Posts Tagged ‘Activities’
Featured blogger Dawn Treude, a Library Assistant in Youth Services, provides tips for Star Wars programs at your public or school library.
There has never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan. Libraries are well suited to provide force-filled programming that may be scaled up or down depending on age groups, space, and budget parameters. With the upcoming May the 4th Be With You Day soon upon us, I wanted to share some successes we’ve had at the Scottsdale Public Library celebrating Star Wars.
While I think it’s always a good time for a Star Wars program, the two main opportunities are May the 4th Be With You Day in May and Star Wars Reads, which is now the entire month of October. The beauty of participating in these events is they are heavily promoted by Lucasfilm, Disney, StarWars.com and various publishing partners, like D.K. Books, across multiple social media platforms. In addition, printable resources and some promotional items are available for free to schools and libraries. (More on that below.)
Once you’ve decided to do a Star Wars program, you need to settle on an age group. We’ve tailored ours to the 5-11-year-old set to great success. I’ve used teen volunteers for bigger programs and run a single Star Wars Family Storytime by myself, taking advantage of the parent helpers in the room. These programs are a big draw when featured prominently in your library’s calendar of events. They’re also a great opportunity to highlight the Star Wars materials in your collection.
With kids, no program is complete without some Origami Yoda activities to challenge them! I’ve become an expert at making Yoda and Darth Paper. The kids love making them, especially when they get to choose the colored foil paper for the light saber. Since we do so much Star Wars programming, I took the time to make a permanent origami display.
For bigger programs, I choose to have stations and let the families move at their own pace between them. Our branch has a patio near the Youth area, so I spread out to avoid congestion. I take advantage of the free printables from StarWars.com and use the crosswords, word searches, and puzzles for what I like to call the Jedi Mind Tricks area.
For games and activities, Pinterest has provided some of the best ideas, under the guise of birthday party planning. I created an X-Ring Toss game using a library book cart and made lightsabers using pool noodles. But my best creation was the Death Star Trash Dive. I stuffed a library book bin with extra summer reading prizes, some of my Star Wars swag and our famous sea serpent from storytime. The kids loved digging through it to find a treasure or two.
We’ve made a Jedi Trials obstacle course with collapsible tunnels, yarn mazes and of course lightsaber precision training where padawans balance a balloon on their lightsaber. (Note: the lightsabers require supervision, especially if siblings are using them!)
In addition to having games and movement-centered activities in our Star Wars programming, we’ve also incorporated art. Two of the biggest hits are simple and low-cost. The first involves some planning, as you save withdrawn Star Wars items for a few months. These damaged or falling apart materials then become repurposed for scene creation. We supply blank paper, crayons, markers, glue sticks and scissors and the kids supply the imagination. They cut characters and starships out of the books and create their own story on the page. I personally can’t watch the book cutting, but the kids really get into it.
More recently, I took a risk with finger paint during a Star Wars themed Family Storytime and we made handprint Wookiees, an idea I saw on Pinterest. As you can see, the results were amazing.
I encourage costume wearing for all our Star Wars events and often wear my own Jedi gear. In our local area, there are Star Wars costume groups that have volunteers who are available to attend events in costume at no cost. Demand is high, so plan accordingly!
My Favorite Resources
ART2D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling by Tom Angleberger
The Star Wars Craft Book by Bonnie Burton
‘Star Wars Reads’ Returns This October: This is a post from starwars.com that has nice downloadable options
Star Wars Reads Color the Page: This is a printable activity book from Lucasfilm Ltd
Pinterest: A search with the keywords Star Wars, storytime, birthday party, and activities returns helpful resources
Google: A search for Star Wars Storytime will yield useful information
The new movies have given a new generation the opportunity to become Star Wars fans. Big or small, I can guarantee that offering programming in the galaxy from far, far away, will bring your patrons in.
May the Force be with you!
Dawn Treude is a Library Assistant in Youth Services at the Scottsdale Public Library in Scottsdale, Arizona. A regular attendee at San Diego ComicCon, she enjoys sharing her passion for Star Wars with children and families.
Young students are curious about Earth and discovering ways that they can help the planet. As adults, it’s our responsibility to teach them how and inspire their ideas. Classrooms and media centers are ideal places for this type of learning and exploration. And Earth Day, which is April 22, is the perfect time!
SIRS Discoverer and its April Spotlight of the Month on Earth Day can assist in planning for this significant global holiday. Founded in 1970, Earth Day began and continues as a day of environmental education and action.
In honor of our Earth, here are some activities that promote awareness and appreciation of nature, recycling, and the environment:
1. Plant a garden and compost.
An outdoor garden is a great classroom. Gardens can help students develop listening, comprehension, and collaboration skills, as well as provide a solid foundation in Earth sciences. Try an activity that helps students understand the parts of a plant and how they grow. The printable PDF version of the associated Teacher’s Guide provides information, photos, and activities. You can help your students dig deeper and understand more about plant growth with this article and associated activities on composting.
2. Recycle and reuse.
Tell your students to pay attention to the amount of paper and plastic bottles they use. Guide them to reuse and recycle such items appropriately. For some hands-on learning, your students can learn the art of recycling with this activity, which provides age-appropriate ideas and instructions for recycling newspapers into papier-mache, collages, or weavings. Or, impress them with the power of nature, and show them great ways people are using wind, water, and sunlight to generate “clean energy.”
3. Write letters to local representatives and start petitions.
Much of environmental protection is done through laws and legislation. As a lesson in civics, organize a student letter writing campaign to a local or state representative. Allow your students to vocalize their beliefs on how the planet should be treated. Another idea is to sign or start a petition for climate change and clean energy.
4. Walk and bike. Don’t drive.
Fossil fuels contribute to many environmental problems. Because it can be done on a small scale, encourage your students to use their bodies as a form of green transportation. Plus it’s great exercise!
5. Learn about coral reefs and other worldwide environmental issues.
We can also help the Earth–and help young students help the Earth–by learning about what is happening around the globe, from the deteriorating condition of our oceans’ coral reefs, which can lead to discussions about the warming of our planet, to the destructive and growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which emphasizes the necessity of recycling and limiting our use of plastics.
Celebrate life on Earth, and Earth itself, this Earth Day. If it is important to you, it will be important to the children you reach!
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Catching the Pokémon Craze
As soon as Pokémon Go came out, I found myself saying things like, “Be back later, going to hunt Pokémon” or “Gotta catch ’em all.” I’m not the only one. My colleagues and friends are also venturing outside all in hopes of catching as many Pokémon as they can. My colleague, Amy Shaw, and I wanted to write a blog post about how this game has impacted libraries specifically since many of them are set up as Pokémon Gyms or Pokéstops, and are organizing activities centered on the game.
Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library’s ‘Pokémon Go Walk and Train Club’
Erin Douglass, the Youth Services Librarian at Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ said they are enjoying the Pokémon mania through a Walk and Train Club to fit in with their 2016 summer reading theme of sports and fitness. Players can bring their smartphone and join a walk around the neighborhood. They stop at a Pokémon Gym, Pokéstops, and share tips as Pokémon spawn while a lure module is dropped in the park. Douglass said her hope is to have the club grow and be able to incorporate a walk for charity app to contribute to a cause and catch ’em all at the same time.
Douglass also put together a craft activity based on the game. Pokémon fans are able to create a Pokéball that opens to reveal a Pokémon inside and participants can choose from Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Gengar, Snorlax, or Eevee. Since the Worth-Pinkham Memorial Library is a Pokéstop in the game, Douglass said they’ve scheduled lure modules to drop at specific times. Players are invited to take a break from the heat while rehydrating inside the library. Future dates of Pokémon Go activities will appear on the library website. Douglass said her Pokémon tip is to explore new places, but be safe and attentive. Also catch a lot of Eevees — they’re adorable and can evolve three different ways!
New York Public Library Luring Patrons
At the New York Public Library, Pokémon Go has been a great way to get people outside and exercise. Lauren Weiss, NYPL Social Media Marketing Associate, said the game has been super innovative.
She said people of all ages are bonding over it and interacting. One thing the NYPL is doing is challenging others to “beat the library” by holding down the Pokémon Gym. They are coming up with ways to get people into the library through the Pokéstops and gyms. She said the crown jewel of Pokémon seems to be the Snorlax. Weiss also shared the library’s Pokémon Doppelgangers found in their Digital Collections! Here you can find side-by-side comparisons of various Pokémon to real images found in the NYPL collection.
In response to the Pokémon Go game’s popularity, Weiss said, “I think it is going to get bigger. Those of us who grew up with it are the ones who are the core audience.”
Beaufort County Library Wants You to Bring All Things Pokémon
At the Bluffton Branch of the Beaufort County Library Ryan Easterbrooks is in charge of Children’s Programs. Being a huge Pokémon fan, he saw an immediate opportunity to combine Pokémon and libraries.
He created a Pokémon display meant to bring attention to the game and said a friend of his saw it on his personal Facebook page and posted it to Reddit. He said it was on the front page of Reddit by the end of the day and had 5500 upvotes, with 1.3 million views on Imgur. He said it was awesome to see something library-related go viral.
His library has been contacted by several others in the U.S. that want to know what children’s programs they are planning on. His idea for the future is to have a Pokémon club where people can bring their Pokémon trading cards, Nintendo DS, or device with the game to the library and play against and with other kids. He said they are also promoting the manga as reading material to kids.
“Pokémon is selling the library in many ways,” Easterbrooks said.
Uniting People Through Pokémon
Warwick Public Library has been busy with Pokémon Go events. Kristin Munson, a reference librarian there, said they’ve held a live gym meet for teens in grades 7-12 who could battle for ownership of the library Pokémon Gym. They’ve also had stations for creating Pokémon-shaped bookmarks, 3D perler bead pets, or to take photos with a plush Pikachu and props.
Later on, the library is going to give out gym badges that can be earned through submitting photos of Pokémon people have caught.
“My favorite part of Pokémon Go by far has been the camaraderie and genuine kindness of everybody playing,” Munson said.
It’s been a great icebreaker for the shy or socially awkward and a great motivator to get those who are depressed outside. People are playing for purely selfless reasons, dropping lures at children’s hospitals, picking up litter while they hunt, leaving out water and snacks for strangers and even walking shelter dogs to progress in the game.
She said, “It’s been the ultimate restorer of faith in humanity.”
Bridging Generational Gaps
At Farmers Branch Manske Library in Farmers Branch, Texas, Youth Services Librarian Korey Finch recognized the programming potential of Pokémon Go right away. Finch, who has loved Pokémon since the game first came out in the ’90s, set up a Pokémon Go Adventure Walk, which she called “a total Field of Dreams moment.” Not only was the event well-received, it also managed to reach one of hardest to reach groups – teenagers. Inspired by the successful turnout of The Adventure Walk, Finch created a 5K Egg Hatch Walk, which also had a good turnout, in spite of the Texas heat.
One of the best things about the events, according to Finch, was that Pokémon Trainers of all ages participated, bridging generational gaps. Finch also noticed other benefits to Pokémon Go, including increased traffic to the library. According to Finch, “[m]ore people have been coming in to get library cards, pay off old fines, enjoy the cool air, and quite a few come in just to chat with me about different things they’ve caught or places to catch certain things.”
“In my opinion, one of the coolest things about this game is its ability to bridge generational gaps, and allows libraries to connect with teen patrons in such a fun way. Out at the park we encountered some teens who found out about Pokémon we had caught in the library, and they took off running to go explore the library! When does that happen voluntarily?!” –Korey Finch, Youth Services Librarian, Farmers Branch Manske Library, Farmers Branch, Texas
IndyPL: Gotta Catch ’em all READING!
The Indianapolis Public Library joined in on the Pokémon craze by holding a Pokémon Lure Day on July 23. During the event, library staff dropped lures to attract players to its many branches. Central Library in the heart of downtown Indianapolis served as the main Pokémon site, dropping lures every 30 minutes during library hours and offering 2K and 5K Walking Maps of nearby gyms and stops. The event attracted more than 2,400 patrons to Central Library, which according to Jon Barnes, Communications Specialist at the Library, was a 500 visitor increase compared with the previous Saturday. The downtown library even featured a special drink, the Pikachu Power!
The Indianapolis Public Library event showcased their event in a staff-created online resource guide: “IndyPL: Gotta Catch ’em all READING!” The resource guide is chock full of all things Pokémon, including 63 different how-to videos on how to draw Pokémon.
Pokémon can also be used as a way to foster collaboration between libraries and those in their communities. Such collaborative events can be a way to reach current and new library users in a new way. Korey Finch, of Farmers Branch Manske Library, says she has been in talks with the Farmers Branch Historical Park about creating a Pokemon Go Meetup Event for teens at the park before school starts. (Update: Ms. Finch let us know that she finalized plans with their historical park for a Pokémon & Popsicles event on Friday, August 19th, from 9AM-11AM!)
Cari Rérat, Director of the Thomas J. Harrison Pryor Public Library in Pryor, Oklahoma, mentioned that the library will be partnering with the Main Street Association, their town’s Rec Center and downtown businesses to organize a Pokéwalk, with at least one lure every 30 minutes, through their downtown area.
Pokémon and Safety
Libraries are also using Pokémon as a teaching tool to address digital safety and privacy issues. Skokie Public Library in Skokie, Illinois, plans to use the game to teach children about both physical and digital safety. On August 16, from 3:00-4:00 p.m., they will be conducting a Pokémon Go Safari with children in Grades K-5. According to Amy Koester, the Youth & Family Program Supervisor at the library, the safari will take the children on a walk to several Pokéstops that are within a several block radius of the library.
Tweet Us Your Library Pokemon
Are there Pokémon in your library? Send us your photos or let us know how you’re joining the fun! Tweet us at #ProQuest or send us a comment below.
Although national- and state-level issues like the Common Core testing debate dominate U.S. education policy discussions, micro-level issues like student engagement often get overlooked. According to the 2014 Gallup Student Poll, 53 percent of public school students in grades 5–12 are engaged at school; almost half of all students are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged.” Gallup’s poll defines student engagement as “the involvement in and enthusiasm for school, [which] reflects how well students are known and how often they get to do what they do best.” So how do we improve student engagement? One way is to foster more communication between you—the educator—and your students.
Asking students questions about their interests and their lives can improve student-educator relations and academic outcomes. In a recent post, Gallup education research specialist Mark Reckmeyer tells the story of how a simple question—What do you like to do at home?—transformed a disengaged student into an engaged one. When this student revealed his passion for cooking, his teacher used this knowledge by aligning the curriculum to help him become more actively engaged.
Last spring, third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz tried to get to know her students better by assigning them a writing prompt called “I wish my teacher knew.” Schwartz—along with the rest of the nation—was blown away by her students’ responses, many of which were posted on Twitter under the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew. Students revealed poignant details about their lives, such as not having enough pencils, not having any friends to play with, and having parents who were deported. This assignment gave students the ability to voice their biggest challenges. It also gave Schwartz the opportunity to understand those challenges and adjust her teaching accordingly.
Both anecdotes demonstrate the power of communicating with students. Students are people, too. They have hobbies, talents, worries, and challenges—just like the rest of us. The more you know about your students, the better equipped you will be to improve student engagement and, in turn, academic outcomes. So #AskAStudent. Ask about their likes and dislikes. Ask about their challenges. Ask about their strengths. Ask their opinion. Asking questions will let students know that they are valued. It will also help you understand your students’ interests and needs.
There are many ways to ask students questions. Reckmeyer’s student was asked in person. Schwartz assigned her students a writing prompt, allowing them to remain anonymous—although many chose to include their names and share with the class. How you choose to approach #AskAStudent will likely depend on your students’ grade level: younger students, after all, might be more willing participants than older students. Use your best judgment. If one tactic doesn’t work, find another. Ultimately, the goal is to build student engagement from the ground up.
Below is a collage of students who were asked, “What do you like to do when you are not in school?” Help launch the #AskAStudent movement by sharing your assignments and responses with us on Twitter @ProQuest.
See Rubbish? Pick It Up!
Most people want a cleaner planet. But many of us feel powerless: How can one person make a difference? The world’s seven billion people create a lot of trash. Unfortunately, much of that trash ends up in our oceans.
According to a report in the February 13, 2015, issue of Science Magazine, an estimated 8.8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans annually. Plastic debris harms marine life. Sea creatures are at risk of becoming entangled in plastic, which can cause lacerations, exhaustion, and drownings. Additionally, plastic is not biodegradable; it breaks into smaller and smaller pieces, which may never fully decompose. Even worse, these small bits of plastic become part of our food chain. Sea creatures like fish mistake these plastic bits for food. Humans, in turn, risk consuming contaminated seafood.
These are sobering facts, but there is hope. In 2014 Martin Dorey founded the Two Minute Beach Clean to inspire people around the world to spend two minutes picking up debris from beaches. The crux of his campaign is that seemingly insignificant efforts to clean up the environment can have a major impact. Imagine the amount of litter we could clean up if we all took two minutes out of our busy days.
I propose expanding the Two Minute Beach Clean to all outdoor spaces. Many of us do not live near a beach, but most of us live near waterways. Why not pick up trash found along lakes and rivers? No waterways nearby? Pick up trash at your local park or in your neighborhood. Don’t have two minutes? No problem. How about the Two Second Clean? It only takes two seconds to pick up that Styrofoam cup you see while walking your dog.
We all have the power to help the environment. Small steps like picking up trash (or not littering in the first place) can go a long way. It may not solve our environmental problems overnight, but that doesn’t mean it won’t help.
Happy Earth Day!
School is out for summer vacation–time of year to kick back, relax and enjoy all that summer has to offer. Sure it’s a great time for kids to hit the pool and the beach, go to the movies, ride bikes, go camping and hang out with friends but they can also make a little time to keep up with their summer learning.
- Create some fun art projects with their family.
- Experiment with science projects to prepare for that science fair first place win.
- Read some historical fiction to learn about the kids who were part of history.
- Study a subject matter they might not have covered during the school year.
- Act out a play for their friends and family.
Whatever their interest, SIRS Discoverer is great resource for kids to find summer learning activities!
School is out for summer vacation–time of year to kick back, relax and enjoy all that summer has to offer. Sure it’s a great time to hit the pool and the beach, go to the movies, ride bikes, go camping and hang out with friends but you can also make a little time to keep up with your summer learning.
- Create some fun art projects with your family.
- Experiment with science projects to prepare for that science fair first place win.
- Read some historical fiction to learn about the kids who were part of history.
- Study a subject matter you might not have covered during the school year.
- Act out a play for your friends and family.
Whatever your interest, SIRS Discoverer is great resource for summer learning activities!
Games are a great way for children to engage their imagination and connect with one another. Here at CultureGrams, we have the unique opportunity of sharing these creations of imagination in our “Recreation” section in the World Edition and in the “Games and Sports” section in the Kids Edition. Recently, a few writers shared some popular games from their countries with me. Many games are similar to ones played in the United States but may be called by different names. For example, games like capture the flag, hide-and-seek, and dodgeball are common playground games enjoyed by children around the world.
Below are some other children’s games:
Materials needed to play:
Any household object like a pen, ball, flower, or stone
Each player has a hard-boiled egg, which he attempts to bang against the other players’ eggs. The goal is to break the other boys’ eggs, and the winner is the last player left with a whole egg.
Bakala: four to ten children may play this game (usually played by boys while tending animals).
Children plant one child’s stick far away from where the group is standing. The group then throws their sticks in attempts to reach the stick that is planted. If no one in the group can strike the stick, the group runs to take the planted stick and return back to the throwing line. The one who is the last to return to the line must plant his stick. If someone in the group strikes the stick, he steps forward with three meters. The game goes on until one of them gets very close to the planted stick.
Kodi (may also be called sola or htaba, all meaning stick): Usually played by boys
Each player has two sticks; a short stick and a long stick. Players stand within a circle and throw their long sticks at the other players circle or short stick. Players win if they hit the other player’s short stick with their long stick or touch the person inside their individual circles.
You need at least four kids to play. One person is chosen to count from one to ten with their eyes closed, while the rest of the children each find an object, anything from a ball or pen, to a flower or stone. When the child finishes counting, the others show their objects one by one, and the person who is “it” proclaims each one a guard or a thief. Then the “it” person closes their eyes and counts from one to ten again while the thieves run and hide. The guards try to find and catch them. When a thief is caught, the children tickle him or her and they become a guard. The game is over when all the thieves are caught, tickled, and turned into guards.
Let us know what games are your favorite. Leave a comment and explain a game you have learned.