A Visit With Master Artists and Teachers – Michael LaFosse and Richard Alexander

2018-11-23T19:14:08-07:00

A local museum is hosting an exhibit entitled "Origami in the Garden" until March of 2019.  It's a fantastic series of metal sculptures based on origami designs scattered throughout the gardens of the museum.    As part of the exhibit's kick-off activities, Michael LaFosse and Richard Alexander, master origamists, were invited to visit local schools and to teach workshops at the Botanic Garden.  I was fortunate enough to be able to attend one of their workshops.  It was great! Using giant squares of paper and the wall as their flat surface, Michael and Richard showed a group of about 25 how [...]

A Visit With Master Artists and Teachers – Michael LaFosse and Richard Alexander2018-11-23T19:14:08-07:00

Money Fun

2017-11-29T19:51:12-07:00

        This month there is an exhibit in the adult collection about money and managing finances.  I've decided to focus my children's programming around money, and money fun, while the exhibit is on display.  It'll be a good opportunity to educate kids about being responsible with their money in a fun way, while the adults have the opportunity to learn about the same thing, through a more mature, if less entertaining method.  I'm planning on teaching several simple money "magic" tricks, since it always seems like money disappears, practically magically, no matter how hard you try to keep up with [...]

Money Fun2017-11-29T19:51:12-07:00

Science Kits for STREAM Educators

2017-09-22T17:32:29-06:00

I have recently discovered a great not-so-new resource for teachers and librarians - Biology in a Box! This program, now in it's 25th year, was created by University of Tennessee/Knoxville professor Dr. Susan Riechert to help science teachers in the Knox County, Tennessee, schools who were lacking a strong science background, or adequate resources to provide strong STEM programs in their schools.  Each of the soon to be 13 thematic boxes is chock full of cool, attention-grabbing manipulatives which inspire students/children to take a scientific interest in the world around them.  Each box also includes curriculum information for every grade, so that the [...]

Science Kits for STREAM Educators2017-09-22T17:32:29-06:00

Join the Rage! DIY Fidget Spinners

2017-06-24T13:01:08-06:00

      I came across an interesting new type of toy online a few months ago - fidget spinners.  They're advertised as good for nail chewers, autistic people, children and adults with OCD, ADHD, and a variety of other conditions and issues.  I don't know about all that, but I do know they are kinda fun to play with, and now I see them everywhere, including spinning up a storm in the hands of library customers. I've also discovered that people are designing new styles, shapes, and forms of fidget spinners all the time.  Being ever on the lookout for [...]

Join the Rage! DIY Fidget Spinners2017-06-24T13:01:08-06:00

Poly- What? Learning the language of 3D Geometry

2017-02-04T17:52:03-07:00

    Shapes, shapes, and more shapes.  Circle, triangle, square, rectangle - it all starts of easy enough.  Then it get a bit more complicated when you move from two dimensional to three dimensional - sphere, cylinder, pyramid, cube, prism.  Then, before you know it, your tongue is in a knot, and you're totally confused.  Just what does a decagonal gyroelongated bipyramid, compound of truncated icosahedron and pentakisdodecahedron, or a prolate hectohexecontadihedron look like?  It's all in the name.  The trick is understanding the language of shapes, and a little bit of Greek and Latin.  For help with the Greek and Latin, [...]

Poly- What? Learning the language of 3D Geometry2017-02-04T17:52:03-07:00

Go (Igo, Baduk, ) for Kids? You Bet!!

2016-12-07T17:58:54-07:00

             What is Go?  Well, besides being one of the words in the dictionary with a ridiculous number of definitions, it is the American name for the oldest board game in the world still being played in its original form and using the same rules devised over 2,000 years ago. By comparison, the rules of chess were finally established a mere 200 or so years ago.  Go is also considered to be the world's oldest game of mental skill.             Unlike chess, which has six different kinds of pieces, which move and [...]

Go (Igo, Baduk, ) for Kids? You Bet!!2016-12-07T17:58:54-07:00

Cardboard Creations!

2016-10-17T16:28:16-06:00

What can you do with an hour, a large box, some assorted IKEA packing materials, a few plastic fasteners, and some kids? All kinds of cool things! We recently held another "open building" program at KCPL. This time, our building materials included one very large box, pieces of cardboard of various sizes, shapes, and thickness, some plastic hinges and fasteners, and plastic saw/punch tools. Those in attendance were given a few basic rules: 1. Only use the tools on the cardboard. :) 2. If you use the fasteners and take your creation home, the fasteners must be returned the next time [...]

Cardboard Creations!2016-10-17T16:28:16-06:00

Pumpkins! (with STEMs!)

2016-10-16T16:27:32-06:00

Happy October! Like the rest of the known (well, at least here in the Midwest!) world, you CAN bring pumpkins into your programming! But there are ways to do this which include many STEM concepts as well as fun! There are many great fiction titles about pumpkins, some of which actually follow the life cycle of the pumpkin. A few of my favorites of those titles are: Pumpkin Pumpkin, by Jeanne Titherington;     Pumpkin Town! (or, Nothing is Better or Worse Than Pumpkins!) by Katie McKy; and of course, Pumpkin Cat, by Anne Mortimer. The whole host of usual pumpkin [...]

Pumpkins! (with STEMs!)2016-10-16T16:27:32-06:00

Tangrams – Stories, Shapes and Spatial Thinking

2016-02-19T16:03:11-07:00

      Tangrams are possibly among the easiest of puzzles to make, and the among hardest to master.  The traditional tangram is composed of seven pieces - 2 large triangles, a medium sized triangle, 2 small triangles, a square, and a parallelogram - that will fit together into a perfect square, among thousands of other shapes.  The pieces themselves are called tans, while the images created with them are called tangrams.  The challenge of the puzzle is to create various shapes by arranging the pieces so that they touch, but do not overlap.  Patterns can vary from very easy to form [...]

Tangrams – Stories, Shapes and Spatial Thinking2016-02-19T16:03:11-07:00

New Life for an Ancient Tool – Making and Using Abaci With Elementary Age Kids

2016-01-01T21:49:51-07:00

              What can you do with a group of kids, corrogated cardboard, a lot of beads, pipe cleaners, and some masking or decorative duct tape?  Make abaci, of course!                         With a little bit of preliminary work, this is a craft program that even pre-schoolers can master.  The tools I used in my program were: -  6" x 6" corrogated cardboard (2-3 pieces glued together with the "tunnels" running perpendicular to one another) If using 3 layers, I make sure the center layer has the vertical channels.  That [...]

New Life for an Ancient Tool – Making and Using Abaci With Elementary Age Kids2016-01-01T21:49:51-07:00
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