Highlights of the Week: Makers Day, Eco Friendly Lawn Care, Stuffed Animal Story Time & More!

3/1 & 3/3 | Story Coders Grades K-1

To start the program, kindergartners, first graders, and parents worked together to solve the tangram challenges.  Using the seven shapes, children and parents had to recreate the shapes shown on the challenge sheet.

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For the next activity, the children practiced breaking down tasks into smaller steps. Joseph, pretending to be a robot, explained that there was a problem with the code, (directions he used to complete the “get ready for bed” activity) and he needed their help to rewrite it.  The children had to use step-by-step directions to tell “Robot Joseph” how to use a brush, read a book, use toothbrush and toothpaste, and drink a glass of water. With guidance from parents, Amanda, and Joseph, the children learned that their directions to a robot needed to be more specific than when they give directions to another person.  

The library’s new Code & Go Mouse Bot was also revealed, which was a hit with the kids.  Amanda explained that the mouse bot needed to be given directions using different color directional arrows.  The mouse bot could be directed to go forward, backward, turn left, and turn right. While reading the story “The Journey” by Arnold Lobel, Amanda helped the kids retell the story by directing the mouse to move from picture to picture in the maze, with each picture representing a different part of the story. The children planned out how the mouse should move using arrow cards for each part of the maze, then Joseph input the commands into the mouse bot.  Just like the mouse in the story, the mouse bot navigated the maze to go home and have some cheese!

 


 

3/10 | Makers Day

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Despite a recent snowstorm and trees down in the parking lot, the library’s third annual Makers Day was a huge success! Approximately 500 people participated in the event, making slime, drawing spin art using LEGO machines, viewing robotics demonstrations, looking through telescopes, and more.

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The Library benefited from partnerships with the high school robotics team, Livingston Robotics Club, Morris Museum Astronomical Society, Montclair Learning Center, and Bricks 4 Kidz to make this the best attended Makers Day at Livingston.


 

3/11 | Eco Friendly Lawn Care 

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This was the second installment in our “Know Your Garden” series with presenter, Marc Zukovich, a professor of horticulture at County College of Morris and a storehouse of knowledge on all gardening and botanical matters. 

He began by saying that the lawn is America’s contribution to landscape architecture and is a $40 billion industry in the USA. Marc’s talk focused on the cultural practices associated with lawn care and gave many useful tips on conscientious lawn care and maintenance.

Mowing, aeration, seeding and over seeding, watering, topdressing, dethatching and soil texture analysis, which are different elements in lawn care, were highlighted.  Marc spoke of the importance of soil testing and advised all lawn owners to use the services of the Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory.  The lab will analyse the nutrients and PH levels of a sample of soil from your yard, which is extremely beneficial when creating your lawn care regimen.  

The  importance of nitrogen to plants, how to read fertilizer labels (numbers like 5-10-5), types of fertilizers (organic vs inorganic), and when and how to fertilize was discussed. Marc also recommended environmental friendly organic products, such as Epsoma fertilizers and using corn gluten as a weed killer.  He spoke of the environmental dangers of using synthetic fertilizers, especially “weed and feed” brands. 

Read more about lawn care in a Rodale’s Organic Life article that was distributed, titled The Dark Side of Lawns.

 


 

3/12 & 3/13  | Stuffed Animal Story Time & Craft 


Children, ages two-years-old to seven-years-old, along with their stuffed animal friends, enjoyed a special Story Time with Miss Amanda.  They listened to stories about a girl who learns to love a pink, stuffed armadillo that her grandmother knitted, and a story about a rescued dog who can’t sleep without her collection of stuffed toys.  The children counted teddy bears that fell out of bed as Miss Amanda sang the song “Rollover” and named the colors of a teddy bear’s clothing as he got dressed. 

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For the craft, the children chose the colors they wanted to use.  With help, they put together the bear ears and paper strips to construct their teddy bear headband.  Teen volunteer Lizzi Tesoriero helped the children with the craft.


 

3/14  | Creativity Blooms: Making Book Page Blossoms

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Artist and instructor Donna Drew led a workshop using sustainable design concepts and showed the audience how to turn discarded book pages into pretty paper flowers.  Using pages from recycled books, a flower template, and materials like a thin wire hook, glue, brushes and pens, she instructed the eager participants in cutting, folding, gluing and shaping the pages into petaled blooms.

Thought parts of the craft were challenging, everyone had an enjoyable experience, appeared engaged in the process, and each one took home a pretty paper flower. One participant commented that “this library has such great programs, offers a lot, and I love it!”

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Some audience members admired the jewelry made and worn by Donna and asked about having her back for a jewelry class. You can view more of Donna’s art on her Triangle Designs Facebook Page.

 

Highlights of the Week: Charcoal Sketch Workshop, Live Guitar Story Time, Garden State Children Book Awards & more!

1/4 | Garden State Children Book Awards

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Every Fall, a list of nominated books (published three years before the award) is created by a committee that is part of NJLA’s Children Services Section. According to the GSCBA’s page, members of the committee select these books based on their “literary merit and appeal to readers.”  The four award categories for author and illustrator are: “Easy to Read”, “Fiction Series”, “Fiction”, and “Nonfiction.”

The winning books are announced at the NJLA conference in late spring where children then have an opportunity to vote at the Livingston Library– or at their public school in Livingston– for their favorite nominated book. Children who vote at the library are entered into a random drawing for a prize, with this Fall’s winner being Samay Malde!

The Livingston votes have been counted!  Here are the top three titles for each category:

Easy Readers

Prince Fly Guy by Ted Arnold

I will Take a Nap! by Mo Willems

Hot Rod Hamster and the Awesome ATV Adventure by Cynthia Lord

 

Fiction Series

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney

Babymouse: Bad Babysitter by Jennifer Holm

Captain Underpants and the sensational saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot : the twelfth epic novel by Dav Pilkey

 

Fiction

The Rat with the Human Face by Tom Angleberger

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Eva Sees a Ghost by Rebecca Elliott

 

Nonfiction

The Founding Fathers! : those horse-ridin’, fiddle-playin’, book-readin’, gun-totin’ gentlemen who started America by Jonah Winter

Hippos are Huge! by Jonathan London

How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page

 


 

1/6 & 1/11 | Story Coders

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Second and third graders, along with their parents, enjoyed learning some coding basics using the Finch Bot and ScratchJr.  The well-attended program was divided into three parts and the children and parents played tic-tac-toe as an icebreaker activity.  

After introductions, Amanda and Joseph invited the group onto the story mat for the Finch Bot activity.  The story mat was set up for the story If You Give a Mouse a Brownie by Laura Numeroff.  The Finch Bot acted as the mouse in the story and the children had to direct the “mouse” from picture to picture following the sequence of the story.  For this activity, the Finch Bot was only capable of moving straight.  

Joseph explained that sensors on the front of the bot acted as the bot’s eyes.  The children could direct the bot to turn left or right by placing special cards in front of the bot. Children took turns figuring out how many space the bot should move straight and which direction it needed to turn in order to reach the next picture.

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For the second activity, Joseph demonstrated how to make a simple story following the If You Give a Mouse a Brownie pattern.  The children and parents worked on  creating their own versions of the story while Amanda and Joseph answered questions as needed.  At the end of the class, the children had an opportunity to share their stories.  

 


 

1/8 | Charcoal Sketch Workshop

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 A cold, snowy day didn’t discourage this group of eager artists to show up for our Charcoal Sketch Workshop led by Livingston Art Teacher extraordinaire, Christine Wittlinger.

 

Many of the students were using charcoal for the first time; they followed the teacher’s detailed instructions on how to hold the charcoal, where to draw the lines, how dark to make each line, and how to use the blending tool to create the desired effect.

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1/9 | Yakety Yak

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The well-attended book club for second and third graders discussed Asia Citro’s Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows.  One of the reasons the children gave for liking the story was that it mixed fantasy and science. They liked that the story was both fun and educational.

During the story, Zoey made and tested hypotheses to figure out what the dragon liked to eat and how to make him better. For the activity, children used modeling clay to create their own dragon eggs and decorated them using food dye and beads.  

 


 

1/11 | Story Time with Live Guitar Music

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Guitar Joe sang songs and told musically-based stories, accompanied by his acoustic guitar and a small bongo-like drum. Anna helped by showing picture books & puppets based on some of the songs.

The kids were encouraged to participate, such as helping with the distribution of maracas during the reading of “Drum Dream Girl,” which describes different forms of percussion, and encouraging the children to match the various rhythms in the story.  The children responded enthusiastically (though, thankfully, not too rambunctiously) to both the music and the stories, all while receiving lessons in subjects like counting, spelling, and gender equality.

Watch a video of the performance of Guitar Joe’s version of We’re Going To Be Friends.