Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Snap Circuits

We were lighting things up with Snap Circuits in enrichment today!  The theme this month is electricity and the kids are pumped!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Things got a little crazy in library yesterday when I introduced an airplane greeting and Mr. Sadowski taught us how to refine the design.  The kids had a soaring time!

When you wish upon a star...

Friday, November 25, 2016

Kid quotes

Two of my favorite quotes from kids this week:

"That's even better than I can draw!" said a kindergartner.

"Wow!!  Did he make that?!" said a 3rd grader. 

Their enthusiasm was outstanding!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Visiting Author - Day 2

By day two word had gotten around and the kids were excited to meet our visiting author! I was hoping they would still be surprised by the surprises in the drawings, and they were! It was only the very last class of the day that was guessing ahead of time.

This is an interesting animal!
Old man or grumpy baby?  Depends on how you hold the clipboard!  :)
Mr. D made a surprise appearance with the 5th graders.
Mr. Burns stopped by and the 3rd graders LOVED it!  Many of them chose to draw along.
Mr. Burns was a good sport! :)
A great caricature of Mr. D!
Mr. Gurney was kind enough to host a special lunch group for some of the kids who were interested in learning more.  We had lunch, chatted, and then he led them in a fun drawing activity.
The kids were excited for the opportunity to talk with Mr. Gurney and get tips on how to improve their illustrations.
Adding color to the disco ball.
A monster of some sort, running a race.
I'm so pleased that we got this opportunity to invite John Steven Gurney to DBS.  The feedback from the students and teachers was outstanding!  I hope to do this again in the future.  I have several author/illustrators in mind. :)

Mr. D's Circus

Monday, November 21, 2016

Visiting Author

We had a fun day in library today! Author and illustrator John Steven Gurney came by to talk to the kids about the illustration process and do draw some funny pictures with them. Each class gets a turn (today or tomorrow!) to talk to Mr. Gurney and see the cool work he does. Mr. Gurney has written and illustrated books of his own, such as Dinosaur Train and Fuzzy Baseball, and he's also the author of several popular series, including the A to Z Mysteries, and the Bailey School Kids.

Mr. Gurney had a series of drawings showing his progress as an illustrator.  This is him in college, as a machine!  Metal face and wires for hair.  Very cool!
With each class he asked for five animals and then drew a compilation "animal" on the spot.  The older grades had pencil and paper and were encouraged to draw along.
Second grade enjoying the presentation.
Some classes got an extra bonus and Mr. Gurney drew a caricature of a student (whoever had the next birthday coming up!)  Everyone enjoyed that and some kids even drew along on their papers!
An impromptu owl.
A 4th grade caricature. 
Hmm... what should we call this crazy character?! 
I love how excited the younger kids got about the mixed up animals!  :) 
If your kiddo didn't get a chance to meet John Steven Gurney today, don't worry, we have him for another whole day!  We are hoping to get a caricature of Mr. D too! 

A big thanks to our art teacher, Ms. Weigand, for co-sponsoring this "artist in residence" with me.  As an author AND illustrator he very nicely fits both our programs and we are thrilled to bring him to Dothan Brook School!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

VT Fest 2016 - Day 2

Another great day of learning with some pretty amazing people! I spent the morning talking about social media and the pros, cons, and challenges associated with it. Coincidentally I met another teacher from the district there and we had great discussions about the differences between how the schools operate and what we could each learn from each other. The long and short of it is that social media is necessary and expected, but so far most schools don't have a comprehensive plan to address it.

Then I headed back to the Innovation Lab to get my hands on some eTextiles! I quickly learned that conductive thread is hard to work with, but there are some really simple projects involving fabrics and electronics. I made a very easy flashlight and saw some examples of other eTextile projects. The woman I was working with kept stressing that when doing eTextiles with kids you spend most of your time teaching kids how to sew, which isn't always what tech people expect to be doing. It's certainly not what I had in mind, but as soon as she mentioned it I saw her point.

The battery and LED inside my flashlight.
Press-button activated.  I showed my daughter this evening in her dark bedroom and we were both amazed at how bright that tiny LED light shines!  It lit up her whole room!

They had a pretty comprehensive 3D printing project going on throughout the conference. I believe they started by printing the components to make a 3D printer. There was a kick-off on the first morning and a wrap-up at the end of the second day, but I didn't make it to either. I'm not quite ready to teach 3D printing yet!
I'm not sure what this is exactly, but I do know it's a functioning machine made entirely of 3D printed pieces.
For the last session of the day I went to a presentation about VoiceThread, an app that has been around for awhile but one that I don't have much experience with. I went with a very specific project in mind and I was pleased to hear one of the other attendees describe how she had done a very similar project using VoiceThread and it worked very well. I'm going to experiment a bit this weekend and hopefully use the app with my enrichment groups this week! I love when you learn something so practical you can implement it in a matter of days!

I didn't mention in yesterday's post that I had to leave the conference right at the end of the sessions and couldn't stick around for the doorprize drawings. I was really bummed because they had some cool products, like robots!, to give away.

Well, this afternoon I was able to stick around for the drawings and a woman ran in to there told me that they had called my name yesterday! Grrr... She didn't remember what the prize was, so I'm going to pretend it was a really boring thing and not the super cool bb8 that I really wanted!

Things turned around today though and right at the end they called my name and gave me a free Chromebook!! Not the robot I was hoping for, but you can't complain about a free computer! :) I'm really happy I got to go this conference, meet with so many cool people, and get my hands on neat new-to-me technologies! I can't wait to bring the knowledge and ideas back to the library and my kiddos at school.

VT Fest 2016 - Day 1

I had such a cool day today at Vermont Fest 2016 at the Killington Grand Resort. Vermont Fest is a chance for educators to get together and talk tech! I learned about paper circuits and I can't wait to make paper circuit holiday cards with some of the students next month!

So proud of my first paper circuit project!
Inside the card you can see the copper tape and LED lights.
Ooohhh.... fireflies!  :)
They have a great Innovation Space set up where you can check out the latest technology, including those paper circuits, 3D printing, green screen technology, and the latest robots on the market. Tomorrow they'll have a session on eTextiles! I'll be there! There are so many neat robots and STEM "toys" on the market. I pretty much want them all in the library!

These Ozobots look very engaging.  I'm sure the kids would love them!  I saw some cool Cubelets as well that I would love to have at our Makerspace table. 

I attended workshops about digital citizenship, technology integration, coding. We talked about how to introduce Scratch to students, how to "push" Hour of Code into all areas of school, includingn "unplugged" activities in the specials classes. I learned about a few grant sources from other participants, and got to try a few new apps. On deck for tomorrow is more coding, another paper circuit cards, building community through social media, and the "digital backpack," Stay tuned!

Using the "Design Thinking" process and a handful of random items, my team created an "usie" stand to take a group photo.  I also learned that "usie" is the word to use when you're taking a "selfie" of a whole group of people.  Learn something new every day!