April 11, 2017

Happy 2nd Birthday to My Blog!

Happy 2nd birthday to my blog!  I’ve been officially blogging for two years now, and I’ve loved every minute of being apart of the blogging community. 

Looking back, I’ve done a lot of entries about my work as a teacher librarian.  I’ve blogged about little free libraries, books, makerspaces activities, and school library programs.  Some of my most popular blogs are:

2 - 10 Steps to Make a Doodlebot (from 1/16/17)
3 - The Little Free Library (this was my blog’s 1st post on 4/11/15)

In the future, I’d like to continue discussing my work as a teacher librarian with entries about books, makerspaces, and school library programs.  I’d also love to invite some guest bloggers to write on my blog as well - anyone interested?

Many thanks to those who have read my blog and other bloggers who inspire me with ideas and challenges.  I’m grateful to my readers and honored to blog among such talented educators.  

April 6, 2017


Yay - the first #mustreadin2017 update is here and I have so much to share!  Thank you Carrie Gelson of There’s a Book for That for hosting this reading event.  In January I did a blog post motivating myself to read a variety of books (see picture below), and I'm proud to say that I read all of them.  The title that surprised me the most was Bob, Not Bob! by Audrey Vernick and Liz Garton Scanlon.  It's about a boy with a cold asking for his "mom," but his stuffy nose makes it sound like he's asking for "Bob" his dog.  It is hilarious and had my five year old daughter laughing out loud.  

Besides reading the titles above, I was distracted by new books.  Below are the additional books I've also read in the past few months:

Below are some upcoming titles that I’m looking forward to reading in the near future.  I'll be back in September with an update on my reading progress for #mustreadin2017. 

March 19, 2017

5 Steps to Make a Paper Rocket Launcher

For a fun makerspace activity, I created a rocket launcher from PVC pipe and a bike pump.  My K-5 elementary students will create paper rockets and have fun launching their rockets into the air.  

Here are five steps to create a paper rocket launcher on your own: 

1.  Gather your tools and materials.  For tools, you will need a miter saw, electric drill, drill bits, and sand paper.  For materials, you will need:
- (2) 5’ x 3/4” PVC pipe
- (3) 3/4” 90 degree elbow connectors
- (1) 3/4” shutoff valve
- (1) 3/4” end cap
- (1) tire valve (TR418)
- (1) PVC primer (optional)
- (1) PVC cement
- (1) bicycle pump

2.  Cut the PVC pipes.  Using a miter saw, cut the PVC pipes into the lengths below.  With sand paper, be sure to sand down any rough edges.  
- (2) 30” pipes
- (1) 36” pipe
- (1) 18” pipe
- (1) 6” pipe

3.  Drill the end cap to fit the tire valve.  Using an electric drill with a 5/16” bit, drill a hole in the top of the end cap.  Slip the tire valve into the opening - it should fit snuggly.  

4.  Cement the pieces together.  Ready your materials to assemble the launcher in the picture shown below.  Apply a little PVC primer (optional) and cement to the ends of each piece and glue them together.  The only piece I left unglued was the elbow attaching the launch pipe.  I did this so I can position it to match the makerspace activity.  If we want to see how high the rockets will go, I’ll position the launch pipe straight up.  If we want to see how far the rockets will go, I’ll position the launch pipe at an angle.  

5. Make a paper rocket.  Using tape and any type of paper (newspaper, copy paper, construction paper) make a rocket.  Let kids get creative with their rocket design, there's no wrong way to make a rocket.  I recommend using either a piece of PVC pipe or a paper towel roll to wrap paper around to make the body of the rocket.  This will ensure the paper rockets will fit the launcher pipe.  Below is an example of the rocket I made.  It doesn't have fins but it still works!

It’s launch time!  Place the paper rocket on the launcher pipe.  Be sure the shutoff valve is closed.  Use the bicycle pump to build up pressure.  Make sure participants have backed away and aren’t in danger of being hit with the rocket.  Next release the shutoff valve to send the rocket launching into the air!  Make it a contest and see whose rocket can go the highest or the farthest.  For an extension, have students calculate their rocket’s altitude or distance traveled.  

To make the rockets shoot higher, try modifying this design.  Like making the launch pipe closer to the shutoff valve or making it straight instead of square (however, a square one stands up on its own).