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Flannel Friday: Fall Is Pretty Scary, a Halloween Hack

Let’s hop into my time machine and travel back to July of 2011 when I posted my fifth Flannel Friday post: an adaptation of Fall Is Not Easy (FINE for short) by Marty Kelley. I love this book, as many of my #FFRU friends do!  In fact, FINE was the very first book I ever read in storytime. The kids and I? We all went bananas for it. I look forward to reading it in storytime every year.

Anyway, every year, I struggle to find great Halloween books. Most of the good ones fly out the door by the end of September, and all we’re left with are some holiday-themed stinkers. Last year, I decided to pick a favorite non-Halloween picture book, Clip Clop by Nicola Smee, and adapt it for Halloween.

I like traditions. And it came to me pretty suddenly over the weekend (after a conversation about Halloween programming with @RebeccaZDunn of Sturdy For Common Things) that FINE is perfect for a fangtastic remix. So here we are: another year, another Halloween Hack: Fall Is Pretty Scary!  Here is a PDF, feel free to download, & make your own.

Hannah is our intrepid hostess this week, and she is Lovin’ the Library…Thanks Hannah!

Happy Halloween!!!

 

 

 

 


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Those Who Can Code, Do. Those Who Can’t Code, Learn!

Does the idea teaching computer programming seem impossible? ridiculous? TERRIFYING?! What if I told you, you could put together a brilliant learn-to-code program in less than 2 hours, EVEN IF YOU’VE NEVER WRITTEN A SINGLE LINE OF CODE IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE?!!

In March, my colleague Diedre Winterhalter (@winterstacker) went in on a learn-to-code program called “Digital Blast!!!”. It was awesome. It was also a piece of cake. Seriously. And here’s the kicker: we’re both coding novices. In fact, novice might be a generous term for our coding prowess. And yet, we were able to give 12 kids an opportunity to learn fundamental computer science concepts in a fun, engaging hour-long program.

You’d probably say I’m crazy, right? Well I might be a little wacky, but this statement is true nonetheless: “HAVE NO FEAR, HOUR OF CODE™ IS HERE!

television animated GIF

 

Hour of Code™ in a Nutshell

Code.org announced its “Hour of Code” campaign in October of 2013.

The initiative asks schools, teachers and parents across the country to help introduce more than 10 million students of all ages to computer programming during Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15, 2013.

In order to accomplish this goal, they created a series of brilliant, media-rich  online courses for free. The 1st chapter is designed to give kids a yummy taste of computer programming.  Here’s how they describe it:

tutorials

Deidre and I tried it ourselves first. We also made sure we understood the skills involved in each lesson thoroughly. As a facilitator, you never know what’s going to trip up learners. I always try to think of several ways to explain a single idea so that when learners get frustrated, I can offer them more than 1 way to “skin that cat”. Deidre made short course evaluation (because she is an awesome rock star).

We booked our library’s fantastic new training lab. On the day of the program, we set up the computers beforehand. The kids filed in, Deidre gave a quick introduction. We played the first video on the big screen. And the kids got to work. Once the kids got into the course they were all moving at different speeds, and some of them watched the videos on their own. But we played a few of the videos on the big screen, too.

Deidre and I walked around, offering help when needed. But the best part was that when we were both occupied, the kids jumped in, and helped each other.

Actually, scratch that, THE BEST PART was when I pointed out the show-the-code button to a 5th grader.

scratch view

Hidden beneath the default view lurks the…

She clicked on it, and went bananas.

java view

THE REAL GROWNUP STUFF!

She squealed, “This is like the real grown-up stuff!” Her little sister (Gr 3) looked over, caught a glimpse, and then went bananas, too. As they continued through the chapter, they read the Javascript aloud to one another as they went.

At the end of the course, we collected the evaluations. They were all 5. They all included some version, “More programs like this, please!” Unfortunately, we plan programs months in advance, so we couldn’t offer a formal program right away. However, we have a very open-ended Maker Monday program, and we’ve decided to dedicate several meeting to the HOC! I’d love to see this snowball into a Kids Code Club.

The full course, Beyond the Hour of Code, offers 19 or so additional chapters in the same format. PLUS, a bunch of awesome printable, classroom-friendly activities that apply the computer science concepts to make-and-take craft projects. Here’s a video that explains the 1st project that explores binary code using colors instead of numbers:

You Can Do It!

The Hour of Code™ is super library friendly–provided said library has a computer lab and/or some semblance of adequate technical amenities. FYI: Tutorials work on browsers, tablets, smartphones, or “unplugged.” If you need more info on technical specifications, here’s a link to their info page for teachers.

Try it! You might like it!

Cheers.

 


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Early Literacy is APPening @ Calgary Public Library

Now if this doesn’t inspire you to start working your way through the courses available on codeacademy, I don’t know what will:

In early February Calgary Public Library released Grow A Reader, a free mobile app that offers parents and caregivers practical early learning tips and activities on-the-go. Grow A Reader is an informational app based on the Every Child Ready to Read 2. It presents the 5 practices—Talking, Singing, Playing, Reading, and Writing—in simple, concise terms followed by clear instructions for putting them to use. Users can toggle between booklists, videos and “tips” that put the 5 practices to use.

Calgary PL clearly put a lot of love  (and money) into developing this product. The proof is in the pudding. Grow A Reader is a beautiful, engaging app that delivers vital information in an elegant form.   The app functions smoothly even under my tap-crazed fingers.   The videos are polished and professional. Many of them feature multiple camera angles!  The librarians are poised and professional in each video.  The had time to get comfortable in front of the camera.

Here are some screenshots:

Looking Good, Librarians!

Looking Good, Librarians!

Booklists

Booklists

The 5 practices in everyday life

The 5 practices in everyday life

Quick tips

Quick tips

Most importantly, they’ve packed a ton of knowledge into this app.  The app includes booklists, quick tips, and dozens of video clips of librarians performing interactive rhymes, lullabies, bounces, tickles, etc. In addition, short documentary-style videos demonstrate the 5 practices in action and explain why they are an essential part of early childhood education. In fact, I would go as far to say this app demonstrates all the best librarianship has to offer.

I can’t wait to show this to every parent I meet.


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Flannel Friday: Soup for One

Happy Flannel Friday!

If you haven’t read this adorable counting book, go find it, and read it! It’s adorable.

SoupforOne

I’m planning to use this new book at Toddler Time this week. I’m going to try following the book with a repeat/extention. It’s an age-old story: Fly meets soup, fly gets, fly loses soup… One little fly thinks he is getting a big bowl of hot soup all to himself, but one after another unwelcome pals (1, 2, 3…10) try to swoop (or rather, slurp) in on his date. Finally the whole gang is chased away by a great big lizard who swallows down the soup in one big gulp. The bugs all skitter off before he gets a hankering for dessert (the 6-legged kind, if you know what  I mean).

I found a bowl and stuffed it with a bunch of red felt, slapped together some clip art, and voila!

Can you guess which one is the hero of this story? Find the crankiest face...

Can you guess which one is the hero of this story? Hint: find the crankiest face…

We also have this awesome chameleon puppet. So I’m going to try some sleight of hand to have him slurp up the soup.

Ssssllllllluuuurrrrpppp!

Ssssllllllluuuurrrrpppp!

I have a story extention… Here’s a pdf of this flannelized version of Soup For One. I suppose one could also use it as a craft or take-home activity, if one was so inclined…

Annie is hosting this week at sotommorow. And don’t forget to get yourself on the #FF map!

Cheers!


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AdAPPtation: ClassDojo for Librarians

I’m a special events junkie. Book parties, dance parties, author b-day parties, life-size games, stuffed animal sleep-overs…I can’t get enough of them.  They’re a great way to channel some creative energy. And they are (almost always) as much fun for me as they are for the kids.

The one thing I dread about this type of program is opening the doors and checking in. Unfortunately this sets the stage for the whole event, so it’s important that it runs smoothly.  I’ve been trying to improve/streamline my approach, but it still felt like a hurdle every time…until I tried ClassDojo.

ClassDojo is a classroom management app that allows teachers to track student behavior on their smartphone. I was playing around with it for a teacher workshop, and was blown away by the design and ease-of-use.

I was all, “why doesn’t anyone design stuff this cool for libraries?!” I set it aside, and didn’t think of it until about 10 minutes before my Diary of a Wimpy Kid party earlier this month. It came to me as I was printing up the list of kids who registered for the event. I suddenly thought, “I could use ClassDojo for my book party!”

Here's what it looked like on my desktop.

Here’s what it looked like on my desktop.

I went to my desk, signed up for a free account, and downloaded the app to my phone. I created a “class” for the event. Then I cut + pasted my guest list from Evanced to create a student list. DONE! I ran to open the doors. I brought my paper guest list just in case I needed it…but I didn’t need it at all.

The app synced to my phone automatically. Each kids was assigned a weird little monster avatar, and the list was sorted by first name. All I had to do was tap each kid, and they were checked in–no muss, no fuss… we were ready to start having fun before you could say, “how do you spell Czajka?”

Tappa tappa tappa...

You are Angelina Jolie?

tappa...tappa...tappa...

Tappa…tappa…tappa, you’re all set! Who’s next?

Another awesome feature is the “random” button. I’m guessing it’s there for teachers to call on students in class, but I used it to select a winner for a raffle.

I posted this sign explaining that check-in was an automatic raffle ticket.

Please excuse the typo!

Please excuse the typo!

After everyone left, I tapped ‘random’, and had a winner. I had the winner’s info in Evanced, so contacting her was easy.

Anyway, back to whining, “Why doesn’t anyone create awesome apps for librarians?!?!?” Can you imagine how awesome Summer Reading would be if we could track kids’ progress this easily?


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Flannel Friday Round Up: 12-7-2012

First, a bit of business: Flannel Friday needs needs volunteers to host the roundups January 25 through March 15. If your blog has participated in Flannel Friday three or more times, you’re qualified!

If you’re interested, please read over what you’ll need to do, then email our current Flannel Friday Fairy Godmother Mollie at mollieklancaster {at} gmail {dot} com (or send me a Facebook message) with your preference for dates. And now for the FFRU:

Nothing wrong with having a little junk in the trunk, and this week we have 2 tales of tails.  Linda M. of Notes from the Storytime Room: It’s Not a Worm, It’s a Tail! and Sandy of Storytime Sparks offers this little ditty about Buffalo’s Tail

Sort Some Socks with Miss Mary Liberry. That reminds me, I need to get my laundry out of the dryer!

ok, that’s done…thanks for the reminder Miss Mary!

Oh cool! Check out these awesome Felt Library cards from Abby the Librarian!

Library Quine of Loons and Quines offers a couple of snowman flannel boards, including a very dapper snowgent (Think Don Draper, but with a carrot nose).

Seth of The Voices Inside My Headphones offers this existential flannel board about a rooster to breaking the monotony of farm life: 10 Sleepy Chickens! Love it!

Meghan of Busy Crafting Mommy to make her own delectable version of a Flannel Friday classic: 5 Little Apples.

Can’t…type…must…go…on…phew! that was rough. I got weak from acute cuteness exposure… Get ready to melt when you see world’s most adorable dragons. Bridget of What’s Bridget Reading offers 5 Little Dragons.

Pretty intense, eh?

There’s a Fat Cat on the loose In The Children’s Room. Lucy has captured the madness of this Scandanavian folk icon with a larger-than-life, wild-eyed, hot pink feline.

Lisa of Libraryland offers The Runaway Cookie Parade from a classic storytime resource. The Complete Books of Activities, Games, Stories, Props, Recipes, and Dances by Pam Schiller is a must-read for storytime presenters.

Andrea of Librarian Vs. Storytime…You’re a genius! Just when you think the world has reached the final twist on There Was an Old Lady Who… some wonderfully brilliant goofball finds a way to make the old hilariously new again! I love this one: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Candle Spoiler alert: “Oh, what a scandal!”

Jeanie of Totally Toddler A Good Name For A Teddy Bear. I never would have thought of making this into a flannelboard, Jeanie. I am definitely going to make this for my next Teddy Bear Sleepover.

Annie of So Tomorrow made a shadow puppet version of a book I one my all-time favorite books from childhood Mother, Mother, I Feel Sick.

Tracey of 1234 More Storytime asks her storytimers to decide which animals are cuddly in this Yes Day by Amy Kraus Rosenthal.

Oh, and I almost forgot here’s my version of Stuck by Oliver Jeffers. I never would have attempted this one if @nikarella of . (and while this requires a ton of cutting and magnetizing, I’m posting a pdf of the this  magnet board, because it actually works great in storytime.

Finally, I’d like to follow up on my Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons Giveaway. Since I didn’t announced a deadline in the original post, everyone who commented on the original post is eligible (that means you Meagan!) In fact, I’ll leave the drawing open all weekend. Enter to win my (long-ago-promised) demo version of Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, by commenting on the original post from back in October before the Bears kick off (at noon CST). I will announce the winner at half-time. (Hopefully this game will be less devastating than last week’s game because I’m on the brink of a serious football-season meltdown. Bear down!)


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Flannel Friday: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons… Plus a GIVEAWAY!

Happy Flannel Friday!

I’ve been in a storytime/program tornado this fall. I keep promising to get back in the swing of blogging, but then I’ve seriously been so busy, that I just run out of time and brain power (seriously, I just typed brian power, and could not figure out what was wrong with itIn preparation for our annual teacher workshop on the Latest and Greatest in Children’s Books, I made 3 flannelboards (compete with patterns) so I have 3 #FF posts ready to go!

Anyway this week is that lovable, easy-going feline Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons.

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin

I borrowed the pattern from makinglearningfun.com. But I wanted to make the shirt open(-able),

Pete is such a dapper dude!

and  (well, and I really I wanted to give Pete a bellybutton)  so I made a few changes.

Pillsbury Meow-boy! Hee Hee!

It’s a little more work, but this one is going to log a lot of  miles, so it’s worth the effort. Anyway click on the link above for MLF version and/or this one: Pete The Cat 4 Groovy Buttons for the pdf pattern I made for the teacher workshop handout.

It occurs to me that I had to do a little trial & error to assemble this little dude. So I will make a copy, so I can take pictures of the  how I put it together. Then I’ll do a special #FF giveaway.

Leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win the demo version of this flannelboard, and you won’t even need the “some assembly required” follow-up post. Cheers!

 

Step 1: Lay "head" on a flat surface.

Step 1: Lay “head” on a flat surface.