ALA Annual 2019

It’s All Fun and GAMES at ALA Play #ALAac19

I just got in from ALA Play, An Evening of Gaming, Maker, & STEM, sponsored by the Games and Gaming Round Table at #ALAac19.  Attendees got to watch demonstrations of and PARTICIPATE in different board games and card games.  There were games for young children as well as for adults.  We also got to paint our own Warhammer miniature.  (This was very relaxing and a good way to meet and interact with other librarians from around the country!)  There were also ten or more raffle prizes given out at the end of the evening. It was great learning about the new games that are available.  I was excited to see that a lot of the games for younger children incorporate STEM and problem-solving while making it fun–what kid wouldn’t love solving crimes committed by cats or designing their own working mini-rollercoaster?!  I got some great ideas for game nights(/afternoons!) at…

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 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….

ALA Annual 2018

STEM for Babies and Toddlers #ALAAC18

What is STEM… Some may think, STEM?!  for toddlers?!  for babies?!  Of course, we think of teaching and using STEM for kids in high school and even in first grade.  But, is it ever too early to start STEM?  I always knew STEM as “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math,” but two librarians from the Brooklyn Public Library, a librarian from the Everett Public Library, and Early Childhood Literacy Consultant and Expert Saroj Ghoting gave a more detailed definition.  The science portion is really a way of thinking, technology is a way of doing, engineering is a way of creating, and math is a way of measuring. Within this new context, it was easy to see that toddlers and babies naturally engage in STEM every day.  When they throw their full cereal bowl on the floor, they are practicing cause and effect and learning about gravity.  When playing with blocks, a…

ALA Annual 2018

STEAM-y Library Programs at #alac18

You can’t be a children’s librarian today without being inundated with STEAM, STEM, STREAM requests from your admins, patrons, councilmembers, educators, and children themselves. It has been a buzzword for the last 10 years or so… but what does that actually mean at your library? I really liked this program because it talked about the theory and why of STEM and how we were already doing a lot of it and just additional framework for how we can think and talk about STEM as we develop programs and empower parents. As one presenter put it– we want parents to feel like they have achieved things and accomplished things! And then beyond the framework– there was a chance to interact and play with materials and PRACTICE discussing STEM questioning with ourselves and colleagues in the room. I mention that because as one of the presenters mentioned– this takes practice, there is no…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Libraries Rock: Between Summer READing ‘n’ Hard Places

Summer READing is upon us! So, you’ve got everything lined up for summer.  Performers – check!  Special storytimes – check!  Crafts – check!  Libraries rock! But what about the unexpected?  It’s all happened to us – a performer cancels at the last minute, or a crucial staff member calls in sick.  Will you be ready? Here’s some quick and easy hands-on activities that can be turned into full-blown, hour long programs!  All on the turn of a dime and just as affordable!  Rock – I mean – read on! Libraries Rock – Literally! Zen or Sharpie Stones What could be easier?  Take some rocks, get some Sharpies and create simply patterns all over them! These can be as simple or as complex as you want: Mini Rock Garden Easy mode: Get a shoe box lid, add some sand and rocks and create patterns with a plastic fork. Source: Pinterest Tip: Put…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

STEM Hurricane Irma Activities – Kids Tweens Teens

Weather map of hurricane

STEM Hurricane Activities So, yes, quite frankly we have been living under a rock for the past few weeks.  Why you may ask?  Hurricanes, of course!  It’s been a matter of survival!   Now that things are slowly returning to normal and libraries are re-opening, help kids understand one of the strongest forces of nature through STEM hurricane activities!     STEM Hurricane Activities just for Kids How does wind move across the United States – check out this amazing, interactive map!           Build your own hurricane without the messy cleanup!   In this interactive game, kids can build their own hurricane.  They’ll learn what kinds of wind conditions, latitude, and sea temperature make hurricanes.  It’s okay if they don’t know a lot about hurricanes—there are hints built in to help them out.       But wait, there’s more! Aim a Hurricane – Students can learn…