Read Across America 2017

Another busy week at Riverside Library!  Kindergartners are discovering PBS Kids website and all of the awesome activities that can be done on it.  1st graders are using library iPads to scan at least two different QR codes around the library so they can listen to stories from Dr. Seuss, stories about spring or stories that have weather in them.  Check out all of the codes around the outside of our story area (aka the pit)!

2nd graders are trying out six different math games from the website ABCya.  They are also spending time in the maker space of their choice for the last 5 minutes of library class.  4th and 5th graders are going through the student tutorials for the upcoming Forward Exam in April.  Mrs. D will have the 3rd grade classes use their hour long class to go into even more depth since this is their first year taking the exam.

Mrs. D and Mrs. T loved seeing students of all ages dressing up for Read Across America day this year.  We celebrated it on March 3rd instead of the 2nd so it wouldn’t interfere with the spring music concert practicing.

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dscn2315“We’re fascinated with robots because they are a reflection of ourselves.” ~ Ken Goldberg

Mrs. D enjoyed teaching students how to use our Ozobots, which are small, smart robots that empower learners to code, play, create and connect the physical and digital worlds.  K and 1st graders worked with a partner in the app Ozodraw to draw shapes and letters using different colors for their Ozobot to follow and read.

3rd, 4th and 5th graders all worked with partners to use Freedraw, Playground and Challenge to add codes and program their Ozobot to perform various coding activities.  2nd graders are getting the opportunity this rotation to work with a partner and try out the Ozobots.

What is the purpose of having students use these “mini” robots?

Being introduced to coding gives students an appreciation of what can be built with technology. We must admit that in today’s world we are surrounded by devices controlled by computers. Understanding how they work, and imagining new devices and services, are enhanced by understanding coding.

Of course, not everyone taught coding will become a coder or have a career in information technology. For example art is taught in schools with no expectation that the students should become artists.

The idea is to give students exposure to coding and its basics so that they can decide if it is any area they are interested in learning more about.  Mrs. D is always excited to create opportunities that give students as many educational experiences as possible.

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Kindness Boomerang 2017

actsofkindness2For the past two rotations  we have been working in our K – 5th grade library/computer classes on what I call a “kindness boomerang” project for Valentine’s Day.

Kindergarten and 1st grade students created online Valentine cards, which we printed and decorated for a teacher or support staff member of our school. 2nd through 5th graders used their Google accounts to write special notes using Google Docs as their word processing tool. Notes were printed and placed in envelopes that students decorated for our 60 staff members. Students were also encouraged to write notes to family members, friends and classmates.3e98b709190d3fde4642efd423624065031e

The response of our students to this assignment was heart-warming and I was inspired by the kindnesses that I witnessed.  Several students wrote notes to each other and it was great to see the notes given and compliments received by students.  4th and 5th graders also enjoyed decorating the envelopes that held the compliments for staff members.

If you are interested in a website that has a great list of ideas for activities that your family could do to promote kindness try the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website at look up the Kindness Boomerang video on YouTube.

Opportunities surround us every day to inspire others with random acts of kindness. I hope you will be inspired to share acts of kindness throughout this month and beyond.

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Today I will….

img_0088How would you end the statement “Today I will….”?  One of my goals is to provide a variety of experiences for our students so every time they come to the library they have several choices in front of them.

As our maker spaces evolve and change, it is fun to watch how each class is different in how they use them and which ones students gravitate to and why.  The past two rotations we have been working on our Kindness Boomerang project and using our maker spaces during our check out time.

Our kindergartners are loving Teach Your Monster to Read.  Just watch this video and listen to their reactions as they practice their reading skills and earn prizes for their “monsters”.

The Build a Bear website is a great place to have young children make a valentine and 1st graders are enjoying the fact that it prints four valentines to share with family and friends.

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What is your “why”?

goodbyemrchips1This morning I watched the classic movie Goodbye Mr. Chips and I was reminded about the “why” that I try to focus on every day.    To simplify it – your “why” is the thing that motivates you to get up every morning and work a little harder to get a little better.

As a school librarian my why reflects my personal belief that we are here on this earth for a purpose – that purpose being to make this place better by our presence and our actions.  It is my hope that the classes I teach emphasize the importance of kindness and the responsibility to be the best citizen we can be, both digitally and in person.

In the movie, Mr. Chips’ wife asks him what motivates him as a teacher, ending her question with the statement “I don’t see how you can ever get old in a world that is forever young…”  The story takes place in the early 1900’s yet its message is timeless.

Mr. Chips, like many teachers before him and since, dedicated his life to helping his students grow intellectually and, even more importantly, as well-rounded, complete citizens.

Last week, in one of the rare quiet moments in the library, I had a chance to help a student one-on-one, find that perfect book.  Seeing his smile and having that positive interaction reminded me that we need to remember that those “small” moments really aren’t that small.  We need to take time every day to focus on the “why” and embrace it with joy….

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Makerspaces matter…

Our current rotation finds 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders trying out six of our “makerspaces” in the library.  We have a puzzle space (3D puzzles), Kindness space (creating winter drawings for Color a, LEGO wall (using legos to create structures, signs, etc), KEVA planks space (using planks to solve the challenge), Coloring space (using colored pencils to decorate bookmarks) and STEM challenge space (this month it is the Golf Ball Paper Tower Challenge).

Mrs. D is explaining to all classes what makerspaces are and then dividing students into small groups and rotating through all of the spaces during our 1 hour class periods.  It is fun to see students get excited to try new things, work cooperatively and share problem-solving ideas with each other.

Please view the following video to see our makerspaces in action! 

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Let it Snow, Let it Snow…

Kindergartners are learning what the Caldecott Award is all about.  This rotation we are focusing on Snowy Day by Jack Ezra Keats.  After the story students will be creating their own online snowman and printing it in color.  1st graders are enjoying seeing what a book “dummy” looks like and seeing how wordless picture books, like The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, can give us fun and exciting stories where we can make up our own story based on the pictures in the book.

Mrs. D is sharing Science Fair information with K-4th grade students.  We have a display that shows examples of past projects and a great selection of science fair experiment books.  Check out the Science Fair page on our library website!

It is a new year and Mrs. D is reminding students about our library expectations for behavior when they are coming for class on this rotation.  Don’t forget our motto – Be Kind, Work Hard and Have Fun!5475907734_7c88f33e2e

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