2nd Annual STEAM Celebration Reflection

2nd Annual STEAM Celebration Reflection

This is WAAAY overdue, but I know several of you were curious about how STEAM went this year.  The answer? Wonderful. It was a rainy day, so we had some no shows, but I think everyone had a great day. A special thank you to all the community members, teachers, and librarians who came to help or just explore!


STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Starting last year, we have a yearly three hour event that focuses on fun activities using those skills. This is a great way to get community and family involvement.  This year we decided to invite our four feeder elementary schools as well. Those kiddos made me miss my elementary teaching days. SO PRECIOUS. It was great to see our students step up as leaders.

Prep Work

  1. Plan the activities for each rooms
  2. Get LOTS of volunteers and community members
  3. Collect the supplies
  4. Promote the event
  5. Pass out flyers (I ran copies and sent to our feeder schools)
  6. Arrange transportation if needed
  7. Set up rooms
  8. Have fun!

Here is the map of the activities we used this year (inside and outside):

Basically, we do activities in almost every downstairs room.  I try to keep costs as low as possible by getting donations when I can. I won’t lie, this part takes a while. In the summer, I usually look on Pinterest , magazines, or books for ideas. Then I start deciding what I can reasonably do in a short time period.  Once I know what I can get donated, I make decisions about what needs modified. This year I had an amazing activity with balloons I wanted to do, but we had a student with a severe latex allergy, so I had to scrap that and come up with another plan. I set the date in the fall and get commitments early.


Here are the videos we showed in preparation:

Video 1 (shown week of 3/21): What is STEAM?


Video 2 (shown week of 3/28): About the Sh@ck Kn@ck Makerspace


Video 3 (shown week of 4/4):  STEAM Celebration Events


Video 4 (shown week of 4/11): FAQs for STEAM Celebration


This is the flyer we used:

STEAM Poster Shack

Set Up

I have a Google Doc that I keep directions, supply list, and links. Then I stage everything in boxes or bags with the room number on the bag so they can pass out quickly. Make sure to give directions to teachers early so they can practice before that day if needed. I set up as much as I can the night before. This is the craziness that is my office a few weeks before:

What I Learned

It was MUCH easier this year because I had so many volunteers. Over 30 of my staff members donated their time to help. That allowed us to have some floaters who could fill in as needed. Unfortunately, I also learned that duct tape does NOT peel off the floor easily. Caption this photo “When ideas go wrong…” even my principal was cleaning stuff off of the floor.

Photo Apr 30, 12 18 24 PM

We got such high praise from the other schools that my principal is actually going to budget some money for this next year (I’m not complaining, he gave me money this year too, but next year it will be OFFICIAL).

Pics and Videos

I posted a ton of pics and video on Twitter/Instagram @shacklibrary. The district Flickr page has some links here as well:


Questions or Comments?

Add a comment if you have any questions or comments! I’ll share anything I can that will help.




Book Review: School Library Makerspaces by Leslie B. Preddy

School Library MakerspacesBook Review:  School Library Makerspacesby Leslie B. Preddy

I should warn you makerspaces are my new passion. Not an expert (more like a librarian stumbling around in the dark) but I got a grant, and my equipment is starting to arrive. Next year I’ll look at adding more. I started out small, but wishing now I’d gone ahead and asked for a 3D printer too.

This book is full of ideas for makerspace activities. The ideas have a secondary focus, but some of them could be easily adapted to a younger level. It broadly covers the concept of a makerspace and has a wealth of links and resources. I started using some of them immediately. These activities are great ways to get students involved and interested in what the library has to offer in the makerspace area. There is a big focus on re-purposing materials for fun projects, and I love that idea. Next year, I’m even going to do some makerspace challenges with parent/student teams.

If you have no idea what a makerspace is, than I wouldn’t start with this book. This book is more focused on ideas you can actually use in your makerspace. Here is the video I made for our students when introducing the concept of a makerspace: http://animoto.com/play/MZsswV1VX7fQhSlMqO3inw

Having just started a makerspace area in my library, I’ve added a link to our collaborative wiki on makerspaces. If you want more information, this is a good place to start. FYI if you have a library or a makerspace, feel free to join the wiki and share your ideas.


Nothing really to quote, but the back of the book has an invaluable list of websites for makerspace ideas and resources. Too many to look at all at once, so I put them into my Protopage and am slowly catching up.

Recommended Ages:  Adult/Teacher
Genre:  Professional Resource
Overall Opinion:  Highly Recommended
Source: Book








Reeling in Readers: Creatively Promoting Books

I realized the other day that the link I posted won’t work on iDevices because of the flash component in SpicyNodes. Here is the same content in text/link format.

When I first started in the library several years ago the digital book trailer was the way to promote books. While I still see the value in book trailers (still post several a month), I also think it is essential for us to also look at other platforms for book promotion.  Here are just a few.


Create a poster you can “touch” with things like website links, videos, social media, and text.

Website: http://www.thinglink.com/
Sample: http://www.thinglink.com/scene/402645903845883904

QR Code Displays

Display books in the library with a QR code that links to information about the book, book reviews, series information, links to a movie, or facts about the author.
Tips on QR codes (the QR code tab): https://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=500988

Student Videos

Have students create short videos promoting a book they like. Can be short clips just showing them and the cover or an actual interview about why they liked the books. Be sure to choose a variety of students.


Use SpicyNodes to showcase read a like lists or genre spotlights.

Website: http://spicynodes.com
Sample: http://www.spicynodes.org/a/8b7baad730231d4448ca3cfdc6e2d8ad


Create bookmarks for students as they check out in the library. Can have QR code links to library resources, photos related to books read in the classroom, popular genres, etc.

Sample: https://ssl.vuzit.com/s/7et7r?sid=ULN2K72IaKjKMBj7FuvsLHyFfd4siv5u

Book Blogs

Book blogs are still popular with students. They enjoy knowing what you are reading and how you think. Share frequently electronically and also post by book displays for students without Internet access.

Prezi Scavenger Hunts

Use Prezi and create short guess the book prezis, author information, or series challenges.

Website: http://prezi.com
Sample: http://prezi.com/ippwkaurje4o/genre/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy


Create simple websites or pages for book promotion such as read a like lists.

Website: http://education.weebly.com
Sample: http://readalikelists.weebly.com/

Popcorn Maker

Add pop up text to any video posted on YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud or HTML5. Think old school MTV pop up videos. Use this tool as a way to highlight things you want students to remember.

Website: https://popcorn.webmaker.org/
Sample: https://shacklibrary.makes.org/popcorn/199e


Record a short excerpt of the book with an introduction to why students would enjoy the book. Can have guest readers for a surprise students. Only need a program like Audacity, a computer, and a microphone.

Website: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ for recording
Website: http://podbean.com for hosting

Talking Book Displays

Use a short recorder next to a book for book promotion. Have students or teachers record and have a contest for students to guess the voice.

Website: http://www.joann.com/record-it-button-/7528011.html

Flash Version of Links Above:

SpicyNodes link: http://www.spicynodes.org/a/476e7a88194a8ee05b402a797a901c19

Book Review: Learning by Doing

ImageBook Review:  Learning by Doing

This book is a detailed description of PLNs and why they are important to education. There are case studies and examples of how to make a personal learning network work in your school. Some text is a summarization of material in other studies, but having the information in one location is convenient.

Recommended Ages: Adult
Genre: Professional
Overall Opinion:  Average
Source: Book

Ideas for QR Codes in the Library

I’ve been doing some brainstorming this summer. Here are some of my ideas for QR codes in the library. Feel free to comment with any others. 🙂

Book Displays/Resources

  • Book cover with QR code that links to a book trailer
  • Author picture with QR codes that link to books, biography, facts, etc.
  • Book or cover with QR code that links to other book suggestions
  • Nonfiction book with information about that Dewey category in a QR code
  • Nonfiction book with facts from the book in QR code
  • Book display with QR code book review
  • QR code link in back of book that links to series website so students know what book is next in the series. If there is not a good series website consider using Wikipedia.
  • Biography book with link to other resources on that individual
  • Nonfiction book with key words for searching that topic in a database
  • Display of books that have a theme in common. Scan QR code to see if they identified the correct theme
  • Link to Twitter/Pinterest feed of authors
  • Put a bookmark inside a book with a QR code discussing a quote on that page (why it was chosen)
  • Book display comparing the book to the movie
  • Display with books that you also have digital copies of in the library (link to the eBook)
  • Baby picture of teachers with a link to a current picture holding their favorite book
  • Book display about popular reading lists highlighting the specifics of each list as well as a few examples
  • Short description of the Dewey category and what kind of books are found in that section
  • QR codes for popular series or topics with description of how to find those resources in the library
  • Student created bookmarks with the cover, a short review, and QR code link to online content such as reviews, trailer, author website, etc.
  • Book display about the parts of a book. Use QR codes to discuss the different parts
  • If Books Could Talk Display using different books and matching them to theme in the book. For example: The Uglies book might say: “Who defines beautiful? What if they are wrong?”

Library Promotions

  • QR code link to library website in PTA newsletter
  • Links to library policies
  • Link to databases
  • Information about clubs
  • Information about IDs
  • Book fair information
  • Currently reading sign (post picture of book with QR code link to review)
  • Link to library survey in Google Docs
  • Links to information about special library events
  • Links to pictures from a previous event
  • QR code for library newsletter
  • Make QR code mouse pads that link to Destiny
  • Bookmark with important library links
  • QR codes to reading list or reading program resources on a flyer or bookmark
  • Link for Wi-Fi information
  • QR code to Twitter feed

Lesson Ideas

  • Use QR codes that reveal the correct answer on a worksheet. For example: students scan A and the QR code says “Please try again” and when they scan C it says “Correct”. This is great for discussing WHY an answer is wrong if it is common mistake.
  • Use QR codes to link to original creations like short poems, paragraphs, biographical information
  • Stations for getting to know a book through different formats (ex: Goodreads, author website, book trailer, podcast, etc.)
  • Scavenger Hunt-can either use QR codes for the question, the answers, or both
  • Stations-QR code can link to content, directions, or etc.
  • Link to directions about an activity or remediation resources
  • QR codes that give research tips
  • QR codes posted in library that reveal passwords for databases or library catalog
  • Links to tutorial resources on the most commonly used Web 2.0 tools (can store on a website or in Dropbox)
  • High School students could create digital portfolios/resumes
  • Use QR codes for directions instead of a worksheet
  • Voting for any topic using a site like poll anywhere or a Google Form
  • Share student created videos via QR code
  • Student book reviews
  • Matching activities. Students match the item and then scan a QR code to get the answer
  • Link to library resource of the day. Have the link pull from a website or wiki so you don’t have to change the QR code, just add the new content. Could highlight a vocabulary word or skill as indicated by benchmark scores
  • Link to exemplars of student projects so expectations are clear
  • Link to rubrics
  • Teen Tech Week outdoor scavenger hunt before school
  • Students write original story and link to the picture that inspired the story
  • Link to wiki or website created by student that reflects learning on a research project. Post around school.
  • QR code links to a word or topic that students then look up in a dictionary or encyclopedia
  • Students scan a QR code for a book description or cover and then locate that book in the library. Scan a second QR code when they reach that location to see if they are correct.
  • Reminders about copyright policies and citation tools
  • Links to flipped classroom or flipped library resources (put both inside and outside library)

LiveBinder with QR Code Tools