In The Libratory

New Emerson School Library & Makerspace

November: Native American Heritage, Veterans Day, Book Fair & Gratitude Month

Big picture

November/December, 2022

November is always a short month, but it seemed extra short because of our Book Fair this year. Speaking of Book Fair, thank you to all of you who participated in our annual Fall event. All proceeds were used to put books in classrooms, the library, and into the hands of kids who were not able to purchase a book at the Book Fair for whatever reason.
Big picture
November was also "National STEM/STEAM" Day and I was finally able to show the wonderful STEAM Pet Pictures that our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders submitted this fall to show us what S.T.E.A.M. is all about. You can watch the video below:
STEAM Pet Parade 2022-23
We also had a lot of fun this month learning about Native American Heritage month and making and designing Native American artifacts like drums and moccasins in third, fourth, and fifth grades.
Big picture
Big picture
Veterans Day was also especially poignant in the Libratory this year. Our grandparent volunteer Cindy Merli read a beautiful story and after reading our Veterans Day texts, all learners K-5 were encouraged to design and create symbols of American freedom to honor our veterans. Check them out below.
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
This last week, we checked out books and began making and creating decorations for the Libratory. Stay tuned next month for Computer Science Week , 5th grade 3D Printer projects, and Holiday STEAM Station Book Builds.
Big picture
Big picture

First Quarter Ends and the October Fun Begins!

Big picture

October/November, 2022

by Miranda Bailey

New Emerson Library & Makerspace Teacher


Our Libratory class is a little different than most elementary library classes in D51. Mixing library learning standards and STEM/STEAM standards in an elective class is definitely a challenge. But so far this year, it has been a good mix of both as we continue creating a one-of-a-kind, standards-based Libratory curriculum to meet the needs of all learners.


We started out the month of October by finishing up our first quarter learning targets.


As you can see below, we had a lot on our plate those first 9 weeks.


At the beginning of the month, First-Fifth grade learners got onto our online learning portfolio system called SEESAW to talk about what they learned this first quarter and what they what to learn going forward. (Kinders will get on Seesaw in the Spring.)


Were you able to watch your child's learning reflection video on Seesaw?


If you're not connected to your child's account,I will be sending out another email with a link in the next week. Please click on it, and then you will have access to all the learning work, photos, and videos they make in Libratory.


It is so insightful to hear from the kids themselves about what they're learning and how they feel about it. What's even more amazing? Watching them throughout the years as they grow up before our eyes. I hope you'll connect with your child and our class on Seesaw.

Big picture

iPads and Digital Citizenship Month

Big picture
Something else we did for all grade levels First - Fifth Grades was to begin the use of iPads in our classroom this month.


I was able to secure a couple of grants over the last three years, and because of the generosity of others, we are able to begin teaching our New Emerson learners as of last year how to use different programs that only iPad technology can offer.


How wonderful is it that our kids will leave New Emerson knowing how to work/design/create on TWO technology platforms? We are so very lucky.


The iPad lessons this month were coordinated with Halloween/October-themed books and also worked well in conjunction with Digital Citizenship Month.


We also had a blast working with the iPad app called "Chatterpix Kids." This app allows learners to create something with their hands and then bring it to life with the app.


Check out some of the fun Chatterpix creations made after reading the new book, "Creepy Crayon" by Aaron Reynolds -- the third book in a highly popular October-themed children's book trio.

Big picture
In addition to checking out library books every other week, we also continued to mix books with building. Here are a few snapshots at each grade level.

Kinder

Big picture

Our Kinders have transitioned from the same class routine each time I see them, to experimenting with using new building materials and working in pre-selected partner teams after our book read aloud. These pictures show what they made with STEM BINS. Each tub has an eclectic building supply, and they must figure out what they can make using only that item(s). You can see the curiosity and creativity they had with this project after reading the books, "Be a Maker!" and "The Most Magnificent Thing."
Big picture
The last few weeks have also been full of FUN, October Read Alouds including a Kinder favorite "Crankenstein." You can see our Crankenstein mask creations below.
Big picture

1st Grade

Big picture
(Above)

First graders come into the Libratory right after math learning. We always take time to do a brain break/movement activity at the beginning of class to get them ready for learning. Here they are on Orange "Unity Day."


(Below)

October has bee particularly exciting for first graders as they used iPads in Libratory for the VERY FIRST time. They were each assigned their own to use, we reviewed iPad SOPs, and then we practiced using them multiple times with book-related lessons. Here are a few snapshots below. Our iPads allow the learners to easily access info and apps that they can't always use with a Chromebook and afford us the opportunity to mix hands-on making with tech.

2nd Grade

Big picture
In second grade, we started the month by finishing up our "Rosie Revere - Engineer" book build project. The kids read the book, and then had to engineer a flying machine, which we tested on the top of the Reading Clubhouse. This was a wonderful lesson in engineering, working with a team, and using the engineer design process. Check out the video clip below to give you an idea of the excitement I witnessed as we tested our designs.
https://youtu.be/NphAqWt81I4

3rd Grade

Big picture
Third grade has been busy continuing to learn about the engineering design process and documenting what they're learning and engineering on our Libratory iPads. Checking out library books remains a favorite for them as well. This week they had six Halloween/Dia de los Muertos stations to choose from. They always surprise me with their creativity -- whether it's designing hexabug mazes, or designing digital art pieces to go with our October read alouds -- the third grade is a creative bunch.
Big picture

4th Grade

Big picture
Fourth grade got to do an entirely new lesson never done before in the Libratory. After reading the amazing STEM/STEAM-themed book "What to Do with an Idea" -- they were given the challenge of finding three items out of our makerspace supplies and had to invent something someone could use -- in 20 minutes flat! Look at all the creativity and invention-thinking that happened this day! I was so impressed with their engineering skills.

5th Grade

Big picture
Big picture
In addition to checking out books, fifth grade has been doing something entirely different for the STEAM portion of our time together.


We don't have any pictures quite yet ... but just give us another week and we will start cranking out all the wonderful 3D printer projects they have been designing the last three weeks on a free digital design program called Tinkercad.



Everyone in class watched two Tinkercad tutorial videos, took notes, posted those in our Seesaw digital portfolio, and we will begin printing nametag key chains next week.


Wish us luck! (Our old 3D printer is a little bit on the temperamental side ... )

Halloween STEAM Stations K-5

Big picture
This last week we set up Halloween/Dia de Los Muertos STEAM stations. This included a number of new-to-the-Libratory creation experiences including Hexabug Mazes, Microscope Pumpkin Science explorations, MATH Pixel Art, and SLIME-making on a mass scale!


You can see a few pics and videos below of the learning and the books we read with them.


(And you can see the Harvest Party Rice Krispy Treats I sent home with learners, too. LOL!)

Big picture
Big picture
(below) Math STEAM stations are becoming a regular feature in the Libratory. Here is a pixel art Google Sheet where mathematicians solve equations and slowly but surely reveal a holiday-themed image if their problems are correct.
Big picture
Big picture
(Above) I was feeling a little crazy and let our kinders give the iPads a whirl yesterday. It went beautifully!
https://youtu.be/J0COWYBk0-U
Big picture
Ms. Roxie and Ms. Miranda teamed up and helped 45 kids make FRANKENSLIME after reading the book during our campus-wide Science Explorations.

Stay tuned next month for our special National STEM/STEAM Week Pet Video and highlights from our Fall Book Fair. The book fair will be Nov. 14-17.

Book Fair Coming Nov. 14-17, 2022

Big picture

Brain Week, Dot Day & Engineers Extraordinaire

Big picture

September/October, 2022

by Miranda Frazier Bailey

Library/Makerspace Teacher


September flew by and we had so much fun — but not without a lot of learning happening as well.


In addition to a little revamping of the decor in our Libratory (Library & Makerspace) this last month, we also revisited how to care for library books, the sections of the library, and how to search for books.


We started the month with our first library book checkout day and have now checked out books twice so far this year. Our learners check out books every other week.


Last week, we learned how to use the catalog computers (called the OPAC computers) to search for books on the shelves in grades 2-5. We discovered (and re-discovered) that we can use the OPAC computers to order books from other schools so that we can even check out books we don't have in our own small library.

Big picture

As part of our STEAM learning standards, we utilized team building centers or "STEAM stations" as I like to call them, located around the Libratory this month to help students get reacquainted and learn the important lesson of collaboration. It's not easy compromising and generating one action plan with a team of peers. We work really hard to teach these skills starting in kindergarten.


Learners in Grades K-3 were put into teams of four and learned how to brainstorm and come up with ONE GROUP idea for building with material constraints. They rotated through six different stations over the course of the last month. Take a look at some of their team builder designs:

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Next up -- we celebrated Brain Science Education Week the second week of September. Every grade level created different versions of 2D and 3D playdoh brain models. Take a look!
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Another important day at New Emerson is DOT DAY. Every September 15 we like to celebrate creativity and encourage learners to "Make your Mark!" on the world.


Dot Day was first celebrated in 2009 based on the children's book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.


We had a different "Dot" STEAM lesson for each grade level this year. Check it out below:

Big picture
Last but not least, we have been learning about the differences between Engineers and Architects and all the steps of the Engineering Design Process.


We read exemplar texts at each grade level, which showed us what engineers do and how they work. And then we got to work designing our own maker projects. These varied at each grade. Below you can see a "Blanket Fort" design from first grade, and a Lego partner build --- the first partner build of the year for our Kinders!

Big picture
Big picture
We also had some Libratory Scavenger Hunt action happening for fourth and fifth grades, and we continued our collection of PET STEAM photos as we learned what STEAM education means.


Next week we will have our third library checkout day of the year. I will be teaching our 3-5th graders how to check out books DIGITALLY on their Chromebooks.


Stay tuned in November for more books and building fun in the Libratory.

Back-to-School Learning Fun!

Big picture

August/September, 2022

Phew. I can't believe it's been a month. The last four weeks have been a whirlwind of learning fun in the Libratory!


For those of you who don't know, one of the special or elective classes each student at New Emerson attends is my class -- a mixture of Library and Books & Creating and Engineering.


Our Library and Makerspace is called the Libratory and all students attend twice a week on "A" weeks and once a week on "B" weeks for 45 minutes.

We began the very first week of school with icebreaker activities, back-to-school read alouds, and an introduction to my family and myself in the slide below.


(A little bit about me: I began my journey in education 23 summers ago, and I have worked on and off in that time teaching just about every grade level in three different states. I received my master's degree in curriculum and instruction in 2015. I used to primarily be a secondary ELA and Journalism teacher in Texas after a stint as a newspaper reporter, and now I find pure joy teaching YOUR children every day at New Emerson Elementary School.)

Big picture

During the first weeks of school, I try to spend a lot of time getting to know our kids ... or becoming reacquainted with them. And we also learn (and relearn) what it means to collaborate with a team of creators and engineers --- as you can see in the pics below.

Fifth Grade

Pringle Chip Team Challenge

Can you and your team build a circular tower out of chips large enough to put your arm through it?
Big picture

Fourth Grade

Cup-Moving Tower Team Challenge

Big picture

Third Grade

Oreo Cookie Tower Team Challenge

Big picture

Second Grade

Longest Paperclip Chain Team Challenge

Big picture

First Grade

Tallest Marker Tower Team Challenge

Big picture

Kindergarten

Choosing STEAM Stations

Big picture

We also spent time creating our Code of Collaboration or learning agreements together. This year I tried something new, and I asked different grade levels to create or build something that had to do with our rules and standard operating procedures (SOPs). They used Lego, art, pipe cleaners, and ACTING!


Yes, some of our fourth and fifth graders ACTED OUT the rules and SOPs, and then we made a movie and showed it to the younger kids. It was a hit -- as you can see below.


(And hopefully, they'll remember that how we act and treat others while we're learning is just as important as what we're learning.)

Libratory Rules & Learning Agreements Creations

Big picture
Big picture
New Emerson Libratory Rules in Action! 2022 23
I also have been teaching and reminding kids what S.T.E.A.M. education involves -- and they have been submitting pet pics showing their animals (real or stuffed) doing STEAM activities to reinforce this learning. That has been super fun to see all the creativity.
Big picture
Big picture


Regarding the library -- I try to tie books to the building weekly. And I alternate checking out library books every other week.


First through Fifth Graders checked out books this last week.


Those books are due back the week after next on the week of Sept. 12. We have "Bookie Monster" cans to return books in the hallways at school.


Below is a list of Library Book FAQs to help answer any questions you might have about the Library portion of the Libratory.

Library BOOK FAQs

Big picture
How often do the kids check out books?

Every other week when the kids come once that week in small groups on "B" weeks.


May my child check out books more often?

Of course! They can come in after school or at lunch after arranging a time with me. Or you can check one out during Early Bird Reading time and leave a note on my desk about which book you and your child took. (I work part-time in the afternoons.)


How long do the students keep books?

Two weeks. However, they may check them out for longer if need be.


What if my child accidentally damages or loses a book?

Accidents happen! Please let me know as soon as possible and I will either repair the book or collect a replacement fee.


How much is the replacement fee?

$25 -- This covers the cost of purchasing the book from a district-approved library vendor and having it cataloged into the online library system.


Can I just buy you another book to replace the lost or damaged one?

No. Please don't do that. We purchase our books from special book vendors who reinforce the spine and cover to make the book last longer. I also have to pay to have it barcoded and cataloged in the online system.


How many books may my child check out?

Kinder - 1 the first half of the year, and 2 the second half of the year. (I will begin checking out books to kinder for the first time on the week of Sept. 19th.)

First Grade - 2 books

Second grade - 2 - 3 books

Third grade 3 - 4 books

Fourth Grade 4-5 books

Fifth Grade - Up to 5 ... or as many as needed


How come some books from the library don't have a barcode on the cover like the others?

I have a very limited budget to purchase books each year. Sometimes, I get books by donation, or I purchase some myself, and I don't have the funds to get everything barcoded. But I still want to get those books into kids' hands -- so I check them out the old-fashioned way ... with paper and pencil.

Big picture

Lastly -- please feel free to reach out anytime about any questions or concerns you may have about library books or projects we are working on. I am at miranda.bailey@d51schools.org


I am SO looking forward to another great year of books and building with your kids. :)