Friday, July 20, 2018

School-Age: Whales

This week we learned about whales (specifically their songs) to tie into the CSLP theme of "Libraries Rock"! 

1. Reading
We read "Following Papa's Song" by Gianna Marino, which fit perfectly with the week's theme!

2. Discussion
I actually started the discussion off with a video about whale songs. It was a TED-Ed video by Stephanie Sardelis and was a perfect way to discuss why whales sing!

After showing the video, we talked about some of the reasons whales sing that were mentioned in the video. I also asked a few trivia questions about whales. I focused on humpback whales since they were featured in the book I read aloud, but also baleen whales that were discussed in the video.

3. Craft
Our craft was a humpback whale. I found some ideas of using paper plates to make a humpback whale on Pinterest. Most of the crafts did not have a template, but I found one on Danielle's Place for fins and a tail.

I painted the paper plates blue prior to the program and gave the kids glue dots to attach their whale parts and eyes.

This has been one of my favorite topics this summer! I love learning new information and anything related to animal behavior is super interesting to me. The video was a big bonus and the kids were over-the-top excited to learn about whales this week!

Friday, July 13, 2018

School-Age: Duke Ellington and the Piano

This week we learned a bit about Duke Ellington as well as some trivia about pianos!

We read the book "88 Instruments" by Chris Barton. A child is trying to decide on what instrument he wants to learn how to play and there are SO many to choose from! In the end he settles on the piano!

I gave the kids a brief overview of Duke Ellington's life and showed some pictures of him playing in Harlem's Cotton Club.

Then I played a game of piano trivia with the kids. We learned about the most expensive piano in the world, the largest piano, when the piano was invented, and more!

I found a picture on Pinterest of a thumb piano but no information about how to make it. SO, I used the picture as inspiration and came up with the materials on my own.

I used wooden 4"X4" wooden banners that I found on Oriental Trading. I couldn't find anything smaller than that (at least that was inexpensive enough to justify buying enough for my program).

I also used bobby pins as the 'keys' of the piano and purchased electrical tape to hold the 'keys' to the wooden banner.

I painted one side of the wooden banners prior to the program. 

During the craft the kids got to decorate their thumb pianos however they liked!

At the earlier program of the week we had the kids/parents help us attach their 'keys' to their own thumb piano. Since we only had a handful of kids, that worked just fine. However, I had a TON of kids signed up for my Friday program. I had my teen helpers help me tape bobby pins down on as many banners as we could before the Friday program so we had that step already completed. 

Friday, June 29, 2018

School-Age: Homophones

Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings - another perfect tie-in to SRP 2018.

1. Reading
We read "Bob, not Bob: *to be read as though you have the worst cold ever" by Audrey Vernick. This was a hysterical read-aloud and the kids loved it, especially when Bob the dog came running (and slobbering). 

2. Discussion
We defined what a homophone is = words that are spelled differently and have different meanings BUT they sound exactly the same. We also played a homophone game. I showed two homophones and asked them to define them. For example = "see and "sea". They had to tell me what each of the words meant and then I showed a picture to demonstrate the meaning. 

The lesson we learned, for certain, was that the English language can be confusing!

To throw them a curve ball we also learned about homonyms. I broke down both words to the kids = "Homo" means same, "Phone" means sound, and "Nym" means name. So homophones have the same sound but are spelled differently but homonyms have the same name (aka are spelled the same). Then I showed them a few homonyms to see if they could find all the possible meanings for a word such as "bat" or "cold". 

3. Craft
I gave the kids canvas bags that they could decorate. I had made a few templates of some punny homophones they could trace onto their bags. They had the option of using the patterns I had created OR making their own creations. 

One template was of two bees. I gave the kids the punny phrase of "We love to bee together." But, they were able to have their own creative liberties with it!

The other template I made was of two pears (a pair of pears). My punny phrase was "We make a nice pair."

This program was great fun this week and the kids loved learning about homophones! They thought a lot of them were funny and they LOVED the book "Bob, not Bob"!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

School-Age: Sound

Keeping with the SRP theme, we learned about sound last week!

1. Reading
We read "Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!: A Sonic Adventure" by Wynton Marsalis. It is about a young boy who focuses on all the different sounds he hears as he goes about his day.

2. Discussion
We discussed what sound is (vibrations) as well as the reasons different musical instruments make different sounds. After discussing a little about how sound is made and what makes sound louder or softer, we did an experiment. Before the program I tested a few ways to show the kids sound via an experiment and several of them flopped before I landed on one that worked. 

I tried to do this one to show vibrations as well as a similar one that had me put my cell phone in the glass bowl and call it to show the rice moving on top of plastic wrap. Neither one did anything sooo, I found a simpler sound wave experiment on KCEdventures.

I put together several utensils on string to allow for large numbers of kids to do the experiment at the same time. Instead of a ruler to tap the utensils with I used larger serving spoons. I had my teen helpers walk around helping the kids get the yarn wrapped around their fingers and then tap on the utensils to feel the vibrations.

After all the kids (and some parents!) had an opportunity to experiment with the utensils, we talked about what they felt when the hanging utensils were hit with the serving spoons - sound vibrations and reverberations. 

3. Craft
The craft the kids did this week was DIY harmonicas. There are many instructables online to show you how to make them. I walked the group through how to do them together. It was a simple craft but putting it together initially was a little tricky. Once they were finished, they could decorate the outside of their harmonicas. We had a chorus of noisy elephants at the end of the program!

I loved the craft this week and it was a perfect way to show sound vibrating since that is how the DIY harmonica was making noise!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

School-Age: Wind Chimes

Thinking slightly outside of the box for the CSLP theme of "Libraries Rock", I thought wind chimes would be perfect to make as a craft that makes music!

1. Reading
This week I read "Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World" by Allan Drummond. Wind chimes are a great craft but there are not many books to read aloud to kids about them. So, we talked about wind! "Energy Island" was a great introduction into renewable energy and trying to make your home more environmentally friendly!

2. Discussion
Since the book was rather long, and I wanted the kids to have PLENTY of time to work on their craft, we had a brief discussion of renewable versus nonrenewable energy sources. I also showed them pictures of a variety of renewable energy sources that exist around the world.

3. Craft
We made wind chimes! I found a wind chime craft that we used as a model from the how to do this and that blog. I hot-glued jumbo craft sticks in the star shape but, as for the rest of the craft, I laid out a bunch of supplies and let the kids direct how they wanted to make their final product. One of my library assistants had left-over silverware from college that she was getting rid of, so that was PERFECT to upcycle for the craft.

We used: silverware, beads (metal and pony beads), jingle bells, yarn, string, fishing line, pipe cleaners, markers, and more.

Here are a few examples:

The wind chimes were a lot more time intensive than I had initially anticipated. However, it still worked out fine! For the first program of the week, when we were running out of time, I ran to my supply room to grab plastic baggies for the kids to take extra supplies home to finish the craft. For my Friday crowd, I gave them a warning that the craft would take extra time so they knew they would be expected to finish some of it at home if they were taking their time on the crafting. 

Summer Reading has officially begun -- We had HUGE crowds at the Friday program, so I set up a supply table as a buffet and gave the kids plates to go through the line and select some supplies. Then, I told everyone to find space on the carpet to work on their craft. It worked perfectly and, all-in-all, it was a hugely successful program!

Monday, June 11, 2018

School-Age: Junkyard Instruments

Last week was my library's first full week of the Summer Reading Program. Since the Collaborative Summer Library Program theme this year is "Libraries Rock!", I decided last week's theme should be all about music!

1. Reading
It was a longer read-aloud, but I shared "Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay" by Susan Hood.

It is a true story about an orchestra in Paraguay whose instruments were made from recycled materials. It gives the kids a perspective of how different other kids may grow up as well as remind them that even 'junk' can have a new life.

2. Discussion
I shared pictures of different instruments and we had a name-that-instrument trivia game. After that, I showed them pictures of the real Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay so they could see the actual kids the book discusses as well as the amazing instruments they made out of recycled materials.

3. Craft
I put out a boatload of recycled materials that I have been collecting as well as a bunch of craft supplies. I had bottle caps (metal and plastic), yarn, pipe cleaners, paper, scissors, beads, craft sticks, Popsicle sticks, and more! My teens made a few examples based on some pictures I found on the internet, however the kids that came to the program came up with their own creative ideas!

This was the perfect topic (and craft) to let the kids think outside the box and explore their creativity. Some kids wanted to make a similar craft to what we made examples of and some made fabulously creative instruments all their own! It was also a great way to used left-over craft supplies from other weekly topics.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

School-Age: Decoding

It is officially summer reading so, alas, I am behind on posting. Last week we learning about decoding and inferences.

1. Discussion
I actually started the program out with a small discussion about what decoding means -- translating or figuring out the meaning of words/sentences based on pictures or words around them. It basic terms it means using the context clues, but I wanted to break that down so that even the kindergartners would understand.

2. Reading (AND activity!)
I had initially planned on using "Du Iz Tak?" by Carson Ellis as my featured book this week but I thought it might be a little too complex for me to use it. When I was doing a little sleuthing around the internet, Book Nerd Mommy Blog did a similar topic but featured "Baloney, Henry P." by Jon Scieszka.

I read the book but would stop when we got to a sentence that included one of the 'alien' words and had the kids help me decode the meanings. They were pretty great at it even though some of the words were trickier than others.

3. Discussion
We had a small discussion after the book about decoding in regards to the book we had just read. Did they think it was easy to decode 'alien'? 

4. Reading + Discussion
I did not read the whole book "Du Iz Tak?", but I did read a few pages to see if the kids could help me translate 'bug'. 

I read three or four pages, having them help me translate the sentences as we went along. After we finished the book, I asked whether translating 'alien' or 'bug' was more difficult. Some thought that 'alien' was easier because you only had to translate one word in the whole sentence. Others preferred 'bug' because the illustrations were easier to interpret and you could pretty much infer whatever you wanted because there was less context.

5. Craft
I found a craft related to "Baloney (Henry P.)" on the I Love 2 Teach Blog. The blog post had downloads for templates to make your very own aliens. Here are some samples of ours:

This was a great program and very informative for the kids and parents! I think the topic is very beneficial to our less confident readers, reminding them that even their parents have to use context clues when reading because we don't know all the words on the page!