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.

 

Rap-A-Tap-Tap

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

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Elf on the Shelf

This week, my S.T.E.A.M. lab buddies are working on a challenge I borrowed from Ms. Brooke Brown on Teachers Pay Teachers.  We are building our own Elf of the Shelf!  The kids have been given Popsicle sticks and play-doh.  Their challenge is to build a shelf that will hold an elf.   We’ve had a few successes so far!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

jack

Monster Art!

I just had so much fun with Ms. Calhoun’s class!  Today, for S.T.E.A.M. lab, we decided to focus on an art challenge.  We used our primary colors to make blow paint monsters.  So much fun!  This turned out to be a pretty fun way to show the kids how they can create secondary colors.  Here are a couple of our new library monsters:monster1

 

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Grace and Duck for President!

This week, we are reading Grace For President by Kelly DiPucchio.

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This book is about a little girl who wants to be president.  This book is great for teaching children about the electoral college and so far, I think the kids are walking away with a better understanding of the election process.

Last week, we read a fun book titled Duck For President by Doreen Cronin.  This is a fun tale about a humble duck who began his political career as a farm hand and worked his way up the ladder of success to become president of the United States.  Duck learns as he goes that being a politician isn’t all it’s quacked up to be!

duck

Examining the Election!

Whew!  There’s a lot going on in the Linda Nolen Library right now!  First off, Ms. King and I have been working for the last few weeks on a collaborative project to teach her kiddos about the upcoming presidential election.  We’re using an awesome project that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers but we’ve tweaked it to hit English/Language Arts, Social Studies, and Information Literacy standards for our kids.  Here are a few pictures of their work so far.

 

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So far, the kids have learned to identify the candidates for the 2016 election.  They know basic election vocabulary, who is eligible to vote, and how to vote.  We’ve begun talking about the voter registration process and today the kids get to use Google Forms to practice filling out a voter registration form online.  I think we’re set to have some election savvy students.

If I Were President

This month, all of my Linda Nolen buddies are learning about the presidential election.  We’re kicking off the unit with the book, If I Were President by Catherine Stier.

Image result for If I Were President catherine stier

This is a wonderful book about a little girl who daydreams about what it would be like to be the president.  Along the way, the reader learns a little bit about the job of the president and also some major landmarks like the Capitol, the White House, and Mount Rushmore.

For our craft this week, my friends on the ID Hall and my preschool friends are learning to recognize the U.S. flag by making our own flag.

flag

On the STAR hall, my younger friends are gaining some information literacy skills this month by researching facts about the candidates and the voting process.  This week though, we are just learning to recognize the candidates by their names and photos.

My older STAR hall friends are learning about opposing viewpoints.  This week, the kids are visiting the official website for each candidate and they are learning about each candidate’s platform for education.  Our goal is to create a persuasive poster for our candidate of choice that highlights their opinion about education.  These will be on display as soon as the kids finish!

Pasta Cars

The hardest part about our S.T.E.A.M. lab challenge this week is not eating it!  This week, my buddies and I have been challenged to build rolling cars out of pasta!  The kids have been given lasagna, ziti, and spaghetti as our building tools.  For the wheels, we are using lifesavers.  From there, the kids have been working together to make a car that will really roll.

The idea for this project came from the pbskids website and so far, the kids are really enjoying the activity.

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The Day the Crayons Quit!

crayons

This week we are reading one of my favorite books, The Day the Crayons Quit.  It’s about a little boy who pulls out his crayon box and discovers all these letters that were written by his crayons.  His crayon friends are upset for various reasons and they want Duncan to know about it!  At the end, Duncan is able to come up with a great way to make all of his crayon buddies happy.

Our craft this week is one that I found on pinterest.  We are taking Popsicle sticks and turning them into our crayon characters from the story.

Learning About the Native Americans

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My Linda Nolen buddies and I had a really neat experience this morning!  We participated in a virtual field trip with several other schools across the state.  Without leaving the building, we traveled to the Museum of Alabama and got an up close tour of the First Alabamians exhibit.  Being able to participate in events like this makes me so happy that we have available and ready technology for our students to use and learn with.

Afterward, a few of my friends and I decided to check out the book, Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott.  This is an adapted folktale from the pueblo and was also a Caldecott winner in 1975.  We also explored three new terms, pueblos, kivas, and folktales.

After reading the book, each child was given play-doh and toothpicks and was challenged to build their own pueblo.  My challenge was accepted and lots of building fun ensued!

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Tinkercad!

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Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a “First Friday” online professional development session.  One of the topics of the experience was Tinkercad.  This is a website that takes the basics of CAD design and makes it accessible and usable for children.  This gave me the idea for my S.T.E.A.M. lab!

Last week, my kiddos practiced logging into the program and doing the tutorials so they would understand the basics of the program.  This week, we are starting our first project and I can’t wait to see how to kids do!