Coding

Coding. That’s something with computers, right? But what’s this about young children doing coding? It turns out, coding is just a way of thinking that we start doing at an early age. I’ve just let the term “code” freak me out. There are many ways for a child to develop those coding skills without looking at a computer for those parents wishing to limit screen time. Being surrounded by technology, learning how to code becomes more and more necessary in life and just like a foreign language, it is easier to learn at an early age. That’s because creating a code is like a language –  a special language that tells a computer or robot what to do. Turn left, go straight. clap three times. Coding helps children with problem solving and logic. The ability to direct technology instead of just using it, builds confidence and skills that will help children later on in school and in careers where there is more and more demand for technology.

At our November 1st Exploratorium we started with very basic coding concepts using a variety of coding kits that will be available to try out in the Children’s Dept the week of Thanksgiving and then will be available to check out at a later date. This is a great way for your child to get started with the concept of coding before purchasing items that are more complicated. Some of the new items we have available include:

 

Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar, Cubetto Educational Coding Robot, Learning Resources Learning Essentials Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity Set and an Ozobot.

A basic game to play with your child that demonstrates coding basics at no cost is a form of Simon Says. Simon says, if I clap my hands, then you stomp your feet. Or, if I nod my head, then you nod your head. Simon is the programmer, everyone else in the group becomes the computer.

Ready for something more complex? Place a black checker somewhere towards the far side of a checkerboard. Place a few red checkers on the board to act as obstacles. Place another black checker in the lower left corner of the board. Now direct the lower left black checker to the other black checker using only these simple directions: Go Forward, Turn Right, Turn Left, Repeat. The checker can move only 1 square at a time. It does not matter if the square is black or red.

An example:

Go Forward

Repeat

Repeat

Turn Right

Go Forward

Turn Left

Go Forward

Repeat

 

Continue until you reach the black checker. Write down the instructions, step by step.

Now place the black checker back to the lower left corner and follow your written instructions. Did it work? If it didn’t, go back and figure out where you went wrong and try again. If it did work, then you just wrote your first piece of successful code!

 

In January we will have another coding program for Exploratorium that will be a bit more advanced than last weeks program. In the meantime stop by the children’s desk to try out the basic coding program kits we have.

Miss Christina

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Nursery Rhyme Time: Humpty Dumpty

 

 

Humpy Dumpty sat on a wall…

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall….

Can you complete the rhyme?  We find that many adults are not familiar with children’s  nursery rhymes anymore, but there are good reasons that they should be!

Learning nursery rhymes help children develop language and vocabulary – and help them form the foundation for learning to rhyme words on their own.  Many nursery rhymes also contain phrases that start with words that all have the same beginning sounds, so this helps children begin to become aware of the sounds of their language.

As children learn these traditional rhymes, they exercise and stretch their memory skills, which helps them prepare to memorize future materials, such as the alphabet, sight words, or math facts.

So, brush up on your nursery rhymes, and teach them to your children!

To get you started, here’s the full rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the King’s horses,

And all the King’s men,

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

To extend the fun of learning the rhyme, here’s a craft you can make with your child. I created the pattern based off this craft my son Adam made over 20 years ago!

  1. Color and cut out the Humpty Dumpty body and legs.
  2. Color a sheet of paper to resemble a wall.
  3. Glue Humpty’s legs to the wall.
  4. Attach Humpty’s body to the legs with a brad.
  5. As you say the rhyme Humpty can swivel as he falls!

Have fun! To learn more, here are links to good web articles on why nursery rhymes are important:

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/nursery-rhymes-not-just-babies

http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/reading-language/reading-tips/the-surprising-meaning-and-benefits-of-nursery-rhymes/

https://www.themeasuredmom.com/10-reasons-why-kids-need-to-know-nursery-rhymes/

Miss Teresa

Homework Help

Make Homework a Success at the Library

 

With the homework starting to flow in, don’t let the projects, lack of information or space dampen your child’s spirits on completing assignments. If you are noticing that it is difficult for your child to settle down to their homework because of distractions such as the TV or music, you may find that a different location like the library can be helpful for your child to focus. The Moline Public Library has much to offer in homework help.

 

Space

There are many areas in the library that will allow a student to spread out to complete a project. We have 2 study rooms just for students under 13 in the Children’s Dept. These are available for use on a first come, first serve basis. To use one, stop at the Children’s Desk to be allowed in. You will also find numerous tables throughout the main floor of the library, many are near outlets to plug in laptops or other devices needed for homework. These tables are great for working on posters and other large projects.

 

Wifi and Other Computer Services

We offer computers for use until 15 minutes before closing and free WiFi for your laptops. Be certain to bring your library card to access the computers. Black and white copies are .25 per page, color pages are .50 per page. You can print from your laptop using the wireless printing through our WiFi.

On the 2nd floor, there is a scanner that will scan items to your email address or a flash drive.

Two headphones can be attached to a single computer so you and your child can work on a site together. If you would rather do work at home but need an Internet connection, the library has a limited number of hotspots to check out that are available on a first come, first serve basis with a valid library card.

 

Information

The great thing about doing homework or projects at the library is that if you need additional information for a report, you can easily locate what you need either on the Internet or in the library. Need magazine or journal articles? Those can be found on our webpage (www.molinelibrary.com) under Catalogs and Databases in a database called MasterFile Premier. You can also acquire help through our webpage on Tutor.com (also found under Catalogs and Databases) with an online tutor to help with homework questions. Both of these databases can be accessed at the library or at home with your Moline Public Library card.

 

Library Staff

Library staff can help in a variety of ways.

We can help you locate information, find valid websites, help you use the databases, pull books for you and even offer suggestions on other ways to approach the student’s topic. If you bring in the homework assignment, we can make certain your child is interpreting the assignment correctly. For example, the teacher may be asking for a non-fiction book and the child asks for a story instead of book with information.

If the library doesn’t have what is needed for the assignment, we can request items from other libraries and fill out a form for the teacher so they know an attempt was made to complete the assignment.

If you need a book right away, call us at 309-524-2480 and we will be happy to pull it for you to be picked up at the front desk. If we do not have it in, we can tell you which library in the area has it so you do not spend lots of time going from one library to the next.

 

 

When you and your child are ready for a change from your homework routine, stop by the library.

We cannot do your child’s homework, but we can definitely make acquiring the needed research easier.

Miss Christina

Building Bridges

 

Did you realize how many different types of bridges we have in the Quad Cities?

Since designing the Exploratorium Building Bridges program, I keep looking at bridges, explaining to my very patient husband that the footbridge he just crossed over was a beam bridge and the strengths and weaknesses of that type of bridge. All this time I just thought bridges were “pretty” or “ugly” because of their design. I never thought there was a reason for the style of bridge or to really think about the amazing amount of weight these bridges have to carry. It’s been an eye opener.

It all started with the model of the new I-74 bridge that is currently located in our lobby. I thought this would be a great time to do a STEAM program on bridges and how they are built.

At the program we observed what made a design strong with 4 different type of bridges. At the end, everyone designed their own bridge that would be strong enough to hold an apple. If you want to try these at home, they are very simple.

 

Beam Bridge

Supplies: 2 even stacks of books, 2 pieces of card stock, scissors, tape and weights. Weights can be anything the same size like small blocks or other toys that are the same size and weight that will not roll away from you or break.

Place a piece of cardstock on the two stacks of books so it looks like a bridge. Now begin adding weights, one at a time. How many weights did you add before the bridge collapsed?

Now create 2 piers from the 2nd sheet of card stock by rolling up the cardstock into a tube and taping it. Cut the tube into 2, sizing them so it fits under the “road” of your bridge. Place the 2 tubes or piers under the bridge and start adding weight again. Did it hold more weight?

Beam bridges are simple to create and are ideal for short distances unless you have other ways to support the bridge.

 

 

Arch Bridge

Supplies: 2 even stacks of books, 2 full pieces of card stock, weights.

Recreate your beam bridge without the piers. Form the second piece of cardstock into an arch and place it under the road of the bridge. How many weights does the bridge hold? Was this more than the beam bridge without piers? With piers?

If you were to create an arch from stones or blocks, this would need tension to hold the arch together. An example of the tension in an arch is to stand facing someone about the same height as you. Both of you hold up your hands and grasp them to form an arch. Now lean forward. The force you feel where your hands meet is the same force that would hold stones together in an arch. The arch shape is able to disperse the weight to the ground or abutment of the bridge.

 

 

Truss Bridge

Supplies: 2 even stacks of books, 1 full piece of card stock, 1 piece of paper, weights.

Truss bridges get their strength from a framework made of triangles. Triangles are much stronger than squares or rectangles because they can move the pressure of the road load from a single point to a much wider area.

Recreate your beam bridge. Remember how many weights it would hold?

Now fold your piece of paper like you would a fan. Spread it out and place it under your road so it spans the bridge. Now try adding weight. Does it hold more?

Why do you think the fanned paper was helpful? Would it work if it were a flat sheet of paper?

 

Suspension Bridge

Supplies: a long piece of cardboard about 4 ft long for the road. It may be bent. A hole punch, 2 chairs with an open back, pipe cleaners, 2 long pieces of cord about 12-14 ft long and some weights – we used 4 Lego blocks.

I found this bridge fascinating. It seems impossible that two pieces of cord can hold up a bridge!

 

Place the chairs back to back. Place the strings parallel to each other over the chairs so that the ends go over the front of each chair and reach the floor. If it helps for set up, tape the cords to the top of the chairs. Just be certain to take off the tape when the bridge is assembled. Tie the ends of your string to your weights and pull the weights away from the chairs to make the cords taught. Punch holes on either side of the cardboard, 3-4 on each side, evenly spaced out. You do not need to have holes on the far ends of the cardboard. Attach a pipe cleaner to each hole by threading it through the hole and twisting the end to the pipe cleaner. Place the ends of the cardboard on the seats of the chairs. You may need to support the cardboard until you have the pipe cleaners in place. Next, hook the pipe cleaners onto the cords.  Now you can pull the road support away and take off the tape.

Try putting on a toy car on the bridge. Does it hold?

What happens if you move the weights closer to the bridge?

What if you have fewer pipe cleaners? No pipe cleaners?

Can you determine what is supporting the weight?

 

 

When I started designing this program, I didn’t know the first thing about bridges, however, through the books and kits we have at the library plus the Internet, I developed a great respect for the bridges I see every day. Which is a lot of bridges!

It turns out the Quad Cities has many examples of the different types of bridges. When you cross a bridge, see if you can determine what kind it is: Beam, Arch – Tied Arch, Suspension, Truss, Swing, or Cable-Stayed.

And the next time you come into the library, be certain to check out the new I-74 bridge model in the lobby. It’s awesome!

Miss Christina

 

Why Your Child with Special Needs Should Be In Storytime and How to Make it a Success

Library programming has changed A LOT in the past decade.  A LOT.  We have gone from traditional story time reading with a paste together craft to interactive story times filled with music, movement, open-ended arts and crafts that encourage individual thought and creativity.  We have gone from book groups with preformed questions lead by the librarian to programs that tie literature into hands-on, thought provoking activities that engage the inner thinker in each kiddo.  We are no longer a community of “shushers” telling patrons to read quietly, but rather we are encouraging conversation and engagement with other children and parents at the library.

The best part of this change in thinking and direction is that it means programming now fits ALL abilities and needs instead of just the needs of children who can sit still and quietly for a story hour.  Still, the fear and misconceptions are out there, especially among our parents who have children with special needs.  I have extended the invite to Storytime for Littles (our baby/toddler story time) as well as Exploratorium (our school-age, STEAM-based programming) just to catch that hesitation followed by a hasty “Well, my child has autism, so I’m not sure they would sit for it,” or “My child has ADHD and I would hate for them to get too wound up.”

I know that response.  That hesitation.  I had it when my child was young.  I have a son who is autistic.  He also has severe ADHD and a sensory processing disorder.  Taking him into settings where I had no control over smells, sounds, and tactile experiences was nerve-wracking.  It could trigger a meltdown and the judging eyes of other mothers falling on us or upset children who felt we disrupted them.  From personal experience I can say, he needed those experiences.  Can I say every experience was a success for us?  No.  What I can say is that every experience gave him a frame of reference for adapting to different social settings (we run at the playground, we walk in the museum). It gave him exposure to new activities and topics, even if it was short-lived on a rough day (seeing new animals at the zoo to talk about versus the pets at home and animals in our neighborhood).  The opportunity to practice social skills at different programs was a major driving reason behind many outings.  Playing with new friends and meeting new people was not always easy, but he did learn how to greet people without being prompted and practice manners with people other than family which helped as he went off to school where I wasn’t there to guide his social interactions. All of this lead to a huge opportunity that is good for any child: the opportunity to gain pride and confidence in himself in any setting.

 

So what are some tips and tricks to enjoying story time if your child has special needs?

  • Talk to your child about it ahead of time, regardless of their age.  If they are too young to understand, you are providing them with new words to build a frame of reference for what story time and the library are.  If they are old enough, talking to them about what to expect at the program or what behavior you expect from them helps them feel more prepared going into the situation and sets them up for success.
  • Once in story time, let your child explore within reason.  Obviously we encourage them to stay with you and do the activities, be it listening to stories or dancing and moving to song, but we are used to “wanderers” who walk around the room, come up and point to the pictures in the books we are reading to the group, help with the felt board stories, and the list goes on.  They are still getting a lot out of being in the room, hearing the story and taking in the setting.
  • If you want your child to practice sitting during times we have the group sitting to listen to a story but they are struggling to stay still, ask us for a fidget!  We have an arsenal of fidgets and weighted toys that will help satisfy your child’s sensory output needs and use their energy while they are still sitting with the group.  And trust me, though at first glance they may seem distracted, they are actually more mentally engaged than they would be otherwise, absorbing every detail.
  • If it is a rough day and your child is overwhelmed, feel free to step out of the room.  Parents frequently are in and out during story time, and this is nothing that disrupts the program.  Feel free to come back in once your child feels ready to rejoin the fun and give it another go!
  • If it is really overwhelming adjusting to a story time or program, start small.  Sit in the program for as long as your child will tolerate.  Maybe it is 5 minutes, maybe it is 15.  Once they show signs that they are done, leave story time.  You can either take a break and come back in after a few minutes when they are ready to give it another go or just come back the next week and try again.  Slowly overtime as your child adjusts, the time they will be able to stay in the program will grow. Do this as many times or for as long as necessary!  The library staff understands completely and supports you 100%!  Often there is a concern that we will be disrupted or find that coming and going rude but the truth is we WANT you to do this if it helps your child.  We want you and your child in our program even if it is only for a part of it, even on a rough day!  And truth be told, parents and children come and go frequently during programs for lots of reasons so you are not alone!
  • If the program has different centers to explore, don’t make your child do every one if he or she doesn’t want to.  Let them guide their experience!  If they want to make three straw rockets instead of going to the area where they actually launch them and measure them, that is okay with us provided the supplies are there.  It is an opportunity to interact with different children who come to that station and use social skills!
  • Let the library staff in the room know if you need help!  Tell us how we can support you!  Whether it is asking us to hand you a cherished object that soothes your child while you are holding them to calm them down, whether it is giving you and your child a special sign if storytime is about to get loud because loud noises upset them and it gives you time to cover their ears, or even if it is helping provide a transition between activities so they aren’t upset when you need them to move to a new center or go home, we are there to support you as well as your child!

Miss Marta

Movies, Comics, Music and More with Hoopla!

The Moline Public Library offers Hoopla free to patrons with a valid Moline library card.

Easy to do with just 3 steps.

1.       Download Hoopla or go to hoopladigital.com

2.       Log in with your Moline library card.

3.       Borrow free digital movies, music, eBooks, comics and more!

Once you are in, you will discover a wide variety of audiobooks, movies, music, comics, ebooks and television that you can download to your mobile device for free. You may check out up to 8 items per month. Search by title, artist, series or genre, or you can search in kids mode so you do not have to worry about the content your child sees. If you don’t know what you are looking for you can have Hoopla create a recommendation list by choosing topics you like. It’s a great option for when you are away from home and looking for some free entertainment.

The best part is you don’t have to worry about late fees!

Miss Christina

Fake or Real? (continued)

Photo Credit: Snopes.com

In my last post I encouraged you to ask a librarian to help you sift through internet news that may or may not be real, or “Fake News” as the current jargon goes.

Teachers and parents, if you are looking for ways you can decipher this on your own, I am happy to share some links with you!

There is a 5th grade teacher out in California who has received some excellent national press from an article he wrote about teaching his students to spot fake news.  I’m proud to say that this teacher, Scott Bedley, just happens to be married to my cousin!  While I’ve only met him once, at a family get-together, I follow his Facebook posts and his podcast, “The Bedley Bros EdChat”, which is done with his brother Tim. Together have been teaching for a combined 45 years, so they have a lot of knowledge between them to share.

Please take a look at their work!

http://bedleybros.podomatic.com/

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/02/16/514364210/5-ways-teachers-are-fighting-fake-news

http://johnrozean.wixsite.com/mysite-1/single-post/2017/02/19/5-Ways-Teachers-Are-Fighting-Fake-News

Miss Teresa