Play Time Is Important For Growth

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Having gotten a grant from BOCES to help start a makerspace, I decided to further expand the concept and focus on one class of 2nd graders. Eight children were selected to come into the library once or twice a week to tinker, play and explore in the makerspace. The children were not given any directives or an assignment. Instead,  I just explained the concept of makerspace and told the children they could do whatever they wanted to as long as they clean up.

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With an abundance of boxes, cardboard and toilet paper rolls, children were quick to look on Microsoft’s Bing search engine for ideas of what to do. The boys focused on making parking garages for their matchbox racing cars. Carter focused on making a driveway and scenery. He used duct tape to decorate.

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Meanwhile, Justin and Carlos stacked lots and lots of toilet paper rolls from the top to bottom of their shoe boxes so they could get as many car into their garage as possible.

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The girls made abstract art structures as they learned to fine tune the art of duct tape. One roll at a time, the girls began to work with each other to hold and tape rather they try to cut off long strips. They quickly found that collaboration makes the work so much faster and fluid.

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After a couple of sessions, all participants had a chance to take home their projects born of ingenuity and repurposed products.

 

Read Your Heart Out Day – February 14th

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In honor of Valentine’s Day and fostering love of literacy, several classes supported the school library’s endeavors to create the first annual Read Your Heart Out Day. Several local community heroes were invited to share their favorite book with 2nd and 3rd graders early in the morning. Many classes had community heroes from the Hartsdale Fire Department. Ms. Maldonado’s 2nd grade and Ms. D’Ariano’s 3rd grade classes were able to meet and hear Commissioner Chong from the White Plains Department of Public Safety.

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Commissioner Chong read his favorite book aloud which happened to be about a police dog. After the reading, Ms. D’Ariano’s children were thrilled to be given their own book as a class gift. Highview was so honored to be the recipient of this experience. There is nothing better than when real life community heroes give back to their communities.

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#LearnMakeGive Creates Community Giving

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In collaboration with Rocco Varuolo, Greenburgh’s Director of Digital Learning, Systems and Accountability, the Highview School Library Media Center received two 3D Dremel printers for its makerspace to implement a project where scholars could #LearnMakeGive to the community. Through Dremel’s generous contribution to education, scholars will be able to create molds to cast limbs for pets without limbs in animal shelters. Children will be working and learning in conjunction with a vet to better understand how science, technology and citizenship can transform lives and the greater community.

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Hope’s House And The Makerspace

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The library was very fortunate to have sponsored a local retired teacher, Joan, who conducts earring workshops. Joan keeps active and like to continue teaching others in service learning projects that build citizenship and community. She conducts workshops with the Boy Scouts, local libraries and also does birthday parties and local events.

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Children not only learned how to make earrings using creativity, dexterity, and fine motor skills, but more importantly scholars learned the significance of giving back to the community.Scholars had fun, were given a chance to be creative and learned through a hands on project that they have the ability to help others and have a positive impact on the world.

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For every pair of earrings that students made, they were required to make another pair to donate. It was so adorable to hear 2nd and 3rd grader talking among themselves saying they were “donating” their work. This service learning project made the word donate come alive and children accurately grasped the sense of the word.

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Hope’s House is a local domestic violence shelter for battered and abused women. By donating earrings, scholars help put a smile on someone’s face. Who would have thought that something so simple could be rewarding to all the participants involved.

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Ending 2016 With A Blast

Scholars were given several opportunities to learn, make and create in the school library media center. They were able to connect a reading of How The Grinch Stole Christmas by determining the three different connections readers make to books: 1. text to text, 2. text to self, 3. text to world.  After, scholars then cut, decorated and glued their own Grinch faces and each face looked very different from the others.

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While it may seem like a simple activity, there are so few times during the course of the day when children are actually using motor skills and being creative.

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As an introduction into the makerspace that is officially launching in January to the whole school, children used straws and connectors in teams to create standing structures. It was interesting to observe the more successful teams were able to communicate, collaborate and create best by working and listening to one another. Some children had difficulty working in teams and this exercise in other STEM activities will serve to strengthen their people skills.

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STEM is  state of mind. STEM is about thinking outside of the box, being critical and analytical. STEM is a way of life.

Scholars Present to the Board of Education

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At the November Board of Education meeting, two library superstars presented to a room of 50 adults. 3rd grader, Henry , and 2nd grader, Melanie, came out at night to read their Storybird e-book creations and advocate for all the digital learning occurring at Highview School. Both children focused on International Baccalaureate (IB) character traits.

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Henry was quite at ease speaking to a room of educators, board members, parents and administrators. The audience loved his s e-book, Ways to Communicate .

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Melanie created her e-book titled  Helping People on the IB character trait of caring. Special thanks to both families for supporting education and bringing their children out for the meeting and presentation!!!

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STEM In The Library’s Makerspace

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Thanks to the encouragement of Mr. M, the school’s principal, and a grant from BOCES, the school library received several supplies to foster and promote STEM in the library’s new makerspace.

The makerspace team solictied one high flyer from each class. Each teacher sent a child for the first makerspace class and a challenge was issued.

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Children were split up into 2nd and 3rd grade teams. They read the challenge and the rest was up to them. One group disagreed on how to best solve the problem. Teachers did not intervene,  but rather let them solve their issues on their own. The group that had the highest tower was the group that worked best collaboratively. They respected each others’ opinions, discussed rather than dominated among themselves and worked well as a team. And it was a 2nd grade group!. See the highlights below!

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Skype Without Boundaries

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Just last week I connected a 2nd grade library class with a high school reader in Arkansas. Fellow school guybrarian extraordinaire, Stony Evans, in Arkansas asked to Skype. We had planned last year to Skype and connect our schools, but the school  I was at frowned on using technology for anything other than typing games and testing children. This year is a whole new ballgame.

 

 

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Angel, Stony’s student, read aloud to Ms. Maldonado’s 2nd graders. They were thrilled that they could see and hear a person far away in another state and as a live feed.  Prior to Angel reading, Stony gave our students a tour of his library and quickly walked outside so they could see how hot and sunny the weather is in Arkansas, much different from the 48 degree cold day we were experiencing in a suburb outside of New York City.

Consider using Skype to learn and teach without boundaries. Skype even has a translator app that will translate many languages quickly and efficiently so classes can connect and learn more about other countries, customs and people.

Families That Read Together Succeed Together

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Continuing in my new school’s tradition, I am leading the monthly book club established by my predecessor. The book club is a family engagement piece that requires both an adult and child to be present for all sessions held once a month in the evening. Families receive a chapter book to read together and then come the following month to participate in accountable talk, do literacy based activities and just bond in general with their family.

 

Nowadays, adults are so busy working and have little time to spend together. Family book clubs are a special time away from the hustle and bustle and will become memories for our children to cherish when they later grow up. For the first meeting, even though the book was just being given out to be read, parents and children used joint memoirs to create into shared books . Story lines were continuous even though parents and children alternated illustrating and writing each page.After the presentations of their created books were done, many parents came up to thank me for having had fun and reading at the same time, something they did not think was possible.

As the old saying goes, ” Families that read together succeed together.”

 

Nick Vianna Author Visit

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The new school year has started and gone so quickly. After having spent the last year in a city district that frowned upon blogging, innovation, edtech and grant writing, I am overjoyed to finally have found a home where I can be the educator and school library media specialist I have always dreamed of being. Suddenly, I remembered I should be blogging all the great things happening in the LMC …….I’m no longer stifled like  last year.

All the 2nd and 3rd grade children were so excited to have author and illustrator, Nick Vianna, visit for an in depth look into how he creates his wonderful stories and eye catching artwork. Nick brought original artwork, led interactive sessions and truly excited our scholars. It was motivating to hear such depth in questions being asked by scholars.

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To learn more abut Nick Vianna or have him visit your school, he can be reached at Iwantawhale.com .