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.


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.



Thank You Donors Choose!

I am so excited to announce that in a few short weeks, we’ll have some new science, technology, and engineering items for our library S.T.E.A.M. lab and it’s all because of Donors Choose!  This is a website/organization that connects teachers with donors interested in supporting innovative school/classroom projects.

In just a few weeks, our kiddos will have the chance to program a Dash robot to spin, roll, throw a ball, and play the xylophone.   They’ll be able to play with snap circuits and participate in hands on learning about light, energy, circuitry, and even build an RC Rover.  They’ll get to apply what they know about energy and motion as they build structures with our new K’nex system.  AND, they’ll get to foster their sense of creativity and problem solving skills as they play with our new Osmo Genius kit and computer coding kit.

I can’t wait to see how the kids respond to these new hands on challenges!  Thank you Donors Choose!

Library Theme: Winter

This month, my friends on the MD hall and my preschool buddies are learning about the winter.  We began our unit with the book, Leaves by David Ezra Stein.  This is a sweet little book about a bear who experiences his first fall, winter, and spring.  He learns about the falling leaves, hibernation in winter, and the budding trees in the spring.  This is a wonderful book for teaching sequencing!

Image result for leaves by david ezra stein

This week, my buddies are reading The Snowy Day by Anna Milbourne.  This is a sweet book about all the fun things you can do with a little snow.

Image result for the snowy day anna milbourne

After we read the book, we are making our very own snowflake with tempera paint and glitter.  Then, just for fun, we’ve been building snowmen with some homemade snow.



November is For Numbers!

This month, our library theme is Math and Numbers!

My preschool and MD Hall friends have been busy, busy, busy with some counting fun!  This month, our lessons are beginning with the song, Five Little Speckled Frogs.  This has been fun but also a great way to introduce the concept of counting backwards from 5.  My friends seem to enjoy helping our frogs hop into the water.


We’ve also been introduced to a few fun counting books.  We began the month with the book Ten Black Dots.  This is a wonderful older book about all the things that can be made with a little imagination and some little black dots.


Our unit continued with a book called Six Sticks.  This was also a fun book about all the creative things two little mice could make with just six little Popsicle sticks.


This week, we are switching gears just a little bit and talking about money.  Our book is Pigs Will Be Pigs.  This is a fun story about the Pig family who wants to eat dinner at their favorite restaurant, The Enchanted Enchilada.  Unfortunately, Mama Pig didn’t make it to the bank and has no money to pay for the meal.  The Pig family tears up their house looking for spare change so they can enjoy their dinner at the restaurant.


This week, for our craft, we’ve been coloring piggy banks using some homemade puff paint.  Since our pigs need to be pink, we’ve incorporated a little artsy know-how into our projects and the kids have been helping me create our pink by mixing white and red. We’ve had some pretty interesting results!


Make It Monday!

Today, all across the state of Alabama, Library Media Specialists like myself celebrated our Makerspaces with Make It Monday!  Today, we had some really interesting projects that I think the kids really enjoyed.  In preparation for this awesome day, I borrowed some great art ideas from www.education.com.

Our first project was to make a bookmark in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright.  Mr. Wright was an architect famous for his ability to combine nature and geometric design with his structures.  Our kiddos got the chance to look at a few of his homes including arguably his most famous called Falling Water.  We used Falling Water as our inspiration to create a bookmark that we can use with our library books.  We used natural colors and geometric designs to create our products.


Our second project was to create a lovely monochromatic piece of art.  To do this, we took our primary colors red, yellow, and blue and created either green, purple, or orange.  We experimented with different hues by adding different amounts of our primary colors.  We also experimented with tint and shade by adding white and black to our paint.  What we ended up with, was a beautiful piece of art for Mom and Dad.


For our preschoolers, I recycled my paint monsters from a previous lesson.  The kids were given red, yellow, and blue blobs of paint on a piece of cardstock.  They were given a straw and asked to blow the colors together to create a shape that would be our monster.  We used our knowledge of primary and secondary colors and really investigated what happened when our blobs mixed and we were quite surprised to discover that we could make green and purple.  We finished our monsters off with some googly eyes and some arms, legs, and feet.