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Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is an organization that was founded by Reshma Saujani to address the gender gap in computer science, and to provide computer science opportunities to all girls, regardless of their location and their background.  As part of our STEAM and Storytelling grant through the Oconomowoc Public Education Foundation, we had an official Girls Who Code coding club this fall.  In order for the club to be considered an official club, the leader gets certified online, and the club uses the materials and book provided.
The girls in the club are LOVING it!  We meet once a week and read parts of the book, then complete coding challenge activities using Scratch.  They each have a copy of the book, which many have said they have been reading with their moms at home.  What a powerful message this sends them, that there are clubs and books encouraging them to learn to code.  I hope we will be able to have a follow up club next year and grow the number of participants even more.  

Recent posts

NEW - - Science in the Makerspace

There were several reasons for the changes to our curriculum and structure this year.  One of those reasons was to increase the focus on engineering in the elementary schools.  Subsequently, we adopted a new science curriculum at the k-5 level.  One of the three units at each grade level is a physical science unit.  Each has a final project that is "makerspacey" in nature - heavy on the design process, very open ended, and applying science concepts to a building task.  We are teaching the physical science unit in the Library/STEM classes this year.  We started the year with those units at 3rd grade and 4th grade - Forces and Interactions, and Energy Works, respectively.  It's been a big change for us and for them, but everyone has enjoyed it so far! 

This week we begin the Push, Pull and Go unit in kindergarten, and the Light and Sound unit in first grade.  This will lead to the kindergarten and first grade students spending considerably more time in the makerspace this …

Level Up Village

As part of our 2018-19 OPEF grant to develop a STEM and Storytelling program to help engage our girls, we participated in a Level Up Village course this fall.  I have had my eye on Level Up Village for years - they partner students with groups from around the world to study and collaborate on a global issues.  The culminating project is some sort of STEM or Tech project that both schools work on simultaneously.  Participation has been cost prohibitive in the past, so when we were writing our grant proposal, we knew this was  one thing we really wanted to include. 

We were able to enroll one second grade class, and they participated in the LUV course called "Global Storybook Engineers".  During this six week course, we read folk tales from around the world, and identified the problem the characters faced.  The students then applied the engineering design process to make a creation that would solve the problem.  We were partnered with a class from Singapore and had a great tim…

Looking Good!

Little by little we are updating the library furnishings and arrangement to make it more of a flexible learning space.  We were given a Donor's Choose grant at the end of last school year in order to purchase some flexible seating.  It's a great start, and the kids are loving it!

Dot Day

The average adult has likely not heard of Dot Day, but in an elementary school, it can sometimes be a BIG DEAL! The Dot, by Peter H Reynolds, is a favorite read aloud for many librarians and teachers.  The theme of the book is that anything could be art with the right inspiration, and anyone can be an artist. Over the past few years, the idea of Dot Day has developed, in which participants create their own dot, much like the character in the book.  They sometimes make the dot into something, or sometimes just make it full of patterns and colors.

This year, Dot Day fell on a weekend (September 15th) so the week prior, and the week following, we did Dot Day activities here in the makerspace and the library.  I read the book to the 2nd through 4th grade classes, and then we discussed how "anything might be art" translates into our makerspace work.  The kids consistently came up with "anything might be built".  We then looked at a cotton ball through as many different …

New Year, New Look

Wow it's been a long time since I've posted here.  There is so much new stuff going on at Summit that it's time go get the blog going again! 

This year our district has redesigned my position as part of a district wide commitment to increase the emphasis on science and engineering instruction in the elementary and intermediate schools.  We are adopting a new science curriculum, and my face-to-face time with every class has increased to once a week for 60 minutes and then every other week, an additional 30 minutes.  The GT and tech trouble-shooting roles have been handed to someone else, so that we can all focus on our one area of expertise. 

During our time in the library, students at all grade levels will be working on digital citizenship and online safety, as well as learning how to navigate the library, and checking out books.  The kindergarten, first and second grade will be spending a lot of time on the foundational skills on the tablets and computers, including an ex…

Learn Deep

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to meet with individuals from Learn Deep, a company working to bring innovative learning into schools of all levels throughout the greater Milwaukee area. We met, along with teachers from South Milwaukee High School and Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and a representative from the Betty Brinn Children's Museum at the e-Cycling center at Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin, in Greendale.  The purpose of this meeting was to start conversations about how school/museum/library makerspaces can partner with Goodwill e-cycling to re-purpose some of the parts that arrive at the recycling center into projects.

The goal is to easily get these parts into the hands of schools looking to start makerspaces or supply existing makerspaces.  This was a great reminder to me that there are lots of community partnerships that could be formed between schools and organizations looking to unload equipment they no longer use, but want to keep out of the lan…