Monday, December 8, 2014

Computer Science Education Week aka Hour of Code & Beyond!

Today we kicked off #CSEdWeek in our library!  I was super excited for year 2 of #HourofCode!

I had shared information with my staff for the past 6 weeks via an after school time, smore, several emails/links and invited all teachers/classes to participate.

I'm always shocked when not everyone wants to do these "extras" I offer to lead!   :)  Problem solving, critical thinking, following directions, and more... such good stuff for students of ALL ages in ALL subject areas!

I DID have many teachers say YES they wanted to give it a try with my help.   YAY!

I also already have 5 classes (3 7th grades & 2 8th grades) participating weekly in coding in the library and on their devices on Mondays & Tuesdays.

I was super excited to begin my morning with Mrs. Johnston's Intense Needs class.  As a former special education teacher, my heart remains with these amazing students.  I had already set up a class page and gave each of them their passcard with their secret picture on it.  The adults helped them each navigate to the class page.  After the students each found their name and clicked on their picture, they jumped right into it!  They enjoyed the puzzles as was evidenced by their huge smiles with each success.  Each left the library with a sticker and certificate for participating in their first Hour of Code.



My day continued with other "experienced" 7th grade classes coming to the library to continue coding.  They've been working through the 20 hour curriculum at  They were surprised when I greeted them with this Flocabulary rap about the Top 10 Reasons to Code.  I also shared the new video from President Obama.  "Create...don't just consume!" 

 I then explained that currently, our favorite site, Learn.Code.Org was down because of the MILLIONS of people coding! I then showed them several alternative coding activities for the hour and let them choose which site(s) to explore.  

Students had so much fun exploring Made With Code to create dancing Yetis...

 designing lights for the White House Christmas trees....

and making dragons dash about with Tynker:

So glad I'd taken extra time to not only explore "extra" sites/activities to use with my coding students but had also added them to our library web page at

At the end of the day I was a tired TL (like most days), but excited about our successful day of coding!   A big thank you to all of the teachers who brought their classes to the library today and to all of the teachers/classes I'll be working with the rest of this week!  Bring on day 2!

Wolf Chronicles Blog Tour!

Today, I'm pleased to share a guest post by Dorothy Hearst, author of the Wolf Chronicles trilogy, and be a stop on the blog tour!  

About the Author

Before the wolves barged in the door, demanding that their story be told, Dorothy Hearst was a senior editor at Jossey-Bass, where she published books for nonprofit, public, and social change leaders. She currently lives, writes, and plays with dogs in Berkeley, California. Spirit of the Wolves, the third and final title in the Wolf Chronicles, was released December 2. For more information, and to download free CCSS-aligned discussion questions for all three novels, visit her website:

Young Leaders in The Wolf Chronicles

by Dorothy Hearst

In the course of The Wolf Chronicles, the young characters in the book all face challenges that force them to take on new responsibilities. This ended up shaping a lot of the book. I started out writing the story of how the wolf became the dog from the wolf’s point of view, and ended up also writing a story of two young wolves, a young raven, and a human girl coming into their own.

This happened, in part, because I write biographies for most of my characters. In doing so, I learned what each character in The Wolf Chronicles both wanted and feared. I found that for all of my young characters, fear and uncertainty about their own abilities often got in their way.

Kaala: In the beginning, Kaala just wants to be part of her pack. Then, when she saves the life of the human girl TaLi, she takes on responsibility for bringing wolves and humans together. When she makes the promise to do so, she’s not really old enough to understand what it will mean for her. Much of the story of The Wolf Chronicles is about Kaala learning how to honor this promise, and finding the skills she needs to do her best to succeed. In particular, she learns to bring together the strengths of Ázzuen, Tlitoo, TaLi, and others as they all try to achieve what seems like an impossible goal.

Ázzuen, Kaala’s best wolf friend: As a pup, Ázzuen is small and not particularly impressive. He hangs back, afraid to cross the river, afraid to get enough milk to survive. But he’s smart. One thing he’s not afraid to do is to speak up when he thinks other  wolves are wrong. As he grow up, he embraces this trait and loses his fear of other things. He becomes a powerful wolf not by being physically strong, but by being thoughtful and steady.

Tlitoo, the jokester raven: Tlitoo is a trickster and, at the beginning of the trilogy, very sure of himself. He’s quick to criticize others and always ready to have fun. When he finds out that he has a very serious job to do, he at first refuses. He’s terrified of the responsibility that comes his way. Then, when the lives of his friends depend upon his taking on his new task, he does so. He keeps his irreverence and sense of fun, but grows into his new role.

TaLi, the human girl: At the beginning of Promise of the Wolves, TaLi knows that she is going to be a spiritual leader of her village—sometime in the far future. When she befriends Kaala, all that changes.  She has to take on responsibility earlier than she planned, and she has to be willing to give up acceptance and a relatively easy life to help the wolves keep their promise. 

Each character discovered that what she or he needed to do was more important than any fear or uncertainty, and found ways to overcome obstacles. It ended up being one of my favorite parts of the books.

Check out all the stops on the Wolf Chronicles blog tour!

Mon, Dec 1
Novel Novice
Tues, Dec 2
The Book Monsters
Wed, Dec 3
SLJ Teen
Thurs, Dec 4
I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
Fri, Dec 5
I Read Banned Books
Mon, Dec 8
Library Fanatic
Tues, Dec 9
YA Book Nerd
Wed, Dec 10
Read Now, Sleep Later
Thurs, Dec 11
The Brain Lair
Fri, Dec 12
Unleashing Readers
Sat, Dec 13
The Children's Book Review

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2014 Edublog Awards Finalist!

Wow!  I woke up this morning to this notification from Edublogs:
The notification confused me.  What in the world would I be nominated for?  (I'm a neglectful blogger...)  I began to look through the various lists and found myself on the Best Individual Tweeter list.  This was really a surprise!  While my love for Twitter isn't a secret, it's nice to know that others appreciate what I share! I am super excited and humbled to be named a finalist for the 2014 Edublog Awards in the category of Best Individual Tweeter!  Thanks so much for nominating me!   The list below is filled with many friends and twitter acquaintances I follow closely.  Take a minute or two to vote for us! Also, be sure and check out all the other awesome categories and amazing people/blogs nominated at  and vote, vote, VOTE!   Best Individual Tweeter - 2014 Edublog Awards
View more lists from Edublogs
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