Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Creating and Implementing STEAM for Homeschoolers

According to NHERI, the National Home Education Research Institute, there were 3.7 million homeschooled American children in the 2020-21 school year. The number of parents opting to teach their children at home spiked during the pandemic and although it has since come down, it is still significantly higher than pre-COVID predictions. Homeschoolers are traditionally big library fans because libraries offer access to free materials to support their lessons. But we can offer so much more: we can bring them STEAM! More specifically, we can offer homeschoolers STEAM programs that are often beyond the abilities of their parents or other informal teachers. Let’s take a look at how we can leverage library resources and staff to bring the less accessible parts of STEAM – technology and engineering – to the homeschoolers in our communities. Step 1: Program Planning When designing a homeschool STEAM program, one thing to keep in mind is…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Wanted – Citizen Scientists!

We are born scientists.  Babyhood is one big science experiment after another. We test the limits of gravity (oopsy!), we identify and classify (a skunk is NOT a kitty) and we are constantly performing experiments (water plus dirt equals MUD!). Humankind is where we are because of the myriads of creatures before us that explored our surroundings and drove our knowledge forward.  After all, there could be no trip to Mars without discovering fire first! With all the STEAM push, you could be excused for thinking that learning about science is what all the kids want – but let’s be honest, learning how to Do science would be a much better way of getting kids on board. And what better way to learn about science than by doing science and collecting data that actually makes a real world difference! Scientist as a full time occupation is a fairly new concept….

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Media Mentorship 

To use technology or not to use technology? I feel it is no longer a matter of “not” to use. The pandemic has shown us that technology is a part of everyone’s daily life, and we need to be there for our young patrons and their caregivers to guide them, just as we do when helping patrons find the right information and books. As with any media, we are here for our patrons to advise, program, and curate.   “student_ipad_school – 038” by flickingerbrad is licensed under CC BY 2.0.  Training takeaways Recently, I attended a virtual training session on Media Mentorship where youth librarians from Maryland and Indiana learned about the use of digital media and our roles as digital media mentors. Prior to the training, attendees read A Guide to Media Mentorship by Lisa Guernsey of New America. During the morning session, presenters examined the basics of media mentorship—old…

Blogger Chelsey Roos

STEAM Programs for the Scientifically Uncertain

I love doing STEAM programs, but I have never been a science person. Don’t get me wrong – I like certain elements of science. But like anyone, I have my strengths and my weaknesses, and explaining elementary level physics or chemistry is definitely not a strength of mine. I’m also not a great instruction follower, and science experiments often have very specific instructions. Paper circuits? I have no idea why the battery only works one way despite having read an explanation approximately one thousand times. Growing crystals? I’m too impatient for that kind of work. Simple machines? To me, they are Deeply Complicated machines. There are many places online to find great STEAM projects planned by experts, but if you’d like some so-simple-they-cannot-go-wrong STEAM projects, I’m here for you.

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….

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…