Friday Focus

Friday, January 15, 2016 . . . vol. 3, no. 18

Friday Focus is a quick digest of news and notes for members of the Indianapolis Public Library Shared System.
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The Best Gift of All

Brittany Leerkamp and Carol Divine from Providence Cristo Rey read about the idea of wrapping books in a Friday Focus a few issues ago, They decided to try the suggestion to wrap up books from their shelves and give them out at Christmas. Carol wrote "We decided to target our good readers who do not read the classics. Brittany and I hand chose a book based on our knowledge of the student. One girl received Pride and Prejudice. Oh, my goodness! She adored the book. She told us that she had 6 pages left to read… She did not want the book to end, so she was waiting to read the last 6 pages. [editor's note: That's her in the picture, hanging on to her book!] Conversations with other students saw much the same results…. Thanks so much for giving us this idea. (They loved the gift wrapping!)"


If you didn't get to wrap up any of your library books to give to students before winter break (checked out on their library cards, of course). There's always Valentine's Day! Wrap up some classic love stories like Brittany and Carol did! There's plenty of love stories to go around, and you can always request extra copies, right?

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The Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz winners share their reactions to winning!


Matt de la Peña (Newbery, Last Stop on Market Street)


Sophie Blackall (Caldecott, Finding Winnie)


Laura Ruby (Printz, Bone Gap)


Bonus! – Brian Selznick’s 2015 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture is available for viewing. And the text of the speech is well worth the read!

MAD Lab Opens in Heritage Christian's Library

Janice Houghton, Library Manager at Heritage Christian, used grant money to get a 3D printer and start a makerspace. She also bought books on crafts, printing and coding.


Here is how she is introducing the MAD Lab to teachers at HES:


I want to provide all of you with information about our new “makerspace” or creative area in the Library. We are calling it the “M.A.D. Lab” which stands for: Make, Assemble, Do. Makerspaces are areas where students can create, tinker, explore and discover through hands on use of a wide variety of materials and tools, either individually or in small groups. The idea is to provide students with space, tools and the opportunity to build or make things or to do self-directed hands on activities.


The MAD Lab is still a work in progress and we are learning as we go. Most use will occur during students’ free time, such as before or after school, during study halls or lunch time. But we also want to invite teachers to schedule time to bring a class to work on specific projects. Or consider checking out a kit such as “little bits," Math Dice, Magnetic Poetry or Story Cubes to use in your classroom. If you have any ideas or suggestions for materials or activities, I would love to hear them.


We have a wide spectrum of tools and materials available from a 3D printer to grown up type coloring books. We have two cabinets of materials for the students. One cabinet has “consumable” type materials for students to make & take small projects. The other cabinet has durable or reusable items which the students can work with and then return to the cabinet such as “little bits” ~ electronic circuit building blocks, Legos and games.


Our goal is to engage students in active “creating” rather than just passive consuming. We hope to provide an outlet for students who like hands on creative activities.


Photos to follow next week!

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Seriously, Don't Miss the Bus on this Book

Yes, it looks like "just" a picture book. But, It's not. Got a social justice class? Service learning group? Outreach office? They're all going to get something out of it.


This book has some serious credentials behind it:


  • Winner of the 2016 Newbery Medal
  • A 2016 Caldecott Honor Book
  • A 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book
  • A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2015
  • A Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2015


It's the first time in recent memory a children's book has won the Newbery, an award for writing which usually, though not always, goes to chapter books! It's also the first time a Hispanic author has won the Newbery. You can find all kinds of stuff about the book on TeachingBooks.net at this link.


Teachers and parents can talk about diversity, certainly, but you can also talk about appreciating the gifts you have, finding happiness where you are, and discovering meaning in unlikely places. Like a kid's picture book.


Don't miss it.

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Why not? They sent you free Book Sale posters!

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