February 20, 2017

The Reading Challenge Ends . . . The 2016 Buckeye Book Award

And the reading challenge continues!  As stated in a previous post, my librarian friend Ashley Lambacher of the Book Talker and I are hosting the Buckeye Book Award Reading Challenge.  Our goal is to read all the past winners from the children’s book category in chronological order from 1982 to the present.  I will read the K-2 picture book winners and Ashley will read the 4-8/3-5 chapter book winners.  Today I continue my challenge by reading the winner of the K-2 Buckeye Book Award in 2016, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated Jon Klassen.

Sam and Dave are friends that set out on an adventure.  They decide to dig a hole in search of something “spectacular.”  They begin to dig but miss the diamond treasure hidden next to them - if only they had dug their hole a little more to the right! They dig a little deeper, but as they approach a bigger diamond . . . they miss it because they decide to dig in another direction!  Finding nothing, they decide to split up (Dave digs up and Sam digs down) but they miss an even bigger diamond - they would have found it if they’d just continued straight!  Next they decide to dig straight down, which causes them to miss the biggest diamond yet!  They become tired of digging and take a nap.  While they sleep, their dog digs his own hole to fetch a bone.  Then they all begin to fall through the air only to land in the spot where they first began to dig - or is it the same place after all?  While they didn’t find a spectacular item, they both agree that falling from the sky was pretty spectacular.  Jon Klassen’s illustrations are done in his signature earth tones with simple shapes and lots of texture.  This Caldecott award winning illustrations are a perfect match for Barnett’s tale of digging for treasure.  My students grades K-5 love this book, making it an understandable win for the 2016 Buckeye Book Award.

Ashley -  Your 2016 book is Louis Sachar’s Fuzzy Mud.  My students really love this creep thriller.  What about your students?  I can see why it won a Buckeye Book Award.

After almost two years of reading, I’m sad to see our challenge end.  However I’m proud of our commitment  and collaboration to read all of the Buckeye Book Award winners since 1982.  Thanks for coming on the journey with me!

February 9, 2017

My #nf10for10 - Nonfiction Makerspace Books

I’m so excited to return for another round of 10 for 10 nonfiction books.  I enjoy the challenge of creating a meaningful list for my self and others, as well as reading all the wonderful lists posted by the community.  

The makerspace movement has greatly impacted my role as a school librarian within the past year.  I’ve read many helpful and inspiring books about makerspaces.  In August, I selected my top 10 fiction picture books for a makerspace.  Today, I’ve selected 10 nonfiction makerspace books that have been most helpful to me:

1. The Big Book of Makerspace Projects by Colleen Graves & Aaron Graves
If you’re looking for project ideas, this is an amazing book!  There are chapters about smart phone projects, paper circuits, coding, music instruments, sewing circuits, Makey Makey, LittleBits, and 3D printing.  Each chapter breaks down materials needed and step by step instructions to create thes cool maker pace projects.  My favorite chapter is titled “Starting Small and Low Cost.”  It gives instructions to make eight projects from every day items.  My personal favorites are Brush Bots, Scribble Bots, Kazoo, and Balloon Hovercraft.  

2. Free To Make: How the Maker Movement is Changing Our Schools, Our Jobs, and Our Minds by Dale Dougherty with Ariane Conrad
This book provides great insight into the Maker Movement.  If you’d like to learn more about makerspaces or need justifications of their importance, this is a great resource.  It discusses making in schools, the work force, and in the future.  Makerspaces are not apart of a trendy movement.  They are revolutionizing the way students are educated, mirroring the future work force.

3. Making in the K-3 Classroom: Why, How, and Wow! by Alice Baggett
If you’re interested in bringing maker activities to students in grades K-3, this is a wonderful resource.  It outlines why and how to implement makerspace activities in classrooms for young learners.  In particular, I enjoyed the list of picture books that support a maker mindset of learning from mistakes.  

4. Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia Libow Martinez & Gary Stager, Ph.D.
This book discusses many aspects of school makerspaces including a brief history, materials, environment, and resources.  If you’d like to start a makerspace, check out this book.  I found the prompt suggestions and advocacy information very helpful.

5. Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide For Little Inventors by Rachelle Doorley
This is another book full of project ideas.  Many of these activities are targeted for children to do at home with their parents, but there are some great instructions for projects suitable for a school’s mekerspace.  Most notably, I like the ideas t make straw rockets, CD spinners, DIY robots, and drawing machines.  My personal favorite is the marble run created from toilet paper rolls!

6. The Robot Book by Bobby Mercer
This book is full of tutorials to make simple robots.  I love asking my students to make a robot from everyday materials, and this is a great resource.  In particular, I like the instructions to make a brush bot, scrub bot, tricolor bot, quad-color bot, cancan dancer, and the fantastic dancing machine. 

7. STEAM Makers: Fostering Creativity and Innovation in the Elementary Classroom by Jacie Maslyk
When I introduced makerspace to staff, students, and parents at my new school, I referenced this book.  It outlines the benefits of makerspaces, and specifically connects learning to the common core standards.  I particularly liked the list of makerspace advocates to follow on twitter, the consumable donations suggestions, and lists of resources.  There are even QR codes throughout the book to access additional resources.  

8. Rubber Band Engineer by Lance Akiyama
This book has tutorials to make projects with rubber bands.  My personal favorites are the simple rubber band shooter, the pyramid catapult, and the wire loop game.  I renamed the wire loop game to “steady hand game.”  I made a kit with pictures for students to construct the game.  When they’re done making it, they can play the game.  It's like a homemade game of Operation - kids love it!

9. Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects by DK Smithsonian
This book has instructions for fun science experiments and makerspace projects. The projects I like best are the invisible ink, paper airplanes, cardboard speakers, balloon car, and sturdy bridge.  I put together a kit with all the materials and instructions to make the ballon car.  My students really enjoy making a car powered by balloon air.  I consider it a ‘make and take’ and allow them to take it home with them.  

10. The Kid’s Book of Simple Machines by Kelly Doudna
This book has simple machines for students to make and create.  Each contraction is outlined in simple steps accompanied with full-color, detailed images.  My favorite machines are the roller coaster race track made from foam pipe insulation, the basic balloon car made from a toilet paper tube, and the tabletop pinball game made with a rubber band ball launcher and a paint stirrer flipper.