a man who lives in Brooklyn who raises honeybees on his roof.  It does a WONDERFUL job of explaining the process that bees go through to collect honey and it has fabulous pictures that illustrate the way beekeepers collect that honey and put it in jars.

Ten Little Caterpillars

Whew!  We’ve been up to so many different things over here at Linda Nolen and I’ve managed to get behind on my library blog!  A few weeks ago, my friends on the MD hall had a special story time about caterpillars and butterflies.  The book we read was called, Ten Little Caterpillars and it’s by Bill Martin.  The book is about ten little caterpillars and the last one climbs an apple tree and goes through the life cycle to become a beautiful butterfly.

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We decided to end our lesson with a fun craft.  We made beautiful butterflies using coffee filters, dot markers, and water.


Little Clouds

The weather is warming up and right now is the PERFECT time to do some cloud watching!  This week my preschool and MD hall friends are reading Little Cloud by Eric Carle.  This is a story about a little cloud that with a touch of imagination, becomes many different things like an airplane, a rabbit, and even a clown.  This little cloud is able to stretch, drift, and even merge with other clouds to make something extraordinary.

I decided to pair this title with some science fun so this week, after we read our story, we are watching a short video from PBS about clouds and weather.  The kids are learning just a little bit about the different types of clouds.

To finish up the lesson, we are using cotton balls to create our own cumulus, stratus, and cirrus clouds.

Libraries Are Perfect for Bowling!

Library bowling has become a very popular S.T.E.A.M. lab activity this term.  The kids are given bowling pins and a ball but there’s a twist.  The kids must use our Dash robot and programming app.  Essentially, they are programming Dash to “roll” the ball toward the pins.  This might sound easy but it’s actually kind of difficult and it’s been fun to watch the kids get better and better at it with each new frame.  We’ve been using the bowling genius website so that we can even keep score like real bowling.


S.T.E.A.M. Lab Marble Run

I had to share this picture because this group of girls worked so so so hard on their S.T.E.A.M. lab project.  The girls were given pool noodles, tape, and marbles and were asked to create a marble run.   The girls had to work together and problem solve but they ended up with a really awesome marble run that actually worked.

Of course, their first few attempts didn’t work out as planned but  eventually they were able to build a workable product.  We talk a lot in our S.T.E.A.M. lab about perseverance and these girls demonstrated excellent perseverance with this task. Each girl erupted in cheers when the marble finally made it all the way through the maze.

Little Red Is Skipping Her Way Through LNLC!

Little Red Riding Hood is skipping her way through the halls at Linda Nolen this month!  All of the kids have spent the last few weeks hearing various versions of Little Red Riding Hood.

We began our adventure with a “traditional” story.

The younger kids listened to the story above.  We were able to pull out some props and the kids got to act the story out as it was read to them.

The older kids needed an additional challenge.  Instead of the picture book above, I pulled two authentic older versions by Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm.  Charles Perrault wrote his version around the early 170os and it’s interesting because it’s very similar to a version that might be told to children today even though it’s over 300 years old.  The Grimm Brothers wrote their version in the 1800s.  After reading the stories, we took time to discuss the author’s purpose and to compare and contrast the two stories.

The next version that we read was Pretty Salma by Niki Daly.  In this version which takes place somewhere in Africa, Little Salma is sent to the market.  On the way home, Mr. Dog meets her when she decides to take a shortcut through the wild side of town.  To keep Mr. Dog from eating granny, Pretty Salma must be witty and cunning.

Pretty Salma: A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa

Last week, we read my favorite version Flossie and the Fox by Patricia C. McKissack.  This is a southern version which is why I love it so much.  In this version Flossie is our Little Red Riding Hood.  Big Mama has sent Flossie to take some eggs to her friend Miss Viola.  Miss Viola’s poor chickens are too nervous to lay any eggs because a sneaky fox keeps stealing them.  This fox is so sly that not even Mr. McCutchins prized hound dogs have been able to catch him.  While on her way, Flossie comes across an animal who claims to be a fox but Flossie refuses to believe it unless the fox can prove it.  Mr. Fox tries and tries but Flossie is sly as well and so for every evidence Mr. Fox provides, Flossie has a reason why it doesn’t prove a thing.  When Flossie and the Fox finally arrive at Miss Viola’s house, the fox finally figures out who is the sliest animal in the woods!


This week, my STAR hall kiddos and I are reading our last version of Little Red Riding Hood.  It’s called, Petite Rouge:  A Cajun Red Riding Hood by Mike Artell.  In this version, the story structure is fairly similar to the traditional version.  However, the cajun culture and dialect is well infused.  Of course, our antagonist in this story is a big ole’ gator who gets tricked into thinking Petite Rouge (Little Red) tastes like a big heaping of Louisiana hot sauce.  This is an adorable story!

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Dr. Seuss Week

Whew!  We are busy this week celebrating the birthday of a beloved author, Dr. Seuss.  Though his actual birthday is March 2nd, the students at Linda Nolen have had special activities all week long! On Monday, the Cat in the Hat stopped by to read Green Eggs and Ham and each student had the opportunity to make a special craft.  On Tuesday, the Cat read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and had another fun craft.  Here you can see some of the kiddos work on display:

On Wednesday, the Cat came around and read, There’s a Wocket in My Pocket.  The library also hosted two movie slots during the day where the kids could come to the library and watch the video of Daisy Head Mayzie and my personal favorite, The Butter Battle Book.  

Today, the Cat is coming around the read The Cat in the Hat.  Since today is Dr. Seuss’ actual birthday, each class is celebrating this event with a special birthday snack.  I owe a huge thank you to all the parents who donated food items and paper goods so that this snack could happen at our school.  You guys are awesome!


Tomorrow is our last day and the Cat is coming around to read The Sleep Book.  Students are encouraged and welcome to wear appropriate pajamas tomorrow to help us celebrate this event!


Brave Bessie

This week, we are learning about the life of Bessie Coleman.  Bessie was born in 1892 and was the child of a Native American father and African-American mother.  Bessie had dreams of being an aviator but was denied entry into flying schools in the U.S. because of her race.  Bessie was a determined individual and eventually moved to France where she was permitted to train to become a pilot. After earning her license, she moved back to the U.S. and became the first female, African-American pilot in our country’s history.

This week, we are learning about Brave Bessie’s life and her ability to persevere toward her goal despite facing great obstacles with the story, Nobody Owns the Sky by Reeve Lindbergh.

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My friends on the STAR hall are integrating nonfiction into our lesson by accessing Pebblego’s database where we can find a short biography about Bessie’s life.

My buddies on the MD hall are getting messy with a special painting project.  We are using clothespins and Popsicle sticks to built a plane like one Bessie might have flown.  We are painting our planes to make them pretty and ready for moms and dads to see.



This week, we are celebrating Black History Month with the title, Rap A Tap Tap: Here’s Bojangles-Think Of That!  This is a picture book about Bill “Bojangles” Robinson who is known as the greatest tap dancer of all time.

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For our craft, we have a tap dancer coloring sheet that we’ve been turning into Bojangles.

Black History Month

This month, my kiddos and I are focusing our library time toward famous African-Americans.  This week, we start with Martin Luther King Jr with the book, Martin’s Big Words.  


After reading the book, we are making a headband that we can take home that says, “I have a dream.”  The children are coloring independently when possible and with hand-over-hand assistance when necessary.

We Jammin’ in Jamaica

booth 4

The students at Linda Nolen had quite a treat because we just finished Cultural Awareness Day!  This year, our kids traveled to France, Peru, Brazil, India, Jamaica, Australia, Greece, and good ole’ Canada.

I got to work with a team of wonderful teachers (Mrs. Calhoun, Ms. Egan, and Ms. Cole) to create a fabulous learning experience about Jamaica.  Our students entered the country with a quick stamp on their passport and were greeted to the lovely rhythm of Bob Marley and the Wailers.  Students were invited to learn more about our country by watching our interactive Powerpoint that included a fun video on how to speak Patois.  Ms. Calhoun’s class did a wonderful job researching and creating this presentation.

No vacation is complete without sampling the local fare so the kids each got to try Jamaican Grater Cake and a delicious Hibiscus drink.  Yum!

grater cake


Once our bellies were full, we took a quick trip to the beach where we had our photos made at the photo booth.


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Then, after a last stamp on their passports, the kids loaded the plane and headed for their next destination.  This was a great day!

We Be Body Movin’

I love the Beastie Boys and I love love love  this month’s library theme, Our Bodies!  Last week, my buddies and I read Here Are My Hands by Bill Martin.

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We also took turns putting our body parts where they go.



We finished up the lesson with a fun and  “brainy” craft. The kids colored their brains and made a fun hat to wear home.  Along the way, we learned to locate our brain and identify it’s function in our bodies.




This week, my kiddos and I are reading The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss.

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Our craft for this week is to clean a very dirty, yellow tooth using “toothpaste” and a toothbrush.