Monday, December 28, 2015

Best App to Intro Coding

We went through a TON of resources in December as we tackled the Hour of Code. Before we return to school I am sifting through what worked, what wasn't great, what we will use again. At the top of the  Use Again list is Cargo-Bot, a FREE APP from Two Lives Left. There is a .99 version available and I have not used that so I can not speak to any improvements or advantages that offers. The free version kept Coders of ALL ages engaged and productive.

It is interesting to note that Cargo-Bot was created entirely ON an iPad using the App Codea. Codea is available in the App store for a 14.99 fee and is hailed as the "Garage Band" of coding.

Cargo-Bot is not new but I have found it to be more effective than many Apps out there. In a striking visual way CB breaks down the process of Coding. There are instant consequences when you don't think through your problem solving.CB also introduces the language of Coding along with the thought process.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Educator Protectiveness Plan - The Best Three Essential Oils for Your Healthy School Year

As a family, we have been using essential oils for a few years. My youngest daughter has asthma and oils brought relief when nothing else did, and our use grew from there. It is fair to say that essential oils are a weekly if not daily part of our lives.

As a staff we have been using essential oils just this year. The uses are endless and the effectiveness is amazing (each time)! It is easy to become overwhelmed so I put together this easy gift pack for educators interested in essential oils. Could I add and add and add? Of COURSE! But I reflected for some time and came back to these three essential oils.

We go through some Frankincense. I consider this a universal oil and effective by itself or when combined. No list or group would be complete without Frankincense.

Thaves - or Four Thieves, as it most commonly known. I can NOT begin to communicate how much I love this oil. Cooties coming? Thaves. Caught the Cooties? Thaves. In my house this is mixed with Lemon in a gelcap and given every other day to my daughter with asthma. My daughter in college applies her topically when she feels something coming on.
Clary Sage. Before I begin, this image came directly from Edens Garden. I purchase all of my oils directly from Edens Garden and have been thrilled with the quality, service and prices they offer. I can not get behind multi level marketing and paying three times the amount for a middle man. Click on the link above to go directly to Edens Garden (there is no compensation from EG for this post).

OK, Clary Sage - in my building we are 99% women and this is known as the Women's Oil for good reason. The infograph mentions many uses but it does NOT mention that Clary Sage lets you get a good night's sleep INSTEAD of waking up dripping in sweat. When I apply Clary Sage to the bottom of my feet before bed I sleep through the night. When I wake up I may be sweaty but I slept through the night and we all know that when we don't sleep not only do we suffer but our classes do also.

As I mentioned, there are many other Oils I use throughout the week but I felt that this trio is a great start for someone new to Oils.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Design Thinking Process - Free Downloads!
 We use Design Thinking almost every day as I am sure most schools and teachers do. What is new for us is naming the process. The process is intuitive and it's fun to hear a 2nd grader say "Ideate".

Click on the link above to download the whole set of stars I created to make a bulletin board so we can all become familiar with Design Thinking and each step.

Board Games to Support the Hour of Code in the Library - LINKS to TARGET SPECIALS THIS WEEK

As a STEM School, the Hour of Code is like our Super Bowl. Well, maybe like Playoffs but it is a week we plan for and facilitate throughout the school.

Usually in the Library I intro and we have activities that physically show the kids what it is to Code and Program. This may include a lot of cup stacking, instruction writing and executing along with path walking.

That happens the week after Thanksgiving into the first week of December. During the actual Hour of Code (December 7-13 2015) activities progress to the MacLab where our Tech Facilitator intros the online/ actual tech Coding in "The Hour of Code".

The best online resource for this is hands down the official Hour of Code website. Each year the games, intros, promos and extended activities are new and improved. Definitely NOT the same old same old. Click on the link above to go directly there.

So that's the norm but I am THRILLED to have discovered a fabulous group of actual CODING BOARD GAMES to use in the Library. These will arrive the week after Thanksgiving and I expect they will rotate as centers through the Winter.

THIS WEEK, NOVEMBER 22 - 29, TARGET IS RUNNING A BUY 2 GET ONE FREE GAME SPECIAL ALONG WITH FREE SHIPPING ON ALL OFFERS.  If you click on the game below you will go straight to the Target Website. *Cubelets excluded, those are available only through ModRobotics or Amazon*

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Buddy the Elf Visits the Library - FREE DOWNLOAD!

Buddy the Elf is visiting the Library this year! I have multiple board opportunities in the library and I plan on using/ creating different Buddy phrases throughout.

Click on the Picture Above to Download for Free!

The next step to using this in the Library is to upload the file to Poster Razor and turn it into a large scale display that fits your needs. I love it and I use it weekly to create exactly what we need in the Library.  

Click HERE  to see my post with step by step directions for using Poster Razor - it REALLY is a tool you will value!

Balloons Over Broadway Brought to Life in the Library - Activity, History Of Parade Video

Balloons Over Broadway has long been my absolute favorite Thanksgiving Book. Kids are fascinated by the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and this book lays out the progression of this tradition in an accessible way.

This year I had a little extra money in the Library budget and thought bringing in helium balloons for the kids to design would be fun. (* Last week the 4/5 graders designed their own floats on Tinkercad but ran into problems when 3D printing).

 What I DID NOT expect was the amazing thinking the kids would use after designing their floats. Not all kids wanted their floats to work straight up so that led to much experimenting with strings and placement so the floats would "articulate" like Tony Sarg's creations.

I only did this with one third grade class - at 20.00 per class it would have been to expensive to spread through the school. That's too bad because kids were engaged, they applied the Design Thinking Process and their creativity - a lot of fun!

Fantastic Turkey Song/ Dance/ Video for Primary

I just had to share this Turkey Video I found this week! My kinders loved it AND they learned about turkeys in just a few minutes - total win win. The Heading says it is a "content rich" song and it actually is - complete truth in advertising.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Give Thanks - Beautiful Fall, Thanksgiving Bulletin Board

This board couldn't have been easier! Brown paper and my white Chalkboard Pen and 15 minutes later I am done for November!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Favorite Character Pumpkins in the Library!!

What a turnout this year! I have created a Flipagram to document our pumpkins this year, it's a quick tour of the amazing pumpkins that are filling our Library right now. Just click on the picture above!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Best Keyboarding/ Typing Resources in One Place

Whew! We are working on being a 1:1 school, we are a STEM school, we have a abundance of technology in our Elementary School. What do we NOT have? Proficient typists.

This morning I spent some time on the phone with Kevin from Sunburst and we discussed a quote for Type to Learn 4. TTL is one of the best keyboarding resources out there. At the initial rate of 899.00 with a 100.00 renewable annual fee, however, TTL is not in the budget.

I hit the web running and was delighted to find so MANY differentiated, fun, effective resources at! TBH, before this morning I viewed as one of those sites to hit when you need a "holiday" theme web assignment but I hit the jackpot for keyboarding resources.

Below are links to the keyboarding "games" I found at The list goes from K - 5.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dark Lord Funk - Awesome for all of your Harry Potter fans, new and old!

I came across this parody last spring as well - unlike the Unread Book Parody, I only show this video to 4th and 5th Graders. The best thing I heard after showing this in the spring was from one of my best readers: "I am reading all of them again!" If you even enjoyed Harry a little don't miss this video:

Bruno Mars Library Parody - Unread Book - Don't Miss This!!

I came across this in the spring and my kids have requested it again in the fall! I LOVE this video put out by Pagona Creative and the Orange Public Library. Kids love looking for their favorite characters and it is very well done. I also like that I can show it to K-5.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Very Best Books and Video Clips to Teach Growth Mindset

We have been a STEM school for four years. If you have looked into this transition or are a STEM school, you know that as soon as you think you are getting the hang of everything it is time to change it up!  This year we are embracing Growth Mindset wholeheartedly as a staff. We have a high % of kids in poverty and the idea of Growth Mindset is not one they naturally bring to school. I think it will be great for our kids and community.

The principle of Growth Mindset actually is a wonderful fit for the Library and I look forward to all of the fun things we will tackle. Some of the books on this list are my favorite "STEM" books, some are old favorites with an "old fashioned" message (keep going, you'll get there) and some are newly published with a specific Growth Mindset message.

I have scoured the loads of Growth Mindset YouTube videos and there are some pretty great finds. But there are some boring duds, as well. Below I am sharing my favorites that are entertaining and inspirational. This list progresses from kinder to 5th, with Kid President working for anyone. Because who doesn't love KP?

"The Power of Yet" featuring Janelle Monae

"Don't Give Up" Featuring Bruno Mars

"Persistent" featuring David Beckham

* I know, it's Sesame Street BUT for kinders and firsties, no one gets the message across quite like our SS Friends. I have even heard from my older kids who caught a glimpse that they enjoyed the videos*

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cutest Fall, BACK TO SCHOOL Library Bulletin Boards

Whew! To paraphrase Mr.Slinger and Mr. Henkes, "Whew was about all she could say". I think that about says it all right now. We have been in school two weeks and I just NOW thought about posting these boards. This year I am "beginning" STEM Centers and there will be more on that but for now I am happy to post come fun boards.

I did a main board a few years ago with Minions and it was a hit. This is a variation and again, the kids love their Minions! I never would have thought to save the little yellow guys a few years ago, I thought for sure it was a one and done. Obviously Pixar had different thoughts. The little books are "3D", we just folded and stapled them on top last.

 I have two cases flanking the library in the main hall of the school. I try to use displays that appeal to most/ all of my students.

This case is by our computer lab and down by our older kids. One of my big pushes is to have my kids use Overdrive - I LOVE our district Overdrive Collection, and I don't want anyone ignoring this resource. Another goal with this display is to let kids know reading is in their hands and not something we "make" them do.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Library Boards

The ONLY thing I do not like about our Library is that we have no windows - this time of year that is particularly hard. I am all about anything I can do to bring spring inside - especially the Colorado Spring we have had in the past weeks.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Zombie in Love 2+1 !!!!!

Zombies are a slam dunk popular book and all things LOVE in February fly off the shelves! This surprise sequel to Zombie in Love is as delightful as the original.

Monday, January 26, 2015

"All About Those Books" MDIHS Library

I know what I will be showing my 4th and 5th grade classes this week!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this parody by the Mount Desert Island High School Trojan TV Production Group.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Who Pulled MLK's Coffin? Unique Children's Book and Documentary to Supplement.

What a find! This book is HIGH INTEREST and is loaded with talking points. Take a few moments to read it if you have not - you will absolutely include it in your MLK discussions. Below is the video I show after that has real footage from the funeral and clearly shows Ada and Belle. The video ALSO has many talking points about what it was like for people AFTER MLK was assassinated.