Wednesday, October 29, 2014

colAR Mix

After seeing another library colleague use colAR Mix in her library this month, we decided to give it a try at Pioneer.  coLAR mix is another Augmented Reality tool, like the Aurasma app used previously.  When you print out the coloring sheets from the colAR mix website, you can then use the colAR mix app in order to view your coloring sheet in 3D.  Like Aurasma, clearly this is magical too! 

Ms. Gates' fifth grade students were taking a test on cells today.  After a dazzling display where students shared facts about cells prior to the test, we decided to show them a 3D version of an animal cell.  I just loved the surprised faces the students had when they literally saw the cell jump off the page!

Legitimate amazement.

I love how you can see the cell so clearly!  It really helps to visualize what the organelles look like as they are floating around in the cytoplasm.

Later today, Mrs. Proudman's students stopped in for their weekly library visit.  I thought that this would be another great opportunity to introduce students to Augmented Reality through colAR mix.  For this week's visit a Halloween party was in order.  We completed a pumpkin coloring sheet from colAR mix.  Again, it was so great to see the amazed faces when the pumpkins came to life!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


It is less than a month until the Pioneer Brick Panthers team competes in the regional FIRST LEGO League tournament in Houghton, NY.  This is Pioneer's first year participating in LEGO League, so we all (students and coaches!) have a lot to learn.  I know that I am speaking for the other coaches when I say that the level of creativity displayed by the team members has been astonishing!

For those unfamiliar with FLL, it is a three part competition.  The spontaneous "Core Values" section will assess how well team members work together as a group in order to perform a specific task.  The "Project" section is more of a traditional science project.  Students are to research a way to innovate ways that people learn.  The team must then share their innovation with a group of people who can benefit from their research.  They then must create a short presentation to show the judges what they learned through the research process.  Last but not least is the "Robotics" component!  Students are honing their computer programming skills in order to train a robot to complete missions.  Each mission is worth a predetermined amount of points, so the team that accumulates the most points will win this section of the competition.

Above all else, the FLL competition stresses the importance of having gracious professionalism.  This means that the team must display good sportsmanship and camaraderie.  The coaches agree that this is the most important takeaway from the learning process!

Stay tuned to see how Pioneer fares at their first FLL competition.

Building attachments for the robot.

This has something to do with the research project.  I don't want to give away the secret!

The research project involves A LOT of planning.

This is the table where the robot practices the missions.  When we arrive at the competition, the table will be set up exactly the same way.

Two gentlemen planning out the research project.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Trailers and Augmented Reality

After attending a librarian conference last year, I was introduced to the idea of "augmented reality" - an amazing tool used to really enhance learning experiences.  Last year, the French 7 and French 8 classes were able to experience augmented reality by using the Aurasma app on the iPads.  When holding the iPad up to a "trigger image," students were able to see videos of tourist destinations in Paris.

This year, we hoped to use augmented reality as a way to promote books.  Our library currently has a book display featuring augmented reality.  When students visit the library, they may use my iPad in order to view book trailers for their current books.  By using the Aurasma app, students only need to point the iPad at the framed picture next to the book.  This will then display the book's book trailer right on the iPad!  The book trailers will definitely help students decide if they might be interested in reading the book.

I don't know about you, but I feel like the whole concept of augmented reality is nothing short of magical!  We're looking forward to discovering new ways to incorporate this exciting technology into our library.

This picture shows the directions for accessing the book trailers.

When the Aurasma app is open, students can point the iPad at the framed pictures to view the book trailers.

We have prepared many book trailers using Aurasma.  Once the current books are checked out, we will refresh this area with a whole new display!

Running Club...In the Library?

Here's a first for our library.  The members of Running Club held their practice right inside the library!  After taking a vote between who would like to go outside and who would like to stay inside, it was determined that the majority of Running Club members wanted to have an indoor day.

What a surprise the Running Club members had when they learned that they would be going to the library to work out right along with an old Tae Bo video!  At first, the Running Club members thought a workout video would not be challenging.  However, not long into the video, everyone was breaking a sweat and huffing and puffing!  Even our principal, Ms. Prorok, joined in on the fun!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

End of 2013-2014 Year

It is always difficult to look back and realize that A LOT of time has passed.  The time in our library between the end of Family Reading Night 2014 and the end of the school year was indeed a very busy time.  In case you missed it, here are some library highlights from May 2014 through June 2014.

Fifth grade students conducted a massive research project on America's National Parks.  Using books, websites, and databases (as well as their skimming and scanning skills!), students researched many important aspects about a National Park within our country.  Some classes then wrote persuasive essays and other classes completed presentations about their parks.  Regardless of what the final project was, one thing was consistent: Pioneer fifth graders are excellent researchers!

Seventh and eighth grade classes had a real treat when they visited the library in June 2014.  We used the Aurasma app in order to create a virtual tour of many popular tourist attractions.  When students opened the Aurasma app on an iPad then pointed the iPad at an image of France, this triggered a video of that area to be played.  After viewing the videos, the students then worked in groups to answer questions about French tourist attractions.  This was our first adventure with using "augmented reality" in the library.  We're looking forward to using this again in the future!

Our newspaper club celebrated the end of the year with an ice cream party!  The party was funded by the newspaper sales throughout the year.  The group published four excellent newspapers during the 2013-2014 school year.

Last, Mrs. Proudman's fantastic group ended the school year by reading A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech.  They decorated the library with their very own reasons as to why Pioneer Middle School is indeed a fine, fine school!