Saturday, December 7, 2013

Voting is Open for the 2013 Edublog Awards

Last night I got a text from Nancy Jo Lambert, a fellow librarian and member of my Twitter PLN. She wanted me to know that the Curtis Library blog, which she had nominated for Best Library/Librarian Blog, had made the shortlist for finalists in the 2013 Edublog Awards. When I went to look, I was excited to see many of the people I had nominated in different categories had also made the shortlist, including Nancy Jo and her library blog, Ruth Borchardt Elementary Library.

There are so many incredible people that have been nominated in many different categories, that it is sometimes difficult to decide who to vote for! The good news is that you can vote for more than one in each category! 

Voting closes December 18th at 11:59 EST, so go vote at The Edublog Awards!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Beginning of Coding for Curtis Students

Ok, I have jumped off the ledge and into coding, thanks to the gentle nudge from a few of my Twitter friends! A week or two ago, Andy Plemmons, a librarian in Georgia, asked who was doing the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week.

It all started with a tweet!

I have wanted to learn about coding so that I could teach my students, but had not done anything yet. I replied that I was interested in planning some activities for Hour of Code, which is an event that is taking place December 9-13th encouraging students to participate in an introduction to computer coding.

A Google Hangout was planned to brainstorm ideas and we met on Monday. Here is the recording of our planning session:

Librarians from Maine, Georgia, Iowa,  Indiana and Texas met together, along with technology people from Cathy Potter's district in Maine. They brought a wealth of information, which was shared with all of us. 

Most everyone will celebrate next week, but we got started this week due to our Lattes in the Library next week. I briefly introduced it to 5th graders on Monday, since I was excited after the Google Hangout!

Today I introduced coding to 6th graders & 2nd graders and they both did really well! We began by viewing one of the videos from the Computer Science Education Week site. Sixth graders were intrigued with the work environment that they should on the video! There are several  different videos featuring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and NBA star, Chris Bosh sharing the importance of learning computer coding. It was interesting to hear the statistics about the number of jobs that will require computer programming and the lack of qualified people to fill those jobs. Hopefully some of our students will be interested in learning computer programming and fill some of those jobs in the future!

While they were going through the tutorials that are provided on the CSED Week website with me,  they started working on creating a holiday card using Scratch. They were so focused that I didn't want to stop them! It was very exciting to watch their excitement and hear them work with their partners to figure out how to do things!

Sixth grade was able to continue working on coding when they went to the computer lab after library, and our computer teacher said that they were completely engaged!

Second graders came in during the afternoon and I scrapped my lesson plans and jumped in with them! I think they could sense how excited I was about sharing this with them, and of course their excitement rose. After introducing the concept of computer programming and sharing with them that I know very little about the subject, we watched the introduction video. I chose the 1 minute video for them. I liked having the option of a 1, 5 or 9 minute video to introduce the Hour of Code. With the different grade levels I am working with, it is nice to be able to pick the one that is just right for that group.

After we talked for a few minutes, we went through so of the tutorials for They explain the basics of computer programming, using Angry Bird, in such a way that even the youngest students can understand!  

And then off they went with their partners to practice what we had learned! Again, it was so exciting to listen to them try to problem solve when they would get stuck.

I can't wait to see how this goes with the rest of the classes! On Tuesday of next week, I will have 4 different classes come in for 1 hour each of coding. They will earn their Hour of Code certificate and hopefully create something that we will be able to share in the "Coding Smackdown" with our friends in Georgia, Iowa, Maine & Indiana.

Are you participating in Hour of Code? I would love to hear how others are using coding in their library programs or classrooms!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Celebrating Picture Book Month

It has been a fun month in the library as we have celebrated picture books by reading and connecting with others.

During their library time, we read some potential Caldecott winners like 

We read picture books with friends!

And we had a PICTURE BOOK SMACKDOWN with students in Georgia, Maine, Connecticut & Iowa, as well as authors Laurel Snyder and Ame Dyckman.  We all met on a Google Hangout and shared our favorite picture books and why we think picture books are important. Thanks to Georgia librarian, Andy Plemmons who organized this fun event! 

A student from Georgia begins the Smackdown with her favorite picture book!

Ame Dyckman shares a few of her favorite picture books! We were happy to see some of our favorites right behind her! 

Laurel Snyder talks about picture books with students. The students loved having authors share their favorites! 

Here, Parker shares his favorite book and how important picture books are for beginning readers.  You can see all of the other participants at the bottom of the screen.

Our students did a great job during the Picture Book Smackdown. I was so proud of how they voiced their thoughts about the importance of reading picture books! It was a fun way to end Picture Book Month!