Friday, December 21, 2018

Vacation time!!

Happy holidays to all.  I hope you enjoy a peaceful vacation.  I came across this on Facebook today and it made me smile.

If you need a good book for your daughter, check out Dear Girl, by  Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  I've had it sitting on my shelf for a month or so, but I finally picked it up and read it and it made my heart melt.  I just ordered a copy for my 11yr old.  Even big kids like picture books!  

Testing out Santa's Sphero sleighs

In library class 5th grade has been working on building Santa Sleighs out of recycled materials. Today they got to test them out with Spheros for reindeer! We learned that running on the carpet causes friction which slows things down, that it's good to have your reindeer closer to the sleigh, that a smaller sleigh is easier to pull but carries less presents, and that it's hard for ONE Santa to drive many sleighs!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Sphero Sleighs

This month 5th grade has been working on a STEM project, building a sleigh for Santa out of recycled materials.  It has to carry Santa and some presents, and it will be pulled by a Sphero reindeer!  The kids are having a great time! You have to consider the strength of your Sphero, the size of your sleigh, and the friction of the carpet. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Student Newspaper

The 5th graders who aren't in band come to library twice a week for enrichment activities. For the past few weeks we have been working on a student newspaper and today it finally went to press! The kids were thrilled to print, fold, and deliver them to the students and teachers in grades 3-5.

You can read it online here: DBS News - Issue 1

Saturday, November 10, 2018

VT Fest: Day 2

Day two at Vita-Learn's VT Fest started with a session by Rushton Hurley talking about taking your teaching to the next level.  In his presentation, Defining Amazing: Taking What You Do to the Next Level, Rushton talked about the value of increasing student engagement and authentic learning experiences. "When kids know others will see it, they want it to be good," he said."When they know just the teacher will see it, they want it to be good enough."  Rushton also pointed out that one way to increase greatness is to allow more time for teachers to creatively brainstorm together.  Wouldn't that be awesome?!  He is a very engaging speaker.  I signed up for his newsletter.  If you're interested in learning more about him and the projects he's involved in, check out his website

Rushton Hurley

I bought his books!  They will be in the DBS Professional Lending Library. Stop by to check them out for yourself. 

Next up: Google Tour Builder!  This is a cool tool that I've never played with before.  It's quick and easy to use and the presenter gave us several good ideas how to use it in school, such as creating a list of places you've been, or a 'tour" of the major battles in a war.  I made a quick tour of the Hartford School District.

I had a nice chat with a vendor there who had a 3D printer.  I've been fascinated by them for awhile now, so I was excited to see a session devoted to using 3D printers with elementary students.  The presenter showed us Tinkercad and talked about several projects she's done with elementary students, including an awesome collaboration project between kindergartners and 3rd graders.  Now I want a 3D printer!!  :)  Even without the printer I think we can put Tindercad to good use. Just the other day a 5th grade teacher came to me looking for such a project, and I know it will be helpful for my First Lego League team project as well.

Then it was time for lunch and a lunchtime keynote speech from Dan French, Vermont Secretary of Education.  He talked about the state of education in Vermont and urged creative collaboration throughout the state.

Thank goodness it's vegetarian!

VT Secretary of Education, Dan French
 After lunch I went to a super fun session called Using AR in the Classroom with Merge Cubes.  Merge Cubes were all the rage awhile back when Walmart was selling them for $1 each.  People were buying them by the shopping cart full!  I was not one of those people.  Oh well.  The presenter brought several Merge Cubes, including a DIY one, and he introduced us to a bunch of apps.  AR is pretty cool, but I wonder how long it will hold a student's attention.  I made a quick DIY one when I got home to show my kids and they were interested in the wow factor, but moved on quickly.  I'm curious to do more experimenting on how it can be used to extend learning.

Galactic Explorer shows you the whole galaxy in your hand. 

HoloGlobe shows you the Earth, in real time!

I spent some time in the Extended Learning area, playing with a Cricut vinyl cutter.  Check out this cool vinyl Karen put on her laptop!  When she opens the lid, the bulb "lights up."  I made a little decoration for my own laptop as well.

Laptop bling

Karen's bling is cooler, but I like my pink shiny too. 

We ended the day with big thanks all around, more raffle prizes awarded, and SNOW!  Eek!

I'm enjoying my weekend now, but looking forward to bringing some great ideas and cool tech to school next week.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret

I just finished a fun book by Trudi Trueit. I loved both the story and the physical format. The pages are think and colorful, and the back matter contains true information about some of the tech in the story. If you like adventure, exploring, and cool tech, check out Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret. It would make a great holiday gift! 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Another book fair is on the books!

Thank you all for a wonderful book fair!!! We got nearly 700 books into the hands of eager DBS readers and were able to fill all of the teacher wish lists, get some new books for the library, and donate a handful of books to The Haven. There's still time to order online if you missed the fun in person or want one of those popular books that sold out! The online fair is open until November 9th. (

Book fair was taking about 100% of my brain power this week. As fun as it was (and as much as I love the hugs and thanks and excited faces of the kiddos), it will be nice to get back to the regular routine next week.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Scholastic eWallet

Hi parents! The book fair arrived today! Boxes and boxes of goodies we can't wait to unpack.

This year Scholastic is offering eWallet, an easier way for kids to buy books. Set up your account today so your kiddo will be ready when their class comes to the book fair. (all standard forms of payment still work as well)

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Book Fair is Coming

Hi family and friends -- once again the Scholastic Book Fair will be at DBS the last week of October.  Just in time for parent conferences!  This year they have a new feature called eWallet that should make shopping easier for all.

Learn more and set up your account on our book fair web page:

Friday, October 12, 2018

Mystery Skype!

Fifth grade had a GREAT Mystery Skype today with The Bement School, a private boarding school in Deerfield, MA.  Our 5th graders knew they were talking to a 6th grade class in the US, but had no idea where they were.  Through a series of Yes/No questions, both schools tried to figure out where the other school is located.  The kids had to narrow down the location based on longitude and latitude, major land features, states, and more.  They also had to be able to answer those same kind of questions about DBS so the other class could try to find us.  

The kids were each given a role, such as questioner, answerer, researcher, greeter, photographer, etc., and within 45 minutes they were able to figure out what school they were talking to!

]I loved the excitement and cheering when they got a yes, and the focus when they got a no.  They had to go back to the research and figure out another logical question to ask.  They also had to pay attention to the other school's questions and answer them accurately.   

Afterwards we did a quick survey and the kids reported that they had fun and want to do it again!  Yay!  Maybe next time we'll find a school a little further away. :)

Friday, October 5, 2018

A message from Alan Gratz

Author Alan Gratz wrote the book that won the Dorothy Canfield Fisher book award last year. He has TWO books on this year's list! He wasn't able to attend the award ceremony, but he did send this video for Vermont students!

Watch the video now!

This year he has two books on the list: Ban This Book and Refugee. They are very different books, but both excellent in their own way.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Things that are important to kindergartners

I was talking with two kindergartners at recess today.

K1: "I have a very wiggly tooth!", he said, excitedly wiggling it for me.
K2: "And your head is an oval!", she said.  Like those two things are equally interesting and important.

I laughed.  K1 wasn't sure if it was an insult or not and paused to think.  I said, "All heads are sort of oval shaped." Yes, I know, a brilliant addition to this conversation.  K2 carried on, "Except...," she pauses to think, "except someone in my class.  He has a circle head.  I can't remember his name."  Tapping lips, thinking.  I laughed again.  She continued to think, but could not come up with the name of the circle-headed boy in her class.  I guess that will remain a mystery to us all.  :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

First day of school

Wow! We are back at school already. Summer flew by! It was wonderful to see all the smiling faces again and get to read to the kiddos again.  Yay!  I was so busy that I didn't take any pictures.  The day felt like summer (heat wave!) and flew by just as fast.

Here is the library schedule for this year.

Mrs. Burris 1st grade
Afternoon PreK
Mrs. Raney's 3rd grade

Mrs. Atwater's 1st grade
Mrs. Underwood's 3rd grade

Ms. MacCallum's 2nd grade
Ms. Jenkyn's 2nd grade

4th grade - blue group
Mrs. Rydjeski's kindergarten

Morning PreK
Mrs. McKenney's 5th grade
Mr. Burns' 5th grade
Mrs. Schultz's kindergarten
4th grade - red group

I'll try to update this blog often.  You can also find out what's going on by following me on Twitter (@dbslibrary) and Instagram (@dbslibrary). 

I'm looking forward to a great year with stories and robots and fun in the library. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Three Little Pigs

Kindergarten and 1st grade this week watched the story of The Three Little Pigs, then got a chance to try building houses of out straw, sticks, and bricks.  Then the Big Bad Wolf came along and tried to blow them down.  The kids loved it!  We had some great Big Bad Wolves as well.  :)

Some kids knew the story, but others did not. 
After watching the video we retold the story as a group, discussing the various building materials they used and which worked better than the others.  Everyone knew that bricks were strongest and straw was weakest.  Then I challenged them to make their own houses that could not be blown down.

"Bricks" were Legos and clearly the strongest building material.

This Big Bad Wolf was very dramatic and had amazing lung strength! 

The kids LOVED calling over the Big Bad Wolf to see if he could blow down their houses.  
We were pretty loose with the concept of "house."  It often ended up more of a pile. :)

That house went right off the table!

You have to try blowing down your own house before you can call over the Big Bad Wolf.

This house survived the first test.

For "straw" we used small plastic coffee stir straws.  The kids definitely had to use their imaginations building houses with these materials.  They did a great job with it.

We kept a tall on the white board to analyze which building material was strongest.

 In the end the brick houses always prevailed!

Can't go wrong with Legos!

STEM Stations

The upper grades are finishing out the year in library with STEM stations.  Each week they will rotate through four stations: Spheros, Dash & Dot, Hour of Code, and Snap Circuits.  They get a full 30 minutes at each station and it's great to see what they can do.