In Coding Club today, the students logged into their Code.org accounts and got going with some basic coding skills. Some kids picked it up right away, and others needed a lot more guidance. I was so engaged with the students I forgot to take any photos, but they really enjoyed it. Every one of them said this was their favorite club so far. If you haven’t seen code.org, I highly encourage you to check it out today: It teaches children how to code using simple videos, games, and activities, and it is FREE!
Around a year ago, my school district launched a mobile library to travel to local schools, community events, and public activities. Anyone can check out a book there without their library card or student ID, and they just have to return the book to the bus next time they see it or to any school in our district. Lending is done on trust (a key part of a library’s culture) and it’s open to all.
The bus is decorated with “Reading with Rodney” art and logos. Rodney is a member of staff in the district who did not know how to read, and with the help of district teachers, he learned. I encourage you to watch this video about it (get the tissues ready!):
On Saturday, I volunteered on the bus at a community event, and it was lovely. I got the people walking by to come on in and check it out, and the librarian working the bus inside checked out the most amount of books she had ever done at one of these events — around 200! One of the students from homeroom came to visit me and got lots of great books, which was so lovely to see. When I spoke to people about the mission of the mobile library and how it worked, there wasn’t a single adult who didn’t think it was a wonderful idea. Many people got nostalgic for the mobile libraries of their childhood that would come to small towns.
People loved to read in the past, and they still love it today. Little children especially love to read books, turn the pages, look at the pictures, and hear it being read to them. Somewhere along the line, this passion for reading often gets lost, so as librarians, we need to ensure we are fostering this love of reading in our young students.
Check out the bus schedule and visit us next time we’re out!
This week, we had another exciting coding club. This week, the students got to explore with the Ozobot robots and see what they could get it to do. We challenged them to do some of the simple tasks with the little robot, and it really pushed them to think critically, work together, and be persistent. We could see them pushing themselves to try and try again, and having to negotiate the ups-and-downs of working with other people (they do need to work on those people skills!). It was great fun and I look forward to seeing what they do next time.
The coding club I am helping my mentor run this fall started this week. We have around 30 upper elementary students ready to code and create. This week, they practiced following and giving basic commands like “move up”, “move down”, “move left”, and “move right”. They learned how important being specific with directions is.
Next week, they get to explore the Ozobot robots!
1. AR is almost gone!
As I had written previously, my school librarian and I set ourselves the task of getting AR out of the school culture this year. I’m excited to say it has worked pretty well! There are still some teachers using it, and they have convincing arguments for doing so, but most are not. Instead of earning AR prizes, students can earn library prizes by submitting projects every grading cycle. They should make something that advertises a book in some way — it can be physical or digital. This grading cycle, there were more than 50 projects submitted! They are on display in the main school hallway, and they’re getting a lot of attention.
2. My students love reading!
I am teaching 4th grade reading this year, and my students are loving their non-AR book choice freedom! They are reading and reading and reading! Look at this note I got from a student on their reading log (they’re required to read 30 minutes a night and reading can be a struggle for this particular student):
I mean, come on! How great does that feel?
We just finished our first novel study (Alvin Ho: Allergic to School, Girls and Other Scary Things) which the students were completely hooked on. The next novel arrives in a couple of weeks, and it’s my personal favorite. More about that in the future, I hope.
3. Decorating the library
Last week, I got some decorations ready for my school librarian and she decorated this week. It looks amazing in our library (I should have taken more photos)! I can’t wait for my turn to have a library and get it looking festive for the seasons and holidays. If it looks inviting, students will want to read in there. If you build it, they will come.
4. Coding Club starts this week
The club I am co-running with my mentor librarian is going to begin this week. We had more than 50 students submit an application to come (in a school of less than 400 kids, that’s huge interest!) and we will have about half of them this semester, then another group next semester. I’m looking forward to meeting the students and getting them hooked on coding, robotics, and STEM activities.
5. My classroom library is finally decorated
I’ve got some lovely (read: cheap, thank you Amazon) curtains up and all my plants are back in the sun. The students adore sitting on the cushions on the floor, working at the table, and exploring the books. The library itself is operated by two reliable students who keep a check on who is signing in and out, and they keep the whole place in order. It makes me smile.