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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Slice of Life, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 469
1. It’s Tuesday! Write. Share. Give.

It's Tuesday! Write. Share. Give.

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2. An Easy Guide to Introduce Slice of Life Writing

Three steps to introduce Slice of Life Writing to your students

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3. It’s Tuesday! Write. Share. Give.

  What can you shine a light on that others might not be seeing? What is your unique story to tell? Today is the day to share! Please write your slice, share your link,… Continue reading

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4. Artist of the Day: Colleen Castleman

Discover the art of Colleen Castleman, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day.

The post Artist of the Day: Colleen Castleman appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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5. Painting with Primaries

Our local school is building a Natural Playground, and they are holding several fundraisers. I was recently asked to be part of a Really Good Idea for a fundraiser, which I think would make a fun library program! The idea, which was hatched and hosted by the owner of our local craft shop, was this: local artists would each lead a classroom in painting a large 2-foot square painting which would then be auctioned off.
I was happy to find out that I was chosen to work with the Grade Primary class (here in Nova Scotia that translates to Kindergarten). I went with a big flower for them to paint. I had them in groups of 3 — the painting had seven areas to be painted, and I had each group work on a section. I might be biased, but I love our painting the most. I love the colours and the freedom of expression that 4 & 5 year olds are unafraid to exhibit. I really didn’t paint much at all— I gave them tips, and once had to quickly grab a paintbrush from an over-exuberant artist who was about to turn the whole thing into a big smear.

I started in the classroom with a stack of books and talked to them about art in picture books.  I read Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales to them and we talked about the art in that book. Their teacher had been part of some workshops I did earlier in the school year, and she had them looking closely at the art in picture books, so this group of 4-5 year olds were pretty savvy about examining the pictures. We had a lively discussion about the art and how everyone can do art. I was impressed that they were able to determine the medium, and talk a little about shape and colour.

I love to combine literacy with art lessons, and this project – and a Caldecott honour book – allowed me to do that. We also did a really great painting which will help raise money for a playground that will further their learning in the great outdoors. IMG_1401

So— to turn this into a library program, you could buy several large canvases (you can get them for a pretty decent price at dollar stores these days). Draw the outlines on the canvases, and have your program participants paint them in, using acrylic paint (again, a fairly inexpensive investment at dollar stores). These could hang in the children’s area, could be donated for charity fundraisers, or you could auction them as library fundraisers. Add a few books on art and a few art picture books, and you’ve got yourself a fairly simple, low-cost program that kids will remember each time they see those paintings. Host an art show in your library and you’ve got another program that will draw in the families of the kids who did the paintings. Art and literacy. They make good companions.

The post Painting with Primaries appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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6. Self-Censorship: A Reflection

Coffee resting on tableAs the children’s librarian at my branch I interact with hundreds of kids.  I’ve had parents tell me they appreciate the impact I have on their kids, both as people and as readers. I feel that in some way, it is my job to show them all the ideas and viewpoints out there, so they can be better citizens of the world.

A few weeks ago, a colleague and I were getting ready to head to a school visit.  We had been prepping for this for a while now. Each of us picked books that we thought would resonate with the tweens in our Boston neighborhood.  A few days before, my colleague approached me and told me she wasn’t going to be utilizing one of the graphic novels she originally picked because throughout the book, there were numerous images of the main character smoking.   She didn’t want the tweens receiving the message that smoking at their age was okay.

Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about censorship.  Not the censorship we hear about in the news, but the everyday censorship that may happen at our libraries.  For the longest time, there has been a pile of anime DVDs on my desk.  A majority of my system’s anime is classified as Teen, but for whatever reason, a few are not.  The DVDs on my desk have been placed there by kids, parents, and even myself, because some of the cover images are suggestive in nature.  More times than I can count, I have been told “these are not okay for the Children’s Room.”  But why?  I mean yes, I understand the suggestive nature of the images, but does that mean it needs to be removed from the shelf?  If I remove it from the shelf, then what happens when a parent comes to me and complains about Sex is a Funny Word?  Or even something like Harry Potter?  Doesn’t my removal of these DVDs from the shelf create a slippery slope?  Where do we draw the line?  Who determines what is okay and appropriate?

I’m still thinking about these questions. One thing I know is that I get to decide what stays on my shelf and what doesn’t, and so in the mean time, the DVDs stay.  Not because I think the images are appropriate, but because it’s not my job to tell someone else what is and isn’t appropriate.  All I can do, is provide them with the tools and ideas to help them be the best people than can be.

Alyson Feldman-Piltch is a children’s librarian for the Boston Public Library.  She likes dogs, ice cream, and baseball.  She can be contacted at [email protected]

The post Self-Censorship: A Reflection appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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7. Stuffed animals in the library

Stuffed Animals DSCN0033 Stuffed animals in the children’s area:  Love ’em  or hate ’em?

Most libraries have at least a few stuffed animals. Perhaps you use one as a “stand-in” during lapsit storytime.  Perhaps you have a “character” stuffed animal that makes an appearance at storytime.

But what about those other stuffed animals? You know, the ones that just “hang out” in the children’s area?  Are they beloved initiators of imaginative play or are they germ-carrying, dust-collectors sparking possessorship wars?

Share your opinion in our one question poll:  Love ’em or hate ’em?

 Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

The poll will be up all month. I’ll share the results, your comments (leave them below), and my own opinion, in June.

Please share with your colleagues.  I’d like a big sampling.




Image credit: MorgueFile

The post Stuffed animals in the library appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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8. Write. Share. Give.

It's Tuesday! Happy Slicing

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9. Moving? New library job? Some helpful hints

moving-truck-300pxWhether you’re a new librarian moving to take your first job, or an experienced librarian moving to greener pastures, here are some suggestions that might help.

I’m not saying I followed them all, but I should have! :)

Before you move:

  • Make sure you leave your previous job in good stead.  Give adequate notice, file paperwork, clean your desk, get your checkups in before your insurance runs out, return all your library books. :)
  • If you can, give yourself some time open roadbetween jobs – especially if you’re moving out-of-state.  Acquiring a new, license, registration, cell service, cable, electricity, etc., can be daunting if you’re working full-time.

At your new location:

  • Be a team player. It’s easy to think of yourself as the “outsider,” but work is more fun when you work together.  Be interested, be helpful, be approachable.
  • Know what’s going on. It’s your  home now. Who’s your mayor, your congressman, your baseball team? Subscribe to the local news in print, feed, or online.
  • Join your union – or at least hear them out.  They’re the folks working to earn better wages and benefits for you and they’re a good source of job-related information that you might not receive elsewhere.
  • Figure out who doesn’t mind answering questions, who doesn’t like to be pestered, who likes to joke around.  Work with that.
  • When you get that mountain of papers about insurance options – read it! And don’t miss the deadlines.
  • If you’re offered the chance to sign up for deferred compensation of some kind, do it right away before you ever have a chance to  miss the money.  Later, you’ll be glad you did.

A few don’ts:

  • Don’t get discouraged. If your new library is like every other library – there’s too much to do and not enough people to do it.  Relax; do the best you can do.
  • If you’re in a position of authority, don’t make  drastic changes right away.  First, find out what works and what doesn’t, and why things are done the way they are.  Be respectful.library icon
  • Don’t eat the boiled peanuts.  I hear they’re terrible! 😉



Image credit: Openclipart.org

The post Moving? New library job? Some helpful hints appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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10. Write. Share. Give

What's happening in your world today? Share your slice!

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11. Write. Share. Give.

It's Tuesday! Come share your slice and try visiting a "new to you" slicer today.

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12. SOL Tuesday! Write. Share. Give.

Welcome back to the year-long Tuesday SOL challenge!

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13. Fingerprints and Forensics with First-graders

Did you know with a few simple, inexpensive materials and some creativity you can create your own forensics lab for early elementary kiddos? You can! I lead a STEAM focused program at my library for first, second and third graders entitled Imagination Lab. The idea is that for four weeks in the fall, and again in the winter, we meet up after school to explore a variety of concepts that fit under the broad umbrella of STEAM. We experiment, sometimes I demonstrate, and we always create something to take home. In the past few weeks we have explored the science behind sound, polymers, and color, but my favorite topic may just have been forensics!

Inspired by the awesome Mad Scientists Club CSI program, I crafted my own 45-minute program for first through third grade patrons. I think this is a great program that can be easily modified for older children and held without breaking the budget purchasing special science equipment. The most fancy items you’ll need are magnifying glasses.

First, start off discussing what the word “forensics” means and what sorts of evidence might be helpful at a crime scene. Since my program was for early elementary school students, and I mostly have first graders in my group, we kept our discussion of crime scenes to stolen cookies, missing stuffed animals and library robberies.

Once you think everyone has a good basic understanding of the topic, you’ll want to get into the really fun part which is hands-on experimenting! Be sure to share some cool facts about fingerprints and using fingerprints to solve crimes before you start. You can find more neat facts in the great book Crazy for Science with Carmelo the Science Fellow by Carmelo Piazza . I have used this title for many program ideas, including our fingerprinting experiments. Check it out if you have it in your collection! Each chapter introduces a different branch of science and all the experiments are linked to science curriculum requirements for grades K through 3.

Below you can see some of the details from the program so you can easily replicate this at your library!

Fingerprinting Detective Supplies. image from Nicole Martin.

Fingerprinting detective supplies. Image from author.

Examine Your Fingerprints


  • Pencils
  • Clear tape ( I used book tape)
  • White paper (copier paper works fine)
  • Fingerprint pattern cards (You can find many images of typical fingerprint patterns online. I printed out the images on cardstock and distributed a card to each child.)
  • Mini-magnifying glasses
  1. Color a small square (about 4 inches) onto the white paper with a pencil.
  2. Press the top part of your index finger onto the pencil square, rolling it back and forth several times. You should have a very dirty finger!
  3. Press the clear tape firmly onto the dirty finger.
  4. Slowly pull the tape off the index finger and press it onto a clean sheet of white paper. The fingerprint should now be visible on the paper!
  5. Look at the details of the fingerprint with a magnifying glass. Try to identify what pattern each individual fingerprint is using the fingerprint pattern cards.
  6. Try this process with other fingers and compare patterns with your index finger as well as neighbor’s fingerprints.

Lifting Fingerprints 

Fingerpritns! Image by Nicole Martin.

Fingerprints! Image from author.


  • Small paintbrush
  • Corn starch (I measured a couple tablespoons into small plastic cups for each table to share.)
  • Clear tape ( I used book tape)
  • Dark black paper (construction paper or cardstock)
  • Paper plate (ideally coated paper plates, not just the regular white kind) 
  1. Rub the fingerprint part of your index finger down the side of your nose or in your hair/ scalp to get your finger dirty. (Gross, I know. But it works.)
  2. Press your oily finger against the center of the plate.
  3. Dip the paintbrush into the corn starch. You don’t need a lot! So be sure to shake off the extra powder before removing from the cornstarch.
  4. Use the brush to lightly “paint” the powder over the center of the plate where the fingerprint should be. The powder should stick to the oily fingerprint. Be sure to not press too hard or you will smear the fingerprint! This might take a couple tries to get right.
  5. “Lift” the fingerprint from the plate by placing a piece of tape firmly against the fingerprint. Then slowly and carefully peel the tape up.
  6. Place the sticky side down on the black paper.
  7. You should see the fingerprint on the paper!
  8. Take it farther and see if you can lift fingerprints off of nearby counter tops or door handles!
Mystery powder identification. Photo from Nicole Martin.

Mystery powder identification. Photo from author.

After our fingerprinting, we identified a “mystery powder” (aka powdered sugar) by observing chemical reactions. The kids loved it! I used instructions from Quirkles.com that you can find and follow yourself here. If you have time you can also create some fingerprint artwork using washable ink pads and markers, but my little detectives had so much fun we ran out of time! The kids were so excited to be able to take their fingerprints and fingerprint pattern cards home to share what they learned.

There are so many more fun ideas for forensic experiments and extension activities out there- this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’d like to do this program again but set up a mock crime scene involving a stuffed pigeon, caution tape, and stolen cookies. Happy investigating fellow librarians!

The post Fingerprints and Forensics with First-graders appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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Huge Congratulations! Today is the final day of the March classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge.

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15. Family Fort Nights FTW

IMG_0881Kids are ridiculously excited about books. Families cram into your library. The level excitement is high. You have everything ready to go, supplies gathered, and then you just sit back and orchestrate. Thanks to Jbrary, Amy, Laura, Marge, Jane, and Katie, the program is pre-planned. If you browse those links, you’ll find a list of supplies you need as well as exactly how to do this program. I’m talking about Family Fort Night folks, the best thing since lined paper.

I’ve been around libraries for a while. I’ve done a lot of programs. This had to have been the easiest, most rewarding program I’ve done in ages. I’m not going to rehash how to do it– follow the links above and you’ll find out all you need to know. What I want to crow about is how easy it was, and how much fun it is. Librarians love to share- and those links up there prove it (really, have you NOT read those posts yet?) When I heard about Family Fort Night, I got incredibly excited. Not only did it look like fun, it seemed a pretty simple idea. And it is. Links, people. Go. Now.

Ok, now that you are back — here’s the good stuff that happened. Moms askedIMG_0883 when we were going to do this again. I heard from one family that there were forts all over their house the next day. Kids were as excited to read in their forts as they were to build the forts. Turning out the lights to play flashlight hide & seek? Priceless. Dads and Grandfathers and Moms and neighbours and friends and siblings were all there. It was a community of fun. I could go on and on about the warm fuzzy feelings this program generates. But I will just end with this– put your pyjamas on and try it. Open your library after hours and build forts. Get some cheap flashlights and watch the magic happen. Go forth and fort, my friends.

The post Family Fort Nights FTW appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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It's the penultimate day in this month's Classroom Slice of Life Story Writing Challenge. Join us!

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Wow! It's Day 29 Classroom Slicers!

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Welcome to Day 28 of the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge.

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Welcome to Day 27 of the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge.

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Welcome to Day 26 of the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge.

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Welcome to Day  23 of the 4th Annual Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge! If your students are writing for the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge, this is where you will post… Continue reading

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Welcome to Day  22 of the 4th Annual Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge! If your students are writing for the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge, this is where you will post… Continue reading

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Welcome to Day  21 of the 4th Annual Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge! If your students are writing for the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge, this is where you will post… Continue reading

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Welcome to Day  20 of the 4th Annual Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge! If your students are writing for the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge, this is where you will post… Continue reading

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Welcome to Day  19 of the 4th Annual Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge! If your students are writing for the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge, this is where you will post… Continue reading

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