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by: 
Jill Hinn, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

Last week I saw on the news that families were spending less time together over the holiday due to time spent shopping, among other things. This year, why not take some time out from the hustle and bustle to craft great gifts with your kids? The benefits are numerous. First, you're creating connections with your children. You are creating a special time when they can be the focus--who knows what kind of great conversations you might have! Second, you're making something to give to someone. What better way to tell someone you love them than with a gift you've made? Third, depending on the craft you pick, you might be saving yourself some money!        

You're not crafty, you say? Never fear, help is here! There are many resources out there for you; you just have to be able to follow directions. And I know you can do that! Start at the library. There are a multitude of books about making crafts. Here are a few about making presents specifically: 

You can always check out some library events too. You never know when we might have a program about a craft!

Pinterest is another excellent place to get ideas. Pins generally have links back to more detailed instructions. You'll be surprised at the variety and number of options there are when you search Pinterest for "christmas gift crafts for kids." 

You can also go to one of the big craft stores and buy kits that are all ready to put together. Remember, the idea is for you to spend some quality time with your child(ren), not to stress out about how to make something.

These are some of my favorites:          

  • Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almonds - these are easy to do, even the smallest helper can pour sugar and stir and then when they're done, help put them into decorative bags or boxes to gift. The people we gave them out to last year loved them, so we'll be doing them again this year.  
  • Ceramic Tile Coasters are one of my favorite crafts to make with kids. They are cheap and there are so many ways to decorate them that you can really tailor your design to different people. Color them with sharpies, paint your kid's hand and immortalize their handprint on one, glue a picture or a favorite team sports logo on them, the choice is yours. Here is one quick and easy tutorial.
  • Ornaments are always a go-to at this time of year, too, and there are so many fun ideas floating around the web, you should easily be able to find one that fits your time, ability, and budget. How about this cute Cupcake Liner Christmas Tree

Here's wishing you a holiday season full of joy, good cheer, time spent with loved ones, and maybe, a little crafting.

by: 
Karen, Kids and Families Outreach Librarian

As a bilingual English/Spanish librarian, I often hear from adults that they studied Spanish in high school, but they remember very little from those days. It makes perfect sense when you look at brain development.  When babies are born, about 15% of their brains have developed.  By the time a child is 3, 85% of the brain has developed.

Researchers have found that by 6 months old, babies are already showing a preference for a certain language.  Baby brains are wiring to the rhythms and sounds they hear from their families, caregivers and community.  More studies go on to say that the best window of opportunity to learn a second (or third, or fourth...) language is between 0-7 years old.    

Learning another language by the time we reach middle or high school can be too late!

Our corpus collosums (the part of the brain that connects the left and right side of the brain) grow harder as we age.  Connections from one side to the other are no longer as quick as they are in young children when the corpus collosum is soft and malleable.  Learning new things becomes more difficult. And, as we get older, we learn more and more information.  Our brain starts pruning away at unused information.  Ever hear the phrase 'Use it or lose it'?  That's what our brain is constantly doing; trimming away at what it doesn't see as useful to us any more. 

So why teach a child another language?  For one, it has amazing affects on learning new concepts and problem solving!  People who know more than one language can quite literally think 'outside the box' more readily than a monolingual or one language speaker.  That's because they already think in different languages or in more than one way!

Also, younger learners can learn how to produce the native sounds of another language much easier than older learners.  Think of the early wiring to language sounds as babies and the pruning the brain does as we age.  When we are young, the brain is activated to learn as much as it can, including how to form sounds with our mouths and tongues.  For example, as children, if we don't have an experience rolling an 'rrrr' (I used to mimic my cat's purring), we will have a difficult time later in life trying to learn how to do it. The brain is more open to learning how to produce sounds during the early years or this critical period in its development.  Wow! As a former preschool teacher, this stuff facinates me!  

Here's an easy book in English and Spanish with bright pictures of familiar foods to check out:

Over the next few months, I will be exploring more about second language learning and sharing ideas on teaching your child another language---even if you don't know another language yourself!  

If you're looking for ideas or want to get started right away, come to Bilingual (English/Spanish) story times or ASL (American Sign Language) story times at Belmar Library!

 

Carrot photo credit: www.alternativa-verde.com

 

 

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

HEY...LEGO my EGGO!

I'm starving and if you think you can just waltz in here and grab my Eggo when I have been waiting so patiently for the toaster to pop...you've got another thing coming buddy!

What? This isn't about my Eggo?

You said LEGO? As in the building blocks?

Oh, well that makes more sense...

So, no Eggo's at the library? Just LEGO's at the library? That could be fun!

LEGO Club has made a huge splash at your local Jefferson County Library, offering monthly programs for both kids and teens. All you need is a little imagination and some elbow grease, and we'll provide the rest.

Now back to my Eggo...where'd I put the syrup?

 

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

Have you ever read a goosebumps book? Not the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. I mean a book that no matter how many times you read or re-read it, it gives you goosebumps. WONDER by R.J. Palacio is one of those books!!

August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

WONDER, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. 

The magic of Wonder continues in these beautifully written companion books.

365 Days of Wonder by R.J. Palacio

This companion book features conversations between Mr. Browne and Auggie, Julian, Summer, Jack Will, and others, giving readers a special peek at their lives after Wonder ends. Mr. Browne's essays and correspondence are rounded out by a precept for each day of the year—drawn from popular songs to children’s books to inscriptions on Egyptian tombstones to fortune cookies. His selections celebrate the goodness of human beings, the strength of people’s hearts, and the power of people’s wills.
 
There’s something for everyone here, with words of wisdom from such noteworthy people as Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., Confucius, Goethe, Sappho—and over 100 readers of Wonder who sent R. J. Palacio their own precepts.

The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio

Now readers will have a chance to hear from the book's most controversial character—Julian.

From the very first day Auggie and Julian met in the pages of the Wonder, it was clear they were never going to be friends, with Julian treating Auggie like he had the plague. And while Wonder told Auggie's story through six different viewpoints, Julian's perspective was never shared. Readers could only guess what he was thinking. Until now. The Julian Chapter will finally reveal the bully's side of the story. Why is Julian so unkind to Auggie? And does he have a chance for redemption?

CHOOSE KIND! It'll give you goosebumps!

 

 

by: 
Jennifer, Lakewood Library

Halloween is just hours away. Do you need some last minute decorations? Try these easy upcycle crafts that are great for kids.

Gather up your old jars and some paints to make this colorful Halloween luminaries.

 These cute egg carton spiders are great for toddlers and older kids to make. If you don't have pipe cleaners or wiggle eyes on hand, try using black paper strips for the legs and paste on your own paper eyes.

Wondering what to do with the empty toilet paper rolls from your mummy costume? Your little one will have lots of fun making these toilet paper roll pumpkins.

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

Can we talk?

So far in Ready to Read Reminder, I have reminded you to WRITE, PLAY, READ, and SING and now we get to TALK. Just talk. What could be easier than talking?

I love to talk. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you. I can turn a simple Yes or No answer into a 20 minute monologue on what I saw driving to work this morning. I actually blame Dr. Seuss', And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, for my keen powers of observation while driving to and from home. You never know when you'll spot a blue elephant pulling a sleigh, with a Rajah, with rubies, perched high on his throne on your daily commute. I live in Evergreen, you know.

 I've had this love of talking since I was little. My report cards always came home with this curious addendum, "Barbara likes to visit with neighbors." They were right, I do! The gift of gab can be a wonderful thing!

That's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights TALK as one of their 5 practices designed to promote early literacy in young children.

How does talking with children help them get ready to read? According to  The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), talking with children helps them practice (and eventually master) the following skills:

Vocabulary

The more words children hear in conversations during their early childhoods, the larger their vocabulary when they go to school. That big vocabulary helps them recognize words when they see them for the first time in print. They will understand more of what they read and be less frustrated as beginning readers.

Print Motivation

The more books children read, and the more adults talk to children about the story, characters, and ideas in books, the more children can make connections between the books they read and their own lives. Children enjoy recognizing themselves in print and that pleasure motivates them to read more and discover more connections.

Narrative Skills

When adults tell stories to children, either familiar folktales, or family stories, it helps children learn that stories have a specific structure: they have a beginning, middle, and end, they have characters who take action and encounter conflict before resolving a problem. When children understand how stories work, they can carry that framework to their reading, where it can support them as they try to determine the meaning of the text.

Comprehension is such a critical part of successful reading. If you don’t understand what you read, you won’t be motivated to read more. The more children know about the world before they start to read, the more this background knowledge can inform their attempt to decipher what’s on the page. Parents who discuss new information about how and why and when things happen with their children are giving their children an excellent foundation they will build on every day as readers.

Phonological Awareness

We’re used to thinking about Singing as the main practice that books phonological awareness, due to the ways songs stretch out syllables, slow down language, and provide lots of practice with rhyming sounds. But studies show that kids who are immersed in a lot of verbal conversations and a rich oral language environment show gains in their phonological awareness skills, as well. There’s just so much to learn about the sounds of our language, that the more information the brain receives, the better it can start to sort, classify, and understand the way those sounds work.

Letter Knowledge

We know that children need to know three things about letters: the names of the letters, the shapes of the letters, and the sound or sounds that are associated with those letters. Although some children may seem like they absorb this information on their own, most children build what they know about the letters through conversations with their parents and caregivers. Naming letters on signs and billboards, pointing out letter shapes in sidewalk cracks or buildings, and voicing letter sounds while reading alphabet books or playing with blocks are all ways these conversations help make these connections.

Print Awareness

A recent study showed that early childhood teachers can make a measurable impact on their childrens’ reading readiness just by adding a few simple activities to their shared reading every week. Teachers were trained to draw their children’s attention to print by simple activities such as pointing to the words in the title of a book, or underlining the words with their fingers as they read, or noticing the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters on the page. Children who received this type of guided reading showed greater achievements than children who didn’t in phonological awareness and letter knowledge skills up to two years later. Simple conversations can make a big difference!

The spoken word is a powerful thing...why just this morning I saw a flock of geese dancing across the road, while the foxes kicked a soccer ball around the field...it was amazing! But wait, wait, wait...there's more....

 

 Photo credit: Ed Yourdon on Flickr

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

What do you think of when you hear the words Book Club? A group of moms, sitting around someone's coffee table, discussing the latest chick lit? Or maybe a group of teens, sipping Starbucks and waxing prophetically?

Well, here at JCPL , we have our own kind of book club, and KIDS may apply!

Not only do you get to read a great book and share your thoughts about it with other kids, you also get to do a fun activity that relates to the book. Zen gardens, creating your own cartoon, quiz shows, scavenger hunts, and making Rube Goldberg machines are just a few of the things we have done so far. And what kids meeting would be complete without a snack?

Check out what your local library will be doing this month:

COLUMBINE YOUNG READER'S FUN CLUB

Columbine Library

Tuesday, October 7th, 4:30-5:30pm

Ages 8 & up

This Month's Book: The Escape by Kathryn Lasky

 YOUNG READERS BOOK CLUB

Evergreen Library

Monday, October 20th, 4:00-5:00pm

Ages 8-11

This Month's Book: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

GOLDEN YOUNG READERS CLUB

Golden Library

Monday, October 6th, 6:30-7:30pm

Ages 8 & up

This Month's Book: Wait Till Helen Comes: a ghost story by Mary Downing Hahn

LAKEWOOD LIBRARY YOUNG READERS FUN CLUB

Lakewood Library

Tuesday, October 21st, 4:00-5:00pm

Ages 8 & up

This Month's Book: A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean

Can't make it to a meeting? No worries! Evergreen Library also offers Book Club in a Bag. Book Club in a Bag has 8 titles for a 6 week check out. Each bag is filled with 10 paperback copies, one for each of your friends, a Book Club Promise bookmark for everyone to keep, and a folder with discussion questions, a summary of the book, an author bio, and activities for your book group.

Available Titles:

Shipwrecked by Rhoda Blumberg

Please Write in This Book by Mary Amato

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Peter & the Starcatchers by Dave Barry

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

Sounder by William H Armstrong

Book Club...it's not just for the BIG kids anymore!

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

I just want to belt this one out! I first heard it on Sesame Street when I was a little girl and I have never forgotten it. From songs on the radio to special songs sung by family members, these are memories that will last a life time.

My grandmother turned 96 this week and there has never been a year when she and I haven't sung Happy Birthday to each other. When I was a baby my mom tells me that I would just laugh and laugh when my grandmother sang, not just polite laughter but, the infectious giggle, full of pure joy. The crazy thing is, my grandmother can't carry a note to save her soul. Psst...Don't tell her! While others were glad she hadn't chosen singing as a profession, I couldn't get enough of her silly songs. The power of music is an incredible thing. That's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights SING as one of their 5 practices designed to promote early literacy in young children.

How does singing with children help them get ready to read? The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL) states that:

Phonological Awareness

Listening to and singing songs is one of the best ways for children to build their phonological awareness skills. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear the smaller sounds in words. This is a critical ability that allows children to sound out words on a page when they start to learn to read.

Because each syllable of every word in a song has its own note, in songs children hear that words can “come apart” in a way that they don't hear when they are listening to an unbroken stream of spoken language. (Chanting rhymes pull apart syllables sometimes, too: Think of how we say “five little mon-keys”.) Most songs and chants for children incorporate rhyming words, which helps children hear that the beginning and ending sounds of a word can be the same or different from other words. When we sing slow songs, children are able to hear words in a drawn-out manner. This can help them learn to distinguish not just syllables and ending sounds, but each individual sound (or phoneme) in a word.

Letter Knowledge

At one point or another, we've all used a rhyme as a mnemonic to help us remember information. (“Thirty days hath September...” or “I before E except after C.”) Songs and chants about shapes or opposites can help children learn to differentiate between objects and ideas. Letter knowledge is, at base, a shape recognition skill, so any rhyme, song, or game that talks about how things are the same and different can help build the skills children will need to identify their letters. And of course, the ABC Song helps them learn their letter names and alphabetical order!

Print Awareness

A foundational early literacy skill is understanding that print has meaning--that we use print to learn and do different things, and that print is all around us. Picture books of familiar songs or chants can help children make the connection between the words they know and the squiggles on the page. Books that show the musical notation of a song introduce children to yet another way print can carry meaning.

Narrative Skills

Many Mother Goose and other classic childhood songs are little stories, and listening to them helps children learn about story structure and sequencing. Even silly songs like “Found a Peanut” or “Little Bunny Foo Foo” have a beginning, a problem in the middle, and a resolution at the end. When children sing these songs, they have the experience of being a storyteller themselves.

Vocabulary

Just like picture books, songs have a great selection of vocabulary words, from the obscure (such as “tuffet”) to the merely less common (“In a cavern, in a canyon”). Hearing new words in context helps children build their vocabularies.

In addition, songs have a long tradition of being used as memory boosters! How many of you can still recite all 50 states because of a song you learned in elementary school? Or what about all the great science words in songs like “Why Does the Sun Shine?”

Print Motivation

Any time we can help children connect the words they say with the words on the page or around them in the environment, we are reminding them that the words that are important to them can be found in print. When children see that print has value, it increases their motivation to learn to read. When we print out lyrics to favorite songs, or read liner notes from a CD, or point to the words under the music in a songbook, we are engaging children in the connection between singing and reading. 

Sing a Song...you won't regret it!

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

Okay...I have a question for you...WHY?

Why what? 

Why are you writing a blog post about WHY?  

Why not?

Why would anyone want to read a blog post about a little three letter word...WHY?

Because I say so!

Why is a question, that if you have children, you will hear a minimum of one million and one times.

In a life time, you ask?

No. On a good day!

The nice thing is, you don't have to go the Why route alone. You have a lifeline and it's called, your local library.

WHY is what we DO! We have shelves filled to the brim with WHY.

Why is my goldfish orange? Why does my dog pant? Why does my cat purr? Why is the sky blue? Why do we breathe air? Why is your hair turning gray? Why are you looking at me that way?

We can help you get through the difficult WHY stage, painlessly, at the library.

Check out the, Big Book of Why, by John Perritano

Just wait: The bigger the kids, the BIGGER the WHY'S! Why can't I have the car keys? Why can't I wear this? Why don't you like my friends? We even have books for these questions too!

by: 
Barbara, Evergreen Library

"Hush, hush, it's sleepytime for puppies." Read in a whispered voice. My mom could do it the best! Every night for as long as I can remember, my mom read to me and my brother as part of our bedtime routine. Hush, Hush, It's Sleeptime by Peggy Parish, a Little Golden Book, was my FAVORITE! It became just as important to my bedtime routine as brushing my teeth and squirrelling that last drink of water out of my parents. This book was first published in 1968, when I was just taking my first steps, and I still have my WELL loved, original, copy on my bookshelf. Think back to your favorite book as a child...Babar, Curious George, or maybe Madeline. The one book you could never get enough of, the one you had memorized and could "read" yourself. A life long love of reading begins with that one simple story. That's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights READ as one of their 5 practices designed to promote early literacy in young children.

How does reading with your young child help them get ready to read? The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL) states through:

Print Awareness

Children who have an awareness of print understand that the markings on the page represent spoken language. They understand that when adults read a book, what they say is based on the words on the page, rather than to the pictures.

Here’s a super story about what it looks like to learn how to “see” print.

Letter Knowledge

Learning letter names, shapes and sounds is a building block to being able to sound out words on a page. 

Phonological Awareness

The ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words.

Narrative Skills

The ability to describe things and events and tell stories.

Print Motivation

A child's interest in and enjoyment of books. A child with print motivation enjoys being read to, plays with books, pretends to write, and likes trips to the library.

Vocabulary

Knowing the names of things.

Looking for a creative way to combine your local libraries summer reading program and fun at home?

"Here's a surefire way to build excitement around the written word. Inspired by book-bingo handouts used by librarians, we designed a treat-packed home version that rewards frequent and wide-ranging reading. Whether your kids are born bookworms or reluctant readers, they'll get a kick out of earning prizes through their bookish pursuits -- and never suspect that they're also boosting their literacy skills." - June/July 2014 issue Family Fun 

Check out A Simple Summer Reading Game, Book Bonanza for instructions.

I'm going to go home and find my Little Golden Book...hush, hush, it's sleepytime for readers.

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