I've been running a Lego program of one kind or another for many years and I've judged it's success mainly by the smiles and engaged brickbuilding of the boys and girls who attend.
Except for me. I was BORED. Very very very very bored. Something needed to change. I read a lot, as you know. Recently, I happened upon a new Makerspace idea using Legos and literacy. Lego was offering a Librarians Toolkit! Yay! I decided to give it a whirl. To start, I followed their curriculum to a "T". Low and behold.... it has been one of the MOST successful Lego programs ever! Adding a literacy (read aloud) element to Lego building is work. Book choices for a group of K-5 who have a tempting bin of bricks in front of them is a tremendous challenge. The planning, the timing, and the coordination takes effort. But the children patiently cooperated and loved every minute of it!
After a few sessions, I decided to add a technology element to the program as well and it's been a hit. Using an iPad I connected relevant videos, to watch on the big screen. For example, after we read Moonshot by Brian Floca, we watched the actual NASA Apollo lift-off followed by the Apollo 11 landing and moon walk. The kids (and the parents that stay) were riveted! This week I used a little magical wordless picture book. We built our own magical places and talked a bit about wordless books and interpreting pictures (art) of author Aaron Becker. They built amazing things and better yet they "saw" the art and books in ways that were truly unique. It really is all about the journey and creating your own magical place. Lego club is mine again!
I'm not much for blogging worthwhile book reviews...and it's not for a lack of trying. I simply read so many that my own opinions seem less than stellar and I lose motivation. I do, however, love when my fellow coolbriarians blog about books. It's even better when the reviewer is a librarian I know in the real world and happens be someone whose work I admire and respect. So shout out to to fellow librarian, Marie, and her ever-growing blog of awesome book reviews. Be sure to check out her blog Stacked Shelves for great book likes (and dislikes) and her most recent post "The Little Things" where she talks about the *minor* mistakes in novels that irk many of us who can't overlook them. Happy reading people!
I love Beekle, an unimaginary friend and new book by Dan Santat. Even on a cold, gray, wintery day like today, the illustrations by Santat just beam with warmth and make me smile. Look at that doggie... really... does it get any cuter than that? Beekle is a simple story about finding friends. It's timeless and true to all of us. And once you read it, you'll want to go back and enjoy the amazing illustrations. I can't wait to use it in storytime. Hurray for good new books!
I often get asked by colleagues how I came up with a programming idea or how I found an app or a new book. I always emphasize the importance of following blogs online and sharing information either social networks or blogs. That is often followed by the person saying they feel overwhelmed searching for blogs and they "just don't have time or know where to start". Big. Sigh. I completely get that. Except I don't search out blogs so much. I have THEM come to ME using the app Feedly, an RSS reader. If you don't know what an RSS reader is, it's simply an Inbox-like tool for blogs and online resources that you want to keep track of. Back in library school I had an awesome professor who made us sign up for Google Reader (now defunct) and subscribe to library related blogs and feeds. Six years later, and I'm still using that RSS reader on a regular basis. All the blogs that I love are there in one place... I pick and choose them myself. A simply click and everytime something new posts to one of these blogs or sites, I get it on Feedly. Feedly allows you to organize your feeds into folders as well (a librarians dream), such as Programming, Technology, Books and Authors, News, and so on. Feedly is an app on my mobile device as well which allows me to post to social media or email an article of interest. It's a professional tool that keeps me in the loop and keeps ideas flowing. Give it a try! Start small...pick just 5 feeds to follow until you get a handle on it. Here's a quick look at what my feedly looks like.
No, not the book (although it happens to be a storytime favorite of mine). I caught the FLU! Aaaaachoooo! Oh the fever! Oh the aches! Oh it was awful!! Days passed in a blur of chicken soup and tea (bleh) and I couldn't even pick up my head, let alone a book from the stack that sits waiting. I thought of Felicity Floo and the importance of keeping your germs to yourself. I tried really hard to isolate myself... I'm hoping none of my family gets it from me. Thankfully, I returned to work today feeling a lot better. We have great things in store for 2015. Felicity will definately be coming to storytime soon....