Blogger Jonathan Dolce

STEM Teaching Begins with Preschoolers!

toddler interacting with science exhibit in Belgharia

STEM Teaching and Learning Begins with Preschoolers! So, I was explaining STEM to my dad, a retired physicist.  He’s skeptical by nature as any good scientist should be.  When I got to the part about teaching it to preschoolers, well, let’s just say I was bombarded by particles. But hear me out – it really DOES start with preschoolers!  And I can prove it! Penny Bauder, environmental scientist, teacher and mom of two, points out that “It is never too early to start STEM education, and an ideal way to teach STEM is to go out into nature!” Boston Children’s Museum, too, points out that children have a natural curiosity.  STEM is a great way to help 3-5 year-olds to focus and refine their naturally inquisitive behaviors. Linking it up to Summer Reading 2019! Even a pre-schooler can be a NASA citizen scientist!  Download and install the GLOBE Observer app…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Día! El día de los niños – El día de los libros – Children’s Book Day

selection of books celebrating diversity

Día! is upon us! So, you’re reading this and thinking OMG, this is not so LOL when Día! is upon us!  Don’t panic!  There’s still time left to make this a meaningful Día!   Sure, you may have somehow missed out on REFORMA’s March 31st deadline for applying for its Día! grants, but with a little planning, and some great resources, you can do this! Do YOU Día? But, I hear you say, Jonathan, I’m not Hispanic and I don’t speak Spanish above the “hola me llamo [insert name]” level.  Let’s review what Día is all about! El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), commonly known as Día, is a celebration every day of children, families, and reading that culminates yearly on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of ALL linguistic and cultural backgrounds.  Thus, you see that it’s not just about Spanish speakers.  Indeed, I…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Process Art

You don’t have to be artistic or crafty to do art programs at your branch! As a kid, I hated (really hated) art class, easily frustrated when my creations didn’t live up to my standards. Early in my library career, I started doing art programs simply because the kids loved the programs and caregivers expected them. Doing specific types of programs because your patrons enjoy them is a totally valid motivation. Like nearly everything in life, I’ve gotten more confident with practice and experience. But I’ve grown to truly love art programming – and it’s not because I’ve become a more skilled artist or gone through a creative growth spurt.   The key shift for me has been embracing process art rather than crafts.       Crafts are product-oriented, with detailed step-by-step instructions. There might be some variation, but the end results look very similar. Process art emphasizes the…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Women’s History: A Universe of Stories

Women’s History: A Universe of Stories I’m not going to state the obvious.  You know…It’s March…It’s Women’s History Month.  I refuse and I resist.  INSTEAD!  We’re looking forward to summer reading.  Any writer of summer reading guides will tell you, while pulling their hair, these themes can go all. year. round!  So why not adapt your WHM line-up and do some prep for summer at the same time? Breaking news, folks!  29 years after Sally Ride broke the astronaut gender mold: ‘For the first time in history, an all-female crew will conduct a spacewalk at the International Space Station, NASA confirmed to CNN. As part of Expedition 59, NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will carry out the spacewalk on March 29. They’ll be supported on the ground by Canadian Space Agency flight controller Kristen Facciol, who will be on the console at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston….

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Engaging Families and Technology with Byte-Sized Programming

Bee Bots, Osmos, and iPads are a great introduction to early technology.

Ready to introduce new technology, but uncertain about patron interest?  Why not try what we call “byte-sized programming”?  It introduces a variety of tech in a station-based environment.  The more stations, the more entry points you have to engage your families with tech.  You can introduce a variety of topics that appeal to all generations.  Plus, these programs are easily customized to your space, patron interests, and budget, and are held on a come-and-go basis.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

On the Road to Early Learning

The future of the economy is in STEM, that’s where the jobs of tomorrow will be according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment in occupations related to STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—is projected to grow exponentially for the foreseeable future. It has been well documented that underprivileged children have a steep hill to climb to match their more affluent peers about STEAM education. In Chicago, the Chicago Public Library STEAM team is helping to bridge the gap in the neediest neighborhoods. The STEAM Team is a group of outreach library staff who travel to Head Starts and Early Learning Sites throughout the city of Chicago to conduct STEAM-powered storytimes for pre-school aged children. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Introducing these skills to kids at a young age helps make them more successful in everyday life. The STEAM Team had their first…

Blogger Kaitlin Frick

STEAM Programming: Coding with Character(s)

Some of you may remember my first post for ALSC, published just a few months ago, entitled An Old-School Spin on STEAM Programming. It’s focus was an at-that-time recent program a colleague and I had run at 53rd Street, where school-age children were presented with a series of Choose Your Own Adventure-style challenges. Each week followed a different theme (pirates, space, etc.), and participants were asked to complete a series of STEAM projects, from pattern matching to coding, to aid them in their quests. A dear friend of mine (who is one of the best librarians I know) took this concept to the next level by creating a Super Mario-themed adventure that far surpassed the original programming. (No, I’m not putting myself down. Her programming is just so beyond what I could have created, it’s unbelievable.) To get an idea of how this program came together, I sent some interview…