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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Who Am I?

Thanks to Sam Carpenter from the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library for this guest post!

Ah, December. Summer is long-gone, the holidays are upon us, and that means it's time for . . . closet cleaning. Yes, we dug deep into our back storage room, eliminated clutter via the IFLS listserv and discovered leftover materials just waiting to have new life breathed into them.

One of those materials was several packages of Grafix Cling Vinyl. I used them to create what my mother calls "a conversation piece," which dovetails nicely with the early literacy practice "talk." I placed images from the internet into 2X3 inch frames in InDesign, then blew those images up with an opaque projector. The resulting window display is very colorful on a gray Wisconsin day and can be enjoyed by people inside and out. And it did get kids talking:  There were a couple of siblings in the Play and Learn the day I put it up competing to be the first to shout out each character's name. We all had a lot of fun with it once they accepted my suggestion to take turns. :) See anyone you know?

A note on cost:  Grafix Cling Vinyl is pricey. You don't need it and InDesign and an opaque projector to make a fun guessing game with character silhouettes--black construction paper and a copy machine will do nicely. Or you could wait for the 2016 closet clean . . . 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Coding and Cookies in Osceola

Kids are happy to be coding
Thanks to Kay Fitzgerald from Osceola for this guest post!

At Osceola Public Library we ran a program called Coding and Cookies that introduced middle through high schoolers to computer coding. We had never run a program like this before and were amazed at the turnout of 20 students. Younger students learned the basics of coding by creating a simple Minecraft or Star Wars game, and older students got an introduction to the Python programming language thru Code Combat. Everyone came away knowing more about coding than when they came. And of course, there were cookies! 

The program lasted 1.5 hours, and most kids finished in that time.  We provided Chromebooks, and kids shared with each other, which worked well.  The only thing we'd do differently is get everyone signed in ahead of time, as it was difficult to get everyone signed in simultaneously.

We used the website code.org/learn and their hour of code. We will be running a Coding and Cookies 2.

A roomful of busy coders