Every year, our 6th, 7th, and 8th graders on the STAR hall get the chance to participate in a weekly electives schedule. This year, the kids will rotate each nine weeks between technology, cooking, and photography.
This year, for technology, our kiddos are going to work on computer coding. We’re starting our unit in SCRATCH, a simple block style format designed for kids ages 8-16. Today, my 8th grade buddies created their SCRATCH accounts and begin working on their very first project.
This year, I’m trying something new! I have taught kids how to use the Dewey Decimal system in the library for years. For years, I’ve had kids that still need help finding a book in the library. Of course I don’t mind helping but I want the kids to be able to find a book on their own. Independence is the key! So, this year, I’m trying something new.
I used one of the first few library lessons to teach about the Dewey Decimal System and how to find a book in the library. We practiced looking up books using our automation system and finding those books on the shelves. And now, drumroll please…I am asking the kids to shelve their own books when they return them to the library. And you know what, I’ve never had a group do a better job with remembering how to use the Dewey Decimal system. Right now, the kids are in training. They go to where they think their book belongs and I check to see if they are right. I’m amazed at how good the kids are getting at finding the right spot using their knowledge of the Dewey system! And you know what? If our kiddos can use this system in our library then they are going to be able to go on to much bigger libraries and do the exact same thing. Like I said before, independence is key and our kids are on their way to being independent in the library!
Last week, my little buddies on the S.T.A.R. hall got to practice using the five finger rule to find a “just right” book. This is a great way to find a book that isn’t too hard or too easy and it works in my library as well as other libraries and bookstores. Basically it works like this. When a student finds a book that they like they turn to any page in the book and start reading. Every time they get to a word they don’t know, they hold up a finger. At the end of the page they count how many fingers they are holding in the air. If they have no fingers in the air then that book is probably too easy. If they have between 1 and 4 fingers then the book is probably just right. If they have five fingers in the air then that book is too difficult. This is a really easy way for kids to look for a book that they’ll actually be able to read on their own.
My friends on the ID hall are starting the year with a very special storytime read aloud. Mr. Brad, one of my co-workers, brought me a great book that I’m reading to all of my buddies. It’s called, “Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe: Different is More.” The book is about a special giraffe who thinks about his world in a different, unique way. Using his own special talents and abilities, Grant learns to make eco-art which makes him well known across the world.
This book is super special primarily because it’s written and illustrated by a mother/son duo named Julie and Grant Manier. Grant is an award winning artist and this story is about his life. Grant is a young man with autism who wants to deliver a message to the world that “different, is more!”
This week, we are reading this wonderful story and then completing a group art activity where we glue Grant’s puzzle piece “dots” onto his body. In this way, hopefully Grant the giraffe can serve as a role model for the kiddos at our school.
Last Friday, our kiddos got to innovate in the S.T.E.A.M. lab for the first time of the year. I was able to catch some pictures of our kids at work.
giving the keyboard a try
practicing flips and rotations with tangrams and Osmo
building a marble run with pool noodles
making an obstacle course for Dash
coding with Osmo
Welcome back to the 2017-2018 school year! I’m sure our kiddos have had a wonderful summer and much needed break but now it’s time to get back to the business of learning! This year, I encourage each and every child to use our library media center to its fullest. Parents, if you get a chance to stop by the school, feel free to stop by and introduce yourselves. Feel free to come “sea” our library!
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
We decided to end our lesson with a fun craft. We made beautiful butterflies using coffee filters, dot markers, and water.
Next week, the library is hosting a Crane Bookfair. Items range in price from $.50 to $15.00. The library will receive 40% of the profit in new books for the students to read. Students and parents are encouraged to participate!
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.
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.
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.
This week, the kids on the MD hall and my preschool friends are getting a taste of enemy pie! This is a story by Derek Munson about how to turn enemies into friends. This week, the kiddos are getting a chance to make their own enemy pie craft. So cute!
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.
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!
This week, we have a special S.T.E.A.M. lab activity! The kids are making shamrock slime and it is SO MUCH FUN!
Mrs. King’s class had some special visitors from Kingwood Christian School who got to make slime with us!
Here’s a picture of our Read Across America Team. This is the group of folks who worked super hard to make the week both fun and educational for our kiddos!
From left to right you can see Mrs. Koval-Lewis, Mrs. Riddle, Mrs. Deason, and Mrs. King.
Today, I met my doppelganger!
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!