Thursday, December 17, 2015

Math and The Mitten

On December 16, 2015, Mrs. Proudman's class arrived in the library for their weekly visit.  Together, we read The Mitten by Jan Brett, a winter favorite.  Our activity to go along with our book was a little out of the ordinary.

The Mitten tells the story of a young boy whose grandmother knits him a pair of white mittens.  Since the mittens are white, it is easy to lose them in the white of the snow.  In fact, the boy does lose one of his mittens.  It doesn't take long for a wide variety of woodland animals to make a home inside the warm mitten.  Eight animals in total were able to crawl inside the mitten!  This was indeed a very special mitten.

After reading the story, we decided to test the capacity of different mittens we brought to the library.  The first step was to stuff the mittens with pom poms from our makerspace.

A student working on fitting a large number of pom poms into a mitten.

We had lots of pom poms to use!

Once the mittens were filled to capacity, we then used our math skills to determine which mitten held the most pom poms.  The pom poms were sorted into groups of ten to make counting a bit easier.  Math skills used included counting to ten, sorting in groups of ten, and counting by tens.

Pom poms were sorted into groups of ten.

Perhaps we were a little overly ambitious with stuffing the mittens.  We were able to fit many pom poms into the mittens!  We didn't get through all of the counting, but the students certainly made a great dent.  Each student counted a large number of pom poms: 50, 50, 70, 100, and 150!  The mitten holding the most pom poms was a green alligator mitten which was knitted by Ms. Muhlbauer's mother.

It isn't everyday that we incorporate our math skills in the library, although we hope to be able to do this more often.  Students did an outstanding job putting their math skills to work in an interesting way.

Hour of Code 2015

For the third year in a row, Pioneer Middle School participated in the Hour of Code event.  This is a worldwide movement designed to introduce people to computer coding in a fun, interactive, and accessible way.  The Hour of Code website displays a map of all of the areas in the world participating in the event.  It is exciting to see that Pioneer Middle School has taken part in a global activity!

A map of areas participating in the Hour of Code.
Our school-wide Hour of Code event took place on December 9, 2015 after school in the library.  All students with permission to attend our after school recreation program were encouraged to attend.  We were pleased with the large turnout - over 40 students stayed for the event!

Before we could begin coding, students received a brief tutorial on how to access this year's Hour of Code materials.  New materials for this year included Minecraft and Star Wars coding activities.  We placed the coding sites on our library page via a Symbaloo organizer.



After the introduction, students were invited to find a comfortable corner of the library in which to try their hand at coding. 

Some students worked in small groups.

Students successfully worked through a series of coding challenges.

Students felt right at home in the library!

The Hour of Code could be completed on iPads.

The Minecraft coding activity was very popular.

Some students remember coding in elementary school.

Some students decided to stay until 3:15, but many stayed in the library until 5:00 to continue working on coding challenges.  Even though the Hour of Code is officially over, it's always the right time to learn coding!  The Hour of Code tutorials, as well as other engaging coding activities, are available on our library website.  We hope to see students stick with their coding projects during our Wednesday after school Maker Club.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Nonfiction with Mrs. Rice's Class

Mrs. Rice's fifth grade ELA classes recently visited to learn about the various nonfiction offerings available through the library.  Students came prepared with lots of background information about nonfiction texts.

Our first visit introduced students to speedbooking, which is an activity designed to expose students to a wide variety of books.  Students spent a small amount of time visiting individual books and kept a record of the books that they may be interested in reading later.  Students also recorded the call numbers of the books so that they could visit the nonfiction section and find books on similar subjects.
An interesting nonfiction book about bones!

Mrs. Rice's students participate in nonfiction speedbooking.
After the speedbooking activity, students then had time to select nonfiction books to check out from the library.  Many students decided to borrow books from the speedbooking activity, while other students decided to use the OPAC or browse the shelves. 
Students browse the nonfiction area while in search of the perfect book.
Students returned to the library on Monday, December 1st in order to explore nonfiction in a different way.  Instead of selecting books, we instead focused on learning how to use the text features found within nonfiction. 

Mrs. Rice's students worked in small groups to explore nonfiction books about different dog breeds.  The students successfully located information using the table of contents, glossary, and index.  As an added bonus, we learned many interesting facts about dogs!
A group learns about Bloodhounds.

Students shared the responsibility of using the text features to locate information.
Mrs. Rice's students were extremely successful with using the nonfiction dog books to gather facts and information.  These skills will come in handy as the students continue to tackle challenging informational text.  We look forward to the next time Mrs. Rice's students visit the library!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Nonfiction Frenzy

On November 18, 2015, Mrs. Irizarry and Mr. Zabaldo brought their seventh grade ELA students down to the library for an in-depth look into nonfiction books.  In fifth and sixth grade, these students visited the library to participate in nonfiction speedbooking and learn about the features of nonfiction books.  By seventh grade, students are definitely ready for more information about nonfiction.

We began the visit by looking at how to perform various book searches by using our library OPAC.  Students learned that our OPAC is available online 24/7, so it is possible to plan your library selections ahead of time if necessary.  The subject search feature provided by OPALS (our library automation system) allows students to zero in on exactly the types of books they are hoping to find. 

Next, we discussed the location of specific nonfiction books within our library.  With help of a library map and a listing of Dewey Decimal ranges, students had information about the area in which different types of nonfiction materials could be found.
Dewey Decimal locations for popular nonfiction books.

Our library map helps students to pinpoint the exact location for books.
After our discussion, it was time for students to put their knowledge to the test.  Students used the iPads to participate in a Kahoot! competition.  All questions required knowledge of nonfiction and our library.  It's very easy to get excited about Kahoot! - it is an extremely fun tool!
A group gets into the spirit of competition with Kahoot!
The students then had the rest of the class period to browse the nonfiction books and select some titles to read.  Some students looked at books that I suggested, while other students used the OPAC or visited the bookshelves. 
Seventh grade students preview some interesting nonfiction books.
What ensued can only be described as a book checkout frenzy.  Over the course of the day, 203 books were checked out!  We are looking forward to seeing seventh grade ELA students again in December to learn about research and works cited pages.