Tuesday, April 21, 2015


This is not my first nor will it be my last Denver
picture on this blog.
Okay, I obviously love to put the word "-ology" in the title of all my programs because the kids just keep coming to everything with "ology" in it.

I also unabashedly love dinosaurs.

So when I put together a program that invited kids to geek out about dinosaurs, I was not at all playing.

And once I got to talking with the kids who attended, I knew I made the right decision.

This school year I've held more programming on after school and early-release days, and so I've kind of taken my programming in a new direction: fewer stations, more OMFG-this-is-so-crazy-let's-talk-about-this-information-together. And since the programming has happened on days when the kids HAVEN'T been sitting in one spot for six hours, and I can build in some regulation activities, I can give the kids what they want without worrying they'll fall asleep on me. And they want info, because brains are wired to seek it out.

So here's how Dinosaurology went!

Thursday, April 16, 2015


So for awhile we've been talking in my department about running a grossology program, but I've been shying away from it. Mostly because my gross-out factor is really, really, really high. I mean, I guess it depends. For instance, I can talk bodily functions and other stuff people might think is gross for days. I've explained too many Cards Against Humanity jokes in a clinical fashion to in-laws to count; and for that I'm happy that my husband's threshold for mortification is incredibly high. But, play an episode of a show that has a vomit gag, even a cartoon one, and I'm Audi 5000, my friend.

At any rate, I set out to put together a grossology program that was not at all gross to me and yet possibly gross to other people; and after I planned it, I ran it by Kelsey to make sure it was gross enough. Her face as I was describing it said it all-- it was!

So yeah, here's how the "grossest" grossology program I could get myself to do went:

Monday, April 13, 2015

After School Book Exploration: A STEM Shared Experience

This weekend I was lucky to attend The Wisconsin After School Association Conference. If you've never been, the WAA Annual Conference is a great place to connect with other community members statewide who work with youth. I learned about epigenetics, which is completely fascinating. Seriously everyone, watch that video. I'm sure I'll be writing more about it as I wrap my brain around what this could mean for library service. It's fairly inexpensive professional development, at $50 for 4 sessions and a half-day pre-conference. Another great thing I learned about was Spark PE, a research-based physical education program. You can download free plans here that you can adapt to library programming, surely.

I also got to present at one of the session times! I wanted to connect a few high--quality (read: my personal favorite) books to fun things kids can do after school, and talk a little about why that's important.

Here's some highlights:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Libraries and the ACE Study: an Iron Fist Joint Post with Anna Donaldson, MSW

From acestudy.org

Anna Donaldson is a Departmental Analyst with the State of Michigan Division of Continuous Quality Improvement (DCQI) which monitors child welfare compliance and quality across the state. In the near future, she will be joining the clinical research team as Research Coordinator at the Momentous Institute in Dallas, TX as she as recently relocated with her husband to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. This new opportunity at the Momentous Institute will allow Anna to work with the team to gather and analyze data surrounding children's social/emotional growth and how the role of education can positively impact a child's ability to self-regulate, self-aware, and increase educational outcomes for at-risk children. Anna's main areas of interest are child welfare, specifically the impact of trauma on children and families, and improving quality of services provide to this population.

Bryce is Bryce. She's Anna's sister. She obviously did not write Anna's bio.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ask Away #1: Working with Children and Being an Adult

There came a point last year when I was really considering my intended audience for this blog. I got a picture in my head of readers in small libraries downloading my ready-to-go Story Action Pod prompts; maybe some newly-professional librarians wading their way through librarianship; other afterschool program providers and teachers looking for fun activities. When I get emails about my blog, these are mostly who they're from. But you were all still pictures in my head, who I envisioned with every post, moving me to continue to blog as I had been.

And then, at the Isthmus Beer and Cheese Fest, I met one of you in person. Cate from Chicago. I was so ecstatically relieved that you all really existed that I asked her for a hug. And a selfie.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Superhero PK-2 Party

I contend this is blurry due to superhero-ness.
The second Monday of every month is Monday Funday at one of our branches, where we provide a special evening program for elementary-age kids. Since this was the same type of program as the PJ Puzzles Storytime, I ended up planning for ages 3-8; but, of course, I could have differentiated if the group turned out (SURPRISE) a little older. I'll share those with you below, as well, with the caution that these are based on quick changes that have worked in the past and not tested day-of (actually, now that I started writing, I did do some day-of; details below).

As pictured, left, I dressed up as Captain America for the occasion, a plus of a household that has a few of those cosplay hoodies used as everyday clothing lying around.It was actually pretty cool: some kids brought costumes but were unsure if they should wear them to the party, but the second they saw me they were racing out to the car to change (or having their parents do that, because it was the first super-cold night of the season) (I KNOW. Pretend I'm writing this in November when this program took place).

Here's how it went down: